Just like any other of our impromptu trips, this trip to Cameron Highlands was no different. George suggested that we take a short trip back to Raub. But my mind has been on a slightly longer road trip mode for the past few weeks. I need a longer road trip. A different route. It was a toss between the beaches or to the mountains. We did the beach thingy often enough that we decided that a trip to the mountains will be good this time.
But where to?
I recalled that the drive passing through the long and winding road heading towards Fraser’s Hills rendered my poor husband sick for the next couple of days. We didn’t make it up to the hill station; instead we just passed through The Gap (the foot of the hill station).
We started off from Kuala Lumpur around noon. Just about the same time as in our last drive to get our paint roller a few months back – and ended up in Pulau Pangkor. We decided to take the coastal road to admire the small kampungs and the different sceneries on the way north. I have always liked driving on the coastal road rather than taking the highway. There are so many rustic sceneries to see, with so many smaller towns in between.
The problem with travelling without a proper itinerary and planning is that you really don’t know what to expect when you reach the desired destination, or whether you have any accommodation. We have been pretty lucky in the past. The last trip to Kuantan saw us getting the last room available at the local hotel. We managed to get a room in Johor Bahru – at 10.30 pm. Pricey room but hey! At least
The bed was comfortable.
Anyways, I digress.
There we were, getting stuck at the main road in Brinchang, Cameron Highlands at 8.30 pm. The small town was cramped with coaches as well as local and foreign tourists. It was raining too. Adding on to our “excitement” was the fact that we had stopped at 3 hotels, and there were no rooms available. Ok, let me rephrase that. There were no rooms that we were willing to pay the price for. Holidaying in Cameron Highlands means that you have to fork out quite a sum for comfortable, decent hotel rooms. We decided that paying RM400/night was too much for a few hours of sleep.
Finally, the traffic eased off, somewhat. We took a turn at one of the signages that advertised a chalet. Two seconds after the turn, we found ourselves on this quiet, small dark road that passed through what looked like an industrial area. We decided to drive for a few more minutes…and there it was, the reception to the chalet.
I couldn’t see the chalet as it was hidden at the slope facing the Brinchang town. There was a small “reception area” which was a small brick building at the end of the small road. No one was there even though the sign said “open”. Instead, a white board on a stand was placed outside of this reception, written with a few numbers to contact in case you decided to stay there.
Now, what was lacking in the atmosphere was that shrieking background music in “Psycho”. Because that was how it looked like. Two people looking for a room in a strange place, rainy night, the jungle surrounding the chalet, small dark road, an unmanned reception, and a chalet with rooms that didn’t have a single light on.
Bates Motel came to mind.
Creepy? Hell yes!
George decided that a mental picture of him getting axed was not a very nice one so we decided to turn back to the main road and yes, even if the last available room is RM400/night, we will just have to suck it up and pay.
Finally, with God’s grace, we found a decent room at one of the hotels with an equally decent price. It was nice and clean. The only slack we had was that they ran out of hot water in the morning.
We took a drive at some of the touristy places. Stopped at the strawberry farms, bought some vegetables, had the obligatory tea and scones at the tea plantation and admired the lush tea plantations as well as the think jungles of the mountains. We even stopped at the Orang Asli stalls to buy some jungle produce including the famous tualang honey on the way down home.