Skip to content

Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands, high tea redefined

February 17, 2009

Tropical Malaysia may not conjure up images of highlands and mountainous terrain to most travellers. Instead it’s the country’s golden sandy beaches, coconut trees and crystal clear sea that first come to mind.

This is a country that can’t claim to be mountainous, but can boast of having some pretty fine mountains; Mount Kinabalu in Borneo being the highest at around 4000 metres. On mainland Malaysia towards the middle of the country, another set of rolling hills and decent sized mountains exist. This place known as “Cameron Highlands” – very unMalaysian sounding – has a long history, some of it British, most of it native. These highlands once  played host to the British military when Malaysia was known as, Malaya.

Now it stands on its own, fertile, hilly, abundantly rich in market produce, and would you believe it – tea.

by Cate

by Cate

High tea in Malaysia consists of plantations around 1600 metres above sea level, growing some of the best tea in this part of Asia. Unknown to many non Malaysian myself included, local giant “BOH Tea Company” has been brewing top quality tea for over four generations. And it’s good.

by Cate

by Cate

As soon as I entered the BOH plantation with my guide, the craving for tea took hold. I could feel that light tannin taste in my mouth and smell the brewing leaves. If this was how I felt with tea what would I be like when I get to a coffee plantation?

Getting to know how tea is grown, cut, and sorted is a just a small part in understanding the production of this valuable commodity.

by Cate

by Cate

On BOH’s estate you can take a quick tour through its factory and watch the original 1930s rollers and presses working the leaves. Nothing is new in this area of production. The company claims to have a special method behind their tea; old machinery may well be the secret ingredient into what makes this tea good.

Not only can you take a tour, but twice a day, for the refined tea connoisseur, you can enter into the realm of tea-dom and learn to appreciate the art of tea with an appreciation party. For the non-teanista, just sitting in the cafe soaking up the view set before you, while sipping tea, is reward enough.

by Cate

by Cate

BOH produces the bulk of the tea in Malaysia. Mainly black tea, light in colour and flavour, it’s differs to English teas; it’s easier to drink. In fact its pleasurable. BOH also grows and produces coffee, but due to the climate, bean size and  production are small. I’ll let you know how its tastes once I’ve returned to Seoul.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. Bear permalink
    February 17, 2009 3:40 pm

    What a fantastic vista the building has — and it must have been wonderful to sit, have tea, and enjoy it.

  2. February 18, 2009 12:42 am

    Wow Cate the BOH tour looks fabulous, almost like one of my favorite wineries in Napa Valley called Artesa…and the BOH black tea sounds divine. Hmmmm wonder if I can find it here in SF?

  3. February 18, 2009 1:38 am

    The Cameron Highlands are gorgeous, one of my favourite places in Malaysia 🙂 You must be in heaven with all the caffeine!

  4. February 21, 2009 4:40 am

    Bear – it was divine, beautiful light, good tea, not too many people and what a vista! Did feel a small pang of guilt watching the workers pick tea in the heat of the day.

    Sharon – It does look like a vineyard. There is something special about sitting on a tea plantation compared to a vineyard. I guess because tea plantations are not as common and stretch on for miles. Both are good though. You can order BOH tea through its website. Maybe it has a list of US suppliers.

    Liz – Heaven yes! I just couldn’t stop craving tea all the time I was staying there. And I’m not a great tea drinker.

  5. Erica Johansson permalink
    February 21, 2009 2:13 pm

    Wow is all I can say rigth now. The first picture is stunning!

  6. February 21, 2009 3:15 pm

    At one point in time I researching for a planned book about travel to the great tea places of the world (Darjeeling, Assam, Sri Lanka, etc.). Reading this and, especially, seeing the photos makes me wish I had be able to complete that project.

  7. February 22, 2009 1:33 pm

    Erica – that’s how I felt when I arrived on the plantation. So green (not the tea).

    SCS – sounds like a good project worth reviewing and doing. Please send me a copy when it’s completed 🙂

  8. March 2, 2009 1:26 pm

    I haven’t visited Cameron Highlands since the late 1980s. They had a strawberry farm there where they sold bottled strawberry jams. I thought they were the best ever I tried!

    Lovely temperatures up in the highlands, a little less humid.

    Fantastic pictures of the plantation!


    • March 4, 2009 6:06 am

      Cheryl hi thanks for dropping by. Strawberries are a big industry in the highlands and have been since 2000 from what a local told me. Strawberries,and honey, can be found everywhere including the soft toy variety. You would be surprised how the place has changed. Still very picturesque.

  9. September 23, 2009 12:52 pm


    would love to use your pic in my blog.

    • September 23, 2009 6:58 pm

      That’s ok I see you already have, just as long as you acknowledge. Thanks for telling me.

  10. flicts permalink
    May 15, 2010 5:57 pm

    It looks like such a wondeful and peaceful place! I’m going to Malaysia in August and I’m looking forward to going to the tea plantations.

    • May 19, 2010 12:33 pm

      Great! This country is pretty easy to get around and most people speak some English. Plus I found they are relaxed and friendly. I would recommend spending time in this area, it’s worth it. Don’t hang around Ipoh, the place is dull. Cate


  1. Photo Friday – Would you like a view with your tea? « CAFFEINATED TRAVELLER
  2. Photo Friday in Malaysia – Would you like a view with your tea? « CAFFEINATED TRAVELLER
  3. Wake up and smell the coffee! « the Caffeinated Traveller

Comments are closed.