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Orang Asli in the Cameron Highlands
and the new road Ipoh - Cameron Highlands.


Ben van Wijnen 

"The Orang Asli are the primeval inhabitants of the forest. These tribes live in huts and live in nature in the jungle. They make fire with their hands and rattan and Meranti, hunt every morning to provide the families of the tribe with daily food They know a lot about herbs and everything that is available in the forest."

A long and winding road leads you from Tapah at the North South Highway to the Cameron Highlands. This road lead you through the tropical forest to the tea plantations. On your way "up" you will pass several settlements of the Orang Asli, the original people from Malaysia. Along the road they have stall, where they try to make some money by selling honey and durians to the people. Have a break, make a stop and have a look in one of those villages.
A lot of the Orang Asli people are working at the tea plantations. When you visit one, you must have a look how they live at the tea plantations.

At the Cameron Highlands we'll find a special group of the Orang Asli. They are the Senoi , the dream people. The word "Senoi" means "human being" or "person".
In the past the Senoi were long called "saki" by the Malaysians, which means "bestial aborigine" or "slave".
Senoi often were captured by Malaysians in the old days and sold as slaves.

Now most of them live in the Cameron Highlands. They collect insects and butterflies, carve blowpipes, weave baskets for the highlands tourist market, or sell one or two unusual souvenir items at the roadside near their homes.

The most of the Senoi are working at the plantations. Sometimes they are living on the plantations in the Cameron Highlands.
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Honey and durian for sale

There are three different groups of Orang Asli: the Senoi, the Orang Malayu Asli and the Negrito’s. If you want to know more about the Orang Asli you have to go to the special page about the Orang Asli <click>.

The Senoi are living in the Cameron Highlands mostly. They look like real Malaysians. You shouldn’t recognize them in a city like Kuala Lumpur, although some of them look like negrito’s. The Senoi are working mostly at the tea plantations. Originally the come from Cambodja, Vietnam and Thailand. Probably they can to Malaysia 6000 – 8000 years ago.

Nowadays, if you have visited the Cameron Highland, you can go down to the highway in another direction. North, to Ipoh.
When you are in the Cameron Highlands, in a town called “Berincang”, you’ll see a sign with “Simpang Pulau” on /it. That’s the intersection at the highway, just outside Ipoh. It should take a one hour drive. Landslides delayed the opening of the road, but it's open now.

The new road from Simpang Pulai (near Ipoh) to the Camerons is ready now. It takes 1 hour from Ipoh to the Cameron Highlands!
Another new road is going from the Cameron Highlands to Gua Musang. It's a very good road, but the route from Kampong Raja to Gua Musang has no petrol station. Please take notice!

 


Road through the tea plantations

 

 

 

   Ben van Wijnen

 

 

 

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