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