The great thing about living in a developing country is, well, it's always developing. Which means we can look forward to new discoveries, new frontiers, new holiday destinations, etc. Of late, (as in the last few years), there seem to be a proliferation of private holiday villas springing up all over the place, and there is no longer a shortage of places to go if you needed a quick break.
When Pure Glutton invited me to check out Aman Rimba, in Janda Baik, I was thrilled, coz I love that area, and the nearby Bukit Tinggi hamlet where time stood still. After looking at the WEBSITE, I was even MORE excited at the thought of visiting.
The great thing about Janda Baik is how CLOSE it is to KL, with the superior network of highways. It took us around 40 minutes to get there. Janda Baik is a predominantly Malay Reserve enclave, located just after Genting Sempah, and seems to be a favourite locale for outward bound type camps, and places for motivational camps etc.
First things first...upon arrival, we were greeted by a DELICIOUS home cooked lunch. Dwellers can opt to include meals in their package, and they offer a wide range of cuisine, with a chef for the corresponding cuisine. For lunch, we had fare that had a Kelantanese bias, which was so totally appetizing that I think I ate my quota of rice for a week. The fresh ulams with the divine sambal belacan, and sambal machang. Machang is a quinine like fruit, very aromatic and fibrous, that makes a lovely chutney like sambal.
Ayam masak hitam, Pucuk Paku, Curry With brinjals and Assorted Vegetables, Mango Kerabu..all these dishes just cry out for rice!
The Machang Sambal.
We were then invited by the owners, Sabri and Wati, for a short briefing at the common area. What really wow-ed me, and I'm sure everyone there, was the inspirational story of this couple, who had taken under their wing 20 or so young children, and sponsored, and molded them to become fine adults, by way of education and exposure. The story can be found in their website, the YOUNG ACHIEVERS CLUB. Those blessed lucky Malaysian youth, regardless of color or creed, were "adopted" by this warm, generous and magnanimous couple, treated as their own, and endowed with the gifts imparted to them, have all grown up to be successful individuals. I remarked that Encik Sabri should be the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Having a family of 20 or so children forced them to look for larger space for weekend getaways, so essentially that spawned the birth of Aman Rimba to its current day form.
Special mention is one of their foster children, obviously very entrepreneurial, has set up an online shopping without boundaries service online, whereby you can order almost anything from London, bringing Oxford street to your doorstep. Check out the website at www.shopship.com. IF YOU ORDER BEFORE 30th November 2011, shipping is free. Just in time for those Christmas presents!
The various individual villas had been added on gradually, though the main house, SIREH, was built for the Sabri family themselves. It is a gorgeous kampung style house, on stilts, with a generous living room, and to die for bedroom. Cumi & Ciki were the lucky residents of the day.
Sireh, the main villa of Aman Rimba....
Antique sewing machine adorn the Sireh house.
The grounds, sprawling over a few acres, are a perfect retreat. Aman, or tranquility and peace, is an apt descritpion of the place. A lone cockatoo chirps, "APA KHABAR?" everytime you walk past.
Melded into the foliage, are several public toilets called Luv A Tree ...
I missed it, because I was standing at a wrong angle, but the two black swans actually made a heart shape with their necks...how romantic is that. Actually, the cool mountainous weather of Aman Rimba coupled with the love that is in the air, it makes a great place for a honeymoon, or honeymoon like activities...unfortunately you cannot rent individual villas for a quickie getaway. Did I say quickie? I meant quick.
The Machang Tree....I imagine you can make really good chutneys and jams with this fragrant fruit.
Speaking of luck of the draw, we got the Kantan Villa, which is two huge semidetached villas, overlooking the pond...
Swans are monogamous, and mate for life, apparently. That white swan in the yonder was recently widowed. (All say awwwwwwwwww)....
The love ducks....
Behold, Kantan 1...
The very happy campers, with our generous steamboat and Korean BBQ spread.
A lovely breakfast of nasi lemak awaited us in the morning.
Me and the friendly staff and chef of Aman Rimba. The service is excellent, the staff conversant, helpful, and friendly.
Beyond the gates of Aman Rimba, a babbling brook runs parallel, and the more adventurous amongst us did go for a dip in the refreshing waters.
Actually, in rainy season, that babbling brook can be quite a screaming stream. Apparently the day before we arrived, it broke its banks and overflowed to the road.
The road less travelled......
The main "lobby" area, which is suitable for conferences, brainstorming sessions, etc. It is fully equipped with big screens, projectors, etc.
The adjoining plot of land which is now used to plant vegetables and herbs both for Aman Rimba, and for the owners' restaurant, Kelantan Delights.
Aman Rimba is really a paradise; although the price tag of RM5,500 per day might sound shocking, it can accommodate up to 20 people for that price, so it works out to about RM275/head, but if you go on weekdays, it could be cheaper. They actually can fit a maximum up to 30 people, but that would mean no privacy for the amorous...but suitable for families.
Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.. I wish I can go back to Aman Rimba soon.