We had a three day weekend, which happened to fall on my birthday weekend, so we decided to go on a mini-holiday to The Cameron Highlands. It is about a 3 hours drive from Penang, and is Malaysia’s most extensive hill station. Discovered by the British in 1885, it was primarily used for tea growing due to it’s cool, less humid mountain climate. It was developed into a vacation spot for expat Brits in the 1930s. It was a cool mountain retreat, that reminded them of home, and cool it is. It was fabulous!!!! It was about 70 degrees in the middle of the day!! It felt like fall at home, I seriously wanted to watch football and eat a big bowl of chili. It was a most welcome retreat from the heat of Penang.
We stayed at a resort situated on a mountain side with really nice views. The rooms had nice balconies with great views of the mountains. B enjoyed playing on the balcony immensely.
An interesting story we discovered while in the Cameron Highlands had to do with this house, The Jim Thompson Cottage, also known as the Moonlight Cottage. It is now a small hotel (I think owned by the resort we stayed at since it is technically the same property). We had a direct view of it from our balcony so I did a little research, it turned out to be a pretty interesting story.
Jim Thompson was an American Business man that had a very successful silk trading company in Thailand. His vacation home was this cottage. Thompson also had ties to US Intelligence during WWII, after the war he was assigned to Bangkok with the agency that would become the CIA. When he left the Army he stayed in Thailand and started his involvement with developing hotels and started his silk trading business. Some rumors say he never fully left the intelligence world, which makes the story even more intriguing . On Easter Sunday, 1967, in the middle of the afternoon he left his cottage for a walk and was never seen or heard from again. He disappeared without a trace. A huge search party was formed but they found nothing. Authorities claimed to have found his bones in the 1980’s to attempt to close the case, but no DNA testing was ever done on the bones, there was no skull, and the bones seem to have been misplaced. It was never even confirmed that they were human bones. It’s a really interesting story. I do love a mystery! Here is the wikipedia article on his disappearance if you want to go down that rabbit hole, there are quite a few theories on what may have happened to him.
The Cameron Highlands is famous for it’s agriculture. The good climate makes it a great place to grow tea, strawberries and all kinds of flowers. There are all sorts of farms that you can tour while there. One of the main things to do in this area is visit tea plantations. We went to two, one was open the other was closed on Mondays, when we tried to stop by on our way out of town. It was still worth the drive up there, as it is breathtakingly beautiful. The Cameron Valley Tea Plantation was open and we got to get a cup of tea and some scones from their tea shop that over looks the fields. It was lovely.
Here are some views of the BOH Tea Plantation which is closed on Mondays.
On Sunday afternoon we found a really quaint boutique hotel and restaurant to have lunch at. The Olde Smokehouse, is and old English manor house that has been turned into a fantastic spot for lunch or tea. The tables are in the garden, some have their own hidden spots. We got one that was separate from the rest of the garden with it’s own swing. It was perfect for a great lunch and for B to run around and play without bothering any of the other diners. I had the prime rib with Yorkshire Pudding, Nathan had the Beef Wellington. Both were delicious!
The resort had a really nice playground so we got some good play time in the nice cool weather.
Before we drove home on Monday we went to a butterfly farm. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it was really neat. Not only did they have a ton of butterflies, they also had a lovely flower garden, and lots of bugs and animals on display.
The absolute best part of the Butterfly farm was one of the men that worked there. He and B took to each other almost instantly. He gave us our own special little tour. He opened up cages and showed him things. It was a really neat experience.
I felt this was an appropriate reaction to a giant scorpion, considering we are from OK/TX.
Now as we move into the next section of pictures. I have to pause to issue a GRANNY ALERT. There are snakes ahead, if you can’t handle it stop reading now. This is the last section you will not miss anything. If you do continue reading please do call me in a panic, this has already happened, everyone is fine. I say this all with love. 🙂
Now that we have taken care of that business. Yes there were baby Whip Snakes, that the nice man let B hold. Of all the things in the place B loved the snakes. He held them and talked to them. I was more afraid for the snake than B, because well he is two.
It was time for the snake and for us to go home. We had a fabulous, cool weekend in the mountains. It is a beautiful drive up there and didn’t take long. I think it will be a trip we will make at least one more time before we leave Malaysia for good, especially in the fall when I need a weather fix.