P1080980Back to the airport where I have booked a car to take us to the Cameron Highlands. The driver is very chatty and after we explain our plan and says why don’t we drive on to KL rather than back to Penang and then flying to KL. He doesn’t use exactly those words.

It’s a good question and I have no good answer. Anyway after much faffing about the Avis man charges a heap extra and we have the car for an extra day and a one way Penang to KL.

The drive is motorway for at least 200km then twisty windy roads to our night to at the Smokehouse in the Cameron Highlands.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The past 50 years have not been kind to the Highlands. It’s now an indescribable maze of strawberry “farms”, tourist “attractions”, apartment tower blocks, shanty stalls selling all manner of crap and manic drivers. No mention of rubber plantations anywhere.


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It’s truly hideous. We stop at a cafe for an ice cream to revive our flagging spirits. That’s not any better either.

Our hotel is English pub twee. Clearly a hangover from the UK planter era and none the worse for that.

There are few (no) obvious dinner alternatives except the Smokehouse which is an expensive “pub grub” option. No innovative fusion menu here. Frankly dinner is stodgy and expensive (as is the room but that’s another story. You can read about that on TripAdvisor.