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Tea & Strawberries in the Cameron Highlands

Abandoned Van With Vines GrowingWith a minimum five business days to kill in Malaysia as we waited for our India Visa, we were delighted to escape the sweltering heat in Southeast Asia. Our bags stowed below the crowded bus, we headed for the Cameron Highlands. The trek did not start so well as ten minutes outside Kuala Lumpur, the bus driver dealt with a blown tire. One hour stranded on the median and four more climbing green hills, we were nestled 5,000 feet above sea level (highest spot in peninsular Malaysia). The cool temperature hit us with a breath of fresh air. Literally.

Adjacent to KRS Pines Hostel ($6 per night), we watched young girls scrub clothing in the shadows of a crumbling home in the mountain town of Tanah Rata. This scene exemplified the economic reality of the Malaysian tea plantation area in the Cameron Highlands. As tourism increases in the region, the standard of living is modestly increasing, but for most rural citizens their fate is sealed in tea. Ash grew tired of this socio-economic talk, so we negotiated a seat in an 1950s Mercedes taxi and arrived at BOH Tea Plantation. On cue, Nore gathered all five English speaking tourists for a quick tour of the tea production area. Always amazed at the new things we learn each day, Ash and I listened intently as Nore revealed the production process from tea tree to potent potable. Over BOH’s dazzling tea tasting veranda showcasing the rolling hills of pruned tea trees, Ash and I whet our whistles on some dang good tea.

Ash Amidst the Pruned Tea Trees Hills of Pruned Tea Trees Boh Tea Plantation Tea Trees

Ten miles from Tanah Rata, our feet had many steps ahead of them to get back to town. The first half was simply beautiful among the rolling hills of tea trees. From a distance, the evenly beveled green landscape looks magnificently manicured, almost perfect. But once you get right up to the living trees that look more like shrubs, you understand how unique each tea plant can be. Some have a thick trunk while others channeled Medusa’s wild hair. Near the exit of BOH Tea Plantation, we passed the small village where every worker and their family sleeps, attends school, and dines.

Tea Leaf Picker

Ash Hamming It UpSadly, once away from the acres of tea trees, our focus was to avoid becoming road kill for the trucks ravaging the mountain road. We found respite at The Big Red Strawberry Farm. Think of a strawberry product and it is either produced or sold here. Admittedly, I went a bit overboard on the food: strawberry waffles, strawberry muffin, strawberry smoothie, strawberry cheesecake, etc. Ash was not innocent either after she loaded up on heaps of strawberry candy. Even the sidewalks had strawberries etched in them. Oh, and there were the greenhouses upon greenhouses growing the red devils. A unique place to say the least.

Strawberry Waffles with Ice Cream Big Red Strawberry Farm Strawberry Cheesecake

The Cameron Highlands were quite the departure from Malaysia’s bustling capital of Kuala Lumpur. A break from the heat coupled with ample amounts of tea and strawberries hit the spot.

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) We wanted to hike to BOH Tea Plantation from Tanah Rata through the forest and woke up early to do so. However, after consulting with the hostel operator and others in town, we were strongly advised not to trek without a guide. Be careful when in new territory as it can be easy to get lost amidst poorly marked trails.

  • http://www.craigandamandanall.blogspot.com Amanda

    Ok, so I just read your “back story” about how yall started all this and its so inspiring!! That's really incredible! I would never have been brave enough to just pick up and go like that! Can't wait to look through all the archives!

  • http://www.headingthere.co.uk Tom Volpe

    Great post guys, I loved the Cameron Highlands too. You do feel like you are stepping back in time a little when you are there. Malaysia is the best place ever for afternoon tea too, we went to this great colonial mansion in KL for high tea, it wouldn't surprise me if the strawberries came from the farm you went to!

  • fofs

    Tom – Glad to hear others have enjoyed the Cameron Highlands. Coming from America, we aren't too accustomed to afternoon tea, but its appeal is now readily apparent! Thanks for reading.

    - Greg and Ash

  • fofs

    Amanda – I have loved reading your family's blog! Congrats on the new baby boy. Thanks for checking out our travel blog and I look forward to following your growing family's adventures.

    - Ash

  • fofs

    Tom – Glad to hear others have enjoyed the Cameron Highlands. Coming from America, we aren't too accustomed to afternoon tea, but its appeal is now readily apparent! Thanks for reading.

    - Greg and Ash

  • fofs

    Amanda – I have loved reading your family's blog! Congrats on the new baby boy. Thanks for checking out our travel blog and I look forward to following your growing family's adventures.

    - Ash

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