29.05.2019 - 01.05.2019 24 °C
Inland from the west coast of Malaysia is Cameron Highlands. I hired a guide to take me into the jungle to see the Rafflesia which is the largest flower in the world and only grows in a few places on earth. Apparently it can grow up to 1 metre in diameter and only blooms for 1 week. We hiked in the jungle for just over an hour with snakes and leeches before getting to the area with the flower. The snakes didn`t seem to be an issue but the leeches were challenging. We were constantly removing them from our legs and ankles. The hike is reasonably challenging also as it was very steep and slippery for almost the whole way.
The flower we saw was not the biggest specimen but I can now tick that off my bucket list.
After the hike my guide Wan took me to a highland village to try my hand at a blow pipe. They still use this as the main weapon to hunt birds and other small prey for food. They regard it more highly than guns as they are silent. Did pretty well with the blow pipe. I didn`t hit the bullseye but at least I hit the target, hahaha.
The village was probably the most remote I have seen yet on my journey, however once again the people are so friendly and happy to converse with anyone.
The great thing about the highlands is the temperature is cooler at 24 degrees and the humidity is non existent. This creates the perfect climate to grow tea. Wan took me through a tea plantation as the 3rd stop. It was the largest tea plantation in Malaysia called BOH Tea and is over 90 years old. The Malaysians refuse to work on the plantation harvesting the tea as the wages are too low, so all the workers are from Bangladesh. The workers get free accommodation, meals and electricity over and above the wages. They have to pick 120kgs per person per day and they get paid the equivalent of 27 cents per kg.
There seemed to be a lot of European influence in the highlands and it showed through in the housing which seemed very Tudor style. I found out later that the tea plantation was started by a Scottish guy, so I guess this made sense with the style of the houses.
Wan also told me this was a small plantation, about 2000 hectares, but you could see tea plants as far as the eye could see.
Went for a hike on jungle trail 10 this morning with Natalie who I met, also from NZ. It took about 1 1/2 hours up a seriously challenging trail but worth it when we got to the top. Hilariously while we were at the top resting before coming back down we could here music. Next thing you know this guy comes over the hill playing a guitar and singing and we are in the middle of nowhere. He introduced himself as Siva and he could play anything on a guitar with only 5 strings, he was awesome.
He climbs up the trail everyday to catch butterflies which he sells to collectors all round the world. He plays the guitar to keep himself amused while walking.
There is also black panther on this trail also but we did not see any evidence of them.