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Don’t Repeat These 5 Mistakes We Made When Visiting Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Don’t Repeat These 5 Mistakes We Made When Visiting Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

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Cameron Highlands has been on our radar for a few years. However, we kept putting it off because of its inaccessibility from Singapore.

The bus from Singapore to Cameron Highlands takes about 9 hours (FYI, here’s a list of buses you can take from Singapore to Cameron. Personally, I prefer The One Travel/Five Star Express). By flight, one needs to fly to Ipoh or Kuala Lumpur first, then take a bus to Cameron Highlands.

A few months ago, we decided to go for a week-long trip to various Malaysia cities, including Cameron Highlands, Ipoh and Penang. Since we wanted to visit multiple cities in a short frame of time, we dedicated one night in Cameron Highlands.

What supposed to be a dream trip turned into one that we regret the most. We didn’t do a diligent trip planning because it was an impromptu trip. So, we ended up making these 5 mistakes that ruined our trip to Cameron Highlands.

breakfast at hotel check in 2, brinchang, cameron highlands, malaysia
Our al fresco breakfast at Hotel Check In 2.

Mistake No. 1: Trusting TripZilla and spend only a night in Cameron Highlands.

Seriously, this is a big no-no especially if you’re visiting Cameron on a budget, using public transportation and not joining a day tour.

This article on TripZilla makes it sounds like it’s logical and practical to spend only a night in Cameron Highlands. However, it fails to mention that you need a car to do this. You can’t visit all of them by public transport or by foot.

We arrived at Cameron about noon. After checking in and having our lunch, there was not much time left to visit famous attractions.

With only half day left, there was only enough time to visit Big Red Strawberry Farm and Sam Poh Temple because they are located within walking distance from our hotel in the heart of Brinchang. FYI, most attractions are closed at about 4.30 pm or 5 pm.

On the second day, we had to leave our hotel by noon because we had to catch the last bus to Ipoh, which is scheduled to depart at 2:30 pm from Tanah Rata.

Big Red Strawberry Farm in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
Hydrophonic farm in the Big Red Strawberry Farm in Brinchang.

Mistake No. 2: Thinking that most attractions are located within walking distance from Brinchang.

Wrong! In fact, BOH Sungai Palas Tea Centre is located 8km from Brinchang, BOH Tea Garden is 19km from Brinchang, Lavender Garden is 10km from Brinchang.

Even Brinchang Night Market is 2.2km away from the heart of Brinchang. Meanwhile, Mossy Forest is 10.5km from Brinchang. The list would go on and on.

Only Big Red Strawberry Farm and Sam Poh temple are within walking distance from Brinchang.

Sam poh temple, brinchang, cameron highlands, malaysia
Sam Poh temple.

Mistake No. 3: Thinking that there are reliable public transportation to get around.

Nope, not a chance. There wasn’t any local bus that brings tourist around Cameron Highland.

So, what do they have? Overpriced taxi!

The overpriced taxis charge RM 75 (SGD 25) for 3 hours. For 3 hours, we can only visit 1 attraction at a leisurely pace. At most, we can visit 2 attractions in a rush. It’s not worth it.

There are only 2 ways to solve this challenge. First option is to drive a car from other cities to Cameron. Second option is joining a day tour usually offered by hotels or hostels.

taxi rate in brinchang, cameron highlands, malaysia
Taxi terminal in Brinchang, just opposite KFC.

Mistake No. 4: Not enough budget.

Because we were planning to visit multiple cities, we had limited budget for Cameron. We couldn’t afford to rent a car or to join the overpriced day tour.

At that time, we felt that it wasn’t worth blowing our budget just for a few hours of sightseeing.

Mistake No. 5: Spend 1 hour waiting for the bus that never came.

Finally, it was time to leave Cameron. Our plan was to catch a bus from Tanah Rata bus terminal to Ipoh.

We were told by the receptionist of our hotel that there is a local bus that brings people from Brinchang to Tanah Rata. This bus will pick people up from the main road’s bus stop at about 12 or 12.30 noon, but it might or might not come.

We decided to give it a try. We quickly checked out and decided to skip lunch in order to catch this bus.

Minutes passed by. There wasn’t any Tanah Rata-bound bus that stopped at our bus stop. We even tried to flag buses that, we suspect, were going to Tanah Rata.

Unfortunately, the bus never came or never stopped. We shouldn’t have waited for it.

After waiting for 1 hour, we decided to find a taxi that can bring us to Tanah Rata bus terminal. But, finding a taxi is quite a challenge!

After waiting for a taxi for almost 30 minutes, finally, we found a very old taxi. We shared the ride with a man because we’re going to the same place.

It cost about RM 15 from Brinchang to Tanah Rata, and we divided the amount among 3 people. Thankfully, the taxi ride didn’t cost RM 75 as written at the taxi terminal!

Our Resolution

We had wanted to enjoy Cameron at our own pace and our own budget, but we failed. This wasn’t the right time. We will visit Cameron again in the future, well-equipped with information and budget.

breakfast at hotel check in 2, brinchang, cameron highlands, malaysia
Despite all the mishaps during this trip, I love his breakfast with a view!

Travel Information

Bus from Amanjaya Terminal, Ipoh to Cameron Highlands costs RM 20/person. The return trip costs the same, but you need to board from the Tanah Rata bus terminal (5.5km away from Brinchang).

If you’re arriving at Cameron by bus, you can request the bus driver to drop you at your hotel if it’s located near the main road.

There are a lot of food options at Brinchang, but the famous ones get crowded. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, eat early.

Taxis can be booked for RM 25 an hour, with a minimum of RM 75 per booking. We tried to negotiate the rate but they wouldn’t budge.

Need inspiration to travel around Malaysia? Get my FREE Malaysia Bucket List.

PS: Have any questions regarding traveling in Singapore, Malaysia or Southeast Asia? Join Trevallog Community on Facebook where we can discuss about traveling in Southeast Asia.

5 Mistakes to avoid in cameron highlands

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Global Treats

Thursday 28th of May 2020

Yes, Cameron Highlands is quite spread out but you don't have to visit everywhere. There really is no need to visit both tea plantations for example, they're pretty much the same. We managed to get a good price for a taxi by asking in a local restaurant. Also,hitchhiking is worth a shot. Buses are unreliable because there is only the one road running through the area. It is better to visit during the week when there is less traffic.

Saying all that, it is a beautiful place and definitely worth a visit.

Steven

Saturday 16th of November 2019

thanks goodness to have read your post. now i have decided to rent a car in KL and drive up on my own instead. a private day tour will cost around RM1k. thank you.

Eva

Saturday 16th of November 2019

Gosh RM 1k for a day tour is too much! Yes renting a car and driving around Cameron Highlands is so much better! Glad you make the right choice.

Christopher Leng

Wednesday 26th of June 2019

Thanks for sharing! The transportation there is indeed lousy. I avoided their taxi services by trekking for 4 days from sunrise to sunset. The longest distance I hiked is to and fro from kea farm to BOH tea plantation. The environment is beautiful and peaceful! Do take note that not every trails are well pathed. Proper hiking gears such as hiking sticks are useful.

Eva

Saturday 29th of June 2019

Wow, 4 days from sunset to sunrise! I'd love to hike through Cameron one day!

MoonWade

Friday 9th of November 2018

Hi Eva, Thanks for the advice and useful tips.. My husband and I are planning to go there in January next year.. This will be our first time travelling alone.. We plan to go there by coach. But after reading your comment about there being 'no local bus that brings tourist around'.. I was like 'OMG' !! What are we going to do then? Well at least now we can plan our trip better.. once again thank you for sharing your experience.. its a great help indeed.

Eva

Saturday 10th of November 2018

Hi MoonWade, Thanks for the compliment! Glad you've found my blog useful. Yup, no local bus. If you're not renting a car, I suggest you join "day tour" offered by hotels or guesthouses :) Have a joyful trip!

Nitin

Monday 10th of September 2018

Finally, is it worth to visit Cameron highland after traveling so much .. ???? is anything more than tea or strawberry farm ??

Eva

Monday 10th of September 2018

Yes, it is worth making the long journey to Cameron but you need more than a night there! yup there are plenty of farms there, like lavender farm.