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Sunday, May 17, 2009 @ 11:18 am
Last Vesak Day weekend, Ipy and I went to Cameron Highlands. I haven't been to Cameron Highlands since I was a child. Ipy hasn't even been there!
After making the necessary preparations, we started our journey right after midnight. We used the Woodlands Checkpoint instead of Tuas because it was nearer for us. However, because of the new Sultan Iskandar Complex (that's the new Johor Bahru checkpoint), we were unsure of the detoured route to the North-South Highway. We ended up taking the longer route.
We made it to the highway at about 2 a.m. We took turns to drive. As one of us drove, the other would try to take a nap. A strange thing occured while Ipy was driving and I was asleep though. I woke up to find his BMW logo at the front of the car missing!
Ipy said he saw it flew right past him while he was driving. I asked him how fast was he driving. He said... 170 kmh. Was he insane?! I just couldn't keep my eyes off this man even for awhile could I???
Once we reached the state of Perak, we decided to take the new Simpang Pulai route up to Cameron Highlands. It was supposed to be a gentler and more scenic route than the old Tapah route. It was certainly gentler and more scenic. However, it was a longer route when coming from the South. We had to pass by Kampung Raja and Brinchang to get to our hotel at Tanah Rata.
We finally arrived at our hotel at about 8 a.m. Thank god we were allowed to check in. We stayed at the Century Pines Resort, quite a new establishment in Cameron Highlands. I had booked the deluxe suite which cost me RM$308 NETT.
The front and main entrance of Century Pine Resort
Our room was comfortable. Ample space to fit a young family of four really. It felt more like a chalet suite than a hotel suite because our sliding doors led to the garden. This was only possible if your suite was on the ground floor.
Our room was one of those on the ground floor
Our hotel was also near a mosque. So after a deserved rest, Ipy got dressed to walk to the mosque for Friday prayers. I chose to stay in the room and watched television, even though I was starving.
We headed off to the town of Tanah Rata for a very late lunch. We didn't know how far the town was although we were told it was quite near. With respect to my condition, we decided to take the car instead.
The first thing that struck me about the town of Tanah Rata was, there was Starbucks! There wasn't McDonald's but there was Starbucks! I felt like my city self had been saved from the totally strange, laidback world that is Cameron Highlands. This despite the fact that I couldn't have any caffeine at all.
There were many South Indian restaurants here. In fact, I see more Indians living here than I see Malays! We had our lunch at one of the Malay stalls because I suspected Ipy didn't really like Indian food.
After lunch, I said I wanted to visit the Boh Tea Plantation. I have never visited it when I was here eons ago. What I didn't know was that the road up to the Boh Tea Factory was super narrow and super risky. Only one vehicle could use that road for both upwards and downwards!
It wasn't a short ride either. All the time, I was sitting on the edge of my seat, desperately clinging on to the seat. I never liked roller coaster rides, and this felt like one.
After what felt like an eternity, we finally reached the peak in one piece. And what a disappointment it was. There wasn't much to do there except go on the factory tour, which lasted only minutes.
The Boh Tea Factory and Cafe
While waiting for the tour to start, I had some tea and strawberry pie and its cafe. Ipy and I soaked in the scenery. The faint smell of tea lingered in the air. When we arrived, it was already about 4 p.m., so there weren't much action on the tea plantation.
The famous Boh tea plantation
Propeller plane flying above us (not sure what it was doing though)
A tea bush
At the factory, I couldn't understand what the guide was talking about because she had such a thick Indian accent. The smell of processed tea leaves were overwhelming my nostrils too. Besides, the whole process didn't look as magical as I thought it would.
The Boh tea factory
Me buying a packet tea for daddy, which my mom said tasted very good
On the way down from the plantation, we came across a bee farm. I had never been to a bee farm before and the thought of buying freshly-bottled honey was irresistable. The bee farm also sold strawberries, just like most farms here. I wanted to pick some but I guessed the good ones had already been picked.
Me buying honey
Cameron Highlands had another tea plantation besides Boh. It was called the Cameron Valley Tea Plantation and the view of its sloping tea slopes were just so picturesque. Also, the road to the plantation was less risky and visitors could get up close and personal with the tea bushes.
The view of Cameron Valley tea plantation
As I didn't have the pre-pregnancy energy to go hiking up and down the plantation, I just planted my big arse at its tea cafe. I had read on the Internet that this cafe served one of the best scones around.
For RM$12, one can get a scones set with fresh strawberry jam, cream and butter. Complete with freshly-made tea, the scones set were divine. The scones were soft yet not too crumbly. The strawberry jam was indeed fresh because it didn't have the sugar aftertaste like most supermarket jams had. I regretted not buying any strawberry jams at Cameron Highlands.
By the time we finished our English tea, the weekend market at Brinchang had just started. We were told that this was the highlight for the locals every week. The weekend market was just like any other night market with lots of food stalls and knicks and knacks.
Ipy and I had a field day buying food and snacks from almost every stall. People seemed to enjoy fried battered vegetables here. I bought a huge strawberry-shaped cushion for about RM$35. That was after bargaining.
There wasn't much to do after that, entertainment-wise. We had enough of shopping. So we returned to our room to watch television. It was then that we had learnt that the highly-sought after fugitive, Mas Selamat, was caught in Johor.
I couldn't tell you how unbelievable the Malaysian media was about this news. It had irked my long-lost patriotism, which in itself was unimaginable! Unlike the Singaporean coverage which I had learnt when we got home, there was no mention of any Singapore involvement in the arrest by the Malaysian media. In fact, it was actually mocking us!
The following day, right after breakfast, we checked out of the hotel and headed southwards to KL. I don't know why I like going to KL. It's as if a trip to Malaysia isn't complete without stopping by KL.
I would usually stay near KLCC, but this time round, I decided to try staying at Bukit Bintang. I had reserved a superior suite at the Dorsett Regency Hotel, which was just next to JW Marriot, Westin and Ritz Carlton. It was actually across the street from the new Pavilion mall.
We got a high floor so the view was great. It was a non-smoking floor too!
This was exactly how our room looked like
After we dumped our bags and freshened up in our rooms, we walked along the malls at Bukit Bintang. I thought it was a mistake because it was the weekend and the streets were packed with the young and the restless.
We idled our time away at the Sungai Wang Plaza. I had never been to this mall. It looked and felt like a bigger and better Peninsula Plaza. We didn't even cover half of the building because it was that huge and crowded!
When it was finally 6 p.m., we took a cab to Petaling Street. Ipy wanted to come here to buy some t-shirts. People come here to buy fake bags and wallets but I was way past that phase already. We hadn't even reach the end of the street and we were already bogged down by the heat.
Ipy had made arrangements to have dinner with one of his colleagues stationed here. His friend took us to Kampung Baru. I've read about this place but I've never been here. It was actually a food haven for the locals what with the many stalls and restaurants serving local dishes lining the roads.
The hot favourites here seemed to the nasi campur, but Ipy was wary of dishes left in the open so we opted for freshly-cooked food instead. Nevertheless, he became very curious when the stall selling nasi campur next to us began to build never-ending queues. It was a Singaporean thing to assume that if a stall had queues, the food must be good.
After dinner, we went back to our room to freshen up again. His friend was going to take us to a club to chill out later in the night. I wasn't familiar with the night scene at Bukit Bintang, so I wasn't sure where he would take us.
He actually took us just round the corner at Westin where the Q Bar was. It was Salsa night. I haven't been to a Latin-themed club in years, so I felt a little intimidated. We just sat at the bar at people-watched. Not too long later, Liverpool was playing on the telly. Ipy must have been on top of the world surrounded by Liverpool fans in the club. Urgh!
Even though I wanted to stay longer in KL, we had to go home because it was Mother's Day. As the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Especially holidays.
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