Up in the cooler climate of the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia there are ~14 hiking trails. The colder temperature means the area isn’t only ideal for growing tea, it’s also a great place to hike away from the heat of Peninsular Malaysia.
Of the 14 trails some are closed, namely route 12 and parts of route 11 (in September 2018). We also read that route 9 isn’t advisable due to some trouble with muggings but I’m not sure how recent that is: nevertheless, we still made the decision to steer clear. After some research me and Alex decided to take on route 10, an approximate 8km walk… perfect for a cool morning!
Tip: it’s a rainy area, mostly year round so plan to hike in the morning as afternoons usually bring storms.
With a break at the peak of Gunung Jasar where route 10 leads and with some more time taken getting lost (more on that later) it took us around 3hours 15minutes to complete.
Tip: download the life-saving app Maps.Me for free which doesn’t require internet or WiFi to help you navigate on the poorly marked Cameron Highlands hiking trails.
Route 10 starts just South of the main strip in Tanah Rata at the Tan’s Camellia Garden; Cameron Highlands main town and a great place to base yourselves. Like the name suggests the first part of the trek was through what looked like someone’s backgarden (as lovely as it was) and all was going well until a meagre 10 minutes in and we had our first confusion with the route. At the top of Tan’s Camellia Garden a large space of land had been deforested and it seemed we needed to climb across the somewhat building site. After waiting a few minutes for other hikers… they showed up and led us straight up and then to the left, onto Path 10.
I was super glad we now had someone in front to be chief cobweb cleaner, sparing Alex from a re-run of Kinabalu National Park. Eventually, after lots of large root steps ascending through the jungle (very large steps up for my little legs) we reached an open area revealing the great views Route 10 is known for.
Then, it’s only a short walk up the overgrown pathway on the right to the telephone mast to get a better vantage point. Up at the telephone mast we had views of the rolling hills and the Cameron Bharat tea plantations. Though the tea plantations were nothing compared to Sri Lanka which is something that surprised me about Cameron highlands. But that means more natural forest which is much better for the environment and still looks just as good!
Once at the telephone mast follow the concrete stairs up to the right, to lead to the actual peak of Gunung Jasar and for views unobstructed with telephone wires. Just beautiful. It’s my absolute favourite when you can see the different shades of hills in the distance!
From here you can backtrack along route 10, possibly the quickest way back, or take route 6 OR finish route 10. This was the hard part for us (because we evidently can’t read maps – oops). We backtracked trying to find the rest of the path leading to route 10. After speaking to another walker we then had to climb to the bloody peak for the second time, back up the overgrown path and clambering up the slippery concrete stairs to Gunung Jasar, to find on the right there was a hidden path. Very well disguised, it was easily missed by us. Enter into Alice in Wonderland… wait wrong story.
We soon came across a sign saying 1.5 hours to the power station (where the trail joins the road) and so set off at a brisk pace; over the bouncy mossy forest… just be careful as I unexpectedly nearly bounced a tree off the hill edge. I had to climb over a few fallen trees too as my legs are too small to simply step over.
Tip: wear good footwear. Especially if it’s been raining the night before as the tree roots which cover most of the path get very slippy. I had a few uh-oh moments.
Once at the ‘power station’ we took the left path around it to reach the road and followed this back into Tanah Rata. For 3.5km we then walked past all the stand still traffic on that bank holiday. So hitch-hiking back was unfortunately not an option for my tired little legs… “think of the scone”.
The next requirement of the hike is to finish it with a mandatory strawberry scone. We found The Lords Cafe in Tanah Rata do the cheapest for 2.80 RM and they claim to have made the first strawberry scone in the area. While it’s not like homes, served with whipped cream rather than clotted… after 7 months it sure felt like it. I gobbled mine down before even thinking to take a picture, so you’ll just have to imagine how good it looked.
If you’re looking for more information on the other hiking routes I found Wooly Ventures to give a great overview.
Do the scones sound like the most appealing thing in this blog post?! If so, you’ll be glad to know there’s so much more to do in Cameron Highlands, all coming to a blog post near you soon.
Lots of Pocket-sized love,