Monday, October 31, 2016

Cameron Highlands - The Two Days, One Night Itinerary for Singaporeans In Need of a Cool, Relaxed Getaway!

It's a respectable count of less than 800 picture files in my folder for the just-concluded short journey to Cameron Highlands and i believe they could probably sustain a number of postings until my next trip in December!

Anyway, it was a last-minute decision to venture to the cool highlands in Malaysia although it was pretty straightforward to just buy the coach tickets and book the hotel room given that i have been there umpteenth times.

This shall be a summarised itinerary, as usual, and more details are available via the hyperlinks (for example, the heading for Day One). If you require clarification or any advice, please feel free to leave a comment. :) 

[10 pm on 27 October 2016] Travelling to Cameron Highlands via the coach mode requires an overnight journey and here we were at Golden Mile Tower along Beach Road to catch the coach! 

[1.00 am] Arrival at a familiar place; Ming Ang Kopitiam at Yong Peng! As it was already the wee hours, i generally wouldn't eat anything and treated the place as a mere stopover where i can release the tension in my bladder.

[8.00 am] Sleeping is a luxury nowadays and i took the opportunity to sleep as much as i could during the journey on the coach and we reached the main town of Cameron Highlands; Brinchang! Weird though as i thought we entered through Ipoh and geographically speaking, Copthorne Hotel should be the first stop.

[8.15 am] A person entered the coach and announced that it's breakfast time! 45 minutes were given and as Brinchang is the main hub of activity for Cameron Highlands, there is no lack of options! We fulfilled our breakfast by having Assam Laksa at Restoran Hui Wei that's next to Rosa Passadena

[9.00 am] Now i know why we were brought to Brinchang first; the guy who stepped into the coach earlier belonged to a tour agency and we were given an introduction of what to do in Cameron Highlands and the packages available for us to sign up! Frankly, i just want to get back to the hotel where i can dump my bags and start my free and easy trip!

[9.50 am] If you work back the timing, we should have arrived at Copthorne Cameron Highlands about two hours earlier if the coach had adhered strictly to its basic offering to send us from point A to point B.

[10.30 am] Bags were left with the hotel as check-in was officially at 3 pm and we opted to WALK to the BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre; a distance of about 3.5 kilometers from the main road. We gamely walked because the tour counter staff at the hotel told us it should take us only about 35 minutes.

[11.30 am] In reality, we spent about an hour and at the end of it, we were totally in need to replenish our energy! Rescue came in the form of the Nasi Lemak Cheesecake, Chocolate Roll and BOH Ice Tea from the iconic cafe as above. Calling for transport (as in taxi) would take about 35 minutes and we figured walking would be exhilarating in the fabulously cool weather (sarcasm intended).

[1.14 pm] Another hour was henceforth spent sweating out and even though the hotel reception had called me at about 11.00 am that the room was ready to check in, i was in no hurry as it's more convenient for me to drop by 188 Vegetable Garden to buy a few ears of deliciously sweet corn that can be eaten raw!

[1.23 pm] Unsatisfactory grilled chicken chop and rice at Josephine Eatery & Bar which was located in Cameron Highland's only modern shopping mall; the Cameron Square!

[2.01 pm] Checked in to the deluxe room of Copthorne Cameron Highlands where i can finally do something about the stickiness of the body and the pungency of a sweat-soaked shirt. A review on the rather dated hotel can be found here.

[3.30 pm] A short stroll from the hotel was the EQ Strawberry Farm; you can pick your own strawberries but according to the sign at the entrance, the activity had ceased for the day as all ripe strawberries had already been harvested.

[3.50 pm] Next stop: the neighbouring Butterfly Farm! It had started pouring by then and we were thankful to have purchased the raincoats earlier at Cameron Square. p.s.. the butterfly was already dead.

[4.35 pm] The rain had made it harder for us to revisit the Ee Feng Gu apiary, which was just a short a distance away, as i figured the floor would be muddier. For my visit to the bee farm in 2011, please click here.  

[5.00 pm] Like me, Alex was disappointed with lunch and needed another energy push at Old Town White Coffee (also at Cameron Square). Aside from the soft boiled eggs and garlic toast, we rejoiced in super fast WiFi (8 Mbps) provided for free with any purchase!

[6.40 pm] Back to hotel for a short gym session and i stepped out to the surprising sight of a rainbow at the room's balcony after my shower! Don't you think rainbows have that mystical effect on one's happiness?

[7.00 pm] What should we have for dinner? In Cameron Highlands, you would be sorry if you don't try their steamboat as it's so shiok to have something hot in the cool temperature and the area is also famed for fresh vegetables! Our steamboat meal took place at Restoran Chef Weng!

[8.05 pm] I clocked in more than 30,000 steps that day and with sore, aching thighs, we couldn't resist jumping into the massage parlour two doors away for an hour long foot reflexology!

[9.30 pm] Night was still early and we indulged in hot chocolate, green tea latte and a slice of marble crumbled chocolate cake before retiring for the day.

[5.40 am] Remember the introduction given the day before by the tour agent? We actually signed up for the Sunrise Spectacular Tour as that was the last major package i had yet to embark from the tour agency; hence, the wakeup call at this ungodly hour. Verdict: the sunrise eluded us as it did to us at Taiwan Hehuanshan.

[9.10 am] After our last gym session at the hotel, we checked out the room, left our bags with the hotel's baggage service and proceeded for wanton noodles breakfast at Restoran Yao Yat!

[9.40 am] Order summary from EasyBook.com mentioned to wait at the pickup location 30 minutes before the scheduled boarding time and we cheated a bit by arriving 10 minutes later. Want to know what time did the bus reach? 11.40 am and by the time we left, it was noon.

[12.00 pm] I was obviously pissed as i strongly believe unnecessary time was spent on the introductory talk for the incoming tourists and when i took it up with the company via an overseas call; the curt reply was that i could raise my feedback with the bus agent! Bloody hell, my purchase was made with you, Konsortium, not with the bus agent you collaborated with!

[12.30 pm] On our way down the mountain range and we stopped for a while at a petrol station near Ipoh as we needed to change bus. According to the bus driver, there was something wrong with the original bus earlier and this had also resulted in some delay, in addition to the festive jam going up to the highlands.

[7.00 pm] I was in such a deep sleep; i didn't realise the coach stopped for passengers to have a short meal at about 2.30 pm. Poor us had to endure the hunger until we reached Ming Ang @ Yong Peng where i literally wolfed down a Ramly Burger that tasted so heavenly

[9.00 pm] About to reach Second Link although bad luck continued to strike us. The computer system at immigration was facing some problem and by the time all passengers were done, it was about 30 - 45 minutes later! 

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Expenses
Konsortium Coach Tickets (2-way) - S$101.00 per person
Deluxe Room (Twin Sharing) @ Copthorne Hotel - S$86.71 per room
Sunrise Tour - RM 65.00 per person
Other Expenses - RM 300.00 per person

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