With fresh air, picturesque streams and waterfalls, Janda Baik is a great holiday spot, writes Shuib Taib
VALLEYS, ravines and peaks ranging from 457m to 1,371m above sea level make Janda Baik an idyllic setting for a holiday. Throw in picturesque streams and waterfalls and voila, it’s paradise on earth.
This secluded green enclave in Pahang is only a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur and is easily accessible via the Karak Highway.
With a population of about 1,000, it is set in a small valley surrounded by thick rainforest with cool rushing brooks.
This is what makes it a popular holiday and recreational destination for city folk. Its mountainside location means that the climate here is cool, between 23ºC and 28ºC during the day and below 22ºC at night.
The drive there takes me through a long and winding road dotted with typical kampung scenery, abundant flora and fauna and amazing view.
There are many small chalets along the way, with some set against beautiful landscapes. Another typical kampung scene that takes me down memory lane is the sight of villagers feeding ducks and chickens.
As the drive takes me higher into the hilly area, I turn off the air-con and wind down the window. The air is so fresh that I try to breathe as deeply as I can!
I arrive at Suria Hill Country House expecting to see a kampung-style resort. Instead, I see a huge bungalow set in a lush tropical garden. Upon closer inspection, I notice that the bungalow is actually a marriage of modern luxury and traditional-style architecture. For instance, the lobby, which is simply decorated with wood panelling, has a palatial touch.
There are two types of rooms — deluxe and premier. The latter has a king-sized poster bed, a balcony with a garden view and standard room amenities. It is tastefully decorated in subdued, earthy tones.
In the garden, wild ginger flowers grow in abundance. Fruit trees like papaya and banana are planted in the compound. A koi pond and a gazebo complete the picture, giving visitors that feeling of home away from home.
Just when I think I have seen enough, I spot a pathway that leads to the backyard where herbs such as pandan, lemongrass and curry leaves are planted. On one side, there is just space enough for a barbecue party and swings for children to play on.
But what grabs my attention is not far from where I am standing. The sound of running water gets me all excited. Yes, one of the resort’s best-kept secrets is the clean and beautiful stream in its backyard.
How delightful! It’s like a private jacuzzi. Since it is only open to hotel guests, the river is clean, clear and fresh. It is so peaceful and relaxing. I can imagine artists getting their inspiration here.
At night, with not much to do, I decide to enjoy the fresh air on the balcony. A cacophony of insect music fills the air with crickets being the most audible.
Suria Hill Country House is a wonderful retreat for intimate family gatherings and corporate brainstorming sessions and meetings. It has 16 beautifully-decorated rooms furnished with modern conveniences. For big groups, connecting rooms can be arranged.
Janda Baik’s serene and peaceful environment promises a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s the perfect place to relax, not far from the comforts of home.
Suria Hill Country House, Lot 8567, Kampung Janda Baik, 28700 Bentong Pahang. Tel: 09-233 0003
Just 45km north of Kuala Lumpur, it’s about half an hour to drive from KL via the Gombak-Karak Highway. After the first tunnel, make a U-turn. Turn left after Petronas and McDonald’s. Turn right at the arch. From there, drive straight on. It is the main access to Janda Baik. There are signboards along the roads. Follow the Suria Hill Country House signage.
The forest and beautiful streams. Top activities are jungle trekking, fishing, flying fox, abseiling or simply tubing on the river.
Back to nature.
Deluxe and premier. All have individually controlled air-conditioning, LCD TV, a mini refrigerator and Internet access. Rooms also feature a private bath fitted with a rain shower and water heater and some have a garden view and private balcony.
From RM210 (weekdays).
Bunga Padi Terrace restaurant.
Two meeting rooms, picnic and barbecue area, state-of-the-art seminar facilities, karaoke (upon request), wireless broadband Internet.
Warm, friendly and casual.
PLACES WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE
An orchard and a stream.