An all-day trek through Malaysia’s cloud forest ended in one of the most surreal landscapes I had ever seen.
There are times when I land in a new country and know exactly where I want to go. Armed with recommendations and grown-up things like hotel reservations, I have a plan and a list of foods to try and can’t wait to get started.
Malaysia was not one of those places.
I was in a rush to leave Thailand because my visa was about to expire, so I grabbed the cheapest flight that I could find and headed to the airport. It wasn’t until I landed in Kuala Lumpur that I realized that I had no idea where I was going.
After two weeks on a sleepy island, the cacophony of life and the constant crush of people in the city was overwhelming. It felt Westernized and uninspiring, so I resolved to get out of town as soon as I had a destination in mind. And just like that, I found myself in the emerald hills of the Cameron Highlands.
The greenest, most unexpected escape.
The chill of the mountains was cozy rather than frigid, a welcome respite from the heat of the city. It was also an ideal condition for an all-day trek up Gunung Jasar, a 1700m peak that overlooks the town of Tanah Rata.
We climbed slowly, taking our time to poke and prod and ahhh over the exotic fauna that tangled around the trail.
My favorite, though, was the descent into the tea plantations that nestled into the valley.
I took my time in walking through the Dr. Suessian hills, not wanting to rush the dreamlike experience. I hadn’t even known such a place existed a few days earlier, but it was a gentle reminder of why I love to travel: for the joy of discovery.
So often I hear people say that they want to know the right place to go, the best thing to do. And while I understand the desire to make the most of any trip, the reality is that sometimes you find the best places by accident, without any planning at all.
Sometimes the best thing is to just let the world find you.