18.12.2012 - 18.12.2012 18 °C
Today we woke up to the sound of heavy rain, by the time we got up and ready it had passed so we rushed to catch the local bus that comes every two hours to the Sungai Palas Boh tea estate, as we had read it is the best one and the easiest to do on your own rather than as part of a tour. The bus journey itself was an experience. There was the most random compilation of songs blaring from the speakers the whole way, from the YMCA to 'Wait a minute Mr Postman'. It was surreal and we couldnt stop smiling everytime a new song came on. It did however make the usually difficult job of explaining where we were going to the Malay conductor that bit harder. The bus dropped us off on the main road and there were some roadside shops and vegetable stalls where we decided to have some breakfast at before walking the 'short journey' to the plantation, the sign said 2km. We both had Nasi Lemak, a coconut rice dish which seemed to have some sort of fish curry on the side and a frie egg. It is a traditional Malaysian breakfast and although it doesn't sound that appealing it was really nice.
We then set off on the walk to the plantation and it soon became apparent that it wasn't just a short walk but as we climbed the views over the hills of bright green tea were beautiful. In amongst it you could see the tea pickers with there baskets on there backs. The road was narrow and a lot of cars were zooming past and we seemed to be the only fools to walk it up. It started to rain heavy about half way and we had to put our rain macs on (and finally get some use out of the umbrella we bought in KL) but the whole route provided lovely scenery. The clouds were low and there was a mist over the top off the hills. Once we got closer the tea grows on either side of the road so we were walking through it. Up close it grows in rows in little bushes so there is a maze of little paths that the pickers walk on.
At the bottom of the valley just before the plantation there is a small village, with houses, a few shops and a temple which were surprised by. The plantation itself was extremely busy and we now know where all the cars whizzing past us were going... for a brew in the tea shop. Chelsea managed to get us a good seat while Liam queued for a drink. The tea shop sits on a hill in a glass box with a veranda that overlooks all the valley and hills of tea so the view is worth the walk. The place was crazy busy with tourists and children which slightly ruined it as it was extremely noisy but we have since found out it is school holidays so that is why.
We both shared a pot of 'Bukit Cheeding' garden tea which was described as similar to a strong breakfast tea and it was yummy. The tea strainer made us laugh though as it was a big plastic thing like a sieve. We had a piece of cake with our brew and sat for a while admiring the view and listening to children scream and cry.
Once we couldn't stand it anymore we left and went for a walk around the factory where they process the tea leaves. The whole place smelt like really strong tea and thousands of leaves were being crushed, sorted and bagged. We were actually suprised by the size of the factory, it was really small which makes us think that it just a tourist area and the main factory must be somewhere else.
We then decided to make our way back. It started to rain heavy again so we tried in vain to get a taxi, but they were all full, we even tried to hitch hike back to the main road but no-one was interested and many of the cars were full with families. We just decided to walk the '2k' back to the main road and get a taxi from there. Luckily after around ten minutes the rain eased and we actually enjoyed the walk. Once at the main road we managed to get a taxi to bring us back to the town we are staying in.
We went out for tea late which was a mistake as the street stalls had started to run out of things, we had chicken and rice which wasn't the best meal we have had but it was cheap and filled us up. After a stroll we went for a hot drink again. Liam had a Coffee Tarik (the sweet coffee we secretly love) and Chelsea had a cup of Cameron tea.
Tomorrow we are planning to have a relaxing day, maybe a walk to a waterfall and to book a bus to Penang for thursday.