Wonderful Malaysia

Gerard’s Place Cameron Highlands

Gerards Place Cameron Highlands 1

A few weeks ago we visited Cameron Highlands. We make a habit out of staying at a different place every time we visit the place, this time we decided to stay at Gerard’s Place, a cozy and affordable guesthouse just outside of Tanah Rata. We already stayed at 8Mentigi once, also owned by the same people as Gerard’s Place. The popular Fathers Guesthouse is also part of the same group of owners, though this guesthouse is currently closed for various reasons (though they are intended to open soon).

As we were familiar in Tanah Rata it didn’t take that long to find the road that leads up to the guesthouse. If you are arriving by car from the Tapah exit (when coming from KL) then you need to take a right turn just before entering Tanah Rata, one of the main villages in Cameron Highlands. When you drove over the modern highway to Cameron Highlands (exit Simpang Pulai near Ipoh); you first need to drive through Tanah Rata and just when you exit the village, take a left turn. From there on you follow the road upwards as the guesthouse is located on a hill.

The guesthouse is actually located within a residential area, part of a few blocks of houses and opposite the Heritage Hotel. The actual house numbers are: Carnation Block C 9, C 10 C 17 in Greenhill Resort. This already gives the guesthouse a pleasant feeling, you feel like you have arrived at home. The living room also gives that impression, there are a few beautiful pictures, a big screen television with cable tv, a shared fridge, a kitchen and an area with a pc that you can use to check the internet. As Cameron Highlands is a highland resort, it is usually not warmer than 24 degrees. There are no aircon’s, you have no use for them anyway. There is a small patio and a patch of green where you can site outside. At night you can actually spot fireflies right in front of the patio.

One of the great aspects of all three guesthouses, Gerard’s Place, Fathers Guesthouse and 8Mentigi, is that the same owners also operate the local tour agency Cameron Secrets. Besides the standard tours, they also offer very nice Eco-tours and adventure tours (like jungle treks and exploration tours). Standard tours typically last half a day, or a whole day and contains a visit to almost all highlights in the area. Besides tours, Cameron Secrets also offers transport to either Perhentian Island, Taman Negara (both via Gua Musang) and to Penang. If you book a tour with Cameron Secrets you will be picked up at the given time in front of the guesthouse.

Rooms are quite nice at Gerard’s Place. Some have a shared bathroom; others have a bathroom within the room. Showers worked great, though we found it a bit difficult to get out from under it, because of the cold temperatures outside. The bed slept great. Breakfast is very basic, but just enough to last you until lunch time. You can always bring you own stuff and keep it in the shared fridge or you can walk to Tanah Rata town in 5 minutes to enjoy a very nice breakfast at Rosedale Bistro.

Gerard’s Place offers free wifi. There are also quite a few nice magazines (mostly travel) for you to read. Some guests left their books behind for the next guests. From the guesthouse it is a 5 minute walk to the center of Tanah Rata. Because of the colder climate it is actually very pleasant to walk around in Cameron Highlands, a 5 minute walk in Kuala Lumpur would probably be a different experience because of the heat.

We paid between RM70 and RM100 for our rooms. During peak season and public holidays (like Chinese New Year) there is a surcharge. You can make reservations directly via their website (well, sort of as they do not have an official website yet). The best way is to call them, but you can also contact them by email.






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Tourism Malaysia

Six atmospheric bars and cafes in Malaysia

Six atmospheric bars and cafes in Malaysia

Malaysia is renowned for its wonderful dining experiences in its many streetside stalls, markets, hawker centres and fine restaurants. But it also offers travellers equally fine opportunities to have a quiet drink or two, be that a high tea, a juice or cocktail. This selection of bars and cafes from across Malaysia ooze a colonial charm, classic architecture, hip scene or fantastic location.

Geographer Cafe, Melaka

The Geographer Café in historic Melaka is located in an old Chinese shophouse on a busy corner of Jonker Street. Thanks to this location patrons have a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the character and charm of the old town with many of the buildings nearby dating back to more than 100 years – in fact the oldest Chinese temple and Muslim mosque in Melaka are located nearby. The Geographer Café is the perfect place to dine, enjoy desert or a signature cocktail – available as both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. They also have a regular program of live music and jazz.
83 Jalan Hang Jebat, Malacca Town, Tel. +606-281-6813

Farquhar’s Bar, Eastern and Oriental Hotel, Penang

This English-style bar with a club room atmosphere is but one part of the incredible package of the Eastern and Oriental Hotel. It was named after Robert Townsend Farquhar, Penang’s former Lieutentant-Governor and has classic wooden paneling, wooden stools at the bar or deep armchairs to sink into over a quiet drink or two. They serve beer and cocktails including their signature drink the Eastern Oriental Sling. They also serve traditional pub food. The other alternative in the hotel is Sarkies corner that serves tiffin lunch from Monday to Friday. Sarkies Corner has great views onto the lawn and over the sea.

The EO hotel itself stands as testament to the British colonial era and today is considered an important part of the Penang story. It was established in 1884 by the Sarkies brothers, also responsible for the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It featured in several stories by the author Somerset Maugham, a regular guest.
10 Lebuh Farquhar, Tel. +604-222-2000.

Wooden panelling in the Farquhar’s Bar, Penang. Pic: E  O Hotel.

Wooden panelling in the Farquhar’s Bar, Penang. Pic: E O Hotel.

Charlies Restaurant and Bar, Heritage Station Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

The neo-Moorish, slightly cavernous surrounds of the train station set the scene for a step back into KL’s colonial past in the Heritage Station Hotel. And a good place to experience the imperial air, if you’re not an overnight guest, is in the bar. Charlies Restaurant and Bar features old wall hangings, arched Moorish windows and original floor tiling that dates back to 1910. As with the basic, no-frills accommodation the bistro offers affordable meals and beverages. Today the Heritage Hotel is a Heritage Building and its worth riding the old elevator for a further chance to soak up the nostalgic atmosphere.
Bangunan Stesen Keretapi, Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin,Kuala Lumpur. Tel. +603-2273-5588.

Neo-Moorish heritage at Charlies Bar, Kuala Lumpur. Pic: Heritage Sttion Hotel.

Neo-Moorish heritage at Charlies Bar, Kuala Lumpur. Pic: Heritage Sttion Hotel.

Smokehouse Hotel and Restaurant, Cameron Highlands

For an experience right out of British colonial history in Malaysia, visit this English Tudor style hotel that dates back to 1939. Located in the Cameron Highlands it’s the perfect climate for an experience of old England too with cooler, misty and often wet weather. This makes it the perfect place to indulge in a drink by the fireplace or even high tea of scones and strawberry jam in the gardens outside.
Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, Tel. +605-491-1215.

Frangipani, Kuala Lumpur

It doesn’t boast the colonial ambience of other places in this list, but the Frangipani is hip and happening. It’s also new with a modern overtone to the whole place and a similar crowd. It’s a good place to enjoy a few cocktails, hang with an elegant mix of people and you could follow it up by heading to the restaurant afterwards. This features a French influenced menu. The new wine bar, Bibitus, on the ground floor, also has a similar French theme to its wines.
25 Changkat Bukit Bintang, Tel. +603-2144-3001

Cameron Bar, Lakehouse, Cameron Highlands
The Cameron Bar or pub is a great way to soak in the old warm charm at this Tudor style country house in the highlands. With characteristic décor of a real English pub and a cosy log fire to set the scene, it’s the perfect place to have a sundowner or retire after dinner. An English style afternoon tea with scones and jam is also served on the Lakeside Terrace from 3-5.30pm daily.
30th Mile Ringlet, 39200 Cameron Highlands, Pahang, Tel.  +605- 495-6152

The old world charm of the Lakehouse gardens. Pic: Lakehouse Hotel.

The old world charm of the Lakehouse gardens. Pic: Lakehouse Hotel.