Hello! It’s been awhile since I last updated this blog (oops). I’ve travelled to Guangzhou and Cameron Highlands within these few months I was gone! Gonna get to cameron highlands first. 😛
Mitch and I booked a 3D2N free and easy package from Groupon ($189/pax) which includes: Return coach transfer with Konsortium, 2 nights stay at Strawberry Park Resort Studio Suite Room, complimentary 2 Breakfasts, 1 Steamboat Dinner and coach insurance coverage. I think it’s pretty worth it compared to booking a coach and hotel separately, which would’ve cost a lot more!
The night before, we checked in at 8pm at Konsortium, Golden Mile Tower. Check-in was quite a smooth process and we kind of checked in later than everyone else (but still before 8pm), so we were assigned seats at the lower deck (yup, it’s a double decker bus). It was quite comfortable though cause we got the seats at the front row, so there was more leg room! Had to go down for the immigration process, and there was one supper stop and quite a number of toilet stops along the way (pls bring lots of tissue packets with you cause those toilets don’t have toilet paper).
Falling asleep was tough cause I was having cramps that day (lol sobs) and our seats were beside the bus door so everytime the bus door opened, warm air/sounds/ppl alighting could be easily heard. I eventually managed to fall into a deep coma in the winding roads on the way into Tanah Rata (close to Cameron) though hehe.
When I woke up, it was around 7am and we had arrived! A guy from Titiwangsa tours boarded the bus to offer tour packages. We signed up for the leisure tour and nature discovery tour (mt. brinchang, mossy forest walk, boh tea plantation), which was cheaper than that offered by the tour office at Strawberry park hotel. We transferred into a smaller mini van cause most people on the bus were heading to another hotel (not strawberry park).
Day 1: Leisure Tour (Lavender Farm, Rose Centre, Honey Bee Centre, Sam Poh Temple) Watercress Valley Restaurant, Brinchang Night Market
The reception staff were quite friendly and helpful in booking taxis, efficient in assigning rooms as well. However when it’s crowded I expect they won’t be that friendly lol. We didn’t arrive in a big group so the check-in process was pretty smooth.
We booked a studio suite room so it was quite spacious and new. There was a balcony but it overlooked the hotel lobby and car park lol. The bathroom was pretty huge too. Soap, towels, mineral water, boiler and tea packets were provided. My only gripe with the room was that towards the end of our stay, the toilet started to smell like sewage lol (weirdly, that happened in the Guangzhou room as well). Thank goodness we weren’t staying any longer than 3D2N lol.
Also, I really didn’t like bathing cause it was soooo cold in cameron (well it was like aircon temperature – 19 degrees? but you know how much i don’t like the cold…yet i ironically miss being in the cold now sobs), esp during night time.
The tour we booked for was at 2.45pm and we checked-in at around 10+am, so we had quite some time to spare. We were also quite hungry lol so we decided to pay additional money to eat the breakfast buffet in the hotel (i rmb it was quite pricey, but would’ve cost as much as getting a cab down to town to eat and back up the hotel), since we only had 2x complimentary breakfast for 3 days. ;_ ; (cause it’s assumed we’d arrive in the afternoon)
Went back to the hotel and napped/chilled for awhile before heading down to the hotel lobby to be picked up by the tour guide! The entire group consistent of just this hugeeee extended family and us, lol. Was kinda awkward cause they were mostly old aunties and uncles hahaha while we were like teenagers.
Nostalgia cause just a year ago I visited plenty of lavendar farms in Furano, Hokkaido and ate lavendar ice cream there too. The lavendar ice cream here was too sweet and strong, like they added artificial lavendar fragrance into it lol. It was still cheap and good though. The ice cream melted quite fast even though it was supposed to be cold up in the mountains. #globalwarming D:
Was initially apprehensive about entering cause we had to pay additional $$, but eventually did since we were there anyway. There was a long flight of stairs leading to the highest part of the garden where you could see mountains and other buildings higher up in Cameron. Some of the roses smelled really nice too!
Honey Bee Centre:
This place was kind of run down, but we walked around amidst the bees…and I think mitch got stung by one hahahaha lol. We bought honey sticks which tasted gr8 and were super convenient to eat on the go (except i need someone to help me cut it open first)!
Sam Poh Temple:
Our last stop in the chapalang tour. The temple was quite big and reminded me of the one in Toa Payoh in Singapore (except the TPY one looks nicer heh). It was quite high up so you’d have a nice view of the area as well.
We were then brought back to our hotel after. Booked a cab for 2hours (actually it’s minimum 3hours) via the hotel to bring us to Watercress Valley Restaurant, followed by Brinchang Night Market, and finally back to the hotel.
Watercress Valley Restaurant:
I didn’t have high expectations of this place and was quite against going there cause of the poor reviews I read about the place. But Mitch had a striking memory of a younger him overlooking a wide and vast valley while having steamboat with his family, and when we went to google about valleys in cameron, we came upon this place. So we decided to check it out and see whether this was the place from his memories! (he still isn’t sure whether it’s the place. but he says it probably is)
It was pitch dark when we reached there and we were one of the only few people there. The charcoal steamboat came in a standard package (choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian) and we could add on ingredients if we wanted to, but there’s no need for that cause the ingredients were plentiful and pretty filling. The owner told us their soup has no preservatives or MSG, and it did taste really healthy. We also ordered a luo han guo + watercress drink. I was skeptical on that combination at first lol but it tasted really unique and refreshing.
This was surprisingly one of the best steamboat experiences I’ve had. We both felt so blissful eating in the darkness, with a few lamps here and there. Slurping on steaming hot food cooked in healthy watercress soup amidst the freezing cold in our own little corner of the restaurant. :’D that’s probably the embodiment of bliss. I feel happy just trying to describe it. I’d definitely go back there again if I were to head to Cameron.
The toilet at the restaurant was reallyyyyyyyyyyyyy sketchy though. It was located in a far out corner, and the cubicles all had problems. One was spoilt, the other did not have lighting so it was pitch dark inside, and the last one had a spoilt lock. I chose the one with the spoilt lock lol cause I wouldn’t wanna risk not seeing and I was in a very secluded area. Luckily nothing happened lol and I went back to the table to continue our meal!
The owner told us the price in like cantonese and even though I’m cantonese, I barely know the language hahaha. The other staff also spoke in malay and I had to use my 6-week knowledge of bahasa indonesian to try to grasp at the meaning lol. Anyway, it only cost about RM70+ in the end, which translates to around $10+ SGD per pax! Super duper worth. it. *- *
Brinchang Night Market:
It was basically a huge pasar malam! There were plenty of stalls selling vegetables and fruits. Although we were super full from the steamboat, we bought some stuff like fried prawns, chocolate-covered strawberries, grilled corn (!!!!!) and sea coconut drink amongst others.
I really really really loved the grilled corn…it was soooo sweet and juicy (albeit difficult to eat…I brought it back to the hotel to eat!) eating something hot in the cold weather feels so great *- *… I also rly liked the refreshing sea coconut drink and chocolate strawberries!
Oh. At night, we heard a cat meowing at the balcony and I wanted to let it in (although mitch was a little unwilling cause of health/disease concerns) cause it was cold outside…also tried feeding it some biscuits (??) but it didn’t eat it, so I just gave it some water…which it did drink! At least I was of some help +_ + it didn’t enter the room and left after a long while 😦
Ended our night happily and watched some disney dog movie while falling asleep!