A jungle hike in the Cameron Highlands

In 1937 the ‘silk king’, Englishman Jim Thompson wandered off from his friends in the jungle of the Cameron Highlands. Even after 11 days of searching by hundreds of police, Aboriginal trackers, and psychics, he was never seen again. Conspiracy theories still circulate as to the reason for his disappearance.  His body was never found.


After this morning’s hike I can understand why. The jungle here in the Cameron Highlands  is so dense, parts of it are almost claustrophobic. Light was scarse under the canopy, all the trees shooting upwards were competing for sunlight.  It is all green, dark green, luminous green and soft mossy green. Symbiotic plants grow out of each other and twist round and round each other.

[Taken with iPhone]

The air smelled clean and damp, and the sounds of the town were soon taken over by the sounds of frogs and crickets.

The trails falls into the ‘totally wheelchair inaccessible’ category, and also the ‘not suitable for 4 yr olds’ category. Meena, Tintin and I went by ourselves and had a grand time. Last time the three of us hiked together was in a rainforest much like this one, at Christmas Creek in the Paluma mountains, in Queensland, Australia. Like then, we were enjoying the coolness of a few days in the highlands after weeks near the coast, in the heat.

Hasn’t Meena grown? She is turning into a good little walker.


We looked out for Rodents Of Unusual Size in the undergrowth. Tintin is sure he saw a monkey, a bat and a snake. But mostly we looked out for Bear Grylls, and imagined where he might sleep or which of the many fungi and seeds he might eat.  We wondered which sticks he might use to spear a wild boar for his dinner, or, wait a minute, was that Asterix and Obelix?  We also found the house under the fir tree in the sand bank where Peter, Cotton Tail, Flopsy and Cotton tail lived. Ok, so it wasn’t sandy, or a fir tree, but we are pretty sure we smelled chamomile tea!

We swung on vines and monkey-climbed tall trees;

[Taken with iPhone]

It was a long way up! “Just when you think you are at the top” said Tintin, “up it still goes!”

At the top, the view was expansive despite the clouds and we could see to the terraced tea plantations and beyond. Fantastic.

For anyone wanting to do a great hike near Tanah Rata, we recommend “trail 10”, dubiously signposted. Starts in the gorgeous garden behind the Oly appartments and follow your nose uphill.


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2 Responses to A jungle hike in the Cameron Highlands

  1. John & Brenda March 3, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    What a fantastic story. You are a great author, Gill. Boy, Meena has sure grown since her adventures in Australia. Her hair has changed colour, too. Tintin and Meena are certainly monkey-like in their climbing. Looking forward to more episodes. LOL G & B

  2. Vicki March 3, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    Gorgeous photos – this would make a fabulous documentary.

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