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In the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia


The 'Highlands' of Malaysia are just about 1500m or so above sea level, but the ambience they bring to this equatorial region justifies the throngs of visitors from far and near. While Genting was developed as an amusement park, the Cameron Highlands are the center for tea production—the plantations having been established by the British in the colonial era, and thriving to this day from the hard labour of mainly the Indian community that has historically been involved in the planting and harvesting of tea.


This was to be my first cross country drive, and it was fortunate that I had a friend to accompany me on the journey, because it CAN get very tedious doing the four hours by road from my town. The gradient uphill though is gentle and wide enough for novice hill drivers like me, but upon reaching the hotel and having my first full meal of the day, I promptly crashed into bed and awakened just in time to make our next foray- this time to the Saturday night market—with long queues, traffic jams and chaotic parking to complete the day!


The next day we visited the strawberry farms that this region is known for, followed by the Sintra-lookalike Lavender Farm, which made for quite the experience, complete with a lavender cheesecake! The 'nasi lemak' I had was another curiosity, what with the rice infused with a pandan flavor, and the accompanying sambal with a hint of strawberry! In between all our gastronomic adventures, we even managed to get lost on the way but were duly rewarded with a beautiful bamboo grove!


So yes, I have an abundance of exclamation marks for this trip, and the week-long rest I rewarded myself with upon our return speaks volumes of the effort that went into it, albeit totally worth it. The highlands of this equatorial country shall continue to draw me into their bosom, and I have no doubt that I will keep coming back here whenever things get too hot (pun intended)!


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