No visit to Cameron Highlands would be complete without a visit to the tea plantations of Cameron Valley and of Sg Palas. One belong to the Bharat family while the other is a member of the ‘BOH’ stable.
The tea plantations and the strawberry farms, that is.
I must admit, I was pretty excited at the prospect of visiting Cameron Valley and Sg Palas, and seeing, at close quarters, the very tea plantations that I have read and heard a lot of.
Furthermore, it’s not everyday that you can visit tea plantations especially when these tea plantations are mainly located up in the highlands.
We actually visited the Cameron Valley twice.
The first visit was when we were making our way to check in our hotel at Tanah Rata and upon noticing that we had more than enough time to make it to Tanah Rata, we stopped by Cameron Valley.
Parking was not that easy as the parking lot by the entrance was quite limited. Well, we thought that entrance was the main entrance, only to learn later that the main entrance was further up the road.
Alighting from the car, the air was cool and there was a very light drizzle.
Walking around past the entrance, amongst the facilities were a cafeteria (with a view of hills of Cameron Valley entirely covered with tea shrubs, and you know what that means!), rest rooms (served with fresh ice-cold water!) and at the ready for visitors were transportation to the very bosom of the plantation.
But we were not that lucky as all available spaces on the remaining available transportation have all been booked up by the earlier visitors. We would have loved to be able to get a ride down to the very bosom of the tea plantation, which from where we were viewing, offers a hint of a small mini waterfall. Or so we thought.
Anyway, to drown our sorrow in missing out on the transportation, we made our way to the cafeteria with a viewing area, to take in the scenery, enjoy the cool air (made cooler by the slight drizzle) and comfort ourselves with a pot of hot tea (made from the very tea leaves of Cameron Valley, processed of course) as well as scones with butter and jam. Strawberry that is.
Some comforting that. Cameron’s finest, as they use to say.
And after all the scones were gone and the tea savoured, we continued with our journey to Tanah Rata to check in the hotel that we have booked for the duration of our little Cameron Highland adventure.
But not before deciding to make a second trip to Cameron Valley the following day, to try to grab a ride down Cameron Valley and get to that little mini ‘waterfall’.
The next day, after our planned excursion to MARDI’s Research Station, we followed up on our planned follow-up trip to Cameron Valley.
As luck would have it, no luck still with the transportation to the bosom of the plantation. On the spur of the moment, we decided to walk down to the very spot that we were fixated on. I mean, we were fit and the air is fresh and a walk in a tea plantation can’t be that bad.
Or so we thought.
The walk down was as what we expected. We also noticed rest stations, made up of stools and round table made of marble or concrete.
The air was fresh, and the bright sunlight made the walk down to the bosom of the plantation pleasant. We went to the object of our trip down and to say it was a mini ‘waterfall’ would not be a correct usage of the word ‘mini’, never mind ‘waterfall’.
But still, we enjoyed the view and before long, made our way back to the viewing area. Remember that we said that the walk down can’t be that bad? Yes, it was not bad at all. Pleasant actually. But the way back was something else entirely.
On the way back up, suddenly the presence of the rest stations made sense. It was an excruciatingly painful experience, walking all the way back up.
The air may be fresh but since we were up in the highlands, the air was also thinner. And suddenly age was no more a number but a reality and our respect for the tea pickers immediately knew no bounds.
Making our back to the hotel, we reflected on our visits to Cameron Valley. It was a very pleasant and enriching experience, seeing where one of Man’s favourite and popular beverages originated from, the ‘walk’ up back to the viewing area notwithstanding.
Would not mind coming back here, whenever the opportunity presents itself. It’s rather contenting, having hot tea and scones, and at the same time, take in the view that is Cameron Valley.
And content is the word.