Rent Car To Cameron Highlands

I am thinking of renting a car and driving up to Cameron Highlands with my wife. This will give us privacy, more control over our trip, and may be cheaper than taking a tour company there. What do you think? Is it a good idea?

I found that the humity of Malaysia was extremely oppressive to me. My clothes were continually saturated with perspiration and I often found myself physically exhausted. That is why I found the Cameron Highlands so wonderful. The air there is so clear and crisp. It is much cooler than in the lowlands. It is often shrouded in misty clouds.

The scenery was breath taking and I hiked for miles and miles without seeing a soul. The pace of life up there is much, much slower and the locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming. It is not the place to go for heavy duty shopping or night clubs etc. but it is a dream location if you just want to slow down a bit and take some time to relax and get away from the tourist jaunts. If you are into beautiful views - you will love it. There are lots of flower farms and markets etc. to walk around. I could imagine that it would be a fantastic place to spend some romatic time together.

A word of warning about driving though. Many people will tell you that the country roads are much quieter than the city roads and you might be tempted into thinking that driving is fine. What you will discover is that the roads into the Cameron Highlands are extremely windy and narrow. In many places the roads are only wide enough for one car and the other has to pull off the road to let a car pass before proceeding.

Due to the daily tropical downpours the road edges are very slippery and fatal accidents are not uncommon at all. Due to the fog and mist that are common up there, visibility is not always the best. There are many logging trucks that speed up and down the mountains as well, which make things hairy at least. Everyone I spoke to advised me against driving even on the country roads and I am so grateful that I took their advice.

The alternative that I found was that I hired a car for the month and in addition my travel agent was also able to hire local drivers for me also. Therefore, I would have a driver for 3 - 4 days whom would take me so far down the island, then another driver from that area would take over.

The added benefit of being in such close contact with a local was that I found myself exposed to so much culture, hints and tips that I never expected. One of my driver's was hindu - so he took me to many Hindu temples and explained in detail their religion and beliefs - another driver was Chinese - again he took me to his temples. He was a real foodie, so took me to see how Chinese Malay food really is prepared. The local drivers took me to places to eat and sleep that I would never have found in any tourist brochure - One driver took me to his relatives home - so I stayed a few days in a traditional tribal house.

Whilst having a driver was an expense that I did not plan on (however, due to exchange rates - it was incredibly cheap). as I explained, by having a local expert with me, I was able to save an incredible amount of money by eating and sleeping at much cheaper places than the mainstream tourist hotels offered. I saw and did things that I could never have dreamed of doing as a tourist. The drivers would also see that anything I did buy was at the proper price and not the one often offered for tourists. I honestly can't tell you just how much I gained from this experience.

Without exception, all the drivers I had welcomed me fully to their country, treated me with incredible respect and without any hesitation helped me immerse myself into their culture. I had the bonus of not being restricted by a schedule (if I had been on a tourist bus etc.) and was free to travel anywhere and stop at any place on the side of the road that caught my attention. It is amazing how many things you see in a foreign country and wonder what they are and how great it is when you have someone that can actually tell you what they are.

So bottom line for me, is NO I would never drive anywhere in Malaysia. I know that there are many bus companies that offer bus trips up into the Cameron Highlands etc. but I just thought I would explain to you the option I took and how well it worked out for me.

If you are planning to drive to Cameron Highland, I suggest you to rent a car in Ipoh. Maybe you can get onto train to Ipoh (about 5 hours journey from KL). Once there, rent a car and please buy a map.

However, need to alarm you that road in Malaysia especially in the city area like Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang, map doesn't help sometimes.

The road direction constantly change, and its like you driving in labyrinth. You might follow the right direction, but you will ended up at a different location instead. Even locals have hard time to go to one place to another. The worst I should say is Kuala Lumpur.

The only straight wide road in Malaysia is the pay-highway. My suggestion is, better use travel agent. You won't waste your time, get to see more places in short period, and they can plan few fun activities for you.

Do not take the group tour, just take the individual package. The agency can cater the plan according to your need. Enjoy your trip!

8 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your website and would like to share the information you have mentioned about Cameron Highland with the readers of my travel blog. I therefore request you to send me an email and I can give you more information.

    Thanks,
    Rachna
    rachna@dtfares.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can rent a car to cameron islands from Singapore. It will be fun for you to go there

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  6. I am also thinking for visiting to Cameron Highland by hiring a car on rent. But i do not have any idea about rental cars. Could you please write a blog post that describe more about the rental cars?

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