Hiking the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia with Kids
When we came to the Cameron Highlands from Kuala Lumpur (or KL as the locals call it) we were excited to get out and about into nature. Unsure of how we could accomplish this with kids we did the only thing smart world traveling families can do: We just found a trail and started walking.
Jungle Trekking the Cameron Highlands with Kids
There are several treks throughout the Cameron Highlands that are suitable for small children. The key is finding the starting point, which is not at all obvious. We did two treks both starting from Hotel De La Ferns which is 2km North of Tanah Rata.
Path 4: Which began down a little known, unmarked road at the forestry department near the Kelab Golf course.
Path 1: Gunung Brinchang – A true uphill jungle trek not for the weak of heart that requires some prior proper planning.
1. Hiking Path 4 to Tanah Rata
This is an extremely easy, rewarding (and a bit slippery) walking path that leads from just below the golf course all the way into Tanah Rata. You will pass two child-friendly parks, strawberry farms, and a waterfall. It is a good hike to get your feet wet – literally!
From Hotel De La Ferns you can take the road (or the secret path behind the blue/white apartments) down towards the golf course and the strawberry farms. There is an unmarked road that veers off into what appears to be no man’s land. This is the road you want.
This is the road, blink and you will miss it.
Use this as a handy landmark.
There are actually several trail heads here. One option heads north and will take you up and around towards Tanah Rhata or connect you with several of the other trailhead towards Gunung Bringchangand. The one we want heads south and is just up behind the small park with swings (you will know it when you see it).
As I mentioned, the hike is flat and passes several very nice destinations for picnicking, frolicking and simply enjoying the outdoors.
Great place for a snack and some playtime.
Cool suspension bridge
Huge Root Systems
Easy to follow brick path
This trail ends at the elementary school, from here simply veer right and you will be on the main road of Tanah Rata. You can eat and catch a cab to wherever your need to go. In our case, it was back up the hill. The kids rode with mom in a $2.30 taxi and I hiked back up where once again it started to rain 🙂 Go figure!
2. Hiking Gunung Bringchang with Kids (The tallest peak in Malaysia)
I must admit we did absolutely no research prior to heading out to hike up “Jungle Walk No. 1”. We had met some friendly young hikers the day before who recommended the trek and gave us some details about how to find the trailhead and how to “easily” secure a ride back down. It seemed easy enough, so we decided to give it a go. We spoke with our hotel manager before leaving and he assured us it was an easy trek suitable for small kids.
I am going to warn you, this hike is a 2-hour trek straight up a mountain and when you get to the top there is a 5-mile hike back down into civilization on the other side. Do not go up this mountain without having a plan for getting back down on the other end. We were led to believe that there would be taxis waiting or empty cars of people who could help. When we arrived there was one visiting family who we sadly watched leave. It then began to POUR. We started our trek downward with no one in sight. We walked for several miles down in the pouring rain. After about an hour, we came across a strawberry farm and spoke with a group of Malay farm workers who, despite their good intentions and big smiles, couldn’t understand a word we were saying. Luckily, a couple of minutes later a truck came up the hill and we were able to wave him down. He kindly used his phone to call for a ride.
Now that I have scared you, I will tell you that this hike is one of the most beautiful and rewarding hikes I have ever taken and our kids absolutely loved it. You will find yourself enveloped in deep, lush green tropical rain forest, with root systems that you must scale, climb and grapple with until you finally are released from the mountains tentacles at the top. Watching the rain clouds pour into the mountainside, surrounded by giant ferns, mammoth vines, and exotic bird calls will transport you to a different word.
Hiking the Cameron Highlands with Kids
Jungle Trekking Gunung Brinchang: The highest peak in Malaysia.
Real rainforest and awesome root systems
I haven’t seen country this green and spectacular since New Zealand. If you are debating whether or not to visit the Cameron Highland on your trip though Malaysia the answer is; you definitely should. Guided tours abound and they will take you to all the local “touristy” spots, for us though, simply getting on the trail and spending 4 days outdoors hit the spot.
For a good budget friendly accommodation check out Fathers Guest House. If you want something quiet with a nice view and a good breakfast I can recommend Hotel de La Ferns. It was a bit out-of-the-way but they offered us a great off-season rate ($64 with a huge breakfast) and the view was spectacular. It is best to book through their website as they often run 50% off promotional deals.
Trail Map of Cameron Highlands Hiking Trails
Below is a helpful trail map of the Cameron Highlands, Tanah Rata and the various hiking tails. Download the image to your phone and take it with you hiking, it may come in handy.