Now that Singapore’s border is fully opened, our Get Out! Series of articles will include places further afield. Singaporeans are a hardworking lot, and while we all love to travel, our work may prevent us from taking a longer vacation. Although many Singaporeans jumped at the opportunity travel to visit Bangkok, we are taking you to the Cameron Highlands – a “mere” 600 km away.
There are many reasons why we love Cameron Highlands. The elevation of 6666 feet (2032m) above sea level means cool weather all year round. The cooler temperature is definitely a respite from the oppressive heat we experience in Singapore. In the Cameron Highlands, it averages 23°C during the day. At night, the temperature plummets to 17°C, and on some days, even as low as 10°C. So cool is Cameron Highlands that an outdoor, European-style, ski park is slated to open there next year. Whether that is a welcomed idea is debatable, though it will most certainly add to its already heavy traffic.
Speaking of traffic, there used to be just one road to the Cameron Highlands – Tapah road. That was, and still is, a windy (as in bendy) and treacherous road. In more recent times, three other roads have been built: the Simpang Pulai highway from Ipoh, Route 102 that links Sungai Koyan and Bertam Valley, and the east-bound route 185 via Gua Musang to Kelantan. Weekdays are definitely more manageable when it comes to traffic. Avoid weekends and public holidays if you value your sanity, for the traffic during those days can come to a complete standstill.
What is Cameron Highlands famous for? Cameron Highlands is known for its vegetable farms. In fact, last year 69% of the imported vegetables to Singapore comes from Malaysia, with the bulk of the import coming from the Cameron Highlands. So, making a trip to the local fresh produce markets, like Kea Farm, is definitely a must. Apart from vegetables, the other famed local produce is strawberries. In fact, so suitable is Cameron Highlands for growing strawberries, the Chitose Group from Japan started large-scale strawberry planting there. Singapore also imports “Chitose Strawberries” to supply restaurants and cake shops all year round.
The other famed produce in the Cameron Highlands is tea. While there were a few tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands in the past, there are only two now: Boh Tea and Bharat Tea. Both plantations not only tea for sale, they also feature tea shops with panoramic views of their plantations for tourists to enjoy.
If you like to enjoy a little ‘Englishness’, you can check out some of the colonial-style hotels like the Olde Smokehouse – where their Victorian-spired interiors will certainly transport you to a different era. Try enjoying a tête-à-tête in the afternoon with a Devonshire tea set (essentially tea, scones and jam).
Aside from food, Cameron Highlands has numerous walking trails to offer the intrepid traveller. The main advantage of jogging in the Cameron Highlands is the cool air. Obviously this makes for a more comfortable environment for working out. The uneven terrain and greens certainly add to the pleasure of exercising there. These trails span from a half hour journey to longer ones last 2 or 3 hours of walking. Locals too, will frequent jogging trails located near residential areas. There was a gentleman known as JET who completed a 32 km trail run on the Jim Thompson Graveyard Discovery Trail. You can read his blog here.
Whether you enjoy a good workout via the jungle trails or simply a relaxing stay while visiting Cameron Highlands, we are certain this is a good, short, getaway. If you do plan to visit, plan ahead, as accommodation can be booked out on certain days.
At elevation of 2000m above sea level, you can expect UV rays to be strong up in the Cameron Highlands. Do bring along a good pair of UV sunglasses to protect your eyes. Sunday Shades offers a wide range of polarized sports sunglasses that feature UV400 protection. All Sunday Shades sunglasses are designed to fit the Asian profile. They do not bounce and are super lightweight (just 22g) – making them perfect companions if you decide to run those jungle trails. Check out the full range here.