Saturday, November 19, 2016

The WALK to BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre @ Cameron Highlands [Malaysia]

"30 minutes, i guess" - i should have read deeper into the words " i guess" mouthed by the staff at the tour counter of Copthorne Hotel @ Cameron Highlands but i didn't and happily began the trek to revisit the cafe with a breathtaking view at BOH's Sungei Palas tea plantation.

Signboard at the main road; 3.5 kilometers didn't seem far and it hadn't registered in my small brain that i had yet to factor in the gradient of the trek.

In addition, i take pictures of everything and that's definitely going to slow us down! As you can see as well, the road was narrow and since it served vehicles from both directions, "walkers" like us should always exercise caution! 

Free roaming chickens - it's not a good sight when all i can think of was that the meat should taste good given all the exercises the chickens had in the environment. 

Unique structure atop a hill that reminded me of dwelling either from the hobbit land in lord of the rings or taken from stories of Enid Blyton books.

Lavino Cafe - from the signboard, it appeared to be serving more than just our typical cafe offerings, including steamboat. What the hell is smart toast??

Didn't seem to be open for business. For more photographs from another blogger (text is in Chinese), you can click here

View of the other side where the main road and hub of activity were; you can vaguely make out the logo of Copthorne Hotel on the right side of the photo.

Green roofed house - from google map, i noticed a signboard with the words "Taman Kelana". I recalled seeing a signage in English and it's somewhat along the line of a river. 

Despite the sun casting a shadow on us, the temperature was still relatively cool and it was quite a leisure walk. Alex continued to don his sweater and i kept him happy by buying a few packets of snacks he can keep his mouth busy with as he wasn't entirely keen on a trek. 

It was raining the night before which means ponding at certain sections. My eyes can see and i am sure i wouldn't step onto the puddles of water. What i am more worried was the cars travelling along the road and some were speedsters. 

Scenery of the tea plantation loomed as walked past the thicker canopy that hid our sight; looking like a layer of carpet, it almost seemed as if i wouldn't come to any harm by rolling down the hill!   

I am envious of the people living in the black house; it would be so refreshing to wake up to the cool crisp highland air combined with the amazing view in front of you. 

Now, i was wondering where exactly would be the BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre as i couldn't see it and we had already passed the halfway mark of the estimated "30 minutes of walk"! 

Not a car but a bloody bus! We were sure standing by the side of the road would not be a safe option and had to veer to the side road so that the bus could manoeuvre the sharp angle. 

Another European style cottage; judging from the condition of the glass windows, there's an old school charm to it although i am thinking along the line of those Japanese / Korean horror movies.

Hills of tea plantation; spot the group of people on the middle left of the photograph? One was half naked for reasons unfathomable to me; hope it wasn't another case of posing naked for the fun of it. 

Downhill - the hike so far was on gentle slopes and generally downward which was welcome except for one issue; walking back would be a different story altogether! 

We were just about 2/3 done (2.5 out of 3.5 kilometers) and this was taken at the 25-minute mark into our walk. At this point, i also received a phone call from Copthorne Hotel; our room was ready for check-in. :(

There's no way i am going to forgo the time taken so far and i could only forge forward. The shower can wait although i am seriously considering the option of cutting across the tea plantation in order to save some time.

The same group of guys, one of whom was half naked even though he had worn back his top in the above photo. No idea why they were up there; nothing interesting from what i can see. 

Houses by the hillside; three of which were mentioned earlier in this post. If airbnb is an option, this might be a good place to spend one night in. 

Lay-byes - i am not linguistically talented and the few byes i am aware of include the good bye, bye bye and another bye that's frequently used in Singapore as a sexual vulgarity; c***bye. 

That word lay-bye was meant to refer to wider section of a road that shall allow vehicles one direction to stop so that the vehicle from the opposite direction can pass; hence, no parking was allowed. 

Ah, i can finally see our destination; the cafe on top of the hill that i have marked out using a red arrow. Now, that seemed to be more than a kilometer and i am betting the one kilometer mentioned earlier was just to an entrance that's way before the cafe. 

Iconic boulder that all tour agents would drop you off for a customary photo-shoot as it gave a rather good picture of the tea plantation.

Traffic jam as one party was unwilling to relent / unable to reverse; for those who aren't too familiar with highland driving, the latter is a more plausible reason as there's a worry a wrong judgment could result in the vehicle rolling down the mountain.

A humongous container being transported. 

As suspected, i am sure the directional pointed to the main entrance for BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre.

That's easily another kilometer of walk to the cafe! Whatever, i am just glad to have gotten so far in yet without a word of grumble from our weak Alex. 

Fork road - one side to BOH Sungei Palas Tea Centre and the other side to Gunung Brinchang! I actually signed up for a tour to the highest point of Cameron Highlands and you may read more about my experience here.  

Lower point of the tea plantation where there's a running stream in between the tea bushes. 

Disclaimer absolving BOH from any responsibility should there be any injury or damage. I know i am repeating myself but i couldn't help explaining once again that BOH stands for Best of Highlands!

Main entrance with a gantry preventing vehicles from going in past the operating hours. 

Panorama of the tea plantation with literally millions of tea bushes - i have always thought the cafe was on one of the higher points although it turned out that though it was on a hill, the height wasn't comparable to the houses i had mentioned earlier.

See how high up they were! Bloody, if only there was some kind of a pulley system from the house to this spot; bet it would save me a lot of time walking along the looping road. 

There was a dirt path which was rather easy to walk on although in order to cut through the plantation, i need to pull myself up the sharp gradient from the side of the tea bushes and THAT would be the risky part. 

Lonesome tree in the middle of the plantation.

On our way again.

As shown in the above photo, there were other forms of housing in the compound and i am guessing they housed the employees of BOH. 

Queue for the cars to get into the car park. It was a Friday and i am actually not expecting a lot of people; shudder to think how bad the situation would be on Saturday and Sunday! 

Guess the residents were predominantly Hindus as there was a Hindu temple in the compound. I didn't venture in as i was in serious need for a cup of cold drink to quench my thirst!

Only cars with valid permits would be allowed to take the road leading to the tea centre (which comprised of cafe, tea shop and factory).

The jutting out cafe that's a must visit for everyone! 

Those who parked their cars at the base must walk up, as we did, even though we chose the vehicular road rather than the stairs. 

Personally, i like to take different routes to reach my destination as there could be other things to see. Disclaimer - limited to only overseas travels as i stick to my usual route when i travel from home to work and vice versa! 

Another post was generated for my visit to the tea centre and you may click here for the details. Aside from the amazing view, another highlight at the cafe was the weird nasi lemak cheesecake i had. 

Words of caution - be mindful of the slippery path! 

We took the stairs on our way back. Thank god it wasn't too slippery even though i believed it would be the case should the sky decide to cry suddenly. 

From this angle, don't you think it looks like a big cannon that's aiming to hit the big birds in the sky? By big birds, i am referring to enemy planes.

Base of the stairs - loving the weather at this moment. A few hours later, the whole area would be covered with dark clouds with rain that made it impossible for us to walk out! 

Stray cat with a wounded ear.

I did try to ask if it's possible to get a transport out so that we can save some time. It's possible to get a cab in but it would take a minimum of 30 minutes and i thought it's more cost effective to walk out instead. 

Oh, by the way, close up of the tea bush for your viewing pleasure. From memory, the tea picker would pluck out the young shoots that would eventually be the tea we drink.

Soil erosion that would potentially become a hazard if left alone. In the past, there were many news of landslides at Cameron Highland even though i thought the situation had improved in recent years.

Was this a rose growing in the wild? 

How i wish i have superhuman powers and jump across... As it was an upward climb, the sweat came automatically and i can feel that my tee was starting to smell! 

Alex had to remove his sweater as he couldn't bear the heat too! There was another group of Caucasians walking in front of us but maybe because they had longer legs, the distance between us widened as the journey continued. 

Wedding photography with just two persons as the man was both the groom and photographer! 

Actually i shouldn't have used the word "cottage" as the house was definitely much more than a simple cottage which is defined as small house. 

Pointing  to the two black sticks on the ground, i didn't understand what Alex was talking about when he said how come there were cannons outside the mansion. 

Zoomed in for your viewing - i wondered too if they were mere decorations or were historical relics from World War 2 that's over 70 years ago. 

Flowers spotted along the way.

My torture was finally going to be over; never been happier to see the logo of Copthorne Hotel appearing in front of us even though it would still be a rather long walk for us to get there! 

Before then, let's have lunch at Cameron Highlands only shopping complex, the Cameron Square. I was famished and as expected, thirsty too! 

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Route Map
As above.

Operating Hours
8.30 am to 4.30 pm (Daily)
Closed on Mondays


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