Exactly a year ago on a Labour Day weekend, hubby and I had our first real glamping experience at Caravan Serai in Bentong. This year, another opportunity emerged when we were invited to stay at Boutel Orchard by Lainux (owner of the orchard). Never in my wildest dream could I have imagined spending a night in an orchard. First thought that came to my mind was how could that even constitute a meaningful vacation. I’m pretty sure any city folk would completely agree with me. Anyway, I took up the offer as being adventurous is synonymous with my job as a travel blogger. No way was I going to miss this chance no matter how crazy it sounded.
Boutel Orchard wasn’t at all difficult to locate, more so if you were to use Waze or Google Maps. Our leisurely drive to Boutel Orchard took approximately 2 hours, passing through Bentong. The road we took was a familiar one leading to Caravan Serai, except that Boutel Orchard was situated another 17km north.
…the orchard is cultivated organically and you can be rest assured that there are no chemicals used.
Boutel Orchard occupies a 5-acre hilly terrain that gradually descends to the brook. Our car was parked near its main entrance at an elevation of approximately 20 feet above where the accommodations were located. Having said that, you need not worry about walking down the steep slope as steps were cut into the soil to make your descent safer. If you’re zoophobic like me, you’ve got to be aware that there are two dogs (hubby called them twins), a cat and a goose within the compound; and the most friendly of them all is the cat.
We arrived at around 4pm and the Nepali caretaker, Bom, who greeted us also showed us around the orchard. Basically, we had the entire orchard to ourselves and it was really nice of Lainux to offer us the most luxurious of Boutel’s accommodations – cube cabin. It is the only accommodation equipped with an en suite bathroom, refrigerator, kettle, rice cooker, dining table, fan, portable air-conditioner and 2 queen size beds. More to it than that, its huge glass door offers a breathtaking view of the brook (Sungai Teras) and hill just in front of it. A single building of its own, the cube cabin spacious and comfortable enough for a family of four.
Roughly 20 feet away from the cube cabin are three honeycomb pods. As the name suggests, they are constructed following the design of a honeycomb. Each pod is equipped with a light, fan, power outlets and a king size bed, which is just perfect for a couple. Besides, there are shared bathrooms and toilets located a couple of feet away. It may be slightly inconvenient but that’s what glamping or rather camping is all about, isn’t it?
If you’re really up for the utmost camping experience, then I’d suggest going for the cosy thatched tent, which is right behind the honeycomb pods. The only thing provided is a king size mattress that comfortably accommodates a couple. Everything else you need is yours to bring along. Of course, the shared bathrooms and toilets are the same as the ones for the honeycomb pods. Just to prepare you, it can be really cold at night, which I’d estimate to be around 18°C, but you need not worry as blankets are provided in all accommodations.
Besides these accommodations, there are hammocks almost everywhere, namely by the brook, adjacent to the cube cabin and beneath the honeycomb pods. Truthfully, there is nothing more desirable than to enjoy a siesta on these, while listening to the sounds of running water by the brook. I suppose you can also spend a night on the hammocks if you don’t mind the mosquitoes.
Among all things, I was particularly fascinated by the brook that flowed through the orchard, shallow enough to wade in. The clarity of its water was unbelievable. You may even consider dipping in it when the day is too hot. Interestingly, the owner has also constructed a small bamboo shack at its bank for you to relax in.
What other activities are at your disposal? C’mon, you’re in an orchard! Feel free to enjoy the mangosteens, durians (yes, including musang king), rambutans, bananas and papayas to your hearts content. By the way, the orchard is cultivated organically and you can be rest assured that there are no chemicals used. We only managed to taste the mangosteens, which sweetness was augmented with a very slight tinge of sour. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the durian season yet when we were there, thus, we couldn’t enjoy it.
When you’re here, be sure to ask the caretaker to take you across the brook to have a look at the retort-shaped weaver bird nests hanging down from the tree branches. It’s innovative of the owner to use some of these nests as lamp shades for the accommodations.
How about meals? Well, no meals are provided but you should bring along stuffs to cook as there are barbecue pits around the camping ground. Besides, there is a refrigerator, kettle and rice cooker in the cube cabin too. What can be more sublime than to enjoy a cookout around a bonfire, especially when you have a group of campers with you?
If you’re lucky, you might be able to watch fireflies hovering over some of the trees (Tip: be sure to kill all the lights). I only spotted 2-3 fireflies but apparently, sometimes they appear in swarms as if the lights on a Christmas tree. The other insects you may encounter are more of a nuisance and therefore, the mosquito net canopies provided in all accommodations are the most priceless and useful assets. Also, don’t forget to bring along your insect repellents.
Though this wasn’t our first time glamping, it was still a great experience nonetheless. I’d encourage everyone to try out glamping at least once in your lifetime and if you ever do, don’t forget to consider Boutel Orchard as one of your options.
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