Ipoh sunrise


We watched the sun rise over Ipoh from half-way up Kledang hill. Having tramped up hundreds of steps to get there and sweating profusely despite the early hour, it was relaxing to sit still and enjoy the view – the lights of the city, the blue hills of the Cameron Highlands in the distance and the streaky clouds getting brighter with the rising sun. Once the sun was up, we walked further up the hill into the jungle, which to me always feels like a reward after the rigours of getting there. By the time we got down to the bottom, the temperature was already in the early 30s and all we could think of was a cool shower.


the lakehouse

In a previous posts I have described our day trips to the Cameron Highlands. They’ve been a little disappointing – too much traffic on roads that are not well maintained, horrid towns with hundreds of stalls selling cheap souvenirs, strawberries and other fruit and vegetables grown in ugly plastic tunnels and rubbish lying everywhere. The tea houses on the Boh estates are the exception but they too are very busy and the access roads are hair-raising. But this week we spent a night and a day at the Lakehouse (see pic) and it felt like an oasis in the bustle that is the Cameron Highlands. Terrible but true that to get a relaxing break we needed to find an expensive retreat in a house that was built in colonial times. We enjoyed our well-appointed room and bathroom, a delicious dinner and breakfast and the beautiful grounds. More that all that though we enjoyed the guided walk through the jungle behind the hotel. Our pleasant Malay guide pointed out plants of interest along the way (wild mushrooms, delicate jungle orchids and bright red poisonous berries) and made sure we didn’t walk into the lethally spiky branches that sometimes grow across the path. It was wonderful to stand among the tall trees and dense foliage, listening to the sounds of crickets and frogs and hearing bird song, without the roar of traffic or the smell of garbage. It was a real privilege and one we hope to repeat from time to time.



I am somewhat reluctant to post this photo because I want to encourage you to visit us in Ipoh but it is too good a story! On our recent trip to the Cameron Highlands with our visitor from Auckland, we went into the Sungai Palas Tea House. She noticed this tray on the counter while fetching our tea and scones and snapped this pic. Have you ever seen a tray of flies on display? Fortunately all the food we’d ordered came from inside the glass cabinets and none of us suffered any ill effects from our afternoon tea. We enjoyed the view from the tea house (see pic below) and finding out about the Boh tea company, which is still run by the Russel family who started it in 1929. There is also an interesting gift shop. Well worth a visit, the flies notwithstanding.

Sungai palas tea house

Tea time


We drove up to the Cameron Highlands last Sunday. The road from Ipoh winds its way up, with the views becoming more spectacular the higher you get. We stopped at the first strawberry farm we came to. Here they grow the strawberries in pots hung from overhead lines. The strawberry farms are covered with plastic roofs, which are very unattractive. I bought a punnet for RM20 (about NZ$8) and have been enjoying them (though they are not a patch on the strawberries from the farm on SH3 outside Ohaupo!) We wended our way through various settlements, most of which are ugly conglomerations of shanties, shops, small eating places and lots of rubbish. There are also smart hotels and a golf course named after the Sultan, who seems to be a keen golfer if the photos in the foyer of the club are to be believed. We then came to the tea estates. We’d heard that you could get a Devonshire tea up here and were looking forward to the scones. The first two tea houses we came across had nothing like that but then we glimpsed a little side road leading to the Boh tea estate. After a hair-raising drive up a very narrow, rutted road, dodging fast drivers coming down, we got to the tea house at the top and there we found scones, strawberry cheesecake and aromatic tea served in pots. Wonderful! We climbed up to the viewpoint above the tea processing factory and I actually put on a cardi – it was only about 21 degrees up there! There was a marvellous view of the tea plants in their bright green rows, following the slopes all the way down the valley. We’ll definitely go back there with all our many visitors.