Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

The main motivation for relocation to Malaysia was to explore this part of the world. But I didnt know that our first trip would happen even before we completed our first month in this country.

Shitu, a colleague of mine, mentioned about this place "Cameron Highlands" - which I first mistook as islands. In this part of the world I expected islands as the major tourist attraction. But lo Google! and its auto correct "did you mean" feature showed me the right place whose look and feel inspired for this impromptu trip.

Well not so impromptu but within a day. We discussed about it on Thursday afternoon and started from Penang on Friday afternoon!

Recent (and first) experience with homestays booked through airbnb prompted me to to explore that option rather than normal hotels. In an alien country where vegetarian food could be a rarity, homestay with kitchen and utensils is a better bet. Shitu. (as his darling called him) also preferred a place with a kitchen. Why not! His wife believes that she can prepare anything under the world (of course pure vegetarian). Btw, in the end we all agreed that Blue (that is what her name translates to) was indeed a good cook and crazy about cooking.

Sakura Guest house, Tringkap, near Brinchang was our base camp.

I had rented a Toyoto Vios on a monthly basis, till I get my own car - the first trip on that will be blogged too :) That was our transporter. It is a nice car for long drives and reminded my daughter about "ZoomCar Honda City" that we rented for our Mahabaleshwar trip.

Friday morning work from home and a half day leave - what a nice manager!
Our plan was to start by 3PM so that we cover the 235 odd kilometers from Penang to Cameron in 3 hrs. A delayed start - something that I despise - dint cost us much as the days are long in Malaysia in summers. There is enough sunlight till 7:30 PM. That was roughly the time we reached our destination.

The drive on the highways was perfectly as I had envisioned. Smooth highways with everybody cruising beyond 100kmph - that is the beauty of driving abroad. In few years time, I am sure Indian highways would also catch up the same trend.

Malaysia is full of greenery. On our route, I almost felt like driving in Kerala except for the wider and better roads. :-P

First thing you would notice when you get to Cameron is the temperatures. It is pleasant when Penang is hot. At nights it could even get cold in the mountains. Another thing you would notice is how similar most mountain villages are. Cameron reminded me of umpteen hamlets that we pass while travelling in the Himalayas and Western Ghats.

After struggling our way with Google maps and whatsapp location messages (Oh man what use is technology when asking for help is far easier) we spotted the white board with Red letters "Sakura". The owner mentioned that the caretaker would be away and the keys are in the key-box. What!!
Believe me, the whole two storyed house and all its entrance keys are just put there in the key-box for anyone to pick up. They could have as well kept the place unlocked :-P

Some details about our base camp
This is a two storeyed house with 5 rooms on lower floor and 3 on the upper one. We were assigned the upper one. Now where is the kitchen? That was the main reason for choosing this place :)
The kitchen - two of them - is downstairs. We got to the key-box and explored the lower floor. Nobody seems to have booked it for the day, but someone has taken it for the next day. So we couldnt move in there but decided to use the kitchen and dining area (indoor one - outdoor one is a story in itself) for dinner.

Cooking and eating was the most important activity on this trip but explaining the details is beyond the scope of this blog, lest you would die laughing.

Day 1 - Saturday
After leisurely breakfast when the sun was fully out, we started the day with customary photo session with the flowers in the vicinity of the place of stay. I dont know why we do that on most of the trips!!

Our first destination was the farthest amongst all - Mossy Forest and Mount Brinchang.

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