The Cameron Highlands form Malaysia’s most iconic landscapes. Mile after mile of rolling hills covered with impossibly-green tea plantations. Towns with a strong British influence in their afternoon-tea culture. Refreshingly cool temperatures. Great food and hill-station vibes to match. It doesn’t get much better than this. There are plenty of things to do in the Cameron Highlands to keep you occupied for days on end.
Tanah Rata is the biggest town and most popular base in the area. It can feel touristy and crowded in high season, but it offers easy access to the activities covered in this post. It also has the best range of guesthouses and restaurants.
Ready to start exploring? Read on for the top 10 things to do in the Cameron Highlands!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you, which helps me keep this site up and running.
- 1 1. Visit a tea plantation
- 2 2. Check out a bee farm and learn about these essential pollinators
- 3 3. Pick your own strawberries
- 4 4. Go for a hike
- 5 5. Check out the temples
- 6 6. Have tea and scones at a classy cafe
- 7 7. Stay at a cozy mountain lodge or hostel
- 8 8. Check out a butterfly farm
- 9 9. Walk to a waterfall
- 10 10. Eat fantastic Indian food and steamboat
- 11 Transportation to these things to do in the Cameron Highlands
1. Visit a tea plantation
It should be no surprise that visiting a tea plantation tops the list of things to do in the Cameron Highlands. After all, tea is what this region is all about!
The best tea plantation for both the educational experience and the views is the Boh Tea Estate. The cafe overlooks hills covered with tea leaves, workers harvesting, and stunning mountains all around. The baked goods are the definition of perfection. And the half-hour factory tours describing the tea production process are fascinating.
Boh is not the easiest tea plantation to get to. You’ll have to take a local bus headed toward Kampung Raja, and hop off at the entrance to Gunung Brinchang (it’s clearly signed, but tell the driver where you’re going). Then you’ll need to walk the last 4 km uphill. During high season, shuttles occasionally ply this route. Leave no later than 3:30 pm to ensure you can get back to Tanah Rata.
More accessible, but less amazing, is Bharat Tea Plantation. It still offers great views over the highlands. But the cafe is definitely a step down from Boh. Go early in the day or they could be totally out of baked goods. You can get here in about an hour’s walk from Tanah Rata — head southwest on the main road.
2. Check out a bee farm and learn about these essential pollinators
The Highlands are a major honey-producing region, and you’ll see honey products for sale everywhere. So why not learn a bit more about how honey is made?
The best place to see the region’s famous honey bees is the Ee Feng Gu Honey Bee Farm. It has a huge garden area with lots of beautiful flowers, where you can watch the bees work. You can also visit a small museum explaining the process. Of course, they also sell honey and strawberry products and flowers.
You can reach the farm on foot in about two hours from Tanah Rata, heading northeast from the town center. The road passes many of the other major attractions in the area, so you can make a day of it by stringing them together. If you get tired, local buses go up and down the main road all day.
3. Pick your own strawberries
Strawberry tarts. Strawberry smoothies. Strawberry cakes. Strawberries and cream. You can eat any version of strawberries you can imagine in the Cameron Highlands.
But if you’re after the fruits themselves in healthier form, the best way to do it is picking your own strawberries at Raaju’s Hill Strawberry Farm. It costs 30 ringgits for two people. The farm is in a pretty valley with gorgeous mountain views — go early in the morning or in late afternoon.
The strawberry farm is just a short walk away from the bee farm, so it’s easy to combine a visit to both. Alternatively, Healthy Strawberry Farm is closer to Tanah Rata and has similar offerings. Either way, eating your body weight in strawberries is a great change of pace from Malaysia’s tropical fruit bounty, and one of the most important things to do in the Cameron Highlands.
4. Go for a hike
Hiking through the misty hills and tea plantations is one of the most popular things to do in the Cameron Highlands. You can pick up a map for 1-3 ringgits in Tanah Rata. The trails are numbered, but most routes involve linking up a few different ones. Signposts once you set off are very uncommon.
The best balance of difficulty, great views, and safety is Trail 10 — a moderate walk starting in central Tanah Rata. It takes you 3 km to one of the highlands’ best viewpoints before looping back to the town. Trails 5 and 8 are well-suited to more experienced hikers looking for a challenge.
For more information about Cameron Highlands hiking trails, including detailed descriptions of routes and what you should expect to see, check out this guide.
Be forewarned — these trails aren’t for the faint of heart. Even with a map, they’re hard to find and easy to get lost on. Furthermore, assaults and robberies have been reported on several of the trails. At a minimum, you should hike with friends, but better yet, book a guide through your accommodation. Keep in mind that flash rainstorms are common and it gets dark at 5 pm.
5. Check out the temples
The highlight of the Cameron Highlands for culture vultures is the elaborately decorated Sam Poh Temple. This Chinese-style temple is among Malaysia’s largest, and is ornately decorated with tile work. It also contains impressive Buddhist statues and other iconography. Couple that with its pretty location in the mountains, and you can see how this would be one of the top things to do in the Cameron Highlands.
The temple is about an hour walk from Tanah Rata. You can reach it by following the main road to Brinchang, or along the hiking trails. If you want to go the hiking route, take a guide, as Trail 6 is nearly impossible to follow.
On your way back, stop at Sri Tehndayuthapany Swamy — a Tamil-style Hindu temple. It’s closer to the main road in Brinchang.
6. Have tea and scones at a classy cafe
This might be my favorite of all the things to do in the Cameron Highlands. Malaysia’s British colonial legacy means seriously delicious baked treats, and what better place to enjoy them than in the heart of tea country?
Tanah Rata has plenty of cafes with to-die-for strawberry scones. Order two, with strawberry jam, cream, and butter, and a pot of tea to go with them — pure heaven.
The best place in town to try tea and scones is Lord’s Cafe. It even has a book exchange, making it easy to spend an entire afternoon here. They also have great breakfasts. It’s on the main road in Tanah Rata.
7. Stay at a cozy mountain lodge or hostel
If there’s one thing the Cameron Highlands do well, it’s cozy guesthouses. Most places are family-run and have only a handful of rooms. Nice touches like wood decor, charming cafes, and balconies with tea plantation views add to the appeal.
Tanah Rata has two awesome places for budget travelers: Cameronian Inn and Father’s Guest House. Both offer a range of dorms and private rooms, along with extensive traveler amenities. Like most Cameron Highland hotel options, they both have hot water — essential in the chilly highlands climate.
Cameron Highlands hotels book up during high season and on weekends. This is one of the few places in Malaysia where you should reserve a room in advance.
8. Check out a butterfly farm
Right near the bee farm and strawberry farm up the hill from Tanah Rata, you’ll also find the Cameron Butterfly Farm. It’s a lovely greenhouse full of exotic tropical plants and insects. Spend half an hour walking around trying to identify the different species.
Like the other things to do in the Cameron Highlands, admission to the butterfly farm is free. You can buy the usual strawberry and honey goods at the gift shop.
9. Walk to a waterfall
Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular things to do in the Cameron Highlands is visit one of the nearby waterfalls. You have several options, depending on whether you want to hike or just walk.
The most beautiful waterfall in the area is Lata Iskandar. As one of the top Cameron Highlands attractions, it’s a nice place for a swim, but its remote location means you’ll need private transportation to reach it.
Robinson Falls is a more popular option, reached via the hiking trails from Tanah Rata. Be very careful on these trails or take a guide — reports of robbery and assault are disturbingly frequent. Alternatively, Parit Falls is an easy, 30-minute walk from central Tanah Rata. The most accessible Cameron Highlands waterfall is Thompson Waterfall, right in town — although it’s not very impressive.
10. Eat fantastic Indian food and steamboat
Tanah Rata is an unlikely foodie destination, touristy as it is. But you can get surprisingly good Indian curries, roti canai, and the ever-popular steamboat (also known as hot pot). They’re the perfect antidote to the chilly evening weather.
The quintessential place to try a steamboat is May Flower. For 25 ringgits per person, you get a vat of steaming broth along with anything you could possibly want to dunk in it (including jellyfish!). Go with a group.
Bunga Suria and Singh Chapati are the top Indian restaurants in town. They offer a huge variety of curries, biryani, and of course, mango lassi. Or for more of a budget option, head to the far northern end of town. Two competing roti stalls set up in the evenings and sell the typical Indian flatbread for 1-3 ringgits.
Transportation to these things to do in the Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Highlands are in the middle of Malaysia, not particularly convenient to anywhere else. Options for getting here are bus or tourist shuttle.
Tanah Rata has a long-distance bus station (at the northeastern end of town). Regular buses depart for Ipoh, the most convenient transit point to elsewhere in central and eastern Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands (and vice-versa) bus also leaves frequently. Occasional buses leave for Melaka, Penang and even Singapore as well. Buy your tickets a day in advance, or even sooner on weekends. Prices to Ipoh are 20 ringgits, or pay 35-40 for other destinations.
The alternative if you want to maximize your time for these things to do in the Cameron Highlands is to book a tourist shuttle. This is the best option if you’re heading directly to Taman Negara (85 ringgits) or the Perhentians (60 ringgits). You can also use shuttles to get to KL and Penang, but they’re unnecessarily expensive, as the bus is just as fast.
Once you reach Tanah Rata, the best way to explore the surrounding area is on foot or with your own two wheels. You can rent motorbikes from most guesthouses in town. Alternatively, slow local buses go up and down the main road all day until dark. Additionally, some travelers choose to hitchhike — but it’s not entirely safe and I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for solo women. You could also take a Cameron Highlands tour if you want to pack all your sightseeing into one day.
The Cameron Highlands are one of the best places to visit in Malaysia. Spend a few days here to cross these things off your bucket list and soak up the amazing mountain atmosphere — you won’t regret it!
Are you a fan of strawberry scones and tea culture? Where have you had the best ones? Leave a comment and tell me!
Like this post? Pin it!