One of the things we knew we wanted to do in the Cameron Highlands was hiking. We quickly found a tour group with good ratings called Eco Cameron Tours and after looking at their options settled for their most popular half day tour: “The Mossy Forest” tour. Which we booked on their website by filling out a form.
The Mossy Forest tour started early and we were picked up in a Land Rover at the butterfly farm where our taxi had dropped off about an hour earlier. The previous evening we’d been told by our taxi driver (we were staying too far away to be picked up, but the tour does do pick ups at hotels/hostels) that you need a Land Rover or a type of four wheel drive to get to the trail head which is why taxi’s can’t take you and why you should do a tour.
Our tour started at BOH (Best of Highlands) tea plantation for photos and a lesson on tea. This included a conversation about how some cheap tea bags are made only from tea dust and that instead we should buy loose leaf tea if we don’t want swept up tea dust, but the shop later in our tour offered triangle tea bags, where you can see that there are actually tea leaves in them and the staff seemed a little frustrated when we asked about loose leaf tea which they did not carry. We also learned why if you order tea in Malaysia it will come with milk and sugar automatically. It’s called Teh tarik and if you don’t want sugar or milk you’ll have to request it not be added.
Despite that however it was really interesting to learn about the history of the company and the Highlands. The company was created by a man named J.A. Russel who was British and his family still owns the company today. Our guide also explained the difference’s in picking, how by hand picking tea you get much better quality but it takes a long time and picker’s aren’t necessarily paid well and how most companies have moved on to using machines that can’t filter out bad leaves and you just get everything and it’s much faster… but they’re still not paid very well.
After the tea lesson we returned to the Land Rover to get to the trail head. The road was windy and bumpy and as a person holding on in the back, trying not to slam into fellow tourists/strangers, it was a bit uncomfortable but I guess a good ice breaker. At the small parking area full of Land Rovers and trucks our guide lead us back down a little ways on the road we had just taken and explained what different plants were as well as show us some of the moss which is why it’s been given the new name of “Mossy Forest” which is a type of cloud forest or water forest. We were told that due to tourist activity and destruction that a large portion of the forest is closed off to foot traffic but when later talking to another tourist we had met previously and ran into again later her group had been told it was closed due to landslides. (Her tour also didn’t include any information about the plants.) After our walk along the road with our guide he took us back to the trail head and off we went.
The trail is easy, it’s mostly just a wooden walk way built through part of the forest that ends at (while we visited) a closed off muddy section that you need a permit in order to enter. There’s some spots for beautiful views, like a look out tower that gets a bit crowded and various little areas in which to take a seat and rest. These would probably be great during the many times it rains, however we were lucky and it didn’t rain the entire time.
There’s also a section before the mud where you have an option of going left or right. This essentially is a circle and both will lead you to the other. When you meet this fork in the road I suggest going right since this is a steep set of stairs and going down was easier and less exhausting then going up it. This was pretty much the extent to the cardio we got on our trip.
We didn’t really need bug spray despite spraying ourselves with it. We also wore shorts which was fine since there wasn’t much concern about bugs, though there is always the possibility of poisonous snakes. The only thing we really needed was some sunscreen and a hat. (I’m pale and burn easy and just the short time we were out in sunny spots made me turn a light pink) Honestly we were a bit over prepared and ready for an intense hike. Maybe during other seasons other trails are open but the trail we were on was relatively easy. A couple with us even went with a baby strapped to them and at the end were disappointed with how easy it was and planned to do a different trail afterwards that was more intense.
After coming out the way we’d gone in we met our guide who was chilling next to the Land Rover and he drove us to the Boh Plantation to take a tour of the factory which we did as a group without our guide. We read the signs and followed the floor directions, stopping to watch people work. After the tour we wandered around the History of BOH area that led out into the gift shop. At the gift shop I bought some instant tea and some pyramid tea bags of the kind our guide had suggested. Then we went to the BOH cafe and I ordered a 3 in 1 hot Caramel tea for 3.68RM, a coconut tart for 5RM, and an oreo belgian cheese cake that we didn’t get a chance to eat until much later in the evening at which point it was a crushed mess. (12.55RM) There is also a bathroom in this area, with one western style toilet but also soap and ways to dry your hands.
At the end of our tour our guide dropped everyone off some place different on the way back into town, as long as it was on the way he didn’t mind not returning people to their hostels/hotels. We were dropped off at the butterfly farm.
Suggested packing for Eco Cameron tour:
- good walking shoes (waterproof if it’s raining or may rain)
- water bottle
- poncho or rain jacket
- camera for photos
- money for BOH souvenirs/snacks if you want to buy them
- snacks (do not eat in the mossy forest)