Saturday, November 26, 2016

Technically Day 0 and Day 1 of the Two Days, One Night Trip to Cameron Highlands!



It's not the first time you have heard of me complaining that overnight coach and flight are just not my kind of thing and i am often exhausted the next day when i reached the destination!

However, with limited leave and a reduced cash-flow, i had no choice but to endure the journey to Cameron Highlands via the overnight coach option by Konsortium in my recent trip. My usual recommendation is for free and easy travelers to take a plane to Ipoh, stay a night, travel to Cameron Highlands, stay a night or two and then return to Ipoh for the flight back to Singapore.

I miss the old days when coach services to Malaysia were a lot more competitive and competitors (Five Stars) would up the game by offering better coaches; i.e. with individual screens showing pirated movies, wider seats, double decker coaches. Now, it's just outsourced to another company. I purchased tickets for Konsortium yet the coach was from Happiness Holidays.

Whatever the case, i was surprised i dozed off rather easily once we cleared Malaysian custom and before i knew it, it's the customary stopover at Ming Ang in Yong Peng!

Alex had to buy his tea leaves eggs; i had already brushed my teeth yet i couldn't resist taking a small bite of the hard-boiled eggs; the fragrance of the tea leaves was strong and i was fighting resistance to purchase half a dozen to indulge in should the hunger pangs strike in the next few hours.

Mental note: must remember to grab a few packs of Ming Ang ultra delicious Heong Peah on my way back! Don't believe how good it is; there are always available samples for you to try!

Toilet break at the petrol kiosk before the coach trudged up the highlands!

Daybreak and as i am aware, no one can pull me back into slumber land once the sky is no longer dark. Exceptions: if i am ill or there are blinds / curtains that can block the sunlight.

Something's strange; i don't recall that the roads were that spacious and trees in my previous few trips via overnight coaches from Singapore to Cameron Highlands were much taller.

My suspicion told me the route was more similar to the one i took from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands back in 2013; the same trip i made with my parents.

Sun was up!

Farmlands with plastic canopies dotting the landscape.

The suspicion i had earlier was confirmed when we entered the towns of Kampung Raja and then followed by Tringkap. If the coach had come in from the usual route, the first town we encountered should be Ringlet.

Another giveaway; driving past the Lavender Garden which i have yet to visit as it wasn't walkable from Brinchang, Tanah Rata or even Kea Farm.

A wedding convoy spotted at Brinchang where the coach had stopped. The action by the coach befuddled me as it didn't stop at the drop-off point at Copthorne Hotel and instead forged towards the biggest town of Cameron Highlands instead.

Anyway, we were asked to drop for breakfast and reassembled an hour later. I didn't mind the suggestion as Brinchang had a lot more to offer, compared to Kea Farm (where Copthorne Hotel is located), when it comes to food.

Memory was fuzzy as i tried to retrace my footsteps to Pau Hei kopitiam and i can see from Alex's face that he just wanted his food as soon as possible.

Breakfast was eventually settled at Restoran Hui Wei, which was right beside Rossa Passadena hotel.

Guess i didn't need to elaborate too much on this section since it had been covered under the itinerary; to cut the story short, the bus / tour agent was asking us to sign up for tour packages under their company. As a free and easy traveler, i feel shortchanged as my intention for buying a coach ticket was to travel from point A to point B, and not to waste my precious overseas time listening to presentations! 

More than thirty minutes had passed before we went on our way to Copthorne Hotel. One suggestion for those who didn't want to sit through the presentations - book a hotel at Brinchang so that you can go off straight! 

Kavy Hotel - an accommodation that i would not recommend to my friends. For the reasons, do check out my review here. p.s. as five years have passed, things might have improved but as the saying goes; once bitten, twice shy.

There's only so much a photograph can do; using my own eyes, the view in front of me wasn't the signboard branding Cactus Point. It was the yellow flower field that literally drew my breath away.

Busy marketplace at Kea Farm - this is my one regret for the trip as i originally planned to generate a full post for the marketplace. Sadly, the rain that came in the afternoon derailed the plan.

Arrival at Copthorne Hotel (previously known as Equatorial Hotel)! Official check in to the room was at 3 pm and the receptionist couldn't confirm if we could secure the room earlier.

As mentioned previously, i dislike wasting time when i am overseas and we did a crazy thing; we bloody walked all the way from the hotel to BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre for the marvelous view at the cafe

Instead of quickening our pace back to Copthorne Hotel, i insisted on visiting 188 Vegetables Farm; i was brought there as part of the Agro Delight Tour in 2013

Purpose of my insistence; to buy the raw corns which don't need to be cooked! White corn was priced at RM 4 whereas the yellow white ones were priced at 4 for RM 10. Sample the differences before you decide! 

Oops - i had another regret! Why didn't i buy the strawberry popsicle!?!

Unsatisfactory lunch at Josephine Eater & Bar at Cameron Square. To read more, do check out the details at this link

Checked in to the superior room at Copthorne Hotel, dropped our bags, had a nice shower and it's time to hit the street again! 

Those itching to pick strawberries can consider going to EQ Strawberry Farm; please be early as all picking had already stopped when we reached at about 3pm.

Started pouring like nobody's business when we were about to leave. I am just so thankful to have purchased disposable rain coats at Cameron Square. 

Visited the Butterfly Farm! Click here for more information. 

If you have time, there's another Butterfly Garden next door that you can visit! 

We hurried to Ee Feng Gu Apiary as the rain had finally stopped. 

Now on our way back to Copthorne Hotel and i thought this would be the best time to highlight the two places that Alex and i frequently walked past on day one; four times in fact. You can refer to the above map for locations of Holidays Park and Cameron Square.

Holidays Park - essentially an amusement park for kids with stalls on the side selling farm produce, food, souvenirs and others. Not much of an interest to me, honestly.

Cameron Square - Cameron Highlands' only shopping mall although it didn't seem to be fully operational with level two still relatively empty. 

Aside from having quite a number of F&B outlets, the shopping mall was surrounded with kitsch decorations offering plenty of photo opportunities.

Given the dismal lunch, Alex needed more protein inputs and it's only logical (for him) to get the soft boiled eggs from Old Town White Coffee cafe! 

You know where's the place for the fastest yet complimentary WiFi at Cameron Highlands? It's definitely at Old Town White Coffee cafe in Cameron Square and i can attest to its speed! 

Garlic toast to the fill the gaps in my stomach! Now that i have my own house, i realised garlic toast isn't too hard to make even though i had a tendency to burn mine! 

How the hell did the small truck get to the hillside!? And its position was rather precarious as rolling forward by a few meters would increase its momentum to drop head down to the busy main road below.

Good and nice to have although no one seemed to be using it. Even in Singapore, take up for eco initiatives was slow and the blue bins placed at housing estates can be filled up with non-recyclable materials at times. 

Back to Copthorne Hotel

The highlands weather can be unpredictable; rain came and went and the view captured from my balcony changed from having clear sky to dark clouds and then to misty in just a few hours. 

An hour later, it was the beautiful sight of rainbow and together with it, the hue of sunset shining upon the farmlands as it descended into night! 

What shall we have for dinner? Obviously a signature steamboat meal which warmed our tummies at the nearby Chef Weng. For review, click here

There were a number of massage parlours next to Chef Weng and since we did so much walking that day, we figured we should pamper our legs and strolled into Fucon Reflexology.

Session by the PRC masseur was painful but she managed to press at the right acupoints that drew pain and relief at the same time. The WiFi sucked big time and i had difficulties logging in.

Price list for your reference. 

Night was still young and our by-then-pretty-sore legs brought us to the 18 Celsius Cafe at Copthorne Hotel; want to guess what we order?

Even i was amazed by the capacity of my stomach; it was only about an hour ago that i was complaining that i couldn't stuff another item in at Chef Weng yet i could still manage matcha latte and a slice of butter cake. 

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