We are coming to the last leg of the tour! So far, it has been nothing short of fascinating for our family of three even though it was not the first time we travelled to the most famous highland in Malaysia.
The van stopped right in front of rundown shacks accessible via a single lane dirt path; honestly, this would be a classic scene for an off-road tour robbery! Which didn't happen of course.
It was drizzling - This weather condition dampened the exploring mood somewhat as it would have been more conducive to be stuck in a quaint little cafe where we can sip a cup of hot tea and hear the soothing pitter-pattering of raindrops.
Anyway, Jason informed us that most of the blooming flowers had only just been harvested and we would not be able to see the whole farm in its full splendour.
Nonetheless, he shared with us the farming techniques used for chrysanthemums, especially for bigger farms with limited manpower. One piece of info i remember was the implementation of wires that could be easily moved according to the height of chrysanthemums so that they don't grow beyond the flower plot.
As well as blossoming ones. The main bulk was already cut and delivered out of the farm but we could still see a few plots that remained unharvested.
Problem was they can only be reached upon trekking through moist, muddy soil. Needless to say, this option was hardly well received by other tour mates. Except for two crazy men; me and my dad.
Nice right? And there were the delicate aroma of fresh chrysanthemums! By the way, i heard from Jason it is not recommended to sniff every flower you chanced upon given the amount of pesticide used in the cultivation process that could be carcinogenic.
The two crazy men definitely didn't regret getting their shoes wet and caked with mud! Look at that happy smile on dad's face! I guess genes are really hereditary; both father and i love the nature and we like to take pictures. Thankfully, i didn't inherit his legendary nagging gene.
Jim Thompson Cottage
This wasn't part of the itinerary but seeing we have a bit of time left, Jason asked if we wanted to see something interesting that was just a short drive from the chrysanthemum farm.
Although it was off limit to outsiders, Jason assured us it would be alright so long we don't make too much noise. Kaoz, this is the kind of spontaneous, unplanned activities Cavin totally digs!
We were greeted with an impressive view of the area in between Brinchang and Tanah Rata towns, with swirling clouds enveloping the hills as if we are in a magical fairyland!
I heard this was the highland retreat for the royal family of Pahang, the Malaysian state of which Cameron Highlands belongs to.
This should be one of the many apartment hotels. Maybe i should consider buying an apartment here so that i can come up anytime i want without the need to check for available hotel accommodation.
The close by Strawberry Park Resort - i stayed here the very first time i visited Cameron Highlands back in 1990. It was also my virgin overseas trip so you can imagine how memorable the whole trip was.
Wish to spend a night here?
It is possible as Jim Thompson cottage does offer accommodation to travellers with two types to choose from; Sunlight bungalows and Moonlight bungalows. Sounds very romantic right?!
I believe i would just lie on the grass patch and bask in the moonlight when night falls (or to catch the sunrise at daybreak). This would be a place i would strongly sign up for in my next visit! Checking of room rates and bookings can be done via here.
Picture time! As you can see, the bungalows were quite dated and i believe there could be a lack in modern amenities. The website wasn't very forthcoming in what they have so don't blame me if you book and have a bad experience!
For me, i would consider booking a night there just to check out what they have (and to post a comprehensive review of the accommodation). For all you know, maybe i would have some 'stories' to tell.
Time to leave for dinner!
Halal Steamboat Dinner
I had been craving for hotpot in Cameron Highlands as it was simply more enjoyable in the cooler climate. To be totally frank, i actually wanted to opt out of this dinner at Hotel Titiwangsa as i wanted to try the more famous ones featuring charcoal steamboat rather than gas..
Dad of course wasn't keen to take up my suggestion since the steamboat was included in the package and the scrooge in him could not quite understand why we must 'waste' it.
Therefore, here we were at the basement level of the hotel.
Unlike other similar establishments in the vicinity, this offered a partial buffet component that vegetables lovers would like; all you can eat vegetables!
Not exactly an advantage for meat lovers though.
Please be assured there were still meat as part of the package, just not free flow. There were chicken meat, fish meat, squids, prawns, egg tofu etc.
More can be requested; at a price of course.
For the three of us, the ingredients proved to be more than sufficient and remember, i only paid RM 65 a person for this entire package!
Taste wise, the broth was rather average and i thought the two restaurants (OK Tuck and Kwan Kee) i previously patronised in Brinchang had a more robust broth. Having steamboat along the street also tends to increase the enjoyable quotient.
Concluding the Agro Delight Tour with this Time Tunnel poster found in the restaurant. For those who are curious on what it has to offer, check out part 2 of the tour!
How to Book
You may check out Titiwangsa Tours website at http://www.titiwangsatours.com. Booking can be done online and payment would be made after the tour has ended.
RM 65 per adult.
For Part 1, click HERE
For Part 2, click HERE.