Malaysia Backpackers Destination and Homestay


Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Perak Homestay Programme in Malaysia

The Perak Homestay Programme is the initiative of the State tourism department and an organisation called Infra. It is a means to promote the diversity of agro-economy and authentic country living to visitors.

Homestay Selama

A three-hour drive from Gopeng took us to Selama. Though we were late and arrived only at dusk, we were treated to a late tea and then assigned to our keluarga angkat (foster family). Photographer Su and I stayed with an elderly woman who spoke in a thick Perak accent. She lived alone in a wooden house on stilts. “Now, this is what a homestay should be,” I thought.

For me, homestay meant staying in a typical kampung house and Felda quarters like those in Sungai Klah didn’t quite cut it!

Her bathroom walls were short and as I’m quite tall, I had to squat to bathe. I was also paranoid about the “ventilation” holes on every wall! Earlier, makcik had given me a sarong to wear berkemban style (tied at the chest) but I gave up after it slid off for the seventh time!

That evening, we visited the herbal garden at Rentong and learned about the uses of herbs like pegaga siam, mas cotek, misai kucing, jerangau. Did you know pegaga juice is excellent for diabetes, high blood pressure and acts as a laxative? I had five glasses.

We had dinner whilst being entertained to Silat Tomoi and Hadrah Tari. The villagers seemed to be of southern Thai origin. Some of us had the traditional spa treatment including sinus draining (rawatan resdung), herbal steam bath and massage.

Once again there was an abundance of fruit for dessert.

The next morning, the pegaga juice took effect and that was when I found out that the toilet was located outside, behind the kitchen. Unfortunately, makcik was a small woman and the toilet was built to accommodate her slight frame.

Next, we visited a rubber estate where Risda officers gave a detailed talk on rubber tapping. I thought it would have been more fun if the visit included an actual demonstration instead of lengthy talks.

Two hours later, we headed for a dragon fruit farm that grew two varieties of the fruit. The red seemed sweeter than the regular white one. The dragon fruit palm has a lifespan of up to 40 years. Its flowers only bloom between 9pm and 7am. The fruit keeps for two weeks at room temperature. If refrigerated, it keeps up to 30 days.

Next stop was a rock at a historical site called Kota Raja Bersiong. Sadly, there was nothing unusual or spectacular about the place. I would much have preferred a visit to the Giant Well. The unique feature of this well was that water from Sungai Ijok was channelled 4km via the well into Sungai Merah.

Lunch was at a lobster farm in Kampung Klian which opened in May with 120 breeding ponds. The prawns are harvested once they reach a weight of 30g each. Live prawns are sold at RM30 a kg while refrigerated ones sell at RM10 to RM15.

A dragnet was used to harvest the prawns which were then cleaned and grilled for our lunch. We also had a delightful mix of kampung style dishes including barbecued fish, fish in jackfruit (nangka) gravy, ulam, tempoyak and sweet pancakes. This is the highlight of the Selama

Here’s a list of contacts:

Nor Hasni Saidin
Tourism Perak
Mobile: 019-5113 054

Noradidah Mokhtar
Perak Homestay Gopeng
Mobile: 012-5060 700

Sungai Kampar White Water Rafting
River Bug Traverse Tours Sdn Bhd
Mobile: 012-3131 006

Sungai Klah Hot Springs
Tel: 05-4414 493
Fax: 05-4388 760

Herbal Garden Rentong, Selama
Manager: Md. Zaidi Abu Bakar
Tel: 05-8801 835

Pelancongan Desa Selama (Risda)
Razali Kerbak
Mobile: 013-5062 597

Bukit Gantang Homestay
Rozita Zainudin
Mobile: 019-5208 744

Bukit Gantang Farm
Lorong Long Jaafar
Bukit Gantang
Tel/Fax: 05-8554 967
Mobile: 019-5740 767

1 comment:

dug said...

"Lunch was at a lobster farm in Kampung Klian which opened in May with 120 breeding ponds. The prawns are harvested..."

Its a prawn farm not a lobster farm.