Five hours by bus from Kuala Lumpur there is a large plateau with a very peculiar climate, the Cameron Highlands. The vegetation here is luxuriant, there is plentiful of water and the temperature is always agreeable: a true paradise for farmers, in this specific case cultivators of tea, flowers and vegetables.
In the valleys dug by the rivers there are the largest tea plantations in Malaysia, stretches packed with low shrubs generating green sprouts, promptly trimmed by special scissors and carried in large baskets by the expert workers.
Tanah Rata is the best suited destination for lodgings and restaurants, as well as the starting point of ten trekking routes crossing the valley. Every track enjoys a peaceful atmosphere deeply in touch with nature. There aren’t many trekkers to be seen, but you can’t get lost, no matter how thick the forest becomes.
Route number one is among the most spectacular ones. It starts from Brinchang, beyond the market area, and a white stone engraved with ‘1/48’ points out the beginning of the path. The walk is demanding but never boring nor frustrating. The variegated jungle and the huge roots surfacing from the soil you will use as handholds will keep you busy until the top of the climb.
You will reach your destination in about one hour: a watchtower built on the mountain’s peak at over 2000 metres. Here you can enjoy a 360-degree sight of the surrounding valleys. The descent is far easier since you will walk on a road until the tea plantations.
Roam the Alice in Wonderland-style bush labyrinths and have a look at the workers during their duties. During your way you will find wild berries, passion flowers and happy families on a trip, willing to shoot a few pictures with you.
The end of the path will lead you a few kilometres from Brinchang, close to a butterfly breeding farm. Here you can take a taxi or hitchhike back to town.
Route number nine is less demanding, suitable for novice trekkers. It starts from Mardi, one kilometre from Tanah Rata’s bus station. After passing the Robinson Falls it continues over a comfortable path following a water stream. You can extend the track through its second branch (9a) until a tea plantation, and then you will have to get back through the same road.