The Cameron Highlands is the centre of tea production in Malaysia, and there are three main tea plantations you can visit near to the main town in the Cameron Highlands, Tanah Rata.
About Tea plantations in the Cameron Valley
The cultivation of tea in Malaysia began in the late 1920s just as the Cameron Highlands were being opened up for development as a hill station by the British colonial government, and entrepreneurs were looking to find new sources in income following worldwide stock market crashes in 1929 and more than a decade of economic hardship that followed. At an altitude of around 1,400 metres above level the climate around Tanah Rata is significantly cooler than in lowland Malayasia allowing the cultivation of wide range of plants and fruits, including tea, which is not possible to do with any great success elsewhere in Malaysia. The Cameron Highlands covers an area of around a quarter of a million square kilometres, and as such the total volume of tea produced there is relatively small, totalling less than half a percent of worldwide tea production. The emphasis for tea producers in the Cameron Highland is on high quality specialist teas and welcoming tourists. Tea grown in Malaysia doesn’t, for the greater part, match what local consumers are used to and drink on a day to day basis.
Tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands attract large numbers of Malaysian tourists, and a much smaller number of foreign tourists, particularly visitors from Singapore and Indonesia, as well as to a lesser extent Europeans and North Americans. What attracts visitors is principally the scenery. The tea is grown on rolling hillsides made pleasantly green by the tightly packed clusters of tea plants. The thing that also attracts visitors are the tea houses on these plantations. They serve a wide range of unusual Indian inspired teas along with European style cakes and scones with jam, as eaten in England. A trip to a tea plantation is a great day out, particularly for people who live in a tropical climate seeking to escape the heat.
Boh Tea Plantation
Boh Tea Plantation is the largest and oldest of the tea producers in the Cameron Highland. The company was established by English emigre J A Russell in 1929. He came to Malaysia aged 6 with his father and 4 brothers and engaged in a variety of professions and businesses before joining a diverse range of other foreign entrepreneurs who came to the Cameron Highlands when the British government started construction of a road making the area more accessible to visitors.
Boh Tea Plantation has opened two sites up to visitors: Sungai Palas and Fairlie Tea Plantation. Sungai Palas is the more popular of the the two plantations, although both feature a tea house, walking trails and tours of the factory. Both plantations offer free parking and are open to visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 16:30. Admission is free to both sites.
Location of Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation
- Sungai Palas Boh Tea Plantation is located 14.3 km by road from Tanah Rata.
Cameron Bharat Plantation
The Cameron Bharat Plantation is owned by the Bharat Group which identifies itself as having been established in 1933 by the enterprising Shuparshad Bansal Agarwal, who emigrated from Agra in India in 1910 to assist his uncle in his grocery store. Shuparshad Bansal Agarwal’s big commercial break came when he decided to set up a business supplying provisions to workers building the road up to the Cameron Highlands. This provided him with the money to buy a rubber plantation and also the money to buy land upon which to grow tea.
The Cameron Bharat Plantation has two tea shops and several walking trails around the plantation. The plantation is open Monday to Thursday from 08:30 to 18:00 and from Friday to Sunday from 08:00 to 19:00. Admission costs 3 MYR per person and an additional 12 MYR per person for a ride around the plantation in a buggy.
Location of Cameron Bharat Plantation
- Cameron Bharat Plantation is located 5.6 km by road from Tanah Rata.