Cameron Highlands travel destinations:
Getting There and Back in a Day?

How about considering making a travel destinations day trip all the way from Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands? Never would have thought about doing that. Looking at it, it will take almost three hours to get there and three hours to drive back to KL again. Still it is not a completely undoable idea. Read how Joan did it her own way below.


Highland Breeze

09 Aug 2006

Make a day trip to Cameron Highlands on the 'new' road this weekend and top it off with tea and strawberries in good company. JOAN LAU writes.

MOST people who live in Kuala Lumpur are destination-driven, not for them the idea of just driving for the pleasure of it. This makan angin concept just does not fly with folks who have to contend with horrendous traffic just to get to and from work every day.

Well, then, this coming Saturday, consider a drive to Cameron Highlands. It's far enough so you really get a sense of the road (not to mention your car) and it's not a public holiday so you don't have to worry about traffic.

It's really the perfect day trip. You can tell your colleagues at work on Monday that you had tea in Cameron Highlands over the weekend. So, it doesn't quite have the "We had lunch in Paris" ring to it but this one is do-able!

The trick is to start off early and forget about breakfast. Head for the open road (I swear your car will love you for it… I mean, finally, your car gets to move!) and exit at Bidor. This is where the eating begins.

It's not difficult to figure out which shop to go to: Pun Chun is the one with a crowd! Its specialty is the herbal duck noodles. It's absolutely delicious. But if you are not big on duck, there's the standard wantan noodles and chicken rice.

Happy? Get back on to the highway and head for the Simpang Pulai exit. Yes, the normal way to go is to get off at Tapah and start climbing… but we're heading for the new Cameron Highlands road.

Although it's been in use for a year and a half now, people still refer to it as the new road. So, yes, exit at Simpang Pulai and immediately after the toll, turn right at the T junction. You will come to a set of traffic lights.

Here, you turn right and continue on. There is no signage pointing you to Cameron Highlands (don't ask!) but once you see a sign for Pos Slim, you will know you are on the right track.

It doesn't start out prettily; quite flat and dusty, but don't panic. This road does indeed lead you to Cameron Highlands. We passed this marble factory on the right with the most delicious name: Kintaly Marble Sdn Bhd. You have to love it if you are from the Kinta Valley: the name is a combination of Kinta and Italy.

As you drive along, you hardly notice you are going uphill. The wide curves are easy on the car and slowly, slowly the vegetation changes and the air gets cooler. It gets way prettier and suddenly, you realise you have indeed left the muggy day behind you. Off goes the air-conditioning and down come the car windows.

Although it is a longer route, I reckon this is less stressful and a lot less taxing on your passengers. Nobody felt like throwing up. Really. Okay, the first town you hit is Kampung Raja. Very ugly. Continue on up and it gets better.

You can stop in Brinchang and buy vegetables (very cheap) and strawberries. Then try to go some place pretty for lunch. The Ye Olde Smokehouse is a good bet; it's right by the golf course. It's faux Tudor, of course, and kind of run-down but the garden is gorgeous.

Try to sit outside and enjoy your meal in the fresh air. (Warning: it's not cold… even when it rains, so a light sweater is all you really need if you tend to get cold easily.)

It's also right by the golf course so you can just leave your car there and go for a wander around the area after your lunch. There's no point walking around the town proper. Alternatively, you could just go for a drive and gawk at people's holiday bungalows.

You can now go back to the lowlands the way you came or just for the heck of it, go down the old road. If you choose the latter, head towards Tanah Rata. This route is scenic but definitely more windy.

There are lots and lots of Orang Asli stalls along the way, selling everything from huge hunks of bamboo shoots (these make for delicious eating if you know how to cook them) to wild orchids.

Almost halfway down, you will pass the waterfalls. You might want to stop here just to rest your legs but it is not a place you want to dawdle. There is so much litter around the waterfalls... heartbreaking really.

This windy route is also quite congested so you tend to do a lot of stops and starts... when you are driving, you don't feel it so much but it is pretty hellish for your passengers. Give me the new road anytime!

Source: NST

Posted on 15-Aug-2006

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