HOLIDAYING in Cameron Highlands can be fun, educational and relaxing, but tourists should plan their visit ahead.
Among others, tourists should take in consideration the time taken when caught in the traffic jam in this popular tourist destination during weekends, public holidays and school holidays.
For instance, it took me and my family two hours travelling from Ipoh to Brinchang using the Simpang Pulai Highway last Tuesday.
The journey was smooth all the way, until the stretch from Brinchang to Tanah Rata.
We were stuck for about an hour along this stretch.
The slight drizzle on late Tuesday afternoon had compounded to the traffic crawl.
We however had anticipated the heavy traffic as it was school holidays.
Apart from that, the drivers slowing down in search of parking space for their cars was yet another contributor to the jam.
During weekdays and non school holiday season, the travelling time between Ipoh and Brinchang is about an hour only.
But the amazing thing was that the holidaymakers appeared to have a high tolerance level for the traffic jam though.
There was no honking.
One of the reasons could be the drivers and their passengers could still take in the sights of the hustle and bustle of the little towns in the highlands and the beautiful blooms along the way.
The holiday mood was in the air with many small shops lining the narrow roads; selling vegetables, fruits, flowers and sourvenirs.
The weather was cool, probably due to the slight drizzle.
Cameron Highlands is not as cold as it used to be in the past.
But I think many people still made a beeline to the highlands to escape from the prolonged hot spell in Ipoh in particular.
Apart from factoring extra time for travelling, holidaymakers should also check out on the types of accommodation available.
Unless you make early bookings, you are not likely to get much choice for accommodation during peak times- weekends, public holidays and school holidays.
If you want to have a relaxing time, including a good night’s sleep, you have to check out the location of the hotels and apartments.
Well, those which are located along the main roads are obviously noisy.
For those who love to browse shops and visit night markets, Brinchang is a good place, provided the weather was fine.
We stayed in an apartment in Brinchang and it is walking distance to the shopping area and restaurants.
On Tuesday evening, the rain did not permit us to browse the shops in the area.
In fact, the traffic congestion in Brinchang was so bad then. My family and I had to just go to the nearest restaurant for steamboat after getting a place to park our car.
We count ourselves lucky because the steamboat in that restaurant was really good.
It served organic vegetables, a variety of seafood, noodles and eggs.