Cameron Highlands (or Tanah Tinggi Cameron in Malay) is located in the state of Pahang. Currently, there are two main roads that connect major towns in west coast of Peninsula Malaysia (such as Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang) to this popular highland resort town. The older access point is the Tapah - Ringlet route while the newer access has since been built from Simpang Pulai - Kg Raja.
Bharat Tea Plantation is located somewhere between Habu (Ringlet) and Tanah Rata. Since it is located right on the roadside of the main road, drivers simply cannot miss the entrance into the plantation area.
The correct name for this tea centre is Cameron Valley Tea Plantations but it is often known as Bharat Tea Plantation as it is owned and operated by the Bharat Group, the second largest tea producer in Malaysia. If the name Bharat conjures an image of the Indian subcontinent, you are not far off. This plantation company originates from India's Uttar Pradesh region and had made its presence in Cameron Highlands since 1933.
In total, Bharat Plantation owns four parcels of tea gardens with 1,600 acres of planting area. As it started operation in 1933, the company sold unprocessed tea leaves to other producers because it did not have its own capability to process them on their own. Only in 1952 that the company began processing their own tea leaves on contract basis, and by 1963, the Bharat company acquired an on-site tea processing plant. The rest is probably what we have seen today. Just like the Boh Tea Plantation with its famous Boh tea brand, Bharat Plantation proudly boasts its consumer tea selections under Cameron Valley range.
The type of tea tree grown here is known as Camellia sinensis, which has a long history of Indian and Chinese geographic origins. While it is known to grow in lowlands, its preference for slightly acidic soil and well-drained hilly terrains of sub-tropical climates makes it a natural choice for planting in Bharat Tea Plantation. Not to mention, most tea trees can live for over a hundred years, provided the tea farming methods are done properly. Hence, should you be able to get closer to the tea trees (quite a long walk down the staircases or the dirt road), you will notice how big are the tree barks as if to indicate their age (something like bonsai trees).
OK, enough of the technicalities. Most people come here for the view, and what a view it is! The tea house is built such that to give an impression of being perched or hanged above the whole tea plantations. Yes, the view is fantastic, even during poor weather conditions (it can get really misty in the highland). As the morning sun shimmers on the tea plants, it brings out the most majestic of green hues that can be found anywhere. Simply breathtaking.
Also, if you are up for it, you can have your teas and scones here, you know, like the English did. The hot tea selections range from flavourful cinnamon, raspberry, cardamom, etc. Actually, I despise scones, so I opted for regular egg sandwiches. It was the view that count, plus the relaxing atmosphere. Although I could do away with the intense proliferation of flies (we simply call them lalat in Malay) that made everything uncomfortable.
Other things to do here: Walk down to the actual plantation homes and tea processing factory. I did not do this one because I did mine at Boh Tea Plantation. In general, both should offer similar experiences. The tea gift shop is also a great place. For me, I rather purchase Bharat tea products as gifts from Cameron Highlands, rather than Boh merchandise. The latter products can easily be found on hypermarket shelves in Malaysia, so they do not seem to conjure as souvenirs from Cameron Highlands just as much. Its your pick.
Great view of the plantations. Good selections of tea gifts.