Tawau, Borneo and One Day in Cameron Highlands

CH tea pleantation

This post is about our last stop on the island of Borneo: Tawau and travel tips for one day in Cameron Highlands.

Getting to Tawau Airport to get back to Kuala Lumpur

From Lahad Datu, near the Danum Valley Office Center, we caught a bus to Tawau  for MYR 19 (USD $6) per person. The journey takes a little less than 3hrs.

We were dropped off near the market in Tawau and our hotel was walking distance.

 

Tawau Market, Borneo

Tawau Market, Borneo

Where to stay in Tawau

 

We had one night in Tawau before our flight the next morning back to Kuala Lumpur.

We stayed at VS Guesthouse, which is close to a lot of dining options and the town market. Good location for one night.

Cost: MYR 58 (roughly USD $18)

Amenities: free WiFi, air-conditioning, private bath with hot water, towels. The guesthouse is clean, comfortable and modern looking. We were pleasantly surprised.

 

Tawau Town, Borneo

Tawau Town, Borneo

From Tawau to the airport

You can take the bus from town to Tawau airport (this link provides you with the timetable and location to buy your ticket) for about MYR 10 (USD $3) at 6am, 9am, 1pm or 3pm depending on your flight time.

We opted for a taxi, at a cost of MYR 40 (USD $12 – a splurge due to our flight time), and when we arrived at the airport, there was no electricity – this seemed like a recurring event, nobody else seemed alarmed but us. After some waiting time, Air Asia started to check in their passengers manually using a pen, paper, a scale and rolling carts to move the suitcases to the aircraft.

 

Staying in line during the blackout so we don't lose our spot - Tawau airport, Borneo

Staying in line during the blackout so we don’t lose our spot – Tawau airport, Borneo

 

We were on Malaysian Airlines… and were checked in manually a little later. We got a hand written boarding card, went through security checkpoint (no electricity means no x-ray machine means they actually go through your bags) and right after we got to the waiting area, electricity was back on. We were delayed for about 2 hours.

From KL airport to Cameron Highlands

The flight went smoothly and within 3 hours, we were back in the capital!

From KL airport, we had to make it to Sentral station and catch the last bus to Cameron Highlands so we wouldn’t have to spend the night in Kuala Lumpur.

Tanah Rata sunset in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Tanah Rata sunset in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands is made up of various little towns, the most popular ones being Tanah Rata (bigger and busier) and Brinchang (smaller and quieter). We decided on Tanah Rata as the accommodations appeared to be cheaper. We arrived in Tanah Rata at 9pm after a 4.5hrs-bus ride costing MYR 32 (USD $10) per person.

 

Where to stay in Tanah Rata

 

KRS Pine Guesthouse for MYR 40 (USD $12.90)

TJ Lodge for USD $16.05

Cameronian Inn USD $18.86

 

KRS Pines in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

KRS Pines Guesthouse in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

We opted for KRS Pines Guesthouse which provided basic rooms as the other two were fully booked.

Amenities: Clean shared baths, WiFi for MYR 5 (USD $1.50), breakfast at an additional cost and a nice garden where you can sit and enjoy the sun.

 

Garden at KRS Pines Guesthouse, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Garden at KRS Pines Guesthouse, Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Getting around Cameron Highlands

 

As seen in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

As seen in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Tanah Rata is a small town so everything is walking distance. You can easily walk from the bus terminal to your hotel or any food joints.

 

From Tanah Rata to Brinchang, there are frequent buses but the schedule is supposedly unreliable so we took a taxi for MYR 10 (USD $3).

 

What we came here to see: Tea Plantations, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

What we came here to see: Tea Plantations, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

In order to get to the tea plantations, it is recommended to get on a tour where they pick you up in a Jeep or hire your own vehicle.

 

Activities in Cameron Highlands

 

We spent two nights and one day in Cameron Highlands so we wanted to maximize the activities as much as possible. Since Cameron Highlands is located at 1000m above sea level, we were able to enjoy the cool temperatures.

 

Strawberry farm: though summertime is not the season for strawberries, we were still able to enjoy a nice stroll through the farm and a savory strawberry juice at Big Red Farm. We took a taxi for MYR10 (USd $3) from Tanah Rata to the farm, located close to Brinchang.

Big Red Farm, Strawberry Farm, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Big Red Strawberry Farm, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

 

It was not strawberry season (July 2013) but we still got to see some yummy strawberries. Big Red Farm, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

It was not strawberry season (July 2013) but we still got to see some yummy strawberries. Big Red Farm, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

 

Day tour: with the help of our hotel, we booked a half day tour for MYR 40 (USD $12) per person for the following activities:

 

–       Mossy forest: we spent less than an hour walking around the forest which is well accommodated to tourist with platforms, stairs and handrails. Very soothing and calm activity, not difficult at all.

Mossy Forest, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Mossy Forest, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Sights at Mossy Forest, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Sights at Mossy Forest, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

We loved walking through the mossy forest, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

We loved walking through the mossy forest, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

–       BOH tea plantation: we were able to see the factory and how they process the tea leaves, visit the museum, gift shop and enjoy a cup of tea on the terrace with a view for MYR 6.70. Gorgeous views and definitely worth the trip, but a very touristy activity.

BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Had to at least try a cup of tea, BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Had to at least try a cup of tea, BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

But people come here for the view, and we were not disappointed. BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

But people come here for the view, and we were not disappointed. BOH Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

 

–       Butterfly farm: visited the butterfly farm which contained much more than butterflies (reptiles, insects and flowers) a nice ending to our tour. Entrance fee to the butterfly farm was not included in the tour, the cost is MYR 5 (USD $1.50) per person. Worth a visit, we were pleasantly surprised.

 

Reptiles at the butterfly farm, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Reptiles at the butterfly farm, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Butterfly Farm, the last stop in our Day Tour, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Butterfly Farm, the last stop in our Day Tour, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Cameron Highlands is well worth the trip if you are visiting Malaysia, we would have loved to spend more time but we got to enjoy our one day to the fullest!

 

Our next and final stop in Malaysia is the UNESCO World Heritage City: Georgetown!

 

Happy Travels! xx

 

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