Malaysia, Cameron Highlands – BOH Tea Plantations
Our second day in the Cameron Highlands we again take a trip to the tea plantations. We take a taxi and go from Tanah Rata through the city of Brinchang to about 10 km distant Kea Farm, where roses are grown.
A little behind her (at the Mossy Mountain bus stop) the taxi driver stops and we have to go our way. In retrospect, it does not make much sense that he does not want to bring us to the place, but at least we walk. Our goal is the BOH tea center, specifically Sungei Palas Tea Garden, which is 3.5 km away on a small asphalt road. However, it is quite busy because there are many visitors coming to this center. No wonder, BOH produces 70% of all tea in Malaysia.
Because the Cameron Highlands is one of the country's most fertile agricultural areas, it is an ideal place to grow excellent teas. The taste of the tea is influenced by local conditions - higher altitude, lower temperatures, rich rainfall and acidic soil. Sungei Palas Tea Garden attracts visitors to its terrace with amazing views across the tea plantations. With a cup of local tea, this is the perfect place to relax.
But we are more attracted by the opportunity to visit the tea factory. The tour is free, which is relatively surprising given the higher prices for BOH tea. Next to the company shop in the tea center is a room where a video of tea production is projected, in the corridor there is a demonstration of the necessary machines and there are educational boards hanging on the walls. The factory itself is located in another building. It is relatively small, pleasantly scented with tea and again we can read a lot of interesting facts about the production process. The tour is also partially commented, but it is not allowed to take photos inside.
In order to produce great tea, first select quality cuttings of shrubs. The seedlings are then carefully treated. During the first year the seedlings are grown outside the plantation before being moved. They have been growing in plantations for about 4 years. During this time the plants are pruned so that they can effectively grow new leaves. Tea bushes survive in local conditions for up to 100 years. The picker picks the best leaves at harvest - ideally young and buds, as they produce the finest teas. Experienced tea pickers collect up to 200 kilograms of these tea leaves daily on BOH plantations. These are then weighed and transported to fading, which is the basic step for making quality teas. The moisture content of the leaves is reduced after approx. 20 hours, after which they can be processed without undue damage. During this treatment it loses its leafy aftertaste. Subsequently, the leaves are rolled to release enzymes and juices and the taste is drawn out by the action of oxygen. The rolling was previously performed manually, but now automatic rollers are used, but they imitate the manual method. There is a fermentation process, the length of which determines the type of tea. Subsequent drying stops the fermentation process and reduces leaf moisture from 60% to 3%. Finally, the best quality tickets are available for sale.
After a visit to the factory, we will have another beautiful walk through the tea plantations and then just deserved food at the market at Kea Farm.
GPS: 4°31'00.8"N 101°24'55.1"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
Our last day in Malaysia has come. We don't want to go too far from Kuala Lumpur and we also enjoyed the beaches a lot, so we will visit the city of Putrajaya. It has served as a federal territory since 2001 and is the planned capital and administrative center of Malaysia. The seat of government moved here as early as 1999 due to the congestion of the existing capital Kuala Lumpur. However, the king, parliament and embassies are still based here.
The sobering-up station provides sanctuary for elephants who have fallen into poacher traps or other difficulties. They use their own elephants, who are very ethically trained here (do not really expect any circus, here it helps). Injured elephants are undergoing rehabilitation and, if possible, their return to nature. The station also takes care of moving elephants due to the ever-increasing agricultural area. The employees are doing a really beautiful job here, be sure to come to support them.
After hot days on the sunny island of Langkawi, we move to the coldest area of our journey - the Cameron Highlands. Located at a higher altitude, there are lower temperatures, which is a bit unusual for us in Malaysia. But it is nothing dramatic, the windbreaker and long pants are enough for morning and evening. Our destination for the next two nights is the city of Tanah Rata, which will also serve as a starting point for our two scheduled trips.
Architecturally stunning cities, tea plantations, tropical rainforests, historical landmarks and white beaches. Welcome to Malaysia, a multicultural country with strong influences from China, India and the rest of Southeast Asia.
Be sure to visit Chinatown near Petaling Street once you are in Kuala Lumpur. The street is above Pasar Seni stop). Lined with red laterns, one half of street's population are Chinese.
The most impressive feature of Sri Maha Mariamman temple is it structure which copies that of a human body - there is a head directed to the west, and legs to the east. The legst are symbolized by a 75-meter tower adorned by the statues of 228 Hindu gods. They are made in south-Indian style.
Brickfields aka Little India used to be an ordinary residential district near Kuala Lumpur. However, as of late it transformed to a wide boulevar featuring Indian sotres, and Indian restaurants.
Malaysian national mosque is situated opposite the train station. Its capacity is 15 thousand people. Surrounded by lush vegetation the park covers an area of 13 hectars. The mosque replaced a church in 1965. Its main features are 73-meter minarets. The main construction of the roof drew inspiration of an open umbrella. Minarets should resemble folded umbrellas.
Before it became the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur had been founded as a humble mining city in the 1950s. Today, it is a fast-growing city beloved by tourists. The Tamils, Chinese, Malayan and indigenous people are the main ethnicities living there.
Enjoy this couple of skyscrapers. These must be on the list of any visitor to Kuala Lumpur. Their silhouette lures you already from afar. Crowds of tourists visit them every day and millions see the towers each year. On day or at night, Petronas Towers add to the city's atmosphere. In Kuala Lumpur you will see them all the time from any place. It is as if these gentle giants held their protective hand above you. They look gloriously but are the towers as beautiful from the inside as they are from the outside?.
Our stay on the beautiful Malaysian island of Langkawi is nearing the end and the last trip is ahead. Today we set out on the most famous icon of the island, the Sky Bridge. The bridge is less than 20 kilometers by car from Pantai Cenang.
From Penang harbor we set off with a small ferry to the very popular and popular tourist resort - the island of Langkawi (Pulau Langkawi). It takes about three hours to get there, and it is definitely a good idea to take something warmer, because the ferry is extremely cold due to extreme air conditioning. Outside the closed part of the ship, unfortunately, there is not much room for comfortable long journey. The island can also be transported by air, such as from Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
We have an organized a trip to Kilim Karst Geoforest Park. In fact, there is no other option, because the tour of the Geopark takes place only on the water. It is not a physically demanding trip, no visitors will enjoy much walking, but it is still worth visiting the geopark. Stretching is possible at least while swimming on a nice beach.
The most interesting, most visited and beautiful place in Malaysia. Today we visit a city, which should not be on the list of any traveler. Just two hours southwest of Kuala Lumpur, we meet the city of Melaka, the capital of the Malaysian state of the same name. This historic city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.
After visiting North Sumatra we return to Malaysia, but this time not back to Kuala Lumpur, but heading north. We fly to the northwest coast of Malaysia, to the state of Penang (also Pinang), which consists of the main island with the capital George Town, the mainland (Seberang Perai) and other smaller islands.
A quiet island with white beaches, turquoise sea and an unspoiled underwater world is the dream of each of us. Have you ever heard of this little paradise? Thanks to the white beaches, the island was named Pulau Kapas or "Cotton Island". (Kapas means "cotton" in Malay, Pulau "island").
Mount Kinabalu, one of the highest summits in southeast Asia, is one of the main landmarks in the park. The mountain is 4 095,2 meters high. Next to traditional mountain climbing you may try to visit Torq mountain, the highest and also the very first ferrata in Asia which is situated at 3 200 to 3 800 meters. The greatest of adventurers may enjoy other activities such as alpine climbing, paragliding or undertake a mountain expedition.
Mt Kinabalu (4 095 m) is one of the most important mountains in the world. It is the highest mountain of the third largest island in the world. Also, it is the highest summit between the Himalayas and New Guinea. It is twice as high as neighboring Crocker Range. On its top, there are several granite towers. A vista worthy of gods.
Borneo island consists of two parts. The souther part belongs to Indonesia, the northern to Malaysia. We are headed to the north to Sabah state which is home to many exotic plant and animal species.
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park (aka Tunku Abdul Rahman – TAR – Marine Park) is situated by the coastline of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. It consists of five islands – Gaya, Manukan, Sapi, Sulug and Mamutik.
We bring you next part of our Borneo series. Let's see where we went next.
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