Thursday, August 06, 2009

A weekend in Cameron Highlands

Recently, we had a terrific 3D2N holiday to Cameron Highlands. It was really fun and enjoyable with the right company of friends, all retirees including 2 reemployed.

Almost couldn't get an apartment for the weekend of July ll. Didn't realized that CH is still such a popular and favourite holiday resort. In spite of a warmer than cool climate in the highlands due to indiscriminate deforestation in the name of development and tourism, causing hazardous environmental damage and pollution, crowds are still drawn there. Whatever, it's definitely cooler than the lowlands and a treat for relaxation in cooler clime and enjoy whatever nature has to offer.

Being quite computer savvy and a lady of leisure, so to speak, I was assigned to make reservation just 12 days before the trip. Almost an impossible task I realized as our request for an apartment on the ground floor or the very most 1st floor had to be fulfilled since one among us has a heart ailment. Almost all related sites for CH reservations insist that payment be made simultaneously upon booking with no guarantee in fulfilling our special request. After much googling and phone calls, I finally found this website:, whose reservation personnel, Ms. Jessie was able to get us a 1st floor unit at Carnation Park Apartments for RM250 per night.

A big thank you to Ms. Jessie of Cameron Holiday Services for her expert and efficient services before and during our holiday there.

This holiday is memorable as it is the first time 7 of us are holidaying together, usually it's just a day's trip or an evening somewhere for food!

We left Kuala Lumpur around 7 am in two cars, using the Simpang Pulai way to CH. Stopped in Ipoh to meet Soke Wan's sister, Sook Hah who baked a cake to celebrate her sis's birthday and some muffins to share around. Without reservation, we roped her in to join our trip which she did. A new addition to our group and mighty glad to have found a new friend that was able to click instantly with us all. Besides, she loves baking and definitely an expert, having sampled and gorged ourselves with those yummy ones that she offered. Hehe...greedy people like us look forward for more of her company! :-D

We lunched at Sun Marpoh Restaurant at Ipoh Garden, before continuing our journey. Reached CH about 4 pm due to a massive 1-hour jam from Tringkap to Brinchang town, caused by traders setting up stalls for pasar-malam. Humph...don't ever travel this way to CH on Saturdays, better to use the old road via Tapah.

The 3-room apartment at Carnation Park was splendidly clean with enough bedding for 8-10 persons, a kitchen sufficiently equipped with utensils and the like, a refrigerator and well-furnished dining and sitting areas. We were delightfully happy, yet rather surprised that 8 sets of Japanese slippers were provided too, something most welcomed on the apartment's cold marbled flooring. A mahjong table was included too. Of course, the excited players came prepared with the necessary mahjong papers, chips, etc. Housekeeping service for the apartment was promptly attended to.

What more could we ask...the apartment was clean, comfy and cosy!! We were absolutely very satisfied! Besides, it's located at the foothill of Gunung Jasar at Tanah Rata, a cool and quiet area just less than 5 minutes drive to town. And, it's close to the Chapel of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel where 8 of us attended the Sunset Mass with Fr. Eugene Benedict as the Celebrant, seven of whom are Catholics from the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Cheras, while Soke Hah, a non-Catholic, just tagged along.

Saturday's weather was bright and sunny till the late evening, where it started to drizzle and rained lightly throughout the whole night till Sunday midday. What can you do but play mahjong again. All in the group can play except my beloved spouse and I. Nevertheless, through hours of observing them playing on Saturday night, Sunday morning and night, I became fascinated and will agree that it's a delightful game for sharpening our mind. Hmm...may wish to learn how-to if there's a tutor?

Rain stopped just in time for us to keep our Sunday lunch appointment with Fr. Eugene. Next, we visited Boh Tea Plantation at Ringlet which presented a magnificent view, though not as picturesque as the Sg. Palas Boh Tea Plantation at Brinchang. The Cactus Valey at Brinchang that we visited next hadn't change much compared to our previous visit in August 2005, but blossoms of Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' were in great abundance.

Dinner was steam-boat at Downtown Cafe, where we had western the previous night. Quite a lovely Chinese and Western dining in the heart of Tanah Rata town with tasty food at reasonable prices. Followed by durians as dessert on both evenings at a stall just a few meters away. Fancy us all eating there to our heart's content, standing and eating uninhibitedly in public! Haha...first time for John and I!

Time flew and before we realized, it was departure time the next day, Monday morning. Around 11 am, we parted ways: Steven, Sook Wan, Mary and Sook Hah traveled with John Boi via the Simpang Pulai way to send Sook Hah, Ipoh-bound for home, whilst John and I traveled with Michael who took the Tapah route homeward.

Steven was the think-tank that masterminded a way of sharing the expenses, with a common cash pool made up of a specified amount collected from each person (drivers excluded as they will be accountable for the toll charges and petrol) and managed by his spouse Sook Wan, the finance manager. Everything moved so smoothly from day one and unbelievably there were excess cash returned a few days after the exciting trip. Imagine, just RM175 per pax for a 3D2N holiday to Cameron Highlands that covered transport, food and lodging and some miscellaneous...isn't that fantastic?? :-D

A big thank you to all our wonderful friends who have made this short vacation a truly enjoyable and memorable one for John and I.

Sharing below some photos captured, and more at my flickr photoblog.

Inside the Chapel of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Tanah Rata in Cameron Highlands Mahjong session in the apartment, Carnation Park Apartments, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands

Lovely vine with clusters of bright orange flowers at Boh Tea Plantation, Ringlet, C.Highlands Boh Tea Plantation, Ringlet in Cameron Highlands. From left: Steven, Soke Wan, Soke Hah, Michael, Mary, John and Jacq

Numerous kinds of Cactus at the Cactus Valley, Cameron Highlands Hot Pink Azalea at the Cactus Valley, Cameron Highlands

John and Jacq amongst the hydrangeas at Cactus Valley, Cameron Highlands Impatiens along Tanah Rata Road, Cameron Highlands

Having steam-boat for dinner at Downtown Cafe, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands Soke Hah, Mary and Soke Wan, enjoying durian at a stall in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender' at the Cactus Valley, Cameron Highlands John and Jacq at Lata Iskandar Waterfalls, Tapah

In fact, Cameron Highlands has many places of interest, such as the garden nurseries, vegetable and strawberry farms, butterfly and bee farms, and others. Too bad, we were hampered by the rain and missed some of those lovely sights. Nevertheless, our vacation was primarily for relaxation and leisure and we sure got plenty of that!

A map of Cameron Highlands included here, just in case we may need one next time around!

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