Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kuala Lumpur - Cameron Highlands ( Tanah Rata )

22 Dec 2015 Tuesday

Thanks to a friendly Ancasa concierge, we got up at 7 am to catch bus 690 right smack in front  of Ancasa. It made a direct 15 min ride to TBS for only RM 2! We were gleeful, saving a walk to the LRT Station and RM1 each. The only drawback is that the bus departs on the hour.  We were extremely refreshed, having secured a seat for the 15 minutes ride and the TBS lounge was couple of meters nearer from where the bus dropped us. Need I emphasis that it was a good deal!

Our Unititi bus departs fron Bay 1, so the friendly folks at the counter says. With 45 minutes to burn, we ate breakfast at the canteen ( yucky noodles and coffee for RM11 ). It was cheap but I am not going to repeat that again. We ate in silences in the cavernous café overlooking a huge swamp.

On the dot, we got on the bus. It makes a few stops with Tanah Rata as terminal.  Unititi bus ( secured online for RM35 ) was cheap and bus comfortable. I greatly recommend this company! We even had a toilet break halfway at the base of the mountain range.

It was a slow start from KL due to some jam on the roads but we made prograss once we got out of KL. After a tiring 5 hrs, we arrived at Tanah Rata at 1 pm. Amidst a congested main road, the bus disgorged all of us with some finding further transport up the CH. I didn’t like the look of things – Tanah Rata didn’t look so busy on streetview. It was like a mini Hanoi!

Food is .... meh !
We had lunch, luggage and all, at Kougen which was a self professed Japanese café. It was 2 Katsu Don, 1 tea for RM39,  which I think was way too expensive. To add insult to injury, the chef most likely has never been to Japan for who in the right mind would declare the half cooked egg over rice as Japanese? It must be a scam! Tripadvisor reviews were overrated for this restaurant!

Wait till you see the balcony! 
We lugged our worldy belongings to Century Pines Hotel. 3 times more expensive than Ancasa, 3 times more the pleasure and comfort. The room ( 201 ) was ridiculously huge with a price tag of RM 330/room/night. Wifi and cable TV sort of soothed the fact that it was more expensive than the other hotels in TR.

We took a walk along trail 4 that started beside our lodging. Obviously we are not in top form, still with coughs and remnant flu. It was tiring and got me panting not long after we started – on the easiest trail at that !

The waterfall was so-so. Debris and rubbish floated along the banks and some were caught on tree branches overhanging the river. It was horrific.

Halfway, we returned because our knees and lungs couldn’t take it anymore. 4.30pm – back at Century Pines with nothing to do, we headed to My Cake House for refreshing beer and juice. The second mistake for the day! The cake was hard and dry and not worth mentioning. We bled RM 24 and other than concluded beer is not expensive, we resolved never to set foot at the place anymore.

Though I had plans to visit the tea plantation, this was not to be. The hotel staff said it was too far for us to go on foot. We contemplated engaging CS travels and tours for a half day tour the next morning. It was RM26 for 5 hours and we took their offer, with the option of pickup at our hotel.  Or perhaps we should get a personal taxi so that we can go anywhere we like. The problem is – where ?

Finally, after much consideration, we bought the countryside tour for RM 26.50 with CS travels.

With our program for tomorrow settled, we dawdled to Ferm Nyonya Restaurant for dinner, our cake and beer still sloshing in our stomachs. Ferm looks like a sad, quiet place compared to the bustling and lively May Flower next door. Though slightly more expensive, we opted for the busier place. For the first time, we disregarded the reviews on TA and obeyed our instincts.

Instinct is a good thing ; it is generated from experience ,  something a review cannot do. For RM44 ( + tea ) , we ate a huge, waist busting steamboat dinner and couldn’t even get to finish the noodles. All plans for supper were abandoned by the time dinner ended.

We Whatsapp with Hopey in London and watched TV until the aftereffects of multiple meals and the tiring trail walk knocked us out into Lala land.

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