By Muhammad Hasif Mohd Jelani on January 1, 2020
Frankly speaking, when it comes to finding a secret hideaway that is far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Pahang, the largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, is one of my ultimate choices. After all, some of the attractions are easily accessible and located not too far away from metropolitan Kuala Lumpur.
Gaya Travel Magazine team recently joined a familiarisation trip with bloggers and social media influencers to experience Janda Baik, Raub and Sungai Lembing and here are some highlights we experienced…
45 minutes by car from Kuala Lumpur
Belonged to one of the prima donnas of Malaysian theatre, Puan Sri Tiara Jacquelina, who is fondly known for her compelling role as the leading actress in the play Puteri Gunung Ledang, this resort boasts 20 tented villas that are fully-furnished with comfortable bed, complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity, air conditioner and swanky, attached bathroom. With personal touches by the diva herself, travellers can find each room exclusively personalised for a noteworthy glamping experience. It has five, nicely-designed tree top villas as well should travellers feel like staying a little bit out-of-ordinary. The prices for a night here starts at MYR990.
Some locals refer the fig as ara, while others call it tin; one thing for sure, this fruit originated from the middle east and is evidently rich in nutrients, believed to have the ability to cure many diseases. Owned by a former contractor Mr Khairul Azmi Mohamad, this farm with 330 fig trees actually has just begun operating since February 2019. Travellers can visit the fig farm and pluck the fruits fresh from the trees for the price of MYR80 per kilogram. Next to the farm, travellers can savour cakes and dishes laced with figs such as nasi lemak, nasi dagang, pizza and sup tulang kerbau.
Tuesday to Thursday (3:00 p.m. until 12:00 a.m.)
Friday (11:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m.)
Saturday (8:00 a.m. until 12:00 a.m.)
This resort has 15 chalets, one bungalow and one cottage. It also has a swimming pool, a multipurpose field and a restaurant, making it ideal for team-building, family day or private staycation. The resort provides a myriad of activities too such as ATV ride, cycling, trekking to the waterfall, visiting fig farm, deer park, horse stable and more.
This restaurant has been in existence for more than 20 years, said to be one of the earliest in the area. Originally, the building used to be the residence of inang (nursemaid or nanny who takes care of Sultan’s children). Besides, the area around Pulau Santap used to hold many public ceremonies organised by the palace since the late Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang (born 29 May 1904, died 7 May 1974) loved to hold events to mingle with his subjects. Now serving as a restaurant, travellers can savour delectable traditional dishes like tilapia berlada, ikan pekasam, kari kambing, kerabu kacang botol, gulai daging salai and keli sambal.
One hour and 30 minutes by car from Kuala Lumpur
Surrounded by pristine forest, Tanah Aina Fahad in Ulu Dong is one of the branches of the premium eco-resort chain called Tanah Aina. What differentiates Tanah Aina Fahad from its sister resorts is its focus on the theme ‘glamping’. It has three types of tents namely King, Queen and Single, which varies depending on size of the beds. It also has conventional rooms such as Terrance Room and Terrance Room Durian.
The resort lies just next to Ulu Dong River where travellers can take a dip when the weather permits. Other activities travellers can do here are trekking in the forest and sit around camp fire. Since it has a large multipurpose hall, dining area and prayer hall, the resort is suitable as a family day and team-building venue.
3-4 hours by car from Kuala Lumpur
Before the price of tin fell globally in 1985, Sungai Lembing was a celebrated underground tin-mining town dubbed as El Dorado of the East, founded by the British. The significance of Sungai Lembing tin mines is evident through its tunnels that total 322 kilometres in length, making it among the longest tin mining tunnels in the world. But today, travellers can only venture 600 metres into one of its 14 tunnels called Tabeto, the main tunnel that is also known as Tai Pei Tong among locals.
The journey begins by taking a ride on an old locomotive for about 80 metres into the Tabeto before continuing by foot. Information boards are placed at specific spots for travellers to learn more about the place. One of the most interesting parts is the Million Dollar Chamber, said to be the tunnel dug illegally by unsatisfied and unpaid miners after the closure of the mines in 1987. After labouring for some time, the miners managed to haul MYR1 million worth of tin, hence the chambers’ name.
For Malaysians: MYR15 (adult) / MYR7.50 (child)
For Non-Malaysians: MYR30 (adult) / MYR15 (child)
For history enthusiasts, this museum standing at the top of a hill is worth visiting. Not only it gives a thorough explanation regarding Sungai Lembing as a major mining town during the British colonial era, the museum also exhibits splendid artefacts and dioramas about its history and natural resources. The museum possesses a British colonial-style architecture and once served as the home to one of the tin mine bosses.
For Malaysians: MYR2 (adult) / Free (child aged 12 years old and under)
For Non-Malaysians: MYR5 (adult) / MYR3 (child aged six to 12) / Free (child aged five and under)
Owned by an ex-miner named Mohamad Idris Tenan or Pok Yeh, this restaurant is most of the time crowded with locals who love to savour his gravy-laden noodle dish called Mee Jawa. According to Pok Yeh, there is no secret behind his Mee Jawa since he merely maintains the recipe obtained from his Javanese ancestors. A bowl of this sweet, savoury noodle with ingredients such as star anise, clove, cinnamon, black pepper and coriander costs around MYR4 to MYR5.
This hotel, which perches on a hillside within Sungai Lembing town, offers as many as six types of accommodations: Japanese Double Room, Japanese Cabin, Backpacker Cabin, Colourful Cabin, Wooden Cottage and Wooden White House. Each room offers different kinds of environment to suit travellers’ comfort and budget.
To make travellers’ journey to Sungai Lembing more complete, why not drop by at this restaurant and try out its juicy satay? Though satay is ubiquitous in Malaysia, travellers should realise that the taste can differ from one seller to another. The crucial things that sets the satay apart are the marinade and sauce used, which in Satay Sungai Lembing’s case, totally recommended. The price per stick is MYR0.80 for chicken and MYR0.90 for beef, which is value for money!
This is undeniably Sungai Lembing’s most photographed icon, famed for its kaleidoscopic rainbows naturally formed by a 500-feet waterfall that appears absolutely impressive, hence earning it the name Rainbow Waterfall. But be warned: the rainbow can only be observed between 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., depending on the weather. The best time to visit is from January until March. Lucky travellers could even witness double rainbows!
To get to this waterfall, travellers need to endure an hour of bumpy off-ride on four-wheel drive from Sungai Lembing town to its base called Lubuk Beruk before continuing the journey by foot for about 30 minutes.
This experience costs only MYR60 per person (minimum five people), which includes professional guide, transportation from Sungai Lembing to Lubuk Beruk and light lunch. To book, contact Mr Muhammad Ridzaldin Sukimi @ Tomas Smith at +6 012 9479 516.
Tips to visit Rainbow Waterfall:
Not long ago, a video of Malaysia’s beloved current Queen of Malaysia, Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah binti Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj, ordering Mee Bandung in Sungai Lembing went viral on social media. The recipe belonged to the same cook of this humble restaurant, Mr Wan Sahidin. Though the price of a bowl of Mee Bandung here is only MYR6, the taste is literally fit for a king, or in this case, queen!