We’ve had a lovely couple of days in the Cameron Highlands. This is a region in the centre of Malaysia about 4 hours drive from KL. It is high up at about 6000ft above sea level and is named after a British Surveyor who mapped the region in the latter part of the 20thC. However, it was really developed in the 1920s by George Maxwell the general secretary. Because of the climate at that height it is ideal for tea plantations and has become the home of the BOH tea corporation – one of the biggest in Malaysia.
It is stunningly beautiful and on Tuesday we visited the Boh plantation visitors centre and had a lovely cup of tea with scones, jam and cream on the veranda looking out over a small part of the plantation (pictures below).
Much of the architecture is old colonial. However, it is rapidly becoming very popular with people not only from Malaysia, but Singapore & Thailand as an escape from the heat (average day temperature was a cool 20oC) and a visit to some beautiful scenery. Consequently, there is a huge amount of development going on, hotels, apartments and shops going up everywhere. I don’t think it will be the same for very long. It was relatively quiet when we were there, but Alan says it is chaos on the weekends and at holiday times.
After a visit to the tea plantation Alan asked if I’d like to visit a famous waterfall called the Robinson falls. It was a good hike into the jungle but was a beautiful place to visit. I said, I’d love to. As I was the only one with suitable footwear they dropped me at the start of the walk and said they’d meet me back in 2 hours time.
It was a really stunning walk. Brightly coloured birds (none of which I managed to photo), and some interesting wildlife.
I don’t think I’d make a very good jungle explorer. I was told it was a 45 minute walk to the falls. After about 15 minutes following the trail I came to a wire gate which was closed and had a very steep path downwards, so I assumed it was closed because the path was too dangerous so carried on along the trail to the left. The path wound and continued on for a long time. I didn’t met a soul. I had to climb over a few trees and under a few, but the path was still clear. After about an additional 45 minutes of walking I thought this doesn’t seem right. Then when the path reached a narrow ledge with a steep drop off to one side and no sign (or sound) of a waterfall, I decided it was just too far to go, so reluctantly turned back. I had pictures of news headlines saying English vicar lost in Malaysian jungle.
Alan had said lots of people go there, so I figured I’d gone the wrong way, but I hadn’t missed a second path, I was sure of that. I trekked back the way I’d come enjoying the scenery and beauty of God’s creation.
I came back to the sound of the river and the noise of water and the gate I’d passed an hour earlier. Surely it wasn’t down that path! Reluctantly I concluded it was and that’d I’d gone an hour in the wrong direction! Pushing the gate open I followed the very steep path down about 600ft. The noise of the water became louder and I realised this was it. Still not a soul around. Eventually I appeared at a little clearing and saw it. I was so relieved, and felt a bit stupid having gone an hour out of my way. It was stunning.
The climb out was a good workout and I did meet one other couple making their way down the trail towards the gate. I’m still not convinced I found the proper trail down to the waterfall as it was really quite precarious in places, but I got there in the end!
After some fantastic Malay seafood soup. Tom Yum (below), we headed back and I slept well that night.
Today, Wednesday, we drove back to KL, and this evening Ken and I are speaking at their midweek Bible study. It’s been a great couple of days and tomorrow is a bank holiday (Mayday) so we’ll be off out for the day with a couple of the Cell groups from church.