Cameron Highlands Where Are You?

wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago | 9 min read


Cameron Highlands is a place that sparks a creative force in many people. Nature affects everyone differently, and that is something worth celebrating. Waking up with a sight of a lush forest topped with the morning mist instantly makes me take a deep breath of fresh air. Mornings in Cameron Highlands are unique for two reasons. First is the bird's singing which helps me jump out of bed. Secondly, mornings get the most sun. With or without the sun the high altitude is accountable for the eternal spring.

boh tea plantation
boh tea plantation

Boh tea plantation is the largest black tea manufacturer in Malaysia with a long history and beautiful plantations.

Jim Thompson

In the past, these hills become a second home for British colonialists, whose spirit is still present. Maybe at first, the weather eased the longing for home, but later I'm sure it was the generous nature that people didn't want to leave behind. No wonder Jim Thompson (Thai silk mogul born in America) kept returning to this magical place, full of freshwater streams and unique ecosystem. When we went on a hike with Mr. Madi, he took us close to Jim Thompson’s holiday home.

house in the forest
house in the forest

Jim Thompson's summer residence in Cameron Highlands used to have numerous roses around the property. Now, most of the garden will become a hotel.

Demolition of Cameron Highlands

Sadly even this historical site is destroyed by human hand, just like everything else in Cameron Highlands! Plastic greenhouses are replacing once majestic rain forest and animals living once there. I am not kidding! Seeing a bigger animal than a squirrel in this area is a rarity. You can visit a bee farm or butterfly farm instead. Probably last examples here around.

jungle canopy
jungle canopy

This was the only decent canopy view without plastic greenhouses here in Cameron Highlands.

Mossy Forest

Ok, there is still the Mossy Forest with decent canopy view and few jungle trails that we hiked. A must see in Cameron Highlands for me is beyond doubt the Mossy Forest, which is just that – mossy. Moss on the bark reaches up to the canopy and the tree's roots are spectacular. Given the humidity, it is only fair to expect mud, loads of it to be precise.

beautiful forest in Malaysia
beautiful forest in Malaysia

I wouldn't be able to imagine this forest in my wildest dreams.

For that reason, there are a few water barrels in the forest so hikers can clean their feet before reaching the car. I totally embraced the idea and went barefoot. Maybe you are thinking: "What?! That's just stupid! And with so many poisonous animals." Well, in my defense the forest path is well visible and stepping on the roots is fun.

Mossy bark in the mossy forest
Mossy bark in the mossy forest

The thick moss is like a carpet, but despite the temptation, it is better to stick with the path than destroy it by stepping on it.

If that doesn't ease your concern, I can calm you down that abundant wildlife is long gone. Consider yourself lucky if you see a mosquito. No is not that bad; people say that there are big leeches as well. I've seen three small needle-like leeches when we went to see a Rafflesia flower.

Mossy forest in Cameron Highlands looks like a movie scene
Mossy forest in Cameron Highlands looks like a movie scene

If the moss wasn't enough, the fog blew in from time to time and made the Mossy Forest incredibly mysterious.

Rafflesia Flower

That was the worst day ever! Not because of the leeches, they are still hungry, but because of our tour guide. It started when we were driving on a straight two-lane road with a handful of cars. I guess the road was boring and he didn't notice a dog laying on the road's edge. Did I mention it was straight, empty, one-way "highway"?

dirty feet
dirty feet

Not dirty enough! I've seen a few with mud reaching up to the knee.

Poor dog was screaming in pain and then our guide fixed the situation. Under the watchful tourist's eyes, he couldn't drive on as if nothing has happened. So he talked to guys and came back to calm us down. What he said was perfect for westerns: "I gave the native people some money and they will take the dog to the vet."

Is Rafflesia flower smelly flower
Is Rafflesia flower smelly flower

When a Rafflesia flower blooms, it smells of rotten meat to attract flies and beetles. This species doesn't have the most potent smell and it is less intense with each day.

The native people are Orang Asli and children that were present can't drive. After that, he killed a few small animals in the forest without even noticing it. What kind of a person he is, also explains the rapid aging of Rafflesia flower. When we made a reservation the Rafflesia was two days old, when he picked us up the following day it was already four days old.

Rafflesia
Rafflesia

The Rafflesia flower is still impressive, even when its intense red color fades away and white spots vanish.

When we reached the end of the road it was a day older and just before we saw the flower it magically become seven days old. That is an important fact for a flower that lasts only ten days, and which color and condition are more fragile than Christiano Ronaldo's feelings.

world's largest flower
world's largest flower

A trick to delay Rafflesia decay is to protect it from the sunlight.

Mr. Madi

When we were staying in Cameron Highlands Resort we have joined their jungle expedition with Mr. Madi. He is a passionate nature lover and he took us to the short jungle trail that he made all by himself. No pipeline for the path this time! Along the way, he explained to us about plants that we saw and about sweet water crabs.

cameron highlands tour guide
cameron highlands tour guide

This is Mr. Madi. He was our guide around Cameron Highlands.

Actually, the jungle here is not researched at all! Many unique species are indigenous to this place and are disappearing rapidly. Especially the freshwater animals, because no one thinks about them when dumping all kinds of trash all around the Cameron Highlands. Water and land pollution are terrifying because farmers care only about one thing – today's profit.

corpse lily or rafflesia in Malaysia
corpse lily or rafflesia in Malaysia

Rafflesia flower is endangered mostly due to the habitat loss. It's a shame that this 1m diameter bloom can vanish quickly. Maybe same as Cameron Highlands itself.

Can't Fight Against Corruption

Mr. Madi is aware of a problem but tired of his lifelong fight for a better, more sustainable future. It is the same as everywhere - people have zero respect for nature. The jungle path we were walking on is Madi's third jungle path. Last ones are now roads, farms or god knows what. Soon also the actual one will be replaced by the hotel.

Cameron Highlands attraction
Cameron Highlands attraction

Such lush greenery should be full of life right? It should! Plants get some animal company, but not even close to what I imagined.

He said that when this happens he will retire, he can't fight the system alone. It was difficult to see the markings in the middle of a jungle that showed where the bulldozer will rage in the following weeks.

mossy forest Cameron Highlands
mossy forest Cameron Highlands

The Mossy Forest here in Cameron Highlands is home to some of the exotic floras on earth, like the Pitcher plant, Orchids, Primitive Ferns, Spices and Medicinal Plants.

Hotels for Who?

It amazes me that people here still keep building new hotels, even when existing ones are empty. My logic is different, and for me, this place is just sad. All around Cameron Highlands it is possible to grow such diverse plants like are rosemary, strawberries, aloe vera, and eucalyptus at the same time. That is a blessing and a curse at the same time if no respect is present.

forest roots
forest roots

It was a joy to feel the firm roots underneath my bare feet!

Cameron Highlands is the biggest producer of vegetables for Malaysian and Singaporean market. It is an area that feeds the crowds and brings flowers to the table. If only it would be done with some gratitude and style. The massive plastic greenhouses everywhere surely aren't the prettiest thing in the world. Especially not when they're on such a mass scale and possibly illegal. No one cares, as long as it brings money, right? If you have the money you can bring down the hill and forget about the landslides, it is that easy.

forest flower trail
forest flower trail

I can't get lost. The flowers will show me the way. If the plan fails I'll stop at the first farm for instructions.

Tourism 0: Agriculture 1

Anyway, here in Cameron Highlands people are doing two things – tourism and agriculture. It looks like they have focused more on agriculture and tourism is going down. Hotels are empty and most of the visitors are locals, who are happy to see bee farm or lavender farm without lavenders. This year was the worse year for tourism here in Cameron Highlands.

mossy trees
mossy trees

Is it real?

girl in forest
girl in forest

Oh mighty tree, I'm sorry for what happened to your cousins!

To be honest it's not surprising. Nature is the only tourist attraction in Cameron Highlands and it is disappearing rapidly. My diary has nice photography. However, Ian on the other side is more realistic, so for a real picture of this place, check his diary. Spoiler: it might break your heart if you are a normal human being.

monkey cup
monkey cup

Monkey cup is a carnivorous plant, that holds water well. That well that monkeys sometimes drink from it.



Posted from my blog with SteemPress : https://wnfdiary.com/cameron-highlands-where-are-you/


Written by:
wnfdiary

We travel, create and search for something more. A lot of fine art photography, reviews and great travel tips

You took some amazing photos and I have enjoyed your story as well! I feel sad when you talk about the development and the fact that there are almost no wild animals anymore and that you're lucky to actually come across a mosquito. I am so grateful that the situation is different where I am coming from. Our forests are full of wildlife and we also try to protect them. Of course, the development is there and it's getting more and more difficult to protect the nature but something is done at least.

I wouldn't probably walk there barefoot :) I would be scared of those leeches :)

That flower is absolutely stunning! I have never seen something like that..

How long did you stay there? It looks like an amazing place to visit.

Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your curie vote!

55
wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Luckily some countries protect their natural treasures, sadly only lately people are waking up. Those who care are left hopeless when witnessing how the system works. I was shocked the other day when I saw in the UK, how construction firms are wrapping the treas in plastic wraps to prevent birds from nesting. At least in the UK that hits the news and is (hopefully) something done to stop this. While in Malaysia (or around Asia) people are still burning or dumping plastic trash everywhere.

It gives me hope to see that there are more of us who are loud about the environmental issue! I appreciate your thoughts, thank you

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Great photographs and story. This is the reality today as profit and greed comes first. Hotels and green houses will cover this entire area in the future. I have never seen these plants before and most likely will never experience them like you have. Don't worry barefoot is good and more people should adopt this.

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

I'm afraid that you are right; greed knows no limits and human's ignorance is more significant than I imagined. Even so, there are a few of us that are ready to show our planet some respect. I try to be positive, even though the reality hits me hard. We've decided to minimalize our own impact, it is something and it feels good :)

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wisejg
WiseJG @wisejg4 months ago

what a wonderful experience. looks like a fairy forest the photos are beautiful. the way you tell us the trip is rewarding to read. thanks for sharing with us.

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

I'm really glad you enjoyed reading it, means a lot! You are right it is an incredible forest and there are so many exceptional places around us. How lucky are we, right? :)

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This post contains probably the most beautiful set of images I have seen in my year in Steemit.
It's like looking at a Peter Jackson movie set, with fairies and all :)
Amazing.
First those mountains that look like towel fabric. Perfect combination of nature and man-made order.
Then those mossy pictures with a dream-like aura. Perfect shots that show the majesty of those trees and the intrepid tenacity of the beautiful moss.
Then the flowers, both charming and freaking scary.
I had never seen that Raflessia thing (now I'll probably have her as a visitor in my nightmares, thank you very much). :)
Thank goodness there was the etherial fairy levitating an apology to the mighty trees for crimes she did not commit.
I'm sure those trees have forgiven us all.
Thank you very much for this marvelous journey through landscapes whose existence we can only dream about.

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Oh, you are too kind! Thank you so much for your time to check the post, and I'm super excited to hear the compliment regarding the content quality. People like you give us the motivation to keep posting on Steemit. In time more people will see our effort and hopefully be inspired. We share the perfect home full of special places. Places, living creatures, plants...

Here is how to solve the nightmare potential: The monkey cup you can use in your sleep as a sippy cup. I do in my dream and it works like a charm :) For rafflesia, well... she looks tough, but she isn't.

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emma-hs
Emma H. @emma-hs4 months ago

Okay this is what I imagine heaven to be like :D looks almost unreal. You're so lucky to have visited this place, I hope I will one day too if it doesn't decide to jump in the sky and leave this earth once and for all. I can't help but think do we deserve places like this? Maybe a few exceptions, like you, deserve them, but in general people just do not give these places the respect they deserve, it's really sad as you said. We are given so many heavens on earth, I wish those people realized their value and treated them differently, but that's just how people are I guess :) Anyways, this was such a lovely post from you! I'm glad I found it, seeing posts like this is so refreshing, can't imagine what it must have felt to walk barefoot there in real life! :)

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

It really is a dreamy place, totally worth visiting. Maybe if more people would visit it the government would see that is more interesting than the strawberry farm or fake Lavanda farm that now gets way more visitors :) Maybe if the cable car would drive through the forest there would be an interest. Can you imagine, people just don't want to use their feet. I, on the other hand, am proud to be different and extremely happy to see that I'm not the only one. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I tried to be positive as Ian hoped I would be. But in this reality with the light always comes also dark shadow.

Ou, it was amazing to feel the strong roots of mighty trees! At the end I got a nice bonus, such a soft feet like baby's :D

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arrabela
arrabela @arrabela4 months ago

Amazing photograpy! I love it. Your posts should have all attention like this one. Great stuff, thank you for sharing

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Ou yes it is a dream to take photos in a place like this one; It's no way to miss this beauty. Thank you for your support, slowly (with a speed of a snail) we are getting there :)

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Great post, nature is really wonderful and beautiful so we should preserve it.

10
wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

I'm glad to hear you liked my story and I couldn't agree more with you. We should preserve nature it is the best and we are depending on it whether we like it or not.

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Hey, @wnfdiary.

It's too bad that there doesn't seem to be an organized planning or balancing of quote unquote progress, and preservation of nature there. It seems like the two could go hand in hand if someone took the initiative. It's also kind of strange to think of farmers in the light of being the ones destroying land when so many I'm aware of try to preserve and restore it. That might be the difference between a developing nation and one that is more established.

At any rate, it's ongoing worldwide struggle, and while I believe that Man has the right to use the land, I also believe in being a good steward of it. It is, after all, the only world we have. :)

Congratulations on the curie. Great photos and story about your journey through the forest. Now I have another place to go to and hike through (if I can get there in time, I guess).

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Strangely enough, Cameron Highlands has officially protected national park, but it is shrinking every day. If there aren't new illegal farms, then someone with money comes up with an idea. As we were talking to one farmer most of the workers on farms come from Bangladesh and Pakistan. They are the ones who drop the garbage behind every corner. Farm owners, which are mostly Chinese also don't fight that, because there is no system for waste collection and they see things differently. Our friend tried to explain to me how people there see nature, but I still don't know was he joking or not. It is a world with many many problems. Our friend is optimistic that the new prime minister will change something. Optimism didn't last long, because when we visited him there were elections for mayor of this area and somehow the old party continues to rule...

I agree with you, Man has the right to use the land, if only it would be done with respect, love, and gratitude. I guess these values are oldfashioned :D

2

It's really odd to be hearing this kind of report coming from a place that I assume you would call a developing country, because so much of the blame for trash and pollution gets thrown to the west and the United States in particular. Or at least, that's what it seems like. It is a matter of scale, I guess, but it's interesting to read that there's carelessness and apathy in other places.

It sounds like whoever might come up with a sound way of collecting refuse could make some money, which generally is the incentive in many cases for keeping places clean, even if it should an inherent human trait (it's not). I think we have a fairly hard time keeping national parks nice here, too. It's really up to the people who visit them to decide to respect the property as if it were there own (in a way it is), and not leave it in far worse condition than what they found it in.

Not sure what to say about the illegal farms springing up. That sounds like an issue for law enforcement to address, which apparently, they're not doing.

0
wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Yes, trash issues reach far beyond news and Asia contributes to an enormous amount of plastic waste. They love single-use styrofoam plates and plastic mugs, bags... you name it! In addition to their growing problem the west (as far I know USA & UK) export waste to Malaysia, now that China has stopped receiving it. Trash is a good indicator of the real system that is running the world; no one is guilty, no one can change anything...

However there is some good news, I listened to one interview the other day and as they said the scientists have found a worm that is able to digest plastic. The only problem is that is tiny and it takes months :) Even so, it is a start! I also read the other day that one Japanese guy developed some nanotechnology to clean the water. So something is happening, but despite the development, we should worship our planet and treat it right. That would be the end of capitalism, which is a scary thing! I believe cryptocurrency is a way to go forward and so is the AI. All I hope is that the AI code will include the "save the planet" notification :)

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ronel
ronel @ronel4 months ago

Oh!
You and nature are beautiful and wonderful!

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Yea, nature is the best and gladly we all are part of it.
Thank you for stopping by

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ronel
ronel @ronel4 months ago

You're welcome girl!

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wnfdiary
WNFdiary @wnfdiary4 months ago

Najlepša hvala za upvote.

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