My kam­pung get­away

For­get about sleek city ho­tels and plush re­sorts; in­stead, opt for an au­then­tic kam­pung ex­pe­ri­ence. Ex­plore the beaten track and re­side in a lo­cal home­s­tay, which is a novel way to go on hol­i­day

Time Out Malaysia Visitors Guide - - NEWS -

Atra­di­tional Malaysian vil­lage is more than just a place to live – it’s where many lo­cals have their roots, where grand­par­ents still re­side, and where ev­ery­one re­turns to dur­ing hol­i­day. These kam­pungs are ei­ther agri­cul­tural, sit­u­ated by the sea or a river and fol­low a won­der­fully slow pace of life.

A good in­tro­duc­tion to the ru­ral home­s­tay is lo­cated a two-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur in Kam­pung Sun­gai Haji Do­rani. Com­prised of four smaller vil­lages, this re­gion isn't far from Kuala Se­lan­gor, famed for its fire­flies and fresh seafood. The Ja­vanese mi­grated here dur­ing colo­nial times and ob­vi­ously liked what they saw – fer­tile land, a river and op­por­tu­ni­ties.

As a trav­eller, it’s un­de­ni­ably re­fresh­ing to leave the chaotic city and ar­rive in the coun­try­side with ver­dant paddy fields, quaint wooden houses, gag­gles of geese wad­dling about, and roost­ers strut­ting their stuff. It’s like see­ing a clas­sic Malay paint­ing come to life.

A typ­i­cal Malay kam­pung house is a bit of a rar­ity these days with ur­ban­i­sa­tion spread­ing and peo­ple pre­fer­ring mod­ern liv­ing. But these houses are charm­ing and func­tional, and with Do­rani Home­s­tay, you get to stay in one with a lo­cal fam­ily. Typ­i­cally con­structed from wood and at­tap (thatch made from palm fronds), some of the newer ver­sions fea­ture tiled roofs, and

Be­tween slip­ping and slid­ing, get­ting cov­ered in mud and not ac­tu­ally catch­ing any­thing, this was the most fun we’d had in a long time

they’re all very homely. Rooms are sim­ple and clean, and yes, the bath­rooms are in the house. If you’re ex­pect­ing air-con­di­tion­ing, WiFi or LCD TVs, a sunken bath... re­turn to the city and check into a ho­tel.

A ru­ral home­s­tay isn’t just about ‘go­ing na­tive’, it’s about get­ting to know the peo­ple who ac­tu­ally live there – how they make their liv­ing, their cul­ture and his­tory, their affin­ity for the land. Some­thing as sim­ple as watch­ing the vil­lage chil­dren run through the fields with their kites and jump into the streams to catch fish (with their bare hands) makes you re­alise how unin­spired we’ve be­come. There’re no Poké­mon to be caught here, no re­liance on so­cial me­dia to be en­ter­tained; it’s lit­er­ally a breath of fresh air.

The Do­rani Home­s­tay pro­gramme is run by the af­fa­ble Pak Ab­dul Rah­man Daud and his son, Mo­hammed Rusdi. The leg­endary kam­pung hos­pi­tal­ity comes into play as sweet and savoury kuih is served with sirap ban­dung (rose syrup and evap­o­rated milk – tastes bet­ter than it sounds!) and in­tro­duc­tions are made be­tween you, pak cik (un­cle), mak cik (aun­tie), abang (older brother), kakak (older sis­ter) and

adik (any­one younger than you). Once the for­mal­i­ties are done, you be­come anak

angkat (foster child) – even for your short stay, you’re part of the fam­ily.

What do these kam­pung folk do all day? It’s not all fun and games; they work hard. Fol­low one of the fam­ily mem­bers as he heads out to the paddy fields. De­pend­ing on the sea­son, you’ll be able to ob­serve the dif­fer­ent stages of paddy (rice) farm­ing. On the day we were there we got to ride around on abang’s har­vester as he ex­plained the cy­cle of rice – all this un­der an eggshell blue sky in an emer­ald field. He even in­vited us to re­turn in the mid-year when the crop turns golden and is ready for harvest.

Some of us tried our hand at catch­ing fish in the muddy wa­ter where the rice is grown. Be­tween slip­ping and slid­ing, get­ting cov­ered in mud and not ac­tu­ally catch­ing any­thing, this was the most fun we’d had in a long time. The lo­cal kids had a laugh watch­ing us too.

A more civilised ac­tiv­ity to try is batik paint­ing us­ing a cant­ing (a pen-like in­stru­ment used to ap­ply wax). The orig­i­nal art of batik paint­ing uses this to trace a wax out­line onto the fab­ric that cre­ates the in­tri­cate pat­tern. Af­ter it goes through the dye­ing process, the wax is scraped off to re­veal the de­sign. Af­ter all these ex­haust­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, head back to your kam­pung house and be ready for a feast of fam­ily recipes us­ing fresh lo­cal pro­duce, some right from the back­yard! There’s not much of nightlife here. Be­sides, af­ter all that out­door ac­tion, all you can do is look up at the clear sky, breathe that fresh air, en­joy the sound of si­lence, and hit the sack by 9pm, ready to wake up with the roost­ers. And start ev­ery­thing all over again.

Kam­pung Sun­gai Haji Do­rani Sun­gai Be­sar, Se­lan­gor (+6013 607 7025/+6017 273 0900/do­rani­home­s­tay. com). 2D/1N pack­ages start from RM120 per per­son, in­clud­ing meals and ac­com­mo­da­tion. There are longer stays (with more ac­tiv­i­ties) avail­able as well.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.