Besides getting in touch with your inner Englishness via tea and strawberries, the Cameron Highlands' main attraction is its web of hiking trails. It's crucial to ask locally before embarking on any trail – a couple of routes have become prowling grounds for robbers, and there have even been a few reports of sexual assaults. But the overwhelming majority of hikers in the Cameron Highlands enjoy the rippling hills and blessedly cool temperatures without incident.
The usual safety rules apply. Trails aren't well signposted and some are treacherous and steep. Always carry water, some food, and rain gear, and don't set out in the mid-afternoon (darkness descends quickly). Let your guesthouse know your planned route and predicted return time.
Hiking along jungle-furred trails to reach a panorama of misty tea plantations will be a highlight of your time in Malaysia. But always, and we mean always, ask locally about the safety of any trail. There's a moving picture when it comes to trail maintenance, dogs and unsavoury characters lurking on some routes.
Trail 1 Closed to allow forest regeneration when we last visited, this difficult trail officially starts at white stone marker 1/5 on the summit of Gunung Brinchang (2032m). When it reopens, start at the end point, north of Cactus Valley (it's 2½ hours to the summit) then take the 7km-long sealed road back to Brinchang through tea plantations.
Trails 2 & 3 Tricky Trail 2 (1½ hours) and linked Trail 3 to Gunung Beremban (2½ hours) suit experienced walkers. The terrain's overgrown but hikers with a good level of fitness will enjoy the exhilarating scramble.
Trail 4 Warning: we heard a report of assault on this popular trail, so ask locals before setting out. Just past Century Pines Resort in Tanah Rata, the trail leads to Parit Falls (30 minutes), though you might find this small waterfall murky and the site strewn with garbage. Another route to the waterfall is from the main road leading south from the southern end of the golf course.
Trails 5 & 7 Moderate Trail 5 and very challenging Trail 7 climb the flank of Gunung Beremban (1840m). Don't attempt the old route for Trail 6, from Gunung Jasar to Bharat Plantation, without a guide – it's left off present maps for good reason.
Trail 8 This trail splits off Trail 9 just before Robinson Falls and is a steep three-hour approach to Gunung Beremban. Only experienced hikers should attempt this strenuous trail.
Trails 9 & 9A For years hikers have been urged to avoid these trails because of robberies and assaults targeting tourists. More recently locals have warned about a pack of dogs. We strongly encourage you to choose another trail, or to seek out local advice.
Trail 10 For lofty views this enjoyable 3km, three-hour route winds upward from Carnation Park (1km northwest of Tanah Rata's main road) to Gunung Jasar before descending back to Tanah Rata along the road.