1970. Some remember it as the year The Beatles parted ways, others may recall it as the beginning of a journey towards a greener future. The first Earth Day gathering on 22 April 1970 saw 20 million Americans rallying against oil spills, polluting factories, and toxic waste. Since then it has become an international affair, gathering people from all over the globe to raise awareness on issues that continue to endanger the environment, albeit with more critical implications than before.
With respect to all that is being done, we take this as a great reminder that sometimes it's a lifestyle choice that makes all the difference. One that lives in harmony with the goodness that our planet provides, pretty much like what these five amazing farms in Bentong, Pahang are doing and are hoping to encourage as well. Thanks to them, you can now experience and learn a little bit of that simple, eco-conscious lifestyle in the “Fresh Air Lung Washing” eco-tourism destination of Malaysia.
Image by Malaysia Tatler
Lovingly built by owners Pete Teo and Lisa Ngan, A Little Farm On A Hill is located just 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur by car. Their main business comes from growing and supplying fresh vegetables to conscientious restaurants across the city such as Dewakan - the modern Malaysian restaurant that recently received the title of ‘Best Restaurant in Malaysia’ on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list. While operating as a farm, they also organise a variety of activities that will get your hands beautifully messy - from gardening and cooking classes to yoga retreats and food parties.
Slow down, breathe in the fresh air of Janda Baik, Bentong, and take a stroll across their 6 acres of land. You’ll find there is so much to appreciate when you take time to respect the earth, especially when you’re tasting of its goodness over a fine meal at the Dining Room which sits up to 20 guests starting at RM200 per person with a minimum spend of RM2000. The exciting part is its unpredictable menu as it follows the harvest of the season you dine in. When it’s time to leave, take home a jar of delicious homemade mulberry jam fresh from the kitchen as an edible souvenir from your trip.
Image by Bentong Happy Farm
Located just 12 minutes from the famous Chamang Waterfall, Bentong Happy Farm combines healthy farm life with activities that promote sustainable farm practices. The farm initially began in 2013 as a platform to break the poverty cycle among certain communities in the area. People in need could use the land to grow and produce fresh vegetables or rare livestock as a livelihood which would help them take care of their families and give their children an education. How amazing is that!
Now visitors can experience farm life within a day or over two days with decent accommodation options on the premises. Day trips start at RM60 per person, including lunch and up to three personal challenge activities requiring at least four people to make a booking. 2 Day 1 Night trips range between RM88 - RM188 depending on what you’d like to include. They cater to families with young children, school trips, and corporate trips too. The experience includes learning about how different plants and fruits grow, as well as picking and eating your own fruits. Animal-loving children will be thrilled to find that the farm is alive with little creatures of all shapes and sizes - rabbits, chickens, ducks, goats, you name it. Additional outdoor activities such as river tubing, rock climbing, kayaking, and raft-building are also available and meals are provided as part of most packages.
Image by apple101
Hidden deep in the hills of Kampung Bukit Tinggi lies Song Yan Eco Farm. Also dubbed as a leisure village, the farm sits at 1,500 feet above sea level offering a breathtaking view of Bentong’s lush forests, fresh cool breeze throughout the day, and access to pure mountain water. Song Yan’s philosophy lies in a firm belief that we are what we eat, we deserve to give ourselves access to good food that is grown without the use of agro-chemicals. So while growing wholesome ingredients from scratch, they also aim to share the experience of green living through their programmes and farming activities meant for visitors.
The accommodation provided is nothing short of cosy. Each cottage or lodge is fully built with light wood and bricks and includes a clean bathroom. If you need more reason to stay, there are also body-cleansing programmes available with the guidance of their trained staff. You’ll leave feeling emotionally, mentally and physically refreshed! If you prefer making a day trip instead, book a 60-minute guided tour starting at RM45 which includes lunch, or pre-book your own lunch or dinner at Greens @ Song Yan, an in-house eatery that cooks up a delicious menu based on the yield of the farm’s crop.
Image by Go Bentong
Located on the outskirts of Bentong about 35 minutes from Bukit Tinggi is Melipoly Stingless Bee Farm. Visiting this farm is a good opportunity for children and adults to cultivate an appreciation for yet another natural resource, the dedication of our hardworking tropical stingless silver bees. We have so much to thank these little bees for, as their natural pollination habits contribute to the growth of almost one third of the food we consume. The farm is open to the public and you can contact them in advance to organise a visit and learn about the process of harvesting honey and how they care for the bees. Be rest assured that this species of bees are quite harmless and you can approach them without needing protective gear. You can also indulge in the ‘honey of their labour’ by purchasing pure raw honey directly from the store on the farm, or on their website ranging from RM15 to over RM130 depending on type and jar size.
Image by jimmysdurianfarm
This list of farms in Bentong would not be complete without mentioning A DURIAN FARM. Or “orchard” in this case. Jimmy’s Durian Orchard is owned by Jimmy (no points for guessing) and his partner Tanya. I’m no durian expert but they certainly are and if they’re around when you visit, they will be happy to take you around the farm and share their knowledge on organic durian farming. The farm is most famous for its abundance of Musang King durians. Also available are D101, D24, and Tekka durians. If durians aren’t your favourite fruit (it probably means it’s your least favourite), you can skip this farm entirely because it’s a guarantee that the whole place will be filled with the “aroma” that only the ‘King of Fruits’ has.
Durian prices vary each year but a general rule of thumb follows supply and demand. The more durians there are, the cheaper it can get. Prices currently range between RM20 to RM70 per kg depending on which type of durian you want. Durian season doesn’t start till mid-June, but it is never too early to start planning a trip here to feast on fresh golden durian flesh with a breathtaking view of Karak, Bentong.