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What a scenic drive from Georgetown, passing through rainforest-clad hills and temples nestled at the foot of mountains.

However, seeing for real the mass destruction of forest for quarry mining and palm oil plantations is seriously shocking and makes you think. This landscape and eco-system is scarred for what benefit…at what cost? A good debate to be had on a long car journey!

Expecting rolling lush green mountains of tea plantations, we were mystified to discover plastic dome-covered hills to begin with.

Although not attractive, these market garden-style farms harvest strawberries, vegetables and flowers, providing a valuable way of life for the locals. Having discussed rainforest destruction on our journey here, we continued to debate the merits vs consequences of this intensive farming.

Thank you Dennis for hosting us in your lovely family home in Kuala Terla, a kampung (village) in the Cameron Highlands. We learnt so much from him and the locals about how they farm, produce and package their goods.

 We also visited a butterfly ‘farm’ and saw local orchids…

Dennis’ industrial-style homestay, where his family have used recycled local materials in quirky ways, reflected our own design sense.

The village we stayed in is located at one end of the Cameron Highlands. We were glad to have stayed away from the more touristy areas like Brinchang (made up of high-rise condos) so we could enjoy local food (for example: steamboat), visit a local school, learn about the Chinese community’s customs and play with children at their playpark.

Of course, we also got to enjoy views over endless tea plantations, as we’d imagined! These were more obvious as we drove up side tracks off the main (and only) road in the Highlands, and also as we drove away from Tanah Rata (the main town in the Highlands) on our journey towards Taman Negara National Park (next post!).