Cameron Highlands Travel Destinations:
PLUS Rest Service Areas in Johor
- Machap and Pagoh

 Pagoh and Machap RSA along the PLUS expressway makes for a good break from your long tiring journey.

Often I have to make customer calls to build business relationships and to follow up on various business matters. I don't have many customers around Johor, but I do need to make my travel destinations trips to meet them up once in awhile. So recently I made my way down to and visited some potential customers in the Pasir Gudang area. After my appointment and making my way back home, I thought I might just blog about some of the better equip rest service areas in this area. After all, getting to Cameron Highlands is also part of the fun of any holiday travel destinations. Besides, I was feeling rather tired from all the meetings and discussion and I needed a break from the long drive, and drowsy driving is indeed dangerous to once health.

The PLUS highway provides a very comfortable drive, perhaps too comfortable that a tired mind would prefer to do "sleep driving" which I would prefer not to try at any time. Shaking my head trying to clear my blurry vision, I pushed on to my first rest stop at Machap.

Machap RSA is not big but it is air conditioned. Still keeping cool while taking a break.

This Rest Service Area or RSA as the PLUS people like to call it, apart from the Overhead Bridge Rest area, has air conditioning. Yes, a nice place to rest and away from the hot afternoon's sun! Machap RSA may not be big, but the air conditioning is a nice point to it. Heat from the mid-day to late afternoon can be quite unbearable, if there is no air conditioning, the hot air blast could still drain your energy and sap your concentration. Ah, take me up to my cool travel destinations at Cameron Highlands quick! Not for me today unfortunately. Food wise they are all Malay fare and somewhat spicy. As to which stall is good, sorry, no idea. They all looked and taste the same to me and there isn't any one store that is more outstanding than another. I just like this place because it has got air conditioning and one didn't have to swelter in the heat while taking a coffee break. Strangely though, this place got lots of flies! Perhaps that's why they tried enclosing the area to try to keep away the irritating flies, but to no avail, the flies still got in.

Perhaps you would prefer ice-cream rather than coffee instead for a break? They have Baskin Robbins here. But that's kind of expensive just to take a simple break. Of course you could care to indulge in some premium ice-cream if you wish.

For those who just must get a souvenir or something, there is a handicraft shop around. Anyway, most RSA has got them so even if you don't buy them here you can always get them elsewhere.

After a good rest and feeling refreshed, it is back to the mundane drive with nothing but my car engine droning away making a merry duet together with music and songs played by my trusty Red Fox MP3 FM modulator player and beautiful broad landscape scenery of Johor filled with distant hills, tropical jungles and palm plantations to accompany me as I made the northbound journey on the expressway.

Pagoh RSA has a kampung theme to its decoration.

After about some 50km I needed to make another pit stop at the Pagoh RSA. The call of nature was getting strong and unbearable, probably from something I ate in the Machap RSA. Not surprising I suppose with all those pesky flies over there.

PLUS has been upgrading many of their RSA, beautifying the landscape to make the RSA more attractive and off course to provide a more conducive relaxing environment. Most of the time, they tended to use Balinese decorative motive with water sprouts and mini fountain coupled with small pool of waters with floating lilies. They did that motif quite well and a big way with the southbound Tapah RSA and the southbound Pagoh RSA. But for this northbound Pagoh RSA, they opted instead to go for a Malay kampong style motif. Quite a nice change in style, and has a bit of the kampong feeling albeit a little on the artificial side.

The Pagoh RSA was much bigger than Machap RSA so you could expect a flurry of activities here. I could see many big trucks and lorries parked at their designated lots and there were many cars here as well. I wanted some shade to avoid having my car heat up while taking break so decided to hunt around for a nice car parking lot. With so many people coming in and going off it wasn't too difficult to get one.

With the bigger crowd meant that there was more people traffic, which also attracted many opportunistic fruit traders who hanged around trying to make a buck or so with their langsats fruits and mangoes. The Pagoh RSA itself has a few fruit stalls themselves with the price displayed prominently so you know how much the fruits cost. I think the prices are rather standardized amongst the stalls. I noticed however the Jambu Air here were going for RM9 per kg and were more expensive than those at Tapah by about RM1 per kg. Was this the current rate lately? As I have not been traveling northwise for the past several months so I am not too sure. But I did buy some Jambu Air near my house and they went for about RM8 per kg, so I guess this Pagoh RSA was rather on the higher side.

Big juicy and sweet, these giant Sarawak Pineapples are really great!

What caught my eye was the Sarawak Pineapples. They were really giant size! It looked really good and I decided to purchase one. I asked the stall lady to choose a sweet one for me. She picked a big one and said that it was really sweet. "Ok," I thought, "I will go with her choice." And so I went for it. The rate for the Sarawak Pineapples was going for about RM3 per kg and the one that she chose tip the scales at about 4kg. Turn out that the pineapple the lady chose was really juicy and sweet evidently when the ants came a calling when I left it on the kitchen counter in my house. I had to build a moat to keep them away from getting at the pineapple. It was so big that we could not finish it at one go when we have it as an after dinner dessert. It was big enough to be shared with two households ie split it in half and gave one half to each of my parents and parent-in-laws.

And after a much needed break at Pagoh RSA, it was time to make the long journey home. With the hot sunshine, there was a buildup of dark clouds foretelling of the impending heavy rain ahead which of course came down halfway along my journey, pouring away making the journey home somewhat more treacherous. That's the risk one has to face when making long outstation trip whether be it for work or for holiday travel destinations (like Cameron Highlands, yey!) Thank goodness for well thought up rest areas to break the boring long journey.


Posted on 01-April-2008

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