Malaysia // The west coast //

Walking in the Cameron Highlands

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A network of walking trails makes the Cameron Highlands’ forests uniquely accessible, with prolific flora against a tremendous canopy of trees – ferns, pitcher plants, bird’s nest ferns, orchids and thick moss – through which you can sometimes glimpse spectacular views of misty mountain peaks. Some of the walks are no more than casual strolls through secondary growth woodland, while others are romps through what seems like the wild unknown, giving a sense of real isolation. Despite the presence of large mammals in the deep forest, such as honey bears and monkeys, you’re unlikely to see more than insects and the odd wild pig or squirrel.

Unfortunately, the trails are often badly signposted and poorly maintained, though despite their apparent vagueness, the various sketch maps sold in Tanah Rata (RM3–4) and at many of the hotels do make some sort of sense on the ground. The Cameronian Inn and Father’s Guest House in Tanah Rata are good contacts for current trail information and hiring guides.

The official trails are varied enough for most tastes and energies. You should always inform someone, preferably at your hotel, where you are going and what time you expect to be back. On longer hikes, take warm clothing, water, a torch and a cigarette lighter or matches for basic survival should you get lost. If someone doesn’t return from a hike and you suspect they may be in trouble, inform the District Office immediately. It’s not a fanciful notion that hiking can have its dangers – mudslides after rain, for example, are not uncommon.

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