In the year of Covid-19, one of the things we sorely miss is travelling.
We may not get to travel to Malaysia till 2021, but our northern neighbour boasts beautiful destinations to bookmark for when the time is right again — like this rabbit garden in Sabah.
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Enter a century-old traditional kampung house near Ipoh town in Malaysia, which was recently given an architectural facelift.
It now operates as a vacation home that can accommodate 20 people.
Rymba Retreat Gopeng – about 30km south of Ipoh – is a secluded space of tranquility. You’ll enjoy the surrounding lush greenery the moment you arrive.
The retreat features a more evolved version of a traditional Malay house, which offers an open plan layout and is squarer in shape.
The traditional interiors will take you back to the time when warm baths were only possible by boiling water.
It almost feels like you’re starring in a Malay period drama with the late icon P Ramlee. Except this time, you’re the star.
Enjoy lunch and dinner al-fresco style as the entire family can sit together at the long dining table, and have a pleasant meal outdoors.
As this house was built in a durian orchard, their mid-day treats are definitely one of a kind. Guests can savour the King of Fruits, freshly picked up from the orchard, to their heart’s content.
There are also couches and deck chairs if you simply want to relax outside to enjoy the greenery.
As we’re accustomed to a life in HDB flats devoid of bathtubs, you’ll be happy to know that you can enjoy a different kind of bathing experience here.
With a bathtub outdoors, feel free to indulge in the full experience of bathing in a kampung.
The 52-year-old owner of the house Mr Megat Shahrin says the water comes straight from the river.
There are showerheads outdoors as well, perfect for keeping yourself cool and refreshed when the weather is scorching.
After a hearty meal and a re-energising rest, it is time to get adventurous as some thrilling outdoor activities are available.
There’s water-rafting for those who chase an adrenaline rush and love water sports. Other water activities include waterfall abseiling and caving.
For those who prefer something less fast-paced, a lorry will ferry you from the retreat to the hill where you can trek up Bukit Batu Putih, located 310 metres above sea level.
Once you reach the top, the view you get is priceless — a sprawling valley and the meandering Kampar River will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.
When night descends, Rymba Retreat Gopeng transforms into a warmly lit haven in darkness.
After a long day of fun, dig into some scrumptious food under the moonlight.
There is certainly no better way to end an eventful day.
With so much to offer, it’s hard to believe that this vacation home is 100 years old.
Given how we’re used to our urban jungle in Singapore, going on a retreat that evokes kampung nostalgia will surely bring about a different travel experience.
We can only cross our fingers that come Jan 2021, full travel would be allowed between Singapore and Malaysia.
When it does, be sure to remember Rymba Retreat Gopeng.
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Featured image adapted from Instagram and Instagram.
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