Kuala Lumpur was interesting, but it was also hot, humid and crowded. So after a couple days it was time to move on to somewhere a little more relaxed. Tanah Rata fit the bill. Situated in the Cameron Highlands the temperature was a couple degrees cooler, the humidity was less and the crowds were non-existent. Nice and easy. We stayed at the Cameronian Inn:
- beds clean
- prices affordable
- food good
- trekking available
- management strange..
The trekking was excellent. The guide, Yen visited the hostel almost a decade ago and never left. At some point he took on the local trails as a pet project. He hikes everyday at 10 o'clock with or without tag-alongs. He works diligently to maintain the trails: picking up garbage and cutting back growth. He's knowledgeable, social and keeps a good pace. The trekking information sheet says it costs 25R, but Yen never mentions the money so in the end it feels more like a well deserved donation / tip. In regards to the trails, they are comfortably challenging.15-20 minute up-hills followed by look-outs and meandering down-hills. The walk we went on passed through the tea fields, which carpeted huge rolling hills. Never seen anything like it. Also saw a good assortment of butterflies and some sizable pitcher-plants. Very cool. Lasts the whole day so bring water and snacks (or money for the cafe attached to the tea plantation).
The Inn's management was strange, but in a charming way. He was always about, hunting for conversation and servicing requests. Talking with him was circular and confusing, but there were some really interesting tidbits that have stuck with me.
Also of note was the business model for the Inn: honour-system. Pay on departure. The owner doesn't take passports or credit cards as collateral. He simply trusts people to do the right thing. And apparently people do! Aside from the paranoia it caused me, the system worked well (it felt like some psych experiment -- like there were hidden cameras everywhere!).
All in all the highlands were well worth the visit.
Tyler and Jenny