Guide To Climbing Mount Kinabalu: Tips & Essential Info

Guide To Climbing Mount Kinabalu: Tips & Essential Info

If you’re hungry for adventure and LOVE a good hike, then you must make climbing Mount Kinabalu an essential part of your Malaysia trip.

Located in Mount Kinabalu National Park (the first UNESCO Heritage Site of Malaysia), Mount Kinabalu stands as the highest mountain in Malaysia. At a whopping 4,095 meters above sea level, hiking this beautiful giant is one of the best things to do in Sabah, the Malaysian state in Borneo.

This hike is not to be underestimated and can be challenging in some places, but is it worth it? Heck yes!

The views from the Mount Kinabalu summit as the sunrises from the east are ones that will stay with you for a lifetime. The hike itself trails through dense jungle, past comforting streams, and over daring boulders.

If you’re someone who likes a challenge, you’ll love this hike.

So, let’s get straight to it!

Mount Kinabalu Climb Difficulty

Mount-Kinabalu-Hike-Difficulty

Before you book put on your hiking boots and book your flight to Sabah, we have to warn you.

The Mount Kinabalu hike is hard, very hard in some places.

The Mount Kinabalu climb difficulty is attributed to several factors.

First, the height of Mount Kinabalu is a staggering 4,095 meters (14,345 ft) above sea level, an elevation that results in less oxygen in the atmosphere.

Second, the terrain of Mount Kinabalu is diverse. You climb through many different environments such as forests and jungles just to reach exposed granite at the summit, where the surface is so slippery you must use your arms and legs to pull yourself up.

Not every one that attempts the Mount Kinabalu hike succeeds. In fact, we saw many people that were unable to summit the day we hiked. A person with decent physical conditions and lots of perseverance is the bare minimum. 

Choosing The Right Mount Kinabalu Tour Operator

Kinabalu-Park-Transport-to-Timpohon-Gate

If you want to hike Mt. Kinabalu, unfortunately you cannot go independently, and you must use a tour operator.

Due to safety concerns after the tragic 2015 Sabah earthquake, hikers are no longer allowed to enter the mountain without a guide. Usually, that isn’t a great thing, but this actually made us feel much safer as there were some parts of the hike towards the summit that were a bit treacherous, especially at night (more on that later).

You can also no longer do a day hike, as no more day-hike permits are given at the Kinabalu Park HQ.  The only option to reach the Mount Kinabalu summit is through a 2 days 1 night tour.

If you want to take your time, you can opt for a 3-day hiking package which takes you through some of the mountainside villages along the way. However, from my experience, 2 days is enough to see the beauty of the Mount Kinabalu and feel the burn from the hike.

Keep in mind that Kinabalu Park allots 165 climbing permits per day, so make sure you reserve your tour package in advance. 

For that reason, the packages listed below are for the Mount Kinabalu 2D1N package.

Mount Kinabalu – The Most Reputable Company For Mount Kinabalu Hike

Mount-Kinabalu-Summit

If you want the most reputable company, then it would be a no brainer to book your tour directly with the Mount Kinabalu tour company.

The park employs some of the most experienced mountain guides who have a real knowledge of the mountain. Many of their guides have grown up in the Mount Kinabalu region, so you are guaranteed to be in safe hands.

For a 2D1N Kinabalu tour package, the more people in your group the cheaper the cost, but prices usually start from a pricey 2,230 Malaysian Ringgit per person (at the time of writing). But keep an eye on their website, as promotions are often added, and they also keep you up to date on park closures.

This is the Mt. Kinabalu company we decided to go with. Though it was pricey, it was worth the extra money spent.

DownBelow Adventures – The Cheapest Climbing Mount Kinabalu Package

Prices for hiking Mount Kinabalu vary so dramatically, so it is worth shopping around before booking.

The cheapest price we have seen so far is that of DownBelow Adventures who are offering a 2D1N Mount Kinabalu package for around 1250 Malaysian Ringgit for foreign tourists. (Cost is different for foreigners vs. Malay nationals)

Although, this price is only available if you book online from their website. This package includes everything from your transfer to the mountain from Kota Kinabalu, accommodation, guide, hiking permit (incl. insurance) and your meals.

Personally, we would say that’s a pretty darn good deal.

Klook – The Most Convenient Tour Company For The Mount Kinabalu Climb

Klook is one of the most reliable and affordable travel tour companies in Asia. The Mount Kinabalu tour is no exception. With Klook, you are in the hands of professional experts who will offer you compensation and great support if needed. 

Check out our offer with Klook here! 

Hidden Costs Of The Mount Kinabalu Trek

Mount-Kinabalu-Peak

Credit: WikiCommons

When booking your Mt. Kinabalu tour package, look carefully into the things that are included. Many companies will try to make their package more attractive by not including some fees, such as transport, lunch, park admission fees, and more.

Don’t just look at the price.

If some of the fees are not already included in your package, you might have to pay that in cash when you arrive at the park. This could seriously add to your climbing Mount Kinabalu budget.

Here is the list of park fees you might have to pay.

Most tour companies will not include a porter (someone to carry your bag up and down the mountain for you), but these are available to hire from the start of the hike for a reasonable price.

You’ll have to do some negotiating with the porters, but the going rate is around 130-200 Malaysian Ringgit per 10kg bag (at the time of writing).

You also have the option of leaving your bag in a secure locker at the Kinabalu Park HQ Reception, if you do not want to carry your entire suitcase up the mountain. This costs around 12 Malaysian Ringgit per bag.

Some packages include a certificate, but some do not. If you want to get a souvenir certificate to show you completed the hike, they cost around 10 Malaysian Ringgit.

Best Time To Climb Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

Mount-Kinabalu-Hiking-Tips

The best time to climb Mount Kinabalu is from March to September during the dry season. The Northeast monsoon season in Sabah runs from October to March, so the terrain can be a little more treacherous.

The park rangers keep an eye on daily weather warnings. If they sense that the wind or rain is too strong, climbers are not allowed to summit. Because of this, the moonson season (October to March) is the low season for trekking Mount Kinabalu.

It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because with the low season comes a bunch of ridiculously low prices on tours! If you are traveling Sabah on a budget, the best time to hike Mount Kinabalu might be during the monsoon season.

May to September can be very hot and humid, which doesn’t make comfortable hiking weather, though not impossible.

Another thing to consider is that Mount Kinabalu is located in an earthquake zone, which means that sometimes the park closes for safety concerns.

It is a good idea to keep an eye on the park website for details of park closures before your trip and invest in some good travel insurance in case of any unforeseen closures.

But don’t let this put you off, the park rangers are highly experienced and work round the clock to keep hikers safe. They would not open the park if they thought there is any danger.

Our Experience Hiking Mount Kinabalu: The Highest Mountain In Malaysia

Day 1: From Timpohon Gate (1,866 m) to Panalaban Base Camp (3,270 m)

Mount-Kinabalu-Park-HQ

Credit: WikiCommons

Because the tour package we selected included a stay in the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges inside the Kinabalu Park the night before, we didn’t need to get to the park early in the morning.

Some travelers stay in Kota Kinabalu and take the 1.5-hour public transportation to the Kinabalu Park in the morning. While that is also an option, it eats into valuable hiking time.

If you are coming from Kota Kinabalu, simply take the shared minivans at Padang Merdeka bound for Ranau. Tell the driver that you want to get off at the Kinabalu National Park.

If your tour package does not include a stay inside the park before your hike, you can elect to make your own reservation. We personally recommend Sutera Sanctuary Lodges because they were so welcoming and knowledgable.

Click here for more info about lodging inside Kinabalu Park.

After a delicious buffet at Balsam Buffet Restaurant (included in our package), we met the tour guide and got on the transport to Timpohon Gate (also included), which is the start of the hike. It was only a 10-minute journey, but necessary to get to the start of the Mount Kinabalu hiking trail.

After a little briefing from our tour guide, we started the hike promptly at 10 AM. Every minute counts because we needed to reach the Panalaban Base Camp, which is a 1400m ascent and a 6-kilometer hike. Though not much in distance, the hike actually takes around 4-6 hours due to the altitude.

Surprisingly, the first part of the hike is a descend into the forest (a little unnerving, as you want to be going uphill). This section isn’t long, but it’s slippery, especially after it has rained. 

Start-of-Mount-Kinabalu-Hike

Take your time and go slow as you do not want to fall down in the mud before you’ve even started.

After about 30 minutes going downhill, you need to cross the river and hike up the bank on the other side. Because of the tropical jungle environment, this section of the Mount Kinabalu trail was surprisingly one of the hardest parts of the hike.

The bank was really muddy and made worse by the sheer number of hikers that had been there before us. It was also congested, which meant we had to keep stopping…not a huge problem, except stopping in slippery mud felt a little uneasy.

After about another 30 minutes of hiking through mud, we reached the start of the trail up the mountain.

From here, it gets easier, though still not to be underestimated. The terrain changes from mud to rock which feels a lot sturdier under the feet, though can be slippery in places.

The trail leads through dense cloud forest teeming with wildlife. Be sure to take it all in as you go up the trail; some hikers have claimed to see tree shrews and flying squirrels. 

Mounta-Kinabalu-Squirrel

Credit: WikiCommons

As we ascended the hike there were huts every kilometer where we could sit and catch our breath. At around noon, we reached Layang Layang, the 4-km out pitstop where we had our lunch. Our tour guide gave us each a packed lunch, which was just a simple sandwich.

After a few more hours of hiking, we eventually reached the Panalaban base camp at 3 PM, where we will be staying for the night. At 3,272 meters above sea level, there are several accommodations in the area, but none as famous as the Laban Rata Resthouse.

In fact, it is so well-known that most people just call the whole base camp Laban Rata. 

Panalaban-Base-CAmp-Laban-Rata-Guesthouse

Assignment to the huts was random (unless you specifically requested a certain room or are a via ferrata climber), and luckily we were assigned to the Laban Rata Resthouse. But because we didn’t specify what we wanted, we were obviously put in the 12-bed unheated dormitory room.

(NOTE: Via Ferrata climbers always stay in Pendant Hut.)

The Laban Rata Resthouse features mostly unheated dormitory rooms, but it also contains 3 private heated rooms with heated showers. 

Laban-Rata-Guesthouse-Dormitory

A buffet-style dinner was served around 5 PM to 7 PM at the main hut in Panalaban, which was the Laban Rata Resthouse. Get here early because food could run out!

After dinner, we mingled with the fellow hikers before all going to bed, completely ignoring the colder shower (ice cold) that was available to dormitory guests.

After a tiresome day of hiking Mount Kinabalu, falling asleep was no difficult task. We rested as much as we could because the hike next day started at 2 AM!

Day 2: From Panalaban Base Camp (3,270 m) to Low’s Peak (4,095 m)

Now it’s time to reach the summit (if the park rangers allow it). Strap on your headlamp and follow your guide up the path to the summit. The path to the summit is only 2.7 km long but it will take you around 3 hours to complete due to the altitude and treacherous terrain.

When you leave the comfort of Laban Rata Resthouse, you’ll find around 300 hikers all leaving at the same time, so the first part of the summit hike can be a bit congested…but at least you don’t have to stop in the mud!

After about an hour, you might start to feel the altitude kick in. The good thing about this part of the hike, is that the incline is not quite as steep, but that does not make it any easier.

When I did this hike, I hiked with a professional athlete and a retired couple, and when you reach around 3000 meters, we were all at the same fitness level due to the altitude. Make sure you come prepared with some altitude sickness pills, or at least some medications for any potential headaches.

At around 3:30 AM, we reached Sayat Sayat, the entrance to the summit. The entrance to the summit closes at 6 AM because of strong winds, so you’ll want to make sure you walk fast to reach the gate in time. If you don’t make it in time, you won’t be able to summit!

In front of us were millions of years old bare granite, created by geological processes that gave birth to Mount Kinabalu. The geology near the peak of Mount Kinabalu is truly surreal. Without any vegetation, it felt like we were on the surface of a barren planet. 

Mount-Kinabalu-Trail

Starting here you need to pay close attention to your guide as there are what they call ‘danger zones.’ These zones are prone to falling rocks, so when hiking through them, you cannot stop.

There are ropes to help you climb up the steep bits and usually the danger zones are only around 200 meters long, so don’t worry too much about them. Just make sure to stick close together with your guide and group.

We reached the summit at around 4:30 AM, just before the sunrise. The last 700 meters were the hardest 700 meters of our lives, but from a distance you can see the very tip of Low’s Peak, the summit of Mount Kinabalu. 

Summit-of-Mount-Kinabalu

Just seeing the tip shining bright in the distance with the sun rising behind it, gave me the energy I needed to race to the summit.

Once at the summit, you can sit on the rocks of Low’s Peak and witness the sun illuminate 360 degrees around you. As the sun shines over the vast landscape of the Kinabalu park, all will become worth it. 

Views-of-Low's-Peak-Mount-Kinabalu

But once it hits 6 AM, don’t hang around, as the wind can become quite strong during the day.

Getting down is much easier and quicker, but don’t rush it, as the inclines are still very steep, and this is where accidents can happen. Now that the sun has come up, you can see just how far and how high you have come.

It takes about 1.5 hours to get back to Panalaban from Low’s Peak, so make sure you have enough time to grab breakfast at Laban Rata Resthouse before heading back down to Timpohon Gate. Breakfast ends at 10:30 AM.

At about 9:30 AM, we finished breakfast and began to head down the trail. Going down felt like flying, as our legs were exhausted from the hike up and our heads were in a state of awe from the experience. 

Mount-Kinabalu-Hiking-Trail

It is a good idea to have hiking poles for this bit, as it is still an 8.7-km hike and the rocky terrain can add pressure to your hips and knees.

We got to the end of the hike (Timpohon Gate) at around 3 PM and we were exhausted but exhilarated. We picked up our bags and climbed into a bus which took us directly to the Poring Hot Springs (included in our tour package) where we sat for hours in the hot water, soothing our aching limbs.

Climbing Mount Kinabalu Packing List & Tips

One of the best climbing Mount Kinabalu tips is to pack light. It is easy to make the mistake of packing as many things as you need and a little more. However, this will tire you out much quicker.

Here is our recommended Mount Kinabalu packing list with just the essential items to bring!

1) Comfortable & Spacious Backpack

Your backpack for this hike is probably the most important item. Too big and you will carry unnecessary weight. Too little and you won’t be able to carry everything. We found that 30L is the perfect Mount Kinabalu backpack size. Just make sure it is waterproof or bring a rain cover!

Find our favorite waterproof backpack here!

2) Headlamp

Typically a handheld flashlight will suffice on any hike, but you will need both your hands to hold onto big rock and ropes when you ascend to the summit.

Click here for our headlamp recommendation!

3) Altitude Sickness Tablets

Speak to your doctor before traveling about getting some altitude sickness tablets. Altitude sickness is a real thing and can be serious if not properly treated.

Click here for more info!

4) Warm clothing (Wool Socks/Gloves/Hat)

Though most of the hike you won’t feel cold, you will need clothing for your unheated rooms in Panalaban and the summit of Mount Kinabalu. At the summit, it can be as cold as 4 degrees Celsius (or 39 degrees Fahrenheit)!

5) A Good Pair of Hiking Boots (Him/Her) 

Not only is the hike steep, slippery, and wet, it is also very long. It took us almost 10 hours to get from the bottom to the top and back down again. The best hiking shoes for Mount Kinabalu are ones with ankle support. We wore Salomon hiking boots and they were ideal for this hike.

6) Lots of snacks

It is inevitable that you will get hungry on the Mount Kinabalu trek. Though you will be given lunch and dinner, you will still need some snacks to keep you at your peak performance. We highly recommend the Kendall Mint Cake if you can get your hands on some.

This delicious energy bar is what the British Army uses in training and provides you with a burst of energy when hiking long distances. Each 170-gram bar will give you more than 600 calories of pure carbohydrates, so you can pack light and still keep yourself replenished.

Click here for more info!

7) Hiking Poles

Though we aren’t big fans of the hiking poles, it is an item you must bring to the Mount Kinabalu climb. Hiking poles will assist you both on the way up and down the treacherous Mount Kinabalu hiking trail. A good set of hiking poles will make sure you’re still able to walk the next day.

Click here to see our recommended hiking poles!

8) Sun Protection Cream

Most of the hike is covered by vegetation and you’ll summit the mountain at night, but on the way down you may find the sun is a little stronger. If you are doing the via ferrata, sun cream is a must or your will burn!

Sun cream is a luxury in Southeast Asia. Bring a bottle from home to save money and ensure you have good sun cream!

Check our recommended travel-size sun cream!

Mount-Kinabalu-guide

9) Insect Repellent (With Picaridin) 

The first section of the hike is through dense jungle near a stream, which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Make sure you pack some insect repellent to protect you for this bit, because hiking with itching bites is definitely no fun!

When looking for insect repellent, make sure you find some with Picaridin and not DEET. Picaridin is a “newer” active ingredient in insect repellent and is shown to be more effective and better for the skin than DEET!

Click here for our Picaridin insect repellent recommendation!

10) A Portable & Good Camera

If you don’t have photos to show, have you actually hiked Mount Kinabalu? You’ll want a portable camera capable of taking amazing photos on this hike. We highly recommend the affordable and portable Sony a6300 mirrorless camera.

Find more info about the Sony a6300 here!

11) Passport

You should also remember to bring your passport, which you will need to get your climbing permit.

12) Waterproof Jacket (Him/Her)

The weather can be unpredictable in Kinabalu park, especially at high altitudes. You don’t want to be caught out if it rains!

13) Change of Clothes

Once you reach the rest stop at Panalaban base camp, you can take a freezing cold shower and change into some clean clothes that are more comfortable to sleep in.

14) Toiletries

When you get to the rest stop, you can take a shower, but soap is not provided. Make sure you pack the basic essentials such as shower gel, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a towel!

15) Wet Wipes

If you are like the majority of the human population and hate taking a freezing cold shower, we recommend you to bring some wet wipes. Though they aren’t the most effective, it should do the job if you are only staying for a night.

Mount Kinabalu Via Ferrata

Adrenaline junkies who would like to add more spice onto their Mt. Kinabalu hike can participate in the Via Ferrata, a protected climbing route consisted of a series of rungs, cables, rails, and ladders all fixed onto the rock surface.

The world’s highest via ferrata is Mountain Torq and can be found on Mount Kinabalu. The via ferrata starts at an elevation of 3,200 meters and ends at 3,776 meters above sea level. Though it might sound dangerous, no experience is required to enjoy this simple mountaineering activity.

There are two via ferrata routes on Mount Kinabalu: Low’s Peak Circuit and Walk the Torq. 

Anyone intending to partake in any of the via ferrata must take an introductory briefing from 3 PM to 4 PM in Pendant Hut at the Panalaban base camp. Without doing so, you will not be able to participate in the via ferrata, which occurs the following day.

This means you must be physically capable of hiking to the base camp before 3 PM. We arrived just at 3 PM though we had a late start and there was a lot of congestion on the way up.

Not only will you need to arrive earlier on the first day, but you will also need to get down from the summit earlier too. You must arrive at the designated place at a certain time to partake in the via ferrata. If you miss it, you lose your chance and your money!

Via-Ferrata-Mount-Kinabalu

Credit: Flickr

Walk The Torq Via Ferrata Mount Kinabalu

For anyone looking for a beginner via ferrata experience, Walk the Torq is the ideal choice for you. As an introductory via ferrata route, Walk the Torq is much easier in terms of duration and distance traversed (vertical and horizontal).

The Walk the Torq via ferrata features a 109-meter vertical traverse with a total length of 430 meters. The highest elevation you will reach on Walk the Torq is 3,520 meters above sea level. Participators usually take about 1.5 hours to complete the route.

Hikers deciding to do Walk the Torq via ferrata must arrive at the Sayat Sayat hut (near the entrance of the Mount Kinabalu summit) at 7:15 AM the latest. Though it isn’t difficult to reach Sayat Sayat, it eats into valuable sunrise admiration time.

Though we haven’t done Walk the Torq (in fact, any of the via ferratas on Mount Kinabalu), we heard it is a great way to get to know a different way of exploring the stunning landscapes on the mountain!

Low’s Peak Circuit Via Ferrata Mount Kinabalu

Measuring at 1.2-kilometer long with a 365-meter vertical traverse, the Low’s Peak Circuit is the more difficult via ferrata option. Even though it is considered more challenging, no experience is needed to go on Low’s Peak Circuit. The highest point on the Low’s Peak Circuit is 3,776 meters above sea level.

The whole circuit usually takes about 5 hours to complete. Anyone willing to attempt this via ferrata must keep in mind the already difficult Mount Kinabalu hike that they are doing!

On the second day of the climb, hikers must reach the 7.5-kilometer checkpoint before 6:30 AM to participate in the Low’s Peak Circuit.

On the Low’s Peak Circuit, mountaineers will get to walk along the cliff and go on the monkey bridge, which are both incredible moments on Mount Kinabalu.

Like this post? Don’t forget to save it on Pinterest! 🙂

Climbing-Mount-Kinabalu-Sabah-Malaysia-Pinterest

This concludes our guide on climbing Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia. We hope you will find our hiking tips and information helpful for your Kinabalu adventure! 🙂 

Any questions? Leave a comment!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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The PERFECT Cameron Highlands Day Trip Itinerary!

The PERFECT Cameron Highlands Day Trip Itinerary!

Planning a Cameron Highlands one day trip?

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Malaysia, numerous tourists flock to Cameron Highlands every year to see some of the country’s best attractions. However, with so many things to do in Cameron Highlands, planning a day trip is no easy task.

In our Cameron Highlands blog post, we will help you plan your trip, tell you what to do in Cameron Highlands in 1 day, how to get around, and the best time to visit.

Enjoy!

Is A Day Trip To Cameron Highlands Enough?

If you are planning a Cameron Highlands trip, you must wonder if one day in Cameron Highlands is enough. After all, there are tons of stunning Cameron Highlands attractions. Is one day really enough to enjoy them all?

The answer is… probably not.

From morning to night, Cameron Highlands is packed with fun activities. There are night markets, hiking trails, tea plantations, waterfalls, the list goes on and on. One day is simply not enough to fully experience Cameron Highlands.

Ideally, you would want to spend at least a weekend there. If you can only spend a day in Cameron Highlands, you will be able to see the main points of interest, but you will also miss quite a few!

Cameron-Valley-Tea-House

How To Get To Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Located in the center of the Malay Peninsula, Cameron Highlands is reachable by many of the big cities of Malaysia. Below we will talk about how to get to Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lumpur (KL), Penang, and Ipoh.

Getting From KL To Cameron Highlands

If you want to take a Cameron Highlands day trip from KL, you must be willing to get up early. About 200 kilometers apart, it takes about 3 hours to drive from Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands.

Personally, we wouldn’t recommend you to spend just one day in Cameron Highlands if you are coming from KL because you will spend half the day sitting on your butt.

Besides renting a car / having a car and driving to Cameron Highlands, you can also take the bus. The KL to Cameron Highlands bus departs at Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), and the journey takes about 3.5 hours. If you get carsick easily, take a motion sickness pill. Though the journey is very scenic, it is also very windy.

You can find the schedule for buses to Cameron Highlands from KL here.

Unfortunately, you cannot go from KL to Cameron Highlands by train. The train only takes you to Ipoh, where you would have to take a bus or drive to Cameron Highlands.

Due to the long commute, I recommend taking a tour from Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands.

Check out our recommended KL To Cameron Highlands tour here!

Getting From Ipoh To Cameron Highlands

Terminal-Amanjaya-Ipoh

If you are going from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands, you can be a lot more flexible. The journey takes a little less than 2 hours, and renting a car or taking the bus are both viable options.

For anyone flying into the Cameron Highlands airport, you are actually going into the Ipoh Airport, because it is the closest airport to Cameron Highlands.

If you are taking the bus from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands, you will have to get it from the Terminal Amanjaya. It is located 20-30 minutes away from Ipoh center, so plan accordingly. The bus journey takes about 2 hours and you are dropped off at Tanah Rata, one of the two main towns in Cameron Highlands.

The bus schedule is as follows: 8 AM, 10 AM, 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, and 6:30 PM. If you are taking a taking day trip from Ipoh to Cameron Highlands, chances are you will want to take the 8 AM bus.

Getting From Penang To Cameron Highlands

Taking a day trip from Penang to Cameron Highlands is similar to taking one from Kuala Lumpur, it takes about 3 hours driving to get there. You must wake up early to avoid the rush hour, otherwise it might take longer than you expect.

If driving is not an option, buses from Penang to Cameron Highlands depart at Sungai Nibong Bus Terminal daily. Frequently, there is only one bus that leaves in the AM, making your one day trip to Cameron Highlands much more difficult.

Find out more about the bus schedule for Penang to Cameron Highlands here.

The other option is to drive there. Having your own transportation in Cameron Highlands will be very useful.

Cameron Highlands Day Trip Itinerary

Morning:

Aim to arrive in Cameron Highlands as early as possible, ideally before 9 AM.

The first stop of your 1-day Cameron Highlands itinerary is the renowned BOH Tea Centre. (Don’t get this confused with BOH Tea Plantation, which is another destination in Cameron Highlands)

Due to the moderate weather, consistent rainfall, and rich soil, the tea produced from Cameron Highlands are some of the finest tea you will find in the world.

At BOH Tea Centre, you can marvel at the acres of undisturbed tea plantations with the perfect cup of tea in hand. The tea plants stretch for miles, running up and down the lush hills of Cameron Highlands. The vibrant blue sky harmonizes with the solemn green, and it reminded us of the beautiful paddy fields in Sekinchan.

If you have not had breakfast yet, their cafe serves light snacks that will keep your energy up for now.

BOH-Tea-Plantation Cameron Highlands

When you are done enjoying the incredible views at their cafe, take a free guided tour of their tea processing facility. Here you will see every step of the procedure and every machinery used to create this tasty delicacy.

The free guided tours take place every 30 mins starting from 8:45 AM to 4:15 PM, and you can register for it when you arrive at BOH Tea Centre.

Before you leave, make sure you check out the BOH Tea Shop, the perfect place to purchase BOH’s tea to take home!

BOH Tea Centre is one of the most crowded places in Cameron Highlands. We highly recommend you to arrive early and leave before the crowd comes.

Unless you decide to purchase something, it is free to enter the BOH Tea Centre!

BOH-Tea-Plantation-1

After you have finished visiting BOH Tea Centre, it is time to move on to the next attraction on the itinerary, the Ee Feng Gu Bee Farm.

Featuring a small garden in the rear, visitors can observe the honey bees in action. After strolling through the garden, make a stop at their multi-level souvenir shop. Featuring cheap and locally-made honey, don’t forget to grab some on your way out! Honey has many known health benefits!

There is no admission cost to enter the bee farm!

Ee-Feng-Gu-Bee-Farm-Cameron-Highlands-Attractions-Activities

Afternoon:

After a visit to the Ee Feng Gu Bee Farm, the next stop is the Pasar Pagi Kea Farm (Farmers’ Market).

At first sight, this crowded farmers’ market in Cameron Highlands might look like a tourist trap. However, if you do a little bit of observing and investigating, you will notice both tourists and locals shop here. The market is only one street long, but stalls inundate the sides of a street like the rainy season in Malaysia.

The farmers’ market mainly sells fresh produce from the region, but you will also find souvenir shops and a fair share of street food. It is also one of the best places to catch a glimpse of a local’s daily life.

If you have been following this Cameron Highlands one day itinerary, you probably have not eaten yet. Time to stuff yourself with some street food!

Pasar-Pagi-Kea-Farm-(Farmers-Market)

Chances are you the street food at the farmer’s market is just a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. If you are like us and love to eat all the time, you might still be hungry after the street food.

If that is the case, it is time to head into Tanah Rata!

Tanah Rata is a quaint walkable town in Cameron Highlands. Known for its easy accessibility, good food, and affordable accommodation, Tanah Rata is the best place to stay in Cameron Highlands.

Here in Tanah Rata, we will find our afternoon tea (or second meal).

Being an ex-British colony, Malaysia still has many traces of British traditions. In the Lord’s Cafe in Tanah Rata, you will find delicious British scones, pies, cakes, and other dishes. Their strawberry scones are known to be mouth-wateringly delicious.

After a delicious second meal at the Lord’s Cafe, it is time for one of Cameron Highlands’ best attractions, the Big Red Strawberry Farm.

Scones-Cameron-Highlands

Not only is Cameron Highlands climate perfect for cultivating tea, but it is also the ideal location for growing strawberries. Throughout Cameron Highlands, there are numerous amount of strawberry farms, but the one you must visit is the Big Red Strawberry Farm.

The Big Red Strawberry Farm is exactly what the name suggests, a big strawberry farm. Visitors can stroll down its hydroponic environment and check out the strawberries growing in action. When they first start growing, the strawberries are as tiny as a peanut, an occurrence we usually don’ get to see.

Besides strawberries, the farm also grows a variety of other produce such as vegetables and flowers. They also have an on-site cafe serving food made with ingredients from the farm. The strawberry sundae is one that you have to try!

If you are visiting Cameron Highlands, chances are you would like to do some strawberry-picking. At Big Red Strawberry Farm, the price for strawberry picking is 30 RM per 0.5 kg. If you are traveling Cameron Highlands with kids, this is a must-do activity. 

Before you visit, give the farm a call to make sure strawberry-picking is available. Though strawberry-picking season is from May to August, it is best to confirm with the property!

It is free to enter the Big Red Strawberry Farm!

Big-Red-Strawberry-Farm

Evening

At this point, you are probably exhausted from your Cameron Highlands trip. While there are still many things to do in Cameron Highlands, you have seen the best. If you have extra time, I would recommend to you visit the Mossy Forest and Mount Brinchang for sunset, though it is a bit of effort to get to both. (We will talk about these two attractions down below.)

If you are visiting Cameron Highlands on the weekend, then you are in luck. The Cameron Highlands Night Market, also known as the Golden Hills Weekend Night Market, is happening!

The Golden Hills Weekend Night Market is the best thing to do in Cameron Highlands at night. If you thought the street food at the farmers’ market was intense, then you need to see the Golden Hills Weekend Night Market.

You can find extremely affordable meals here, great souvenirs, and lots of sweaty people. Golden Hills Weekend Night Market does not understand the concept of personal space! It surely didn’t stop us from getting a 4 RM meal here though.

If you have been to Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur, this night market is about half the size but twice the hecticness. Skewers, nasi lemak (the national food of Malaysia), nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noodles), fried vegetables, desserts, there is definitely more food than you can handle! Don’t worry to give everything a try though because the food there is so affordable.

Though advertised as a night market, the market is opened as early as 5 PM. Don’t miss it before you leave Cameron Highlands (if you are here on a weekend).

Golden-Hills-Weekend-Market-Brinchang

Additional Things To Do In Cameron Highlands

If you have extra time on your day Cameron Highlands one day trip, consider some of the additional things to do down below. Similarly, if you have more than one day in Cameron Highlands, you could take a day trip to Ipoh and check out some of the cave temples around Ipoh.

1. Hiking in Cameron Highlands

The moderate climate and stunning views make hiking one of the most popular activities in Cameron Highlands.

There are a total of 14 hiking trails in Cameron Highlands, and each of them is conveniently numbered. Not all trails are created equal, and others such as Trail 9 is known to be overgrown and dangerous.

Personally, I would recommend Trail 10 combined with Trail 6 as the trail allows you to walk through some of the local farms and stunning tea plantations.

The trailhead starts right outside the town of Tanah Rata, so it is still accessible if you don’t have your own vehicle. The hike takes about 3.5 hours to complete. Just keep in mind you finish at Cameron Valley Tea House and you would need to take a taxi back to town!

Another popular trail in Cameron Highlands in Trail No.1. Trail No.1 is a 3-hour hike that takes you up to the peak of Mount Brinchang, the second highest peak in Cameron Highlands. The views from Mount Brinchang is said to be the best in Cameron Highlands, as you get a panoramic view of the lushness Cameron Highlands is known for.

Install the mobile app maps.me before hiking to avoid getting lost!

If you enjoy hiking, you must check out Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest mountain, in Sabah!

Hiking-Cameron-Highlands-Places-To-Visit

2. Visit Mount Brinchang

As we have mentioned above, Mount Brinchang is the second tallest mountain in Cameron Highlands and offers unparalleled views of the surrounding area. Luckily for you, hiking is not the only way to get there. 

Travelers can also take a taxi or drive up to Mount Brinchang. Because of the constant rain that Cameron Highlands receives, the road is not exactly in the best condition. To make matters worse, parts of the road are so narrow that only one car can fit through at once.

Many tour operators might even tell you it is impossible to reach without a 4×4. However, that is just not true. If you have a regular automobile, you will get there without a problem. If you have a motorcycle, it’s not impossible, but just a little tricky.

Is it worth the effort? Definitely YES!

Mount-Brinchang-Sightseeing-in-Cameron-Highlands

3. Check out the Mossy Forest

Due to the elevation of Cameron Highlands, low-level clouds constantly cover the area with mist and moisture. The result? A perfect environment for mosses ferns, lichens, and other plants to grow. In fact, such a phenomenon has created one of the most interesting places in Cameron Highlands, the Mossy Forest.

Mossy Forest is located a short drive from Brinchang on the same narrow road. If you visit the Mossy Forest, you should also see Mount Brinchang and vice versa.

The entrance cost to the Mossy Forest is 30 RM for foreigners and 10 RM for locals. Once you are inside the Mossy Forest, you are limited to a ~250-meter boardwalk. Some travelers say the price is too steep for such a short visit. Whether or not the price is justified, that is up to you! 

Mossy-Forest-Cameron-Highlands

Getting Around Cameron Highlands

One thing travelers must be aware of is how difficult it is to get around Cameron Highlands. Without your own vehicle, the only way to get from one attraction to another is by taxi. Some of these attractions are located very far apart from each, so be prepared to spend quite a bit of money.

Taxis can be found at the Tanah Rata Bus Terminal, the location where your bus will drop you off if you are taking a bus. If you are planning to visit a ton of places in Cameron Highlands at once, try to rent the taxi by the hour. As always, don’t forget to negotiate! 

If you are able to drive a scooter legally in Malaysia, renting a scooter in Cameron Highlands could be an option for you. There are several scooter rental places in Tanah Rata, and they are much more flexible than taking the taxi.

Half-day tours can also be found in many of the kiosks along the streets of Tanah Rata. If you only have 1 day in Cameron Highlands and would like to see as much as possible, taking a tour might not be a bad idea.  

Getting-Around-Cameron-Highlands

Best Time To Visit Cameron Highlands

When considering when is the best time to visit Cameron Highlands, you must think about what you are trying to accomplish.

Are you planning on doing some hiking in Cameron Highlands? Picking strawberries? Or do you just want to stay away from the crowd? 

For hiking, you will want to pick the months that rains the least. Months like January, February, June, and July are the best months for hiking in Cameron Highlands because it rains less frequently.

However, June and July are months of summer vacation, so you will see huge crowds and tons of traffic. The months of October and November are known to be the peak of the rainy season.

If you want to go strawberry picking, May to August is considered the strawberry-picking season. Just remember to check with the strawberry farm because there could be minor discrepancies. 

Temperature-wise, it is moderate all-year-round, though in the winter months (especially January and February) you might see some snow!

Best-Time-To-Visit-Cameron-Highlands

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Cameron-highlands-day-trip

This concludes our guide to a day trip to Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. We hope it has given you a rough idea of how to plan your Cameron Highlands itinerary! 

Any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

Cameron-highlands-day-trip
15+ Must-Visit Attractions in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

15+ Must-Visit Attractions in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Not sure what to do in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia? Worry not, we were in your shoes once.

However, after spending a month in Malaysia uncovering all the hidden gems (such as Sky Mirror in Kuala Selangor) and exploring popular destinations, we are now ready to share one of our favorite places in Malaysia: Cameron Highlands.

Located in the highlands of Malaysia, Cameron Highlands’ altitude varies from around 800 meters to 1600 meters, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists to enjoy some nature and escape from the city life.

Without further ado, below are the 16 best attractions in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Whether you are on a day trip to Cameron Highlands or spending a few days, you don’t want to miss these!

Map Of The Best Tourist Attractions In Cameron Highlands

With so many Cameron Highlands attractions, we have decided to create an interactive map to help you plan your Cameron Highlands itinerary. On the map above are the 16 places of interest we will talk about in our Cameron Highlands blog post.

The upper left corner of the map is a toggle. Don’t forget to click on it if you need more information about a specific attraction in Cameron Highlands.

If you have questions about the map, feel free to leave a comment down below.

What To Do In Cameron Highlands: 16 Top Things To Do In Cameron Highlands

1. Go Hiking in Cameron Highlands (Especially Trail 6 & 10)

Hiking-Cameron-Highlands-Places-To-Visit

If there is one place to go hiking in Malaysia, it is in the Cameron Highlands. Known for its lush rolling hills, beautiful tea plantations, and moderate weather, it is no surprise that hiking is one of the best activities in Cameron Highlands.

There is a total of 14 hiking trails in Cameron Highlands, and they are conveniently named by their numbers. With so many options and such a short time in Cameron Highlands, it was difficult to pick the perfect trail for us.

After asking the reception, fellow travelers, and lots of research online, we found that Trail 10 that splits into Trail 6 is the most scenic route.

The hike starts with trail 10, just a few minutes from the town Tanah Rata. After 30 minutes of hiking through the jungle, you reach Gunung Jasar, a peak with incredible views of the surrounding area.

That is also where the trail splits into Trail 6 or continues to Trail 10. If you take trail 6, you will pass numerous farms along the way and have the opportunity to walk through the gorgeous tea plantations Cameron Highlands is known for.

The hike ends at Cameron Valley Tea House 1, where visitors can cool down with a nice cup of tea before heading back into town.

The difficulty of this hike in Cameron Highlands is moderate, though it becomes treacherous after a rainstorm. It is a half-day hike so plan accordingly! 

2. Visit the BOH Tea Centre (BOH Tea Plantation) and Learn About Tea Processing!

BOH-Tea-Plantation Cameron Highlands

If there is one thing to do in Cameron Highlands, it is to check out the labyrinth of tea plantations and learn about the tea processing procedures. BOH Tea Centre, one of the most famous tea plantations in Cameron Highlands, is the proper place to do so.

(If you look carefully on the map, BOH Tea Plantation is another location in Cameron Highlands. Don’t get those two confused. The one you want to go to is BOH Tea Centre.)

Featuring acres of gorgeous tea plantations, a cafe with great views, a tea shop selling tea made on-site, and a tea processing facility tour, it is no wonder why BOH Tea Centre is so popular.

If you are traveling in Malaysia with kids and family, BOH Tea Centre is a great spot to just hang out for a day, take in the views, properly relax, and learn something about this super popular beverage. However, due to its popularity, BOH Tea Centre can sometimes be crowded, especially on the weekends.

When you visit the tea plantation, make sure you take the free guided tour of the tea processing facility. It shows you the procedure and machinery used to make the picture cup of tea! Being an old British colony, you know that the tea in Cameron Highlands is going to be superb!

The free guided tours happen several times throughout the day. You can sign up when you arrive, there is no need to reserve your spot beforehand.

3. Hike Mount Brinchang

Mount-Brinchang-Sightseeing-in-Cameron-Highlands

At 2,032 meters high, Mount Brinchang (Gunung Brinchang) is the second-highest peak in Cameron Highlands. The summit of Mount Brinchang is one of the best places to visit in Cameron Highlands due to its surreal landscapes of the surrounding greenery.

There are three ways to get there: Hiking Trail 1, taking a taxi up, or taking a tour in Cameron Highlands.

If you are an avid hiker, consider taking the 3-4 hour Trail 1 to reach the top of Mount Brinchang. The trailhead is located in the northern part of Brinchang, so visitors staying in the popular backpacker town of Tanah Rata will have to find a mode of transportation there.

When you arrive at the trailhead, look for a signboard indicating the start of jungle walk No.1. Once you have found that, you are only 3 kilometers away from the peak of Mount Brinchang! The trail is through the jungle and sometimes it can get quite messy.

There might be rumors that Trail 1 has been closed. However, as of March 2020, the trail is still open. Just download the app maps.me and use their offline maps feature to make sure you are on the right path!

For visitors that are semi-lazy, taking a taxi up to Mount Brinchang and hiking down is a good option. Taxis can be found at the Tanah Rata bus station or just flagged down in the streets. It is advised to visit the nearby Mossy Forest to kill two birds with one stone!

For those that are extra lazy, tours can be found throughout Tanah Rata and Brinchang. Just go up to any of the kiosks and ask if they have tours to Mount Brinchang!

4. Visit the Mossy Forest, One of the Most Interesting Places in Cameron Highlands

Mossy-Forest-Cameron-Highlands

The Mossy Forest is one of the tourist attractions in Cameron Highlands that gets a lot of debate. Some visitors say that it is totally worth the trip and hefty admission cost, while others say it is just a complete scam. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop the Mossy Forest from being one of the top places of interest in Cameron Highlands.

Having been to the cloud forest in Mindo Ecuador, we felt that there was no need to visit the Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands.

What is a moss forest? Good question. A mossy forest is a very unique environment that is only present in several places in the world. The perfect elevation of Cameron Highlands allows for low-level clouds to constantly cover the area with mist and moisture, providing the ideal environment for many mosses, ferns, lichens, and orchids to grow.

With such different vegetation, it shouldn’t surprise you that the animals that live there are also quite unique. Insects, birds, frogs, and other mammals inhabiting the environment are unlike other animals in Malaysia, making the Mossy Forest one of the most interesting places in Cameron Highlands.

What stops some tourists from visiting such an exciting place in Cameron Highlands is its price. For 30 RM for foreigners (10 RM for locals), you get to walk on a boardwalk for 15 minutes before heading back. You are not allowed to steer off the designated path. That is not including the price for the taxi/tour to get to this place!

As travel bloggers, we feel obligated to lay out the fact. Whether you decide to go or not, that is up to you!

5. Check Out Big Red Strawberry Farm And Pick Strawberries If You Want

Big-Red-Strawberry-Farm

If you traveling with kids and not sure what to do in Cameron Highlands, take them to the Big Red Strawberry Farm. This place in Cameron Highlands is quite self-explanatory, a huge strawberry farm! Though strawberries are their main attractions, they also grow a variety of other things such as lettuce and flowers in their hydroponic setting.

Their affordable cafe sells various products from the region, but the ones you must try are definitely the strawberry ones. We had the strawberry sundae and it was absolutely delicious!

If you go to a strawberry farm, chances are you would want to pick your own strawberries! At Big Red Strawberry Farm, that is a possibility, but only during peak season (May to August). If your focus is picking strawberries, I highly recommend you to call them to confirm that they are open for strawberry picking. The price is 30 RM for 0.5 kilograms.

Yes, strawberries are somehow really expensive in Cameron Highlands. 

It is completely free to enter the Big Red Strawberry Farm.

6. Eat Street Food At The Golden Hills Weekend Night Market (Cameron Highlands Night Market)

Golden-Hills-Weekend-Market-Brinchang

No Malaysia trip is complete without indulging in some delicious and cheap street food. If you had time to visit Kuala Lumpur, you might have had your fair share of street food at Jalan Alor, if not, worry not. The Golden Hills Weekend Night Market will satisfy some of your cravings.

Numerous hawker stalls line up on the sides of the street, selling nasi lemak (The national food of Malaysia), nasi goreng, skewers, fried chicken, deep-fried vegetables, and many other local dishes. I found a full meal here for 4 RM (less than 1 USD)!

Not only will you find a variety of street food there, but you can also encounter produce and souvenirs. Even if you are worried about eating street food, there is something at the Golden Hills Weekend Night Market that will excite you.

If you see a strange fruit that looks like a brown coconut with a hat, you might be tempted to give it a try. Don’t do it. The exotic fruit is sea coconut, and we made the mistake of trying it because we saw the line of people. It is by far the most tasteless and bitter fruit we had in our lives. Learn from our mistakes!

The market is only opened on weekends, and it is crowded if you arrive at night. Personally, the crowd is one of the quintessential components of a street market in Southeast Asia. If you want to avoid the crowd, arrive no later than 5 PM.

The Golden Hills Weekend Night Market is located in Brinchang. Anyone staying in Tanah Rata without a vehicle will have to take a cab there.

7. Relax and Admire The Landscape At Cameron Valley Tea House

Cameron-Valley-Tea-House

If you are visiting Cameron Highlands from other places in Malaysia, chances are you want to escape from the heat, humidity, noise, and stress. What is a better way to relax than sitting in a beautiful cafe, having a cup of locally grown tea, and admiring the beautiful tea plantations?

Though BOH Tea Centre is the most famous place to see the tea plants, it is not the most gorgeous place. The best place to see the tea plantations is actually at Cameron Valley Tea House.

There are two Cameron Valley Tea House adjacent to each other, tea house 1 and tea house 2. Cameron Valley Tea House 2 is the one with the best views of the tea plantations. If you want to appreciate the vastness of these never-ending tea plantations, tea house 2 is the perfect place for it. The greenery stretches for what seems like an eternity here, and it reminded us of the beautiful paddy fields in the nearby Sekinchan!

Cameron Valley Tea House 1 is another cafe, but it is mostly known for its entrance to the acres of tea plantations. (It is also where Trail 6 ends.)

For a small entrance fee, visitors are allowed to wander up and down the tea plantations, get up close and personal with the plants, and take as many photos as they want. If you get lucky, you might also see workers in the process of irrigating these plants.

Cameron Valley Tea House is unquestionably the best place for photography in Cameron Highlands!

8. Visit the Buddhist Sam Poh Temple

Sam-Poh-Temple-Cameron Highlands

Sam Poh Temple is located on a hill overlooking Brinchang. As the 4th biggest Buddhist temple in Malaysia, Sam Poh Temple features numerous statues of Buddhist deities, including a large temple of Lord Buddha.

The temple welcomes visitors of any belief, and anyone can enjoy the quaint architecture and serenity a Buddhist temple offers. Monks and other residents live in the temple, so it is important to be respectful when visiting.

If you are into temples, you must visit the nearby cave temples in Ipoh. Those cave temples are nestled in the limestone hills and will amaze you!

It is free to enter Sam Poh Temple.

9. Check Out The Indoor Cactus Park At Cactus Point

Cactus-Point-Cameron-Highlands-Things-To-Do

If you are traveling Malaysia on a budget, Cactus Point is a free attraction in Cameron Highlands you cannot miss. Its expansive greenhouse not only features a huge variety of cacti, but other plants for visitors to check out.

The plants are arranged neatly row by row, and their geometrical intricateness creates the perfect photo-taking opportunity. If you are interested in purchasing your own cacti, you can get the small ones for as cheap as 2 RM!

Though you won’t be able to spend a long time here, it is worth making a short stop to check out what they have! 

10. Try Some Fresh Honey At Ee Feng Gu Bee Farm

Ee-Feng-Gu-Bee-Farm-Cameron-Highlands-Attractions-Activities

If you are not sure where to go in Cameron Highlands, spend some time at Ee Feng Gu Bee Farm, one of Cameron Highlands’ best bee farms.

The farm features a nice little garden where visitors can stroll through and observe the little hard bee workers at work. When you are tired from walking around the garden, head over to their gift shop where they sell locally made honey.

Honey has many known health benefits, so don’t miss your chance to snatch some quality ones for low prices at the Ee Feng Gu Bee Farm.

The bee farm is free to enter.

11. Reminisce at the Time Tunnel

Time-Tunnel-Cameron-Highlands

Source: Roysouza

Have you ever wanted to take a glimpse into the past? To reminisce about your childhood or wonder what your parents or grandparents’ daily lives were? Here at the Time Tunnel, you can!

Featuring lots of items and artifacts from the 40s to the 80s, this quirky museum is one of the best places to go in Cameron Highlands. Information about Malaysia before its independence from Great Britain is detailed along the walls of this museum, perfect for anyone that wants to know more about Malaysia’s rough history.

The museum also contains pictures of Cameron Highlands back in the day, and it is astonishing to see the transformation that has happened.

If you are a history-lover, you will find the Time Tunnel to be your favorite place to visit in Camron Highlands. If you are not, it will still surely evoke a sense of nostalgia!

The entrance cost of the Time Tunnel is 6 RM.

12. Check Out The Local Produce At Pasar Pagi Kea Farm (Farmers’ Market)

Pasar-Pagi-Kea-Farm-(Farmers-Market)

If you are planning to visit Cameron Highlands, a stroll down Pasar Pagi Kea Farm is a must. Featuring many local produce, souvenirs, street food, and other merchandise, this local market might seem like a tourist trap at first. However, many locals in the area often shop in these local markets, thus offering glimpses into their daily lives.

The most popular product in Cameron Highlands is its freshly grown strawberries. These sweet little red delicacies can be considered a luxurious item in Cameron Highlands, as the prices for them are unreasonably high. That doesn’t stop local or international tourists from trying this delicious locally-grown fruit!

13. Cool Down At The Lata Iskander Waterfall

Lata-Iskander-Waterfall

Source: Sam Cheong

Is the weather in Cameron Highlands too hot for you? Why not cool down in a swimmable waterfall?

Located about an hour away Tanah Rata, Lata Iskander waterfall is one of the best waterfalls in the Cameron Highlands area. Though there are some waterfalls in town such as Robinson Falls and Parit Fall, they are often quite dirty and filled with litter. It is worth spending the extra time venturing out of town.

This small waterfall is the perfect place to relax, especially with family. Kids can enjoy the fresh cool water while parents sit in the adjacent restaurants with a drink in their hands.

For travelers that are coming from Kuala Lumpur or Ipoh, chances are you will pass by Lata Iskander waterfall. Stop by for a short break and enjoy this natural beauty!

14. Take A Day Trip To Ipoh, A Quaint Little City

Ipoh-Street-Art-And-Murals

Located 2 hours away from Cameron Highlands is Ipoh, one of the quaintest cities in Malaysia. Known for its rich Hakka history, delicious local food, and internationally recognized white coffee, Ipoh is a small city with many things to do.

Though we recommend you to spend several days exploring Ipoh, a day trip to Ipoh is a good way to introduce yourself to the richness of this historic city. Plenty of cheap hotels are available in the Old Town and New Town, so staying for a few days to wander around does not have to be expensive.

If you are visiting Ipoh from Cameron Highlands, you won’t have that much time. There are some notable attractions in Ipoh that you cannot miss, namely the picturesque Concubine Lane, the stunning street arts and murals, and the cave temples that are scattered on the outskirts of town.

15. Smell The Roses At Rose Valley

Rose-Valley-Cameron-Highlands

Even if you are in Malaysia for a short trip, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses. Luckily for you, there is a rose garden located just right outside the town of Brinchang.

The Rose Valley features a variety of roses as well as many various types of plants. As you walk by each different species of rose, notice the distinct scent that each gives off. It is the perfect way to appreciate nature and properly calm down.

Besides its luring scent, the arrangement of the roses creates a beautiful landscape. Bring a nice traveling camera and make sure you take lots of photos!

However, don’t expect to spend hours here though because the place isn’t exactly huge. Besides checking out the roses, there really isn’t anything worth seeing here.

The entrance fee to the Rose Valley is 5RM.

16. Visit The Lavender Farm!

Lavender-Garden-Cameron-Highlands-Places-of-Interest

One of the best things to do in Cameron Highlands is to visit the popular Cameron Lavender Garden. 

A dainty garden known for its breath-taking lavender and lavender-flavored ice cream, it is no surprise why this is such a big tourist attraction. Many say that the lavender ice cream is a bigger attraction than the garden itself! Whether that is true or not, that is up to you to find out.

The garden features many amazing photo opportunities, whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, or even as a family. 

The entrance cost for adults is 10 RM and for children is 7 RM. When you are tired strolling down their beautiful garden, you can grab a snack from their cafe or check out their souvenir shop!

Places In Cameron Highlands You Might Want To Reconsider Visiting

It is without a doubt that Cameron Highlands has become one of the top places to visit in Malaysia. As a result, many merchants will see this as a money-making opportunity, often time neglecting their property.

Here are the places in Cameron Highlands we do not recommend visiting, especially if you only have a short trip like a day in Cameron Highlands.

1. Cameron Highland Butterfly Farm

Butterfly-Farm-Cameron-Highlands

Cameron Highland Butterfly Farm is unquestionably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cameron Highlands. However, we decided not to visit based on the negative reviews we read online.

Visitors have left reviews saying that even though the Butterfly Farm does feature various beautiful butterflies, many of them are in terrible health, some are even dead. Besides the butterflies, the Butterfly Farm also contains a mini zoo, where animals such as kangaroos, scorpions, and raccoons look neglected.

We can’t say for sure if these reviews are true, because we haven’t been there. Reading reviews like those made us not want to support an organization that appears to neglect its animals. The entrance to the Butterfly Farm is 10 RM.

2. Parit Fall (Thompson Fall)

Thompson-Fall Parit Fall

Parit Fall, sometimes also called the Thomspon Falls, is a small waterfall in Cameron Highlands. It is one of the best things to do in Tanah Rata because this waterfall is very close to the town center. Though it is within close proximity to the town, the waterfall is still surrounded by the lushness Cameron Highlands is known for. 

So why would you not visit?

Because the place is completely littered with trash. Plastic bottles, styrofoam boxes, and miscellaneous trash contaminate the freshness of the water, destroying a seemingly beautiful location. If the rubbish ever gets picked up, Parit Fall will become one of the best Cameron Highlands attractions.

3. Cameron Highlands Trail No.9

Not all trails are created equal in Cameron Highlands. Trails such as Trail No.1, Trail No.10, and Trail No.6 are safe and stunning, but others like Trail 9 can be the opposite.

Though trail No.9 visit the Robinson Falls, the trail is known to be overgrown and filled with fallen trees. The trail also has a history of robberies and muggings, as well as attacks by aggressive dogs. Whether these events are interlinked or not, we decided not to investigate.

Until we hear better reviews about Cameron Highlands Trail No.9, we recommend that you avoid it. 

Getting Around Cameron Highlands

If you look at the map of Cameron Highlands, you will notice that the things to do in Cameron Highlands are quite far apart. This situation makes it extremely difficult for any tourists that are backpacking Malaysia or traveling without their own vehicle.

How do you overcome this problem?

The easiest way is to just hire a taxi by the hour/day. Negotiate with the driver and tell them which attractions you would like to visit, then just hop in the taxi and have your private driver take you around for a day. Taxis are located at the Tanah Rata Bus Terminal or you can flag them down in the street.

The next possible solution is to hire a car or a motorbike, and we did the latter. If you do decide to rent a car, you might have to do so in Ipoh. We did not see any car rental agencies in Tanah Rata. On the other hand, renting a scooter is as easy as cake in Cameron Highlands. We rented a scooter here for 80 RM for 24 hours, and it was just enough to see the places we wanted to see.

The last option is taking a tour in Cameron Highlands, which we will talk more about down below.

BOH-Tea-Plantation-1

Tours In Cameron Highlands

Tours in Cameron Highlands are far from lacking, especially in Tanah Rata. Everywhere you go, you can find kiosks on the side of the street selling day tours or half-day tours. Most of these tour companies sell the exact same day tour and half-day tours, so it is really about finding a good price.

Though we have not taken a tour in Cameron Highlands, we have heard great reviews about ECO Cameron Travel & Tours. They are fairly priced and the tour often comes with a good tour guide.

Alternatively, you can secure your Cameron Highlands tour here before arriving!

If you are on a short visit to Cameron Highlands, a tour is the best way to go sightseeing in Cameron Highlands because it maximizes your time!

If you want to take a day tour from Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands, click here for our recommendation.

Where To Stay In Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

If this is your first time in Cameron Highlands, you might be confused as to where to stay. Cameron Highlands consists of two towns: Brinchang and Tanah Rata.

Tanah Rata is a quaint walkable town with lots of affordable hotels and eateries. Tanah Rata is also where most foreign tourists stay as the bus terminal is located there. I personally recommend staying in Tanah Rata if you are visiting Cameron Highlands.

Brinchang, though a little more well-equipped, doesn’t feel like a nice relaxing town in the mountains. There is plenty of traffic and the town is hard to get around on foot. Though the top things to do in Cameron Highlands are located closer to Brinchang, I still wouldn’t recommend staying here.

Here are our hotel recommendations in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands.

Best Hostel in Cameron Highlands- Traveller Bunker Hostel

If you are a backpacker in Cameron Highlands, you are in luck. Cameron Highlands, Tanah Rata especially, is filled with amazing and affordable hostels. The one that we highly recommend is the Traveller Bunker Hostel.

Featuring capsule-style beds where each bed contains its own fan, power supply, and hanger, guests can properly relax after a long day. When you are not relaxing in your comfortable bed, you can hang out in the common area, the perfect place to meet travelers from around the world.

The hostel is also located a 5-minute walk from the Tanah Rata Bus Station!

Click here for more details!

Best Cheap Hotel in Cameron Highlands- Arundina Cameron Highlands

Arundina Cameron Highlands is one of my favorite cheap hotels in Cameron Highlands. A non-pretentious hotel with comfortable rooms and a peaceful garden, guests will surely find themselves at ease.

The rooms are well-equipped and most of them have a balcony that overlooks Tanah Rata, perfect for watching the sunset. Though it might appear that this hotel is far away from town, it is actually within a few-minute walk from the center of Tanah Rata.

Privacy, comfort, convenience, price, all checked!

Click here for more info!

Best Luxury Hotel in Cameron Highlands- Century Pines Resort Cameron Highlands

If you are looking for a luxurious experience in Cameron Highlands, you must not overlook Cameron Highlands’ most impressive hotel: Century Pines Resort Cameron Highlands.

A fancy hotel nestled into nature, Century Pines Resort has free breakfast, a well-equipped gym, large rooms, fancy decor, and very friendly staff. The hotel is also located a short 5-minute walk from the town center, so guests aren’t deprived of the action.

Though if you were staying at the Century Pines Resort, you might be tempted to just stay in the hotel and indulge in luxury!

Click here for more information!

Best Airbnb in Cameron Highlands- The Hill View Home

Where To Stay In Tanah Rata
Where To Stay In Cameron Highlands
(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)

Anyone seeking a more cozy atmosphere and stunning views must not miss on some of the Airbnb homes in Cameron Highlands. Our personal favorite its The Hill View Home.

This 3-bedroom Airbnb can fit a maximum of 9 guests (though not recommended). The balcony, though small, offers some of the best views in Cameron Highlands. It is so pleasant to just sit there with a cup of tea and enjoy nature unravel around you!

Though this Airbnb could fit an entire family, it is also a great place for couples looking for a romantic getaway to somewhere more calming.

Click here for more details!

Make sure to use this coupon code for up to $40 USD off on your qualifying Airbnb stays (for new users only)!

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This is the end of our Cameron Highlands blog post! We hope that this has given you a basic understanding of the best Cameron Highlands attractions!

Any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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5 BEST Ipoh Cave Temples You Cannot Miss On Your Trip!

5 BEST Ipoh Cave Temples You Cannot Miss On Your Trip!

Majestic, mysterious, and fascinating, these are three words to describe the famous cave temples in Ipoh.

It is a no-brainer that a visit to these incredible Ipoh attractions is a must on any Malaysia trip.

However, with around 30 cave temples near Ipoh, it is difficult to decide which ones are worth your time.

In our Ipoh blog post, we have handpicked 5 of our favorite Ipoh cave temples!

Enjoy!

Ipoh Cave Temples Map

The interactive map above details the location of the cave temples we will be discussing. On the top left corner is a toggle that will allow you to see more details.

Because the cave temples are located far from the center of Ipoh, knowing their location will help you plan your Ipoh itinerary

Best Cave Temples In Ipoh

1. Perak Tong Cave Temple

Perak Tong Cave Temple is the most famous cave temple in Ipoh and it’s not difficult to see why.

The moment you arrive at the complex, you are greeted by a beautiful staircase that leads to a gorgeous red and white temple. The temple sits at the bottom of a massive limestone hill, and it is also the entrance to the famous Perak Tong Cave Temple.

Before you go in, don’t forget to take a cool photo at the entrance. The stairs and the colorful facade of the temple create the perfect Instagram photo! They reminded me of the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur.

The admission fee for all cave temples in Ipoh is free. However, donations are greatly appreciated to help maintain the conditions of these amazing places in Ipoh.

Once you have entered the cave temple, you will begin to see what the rave is about. Immediately you will notice the giant 15-meter tall Budhha sitting amidst the statues of guardian deities.

On the walls directly adjacent to the Buddha are paintings of other Buddhist deities and mythical creatures such as dragons and phoenixes.

If you thought the murals and street art in Penang and Ipoh are amazing, these religious paintings inside the Perak Tong Cave Temple will leave you breathless.

Though a very tall cave, it doesn’t take a long time to explore all of it. After spending about 15 to 20 minutes seeing the different religious artifacts, Chinese calligraphy, and well-crafted statues, head towards the rear of the cave.

In the rear of the cave is a set of stairs that leads an opening in the back. For anyone that would like to get a panoramic view of the suburban parts of Ipoh, there is a path with over 300 steps that take you to a vantage point. The climb isn’t exactly difficult but it can be given the climate of Malaysia.

In my opinion, visiting the Perak Cave Temple and not climbing to the top for that unique view is just a waste!

How To To Perak Tong Cave Temple: Perak Tong Cave Temple is located in the north of Ipoh, fairly far from the center of Ipoh. Though there is a bus that passes by the entrance of the complex, I highly advise taking a taxi or using a taxi-hailing app such as Grab. It is affordable and much quicker!

History: Every Ipoh cave temple has some sort of history, and the Perak Cave Temple is no exception. In 1926, the cave was discovered by a married couple from China.

With the approval of the state government, the husband started planning the development of the cave temple while his wife sought monetary assistance. After more than 50 years of hard work, the cave temple became one of the best attractions in Malaysia.

2. Kek Lok Tong (Cave of Ultimate Bliss)

Kek Lok Tong, or “Cave of Ultimate Bliss”, is unquestionably my favorite cave temple in Ipoh. Why? Let me explain.

When you arrive at Kek Lok Tong, you aren’t greeted with a beautiful temple like Perak Tong. Instead, it is quite the opposite. A huge gaping hole on the foot of a limestone hill awaits you, like a giant rock monster waiting to swallow you whole.

Don’t let this intimidate you. The interior of the cave is filled with marvelous geological formations, paintings, decorations, and altars. Take some time and admire the stunning stalagmites and stalactites. Their massive and jagged features create an unworldly feeling, almost as if you were on an alien planet.

On quiet days, it is possible to hear the sound of a water drop reverberate inside this half-Buddhist and half-Taoist cave temple.

Honestly, after seeing the extraordinary cave at Kek Lok Tong, I was content and ready to head home. However, this is not where the story ends.

At the rear of the cave is a massive opening that leads to an award-winning Zen garden. Did I know what a Zen garden is? No. Am I glad I had to chance to experience it? Yes. If there is a part of the cave that brings “ultimate bliss”, it is the Zen garden in the back. 

A tranquil garden surrounded by the incredible limestone hills of the region, Kek Lok Tong is the picture-perfect location. Featuring many interesting Buddhist statues, a lotus pond, and the opportunity to go boating on the river (only in peak season), the Zen garden in Kek Lok Tong is a tourist attraction on its own.

If you like to stay fit while traveling, the well-maintained jogging path that surrounds the lakes is a popular spot for jogging in the morning. You might even see locals enjoying other physical activities, such as badminton. Surprisingly, Kek Lok Tong is a top location for exercising!

Though you can spend 30 minutes to see the entire place, it is very peaceful to just sit and admire the breath-taking landscapes. Read a book, take a deep breath in, and feel the stress leaving your body. The Zen Garden will provide you with an experience unlike any other!

How To Get To Kek Lok Tong: Kek Lok Tong is a short 10-minute drive from the Ipoh center, where the majority of the best and cheap hotels in Ipoh are located. I do not recommend you to walk or take public transportation, as Kek Lok Tong is located in a fairly inaccessible area. 

History: Kek Lok Tong was a place of worship since the 1920s. However, in the 1960s, parts of the cave were excavated for mining activities. Mining ceased in the 1970s and the place slowly regained the popularity and visitors it once had. Nowadays, it is one of the most famous attractions in Malaysia.

3. Sam Poh Tong (Three Buddhas Cave)

Founded in the 1890s, Sam Poh Tong is considered as the oldest temple in the Perak region of Malaysia. It is also considered as one of the biggest cave temples in Malaysia.

With so many textbook achievements, we were sad to find that it wasn’t as impressive as the Perak Tong Cave Temple or the Kek Lok Tong Temple. That is partially because the other temples were absolutely stunning.

At the front of the Sam Poh Tong is one of its most impressive features, a beautifully landscaped garden surrounding a large koi pond. The pond is decorated with artificial rocks that resemble miniature mountains.

Rumors have it that this garden won an award for being the most beautiful garden in Malaysia in 1993. Though it is beautiful, I personally would not consider this to be on an award-winning tier.

After passing through the garden you will arrive at the entrance of the cave temple. The cave structure is much smaller compared to that of Kek Lok Tong or Perak Tong Cave Temple.

Inside you will find stalagmites, stalactites, and statues of Budhha and other Chinese deities. In general, the cave felt very run-down.

Many visitors miss the rear of the cave, where a beautiful Japanese-style pagoda and the turtle pond are located. The towering cliffs surrounding the rear part of the temple create a unique environment. Visitors can also feed or release turtles, and doing so is said to balance one’s karma.

The pagoda is not allowed for entry.

How To Get To Sam Poh Tong: The Sam Poh Tong Temple is located 5 kilometers south of Ipoh in Gunung Rapat, so it is recommended that you arrive by car or a taxi. 

History: It is said that Sam Poh Tong was founded by a monk in 1890. He decided to make the cave his home and a place for meditation. He remained in the cave until he died. After his death, many other monks and nuns continued using that cave and eventually built a temple in the 1950s.

4. Ling Sen Tong (Rock of Heavenly Spirits)

When you arrive at Ling Sen Tong, you might ask yourself, “Is this really a temple?” Featuring colorful architecture and whimsical human-size statues, it certainly feels a little bit like an amusement park. If you traveling in Malaysia with kids, the Ling Sen Tong is a great place to bring them.

The garden is decorated with statues of various characters from Chinese folklore and mythology, including the Monkey King, Guan Yin, and the 12 Chinese Zodiacs.

It might be tempting to take out your camera the moment you arrive here, and that is fine. Just be respectful and don’t forget that this is a place of worship.

The area of temple grounds is very small and it shouldn’t take you a long time to explore. Wander around and make sure you check out the tortoise pond in the rear. Tortoises are symbols of longevity and very common in Chinese temples. 

On the second floor of the building you will find joss sticks and a great view of the garden down below!

How To Get To Ling Sen Tong: Ling  Sen Tong, along with Nam Thean Tong and Sam Poh Tong, are located adjacent to each other about 5 kilometers from Ipoh center. It is recommended to drive or take a taxi.

5. GuanYin Cave (Kwan Yin Tong Temple/ Goddess of Mercy Cave)

If you just cannot get enough of cave temples, then the last one I would recommend is the Guan Yin Cave (sometimes referred to as Kwan Yin Tong).

A cave temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, you will see the statues before you enter the cave. And what can you find inside the cave temple? More Guan Yin statues. If I were to count how many Guan Yin statues are in that cave, I might still be there.

The temple is well-decorated with color and paintings of other deities and mythical creatures, such as dragons and phoenixes. Along with the lanterns that dot the premise, they create a very picturesque and peaceful scene.

The Guan Yin Cave Temple itself is not too big, and it is a great addition if you have extra time on your Ipoh temple exploration journey!

How To Get To Guan Yin Cave: The Guan Yin Cave is located at foot of Gunung Rapat on Jalan Gopeng, about 5 kilometers from the center of Ipoh.  Like most of the cave temples on this list, a car or a taxi is recommended.

Where To Stay In Ipoh, Malaysia

Best Hostel in Ipoh- De Cafe & Rest House

If you are looking for a hostel in Ipoh with great comfort, amazing security, and within walking distance to pretty much everything, then look no further. De Cafe & Rest House is one of the best hostels in Ipoh and it is easy to see why.

Their capsule-style beds offer great comfort and privacy. Their cafe provides guests with a convenient location to enjoy some amazing food. They are also located a 10-minute walk from the bus station!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Ipoh- D Eastern Hotel

Find the perfect budget hotel in Ipoh might be daunting because there are so many choices. There are so many criteria to consider: security, comfort, location, and more. 

D Eastern Hotel provides spacious rooms at an affordable price. Located in the New Town of Ipoh, the best attractions in Ipoh, convenience stores, and eateries are on your doorstep. For a cheap price, you can also enjoy their amazing breakfast buffet!

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Ipoh- The Banjaran Hotspring Retreat

If a visit to the cave temples in Ipoh is not enough, what about staying in a hotel that is surrounded by limestone hills? 

The Banjaran Hotspring Retreat is one of the most luxurious hotels in Ipoh. Featuring geothermal hot springs, steam caves, and hot baths, guests can probably relax after a day of exploring Ipoh’s cave temples.

The accommodation boasts an amazing natural vibe, perfect for any travelers that love spending time in a lush environment.

Click here for more details!

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This is the end of our guide on the best Ipoh cave temples! We hope you get the chance to visit some of the ones we recommended!

Any questions? Leave a comment!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂

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The PERFECT Ipoh Itinerary: Ipoh Day Trip, 2 or 3 Day Itinerary!

The PERFECT Ipoh Itinerary: Ipoh Day Trip, 2 or 3 Day Itinerary!

Planning a trip to Ipoh, Malaysia?

Though a small city compared to Kuala Lumpur, there are still many awesome attractions in Ipoh. Visiting Ipoh without a planned itinerary can lead to much unforeseen waste of time (Speaking from firsthand experience).

From our experience, we have created the perfect Ipoh itinerary for anyone taking a day trip to Ipoh or spending a few days there.

Enjoy!

Is A Day Trip To Ipoh Enough?

If you are planning an Ipoh trip, you must wonder how many days is required to see the best attractions in Ipoh. After all, if you could see everything on an Ipoh day trip, why would you want to spend more than 1 day in Ipoh?

The truth is… yes, you can see all the main tourist attractions in Ipoh in just 1 day! But would I recommend it? No. Why? Because visiting Ipoh on a day trip requires cramming in many things, so much that the trip itself might not even be enjoyable anymore.

It requires you to wake up very early in the morning and see the cave temples in the surrounding Perak region.

Then it requires you to brave the debilitating Malaysian heat to visit the attractions in the Old Town and New Town of Ipoh. Obviously, if you are located near Ipoh and are used to the heat, an one day trip to Ipoh is more feasible.

My personal recommendation is to spend a few days in Ipoh, ideally a weekend. 2 or 3 days in Ipoh is the ideal amount of time to enjoy this historical place leisurely.

You can even take a day trip to Cameron Highlands for a more nature-filled trip! The tea plantations and strawberry farms there are absolutely stunning!

Ipoh One Day Trip Itinerary

The first Ipoh itinerary we will talk about is the Ipoh one day trip. This is for visitors who are planning on taking a day trip to Ipoh or only spending one day in the city.

Morning:

Aim to arrive in Ipoh as early as possible, ideally around 8 AM. If you are coming from Kuala Lumpur, it takes about 2.5 hours by car. If you are coming from Penang, it takes about 2 hours. Yes, that means leaving at around 6 AM!

Why are we arriving so early in Ipoh? Because you want to start your day trip in Ipoh right by having the famous Ipoh white coffee. For anyone that doesn’t know what that is, it is the coffee that put Ipoh on the map as one of the best coffee towns in the world.

In fact, the coffee in Ipoh is so amazing that Lonely Planet has named Ipoh one of the top 3 coffee towns in Asia!

Ipoh’s white coffee is much sweeter and lighter than the regular kind, perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!

There are several cafes in Ipoh known for their white coffee. The two  I recommend are Sin Yoon Loong and Nam Heong White Coffee. Though Nam Heong White Coffee is a little more popular, Sin Yoon Loong still follows the original recipe! Don’t forget to grab some breakfast here as well. The food in Ipoh is some of the best and cheapest in Malaysia!

After a refreshing white coffee and some tasty breakfast, it is time to visit some of the most interesting places in Ipoh: the caves temples.

In the Perak region where Ipoh is located, there are over 30 different cave temples. With so many different options, it is difficult to decide which ones to go to, especially if you only have 1 day in Ipoh.

Luckily, you are reading our Ipoh blog post!

The best cave temples in Ipoh are Perak Tong Cave Temple, Sam Poh Tong Temple, and Kek Lok Tong. You cannot go wrong with visiting any of them. I recommend visiting at least 2 of the 3 cave temples I listed above.

Take your time and admire the geological formations, the intriguing religious artifacts, and just enjoy the unworldly feeling of being in a cave temple!

Another unique attraction in Ipoh is Kellie’s Castle. An abandoned European-style castle built by a Scot, this unfinished building is rumored to be haunted!

Afternoon:

After spending your morning on the outskirts of Ipoh, it is time to head back into town. If you are like me, then you are probably going to be hungry. Don’t worry, I know just the perfect spot for lunch in Ipoh!

Besides white coffee, Ipoh is also famous for another dish: the bean sprouts chicken rice. If you judge it by its name, you will never expect this simple dish to be so impactful. Its ingredients are awfully plain and honestly, I had low expectations before trying it on my Ipoh trip.

However, what they don’t tell you is how well-prepared it is. The bean sprouts are seasoned perfectly and cooked to the proper crispiness. The chicken’s texture is soft but composed enough that the meat isn’t mushy. Every bite into the chicken is juicy, and the flavor is savory but not too much.

No wonder why this authentic Chinese dish has survived the test of time!

Many Chinese restaurants in Ipoh New Town sell the famous Ipoh chicken rice, but the best one I had was at Lou Wong, a restaurant that has existed for ages. Their chicken rice with bean sprouts is affordable and fresh!

After your delicious lunch in Ipoh, it is time to explore the town! Because there are so many things to do in Ipoh and so little time, I will only highlight the places you must visit!

1. Learn About The History of Tin Mining In Ipoh at Han Chin Pet Soo Museum

Ipoh has a rich history and it is difficult to grasp all of it on a short trip. The Han Chin Pet Soo Museum is the perfect place in Ipoh to start learning more about how the town became what it is today.

It talks about the early history of Ipoh when it was mostly a tin mining town. Information about the early Hakka miners and their lifestyles are also documented in the museum.

The best part about the Han Chin Pet Soo Museum? It is free and comes with a tour guide! However, there is a suggested donation of 10 Malaysian Ringgit to preserve this historical building.

You must reserve your spot on their official site before arriving. Note that the last 2 sessions of the day are at 2 PM and 3:30 PM. Han Chin Pet Soo Museum is closed on Mondays.

2. Ipoh Street Art and Murals

Everyone that travels to Malaysia knows that Penang is the city for graffiti, but we were surprised to find so many cool street art and murals in Ipoh as well.

Street arts and murals fill the streets of both the Old Town and New Town of Ipoh, and it is nearly impossible to not just randomly stumble upon them.

The amazing thing about Ipoh street arts and murals is that they are not just about anything. Usually, they often depict the daily lives of the residents of Ipoh, offering glimpses of their lifestyle and history.

Travelers can find a large concentration of Ipoh street art at Ipoh Mural and Mural’s Art Lane.

The one mural you absolutely cannot miss is trishaw 3D mural. It is one of the most magical places for photography in Ipoh!

3. Concubine Lane

If there is one thing to do in Ipoh, it is to visit the Concubine Lane. Why? Because this place summarizes Ipoh in just one tiny street.

The Concubine Lane was a street that the mining tycoon Yau Tet Shin gave to one of his three wives. The wife would make money by collecting taxes and profits from the vendors on her street. Yau Tet Shin gave 2 more streets to his 2 other wives, namely Hale Lane and Second Concubine Lane, though they are not as lively as the Concubine Lane.

Nowadays, restored historical buildings are lined up on the side of the street. Buildings that were once used for brothels and other illegal activities have now become cafes, restaurants, and shops.

As one of the most popular places to visit in Ipoh, Concubine Lane can get very crowded. If it is possible, avoid visiting on the weekend or you will learn the concept of “invasion of personal space.”

4. Ipoh Railway Station

The Ipoh Railway Station is one of the most iconic landmarks in Ipoh. Locals love this building so much that they call it the Taj Mahal of Ipoh. One of the best hotels in Ipoh, the Majestic Hotel, is built inside the railway station. (Note: The hotel is under renovation until 2023.)

The beautiful transportation hub is used by travelers daily and has connections to many big cities in Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

To see the Ipoh Railway Station at its finest state, you must visit at sunset. The golden hues of the sunset emphasize the colors of the building, making it more beautiful than it already is. In fact, the Ipoh Railway Station is one of my favorite places to watch the sunset (the other being Bukit Kledang but that involves a hike).

After the sun has set, there is a routine evening water show. Though it cannot compare to the one next to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, it is a relaxing thing to do in Ipoh at night.

Though it is technically a water show, it doesn’t stop locals or travelers from jumping in the cold soothing waters!

Night:

If you are on a day trip to Ipoh, you might need to return home after sunset. If you are not rushed on time, then head to Tong Sui Kai and enjoy some delicious street food from the local hawker stalls. Translating to “Dessert Street”, the name Tong Sui Kai can be a little misleading because it doesn’t only contain dessert vendors!

A wide variety of cuisine can be found in the small Tong Sui Kai: Malay, Chinese, and more. You can find delicious snacks, desserts, and complete meals here for low prices. Don’t try to come here in the day because Tong Sui Kai opens at 6 PM! 

If you are staying in Ipoh and have energy left after dinner, make sure you enjoy Ipoh’s nightlife. Bricks & Barrels and Fei Bo are two great places to get a drink! Expect to meet locals when you visit the latter because it is in a more local area!

2 Days In Ipoh Itinerary

Our 2 day Ipoh itinerary will contain the same activities in the Ipoh day trip itinerary and more. Instead of rushing everything in one day and skimming the surfaces of the attractions, you can spend an adequate amount of time to fully grasp their significance.

With the extra time, make sure you visit all of the cave temples we mentioned above: Sam Poh Tong, Perak Cave Temple, and Kek Lok Tong. If you are a big fan of Chinese mythology, I would also add Ling Sen Tong onto that list. Don’t forget about Kellie’s Castle as well! (I would recommend doing temples on one morning and then doing Kellie’s Castle the next morning).

If the weather is too hot, especially at midday, you can take a break at your accommodation, a cafe, or a shopping mall. From 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, the sun is like a biological weapon that melts you like butter.

With the extra time, you can add a few more attractions to your Ipoh itinerary.

I would personally recommend a visit to the BookXcess Kong Heng Ipoh bookstore. Using old bank vaults to display their merchandise, BookXcess Kong Heng is one of the most unique book stores in the world.

History lovers should allot themselves 2.5 to 3 hours to explore the Ipoh Heritage Trail. A self-guided trail with 27 points of interest in Ipoh, participators will come out with a newfound understanding of Ipoh and its history.

The trail starts at the famous Ipoh Railway Station and ends at the Birch Memorial, bypassing many notable landmarks in Ipoh such as the Town Hall and Old Post Office.

Find out more about the Ipoh Heritage Trail here!

Besides Ipoh’s famous bean sprout chicken and white coffee, there is another dish you must try: Dim Sum. With the huge population of Chinese immigrants, the Chinese food in Ipoh is just as authentic as places like Hong Kong and Southern China.

There are many great Chinese restaurants in Ipoh, but the ones I recommend for dim sum are Ming Court Hong Kong Dim Sum and Restoran Chooi Yue Dim Sum. The latter is a little far away from the town center but the trip is worth it!

Dim Sum is a breakfast or lunch thing, don’t expect to find any dim sum at night!

3 Days In Ipoh Itinerary

3 days in Ipoh is perfect for any travelers that like to take things slow. With that much time, travelers can see all the tourist attractions in Ipoh and possibly take a day trip to Cameron Highlands. 

Ipoh is a beautiful city but it is a busy city after all. There is noise, pollution, and almost no sense of peace.

Luckily, the lush area of Cameron Highlands is located a short 2-hour drive away. At over 1,000 meters higher than Ipoh in elevation, beautiful nature dominates the landscape. Anyone visiting from Ipoh will immediately find the pace much slower here, the air fresher, and the weather much more bearable. 

If you are taking a day trip to Cameron Highlands from Ipoh, you won’t be able to fully appreciates its beauty. I recommend staying a few days in Cameron Highlands!

There are still several notable attractions in Camera Highlands you can visit on a day trip.

One of the biggest tea plantations in Malaysia, BOH Tea Centre, offers tours of their tea processing facility as well as close contact with the tea plants themselves. The maze of tea plants is almost as beautiful as the rice paddies in Sekinchan in the western part of the Malay Peninsula.

The Big Red Strawberry Farm offers strawberry picking, a cafe, and a gift shop. Due to the climate, the strawberries in Cameron Highlands are some of the best in the world. They do, however, come with a heavy price tag (even for western standards). The strawberry milkshake at their cafe is very delicious and worth a try!

The Mossy Forest is considered one of the top things to do in Cameron Highlands, as the peculiar environment is the home to many unique species of plants and trees. However, the path to the entrance of the Mossy Forest is treacherous and requires a 4×4.

If you have the utmost burning desire to go, check out this half-day tour in Cameron Highlands.

If you have more time, there is an endless amount of places to visit in Cameron Highlands!

Where To Stay In Ipoh, Malaysia

Best Hostel in Ipoh- De Cafe & Rest House

If you are looking for an affordable hostel in the center of Ipoh, look no further. De Cafe & Rest House offers comfortable capsule-style beds on gender-separated floors. At the entrance of the hostel is a cozy cafe that guests can dine in or have a cup of coffee. The accommodation is also within walking distance from everything!

Click here for more details!

Best Budget Hotel in Ipoh- D Eastern Hotel

With so many budget hotels in Ipoh, finding the right one can be difficult. Luckily, D Eastern Hotel makes deciding much easier. Featuring comfortable big rooms at a low price, guests can enjoy great comfort without breaking the bank. The hotel is located in the New Town of Ipoh, with many eateries and things to do nearby!

Click here for more details!

Best Luxury Hotel in Ipoh- The Banjaran Hotspring Retreat

The Banjaran Hotspring Retreat is the ultimate luxury hotel in Ipoh. Nestled in the stunning limestone hills of the Perak region, guests can relax and promote their wellbeing with their ice baths, steam caves, and geothermal hot springs.

However, it is located a little far away from the center of town. Having your own vehicle is a must if you decide to stay in this luxurious accommodation. 

Click here for more details!

Best Airbnb in Ipoh- Jomstay – Octagon Suite

Airbnb In Ipoh Jomstay
Best Airbnb in Ipoh Jomstay
(Images Courtesy of Airbnb)

Airbnb is a great option for anyone that is looking for a cozy atmosphere away from home. Luckily for you, Jomstay at Octagon Suite is much more than just a comfy home!

This one-bedroom apartment can sleep up to 5 guests, perfect for families traveling to Ipoh. With a fully-equipped kitchen, a bathtub, a balcony, as well as other Octagon amenities such as a swimming pool, a gym, and a jogging track, you will fall in love with this place!

The location is also within minutes from Ipoh’s best sightseeing spots!

Click here for more information!

Make sure to use this coupon code for up to $40 USD off on your qualifying Airbnb stays (for new users only)!

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This concludes our suggested Ipoh itineraries! I hope this guide helped you determine how what to do in Ipoh and how many days to spend!

Any question? Leave them in the comments!

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7 Best Budget Hotels In Ipoh For Your Next Trip!

7 Best Budget Hotels In Ipoh For Your Next Trip!

Looking for a cheap hotel in Ipoh, Malaysia?

Luckily for you, there are plenty of affordable hotels in Ipoh. Whether you are traveling solo or with family, there is an Ipoh accommodation that is right for you.

Below we have outlined our favorite budget hotels in Ipoh. The majority of these accommodations are located in New Town or Old Town of Ipoh, which are the ideal places to stay if you want to visit the best attractions in Ipoh. Visitors also tend to stay here if they are planning to travel via the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport (Ipoh Airport).

We also outlined the best hotels in Ipoh next to the Amajaya Terminal, perfect for anyone traveling on the bus.

Without further ado, here is our list of budget-friendly hotels in Ipoh!

Best Budget Hotels In Ipoh, Malaysia

M Boutique Hotel is the definition of luxury and affordability. Though not one of the cheapest hotels in Ipoh, its fairly low price and great value-for-money earns it a spot on our list of cheap hotels in Ipoh.

Unlike most hotels in Ipoh that just offer you a bed and a bathroom, M Boutique Hotel is more than that. The moment you walk into this boutique hotel, you will be intrigued by its interior decor. Located in a city where houses are usually old and rustic, the contemporary design of this hotel is refreshing.

M Boutique Hotel Ipoh has 3 thematic floors and 5 different types of rooms. The three themes are The Adventure theme, The Majestic theme, and the Excelsior theme. There is a decor perfect for any traveler.

The hotel also features a gym, self-service laundry, a cafe, and the Old Town Coffee Grand, one of the best places to try Ipoh’s famous white coffee.

M Boutique Hotel is unquestionably one of the best hotels in Ipoh.

Price: $$$ (Cheap, but not cheap for Ipoh)

Rating: 8.6

Click here for more details!

pros

  • Stylish Interior Decor Not Usually Found In A Cheap Hotel
  • Free Laundry And Gym
  • Delicious Breakfast (Included For Certain Rooms)
  • Good Location (Close To Ipoh Center) 

Cons

  • A Little More Expensive Than Other Options

If you are looking for a standard cheap hotel in one of the best places to stay in Ipoh, then look no further. Hotel Cheqinn is located in the New Town of Ipoh, one of the prime locations for sightseeing. The Old Town of Ipoh is only about a 15-minute walk away.

If you are looking for some good food in Ipoh, Hotel Cheqinn is located on Dim Sum Street and many dining options are nearby.

The hotel itself isn’t spectacular, but given the price point, you don’t expect it to be. It does have the basic amenities and will guarantee you a good night’s sleep. It is clean with spacious and comfortable beds. There is hot water in the shower and good water pressure. What more do you expect? 

Price: $

Rating: 8.4

Click here for more details!

pros

  • Affordable
  • Clean and Comfortable
  • Great Dining Options Nearby

Cons

  • 15-Minute Walk From Old Town Of Ipoh

D Eastern Hotel is the perfect hotel in Ipoh for anyone looking for spaciousness and affordability. Featuring 3-person triple rooms and 4-person family room, D Eastern Hotel targets families and groups instead of couples. Though any couples might enjoy the extra space that comes with one of their 3-person rooms.

The hotel is strategically located on the eastern side of the Kinta River, just at the entrance of the new town of Ipoh. Old Town is only a short 10-minute walk away. Plenty of amazing eateries including the famous Ipoh bean sprouts chicken rice at Lou Wong is located less than 10 minutes away. 

If you are traveling to Ipoh as a group of 3 or more, D Eastern Hotel is the ideal budget hotel for you!

Price: $$

Rating: 8.4

Check price here!

pros

  • Spacious Rooms
  • Great Eateries Nearby
  • Rooms Perfect For Families

Cons

  • No Breakfast Option
  • Only Options for 3 or More People

Unlike the name suggests, the French Hotel doesn’t come with the French decor or luxury that it implies. However, it does come with affordability and spacious standard rooms. Here at the French Hotel, you will find a no-frills hotel for your Ipoh trip.

It is located in an amazing neighborhood in New Town surrounded by restaurants. Famous attractions in Ipoh Old Town such as the Concubine Lane is only a 10-minute walk.

The only thing that would stop me from staying here is spotty WiFi. As someone that works online, I would not advise staying at this budget hotel in Ipoh if you rely on fast WiFi.

Price: $$

Rating: 8.3

Click here for more information!

pros

  • Free Parking Provided
  • Spacious And Clean Rooms
  • Good Location

Cons

  • Spotty WiFi
  • No Breakfast Included

There are plenty of budget hotels in Ipoh, but Char Lodging Inn takes budget to another level. As you can see in the photos, the rooms are very basic. The decoration is very old-school and retro. It almost feels like the place was frozen in time.

You get what you pay for at Char Lodging Inn: 2 beds, 2 chairs, and a bathroom. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because you are just paying what you are using. It is the definition of value-for-money in my book.

It is also conveniently located a close 10-minute walk to Ipoh Old Town. Plenty of well-priced local restaurants are within close proximity to the hotel! 

Char Lodging Inn is the best place to stay in Ipoh if you are on a bare minimum budget.

Price: $

Rating: 8.4

Click here for more info!

pros

  • Super Budget-Friendly
  • Great Location
  • Spacious Rooms

Cons

  • Unstable WiFi
  • Bathroom Could Be Improved

Best Cheap Hotels In Ipoh Near Amanjaya Terminal (Ipoh Main Bus Station)

Amanjaya Terminal is the main bus station terminal in Ipoh. Many buses depart at Amanjaya to various destinations, including Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Cameron Highlands, and more! Chances are if you are traveling to/from Ipoh by bus, you will pass by the Amanjaya Terminal.

Located an 8-minute walk from Amanjaya Terminal, Valya Hotel’s location cannot be more ideal. If you have an early bus ride or arrive in Ipoh late at night, the Valya Hotel is a good place to crash for a night.

The rooms are spacious and feature comfortable beds. The hotel also provides certain amenities such as shampoo, soap, towels, and etc, perfect for anyone on a short stay in Ipoh.

The nearby area is filled with restaurants, grocery stores, and even a proper shopping mall. Travelers will undoubtedly find a pleasant stay at this cheap hotel in Ipoh!

Price: $$

Rating: 8.4

Click here for more details!

pros

  • Affordable
  • Spacious Rooms
  • Short Walk to Amanjaya Terminal
  • Great Facilities Nearby

Cons

  • No Breakfast
  • No Parking For Guest

Sun Inns is one of the most recognized hotel chains in Malaysia for its affordability. The one next to Amanjaya Terminal is no exception. For as low as 13 USD (at the time of writing), you can get yourself a private room with 2 twins beds or one double bed.

Since this is a newly opened hotel (at the time of writing), many of the facilities are new and clean. The same cannot be said about this hotel a year or more from now. Some Sun Inns can be poorly maintained.

Sun Inns Meru Raya is located a 6-minute walk away from Terminal Amanjaya. For anyone that needs to catch a bus at inconvenient hours, Sun Inns Meru Raya’s low price makes it one of the best, if not the best place to stay in Ipoh. 

Price: $

Rating: 8.2

Check price here!

pros

  • Super Cheap
  • 6-Minute Walk From Terminal Amanjaya
  • Neighborhood Is Full Of Shops

Cons

  • Spotty WiFi
  • No Breakfast

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Picking the perfect budget hotel in Ipoh is no easy task! I hope this list of hotels in Ipoh has given you a rough idea of which affordable accommodation is right for you! 

Any question? Leave a comment!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you 🙂