Posted: 30 Oct 2011 06:16 PM PDT
A weekend getaway. A retreat. A private estate. A place I can call home. It was during the weekend that we took a one hour drive to the village of Janda Baik, through the winding and narrow country road, to be immersed in the beauty of nature that is Aman Rimba. To say that I was impressed would have been an understatement, for I was blown away to know that there is a 5-star class resort tucked in the middle of a laid-back kampung. Once we parked our car, someone came out from the reception area with a huge warm smile, welcoming us to this gorgeous estate. Following closely behind, another sweet lady was bearing a warm towel and a cold cucumber drink, for us. What did I tell you? I felt at home.
Towards Aman Rimba
Situated merely an hour's drive away from the bustling metropolitan of Kuala Lumpur, Aman Rimba is nestled within the hills, the river and the natural tropical beauty to offer the essence of kampung life and serenity to those who seek it. The idea of starting a private estate came about from the wonderfully hospitable couple of Sabri and Wati. Both of them hailing from kampung, they wanted to preserve the rustic lifestyle and the safe haven that a kampung offers, to pass on to their children. Armed with an empty piece of 3-acre land, they built a suite after another, starting with the main wooden house with a room. They used this place as their weekend sanctuary, to relax, swim in the nearby river or even to have BBQ parties. Later, when the children grew up, they started bringing friends, and more people started to fall in love with this place. The rest, as they say, is history.
Aman Rimba Private Estate
The concept of Aman Rimba is selling privacy. The whole estate consists of 6 suites that can accommodate up to 20 persons.
If that is not privacy, I don't know what is.
Sireh is the first ever suite to be built in Aman Rimba. It is also the one that retains the most charm, from its structure on stilts, to the wooden walls and the antique decorative items within, it certainly defines kampung-living with style. It's obvious that much thought has been given on every detail within the house. The four-poster bed is romantic and modern, while the living area is traditional and comfortable, with wooden furniture playing the main role. If you're bored, get a book from the nearby shelf, or lie down on the comfortable couch just next to the window while listening to the birds chirp. It's hard not to love this house.
Sireh – House on stilts
The cosy living area
A day bed for siesta
Books around the house
Shower under the sky
Situated merely a few footsteps away from the cafe is Serai, a standalone house that is surrounded by nature and has an outdoor shower to boot. They said this is the 'old man's home' because it's just so near to everything, one can practically roll out to the dining area.
Entrance to Serai House
Four poster bed in Serai
3. Halia & Kunyit
Our home for that night was at Halia, a quaint suite that can sleep up to 4 persons. There's a four-poster double bed and another pair of twin beds, presumably for the children. What I love about this suite was how it's surrounded by so many windows! They certainly helped to keep the room temperature low, and we did not even need to turn on the air-conditioner to sleep that night. Just next to Halia is another suite called Kunyit, which has a similar bed configuration. In all the suites, there's a shower with an open ceiling. Certainly gives a new meaning to showering under the stars, don't you think so?
Double bed in Halia
Twin beds for the kids
Shower with an open ceiling
4. Kantan 1 & 2
Last but not least, a huge bungalow that's situated in the deepest part of the estate is where Kantan 1 and Kantan 2 are. These two suites can be combined into one big unit or they can be separated via a partition in the middle, creating two standalone suites that can sleep up to 4 persons each. This majestic suite has a patio where one can sit back and chill out next to the pond, a huge living area with an LCD TV, a bedroom with a gorgeous 4-poster bed, a washroom with 2 wash basins and a bathroom with jacuzzi! What more can one ask for?
Kantan 2 entrance
Patio facing the pond
Double bed in Kantan
Bedroom in Kantan
Who says we can't brush our teeth together?
During our 2day-1night stay, we were spoiled with delicious food by the resident chef imported from Kelantan Delights restaurant. Staying in a kampung environment, what better way to feast other than with kampung food? We stuffed ourselves silly with Ayam Masak Hitam (black sauce chicken), Pucuk Paku (wild ferns), Sup Tulang and Sambal Machang, among others. The most memorable dish has to be the Sambal Machang, made from freshly plucked machang fruit from the orchard no less. This fruit bears resemblance to mango and has a pungent, tarty flavour that is perfect to be made into sambal together with spicy chillies. This sambal was delicious even with just white rice.
The coffee house – our dining area
Free flow of beverages and mineral water all day long
Lunch on Day 1
Delicious ayam masak hitam
Sweet golden kiwi – my new love!
During dinner, we had the Korean BBQ and Steamboat, in the company of Michael Buble's concert playing in the big projector screen. Yes, the dining environment was rather sensational, not to mention the really cool temperature at night, circa 22 degrees C.
Korean BBQ & Steamboat for dinner
Michael Buble entertaining us on the big screen
The next morning, we were treated with a breakfast feast consisting of nasi lemak, the local favourite, breads, pastries as well as cereals. Oh, don't forget the egg station on standby too, ready to prepare whatever eggs you want them to.
Breads, pastries and cereal to your heart's content
Freshly fried omelette
Lunch on Day 2
The legendary Sambal Machang
While we were all lazing away, chatting and catching up, Saucer went to try his luck at fishing. The poor boy was standing under the sun for quite some time, complaining about the heavy fishing rod made from a long tree branch. But he persevered, oh yes he did. And it paid off!
Happily fishing away
He ended up with a catch of catfish in the end, just in time for lunch.
Hard work paid off!
Freshly caught catfish
Enough about the rooms and food in Aman Rimba, what about the facilities? Tucked in the middle of nowhere, what is there to do really? Well, if lazing around so close to nature is not enough, there are plenty of activities offered in Aman Rimba itself. For starters, take a dip in the swimming pool in the centre of all the suites, or take a nap in the cute hammock.
Dip in the pool or snooze in the hammock
Take a guess, what's this room?
Back to nature
Otherwise, spend a couple of hours in the game room, completely walled with glass so it feels like you're playing in the middle of a jungle. There's a pool table, a foosball table, Nintendo Wii video game and board games at your disposal. Saucer and I spent quite a lot of time during the evening, playing with the Wii. We had a friendly match in bowling, tennis and even golf! It was quite fun. At night when everyone was already asleep, we also had a hand at the pool table.
The game room
Bowling with Nintendo Wii
The next morning after breakfast, we took a stroll down the estate and out to the surrounding area, to smell the flowers, literally. You'd be amazed at how gorgeous nature is, if you only take some time and pay attention to the wonders of it all. The colourful flowers, the buzzing bees, the rushing water – ah, it's a completely different world from the city.
A walk to the garden
What's this yellow flower?
Spot the bee
The calm pond
Lonely white goose
"Apa khabar?" – How are you? is his favourite phrase
Located directly in front of the estate is a river with freezing cold water, flowing gently down a slope – perfect for a dip under the hot afternoon sun.
3 guys in blue
Otherwise, you can do what Kenny does best – read.
Read a book or two
Talk and laugh away with Ciki
When you have done everything you can think of doing here, just follow Motormouth's lead and do nothing.
Signing the guest book
Needless to say, it was a much-needed weekend that rejuvenated and revitalized our body, mind and soul. To think that such a retreat exists merely an hour away from the city is almost too good to be true. Waking up to the sounds of birds chirping, sleeping with the doors unlocked, swimming in the river without a care in the world – it was all so very kampung, so very comforting.
Spot the arrow!
To get here, you can follow the GPS coordinates below, or use Klinik Desa Janda Baik as your landmark then follow the signboards from there. Be careful with the signs though, there was one with a red arrow that was quite hard to spot!
Take me home, country road
With such amazing service, quality and environment, it's no wonder that Aman Rimba is now fully booked on all weekends until the middle of next year! For a weekend of celebration, a weekend privacy or even a weekend of solitude, this is the place for you.
Aman Rimba entrance
Estate rental starts from RM5,500 per night for up to 20 persons. Thanks to Chris for arranging such a rewarding weekend experience and to Wati and Sabri for their hospitality.
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