Cameron Highlands is only accessible via Tapah, in the State of Perak, from the North South Highway - 4 to 5 hours from Kuala Lumpur.
From Tapah take route 59. At Batu 7, turn off right if you want to take a short break at the Kuala Who Forest Recreation Park. There are picnic areas and a hot spring
From Tapah, the two way road winds its way up through fascinating jungle scenery. The ascent is gradual with only the drop in temperature to indicate how high you are.
The flora of the tropics undergo a subtle and pleasant change with tumbling waterfalls, gurgling mountain streams, giant tropical trees rising majestically towards the sky, bamboo forest and hillside villages belonging to the Semai, members of the Semoi group of "Orang Asli".
This driving tip was originally written when Simpang Pulai route was newly open (and there were hardly any signs to Cameron Highlands at the time. The tip has been updated in August 2006. Signage is much better now
From KL: Take the North-South Highway and get off at the Simpang Pulai toll.
At the first set of lights (immediately after the toll), turn right, and then at the next set of lights, turn right again and follow this road. After about 25 km, you will pass by Pos Slim which is an Orang Asli Settlement. This is how you'll know that you are going on the right track for sure!
The next major towns you'll see are Blue Valley and Kg Raja, both of which are part of Cameron Highlands and do offer some minor attractions, restaurants and shops. The Rose Valley flower garden is located at Blue Valley & outside of this flower garden are numerous stalls selling fresh fruits, strawberry jam, honey and other local produce.
There is also a rather attractive & colourful Chinese temple up on the hill around Kg Raja town. If you have time, you should drop by to take a look.
The journey from Simpang Pulai toll to Brinchang town is around 72 km and takes about 1 hour.
On your return journey down this same route, you will drive pass by some flower & vegetable farms with their own shops for souveniors and a couple of tea plantations. The Bharat Tea shop makes for a nice stop as well and deserves a look-see. The views along this slightly windy stretch of highway are spectacular (see pics)! However, it is certainly a much easier drive and less windy as compared to the Tapah route, which is covered in my first transportation tip, above.
When we drove there in June 2004, we noticed people CAMPING on the side of the highway (dangerous, isn't it?!). There were also people who stopped their cars to take pictures and I can't blame them because the view was really quite beautiful.
P.S. I have a good map, but it is in PDF format. Please e-mail me Wild Orchid at VT Mail if you want a copy of the Simpang Pulai route map.
Tanah Rata bus station is the only bus station in Cameron Highlands which is actually belongs to the Regal Bus Co. that serve the route of Tanah Rata to Tapah (via Lake House, Habu & Ringlet) as well as Tanah Rata to Kg Raja (via Brinchang, Kea Farm, Butterfly Farm and junction to Sg Palas Tea plantation).
Apart from the Regal Bus Co., other bus companies that use this station are Kurnia Bistari Express (for journey to KL) and Kinta Omnibus (for journey to Ipoh)
Buses are always a good option to travel in Malaysia. They are punctual, convenient, cheap and fast.
We took the bus from Penang to the Cameron Highlands, it cost us RM 18,10 per person which is not expensive for a 6 hour trip.
The buses are air-conditioned and often you are even supplied with a free bottle of water.
We also took the bus from the Cameron Highlands to Kuala Lumpur, which cost
Tickets can be purchased at any travel agency.
The Regal Bus Co. is the only bus company that provide the services to area around Cameron Highlands as well as to Tapah in the lowland.
The routes and schedule is as follows:
Tanah Rata to Kg Raja (via Brinchang, Kea Farm, Butterfly Farm and junction to Sg Palas Tea plantation):
6.30am, 7.30am, 8.30am, 9.30am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm, 5.30pm & 6.30pm.
Tanah Rata to Tapah (via Lake House, Habu & Ringlet)
8.00am, 9.00am, 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.15pm, 3.15pm, 4.15pm & 5.30pm
I guess the best way to see Malaysia is with your own vehicle or self-drive. You can take your own sweet time and stop where ever you like and when ever you like! You can also choose either to take the Simpang Pulai route or Tapah route regardless whether you come from the north or south.
This tip was first composed in 2004 and totally re-written in Aug 2006.
This "Tapah" route used to be the only way to drive to Cameron Highlands from KL. I do not prefer this route, because it is windy and this causes many people to suffer from motion/car-sickness and vomitting. Get some plastic bags and panadol ready!
Use the North South highway and exit at Tapah toll booth. After that, just follow the signs to Cameron Highlands. The first town you'll reach is Ringlet, which is 1,000 m from sea-level. For some reason, there are always a lot of flies at Ringlet, so I usually don't prefer to stop here. Nevertheless, if you get hungry, or need a toilet break, this would be one place where you may consider to stop. After Ringlet, on your way to Tanah Rata, you'll pass the Lakehouse (now known as Concorde Resort I think), which is a nice and unique hotel facing a huge lake. You will also pass by the Bharat Tea Plantation and Boh Tea Plantation.
This route is quite scenic, with primary and secondary forest, some durian trees, and orang asli settlements. Once you reach Tanah Rata, which is 1,400 m above sea level, you'll know that you've arrived at the center of Cameron Highlands. Total journey takes about 1.5 hours from Tapah Toll to get to Tanah Rata.
As for me, I much prefer the Simpang Pulai route, which is mentioned in the tip below. The map which is enclosed is very useful and may be found from the Equatorial Cameron's website.
From Tapah (1 1/2 Hours)
Pros: More things to see on the way, like malay villages, aborigines' shelters, durian stalls, waterfall, vegetable farms & flower nurseries.
Cons: Long and winding roads prone with landslides. More challenging to drive.
From Simpang Pulai (1 Hour)
Pros: Wider and less winding roads. Easier to drive.
Cons: Nothing much to see except hilly valleys and vegetable farms towards the end of the journey (at Kampung Raja).
If you're wondering where you end up in when you take a bus from KL/Singapore to Cameron Highland, here's where - the new bus terminal located in Jln Besar, the main street in Tanah Rata . It's not too far from the old bus station. Having said that, travelling to Cameron by bus is the way to go if you're on a budget. Here's the details. For travelling times, refer to the website below.
Kuala Lumpur -> Cameron Highlands
Where to get your ticket - Puduraya Central Bus Station(KL)
Travelling Time - 4.5hours
Cost - About RM20+
Cameron Highlands - Kuala Lumpur
Where to get your ticket - Jalan Besar, Tanah Rata Bus Terminal
Destination - Puduraya Bus Station or Pasarakyat ( Ask before buying!)
Travelling Time - 4.5hours
Cost - Ranges from Rm20 to RM30
Singapore - Cameron Highlands
Where to get your ticket- Golden Mile Complex
Destination - Jalan Besar, Tanah Rata Bus Terminal
Travelling Time - A Whopping 10 hours. The journey typically starts at night and you'll wake up at your destination if you can sleep at all.
Cost - About S$45 per way.
As this is the first time i took a bus to Cameron Highland, I requested for a VIP bus ticket at Kurnia Bistari Counter but was told that all their buses are new and don't need a VIP bus. On the day we took the bus, the bus was like very old and the seat could even dropped out. Each time the bus turn at the bend and curve, i was like gonna flew out of the seat. It was quite a terrifying experience riding in this bus. I told my friends of my terrifying experiences and my fear of riding on the same bus again. So on the returning journey, my friend in Cameron Highland helped me to buy the new bus, Unititi bus, a very new and VIP bus. The seat is big and very comfortable. Even though the ticket price is a big expensive compared to Kurnia Bistari, i don't mind to purchase it at all as the returning journey is so much comfortable with a bigger and so much comfortable seat. At least the things in the bus wouldn't start flying left and right with every bends and curves and my seat wouldn't seem to come flying off too as i have to hold on to my dear life with every turns of the roads.
I cannot remember when was my last time gone up to Cameron Highlands by bus. Therefore I cannot advice on tips to buy bus tickets and prices.
My last few rounds to Cameron Highlands were mostly by my own transportation. Having a road hugging 4WD for highland driving can be considered as ideal. Of course cars with sufficient power and complete with power-steering will be equally good.
During our Oriental Outings 2011, we wanted to make it to Cameron Highlands from LCCT, without staying at KL. The conventional method is to take an airport bus, from LCCT, to one of the KL bus stations (Bukit Jalil in this case), and then take another bus to Cameron Highlands.
Since Bukit Jalil was under renovation those days and we were unable to find reliable information, we instead took Yoyo bus which took us directly to Ipoh, where we took Kinta Omni bus from, to Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands. That also saved us from going into the busy KL.
Star Shuttle also runs LCCT-Ipoh route. Both of these companies run multiple buses a day for this route; LCCT-KLIA-Ipoh. Tickets may be purchased from the kiosks located at the end of the arrival area.
We chose Yoyo (RM 43) as it was departing relatively early.
Please click here to read how we made it from Bali to Cameron Highlands in one day.
(Note there are two bus stations in Ipoh; Medan Gopeng serves intercity transport, inclduing CH, while Medan Kidd operates local as well as some CH buses)
Riding in Cameron Highlands are not for sissies. There's an element of risk and it takes skill, patience and courage to navigate the hairpin turns, blind spots and errant cars. Just make sure you've got good brakes, helmets and a riding suit ( for protection against the weather and general safety ) before preparing to ascend CH.
The old road to CH - Quite a number of steep hairpin turns here. Far, far worse than the hairpin turns are the buses and tinpot cars who ascend all the way using the first gear.
Simpang Pulai - Gd road for riding. Graduated Climb and hardly any hairpin turns though there are numerous blind spots.
The nearest town to get a bus up to Cameron highlands is Tapah. However, it is much more easier if you can get a direct ticket up to Tanah Rata. Check with the counter before you make further tix purchase.
I had to fill in the "To" box above, but really it should be "From".
Many of the buses heading up to Tanah Rata have a notice in them warning you that you should book your return seat as soon as you arrive - as otherwise you may be dissappointed !
I thinks this especially applies at peak times, when Malaysians are returning to KL after the weekend or following a national holiday.