The older we get the more we appreciate serenity, nature and tranquility. After the buzzing trip to Hong Kong, CS and I were so looking forward for a short weekend getaway to somewhere devoid of shopping, high speed internet and the forever-annoying-tonnes of emails. Thanks to a colleague who recommended Chengal Hill Retreat Janda Baik to me and with a number of appealing pictures I found on Instagram, our visit was guaranteed.
I will remind myself to always travel Karak Highway only on normal days or weekend. It was Hari Raya Haji day and we were stucked in traffic jam that took us eternity to reach Janda Baik. The good thing was, we dumped the highway and travel along the hill roads and treated to a view of the hillside.
Janda Baik, literally translated as ‘good widow’. I tried to get to the bottom of its origin but story were long lost. I don’t know about widow, but Janda Baik is a really good place to unwind – the jungle, the cool weather (although not as cool as Genting Highland) and fresh breathe of air. Chengal Hill Retreat is only one of its many homestays offered here.
Chengal Hill Retreat is a 0.8ha plot of landscape with backdrop of a kampung, look at the chicks running around! No, I am not talking about sexy chicks. It boasts of dorm accommodation which can fit 9 person, a water chalet, two riverside chalets and three units of stilted house (the Apachi). Besides these, there are camping and glamping experience where their staff will built the tent before your arrival.
We stayed at one of the Apachi which was snugly for two person, and we love it. Behind the unit sits a stream that enhance the kampung-stay feeling. Without airconditioning, the units can get quite warm in the afternoon but we spent the afternoon sitting in the gazebo below it. It’s the best spot for reading and taking an afternoon nap!
The lodger at the Apache units will have to use the outdoor washrooms within a few steps away. The showers, much to CS’s chagrin, were very outdoorsy. The peekaboo swing door, the non-existent-roof promised almost zero privacy, saved only, by the fact that they were gender-separated. I think I was the only one who bath in the shower during our stay. Most of the girls went into the toilet to take their bath.
There are cats, swan and chickens running around the establishment in case that bothers you. I found the cats to be very active and loveable. And by active, I meant climbing the coconut trees.
Other facilities include BBQ pits which we are looking forward to in our next trip. What’s a retreat without BBQ smoke?
Rates from Chengal Hill Retreat’s Facebook as in Sep16:
Riverside Chalet RM600 / 4 pax ( ground and first floor )
Dorm Style Chalet RM800 / 9 pax
Water Chalet RM750 / 7 pax
Apachi RM250 / 2 pax per unit
Camping (normal tent) RM100 / 2 pax
Glamping RM350 / 2 pax
Reservation contact : 017 201 5118 ( Nik Azura )
Our stay at Chengal Hill Retreat is NOT complimentary. We booked via the above contact number.
Chengal Hill Retreat’s accommodations tend to get snapped up pretty fast, so here are my other recommendations to stay in Janda Baik :
Rumahku Holidays – individual kampung-styled chalets (can accommodates 4 people) starting from RM150. It’s a very serene getaway as you will be in the jungle, relaxing away from TV and wifi. Remember to bring along some mosquito repellent and plenty of food to prepare (kitchen utensils are provided). You will be IN the jungle. You can check for Rumahku Holidays’ availability at Agoda.com.
Twinkle Villa – if you don’t fancy kampung house, then you may try out Twinkle Villa, which just opened in Dec 2016. It offers 3 villas for rent, in the prestige Tanarimba in Janda Baik.
(a) Chengal House with 4 rooms (fit 9 pax)
(b) Gaharu House with 4 rooms (fit 8 pax)
(c) Meranti House with 2 rooms (fit 4 pax)
All the villas have kitchens and common areas.
When I am writing this post, Twinkle Villa is only available through AirBnb. If you sign up using my AirBnb invite link, you will get RM105 discount off your stay. I will get points too if you signup, it’s a win-win situation.
Danau Daun Chalet – It offers 5 types of chalet and the last time we visited, it sits just by the hillside, its entrance facing a main kampung road (with occasional cow herds) and its back facing the forest. The malay-styled houses are very tastefully decorated but as with other accommodations, do bring along mosquito repellents. The mosquitoes are brutal.
Booking for Danau Daun can only be done by contacting the owner/staffs themselves.
Mr. Zaini: +6010 239 740
Mr. Nik Zaid: +6016 329 0124