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REVIEW : THE DUSUN IN SEREMBAN


REVIEW

We owe our readers and the Dusun this really late review. T lost his cable to his camera and so we had to wait to get another one. We made our way to the Dusun at the end of April to catch the Labour Day long weekend. We came across reviews of the Dusun on Tripadvisor when we were trying to find a retreat within driving distance from Singapore. We stumbled upon the Dusun by chance and were only too thrilled to be able to book our long weekend there within short notice.



Our trip to the Dusun took about 4 hours in the car from Singapore. T was driving quite fast already with the GPS and yet it took that long. We caught sight of a supermarket, Giant, in the town of Seremban and stopped to get our grocery. It took about an hour as we ran into a rally.

We were stuck in traffic due to a rally for fair election.
The derelict town of Seremban.









There is little to no charm in the derelict town of Seremban for us. Having drove up from modern Singapore, the sight of this rundown town was a little dampening to our road trip. We couldn't wait to get to the Dusun but the trip was proving itself to a drag with the derelict streets and a rally that was making the streets even longer.

The Dusun was not that easy to find. Although we have a good GPS system and a more than clear map, we still managed to get lost. We wandered into a road with a sign saying 'Dusun Villa'. T reckoned it wasn't the right way so we had to ask the locals for some directions. The locals were really friendly and they knew exactly where we were going. It seemed that the Dusun is THE place to go to for a holiday around Seremban for sure.

The Dusun gate, finally.



After a while more of driving around, we finally found the Dusun gate. On the way to the Dusun, there were some local shops selling local fare and local produce. If you are not planning to cook your own meals, this could be a possible destination for some take-away. Though, we highly recommend cooking at the Dusun. You will see why in a bit.

Waiting for our Berembun House to be done up.

Due to some miscommunication, our booking was a bit mixed up. We had initially booked the Berembun House for 2 nights but as T could make it back from a work trip earlier than planned, we booked an extra night. The mixed up in the booking was quickly resolved with a phone call to Haanim, whom we booked the Dusun with. We waited by the pool with some cold beer from our grocery shopping while the nice ladies at the Dusun prepared our house for us.

The wonderful view from our Berembun House. This is our private view.

There are 4 houses in the Dusun. The Berembun House sleeps 2, has the best view and also direct access to the pool. It is also the smallest out of all the houses. We had the opportunity to look at some of the other houses when they were unoccupied. Out of all of them, Berembun has the best view facing the untouched rainforest, followed by the Sora house which sleep about 5 or more.

T wanted the fabulous view so it was the Berembun House. We also prefer it as it has original local roofings so supposed to a modern architecture. It is also next to the pool with tranquil sounds of the water from their water spray from the stone frog and the cascading water from their infinity pool.

The Dusun was initially a project for a holiday home for the Todd family and the grand children. The Berembun House is one of the originals. The holiday home project saw the expansion of a couple more houses and the current pool which required a fair amount of maintenance. The family decided to rent some of the houses out for maintenance of the property, and to upkeep this holiday home for their children and grand children to visit and enjoy. What a sweet thought.

The pool and stone frog is just at the entrance of our Berembun House.
This is the view from the house with direct access to the pool. We requested for an ipod dock which provided us with awesome chillout music. The house is very airy which cooled us down on those hot tropical afternoons on the hills.
Our Berembun lounger.
The Berembun House space is very modest, with a lot of open space for outdoor lounging. The pool is communal so you will get guests from other houses visit it. During our whole stay at the Dusun, it was only rowdy at the pool on our first afternoon. Afterwhich, those rowdy guests from the Sora House checked out the next day and we were left with a lot of peace and quiet. Most of the guests from other houses do not hang out at the pool for very long so the Berembun House is almost like a villa with a private pool most of the time.

We were the envy of most of the guests, with the best view and our house next to the pool. That basically meant direct food and beverage services 2 steps from the pool.

The spices in Berembun House kitchen for our culinary ventures.
We were very excited before going to the Dusun, learning that Helen, the owner grows culinary herbs around which the guests can use for cooking. There are some spices provided in the kitchen at the house, but T brought all our spices from home as he knows crazy we are in the kitchen. One of the reasons we picked the Dusun is because it is self-catering. We love cooking and we are such foodies. An over-priced average meal always leave us feeling dissatisfied and grouchy. Hence, a self-catering place like the Dusun for gourmet cooks like us and an awesome bartender like T is simply heaven. For us to indulge in cooking and eating at this quiet and scenic place was enough of a getaway.

The communal patio which we used for our BBQ on all evenings.
The Berembun House does not have a BBQ. All the other houses are a walk away from the pool and the communal patio, so no one really comes out after sunset. The patio was all for us and we spent all our evenings barbecuing. The ladies at the Dusun will light the BBQ for you if you request for it. If you want to start barbecuing at 7pm, they will light the BBQ at about 6pm.

The view from the patio and our Berembun House in the background.
There is no eating space at our house so it is good to have the dining tables and chairs to make use of. Some of the other guests have their breakfast served here in the morning.

In the evenings, the BBQ would be lit for us and the area covered in tea lights. It was a most wonderful touch. There are enough cutlery, kitchen tools, plates and dishes here so that we did not need to carry any from our kitchen. There is also a water filter and a wine cooler.

We did meet with an evening of rain. At which point, we had to move the furniture under the shelter and continue with our dinner.

We had BBQ every evening at the communal patio.

Our banana leaf wrapped milk fish stuffed with lemon grass, ginger and culinary herbs around the Dusun.
Barbecuing at the Dusun was what we looked forward to in the evenings. Without internet and TV, we could indulge in good company, good wine and slow eating. Barbecue is just such a leisure way of eating. We do not usually have barbecued food at home, so having this extra of no-frills lighting of the BBQ was a nice holiday touch.

View of our Berembun House at night from the other side of the pool. So quiet and private.


A friend at night, adding to the wonderful sounds around the Dusun.
We loved the sounds of the tropical rainforest at night. The insects played a nature symphony that beats the music from the iPod. They created such a calming rhythm that soothed us to sleep. That is something one will not get from a urban environment. And that is definitely what we are missing now as we are writing this post.

What we wake up to every morning and our favorite spot at the deck chairs to have our breakfast, looking at the different greens in the rainforest.


Local breakfast of Nasi Lemak, coconut rice with a fragrance chili sambal, hard boiled eggs, fried ikan bilis (white bait) and refreshing cucumber, served in a laquered tiffin, put outside our house at the requested time.
The Dusun serves breakfast. During our 3 mornings, we had Nasi Lemak, which a local fair of coconut rice and some condiments; we had fried rice noodles and eggs; we had omelette and french baguette and fruit. T isn't a fan of savory breakfast so we ate our share of the Dusun breakfast while he has his yoghurt and fruit from our grocery shopping. We usually keep the leftover breakfast for him as a snack for later.

Taking a rest from a short tropical rain away from our 

We had a short encounter of rain one day which made us move the lounger into our private patio area. The Berembun House is rather small and there is little space to hide when it rains. Though, the beautiful view makes up for the lack of a sheltered lounge for us.

The untouched view from our Berembun House patio.
There really isn't much to do at the Dusun but to enjoy the beautiful view of the untouched tropical rainforest. There is a waterfall nearby, approximately 30minutes of walk but we found the walk to be rather dangerous. It is not a waterfall per se but more of a rocky stream. It could be our lack of navigation or the rain from the night before, we did not find a safe path down to the stream. We gave up on that and relaxed at our house. If you want to go for a walk, you would perhaps want to consider a local guide which the Dusun can provide, so that you would see more than what we did. Though, a leisure walk around would be accompanied by the sweet Dusun dogs who might just guide you along.

GPS and leaving the Dusun and Seremban.
The checkout time for the Dusun is usually 12pm, but the lovely Haanim offered us to check out at 3pm as there were no guests arriving that day. We left at about midday nonetheless due to the long drive back to Singapore. We thought we would stop by Malacca which was a mere hour away from the Dusun for lunch. We were a bit sad to leave the Dusun, leaving our restful times behind. We definitely hope to return to the Dusun when we have time to drive up again. What a beautiful and unique place it is. Unforgettable.

A walk in Malacca on Labour Day holiday was quite a challenge after the tranquil Dusun.
The busy Malacca is such a contrast to the serene Dusun.
You can read more about our preparation to the Dusun here:

THE DUSUN IN SEREMBAN : OUR JAMIE OLIVER SEAFOOD BBQ INSPIRATION


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