Our first family Sabbath – Cameron Highlands

(This is a continuation of our first family Sabbath – the first 3 nights were spent at Port Dickson and Ipoh. You can read about that here. We went to Cameron Highlands on the 4th day of our family sabbath. However, to make it easier to track this leg of our journey, I will treat the first morning at Cameron Highlands as Day 1).

We stayed at the Government chalet – Cluny Lodge for all six nights at Cameron Highlands. We arrived late in the night – Day 0.

Day 1 – Sunday

In the morning, we went to All Soul’s Church. It was an Anglican Church. It was interesting because we chanced upon some Singaporeans – they were from Agape Baptist Church and were staying at the OMF chalet near Cluny Lodge. They invited us to pop by and we did later.


It was a Christmas service.
It is always nice to worship with God’s people in a foreign land.
We are reminded that God is always faithful.

After that we went to Tanah Rata for lunch and to send in our laundry. We ate at a Chinese stall at a food centre and then went to a cafe for a drink and ice-cream because we needed to use a toilet…. Then we did some shopping at a RM2 shop (something we always enjoy) and visited S K Convent.


I studied in a Convent.
I would always be indebted to the nuns who first started taking in orphans
and subsequently educating them and other girls.

Then we left town and tried to locate Hilltop bunglow but could not find it.

We went to Smokehouse for tea. It was beautiful. We took so many photos.




These are some closer-up photos of the outside and the gardens on the hotel ground.



These are photos of the inside.


This is where we had our tea – scones and drinks. It was not cheap (RM107) and we didn’t order a lot. But I would pay again, just to be able to visit this place.


We went back to Tanah Rata to collect the laundry but it was not ready. We decided to return to the Lodge. While on the way back, we spotted the OMF Bunglow and drove in for a visit.


We met Wilson, his wife Sor Fun and their daughters at the church
and continued to chat with them at the OMF bunglow.
Wilson had left his job and went to East Timor to be a missionary.
He brought his whole family along.

After that we went back to Cluny Lodge at 4:30pm. The kids did some work and we had dinner and rested for the day.

Day 2 – Monday

The next day we start the day with family time.


This is the room which we used for our family time.
It was just the right size for the five of us.
We had a lovely view, and together with the natural air-con of Cameron Highlands, it felt heavenly.


We worshipped, studied the bible and prayed.
The room is also where the children would play.

After that, Elkan read a book while Elias and Samuel played at the playground which was within the premise of Cluny Lodge.


You used to be able to walk down to the Tanah Rata town from Cluny Lodge using the stairs.
But the way is now blocked.

After lunch, we went to pick up our laundry at Tanah Rata and sent in a new batch. Then we went to the Big Red Strawberry Farm. It was really good.


We got to pick our own strawberries.
The whole family shared one plummet and we took turns to go in.
Edmund skipped the strawberry picking and took pictures instead.


We got to eat the strawberries we picked. We had chocolate fondue!
It tasted really good, and even Elkan who usually doesn’t take strawberries couldn’t stop eating.
So there wasn’t enough and we bought one more plummet of strawberries.
Edmund got a waffle with ice-cream.
Samuel had milo ice-cream and Elkan had a coke float.
Elias wanted to buy a push-pop. So Samuel got to have one too.


There was a garden around the farm so we walked around in it a bit.
Later we decided to get some carnivorous plants.
We got a Venus fly trap, a Pitcher plant and a Sundew.
Sadly they died within a few weeks of being back in Singapore.
Elias said the plants could not adjust to Singapore climate (too hot)
and perhaps there just weren’t enough insects for them,
as these plants could not absorb nutrients from the soil
(they had lost the ability to).


We managed to take this really nice family photo
in the garden part of the farm.

After that we tried to find Jim Thompson Cottage but sadly we could not get too near it. It was private property and we did not dare to trespass.


Because there is nothing really very much to do up there at Cameron,
part of our activities was to visit some of these better known cottages.
We enjoyed the driving around.
I think the last photo is one which we took of the cottage.
We tried.

We went back to the Lodge at 6pm. After dinner, the boys played Uno with some new friends.


Day 3 – Tuesday

The next day we went to the Boh Tea plantation at Ringlet (the older one). Thanks to Google Map, we could tell that there was a HUGE jam at Tanah Rata. (It seemed that they were doing roadworks, so a two-lane two-directional road became a one-lane road!) So we made a detour through small roads.

There was a walk up to a view and we did it.


The walk up and down was strenous.
The view up there was nice.
What was best for me, was listening to the conversation between Elkan and Elias
while they were walking down.
Elias was talking about how worried he was about falling down.
He was holding on to the rope for his dear life.
I was thinking – how nice that he is mature enough to worry for himself.
I don’t need to worry for him.


We also did the Tea factory tour.
We basically walked through it ourselves, there was no guide.

After that we had lunch at a coffee shop somewhere. We were hungry and just popped into the first one we saw. We had fried rice (Daddy had noodles). The fried rice was very good. I conclude that all Malaysians can cook…


We tried to explore Robinson’s Falls after that, but it had been turned into a Dam!


Our car often had to do such things,
to turn back where we had made the wrong turn
or went where we were not supposed to have gone
or simply because that was how cars there were supposed to drive ….

We went back to Tanah Rata after that and collected our laundry. Then we went to visit The Lord’s Cafe.


It was a nice quaint place.
It started raining while we were there.
The kids and I played “Heart attack” and “Murderer”.

We went back to the Lodge, had dinner and an early night. We were planning to go to Gunung Brinchang the next day.

Day 4 – Wednesday

We woke at 5:30am. Elias sat in front as he was the most adventurous of the lot. When we tried to drive out, we realised that the gate was closed – for a moment we panicked – what if the gate was locked?! But it wasn’t. Elias was the one who opened it for us.

Then we drove off, in search of Gunnung Brinchang. It was an exciting drive in the dark. Elkan and Samuel were sleepy and I think they slept part of the journey. Elias was wide awake from the excitement. I was awake because I was a bit worried because we were doing it for the first time and were not sure whether we could make it there.

Indeed, we made a wrong turn, turned back but made a second wrong turn and went up the wrong part of the mountain (but we didn’t know that then). We started driving through some dirt road. Some trucks drove past us. It became quite scary because it soon became a one-lane road up the mountain and we didn’t know what we would do if there was another car coming down – there was no place for Edmund to do a 3-point turn. After some time, we decided that we DID make a wrong turn and came down. Not before taking some pictures.

We rested at a viewpoint and ate some biscuits.


We took a picture of the sun rise at some deserted place.
Then Edmund slowly inched his way down…
By the time we reached safety it was about 7:30am.
It was cold outside, but there was a wedding couple taking photos.
Must be cold for the bride in her bridal gown.

We decided to try another road, and found the correct road that leads to the viewpoint at Gunnung Brinchang! The sunrise was over, but we still had fun climbing up the view tower.


While driving down, we stumbled upon the entrance of the Mossy Forest (which we visited the last time we came to Cameron Highlands) and had an interesting drive through the area.


Mossy Forest is now closed.
I hope that the next time we visit, it would be open.

After that we went to the Boh Tea Plantation at Brinchang.


This place was beautiful.
We did some other things, like looked at exhibits and watched a nice movie.
We bought some gifts at the gift shop.


We had a proper breakfast (as vs the biscuits earlier on)
of Nasi Lemak, Hot Chocolate, Teh Tarik.

After that we wanted to have lunch at the Lavino Cafe which I read about and which looked fascinating. Sadly, it had closed down!


So we had lunch at a Strawberry Cafe (We just decided to randomly drive and entered into a side road which led us there).


Trump Cards – always handy

While driving out from our lunch area, we saw a sign that says Paprit Falls so we decided to drive in. We had fun there for some time.


It being mid-week, there was hardly anyone there.
We had the whole place to ourselves.
Samuel had to go to the toilet.
Elkan and Elias entertained themselves while waiting


We ventured into the trail.
I was with Elkan and Elias while Edmund walked with Samuel.
It was a big mistake.
The boys went way ahead of me and would not wait up.
Elkan found a rickety way crossing over to a rest stop.
I told him not to cross but he ignored me.
Even his brother told him it was not safe, but he went ahead.
Thankfully he came back safely.
I realised then that my teenager is not as “safe-loving” as I thought he was.
He is quite the typical teenager
– desirous of taking risks and being a champion and hero.


By the time Edmund and Samuel came to join us,
Elkan had returned back safely from his little hare-brained venture.
I told Edmund about it and Elkan got a huge scolding.
Anyway, I am sure Elkan was proud of himself nonetheless.
I took a picture of the little rest-stop. I also have my dumb-blond hero-worship moments.
Now that the danger had passed, I feel quite proud of my little young man.


We did the rest of the exploration together.
There wasn’t much there, but we had fun nonetheless.

By 3pm, we were back at the Lodge. We watched Video CDs which we brought from Singapore. We watched it in a room just next to our Family Room. There was a TV Room (with a nice fire-place) and then further in, was our Family room. We started with Evolution’s Achille’s heel and then continued with “Noah’s Ark – a documentary”.  We stopped for dinner and returned to finish watching Noah’s Ark.

Day 5 – Thursday

We didn’t do much this day. We had four meals that day, including tea time, when we had scones.

One of the best things about staying at Cluny Lodge was that we could cater meals. We did not need to think about what to eat – just appear at the dinning table and food will be prepared for us. We just need to tell them whether we wanted Western or Chinese.


We had our meals mainly at this table.
Once we had it at the table just next to the kitchen
and another time at a table to the right of us.
Our table had a side-door which
leads right out to a staircase
which leads out to the garden.
The door is always locked,
but Elias enjoyed being with us from outside the door.


Here’s our Chinese meal.
3 dishes (Fish, Meat, Vegetables) and a Soup.
For Chinese breakfast, we had fried bee hoon, which was really good.
There was also fruits after the meal.


For Western breakfast, we would have cereal with milk,
followed by sausage or ham, with eggs.
For drinks we could have coffee/tea or milo.
For Western lunch/dinner they also made us dessert. We had crepe.

On that day, we spent more time playing games. We did our Christmas rehearsal (for a performance we decided to do on a spur of the moment) and family planning- what we did well in 2015, what we would like to do/change in 2016.


We brought toys along.
Submarine. Galaxy Truckers. Bubble Talk.

After dinner, Edmund taught the boys how to play carom.


There was a games room on level 1 of the Lodge.
The boys played Carom for the first time.
It is a good game.

Day 6 – Friday

We had an early breakfast and drove off at 8:30am.


We love our MPV . Elkan would usually sit next to Edmund.
I would sit in the middle section with Samuel
while Elias would sit at the back on his own, next to our luggage.
On the way down from Cameron Highlands we bought some corn on a hob.
It wasn’t very nice.
That last picture must have been that of KL.

We reached Ipoh Parade at 11am and had lunch at Sushi King. We drove off at 1pm and got lost in KL for about 2 hours. Finally we reached Ayer Keroh close to 5pm and stopped by at the Pagoh rest stop for an early KFC dinner at 5:50pm, We drove back to Singapore at 6:30pm. (And this was where my meticulous recording stopped, so I have no idea when we finally reached home).

I didn’t know that we did so many things, until I wrote out this blog post. Despite that, it did not feel that we were in a rush. It was a leisurely holiday and we had a lot of time together exploring the different places, at meal times and in the car. I had time to be on my own, to reflect and pray.

We all loved it so much we are planning for another family Sabbath this year.

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