By Jeremy Khalil on December 12, 2011
Tanah Aina is a collection of four estates totalling 88 acres in Pahang – comprising Tanah Aina Azareena, Tanah Aina Fareena, Tanah Aina Farouq and Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya – all belonging to Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina Syed Akil, who is passionate about protecting and conserving Malaysia’s rainforests and natural environment.
Gaya Travel team had the privilege of visiting Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya, a pristinely lush and unperturbed tropical resort located in Raub, a district in Pahang that can easily be accessed from Kuala Lumpur. We notice that so much care has been done towards preserving the environment when developing the property – as much vegetation as possible, particularly the huge trees, are left untouched. The temperature of the place seems to constantly hover at a cool 24.5 degrees Centigrade and even lower, especially during the night.
Though the idea of going back to nature may bring about thoughts of discomfort to fellow city slickers, they need not worry too much when they head towards Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya – the only thing that they need to rough it out is the journey to get to the resort from the outside road, whereby guests need to endure their 4×4 vehicle having to constantly negotiate with the uneven terrain.
However, once guests have reached into Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya, they are sure to be pleasantly surprised by the resort’s upmarket eco-friendly facilities and amenities. An evidence of the resort’s upmarket touch is its naturally well-ventilated washrooms that rival those in four- and five-star resorts: though they are purposely located outside of the chalets (built further from the river so as not to pollute it), all of them sport pebble-stained flooring and walls; overhead plate rain showers; refreshing organic shampoo, conditioner and shower gel contained in sleek dispensers; including well-designed taps and sinks.
Throughout our stay, we enjoyed savouring not just the well home-cooked food made up of fresh ingredients (fish, fruits and vegetables served during meals are all organically grown in the Tanah Aina estates) but also the rich oxygen- and hydrogen-laden air that remarkably refreshes and rejuvenates our tired minds and bodies. Our accommodation was in one of the wooden chalets topped with Nipah-covered roofs that blend beautifully with the resort’s tropically lush surroundings. Guests also have the option of staying in tents that are set up within the resort’s grounds, equipped with beds and amenities.
When being at the property, Tanah Aina management fastidiously recommends all its guests to respect nature and urge that they follow rules such as not to bring food back to the accommodation quarters as it will unwantedly attract wildlife. Also, since we did talk about the resort providing shampoo, conditioner and shower gel in its washrooms, Tanah Aina urges its guests to only use them and not to bring their own toiletries (except for toothpaste and toothbrush) since non-organic liquids could seep into the soil and negatively affect the resort’s surroundings. Apart from that, guests are also expected to respect nature by refraining from littering, picking, plucking or taking back any part of nature like rocks, river pebbles, leaves, flowers and even insects, among others.
To truly enjoy and appreciate nature in Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya, it is heartening to note that it is not necessary for guests to actively partake in rigorous outdoor activities; simply sitting by the flowing steadily flowing river of crystal clear water that passes through the resort while taking in the majesty of the natural surroundings is enough to put guests in awe. Nonetheless, we recommend guests to not miss trekking to the splendid waterfall accompanied by the resort’s highly experienced and hardy staff. For those who seek more adventure, they may also try out the flying fox, abseiling and even going for a four-wheel drive adventure to Berembun Waterfall.
Without a doubt, staying in Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya offers an unforgettably authentic eco-tourism experience without guests having to entirely give up on creature comforts. Being almost cut off from the rest of modern world yet so close to Klang Valley makes it is a fabulous weekend escape. The whole atmosphere of the resort is conducive for family- and friendship-bonding as the lack of modern distractions like phone calls and messages (cellular phone signal can be inconsistent), television, radio and internet draw guests towards interacting more with one another as well as with the resort’s staff. Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya is indeed a testament to the fact that the modern man and nature can co-exist harmoniously.
The ultimate message that the resort intends to share with all its guests is the fact that it is crucial for all of us to protect nature for future generations because all humans are entirely dependent upon nature for air, water and food. It is indeed sad to note that Malaysia’s natural environment, in particular, water catchment areas has been gradually decreasing to less than 5% of the country’s land mass, consequently affecting Malaysia’s long-term supply of water, including the inability to mitigate the environmental temperature from rising further. Spending time at Tanah AinaFarrah Sooraya will surely open guests’ eyes wider on how dependable we really are on the natural environment and how critical it is for all of us to protect and preserve the priceless Malaysian rainforests, or whatever that’s left of it…
Belying her elegance and patrician demeanor, Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina Syed Akil is actually an adventurous outdoor lover, so much so that she would be the only woman to participate in a 4-wheel drive challenge. It was from her constant outdoor travels that she began realising Malaysia was fast losing its natural heritage due to unbridled development and wanton greed.
In helping to mitigate such trend, Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina decided to share with the public on the beauty of nature and relentlessly implement best management practices such as cultivating organic fruits and vegetables (and totally shunning the use of chemicals such as pesticides), including instituting sustainable practice such as converting leftover food into composts, in Tanah Aina estates.
To further educate the public on the need to conserve the natural environment, Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina is also the Honorary Treasurer for the non-governmental organisation known as Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (PEKA Malaysia), a movement aimed at mitigating the destruction of natural resources, defending the rights of the natural environment and becoming the voice of nature.
During Gaya Travel’s visit to the Tanah Aina Farah Sooraya and Farouq estates, we noticed that Puan Sri Sabrina is a respectful person who does not only emphasises on the comfort and dignity of her guests but also her staff, based on how she interacts with them as well as the quality of staff quarters she provides to them, which could even put some of our own private homes to shame.
Gaya Travel, therefore, salutes Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina’s constant endeavour in unrelentingly advocating the protection and conservation of Malaysia’s natural environment, placing her as one of Malaysia’s own eco-warriors.