My first full day in the Cameron Highlands was beautiful, serene, and… slightly terrifying. I started the day with the intention of hiking up Brinchang Mountain (also known as Trail 1 in the Cameron Highlands), but I woke up to pouring down rain early in the morning. I decided to not do this challenging hike, since I’d heard that it was quite steep and knew that the rain wouldn’t make it any easier.
HIKING TRAIL 9A AND ROBINSON WATERFALL
Another guy at the hostel I was staying told us about Robinson Waterfall that we could walk to from the hostel and a couple of the trails that were connected to that same trail. We decided to head to the waterfall for a more chill day of hiking. Robinson Falls is an easy 15 minute walk from the main bus terminal in Tanah Rata (check out the huge map right outside of the bus terminal instead of paying for a map from one of the tourist stops).
We headed to Robinson Falls with the plan to either follow trail 8 or 9A, both of which connect to the trail that leads to Robinson Falls. Once we reached the falls we were rewarded with a beautiful site and took some time to take in the beauty along the trail.
We headed along the path and came across the turn off for trail 8, but since it looked steep and we were feeling lazy we decided to keep following trail 9a since it looked a little bit easier. The hike in total took us around 3 and a half hours with numerous stops for photos, food and water along the way.
TIP: For any of the trails in the Cameron Highlands, especially during the rainy season, be prepared to get muddy and wet. I wore running shoes that are fairly water proof which worked well and my friend wore hiking sandals that he rinsed off a few times during the hike since the entire shoe would get covered in mud. Also bring lots of food, water, and bug spray, since many of the trails link up to each other and they all seem to take a longer time than we expected!
The trail ended at a farm where we had to walk through the actual farm and pass their house to get to the road. It was really cool to walk through there and be surrounded by growing fruit!
We looked up where we were on google maps (definitely download the offline area or use Maps.me) and planned our route back to Tanah Rata. At this point we were about 15 km away from Tanah Rata and were trying to figure out the best way to get back. The night before we had talked to a few people at the hostel who had said that they hitchhiked from Tanah Rata to Binchang that day. Neither of us had ever hitch hiked before, but we had absolutely no desire to walk all the way back to town. We decided why not. LETS DO THIS.
We had noticed a sign saying that there was a tea plantation up the road and decided to go there first. So our first attempt at hitch hiking began! We picked out our spot on the side of the road and made sure the cars would have plenty of time to see us, take pity on us, and pull over. I was to be the face of the operation, since people are much more likely to pick up a female hitch hiker than a male one. We then waited. About 5 minutes later a car drives past us, waves, but doesn’t stop. Feeling a little disheartened we set a limit of 15 minutes before we will head closer to the main road to try to find more cars.
A few minutes later we see a car and they slow down and pull over! Victory! They were a nice Malaysian family visiting the Cameron Highlands for a quick vacation and were also heading to the BOH Tea Plantation. It was perfect! They were a lovely family and we had a great chat as we wound our way up the road to the Tea Plantation.
My first hitch hiking experience was a success and I was suddenly wondering why I had ever payed to go anywhere before.
BOH TEA PLANTATION
At the BOH tea plantation you can take a tour of the factory for free, but unfortunately the factory was closed when we were there. However, they had an absolutely stunning viewpoint with incredible views of the tea plantation surrounding us. We ate our lunch at the top and then I proceeded to take about a million photos. This was the view I had been wanting to see in the Cameron Highlands!
We headed down from the viewpoint to the tea shop. We each had a tea and pastry. I tried the sardine puff which was surprisingly pretty delicious and I can’t remember which type of tea I got, but it was very tasty and refreshing.
We then headed down the road a little ways and planned out our second hitch hiking trip of the day. This time I had my thumb out for maybe 20 seconds before we were picked up, this time by a very nice Malaysian couple who were also in the Cameron Highlands for a vacation. They were also going back to Tanah Rata, so they dropped us off right in the town center.
My first day in the Cameron Highlands was absolutely wonderful! I got to meet so many lovely people by hitch hiking and I definitely think I will be doing it again!