IT is all quiet except for sounds of insects at Tanarimba in Janda Baik, just 35km outside Kuala Lumpur.
At more than 457m above sea level, the eco-friendly retreat, at the foothills of Pahang’s Main Range, started as a residential development where a small group of people have built houses.
Its surrounding 2,225ha of tropical rainforest are protected from development.
This draws visitors to the undulating landscapes of majestic peaks, lush valleys, ravines, picturesque streams, waterfalls, wildlife and plant species, which include Honduran pine trees.
At Tanarimba’s entrance, we were wowed by the unique timber-and-glass Visitors Centre, which serves as a multi-purpose hall.
Further inside, visitors check into “annexe-type” rooms or the large Enderong House which fits 30 people.
We chose to stay at one of the cottages, showcasing traditional Malay architecture.
Ideal for a group of 10, it has a fully equipped kitchen, three bedrooms (without air-conditioning) and a living hall. Breakfast is complimentary.
The area’s cool climate between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius, and occasional thick fog, is a great relief from the enervating humidity elsewhere.
Tanarimba has diverse ecological and conservation attractions, but offers only two activities — a visit to an organic farm and jungle trekking, led by in-house guides and conservationists.
Without its own F&B outlets, you can take a two-minute drive to Bentong town for hearty meals, featuring ingredients sourced from nearby farms, at old-world kopitiams and restaurants.
After freshening up, we embarked on a jungle trek (at a fee, inclusive of a meal). Only 10 persons are allowed a day, to minimise impact on the environment.
Our journey started at 10am along a 3km trail that takes five hours to complete. Hiring a local guide is a must.
Our knowledgeable guides provided entertaining nuggets on the biodiversity and thriving wildlife, but the animals are elusive and difficult to spot.
At several parts, they pointed out the soil and plants uprooted by wild boars searching for food.
“The jungle trek reveals how trees use different ways to grow. Visitors also pick up survival tips, such as searching for jungle herbs. Those with medicinal qualities help a lot,” said one of the guides.
“You even learn how to use bamboo as a life-saving device, and mankind’s impact on the environment here and what can be done to maintain it.”
Along the trail, we stopped several times to rest and take in the surroundings.
Halfway, we climbed a scramble net next to a waterfall, aided by safety harnesses. It was a fun way to reach the trail’s highest point.
Further up, we saw several potted tree saplings on the ground. Our guides led us in planting some of them in denuded areas along hilly slopes — our small contribution to Mother Nature.
We also observed the guides avoiding cutting tree branches with parangs during our trek.
At the final stretch, we stopped for lunch at Paddy Shack, a resthouse next to an old bridge over a river.
After feasting on a traditional Malay spread of lemang and chicken rendang, washed down with fresh coconut water, we proceeded to a 45-minute descent along the river, before arriving at the exit. A four-wheel vehicle took us back to our cottage.
The next day, we visited the organic farm, where blue ferns, lemons and dandelions, among others, are tended by workers staying near Tanarimba.
The red and Thai basil grown here were used to make tea served at our breakfast.
Tanarimba also hosts business presentations and other activities in the large conference hall.
Holistic and spiritual lifestyle groups hold regular meditation classes here. The pristine surroundings make for an ideal environment for visitors to discover their Zen.
For more information, call
09-233 0655 or visit www.tanarimba.com.my.