The Cameron Highlands 1/3

Squeezed in a trip over a bank holiday (Vesak Day) with my old man last month. Since work has ticked up intensely over the last year or so, it hasn’t been easy at all spending time with each other.

I am extremely close to my dad, and we have always enjoyed a close relationship. We struggled a lot after my mother died of cancer in my teens, so we were each other’s support system through the years.

We’ve always enjoyed long road trips together, and I seized this slight lull in the work grind with the Vesak Day bank holiday to do one directly accessible from Singapore: to the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia.


From Wikipedia:

The Cameron Highlands (Malay: Tanah Tinggi Cameron, Chinese: 金马崙高原, Tamil: கேமரன் மலை) is a district in Pahang, Malaysia occupying an area of 712.18 square kilometres (274.97 sq mi). To the north, its boundary touches that of Kelantan; to the west, it shares part of its border with Perak.

Situated at the northwestern tip of Pahang, the “Camerons” is approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Ipoh, roughly 200 kilometres (120 mi) from Kuala Lumpur or about 355 kilometres (221 mi) from Kuantan, the capital of Pahang. It is the smallest municipality in the state.

Surveyed by geologist William Cameron [7][8] in 1885, the outpost consists of three mukims (subdistricts), namely Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Ulu Telom.[9] Its eight settlements are Ringlet, Tanah Rata (the administrative centre), Brinchang, the Bertam Valley, Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja. All are nestled at elevations ranging from 800 metres (2,600 ft) to 1,603 metres (5,259 ft) above sea level. [10]

Developed in the 1930s, the tableland is one of the oldest tourist spots in Malaysia. Apart from its tea estates, [11] the plateau is also noted for its cool weather, orchards, nurseries, farmlands, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, wildlife, mossy forest, golf course, hotels, places of worship, bungalows, Land Rovers, museum and its aborigines (Orang Asli).


We set off relatively late in the morning – driving my Dad’s Volkswagen – as I had to send off some client emails off prior. We had also initially underestimated the length of the journey: what we thought was ‘just outside’ of metropolitan Kuala Lumpur was really indeed much closer to Ipoh.

Driving the first leg. (f/3.5 1/400sec ISO-800)
Took us a while to clear border customs on the Malaysian side. (f/3.2 1/5000sec ISO-800)
A quick bite at a rest stop. There are plenty of rest stops along the North-South Highway from Singapore all the way up to Southern Thailand. (f/2.8 1/60sec ISO-800)
(f/4 1/400sec ISO-800)
Wet conditions meant we couldn’t do autobahn speeds. (f/4 1/250sec ISO-3200)
Just outside metropolitan KL… well and truly nightfall. (f/4 1/20sec ISO-3200)
Finally at the base of the Cameron Highlands. (f/4 1/20sec ISO-3200)
(f/3.5 1/13sec ISO-6400)
Beginning a treacherous climb towards Brinchang Town, the highest settlement in the highlands at roughly 1,600m above sea level. A storm hit us midway through the ascent – flooded and dark conditions. (f/2.8 1/50sec ISO-6400)
Grateful to find this man – ‘Abang Rock’ – who was blasting rock music and flipping burgers. Everywhere else was shut when we reached our hotel grounds midnight. (f/2.8 1/50sec ISO-8000)
(f/3.5 1/25sec ISO-3200)
Hotel suite seemed alright, but the common areas were badly in need of a reno. (f/3.5 1/50sec ISO-3200)
It’s a Copthorne after all… (f/4 1/60sec ISO-3200)
Enjoying Abang Rock’s heart attacks – after 10 straight hours on the road. Might have lost 2 years of my life consuming this. Bit disappointed to find no Worcestershire sauce – just copious amounts of mayo and chilli.  (f/4 1/50sec ISO-3200)

The cool weather was a welcome change from muggy Singapore and that set me off to a sound sleep pretty quickly. Tried a couple of long exposure shots as we had a good view from the room – but nothing very remarkable to post given the fog that had settled in close to midnight..

That’s it for Part 1, I suppose. Heads up: will post some really amazing views.

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