We had an early start to the day and by 7.45 were on the bus on the way to the Cameron Highlands. This is slightly further north and we expect our journey there by bus to take around 5 hours. The Highlands is Malaysia’s most extensive hill station and is inside the state of Pehang. Apparently the name is taken from the surveyor who mapped the area in 1885 and he was followed by tea planters and vegetable farmers. The weather is fairly damp and the temperature remains quite even, rarely getting any hotter than 21 degrees or colder than 10 degrees.
The first leg of the journey takes an hour to a place called Jerantut. After stopping for an hour for breakfast we get back on the bus and are joined by a couple from London and a lad from Ireland. We now have a 2 and a half hour ride and we all chat about our previous/future travel destinations. The time flies and its great to chat to another girl for more than 2 minutes. We have all planned to stay at the same place when we arrive in the highlands.
Eventually we have a quick lunch break; Maisie isn’t feeling very well and looks very dark under her eyes. I’m not sure if this is mainly due to tiredness or she is coming down with something. I hope not.
We transfer to a mini bus for the last 2 hours and the landscape starts to change dramatically. We had heard from a girl in Taman Negara that it is very beautiful and we pass some of the most gorgeous scenery. Malaysia is definitely one of the most picturesque places I have ever been to and I listen to my MP3 player and watch the world go by.
It’s so relaxing and I can’t help thinking how great this is and how lucky we are to be travelling and seeing all these different places. At last we arrive at Fathers Guest House in the town of Tanah Rata. We have booked this by telephone yesterday and will be staying in a Nissen hut left over from the British Occupation. These look like bomb shelters and are made from corrugated iron but seem quite comfortable and are spotlessly clean. Despite having to share toilets and showers we decide to stay as everything else about this place is completely fab.
It is a bit like a huge campsite, up a hill and with lots of lovely flowers and trees. There is a reception area with facilities for making hot drinks and we’re thrilled to see they have around 50 different types of teas, all kinds of coffee and homemade cakes. There is a large communal area with 3 computers, TV and DVD and a generally welcoming atmosphere. The fella who shows us round is really nice and it will cost us 50 ringitt for 2 rooms per night. (7 quid). I ring home to let mum know we survived the jungle and a 15 minute call costs about 2 quid.
We have to sort our laundry out quickly as our clothes are still wet and muddy and we will probably need the extra stuff due to the cold. We think it is probably about 12 degrees here and it definitely feels quite chilly. We walk into town and drop off our washing which will be back tomorrow afternoon.
By this time it is around 6pm and as the restaurant at Fathers Guesthouse is closed on Sundays we stop for dinner at a Chinese place. There seems to be a wide variety of food here which is great and we go for the local speciality which is called a Steamboat.
This is basically a fondue with 2 different types of soup, kept boiling by a gas burner and we are given 2 plates of raw food to cook in the soup ourselves. There is beef, chicken, prawns, fishballs, tofu, cuttlefish, jellyfish, mussels and crab. This is accompanied by 2 different types of noodles, eggs, green vegetables and shitake mushrooms. Not only is a real feast but good fun to cook and cheap. (6 quid with a few beers).
Our first impressions of this place are excellent and I think we will have a great time here. We walk back to the guesthouse, stopping off to buy a few supplies on the way and are all in bed by 9.30. There are loads of travellers staying here and we’re hardly up there with the hardcore ones but I don’t care. So happy to be here in a dry place and we will have clean clothes tomorrow what more could a girl want.