Having committed to our projects beginning of this year, we have been very wary of not letting our limited holidays slip through our fingers. With the upcoming May Day holiday, we have decided to take a day off to make it a long weekend break. As it was a last minute decision to go away, T and us have decided not to fly but drive. It is expensive to purchase flight tickets last minute and we thought we would really like to go on a road trip together. Why not take advantage of the wonderful coasts and greenery in Malaysia when it is just a couple of hours away?

We spent some time deciding where in Malaysia we should drive to. We were spoiled for choice. There are too many beautiful places in Malaysia, with choices of beaches, UNESCO sites and tropical rainforest.

A colleague mentioned to us a rainforest retreat he had visited recently and we fell in love with the idea. It is a quiet retreat in the middle of the rainforest with all mod cons, no TV of course. It is self-catering which makes it extremely attractive to the avid cooks in us. Although, we chanced upon another retreat when we were reading its review on Trip Advisor.

And that decided the Dusun for us. We were completely awed when we went to Dusun's homepage. Click here to be redirected.

Imagine waking up to this...

Image from

T fell in love with the Dusun the moment we found it. He exclaimed: "We are going here!" We cannot agree more. The wonderful landscape is breathtaking. Waking up amidst a rainforest is superb, but waking up amidst a rainforest with a infinte view of mountains and fresh mist rising is the bee's knees. Luckily for us, the best chalet for 2 with this untouched view is still available. We just know we are going to have such a wonderful time together. What impress us is the wonderful fruits, vegetables and herbs grown around the Dusun which are free for the guests to pick for their self-catering meals. It is completely sustainable and reminds us of the agriturismo in Italy.

Anyway, here is a bit about the Dusun and our chalet.

One of the wonderful fruits grown around the Dusun. This is the king of fruits, the durian. We are not sure if it is the season for durians yet but we are surely not having it. It is an acquired taste and definitely not T's cup of tea.
This is the view from the Berembun House which we are so lucky to have booked. It sleeps 2. There are other houses within the Dusun which can accommodate other numbers.

Only an hour from Kuala Lumpur is a little-known valley of orchards, orang asli villages and virgin rainforest. The Berembun Forest Reserve is nearly 4,000 acres of protected forest rising to 3,900 feet – still an important source of food and forest products for the Temuan community who live on its fringes. Tucked into the head of this valley, overlooking the jungle on one side and a wide view of the Mantin hills and Seremban on the other, is the Dusun, a 12 acre tropical orchard.

This is the Berembun House from the outside. We love the sustainable structure and features. It is traditionally inspired to catch the wind. The naturally air-cooling system is sure to bring us back to nature.

Lovingly developed over 25 years by Helen and David and their family, the Dusun honors the idea of sustainable farming and jungle conservation. Its houses are set to catch the wind and combine elements of both Malay and orang asli style.

A Malay-style chalet on stilts, with verandahs on both sides, incorporates carved panels scavenged from old houses and traditional shutter windows. It has one double bed and sleeps two. It looks out onto the rainforest and the orang asli reserve. It has the most immediate access to the pool and entertainment patio. We can get up in the morning and jump directly into the pool from its deck. It has a luxury bathroom, a kitchenette and cooking facilities and a hanging herb garden.

This is the common pool at the Dusun. It is free for the other houses to make use of but our wonderful Berembun House is just next to it. Guess who has the best view and also the best access to the pool. Guess we would be pushing T a lot.

Visitors to the Dusun will experience a natural environment, shaded by mature trees, where all living things – including the guests – are treated with equal respect. There are few houses. Each is unique and each is out of sight of the others. Peace, privacy and space are the essence of the Dusun.

The shower has an 'open concept'. We can enjoy the rainforest and the alluring sounds of the birds and insects everywhere in this house. We love the openness of the structure. It is indeed built to catch the wind.
This is the kitchen where all our action will be taking place. 

Each house has the following essentials – a gas cooker, rice cooker and refrigerator. An Ipod station on request, which will save us from T's singing. Luxury bedlinen and towels. A herb garden which we are so excited to see and utilize,  and a spice rack for gourmet cooks like us. Organic fruit and vegetables are available if they are in season. Cutlery, dishes and cooking utensils. Barbeque charcoal and lighters, which we will love to have for the 2 evenings we are there. We can also ask for mosquito nets.

The Dusun provides breakfast. Each house has a fully equipped kitchen for self catering (including dry spices, basic sauces and oil), but if you would prefer not to cook, the Dusun can cater food for you. Menus are sent to guest via email along with confirmation and meals need to be ordered in advance.


The Batang Penar river arises in the forest reserve and runs down the valley at the foot of the dusun. There are several swimming spots accessible from the road and some paths into the Orang Asli reserve. Within the Reserve, the Batang Penar is a pristine rush of pools and waterfalls. There is a 45 minute trek on a reasonably easy path to a deep swimming pool and some magical waterfalls. Longer treks to those parts of the forest where petai and durian are harvested, or a trek to the mountain peak, can be arranged with Temuan guides. The Temuan are jungle experts and a walk and talk with any elder is a unique window into their world.

Kuala Klawang, some 25 kilometers from the Dusun on the Jelebu Road, is a four story museum which illustrates the lifestyles and culture of the major races of Malaysia, including the orang asli. The drive is scenic and the museum is even-handed and interesting. Visitors who go on Thursday afternoon, can also take in the weekly night market right next door, which has lots of cooked-on-the-spot local food and fresh produce.

En route to Kuala Klawang is a pretty series of waterfalls, with a park and picnic tables provided for visitors.

The Serembun Wet Market. Malaysians will be blasé about this site, but foreigners are recommended to see and smell it! Hundreds of tiny stalls under one roof sell an amazing range of vegetables, spices, fruit, fish, meat and soy products. Many stalls are operated by the same family who farm the produce. It is a noisy, vibrant place and everything is super fresh. Open every day except Tuesday.

We cannot wait to get to the Dusun in one and a half weeks. We shall be posting more on the Dusun after our holiday.

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