There are few places in Malaysia, or even in Southeast Asia, that can wonder the beauty of nature in the Cameron Highlands. This stretch of lush hills and mist-shrouded mountains is a repository for countless montane wildlife species and a wide diversity of plant life. At its highest point, Cameron Highlands reaches over 2,000 meters in elevation, touching the sky. There are three main townships and some smaller ones that have mushroomed in Cameron Highlands over the years; Ringlet lies at the plateau, then the main road ascends to Tanah Rata and finally reaches Brinchang near the peak.
After Brinchang, there are several more newer townships such as Tringkap and Kampung Raja. Cameron Highlands was discovered when in 1885, a British colonial surveyor uncovered a beautiful valley among some mountains while exploring Peninsular Malaysia's rich rainforest on horse. That man, William Cameron, as the valley came to be named after him, saw the potential for growing tea in this lush land. Over time, Cameron Highlands rewarded his efforts by producing tea leaves of the highest quality, a precious commodity for export then.
Today, Cameron Highlands is a major tea producer in the Southeast Asian region along with continental greens and strawberries. Visit the Boh Tea plantation in Brinchang to get a feel of the factory and a fantastic view of fields and fields of tea. Two main roads lead up to the Cameron Highlands, with a third in the works that will connect Ringlet to Kuala Lipis in Pahang. Travellers from the south of Peninsular Malaysia often use the established trunk road from Tapah town.
In addition, it is the most scenic with plenty of verdant trees and occasional wildlife crossing the road. The other is used mostly by visitors from the north; the Simpang Pulai exchange from Ipoh. Much of the scenery here is of secondary forest but the roads are wider. When it comes to nature, Cameron Highlands is a rich ecological valley with astounding wildlife and mesmerising floral species. Wild orchids, ferns, vines and pitcher plants drape the mossy trees and shrubs, an ideal habitat for highland reptiles, amphibians and insect species.
A few reed snakes and Trimeresurus nebularis, a beautiful greenish blue pit-viper, are endemic to the Cameron Highlands, found no where else in the world. The same goes for some species of orchids. While the trees seem to get less dense as you go higher in elevation, and the atmosphere becomes quieter, the environment may appear devoid of wildlife. In fact, the montane forest seems a lonely and deserted place, with only the frosty air and moss-ridden trees to keep you company, while the thick mist casts a pale shroud over your countenance.
Hidden behind every nook and corner in the montane forest, however, is something fascinating to be discovered. Milipedes crawl beneath the thick and soft forest litter; bettles quietly munch through the moss on the tree barks and branches; small and tiny mossy frogs make soft calls, hidden behind the foliage high up on trees; the vibrantly-coloured red mountain rat snake, or Elaphe porphyrace laticinta, slithers rather quietly across the trail, looking for rodents to hunt. Clouded leopards and even tigers have been spotted in Cameron Highlands, till today.
The highland forest is indeed teeming with creatures, but only if you know where to look. This is the wondrous ecology of Cameron Highlands, truly a beauty of nature that is found no where else in Malaysia. Today, Cameron Highlands remains the most popular Malaysian highland destination for tourists and visitors. If you're passionate about discovering Cameron Highlands, see the tours we have to offer. Intrepid travellers and herping enthusiasts should not miss out on this experience of a lifetime!