After a few months of heat and sun, my skin and I decided to chill for a weekend in Cameron Highlands. The name sounds like a single malt whisky brand from Scotland but yet it is located in Malaysia, about 3 hours drive away from hot and hazy KL.
Cameron Highlands is a cool and fresh hill station, named after some rosbeef governor (I’m French I can’t help it!) at the end of the 19th century, who saw the potential to create a perfect Tudor-like retreat.
Today, Cameron Highlands is the garden of Malaysia: Strawberries, roses, tea, everything seems to grow up there. Before leaving, I went on a few travel blogs, especially a French one done by two backpackers crossing the country in their hippy 70’s style old van. They were heavily disappointed by Cameron Highlands, criticizing the concrete buildings of the stations and the power plant that you can see below a waterfall.
So to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much of this English country-like escape for old colonialists feeling homesick of their afternoon tea and scones by the mantelpiece, stroking a golden retriever. But the gorgeous winding little road across the tea plantations (so narrow that you will probably get stuck in a local traffic-jam waiting for a bus to make its turn), the amazing shades of green in the leafy hills, the pine trees that really reminded me of Europe, the gorgeous hotel we were staying in (The Lake House which does look like a Tudor mansion), and last but not least, the local speciality for dinner: a delicious steamboat, made me wonder why I didn’t discover that place before!
And to the backpackers and other tourists who are always disappointed to find modern civilisation after travelling so far I would like to remind them two things: people are living there and therefore this place isn’t like Euro Disney built for their expectations only; and if you look down for example at our beautiful French Alps, how many dams and power plants and how many concrete ski resorts? Plenty. But we still love our mountains!
If you visit Malaysia, forget the beach just for a weekend and discover this surprising and superb countryside, which is really a true exception in this part of the world.