After a walk through the woods to the Sam Poh Temple I called in at very English-country cottage for breakfast.
My friend Amy had suggested a visit here after I had commented on my occasional cravings for English food while travelling in Asia – sausage and mash especially, Sunday Roast but also a full English.
Only when it is cool enough though, not when the temperatures are above 30°C.
The Cameron Highlands, she said, would solve this on both scores: much cooler than the rest of Malaysia and a restaurant that specialised in all of these things.
The Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist destinations, which is probably the main reason for all of the development that us taking place here.
I had briefly wondered whether this was a place that was easy to visit without a car. On a weekend definitely. As I walked back from the Sam Poh Temple to Tanah Rata along the main road the traffic was crawling along – walking is definitely faster.
The Cameron Highlands was discovered from a colonial perspective at least, in 1885 by English surveyor William Cameron, under a commission by the colonial government.
Forging a path through dense vegetation, he reached a ‘magnificent and sublime plateau shut up in the mountains’ along the vast Titiwangsa Range. The place was undisturbed for 40 years, until British Administrator Sir George Maxwell developed it as a hill station.
In mid-1925, an Agricultural Experiment Station was set up to confirm if cinchona, tea, coffee, fruits and vegetables could be grown at the district.
Having discovered that it could be agriculturally productive and that, tea in particular could grow here, the British found their motivation to develop the area.
Development continued until the Japanese World War Two occupation.
The area is filled with farms – mostly under plastic tunnels and the forests are still here. Jungle hung is readily accessible though the paths aren’t always clearly marked… and don’t always exist (as a result recent construction).
My walk today took me past the Parit Falls, very pretty though filled with plastic rubbish.
As I reached the outskirts if Brinchang where the Sam Poh Temple is I also took the opportunity to visit the Sri Thandayuthapani Swamy Temple which was built for the Tamil workers who picked the tea leaves in the fields of the plantations.
The Sam Poh Temple is dedicated to Zheng Ho who was a famous admiral and also a eunuch .The structure houses what is said to be the fourth largest Buddha statue in Malaysia.
From here, I headed for the Smokehouse which was built in 1937.
The mock Tudor mansion stands in beautiful gardens and to get in I had to convince the security guard that I did indeed want to have breakfast not just visit the garden without buying anything.
He handed me the menu and after a quick look which suggested plenty of mouth watering options, he asked if I had seen anything.
“I’m going in,” I said as if I was going on a mission and he burst out laughing.
Breakfast was served in a cosy restaurant and I went for the full English which also included pastries, as much juice, tea and coffee as I wanted to drink, fruit and porridge.
A stroll around the gardens helped me ‘warm up’ for the walk back to Tanah Rata though I did feel I might not need to eat for another 24 hours.
Full English Breakfast at The Smokehouse Hotel and Restaurant came in at 58MYR – exceptionally good value.