Monday, March 9, 2009

Cameron Highlands

No trip to Cameron Highlands would be complete without a visit to the tea gardens and strawberry farms! ( be honest there isn't really anything else to do in Cameron Highlands besides those types of tourist attractions). The six of us high tailed it from Penang with one of the craziest bus drivers I have ever witnessed. The ride was long and curvy, and the fact that we were all slightly hungover, and on top of that getting motion sickness from the driver accelerating around insanely sharp turns, was not exactly the most thrilling experience. We were all pretty relieved to pack up our belongings and never look back at that bus again.

As luck would have it, we arrived in Cameron Highlands just in time for some crazy thunderstorms. It began pouring rain upon our arrival, and we rushed around the town without umbrellas trying to find a hostel to stay. Let me just say that we probably would not have survived without our Lonely Planet copy of Malaysia 'on a shoe string.' That guide was so legit, and I would recommend it to anyone.

On our first full day in Cameron Highlands, we took a shuttle into town and walked 2 or 3 miles to the BOH tea plantation. The plantation was packed with tourists from all over the world, but the scenic views from up top where absolutely breathtaking. As we hiked down into the valley we were able to see rows and rows of tea bushes being maintained by local gardeners. We spent a significant amount of time at the factory, watching the production process and lounging in the cafeteria sipping Mango & Rose Lychee flavored tea and eating crumpets. Yes, crumpets.

It was interesting to read that the BOH tea factory produces 4 million kgs of tea annually- which translates to about 5.5 million cups per day. This represents about 70% of all tea produced in Malaysia. This being the case I could have easily purchased a bunch of BOH tea at a local convenience store outside of the plantation, but instead opted to spend 5x as much at the BOH gift shop. Why not, right?!

After spending a majority of the day at the BOH tea gardens, we headed off to the strawberry farms, only to get caught up in yet another rainstorm. I love strawberries and all, but I was not too impressed with the farm that we went too. It was closed due to the rain so we didn't even get to pick our own strawberries! I was bummed...but immediately got over it as soon as we discovered an ice cream stand that specialized in strawberry toppings.

We only spent a couple of days in Cameron Highlands, and our final evening we all went out to a Chinese style "Melting Pot" for dinner. We ordered the works and got all sorts of crazy unidentifiable meats and vegetables stacked tall on porcelain pink plates. At one point 'during the meal we realized we were chewing on jellyfish. Although it tasted totally disgusting, we all agreed that with every bite it was sweet sweet revenge against that a-hole jellyfish that got me a few days back.

Cheers to that!

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