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Andy’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 25 Jul 2006

Location: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

MapEIGHT WONDERS OF THE WORLD?
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From Kuala Lumpur i headed to Penang which is an island off the West coast of Malaysia. Arrived in Georgetown, didnít like it, so decided i would stay in a place called Batu Ferringhi as in the Lonely Planet it suggested it was a small, quaint fishing village. Not what i expected so, with uncharacteristic ants in my pants i hopped back on the bus (a local one which threatened to fall apart whenever the accelerator peddle was pressed) to Georgetown and decided the next day i would travel to the Cameron Highlands to escape the oppressive heat.

The Cameron Highlands are, as the name suggests, a highland region in Malaysia and was the preferred holiday destination of British colonial wives who found the climate far more agreeable in an era without air-con and stricter dress codes! It was immesnely refreshing stepping off the bus not to be drowning in my own sweat after a few steps.

Stayed in a hostel called Fathers, the best hostel in the region. Small and busy but in a good way. Communal air to the place which was probably the result of the old wartime Nissen huts we all slept in; row after row of beds.

Met two english guys, three Americans and an Irish girl and we spent the days playing scrabble (flid is not a word apparently), cards and sightseeing. There is something very agreeable with a simpler life.

There arenít many attractions in the Cameron Highlands but we all booked onto a tour of the (small) sights deemed worth seeing. A mixed bag shall we say!

The Rose garden was full of roses (shocking i know) which, while pretty soon lose their appeal. How many roses can you look at?! The views from the top teer of the stepped garden were fantastic though. The Camerons enjoy a temperate climate and the hills are lush, green and often covered in mists and fogs which descend from the tallest hills and roll down into the many valleys below.

Next stop was a Buddhist temple. Unimpressive really. It was built recently and apart from the gold statues and incense sticks, failed to live up to my expectations of what a temple should look like. I know that later in my trip i will be exploring dusty, old and crumbling temples which served only to reinforce my impressions.

The bee farm was uneventul but fun for everyone else who watched me jump about everytime one came near me.

The strawberry farm was my favourite, and not for the sheer delight in being told by the tour guide to spend 10-15 minutes having a look around a strawberry bush, (almost wet myself with excitement) but because we all gorged ourselves on fresh strawberries, strawberry ice cream, strawberry chocolate, all washed down with a glass of strawberry milkshake and marvelling at the strawberry inspired clothes range. Vivienne Westwood watch your back.

The butterful farm was more exciting than at first it may sound, mainly because i held a scorpion, turtle, rhinocerous beetle and other insects.

Lastly we were taken to the Boh tea estate (Chris - Bo selecta jokes came thick and fast, as did the groans of my fellow travellers). Tour of the tea factory was followed by a cup of fresh brew at the cafe which was perched high on the hillside and overlooked the patchwork of green tea bushes covering the surrounding hills. Stunning views. Good cuppa. Pinky up!

So, not exactly the eight wonders of the world but fun nonetheless.