Cameron Highlands: Tea Time

5 Min. Read

If you happen to be exploring peninsular Malaysia and are looking for a peaceful and relaxing spot to unwind with a cup of tea… 

then look no further than the colonial town of Cameron Highlands.

An excellent stop to enjoy some nature trails and recharge your batteries if you’re criss-crossing through SE Asia.

Mossy Forest life

Located in the Pahang district in northern Malaysia, the Cameron Highlands is home to a unique subtropical ecosystem with 8 mountains, fruit & vegetable farms galore, flower nurseries and numerous tea plantations.

Everything very green.

Developed in the 1930’s and originally planned as a health sanatorium, this hill station was extensively used by the British colonials during their time there and is one of the oldest tourist spots in all of Malaysia.

The plateau’s highest elevation is at 5,259 ft. above sea level and is noted for its cool weather, sometimes dropping to as low as 9 Celsius (48 Fahrenheit), making it a good place to escape Malaysia’s hot summers.

And luckily for them, the area was also found to be suitable for the production of tea. 

(Nice for the British.)

The area itself was named after the British explorer and geologist, William Cameron, after being commissioned by the colonial government to map out the Pahong-Perak region in 1885.

And he uncovered the regions true potential.

Cameron Highlands seemed to have just about everything: Rivers, waterfalls, mossy forests and lakes. This made the area even more appealing to the settlers there and soon afterwards, farmlands, nurseries, orchards and tea plantations began to pop up. Along with of course many hotels, residences and country clubs.

Tea Plantations

Despite the land being developed and settled, 71% of the area is still forested and is home to over 700 plant species, making it a very diverse and interesting ecosystem in Malaysia and SE Asia in general.

Now you may be wondering what is there to do here.

The answer is A lot.

Especially if you’re a green thumb.

Like my Mom, now that I think of it.

Cameron Highlands has a Lavender Farm, a Strawberry Farm, a Bee Farm, Flower gardens, a Cactus Farm, Farmers Markets, a Butterfly garden and so much more.

A beautiful Chinese Temple. (Sam Poh)

Numerous waterfalls. (Thompson Falls, Robinson Falls and Parit Falls)

And of course, the BOH Tea Estate. The popular tea company  which has been making tea since 1929 and a fine example of the region’s numerous tea plantations.

In short, there is no shortage of relaxing activities in the area.

Believe me.

How to get to Cameron Highlands.

Unfortunately the The Cameron Highlands is not accessible by the Malaysian railway (KTM), yet there are several bus services operating back and forth from Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh, Penang and Tapah.

And obviously, you can also arrive by car. 

Route 59, highway 185 and highway 102 all lead to the Cameron Highlands depending on wherever you’re coming from; Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur, etc.

When to Visit

Because of the elevation, the Cameron Highlands is pretty cool throughout most of the year. It does rain from time to time but less so during the winter and summer months.

It also sometimes gets crowded during the weekends and holidays, so I would consider at least spending two nights in the area to enjoy it properly.

Where to Stay

There are numerous hotels in the area along with some hostels. Be sure to book in advance for a nicer hotel. If you are backpacking through Malaysia you may also want to book a lower budget hotel or hostel in advance but you probably wouldn’t have to much trouble finding a place to sleep even if you show up without any reservations.


Traveller Bunker Hostel: $5-$6


Kea Garden Guest House: $10-$15

And there you have it!

A little sneak peek of the Cameron Highlands!

How you may feel when you get here.

Just in case you get lost… (I totally didn’t).

Johor Bahru: Glass Temple of Kali Ma

5 Min. Read

In the city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia, lies a peculiar temple. 

A temple devoted to the Hindu Goddess Kali… 

One that is made entirely of glass.

It’s called…

Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman. 

Originally built in 1922 on land gifted by Sultan Ibrahim of Johor, the temple started out as a small shrine in a hut that was inherited by the current temple’s Chief Priest Sri Sinnathamby Sivasamy in 1991. 

Story has it that Sivasamy was inspired during a trip to Bangkok. One night when he was riding in a tuk-tuk, he saw a bright light shining about 2 kilometres away.

When he asked the driver where the light was coming from, the tuk-tuk driver informed him that it was coming from a Wat (Buddhist Temple). 

The driver then took the priest to the temple and upon arriving did the priest realize that it was the glass artwork at the entrance of the temple that was shining.

Amazed at how far he was able to see it, this inspired him to create a similar effect in his own temple. 


So, in 2008 he began work to completely cover the interior of his temple in mosaic glass tiles and finished it in October 2009. The project cost over 2 million Malaysian Ringgit (almost 500,000 US) and was made with imported glass from Belgium, Japan and Thailand.

There are over 300,000 pieces of glass tiles arranged in geometric patterns, with the colors being red, blue, yellow, green, purple and white.

And the place is a curious sight to behold.

With crystal chandeliers illuminating the temple and the light bouncing around, it’s like walking into a diamond with every corner of the interior shining and sparkling. Like a beautiful and strange, elaborate house of mirrors.

Inside there is an area to worship Kali herself, along with other statues of Shiva, Ganesha and Brahma.

And interestingly, there are also statues of the Buddha, Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ and Guru Nanak, which I suspect is to evoke a sense of religious tolerance, peace and appreciation. 

Nicely done, Sivasamy.


Who is Kali?

In Hinduism, Kali, also known as Kalika, (meaning the “Black One”) is the Mother of the Universe and the destroyer of evil forces.

Kali is usually represented as a terrifying warrioress with four arms holding a bloody knife and a severed head, and wearing a necklace of other severed heads or skulls and a skirt of arms.

The knife that she holds signifies divine knowledge and the decapitated head represents the death of the human ego, which is necessary to attain Moksha, or liberation, from Samsara, the neverending cycle of death and rebirth.

Kali also represents Time, Death and Doomsday but is also considered a strong mother figure and a symbol of motherly love. (Mothers…).

Where is Johor Bahru?

Johor Bahru, also known as JB, is located on the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula along the straits of Johor next to Singapore. At 220 sq. km and with a population of almost half a million, it is Malaysia’s 9th largest city.

Johor Bahru has some attractions other than the Kali Ma Temple such as the Johor Bahru Chinese Heritage Center, Johor Art Gallery and Plaza Seni (an Arts Center).

Along with this there are also a number of malls in the city to be found, such as the KSL, JB City Square, Paradigm Mall and R&F Mall.

Many people do tend to skip Johor Bahru and opt to go straight to Malacca or Kuala Lumpur, and perhaps for good reason.

Johor Bahru isn’t exactly a city geared towards tourism and the city itself is notorious for it’s high crime rate which has been the country’s worst in the past several decades.

Some of the more common offenses are: Robberies, snatch theft, carjacking, sexual assault and kidnapping, with gang and unarmed robberies accounting for 76% of it’s crime. Car cloning is also a big thing in JB.

Who knew?

I, for sure as hell didn’t.


To be honest, I only learned about the city’s infamous crime rate and somewhat sleazy reputation afterwards when I did some research on it in Kuala Lumpur.

That being said.

Don’t let that discourage you.

I was there for 3 nights and had no problems whatsoever and I’m sure you won’t either.

So, if you DO plan on visiting Johor Bahru, just remember to practice some common sense, don’t stray around too far at night and always be mindful of your surroundings.

Do all these things and you should be alright, you adventurer you.

Check out the tight handiwork here.

How to get to Johor Bahru

From Singapore you can go to the Queen Street bus station and purchase a bus ticket to Johor Bahru for about a $1 and it’ll take you to the Johor Bahru Sentral bus station, which takes about an hour.

You can also fly into Johor Bahru through the Senai International Airport which is 32 km northwest of the city.

If you do take the bus from Singapore, you will have to disembark at the border and go through Malaysian Customs and Immigration. After you’re stamped into the country you then have to jump on another shuttle bus that will take you to JB Sentral.

Easy Peasy, Lemon squeezy.

As for the Visa requirements, most countries either get 90 days or 30 days visa-free travel throughout Malaysia, but double check the requirements for your respective country before entering.

Americans, Canadians and Europeans all get 90 days visa-free.

Crazy good. I know.


I know this post is about the Kali Ma Temple and Johor Bahru but…

If you are visiting Singapore with plans on visiting Malaysia and are limited on time, I would actually suggest skipping Johor Bahru all together and go directly to either Malacca or Kuala Lumpur and then Georgetown, as these places are full of history, attractions and have a vibrant nightlife. 

Johor Bahru just isn’t a touristy place.

To be quite honest, I did not run into a single foreigner there during my stay.
(Which is totally ok with me.)

Yet, if you are an advocate of slow travel (like myself), then by all means visit Johor Bahru as you make your way through Malaysia. Check out the curious Kali Temple, try some Malaysian food and perhaps discover some other hidden gems. That being said, 2 nights are enough.

Kali Temple Visiting Hours

Daily: Open from 7am to 10pm, yet visiting hours for tourists are from 1pm-5pm.  

Entrance Fee: RM10 ($2.34) per person for Foreign Visitors. A small donation is always welcome and encouraged.

Address: 22 Lorong 1, Jalan Tebrau, Johor Bahru

Enjoy JB bro.

And there you have it guys!

If you liked this post or just want to say hi, don’t be shy and drop me a line!

Also, if you’ve been anywhere cool in Malaysia or anywhere in general, I’d love to hear from you!

Safe Travels!