Media Explorace & Kelantan Homestay Experience is a programme orgsanised by Tourism Malaysia Kelantan Office in conjuction with Tourism Malaysia’s programmes to promote homestays in Kelantan. Kelantan Triton Owner’s Club (KTOC) also supported this 3 days 2 nights programme.
The media group who arrived at Homestay Bukit Jering in Jeli received a warm welcome and was served food while waiting for the opening ceremony to begin. The programme was launched by Y.B. State Assemblyman of Kuala Balah, YB Datuk Abdul Aziz Derashid, with the objective of promoting tourism icons in south Kelantan.
Similar to the Explorace concept, this programme was participated by 30 media representatives from Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya. They were then divided into groups comprising themselves and one representative from KTOC. Each group stayed with their adopted parents for one night at Homestay Bukit Jering.
For my group, we stayed with Mr. Muhammad Nazir’s family. Pokcik, as we fondly called him, lives in his house with his wife and five children. Pokcik owns a sundry shop while his wife takes care of their warung (stall). They run their business from home. They lead a very simple and humble life, like how other Kelantanese live. Even though we only stayed one night at their home, we were humbled and touched by the hospitality shown by the family.
The next morning, the day started early and the participants were warmed up with activities arranged by the management before being flagged off at 8.00 a.m. Participants were instructed to go to Homestay Jelawang that was situated about 20 minutes away from the starting point. The first task required participants to weave as many ketupat as possible within the time limit. Weaving ketupat may sound easy but by the time we needed to do it fast within the time limit, it seemed like one ketupat took forever to complete!
After finishing the first task, participants proceeded to the foot of Mount Stong to complete another task. The groups were to peel pineapples the way it was instructed and differences and irregularitie led to the deduction of marks. Next, participants must walk around the foot of Mount Stong to find three types of trees as instructed. This task definitely required lots of energy as one must run up and down the hill in search of the right tree. Some of the groups failed to find the trees as instructed as most of them were exhausted.
Participants then drove for about one hour and a half to their next destination, Homestay Renok Baru. The view of the nature along the route to Homestay Renok Baru was amazing and the smell of the fresh air was refreshing. The fascinating view made the entire journey felt short.
At Homestay Renok Baru, participants were asked to prepare a popular local dish called gulai tempoyak ikan patin and ikan pekasam. In this task, recipes were provided to guide the participants. However, for those who do not have cooking skills, this task was quite a challenge. Afterwards, the groups were treated with laksam, Kelantan’s version of laksa, by the locals.
The next task was to go to Homestay Kampung Batu Papan and the participants were asked to dig the history behind the names of the villages from the villagers. Then for the last task, each group must walk about 10 minutes to Gua Madu. At Gua Madu, they must count the number of masheer or kelah fish that were in the pond before they could go back to the pit stop. Counting the fish was not easy as they moved fast and confused the participants.
Once all the groups have completed their last task, they proceeded in convoy to Ethnobotany Park in Gua Musang for the closing ceremony. For the teams, winning and losing did not matter since every one had fun throughout the race.
Promoting homestays in Kelantan to the public through the Explorace concept is a novel approach because in the end, it is the experience that counts. The programme managed to educate all participants about the interesting and fun-filled offerings that await visitors in the south of Kelantan.