📸 — Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

We haven’t don’t much planning since Malaysia was initially just a stopover and not a country we anticipated exploring broadly on this trip. But word of mouth was that the Cameron Highlands is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city — and a lot of local tourists make their way out there for the weekend.

We caught a bus and the ride alone was incredible. Rolling hills/peaks of green tea leaves and the chance to catch up on all our favorite podcasts during the 5-hour ride.

Our stay felt a little too short, but Oli was excited to get back in the water as we were heading to the Perhentian Islands next for some scuba diving!

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Reclining, retro bus ride. Definitely gives you house remodelling ideas.

Food trends we’ve noticed in Malaysia. On the left, we have a coconut crepe treat called a surul appam which is so far our favorite dessert that is typically made fresh every morning. In the middle, we learned about the local phenomenon called McDonald’s VIP! We assume it just means you drive in a special line, or maybe your credit card is tied with your license plate…. but Maeghan was quite upset to not be VIP — and thinks she would totally have status in North America. Then on the right the most frequent chain we have seen. No matter where we go…. even in the tiniest of towns… we’ve been able to find Starbucks.

We still head to the street food for the best selection.

We did a hike with Cameron Secrets with our guide Jason and it was really incredible. We both watched the TV series “one strange rock” on Netflix which covers the crazy complexities of our world down to the tiniest of microorganisms. Maeghan then started reading The Sixth Extinction and learning about how the world has developed and changed. This hike was so timely in the sense that Jason covered some similar and really interesting topics that also taught us a lot!

Our guide Jason explaining the biodiversity of the Cameron Valley plant life.

Deforestation is a big problem in Malaysia. One perspective Jason shared was that there are tigers that live in these forests, and when you cut them down to be small pockets of land, the tigers have less to eat, are more easily tracked/hunted, and have a higher risk of inbreeding making their offspring become weak and sick.

This perfect little friend.
Break one.
This man hiked up with his dog (as he does every day) to catch butterflies and take pictures of them. He told Maeghan he would protect her from the butterflies and laughed at her when he learned that she is not a fan of them.

After the few hours ascent, we began our decent on the jungle side of the mountain where the estimated number of tree species was in the thousands.

Cool thought: If you were to plant an apple tree in the middle of a rainforest, it would have to be a REALLY tough tree to survive as the jungle is always fighting for dominance and the weak don’t survive. So as you walk through a forest or jungle… keep in mind that every tree fought to keep it’s space there.

Land coral, it has the same DNA make of coral from the sea but grows in the forest.

Towards the last few hours of the hike, it got pretty tactful. Climbing over tree limbs and roots while trying to keep your balance on the uneven ground.

As we finished the hike, we made our way to the famous tea fields of Cameron Valley. They are well known for their premium green and black tea as well as their premium white tea.

Looks like photoshop — but he was really there!
Everyone is so friendly here, smiling and waving hello as you pass.
This land used to be owned by a British family, but after WWII most europeans left and sold the land for next to nothing. A local Malay family owns the tea fields now are famous for their products.

A local chai tea with condensed milk = delicious!

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