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Malaysia forum

Which Highlands to visit? and where to hike?

Posted by itinerantlondoner on 9/1/2013 at 15:29

Hello! I'm going to be in peninsular Malaysia for 7-10 days at the end of March. I'm planning to see KL, Penang & Melacca, but I also want to get out of the cities and see the Highlands.

I've heard a lot about the Cameron Highlands - but is it too busy and touristy? How does it compare to the Genting Highlands & Fraser's Hill? I'd be looking for somewhere to chill out for a couple of days, with some walking and nice views - would they all fit the bill?

I'm also keen on some more strenuous hiking - are any of these three destinations good for that, or would I be better heading to one of the national parks?

(I know Borneo is probably best for hiking but I'd rather save that for another trip).


#1 itinerantlondoner has been a member since 2/11/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by rawjer on 9/1/2013 at 20:24

I researched this same topic and as of right now I've been in the Cameron Highlands for 5 days, probably staying for a few weeks. My understanding is that Genting Highlands is dominated by the huge casino hotels, and Fraser's Hill is a bit small, though probably nice.

It appears that maybe 90% of the tourism to the Cameron Highlands is Malay people popping up for the weekend just to cool off and relax. So during the week it's pleasantly quiet, and hotels are really cheap. I have seen a few small groups of Western backpacker types, and most people here seem to speak some or a lot of English, so it's welcoming and a bit exotic too.

There are two main tourist towns here that you'll be choosing from. Brinchang (where I'm staying now) has more cheap hotels plus about 15 restaurants (all Chinese except for 2 Indian and 1 KFC). The other town is Tanah Rata, about 5 KM away, with only a couple of cheaper hotels plus more diversity in its restaurants including a Starbucks.

There are 10 marked hiking trails in the area, mostly leaving from Tanah Rata, ranging from easy to long and steep in places. So it really is fantastic for hiking and scenery, especially considering the mild weather.

One thing that has surprised me so far is that the weather forecast makes it looks like it's always raining here, yet I think there have only been a few quick showers in the 5 days I've been here. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I suspect that rainfall isn't as much of an issue here as the forecast would have you believe.

#2 rawjer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 104
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Posted by alfredm on 10/1/2013 at 01:05

CH are ok (and forget about Genting), but there is also another option, which is much, much more interesting. Consider visiting the Kelabit Highlands in central Borneo:

Access via Miri (fly KL-Miri and Miri-Bario). Very remote, peaceful, beautiful landscapes, few tourists, great trekking.

#3 alfredm has been a member since 6/1/2013. Posts: 11

Posted by azmilsyahmi on 10/1/2013 at 05:21

I would avoid Cameron Highlands cause its getting too delevoped now. Its not even cold now. There are alot of large buidings now. Not when I was there 8 years ago. Avoid also Genting its worst. I would suggest Fraser Hill or even our Taman Negara

#4 azmilsyahmi has been a member since 17/9/2012. Posts: 6

Posted by itinerantlondoner on 10/1/2013 at 06:24

Thanks everyone. I've just found out I'll be there during Malaysian school holidays (end of March) which makes me worry it'll be massively overcrowded in the Cameron Highlands, so I think maybe I'll give that a miss - can anyone confirm that's likely to be the case?

alfredm - thank you, that sounds like a lovely suggestion, but as I mentioned, I'm saving Borneo for another trip.

azmilsyahmi - Fraser Hill or Taman Negara sound more promising, I shall definitely look into them, thanks.

#5 itinerantlondoner has been a member since 2/11/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by antoniamitchell on 29/1/2013 at 15:47

Hi Londoner,

Just to add my 2 pence, I spent 4 days in the Cameron Highlands and felt that there's two sides to the place. The towns and the attractions (along the main roads) are quite crowded and developed. But leave the main road, and within 15 minute's walk it's like you're in another world - and a much lovelier world.

Truthfully, I found the main roads and the scenery that's visible from the main roads to be quite ugly, but once I started walking out into the back roads through the tea plantations, it was beautiful. I also took a great guided hike through very rough terrain to see the rafflesia (and the rain had definitely been falling - I've never been so muddy in my life). So yes, the Cameron Highlands can be great - but you have to go looking for the good bits.

Haven't been to any of the other highlands, so I'm afraid I can't compare. And I should add that I was there in January, so probably a quieter time than the local school holidays.

Have fun, and please let us know which one you end up visiting and how it worked out for you.

#6 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 541
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Posted by tyler on 29/1/2013 at 17:27

I'd have to agree with antoniamitchell. I spent a little over a week a couple of years ago. The best strawberry ice cream I have ever had!
The towns, themselves, are not overly appealing - have a few fantastic Indian restaurants and a great foot massage place. The countryside is wonderful. My friend had a LP and the hiking trails in them were fun to follow. There was about 8 or so (3 years ago) that turned out to be great hikes, differing in duration and difficulty. The 'marked' trails weren't well marked at all so the map was useful.
I enjoyed my time there - much cooler than the rest of Malaysia. Check out the 'Mossy' forest if you have time.

#7 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257
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