We drove 500km for this
We all love the tranquility, cool weather and epic landscape of Cameron highlands! But...after two weeks of not moving around, we all got really restless. I guess that is why we are living this Grand Tour as our lifestyle!
If you know anything about the roads in Cameron Highlands, there are two ways into and out of the area. The road from Tapah was the original road the British built between 1926 and 1930. Opened in 1931, this road is EXTREMELY windy. If you are susceptible to carsickness/motion sickness, this will be hell for you.
The road surfaces are very very bad on this route. The potholes are just patched over again and again until you have some sort of a patch work blanket that is as rough as the moon's surface. One lane for each direction and trucks heading up can crawl as slow as 10km/h if they are very heavily loaded. Throw in a heavy downpour and fog, this road can get pretty dangerous.
The terrain is so challenging, we can imagine how hard it would be to get large machinery to properly repave the roads. Thankfully a new road was constructed to enter Cameron Highlands from the northern side. Simlang Pulai exit is about 40km further up the North-South highway from Tapah exit if you are coming from KL or Singapore. But let me tell you, it is WAY BETTER to travel slightly longer on this route. You still get windy roads but the turns are a lot less acute and the road surface is a lot smoother. There are several sections with overtaking lanes for safe overtaking instead of having to drive in the opposite lanes when you encounter crawling trucks.
And so we took off from Cameron Highlands and drove towards Penang on a day trip. 500km return trip. The kids slept and enjoyed the long drive. There is just something so calming about driving long distances and I love it!
We planned to visit the Penang Hill and ride the funicular but upon arriving, IT WAS CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE?! GOOGLE MAPS WASN'T UPDATED!!!! What else do you do in Penang? EAT!
We decide to enjoy some famous Dim Sum at Tai Tong Restaurant! (Non-Halal)
Here are some details:
Address: 45, Lebuh Cintra, George Town, 10100 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Opens Tuesday to Sundays from 630am to 2pm AND 6pm to 10pm.
They are closed on Mondays and everyday between 2pm to 6pm so do take note!
I just love these restaurants in old shop houses. The charm is in their focus on just making and selling delicious food. No fuss and fancy decor involved.
When you get there, find yourself a table and the staff will give you a restaurant menu and two ordering cards. One card is for the restaurant menu and the other is for Dim Sum. Don't be silly like us. We sat there confused and wondering where in the world is the Dim Sum menu?! There is none!
This is how you get your Dim Sum:
1. Walk towards the staff on the left (Refer to picture above). She has stacks and stacks of steamed dim sum on her trolley. Ask her what there is, and tell her what you want. She will mark on the dim sum card what you've ordered and pass you the dishes.
2. See the big sign in the middle? That's the second station where you get other fried dim sum or larger dishes like Chee Cheong Fun and Lo Mai Gai and Baos. Tell the staff what you want and she'll mark your card and pass you the dishes.
3. You'll grab the dishes and bring it back to your table. Only things on the restaurant menu and tea/drinks are served to your table.
4. Pay at the counter with both your marked cards once you're done eating.
This meal alone was worth the 500km of driving.
Debra and I were commenting on how this is better than Swee Choon in Singapore. What are your thoughts? Well, the bill was definitely better in terms of value. We paid only RM80++. We spent the evening walking off the calories at a mall. It reminded us a little bit of Melaka because many shop spaces remained empty. The effects of the pandemic are still profoundly felt.
We took the ride back in darkness and climbed 5000ft back to Cameron Highlands via the Simpang Pulai route which meant we made good progress quickly. We miss the dim sum already...
This little short trip still reminded us of how much the city has to offer. Perhaps this will influence our decision on where else to go to on our Grand Tour....
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.
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