We decided to stay in Malaysia for the weekend before flying to our intended destination which was Laos. I and my companions have already explored Kuala Lumpur in the past so we discussed where to stay. I originally wanted to explore Melaka but Jayvee has already been there. It was Jayvee who suggested going to Cameron Highlands because she wanted to see the tea plantations there. A quick Google search about Cameron Highlands had all of us agreeing immediately. LOL.
Jayvee and Karla have appeared on my blog so many times. However, it was my first time traveling with Myr. This trip became so much more fun and unforgettable because they were with me. I couldn’t count how many times I laughed until my belly ached because of them. I am so happy to have kaladkarin friends like them and who are on the same wavelength as I 🙂
The Flight: Cebu Pacific
We could easily have skipped the trip to Cameron Highlands and went straight to Laos if not for the fact that we were flying with Cebu Pacific. This airline is notorious for its delayed flights and we didn’t want to risk missing our flight to Laos in the early morning if we flew to Kuala Lumpur at midnight on the same day.
Surprisingly, our flight wasn’t delayed even though it was one of the last flights to leave NAIA Terminal 3. We arrived past midnight in Kuala Lumpur and decided to wait there until early morning to go straight to Cameron Highlands. It was easy enough to find seats and catch some sleep at the airport.
How to go to Cameron Highlands
Commuting to Cameron Highlands from KLIA 2 was so easy. I was impressed with the transportation system in Kuala Lumpur. Just before exiting KLIA 2, we found ticket counters for shuttle buses bound for different places in Kuala Lumpur. We just approached one of the ticket counters and asked for tickets to TBS-BTS.
Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS): Kuala Lumpur’s Central Bus TerminalThe Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) is the central bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur. It is connected to Bandar Tasik Selatan (TBS) train station, hence the name TBS-BTS. A faster option to go to TBS would be via the KLIA Ekpres. We chose the bus because it was way cheaper and we weren’t in a hurry. We arrived at TBS in under 1 hour.
I was amazed once I arrived at TBS. It looked like an airport terminal. We bought tickets in just under 5 minutes because they had a centralized ticketing system. This meant that we could go to any counter and just tell the agent where we were going. The agent just pulled up all the buses and the scheduled departures going to Cameron Highlands and we chose our preferred time or bus company.
The tickets indicated our gate number where we would wait for our bus to arrive. The screen on our assigned gate indicated that we were ready for boarding 10 minutes before our departure and another agent arrived to scan our tickets. Everything was so efficient and new to me that it got me wishing that we had the same system in Manila.
I was asleep for most of the trip, but woke up when we were traversing the zigzag roads going up to Cameron Highlands. I have to mention that our driver was so careful and didn’t go over the speed limit while driving.
It took around 4 hours with 2 stopovers to arrive in Cameron Highlands. We alighted at the bus terminal, immediately looked for lunch, and went to find our guesthouse which was walking distance away from the town.
Our Accommodation: Mentigi Guesthouse
Our guesthouse was really walking distance away from the town, but what we didn’t know was that it was an uphill walk. LOL. They provided free shuttle to and from the terminal, but their shuttle wasn’t there when we arrived and I forgot to inform the guesthouse our estimated time of arrival. So we decided to walk.
We chose Mentigi Guesthouse because it was the cheapest guesthouse with good reviews in Agoda. I didn’t notice that there was no air conditioning when I booked, but it wasn’t really a concern when we were finally able to feel the cold weather of Cameron Highlands. It also helped that Allaine and Ver who took turns manning the reception area were Filipino. They were so friendly with all the guests and we felt at home because of them.
We reserved the room that could accommodate 4 people and it was more than enough for us. My favorite part was the bed and the blankets. It was so hard to leave their warmth every morning when confronted with the cold and rainy weather. LOL.
Our room had a veranda, coffee making facilities, hair dryer and a water heater in the bathroom – all of which, we thoroughly enjoyed.
Breakfast wasn’t included in the room, but there were snacks for sale at the reception.
Day 1: Night Market
We arrived in Cameron Highlands around noon. Our original plan was to drop our bags at the guesthouse and immediately explore the town of Tanah Rata. The rain made that impossible since we were only planning to walk around the town. So we napped the afternoon away until it was time to leave for the Night Market.
The Night Market or locally called “Pasar Malam” is a famous tourist attraction in Cameron Highlands. The bazaar only takes place on weekends and during holidays. There is a wide array of products sold here: native products, food, merchandise, vegetables, plants and souvenirs. It was a 10-15 minute drive away from Mentigi Guesthouse. There is no public transportation in Cameron Highlands so taxis are always the answer when you want to go somewhere.
There were only a few people when we arrived at the Night Market because it was still raining. Luckily, we had umbrellas and raincoats with us. We had the best time trying out all the local foods there. Our favorite find was a stick of strawberries already coated in hardened chocolate. The first bite of chocolate and the juice suddenly oozing from the strawberry was heavenly.
We wanted to explore more but the rains were getting heavier and we were getting wetter despite our umbrella and raincoats. We decided to go back to the guesthouse and rest because we had an early start the next day. Continue reading