Cameron Highlands in Pahang is one of Malaysia's most popular tourist destinations, a collection of peaceful townships perched 1500 meters high on a nest of serene mountains. Cooling resorts, tea plantations and strawberry farms sprawl lazily across lush valleys and meandering hillslopes, the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday. The sea of tranquility, pleasant landscapes and cold climate impart a special experience upon the multitudes of visitors each year. Meanwhile, a different world lies hidden away among the natural surroundings - a rainforest ecosystem rich with the wonders of nature, long held with fascination by researchers and naturalists across the world.
Cameron Highlands was discovered in 1885 by English surveyor William Cameron, who was under a commission by the colonial government. Forging a path through dense vegetation, he reached a magnificent and sublime plateau ‘shut up in the mountains' along the vast Titiwangsa Range. Yet, the place lay unperturbed for 40 years, until British Administrator Sir George Maxwell took charge of its development as a hill station. Soon, hotels, schools, homes and even a golf course sprouted overnight, as British and locals settled in. Farmers and tea planters also streamed steadily into the valley, having found its soil to be fertile, and weather encouraging for crops.
Today, Cameron Highlands is the leading highland resort destination in the country, supporting a local population close to 50,000 people (mostly Chinese) spread over eight interconnecting areas. Far from rural, the main townships of Tanah Rata and Brinchang are highly developed with a wide range of facilities and services. Hotels, resorts, apartments and shopping blocks tower over the landscape, providing accommodation and leisure activities for its many visitors. Ringlet, Tringkap, Bertam Valley, Kuala Terla and Kampung Raja make up the rest of Cameron Highlands. These smaller towns and villages concentrate heavily on agricultural activities, consequently retaining most, if not some, of their pastoral feel and countryside atmosphere. Traces of Cameron's colonial history still remain, but consist mostly of European stone mansions that have been converted into boutique hotels.