Matt Munro

Cameron Highlands

Emerald tea plantations unfurl across Malaysia's largest hill-station area. Temperatures in these 1300m to 1829m heights rarely top 30°C, inspiring convoys of weekenders to enjoy tea and strawberries in the restorative climate. Though technically in Pahang, the highlands are accessed from Perak.

The Cameron Highlands encompass a string of townships, including (north to south) Kampung Raja, Tringkap, Brinchang, Tanah Rata and Ringlet. Named after explorer Sir William Cameron, who mapped the area in 1885, the highlands were developed during the British colonial period. Gardens, bungalows and a golf course sprang up during the 1930s, cementing the highlands' reputation as a refuge for heat-addled Brits to mop their brows.

Tourism is big business, so views are occasionally blighted by building sites for yet another megaresort; Brinchang in particular felt like a construction site when we last visited. But between trekking and genteel tea culture, there is serenity amid the touristic hubbub.

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