You can’t visit Cameron Highlands without making a trip to a Tea Estate. While the Cameron Bharat Tea Estate is lovely and easily accessible at the side of the main road, it simply doesn’t hold a candle to the off-the-beaten-track charm of the Boh Sungai Palas Tea Estate.
It takes a confident driver to brave the narrow winding roads to the Tea Centre, especially when you have to come face to face with not just cars, but often trucks and school buses travelling in the opposite direction. This is a medium-hard country road that will strike fear in the minds of newbie drivers who are not absolutely sure of the width of their cars.
Yet, every day, scores of vehicles go in and out, braving the tricky conditions, just because of the sheer beauty of this drive. In my book, one of the most scenic stretches of road in Malaysia.
Today, as a warm up to our upcoming hike up Gunung Brinchang, we do not drive, but we walk the 4.3km from the Copthorne Hotel to the Sungai Palas Tea Centre. This is our first time doing the walk… will it be our last?
What do we bring with us?
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Water bottles
- Selfie-stick for better photographs
- Golf umbrellas, which double up as our trekking poles
- Baseball Cap
- No need for sweaters, as the weather is perfect and as we walk we will be naturally generating heat.
The walk begins easy enough. Just follow the huge signs that lead the way into the tea estate:
These signs are rather confusing… So 2km or 3.5km? That’s quite a big difference in distance. It turns out the 2km only gets you to the main entrance of the tea estate, where the security guardpost is. The actual Tea Centre and Cafe is another 1.5km into the countryside.
Some nice looking cottages line the road, proudly flying the Malaysian flag. It seems that these are private property. Some lovely wild flowers grow along the roadside, as well as a new breed of metal flower:
Even in the gloomy weather, we are treated to some breath-taking sights. The undulating rows of tea plants, with the mountains and the snaking country roads in the background make one pretty scene!
It is no wonder they had to put up this sign. This place is so scenic that if I had a drone, I will be putting it to good use here, flying around to capture footage of the sublime beauty all around. I wonder if how they enforce this rule? Do they have an air defense system protecting these parts?
Years back, on our first trip here, the road conditions into Sungai Palas were terrible, especially in the rain with potholes and mud adding complexity to an already challenging drive. Today, the road is in much better condition, a far cry from its bumpy past. This also means the traffic has gotten much heavier.
Today, choosing to be powered by our two feet instead of four wheels, we are not concerned with the traffic, but we also have to watch that we are not inadvertently caught in the vehicular crossfire. Whenever vehicles come, we step out of the way, and let them figure out what they have to do first before we proceed on our own journey.
Meanwhile, the sky is turning dark, and we begin to thank our lucky stars that we chose to bring the golf umbrellas. When the heavens opened and the rain came streaming down, we quickly open them up to shield ourselves. Without them, we would have been completely drenched, caught in no-mans-land at least half an hour from the nearest available roof.
We eventually reach the Tea Centre after 70 minutes of walking. The walk honestly was pretty easy, and you do not have to be super fit to complete it. All of it is on tarmac, and so you don’t really need special hiking shoes. Walking gives you the opportunity to really soak in the sights, and to take loads of photographs. It is pretty hard to take a bad photograph here in the estate. Just randomly point and shoot, guaranteed to be good!
The cafe at the tea centre is extremely popular with visitors. The outer seating area overhangs the valley below and provides a panoramic view of the tea estate surrounded by the mountain peaks. There is also a new extension which provides more seating room, but even with this extension the place is packed! We grab some pastries and tea from the cafe counter. Thankfully we manage to find a good table to sit and savour the refreshments, enveloped by the picturesque surroundings. The food here is pretty good!
Inside the centre, there is also a gift shop and some exhibits detailing the history of the Boh Tea Estate. Did you know that BOH is short for “Best of Highlands?” You can also go for the free factory tours which run every half an hour. No prior reservation is required.
After enjoying our well-deserved afternoon tea, we make our way back out of the estate. There is still a light drizzle, but the workers are still hard at work in the fields, plucking tea leaves and carrying the huge bags of tea over their heads back to the factory. Amazing to see such dedication even in poor weather. I really take my hat off to these workers… oh wait, but if I do that, my hair will get wet in the drizzle… 😛
Next in Part 7, we reward ourselves with a good meal, and enjoy brotherly bonding over some evening entertainment!
- 2019 Cameron Highland Brothers Drive
- Clearing up Confusion
- 3am and Away
- Roadside Waterfalls and Tea Plantations
- Review: Copthorne Hotel, Cameron Highlands
- Walk to the Boh Sungai Palas Tea Estate
- Evening Entertainment
- Morning in Ipoh
- Up the Mountains Via Simpang Pulai
- Walk to Brinchang
- Hike up Gunung Brinchang
- Last Dinner
- Heading Home
- 2019 Thailand Fly & Drive (Bangkok, Khao Kho, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son Loop, Chiang Khan, Khon Kaen, Khao Yai, Pattaya)
- 2019 Cameron Highlands Brothers Drive
- 2018 Bali Drive
- 2017 Hungary Winter Drive
- 2017 Hokkaido Winter Drive
- 2019 Drive from Singapore to Thailand (Krabi, Phuket)
- 2018 Drive from Singapore to Thailand (Bangkok, Rayong)
- 2017 Drive from Singapore to Thailand (Krabi, Phuket)
- 2016 Drive from Singapore to Thailand