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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Getting around Cameron Highlands
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).
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.
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.
– 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.
– 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.
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
What did you enjoy most about Cameron Highlands? Share your travel stories with us!