Singapore Institute of Management Outdoor Adventure Club
Recce Trip to Gunong Brinchang
Where: Gunong Brinchang,Cameron
Day 1: 4th September,2000 (Mon)
It was a much awaited reconnaissance trip to Cameron Highlands, identified by Sir William Cameron to be a “fine plateau shut in by lofty mountains”. The five of us met at 8.30am at Kranji MRT Station (“Finally I was early). We took bus No. 170 from Kranji and alighted at Larkin bus terminal, Johor Bahru.The time was 10.15am and as planned, we would hire a bus that would take us to Tapah (a small town before Cameron Highlands). However, being a holiday for the Malaysians too, buses were fully booked! Alas! We had to take the next available bus to Kuala Lumpur for another transfer to Tapah. The ‘ODAC’ spirit was ignited as we all took to the change of plans with an adventurous heart. We were “compensated” when we reached KL….. after booking tickets heading for Tapah, there was sufficient time to shop and stock-up on what was lacking in our “already-heavy” bags. The purchases we made consists mainly of food and tissue (after we realize the lack of them in public toilets, we became more appreciative of the high hygiene standards in Singapore!)
The ride to Tapah was approximately 2
hours and we reached about 8.30pm. The town itself is quite small, with a few
streets of shop-houses and basic accommodation. We got a good deal at Hotel
Utara though. It wasn’t exactly luxurious but at least it was spacious,
air-conditioned and has a television set! After settling in, we decided to tour
the little town of Tapah. Towards the end, we chanced upon a good “makan”
place--- cheap and good food. Interested parties may like to as Joseph, Dickson
and Raihan, who can vouch for the lip-smacking food. Yati and myself decided not
tip the weighing scale, thus refraining from eating. Back in the hotel, we
prepared to retire for the night……. It had been a fun day of travel but in
our hearts, there an unspoken quest to conquer Gunong Brinchang……
Day 2: 5th September,2000
The day started early at 6am. We treated ourselves to a hearty breakfast of “oil-less” roti-prata. Unlike Singaporean ones, Malaysian prates come with AMPLE supply of thick and fragrant curry and they were cut into bite-sizes before served. Yummy Harvard!!! So with tummies filled , we bade farewell to the the dear little town of Tapah and boarded a bus to Tanah Rata---the central town of Cameron Highlands. It was really an unforgettable two and a half hours bus ride as we saw some of the most picturesque (it’s strikingly graphic) sights ever… .The scenic mountains and lush forests are an indication of the natural resources Malaysia has to offer. We saw the Orang Asli Settlement and were filled with awe with their survival in the jungle--- something we “concrete urbanites” can never fully comprehend.
There are three townships in Cameron Highlands, namely Ringlet, Tanah Rata and Brinchang, with the latter being the furthest from Tapah. After we reached Tanah Ratah, we contemplated walking the 5km or so to Brinchang but later decided against it. We took the cab…. to save time. It was almost noon when we checked into a budget accommodation that provided us with meager shelter over our hears and four concrete walls! We had a hurried lunch (too much anticipation of Gunong Brinchang) at the “much-cited” Shal’s Curry House…..the restaurant lived up to it’s name …..
The trek up the summit took us approximately 4 hours. We passed by Kea Strawberry Farm, the Butterfly Farm, Rose Gardens as well as the famous Sungai Palas Tea Estate. Tea bushes are grown on slopes and it’s definitely a good place to take photos…..
Reaching the summit was one of the most unexplainable feeling of euphoria! The Brinchang Communications Centre was located there too but it was shrouded in clouds most of the time. We ate to replenish the lost energy before bracing ourselves for the trek downhill….We took TRAIL ONE, led by our very own Joseph---aided by a compass and a map while Dickson and Raihan took turns to mark our trails. The trek down was more challenging due to the steepness and muddy ground …..hmmn……what about some altitude training? By 7pm, we were back to where we came from…..cheers!!!
That night, we treated ourselves to Malaysian steamboat for dinner. Without doubt, we savoured every morsel of the food…..It was once said that a trip to Cameron Highlands is never completed without a visit to its Night market where beautiful arrays of locally-grown flowers were put on sale. Fresh and colourful , we found them difficult to resist and actually bought them (at a discount) after some bargaining…..
It was our last night in Cameron Highlands…. the next day, we headed for home …….Till next time, Brinchang!!!
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