Taiping, İpoh, Cameron Highlands – Evrim and Elif Yiğit Tour Journals, October 24, 2011
Greetings from Cameron Highlands
We had enough of George Town I guess, even if it’s a quite beautiful place, since we don’t want to get used to be very comfortable and see different places, we had a one day break over there and proceeded on our way. Our aim was Cameron Highlands, which we heard to be one of the most pleasant places of this area. We decided to come to Ipoh to get there in the first place. Ipoh was in a two days of distance and when we arrived here, we decided to stay for a day to gather strength and after that to climb to Cameron Highlands. For the Cameron climb, we had to reach an altitude of 1700m. Which was the toughest climb of our tour.
We stick to our plan and come to Taiping in the first place. Lately it started to rain every afternoon. So we tried to get on the road early and reach the towns soon. But since reaching Taiping lasted longer than we predicted, we got caught by the rain again and had to drive under the rain fall. You stop concerning about it once you get wet. After we got wet all over, we rode as if we didn’t get wet at all and proceeded on our way with pleasure and reached the town. As we were looking for an hotel, it was still raining. We had to stop by 5-6 hotels there. Since it had been the beginning a holiday, Malaysia people went on vacation and no available places could be found in some hotels. We settled down to a hotel which was ran by people we thought were quite sympathetic and we immediately prepared to eat at the biggest dining place we’ve ever seen. While we were eating, it was still raining. Hoping that it won’t last till the morning, we got back to the hotel and rested for the next day.
It was sunny in the morning. Here a day that starts sunny prepares a rainy final for you. That day wasn’t any different. But lucky for us we completed our journey under a light, chilling rain. Ipoh, the second town is quite big. I myself would’ve preferred to stay somewhere else for two nights and have rested there. In the evening, we drink Tom Yam soup which’s a Thai food and next morning we spend some time to do some maintenance of our bikes. The only last thing we should do is to prepare ourselves for the long climb we’ll struggle tomorrow.
Cameron Highlands is at a little higher altitude than 1600m. Our start point Ipoh is just at 200m. The first 15km of the road is on Kuala Lumpur main road and it’s flat, but beginning from the left turn towards your way to the uphill, you encounter a soft ascent. We stop at the junction and have a breakfast with lots of rice as we think that it was the last place we could find on our way. Then we start the climbing before losing too much time. Road keeps on with a soft slope and you need the lowest gear very rarely. You can encounter some places that you can drink water time to time. But it’s not very often so we pay attention to carry some water with us. Our luck is that the weather is cloudy and it seems as if it’s going to rain. Which diminishes our need for water. It would be quite harder for us to keep the same performance under a sunny weather and we’d need more water. Ascents last for 75km. Only during the last 20km the road has steep downhills and climbs. We only needed the lowest gears at that point. As we reach the top of the hills, we encounter some strawberry and flower counters. It’s possible to find the necessary food and beverages and you can get refreshed with some fruits. However a total of 90km is quite excessive for an ascent like this. Therefore, you don’t have too much time to lose and rest.
We decide to settle down to a small but cosy place. Tanah Rata. I guess this is the most touristy place on the road but it was nearly impossible to find a lodging at the other villages on our road. So this was the sole option for us. We find a nice Guest House and enjoy to shower with hot water after quite a long time. Coming down here, the last downhill and slightly drizzling rain made us feel so chilly that as I got down from my bike in the city, I felt that I was shivering. I guess we’ll have to take long-sleeves for the descent tomorrow. Cold weather seems to be affecting us until 500-600m altitude.
Here it’s an ideal place for trekking, to wander around tea fields and flower gardens and picking up strawberries. However if you come here by bike, you would only consider resting your legs, eating until you’re full and walking less. Besides even if you’re on the top of a hill, this village doesn’t make you feel that you’re on a mountain. As you have a look at the clouds around, you see how low they’re and they cannot go higher to cover you and because of this the sky above you is bright – or at nights it’s starlit, the clouds around try to surround you and wander around the hills which they couldn’t go beyond to the top of. The problem with the towns here is that they’re all formed along the road. A road proceeds straight and buildings are constructed to the both sides and that’s all. In such a formation, since it doesn’t adapt to the nature, no views can occur. In our villages, if the houses aren’t on a flat terrain, it either adapts to a hill or a similar natural formation and the buildings are placed according not to block others’ views, letting them to breathe. In such a formation, nature is in the foreground and if you don’t complain about walking on ascents, you can encounter a beautiful view while you wander around those villages or can distinguish all buildings and streets one by one. This place doesn’t have that kind of an opportunity. A boring formation and the buildings along the two sides of the road had made this place as enclosed as a fortress. That’s why I guess both of us will leave here without taking any pictures.
Tomorrow we’ll proceed through east. According to what they say, we won’t have any difficulties to find our direction. We’ll see about that tomorrow. But going down from this high, I’m sure we won’t ever get bored.
See you until the next town we’ll be able to find an internet connection
Some funny words of the language here;
Sup : soup
Ais Krim : ice cream