Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands Tour Packages

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Cameron Highlands (Malay: Tanah Tinggi Cameron, Chinese: 金马崙高原) is one of Malaysia’s most extensive hill stations. The size of Singapore, it occupies an area of 712 square kilometres (275 sq mi). To the north, its boundary touches that of Kelantan; to the west, it shares part of its border with Perak.


Situated at the northwestern tip of Pahang, the “Camerons” is approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Ipoh, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) from Kuala Lumpur or about 355 kilometres (221 mi) from Kuantan, the capital of Pahang. It is the smallest constituency in Pahang.


Discovered by Sir William Cameron in 1885, the outpost consists of three districts, namely Ringlet (5,165 hectares), Tanah Rata (2,081 hectares) and Ulu Telom (63,981 hectares). Its eight sub-districts are Ringlet, Tanah Rata (the administrative centre), Brinchang, the Bertam Valley, Kea Farm, Tringkap, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja. All are nestled at elevations ranging from 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) to 1,600 metres (5,200 ft) above sea level.


The mean annual temperature of the retreat is about 18 °C (64 °F). During the day, the temperature seldom rises over 25 °C (77 °F); at night, it rarely drops to as low as 9 °C (48 °F) at the higher reaches.[2]


The resort has a diverse population of more than 38,000 people. It comprises Bumiputeras (Malay (7,321); others (5,668)), Chinese (13,099), Indians (6,988), non-Malaysian citizens (5,193), and other nationalities (202).[3] Most of the residents here are entrepreneurs, service industry employees, farm workers, retirees or government servants. The languages spoken are Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English. Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity and Sikhism are the main religions of the haven.


Developed in the 1930s, the tableland is one of the oldest tourist spots in Malaysia. Apart from its tea estates, the plateau is also noted for its cool weather, orchards, nurseries, farmlands, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, wildlife, mossy forest, golf course, hotels, places of worship, bungalows, Land Rovers, museum and its aborigines (Orang Asli).


The Cameron Highlands can be accessed by road via Tapah, Simpang Pulai, Gua Musang or Sungai Koyan. Tapah and Simpang Pulai are the two approaches from Perak. Gua Musang and Sungai Koyan are the entryways from Kelantan and Pahang, respectively.



The Cameron Highlands were named after Sir William Cameron, a British surveyor who was commissioned by the then colonial government to map out the Pahang-Perak border area in the 1885.[4][5][6]


In a statement concerning his mapping expedition, Cameron mentioned he saw “a sort of vortex on the mountains, while for a (reasonably) wide area we have gentle slopes and plateau land.”[7]


When approached, the late Sir Hugh Low, the Resident of Perak (1887–1889), expressed the wish of developing the region into a "sanatorium, health resort and open farmland”. A narrow path to “Cameron’s Land” was then carved through the jungle. Nothing much happened after that.[8]


Forty years later, the tableland was given another review when Sir George Maxwell (1871–1959) visited the locale to see if it could be turned into a resort. He spent about nine days surveying the territory.[9] On his return from the highlands, Maxwell described the terrain as being “somewhat oval in shape.”[9] After comparing it with Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka and Baguio in the Philippines,[9] he decreed that the site should be developed into a hill station.[10]


In mid-1925, an Agricultural Experiment Station was set up to confirm if cinchona, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables could be grown at the district. In December 1925, a superintendent was appointed to supervise the 200-acre (81-ha) plantation on Mount Beremban.[11] While research at the station was being carried out, the colonial office assigned Captain C.C. Best, a surveyor from the Federated Malay States to trace the Telom River (Malay: Sungei Telom). The Annual Report of the Survey Department (1925) states he explored “the Ulu of the Telom which was the actual area traversed by Cameron” and “he went first to what is known as Cameron Highlands to obtain a basis of comparison and from there crossed over into the Telom Valley. He made a reconnaissance map of the head waters of the Telom and his exploration has established definitely that the area at the Ulu of the Bertang (Bertam?) is incomparably the most suitable for development.”[12]


This report, coupled with the confirmation that tea could also be grown, gave the British the motivation to develop the place.


In 1926,[12] a development committee was formed to zone off the moorlands for agriculture, defence, administration, housing and recreation. Later, a three-million-dollar road[13] was constructed from Tapah to the highlands. It started from the 19th mile Tapah-Pahang Road and ended at Ginting “B” (Tanah Rata).[13]


The three-year contract was awarded to Messrs. Fogden, Brisbane and Company.[13] The first installment of $250,000 was made in 1926.[14] The project commenced on 1 January 1928; it was completed on Friday, 14 November 1930 – 47 days ahead of schedule.[13]


The building of the road was a challenge: the crew not only had to deal with the weather; they also had to cope with the risk of being struck down with malaria. During the construction stage, the manning level varied from 500 to 3,000 workers. Throughout the contract, 375 employees were hospitalised for fever.[13]


The biggest problem faced by the contractor was the haulage of heavy equipment from the lowlands to the upper reaches. This setback was overcome with the use of steam-driven locomotives which were designed for work on steep gradients.[5][16]


When the road was opened in 1931,[17] the British and the locals moved in to settle on the slopes of the mountain. They were soon followed by tea planters and vegetable growers who found the climate to be suitable for the growing of their crops.


By the mid-1930s, there was a notable improvement in the constituency: it now had a six-hole golf course,[18] several cottages, three inns, a police post, two boarding schools, a military camp, a dairy, a horse spelling ranch, nurseries, vegetable farms, tea plantations, a Government Rest House and an Agricultural Experiment Station.


The domain continued to grow until the outbreak of the Second World War. During the Japanese Occupation (1942–1945), there was hardly any development in the area. When the Japanese withdrew in August 1945, the place underwent a transformation. This, however, came to a halt during the Malayan Emergency (1948–1960). When the conflict ended, “Cameron’s Land” experienced a constant change in its landscape. Today, the haven is not only the biggest and best known of Malaysia’s hill stations; it is also the highest point in Peninsular Malaysia accessible by car.[19]



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