Won­ders of Bukit Tadom

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

Dive in!

THERE’S no es­tab­lished tourist trail in Bant­ing. If at all, lo­cals head to this town in Se­lan­gor to get to the muddy shore of Morib where there’s a small pocket of ho­tels, re­sorts, home­s­tays and rest­houses. But the ad­dress to know here is Tadom Hill Re­sorts at Bukit Tadom, Kam­pung Labo­han Da­gang, about 20 min­utes by car from Bant­ing town.

Dis­cov­er­ing Tadom Hill Re­sorts is more a case of stum­bling across small won­ders. It’s a lit­tle more rugged and wilder than most, and harder to get to as ac­cess is via a wind­ing dirt track in an oil palm es­tate, next to a vil­lage of the Orang Asli of Bukit Tadom. It’s worth the ef­fort, though, be­cause you get to es­cape to a beau­ti­fully ru­ral and largely un­spoilt spot where a glassy turquoise lake meets craggy lime­stone hills and tree­shaded shore.

The re­sort is very out­doorsy, with a char­ac­ter all of its own. It’s a cross be­tween a tra­di­tional Orang Asli vil­lage with bam­boo huts and pav­il­ions, and a Ba­li­nese hide­away. And yet it also has the vibes of a clus­ter of rus­tic Ja­maican beach huts with reg­gae and other up­beat mu­sic filling the air. Once you step through its bam­boo gates, you’ll feel as if you’ve en­tered a dif­fer­ent world with an in­ter­na­tional crowd that’ll make you won­der how these peo­ple have come to this seem­ingly god­for­saken place. Though it’s laid-back, it up­lifts your mood in­stantly. It’s the kind of place where you’ll spend a lot of your time in the out­doors.

WA­TER AC­TIV­I­TIES

You’ll be one of the many Tadomites — an en­dear­ing term for the re­sort guests, milling about the place mostly bare­foot, or hold­ing a tall cool drink in your hand and look­ing out from a thatched open-air hut to­ward Tadom Groove, the re­sort’s main recre­ational area by the lake. Peals of laugh­ter break the air as some­one does a Tarzan swing from a tree and then lets go the rope, fall­ing down into the wa­ter with a big splash.

If you have lived near a river in a kam­pung in the old days, jump­ing into the wa­ter will rekin­dle your child­hood mem­o­ries. Then there’s the Tadom bam­boo diving plat­form, about half the height of a tall co­conut tree, from where you can jumpand do a sum­m­er­sault with head or legs first into the wa­ter.

Over at the lake, there are float­ing lounge chairs made from bam­boo. Each chair comes with a piece of net­ting at the bot­tom to let you sit in the wa­ter com­fort­ably. You can float solo or with a part­ner across the lake, which is fed by spring wa­ter in the vil­lage. Groups of two, four or more gin­gerly stand and sit on bam­boo rafts and pad­dle away, while oth­ers are just con­tent to soak and swim in the wa­ter.

Ev­ery­one must don a life vest be­fore get­ting into the wa­ter. The re­sort’s Tado­mates, the friendly staff — mostly the Orang Asli liv­ing in the area — are on hand to help. Set against the emer­ald lake, the bright orange vests make for a strik­ing picture. Over­all, the scene per­vad­ing the en­tire place is of­ten fes­tive-like.

BAM­BOO BEAUTY

The views here are lovely and gaz­ing into the sun­set over the lake, feel­ing sand through my toes, and lis­ten­ing to oc­ca­sional gig­gles

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