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The attractions in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia are quite spread out, so visiting all the main places of interest is fairly difficult. Given how cheap the day tours are in this area, you are most likely best to book onto one of these rather than walking or hitchhiking.
Alternatively you can hire a taxi for 3 hours from 75 MYR, but this excludes trips to the Mossy Forest (as the road up there is quite bumpy to say the least).
We paid 80 MYR per person for a 4×4 full day trip seeing all the main attractions with a tour operator called Hill Top Travel – which is great value if your Malaysia itinerary is on a budget. Most of the tours seem to do pretty much the same itinerary (hence all the tour groups keeping bumping into each other at the various stops). Some tours also include a 2 hour jungle trek which we opted to not to do this as the online pictures looked quite average.
So, what did we get to see for our cheap 80 MYR / £17 tour in the Cameron Highlands?
BOH Tea Plantation Visit
Our first stop was a drive up to the famous ‘Best Of Highlands’ tea plantation, where we saw the workers in the field picking tea-leaves from afar, plus some gorgeous views of the valley. We lucked out on our trip as it was a crystal clear day.
We then visited the BOH tea factory where we could watch them manufacture tea from the leaves (the smells were amazing but no photos are allowed to be taken in the factory).
There is also a nice gift shop here perfect for gifts for friends and family back at home (although we selfishly just bought tea bags for ourselves to use in the hotel rooms over the next few nights). We also stopped for a cup of tea in their tea-room. The views are nice but the prices a little steep (e.g. a scone was three times the price what we’d paid for one at the Lord’s Cafe in Tanah Ratah).
The drive up the road to the Mossy Forest was almost as epic as the views themself – in fact, you can’t really call it a road, more a loose gravel track. You can see why all the tour firms use 4×4 jeeps and all the taxis refuse to drive up here.
Mossy Forest is one of the oldest in the world and due to its immense height above sea-level (6,666 ft), low-level clouds in the sky driven by winds blanket the forests with moisture (and sometimes mist) creating the perfect conditions for ferns, lichen, moss and orchids.
The views are truly wonderful especially from the special viewing gantries. However when we visited, whilst blessed with a cloud free day – the paths were under maintenance so it was hard to navigate. Plus there were too many people for just one observation point (resulting in queues to go up and down), so maybe try to get there before 10am or late afternoon to beat the tour groups.
Another stop which all the tour groups seem to go to is the Cameron Highlands Butterfly farm (the entrance price is 7 MYR – our tour included the admission but some do not).
The butterfly house section of this was fun – some even landed on us and were quite hard to shake off. The bit that wasn’t so enjoyable was the mini zoo out the back, with animals like racoons and wallabies in drab, cramped conditions. There is also a reptile house full of scorpions, tarantulas and other nasties.
After a one hour lunch stop where we were dropped at a mall to get our own food (this likely varies from tour to tour), we had a brief strawberry stop. No visit to Cameron Highlands is complete without either picking your own strawberries from one of the numerous farms or buying some fresh from the plant.
They honestly taste so much better than the supermarket bought ones and are uber zingy. We paid 5 MYR for a small punnet – they also offer to add sugar and / or honey too (sacrilege!)
Travelling around Malaysia?
Check out our blog posts for travel tips on Langkawi, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Melaka.
Sufficiently ‘strawberried’ up (is that a verb?), we then made the short drive to a local market. Here, lots of fresh fruit and veg sellers can be found along with some very cheap toy and souvenir stalls (and I mean cheap!). We even got a Doraemon head warmer, ready for our travels in New Zealand for 10 MYR.
The other attraction here is the ‘Kea Garden’, a ‘sensory’ experience (their words) where you can pose with pictures in a huge plastic garden (with massive oversized fruit) as soft music plays and bubbles blow all around you – 1 MYR entry).
One of the less interesting trips was to a Cactus farm (more like a garden centre). As we have backpacks to luh around Asia, this wasn’t really something we could entertain buying and none of our fellow tour passengers bought any cacti either.
The Sam Poh temple is a Buddhist temple with incredible large golden (and musical) statues inside. Compared to other temples we had seen in Malaysia and SE Asia, it was not actually worth visiting, however it was very peaceful as we were practically the only people there other than some local worshippers, but nothing special.
As a Western visitor, this was a bit of an oddity to us. The museum is a collection of old items and reconstructions of Cameron’s history. There was a typical kitchen, a record store etc, but the whole thing just felt like a bric-a-brac store with minimal interpretation or explanation.
The branding outside also looked quite temporary so it may well have been created to take the place of another failing attraction. Standard admission is 6 MYR (ours was included as part of the tour).
The last stop of the day was a short twenty or so minute hike to the Parit Waterfall. The walk itself was really nice, flat and through a wooded glade but many people on the tour were a bit uninspired when they reached the waterfall itself. One man said ‘is that it?’ whilst another group walked straight past it without noticing it.
It isn’t that spectacular compared to other falls – more of a trickle! Sadly, the whole area is polluted with waste and plastic drinking bottles floating in the river right below the falls. Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to swim in it.
As mentioned, there are lots of tour companies doing essentially the same itinerary as above, with some minor differences here and there. For example some go to different strawberry farms, and some also make you pay for your own admission into the Butterfly farm and the Time Tunnel.
Given the comparative low cost (around 75 to 100 MYR / £14 – £19 for a whole day trip with a guide), you can’t really go wrong in terms of value for money. However, it is best to think of these as less of a tour and more like a ‘shuttle bus’ with a driver who speaks occasionally. Plus the money you save on booking a cheap tour in the Cameron Highlands can be reinvested in cream teas and fresh strawberries – perfect!
FURTHER READING: Check out our ultimate guide to the Cameron Highlands blog post >
Download the Grab app
Grab taxis are widely used by both tourists and locals, and the fares are really cheap! Download the Grab app here and use the code GRABCKTRAVELS to earn a free ride when you sign up.
Sim cards and pocket WIFI
Having data on your phone whilst travelling is almost essential these days – from planning your route around the city, booking a Grab taxi or for staying connected with friends and family back home. SIM cards are pretty cheap in Malaysia with generous data allowances and are available to purchase from airports, malls and convenience stores (bring your passport along for identification purposes).
You can also prepay online and collect a SIM from KLIA2 airport. Just remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.
Alternatively if you do not want to change your sim card then renting a pocket WIFI device might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times and love that we can both connect our devices to it, however the downside to the Malaysian ones is that there is a data allowance of 1GB per day. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection when you arrive at either KLIA or KLIA2 airport in Kuala Lumpur.
How to get to the Cameron Highlands
Use 12goAsia to find the best route options for getting to the Cameron Highlands from other cities in Malaysia.
Cameron Highlands accommodation
Here are some highly rated accommodation suggestions for all types of budget in the Cameron Highlands.
Hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:
Fathers Guest House / De Cameron Guesthouse / Sleepbox Hotel Cameron Highlands
If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are in excellent locations with great reviews:
Copthorne Hotel / Heritage Hotel / Arundina Cameron Highlands
Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these beautiful hotels in the Cameron Highlands:
Cameron Highlands Resort / The Lakehouse / Smokehouse Hotel
Other Malaysia blog posts
- Eating local Malaysian dishes on a Penang food tour
- 2 week Malaysia itinerary and travel guide
- What to do in Melaka, Malaysia
- What to do in Langkawi, Malaysia
- KL Tower and Eco Forest Park in Kuala Lumpur
- Tasting Malaysian cuisine on a Kuala Lumpur food tour
- Island hopping tour in Langkawi
- Thaipusam Festival in Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur
- A guide to Georgetown’s street art
Did you enjoy our cheap tour in Cameron Highlands blog post? Let us know in the comments or by sharing it on social media.
Elena ZuccaJanuary 17, 2020 at 4:07 pm
Where did you buy the Jeep tour in cameron Highlands?
adminJanuary 17, 2020 at 10:21 pm
Hi Elena – there are lots of stalls in town selling day tours – just wander up and down the main street and pick up a few flyers and find which tour you prefer