A Place to Slow Down and Breathe: Cameron Highlands

A Place to Slow Down and Breathe: Cameron Highlands
Here’s the truth about chasing one’s dream, sometimes it can be really exhausting. This is not to discourage you or anything, that’s the last thing that I want to happen. I just want to be honest with you. Not everyday is easy and inspiring. Sometimes I want to cry out of frustration because I’m still not where I wanted to be. Truth be told, it’s hard to keep it all together and act like I have everything under control because I don’t.
I still get those days when I feel so lost and downhearted. There are still days when I doubt myself and my choices in life. Days when I still see darkness and I’d have to grope for light. I have learned how to shrug off these unhealthy thoughts but sometimes it comes knocking on my door in the dead of the night, totally uninvited and unexpected. Sometimes, it would stay for a few hours but other times it would stay for days. It would strap a heavy metal on my chest that breathing would become hard and I’d wake up every morning completely exhausted and lost.
Cameron Highlands
I have been feeling like this for the past few months. I carry on with my life as I normally do, but to tell you the truth, I have been struggling to keep my head above water. So I decided to take a moment and breathe. I booked a flight to Ipoh, Malaysia. It’s a two hour bus ride from Cameron Highlands. Ipoh itself is already a tourist destination. It’s a vibrant heritage town of Malaysia with lots of charming colonial buildings. It’s pretty much like Penang, in fact there are a number of Ernest Zacharavec street art scattered around the city as well just like Penang. I did a photo walk around the old city for a little bit but I didn’t stay very long as my main destination was Cameron Highlands. My heart and soul badly needed a nature trip and Cameron Highlands is a great place to slow down and just relax.
Ipoh

Ernest Zacharavec’s Street Art in Ipoh

To give you an idea, Cameron Highlands is comparable to Baguio, Philippines. They have a really cold weather that most of the hotels have no more need for an AC in their rooms. They have strawberry farms too and almost every food sold has a choice of strawberry flavor. Cameron Highlands is also known for it’s vast tea plantation, and by vast I mean it’s almost the same size as Singapore. If I remember it accurately, one of the episodes in Amazing Race was shot in Cameron Highlands where the teams were tasked to harvest some tea leaves and then find the clue among hundreds of hectares of tea plantation.
Cameron Highlands

Strawberry Farm

What charmed me most is the old English colonial vibe of this town. The Tudor houses, the fondness of people for scones and tea plus the cold weather, I almost forgot that I’m in Asia. Since I intended to be close to nature, of course I couldn’t pass on a short jungle trek to the mossy forest. It was eerie and it felt like a movie set of grimm’s fairytale, I was almost expecting that some weird creature would jump at me. We also went to Gunung Brinchang which is the highest peak in Cameron Highlands that is accessible by road. I climbed the watch tower and breathe in the amazing view. I lingered for awhile and just feel the cool breeze on my cheeks. I took a deep breath and be grateful for the moment.

Cameron Highlands

Looking at these charming Tudor houses from my window.

Cameron Highlands

Mossy Forest

Travel Tip: Make sure you wear the right shoes when you go to Cameron Highlands because you will be   doing some trekking. Also, it’s almost a guarantee that it will rain because it rains there everyday, so you can bring an umbrella and waterproof bags to safeguard your gadgets while touring. The ground can be really muddy too when you do the trekking, I’m sure your shoes will be unrecognizable after the trek. You can bring a used toothbrush to clean your shoes when you get to your hotel.
Cameron Highlands

View from Gunung Brinchang

While on our way back to town, our guide was kind enough to stop once more at the roadside so we can take more photos of the tea plantation. I can honestly spend a day just staring at these rolling hills and breathing in the cool and fresh air of Cameron Highlands. I wanted to slow down for a bit so I just booked a half day tour and spent the rest of the day walking around the idyllic streets of Tanah Rata and Brinchang. By mid afternoon, I stopped at Lord’s cafe to try the famous strawberry scones which tastes like any other scones, but they serve it warm with whip cream which I love.Cameron Highlands
Travel Tip: It’s advisable to take tours instead of DIY’s in Cameron Highlands because the transportation can be a challenge. I got my halfday tour for RM40, most of the hotels can book the tour for you. I stayed at Snooze Hotel. They offer tour + room package but it makes no sense because it’s still cheaper if you book them separately. I booked my room through Agoda that’s why I got a cheaper rate. Snooze Hotel is located in Brinchang, it’s more of a guesthouse really. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a budget type of accommodation. The rooms are basic but really nice, clean, comfortable and the staff are helpful. You’ll get what you’re paying for.
Cameron Highlands

I easily fall for quaint towns with beautiful roads such as these

It started raining outside, so I had no choice but to sit and wait inside the cafe. I scribbled some thoughts in my journal and read some old entries way back last year when I was in Vietnam. I realized how happy I was last year. I don’t know what happened but I have been feeling out of sorts this year. I sometimes wonder if Im on this “hedonic treadmill” described by Eric Weiner on his book The Geography of Bliss. We have this perpetual belief that we’ll be happier when we reach the next stage but the truth is, we just adapt. They did a study with a group of lottery winners, after they won the lottery, of course there is an increase in their level of happiness but soon, they returned to the same level of happiness before they became rich. “They now derived significantly less pleasure from ordinary events like buying clothes or talking to a friend. What was once enjoyable was no longer so.” Everything became ordinary and we again go back to our original state. I sometimes wonder if my life goals can indeed give me a sense of fulfilment. I wonder if I’m one of those people who no matter how fast they run, will always remain at the same place because they’re running on a treadmill. I wonder if this could be the reason why I’m getting exhausted.

Ipoh

I found this charming cafe at Ipoh that seems to mock me with their name. If I believe in signs, well this definitely is a clear sign.

I know it’s not good to think too much, but I keep slipping back to an old habit of over analyzing things. I wish I can say that I am now in a much better disposition after my Cameron Highlands trip but I honestly don’t know. I badly want some changes in my life. I want a new horizon and a new challenge. I’m leaving for another trip again this Wednesday, hopefully this time I’ll return with a fresh outlook.
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9 Comments

  1. Louise Ramos

    Your photos are lovely! Oh, and super cool street art.
    Caffeine Rush

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thank you Louise! I love hunting down street art whenever I travel. There’s a lot scattered in the streets of Penang, Malaysia too. Happy travels! =)

      REPLY
      • Louise Ramos

        I always see IG photos of street art in Penang. ❤️Someday, Malaysia, someday. :))

        REPLY
  2. XX, Will Travel

    Great pics! The Cameron Highlands are not what I’d expect when thinking of Malaysia. Thanks for give me a new perspective!

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thanks! Yes, Cameron Highlands will make you forget that you’re in Malaysia. =)

      REPLY
  3. Jhanz

    These photos are beautiful! 🙂 Now I want to go out and travel again hehe! 😀

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Thank you Jhanz! I hope you will! Happy travels!

      REPLY
  4. Ria (@lifeinbigtent)

    I haven’t been there but I love to know that it’s possible to find some murals 🙂 I felt in love with them in Penang island in Malaysia 🙂

    REPLY
    • Getz

      Hi Ria, yes there’s a lot of murals in Ipoh. It has a very similar vibe to Penang. Plus its close to Cameron Highlands which is great.

      REPLY

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