My hubby has never failed to surprise me with short weekend getaways. This was another occasion when he picked me up from work on a Friday (having secretly packed enough change of clothes for a day with other necessities) and we went for dinner. After a simple dinner, we were supposed to head home as usual and little did I realize that he took a different route until half an hour later when we still didn’t seem to arrive home. It was then that I suspected something amiss and asked him, but all he did was responded with a grin, saying he was going to bring me somewhere. His answer of course left me with more questions, but I just decided to enjoy that moment without questioning further.
We drove out of Kuala Lumpur via the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), heading north. It was the usual route that we would take on our monthly drive back to our hometown, Ipoh. I still had no inkling where we were really heading to. Hubby was smart enough to kill my curiosity by talking about something else.
Forty minutes into our journey, we exited the Sungai Buaya (literally crocodile river) – Serendah toll plaza. This time, hubby decided to switch on his Waze and set the destination. He had to concede that he couldn’t have driven to our intended destination without Waze/GPS. His surprise had finally been exposed but at least he’d kept me in a state of suspense for almost an hour. Hurray, we were heading to Sekeping Serendah! Despite having the map, I must confess it wasn’t easy at all to locate this place especially at night.
We had always wanted to visit this awesome sanctuary but never could find the right time. Either one of us would always be busy with something work-related. The first time I heard about Sekeping was when I read about its retreat in Ipoh old town – Sekeping Kong Heng (yes, it’s right above the renowned Kedai Kopi Kong Heng) in The Star newspaper. Ever since, they have come up with more and more retreats elsewhere in Malaysia.
Anyway, after driving through 2 Orang Asli (aborigines) villages and losing our direction once, we finally arrived at the retreat at close to 10pm. Fortunately, the caretaker was still awake open the door for us. Actually, hubby had made a special arrangement with the caretaker prior to our coming as he anticipated we would be arriving late after work. We parked the car, took our luggage and we were led up on a slope through the thick jungle in the night. It was so difficult to see anything although the caretaker had a torch light with him. Scary indeed, but the caretaker managed to lead us to our room without much difficulty.
We booked the glass box 2, which was priced at RM280 (US$71.60) per night inclusive of tax. A down-payment of RM100 was made via online bank transfer and the balance was to be given to the caretaker upon checking in. The last I checked, it was not listed on Agoda or even my favorite Expedia.
Our glass box was perched on a slope, higher than all the other “rooms”. The room per se was only spacious enough to accommodate a queen size bed with an extra 2 feet of space on its sides. The open-air bathroom and mini kitchen were outside the glass box, but still within the enclosure of our “room”. The night was filled with the rhythms and drones of nature – crickets chirping, cicadas buzzing and frogs croaking. We were still hungry then and decided to cook instant noodle for supper. Now, there wasn’t any pot or proper equipment for cooking except for a kettle, a barbecue grill, 2 plates and 2 sets of cutleries, but hubby was innovative enough to transform the kettle into a pot, but we made sure to wash it clean before we left the place. For once, instant noodle tasted so good and we were just enjoying it on the veranda, while chitchatting until midnight. If you can’t live without the TV, mobile or internet for one day, this place is definitely not for you.
The next morning, we woke to the sounds of chirping birds. Had a quick breakfast – bread and chips that hubby secretly bought the day before. If you are thinking of asking, nope, breakfast or any meal at all is not provided at this retreat. Guests are supposed to bring their own stuffs to cook or barbecue. For that matter, they do have barbecue pits within the retreat.
After breakfast, we went out for a walk around the retreat. This place was nothing like any of the other resorts we’d been. It was extremely tranquil and pristine, with the entire place blending in perfectly with its surrounding nature.
There were a few creeks running through the retreat and on top of that, the owner also had some ponds and fountains constructed in most strategic corners, giving its guests a Bali-forest fusion feeling. I suppose its original intention was for guests to spend a quite time appreciating and harmonising with nature.
What completely blew our minds was the fact that this retreat also had a swimming pool. How breathtaking could it be! Nonetheless, we didn’t bring along our swimming attires so we had to forgo enjoying this facility. Sigh…I suppose there’s always another time.
After exploring the entire retreat, we checked out and got ready to leave. Along the way out, we drove past the Orang Asli (aborigines) villages, this time having a clearer view than the night before.
Shortly beyond the Orang Asli (aborigines) villages, we stopped by a recreational park (Perigi 7 Serendah) which also had a mini dam. What caught our eyes was actually an Orang Asli family selling durians beneath a tree and we really wanted to taste some durians then. Mind you, these were the wild durians which you can’t normally buy by the roadside. All we needed to do was to select the durians we wanted and he’d crack them open for us. He then charged us based on the number of durians opened. Not at all expensive, I must admit.
That wasn’t the end of our short adventure. It was near noon when we were about to head back to Kuala Lumpur, so we decided to stop by a village restaurant (Restoran Tom Yam), which was located across the main road and opposite the Serendah train station for lunch. Its name suggests that it is famous for its tom yam and also many other signature dishes, namely its different preparations for fish and prawn.
After being fully satiated, we took a slow drive back to Kuala Lumpur. It was indeed a day filled with great fun and adventure; and that concluded our weekend getaway.
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