With its beautiful landscape, this resort is a haven for those looking for a short getaway as well as adrenaline junkies, writes Loong Wai Ting
“ARE we at Jiuzaigou, China? I don’t remember going to the airport,” I say to myself as I take in the beautiful reflection of a small hill and the clear blue sky on the calm waters of the expansive lake.
The scene in front of me resembles that of the beautiful Juizaigou Valley, located in a nature reserve park in the north of Sichuan province in China.
But this place is not China and I’m still in Selangor — just 45 minutes’ drive away from Puchong via the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) or 15 minutes from KLIA.
This is Tadom Lake, the biggest lake at Tadom Hill Resorts, a resort in Kuala Langat that opened its doors three years ago but was quick to achieve fame.
MILFORD SOUND LOOK-ALIKE
The day has just broken and, except for our group of media and social media influencers, there aren’t other people around. We have been invited for a 2D/1N get-together event at the resort. Except for the occasional chatter from our group, it is very peaceful and quiet.
Straying from my group, I find a quiet corner on the far side of the lake to fully appreciate its beauty. I am drawn to the colours of the pool — green grass piercing through the clear blue waters. Tiny fish swim among the shoots while water striders break the water surface with their long legs.
Everywhere I look, the calm water reflects the scenery in the background, just like a huge mirror. The scene reminds me of Mirror Lakes in New Zealand’s Milford Sound in the South Island. Minus the snowcapped Earl Mountains, the view at Bukit Tadom (pronounced tah-dom, not tae-dom) is equally mesmerising.
Nicholas, who works at the resort, warns me not to get too close to the water’s edge, lest I fall into it. I heed his advice, even though I am a fairly good swimmer. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Besides, no one knows how deep these pools are or their condition.
There are two other big lakes and four pools at the resort. The one I’m enjoying now is the biggest lake that separates the resort from the three small mounds that make up Bukit Tadom.
Tadom Hill was once an ugly sight, with holes leftover from sand-mining activities.
Some of the hills around the resort were partially-excavated limestone hills. These can be found near Dengkil. It took a lot of effort from its owner, Datuk Lai Yeng Fock, to transform the once-abandoned place into what it is today.
Except for the main lake where guests can take a dip in, the rest of the pools remains untouched.
Guests are allowed to walk to the far side of the pools to take photos (at their own risk and with permission, of course) but not to swim.
IN TOUCH WITH CULTURE
Tadom Hill Resorts is actually set on an Orang Asli Reserve Land belonging to the Temuan community in Kampung Labohan Dagang, Banting.
According to stories passed down from one Temuan generation to another, Tadom is named after the daughter of the founder who was looking for a new place to settle in.
The Temuan community used to lived along Kuala Sungai Jugra near Banting town.
It is no surprise to learn that the majority of the resort workers are from the Temuan community.
A short chat and you’ll learn more about their lifestyle, their tight-knit communityand of course, their hopes for the future.
It’s always nice to see a community helping each other out. The resort not only helps to create job opportunities for the Temuan youngsters but also help them maintain a sustainable lifestyle.
In fact, all of the resources used to build the resort are locally-sourced.
For example, the bamboo used to construct the bed that I sleep in was sourced from a forest in Semenyih.
The unused bamboo are turned into useful products like bamboo charcoal (for the BBQ pit later) and bamboo vinegar, which is said to pack beauty and medicinal properties. Activities include blowpipe lessons and learning how to cook bamboo rice.
UP ON A HILL
After some rest, we hike up Bukit Tadom.
It’s a small hill, aboutthree or four storeys high, and so it’s the easiest hike I’ve ever experienced.
With huge stones chiselled into stairslike steps, it takes us less than 15 minutes to reach the top.
It is less taxing compared to my previous hikes to Bukit Tabur in Ulu Kelang and Gua Damai in Batu Caves. Here, it’s a walk in the park.
After walking up the stone steps, we arrive on a zigzag hiking trail that will lead us to the top. I am so excited that I can’t wait to run to the top. But, again, safety first.
Using the tree trunk as my leverage, I hoist myself up the steep slope and across some patches of dried grass before joining the rest ofmy group. Some of them are already nearing the top.
On the last stretch, I take a deep breath and haul myself up some rocks and walk the rest of the way. In less than a minute, I can see the sun rise from the resort’s east side with the palm oil plantation stretching
out as far as the eyes can see.
It’s a magical scene. Steam rises from a field nearby with the dark trees in the background, as the first rays of the sun slice through the quiet morning.
With such a mesmerising view, the hike is totally worth it.
As the crowd gathers for their sunrise pictures, I opt for another adventure on the other side of the hill. Oh, don’t worry about getting lost when you’re at the top of the hill. It’s just flat ground overlooking the entire resort and part of Banting town on the west side.
I climb a few stone steps near a shrine dedicated to the local deities before arriving on a tablet-like structure. Away from the crowd, this is a good spot for photography as it offers an unobstructed view of the entire resort as well as the turquiose coloured pools below.
DOWN IN THE COLD WATER
After a sweaty hike, we are eager to jump into the cool water. Grabbing one of the safety jackets that are available for free at the resorts, I waste no time going into the water.
My new friends take turns jumping into the lake for some cooling-off time. As it is still early morning, the water can be a little cold.
There are bamboo rafts that you can balance yourself on. If you just want to take in the scenery, just laze on the bamboo chair while floating in the water.
The adventurous type can opt to jump from its Bamboo Platform (about a storey high) into the cool water below. If that doesn’t get your adrenaline pumping, check out the Tarzan Swing.
It starts to drizzle and it’s a cue for us to go ashore. Nicholas signals for us to join him at the other end of the resort. There are all-terrain vehicles (ATV) in a little hut. Picking a blue ATV, we drive around the property and head out to the hill that we’ve scaled earlier on.
Here, we navigate through difficult terrain and over puddles of muddy water before making our exit and back to the hut.
You don’t need any special licence to ride the ATV. As long as you know how to ride a bicycle or drive a car, you’re good to go. One of the resort’s latest attractions is the Flying Fox activity, where participants zip from one end of the hill and over the lake.
With my gear securely strapped on, I make my way to the foot of Bukit Tadom where I begin my climb up the five-storey platform.
A guide helps me fasten my safety line on the zipline before I step out of the platform. It’s scary at first but there’s no turning back once you step out of the platform.
The only way down is to zip across the lake... and that’s what I do. The entire process lasts no more than a minute and I am back on solid ground in no time. Nonetheless, it’s an exhilarating experience.
HOW TO GET THERE
Located in Kuala Langat, Selangor, Tadom Hill Resorts is easily accessible via the major highways in the Klang Valley. You can opt to take the MEX Highway or LDP before taking the exit near Dengkil. Once you exit from Dengkil, keep an eye out on the road for signages of the resort.
There are also pick-up and dropoff services from the airport and Salak Tinggi train station. Visit https://tadomhillresorts.com/ for more details.
Pictures byline Nur Adibah Ahmad Izam
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