Healthy Getaways

Hotels, swimming pools, shopping malls, exotic foods: do these holiday activities sound boring to you? If they do, it’s time to try some wholesome fun that will get you breaking out into a sweat! The best part is that you can get there within a few hours drive!

Here are some off-the-beaten track destinations that will help you refresh your mind and rejuvenate your body for a good start to the upcoming New Year:

GUNUNG JERAI, KEDAH

www.cuti.com.my

Rising 1200 metres above sea level, this legendary mountain that is actually a limestone crop used to be called ‘Kedah Peak’. Historically, it was a navigation point for sailors travelling through the Straits of Malacca to reach the trading port of Malacca and beyond.

What to do:

  • Camping
  • Jungle trekking
  • Visit Forestry Museum
  • Visit ancient Hindu and Buddhist temple ruins
  • Enjoy cool fresh mountain air and breathtaking views of Kedah’s padi fields and the Straits of Malacca

Directions: From the PLUS Highway, head north to the Gurun exit. Follow signboards to Gunung Jerai from there.

CULTURAL PERAK

www.journeymalaysia.com

The state of Perak, home to the oldest Malay Sultanate, contains various edu-tainment attractions especially for families. Places of interest include the scenic Taiping Lake Garden, Ubudiah Mosque, Iskandariah Palace, Istana Kenangan, Sultan Azlan Shah Museum at Kuala Kangsar, and the scenic WW2 war memorial.

What to do:

  • Visit Malaysia’s oldest rubber tree in Taiping town
  • Drive up Maxwell Hill for some cool crisp air
  • Drive to Teluk Intan to view the famous pagoda-shaped Leaning Tower
  • Visit Kelly’s Castle, a half-completed mansion built by a Englishman in the 1930s
  • Visit labu sayong (clay gourd-shaped pots to contain water) and keris cottage industries

Directions: From the PLUS Highway, head north and exit at Taiping.

TANJUNG PIAI, JOHOR

www.johorparks.com.my

Known as The End Of The Mainland Asia, Tanjung Piai is a hot destination among Singaporeans and Japanese tourists coming from across the Causeway. Small hotels are available in the vicinity.

What to do:

  • Take the board walk along the mangrove swamp
  • Enjoy fabulous sunsets amidst storks, mudskippers and faraway ships
  • Spend a night at a nearby kelong
  • Visit nearby fruit farms
  • Go fishing
  • Bird-watching at the Bird Hide
  • Enjoy scrumptious seafood

Directions: From the PLUS Highway heading south, exit at Simpang Reggam and follow signs towards Tanjung Piai using the Benut Pontian Kukup Expressway. Look for signboards that lead you there.

GUA TEMPURUNG, PERAK

www.guatempurung.com

If you’ve never tried caving before, Gua Tempurung is the best place to start! The caves, made of marble limestone, are believed to be more than 400 million years old and were formerly used by the Japanese and Communists during WW2 as hideouts. The caves are well-maintained, with a wooden board walk, stairs and cave lights illuminating the entire walkway.

What to do:

  • Admire Nature’s craft that has taken millions of years to form– huge stalactites and stalagmites, limestone columns, river passages and pools
  • Visit all five main caverns – Golden Flowstone Cavern, Gergasi (Giant) Cavern, Tin Mine Cavern, Alam (Universe) Cavern, Fallen Warrior and Battlefield Cavern.
  • Bring extra clothes for changing if you choose the more adventurous route that takes you through the less visited caves

Directions: From the PLUS Highway heading north, exit at Gopeng. Turn left towards Kampar. Drive for about 5 km before turning left and driving a further 2 kms.

 

 

LENGGONG, PERAK

http://www.mdlg.gov.my,

http://www.museumlenggong.gov.my

A must-visit for Indiana Jones fans, Lenggong has archaelogical sites belonging to the Paleolitic age, estimated to be about 74,000 years old. The Lenggong Archeological Museum, also known as the Kota Tampan Archaelogical Museum, is located at the site where archaelogical findings dating back to 300,000 years ago such as Perak Man were found.

What to do:

  • Plan for a field trips to real archaeological sites or caves where ancient drawings were found
  • Take a leisurely stroll or a boat ride at Lenggong Lake. Lakeside hotels offer comfortable and scenic stays at reasonable prices
  • Try the local fresh water fish or prekasam (fermented fish)

Directions: Take the PLUS Expressway, exit at Kuala Kangsar and head towards Grik. After passing Lubuk Merbau and Sauk, you will reach the Raja Muda Nazrin Shah Bridge. After the bridge, look out for the sign board to Lenggong.

HAJI DORANI HOMESTAY, KUALA SELANGOR

www.virtualmalaysia.com,

http://doranihomestay.blogspot.com

If you would like a taste of real village life, head for Haji Dorani’s Homestay, a cluster of village houses located in the middle of sweeping padi fields. The various activities there will prove that village living is anything was boring!

What to do:

  • Kite-making, batik-painting, fishing
  • Help villagers grind paddy using traditional devices(seasonal)
  • Try eel-catching in the paddy fields
  • Make kerepek (crackers) at a small factory
  • Pick cockles on the beach in the evening- and have them for dinner!
  • Unwind to the sounds of crickets or frogs at night
  • Catch crabs at the mangrove swamps
  • Watch fire-flies at night
  • Pluck fruits off trees (seasonal)

Directions: From Kuala Lumpur, take the coastal road heading north towards Sekinchan. After 15 kms, look out for a sign on the left to turn right to Dorani Homestay.

LAKE CHINI RIVER RIDE, PAHANG

www.pahangtourism.com.my

Local residents believe that mystical Lake Chini was once a sunken Khmer kingdom, where an ancient city of gold exists. Today, the Jakuns, an indigenous tribe, continue to stay along the lakeside, many of whom are still living off the land by collecting rattan, fishing, tapping rubber and growing crops. Chalets offer clean and comfortable accommodation.

What to do:

  • Take a river ride to the lake interiors
  • Visit orang asli settlements and fish farms
  • Go fishing

Directions: From the old Karak Highway to Kuantan road, look out for a signboard to Kampung Belimbing, where you will board a sampan into the lake. Alternatively, try the new Segamat Highway which passes through the new town of Chini and passes through winding palm oil estates before reaching the lake.

PULAU JEREJAK, PENANG

www.jerejakresort.com

Pulau Jerejak, located at the south eastern tip of Penang Island, used to be known as Malaysia’s Alcatraz because of the Jerejak Prison. Famed as a maximum security prison meant for hard-core prisoners, the island is now transformed into a beautiful island resort. Remnants of the old prison, the abandoned leprosarium and WW2 cemetery still remain.

What to do:

  • Visit the old prisons for the creeps
  • Indulge yourself at the Jerejak Rainforest Resort and Spa
  • Rock-climbing, archery, jungle trekking, flying fox
  • Climb suspension bridge

Directions: Take a 15-minute boat ride from the Bayan Lepas jetty, Penang, (near Queensbay Mall) that takes you directly to the hotel resort. Check the website for boat schedule.

HERBAL PARK, TASIK KENYIR, TERENGGANU

http://tourism.terengganu.gov.my

Located in Pulau Sah Kecil in the mystical Kenyir Lake, the largest man-made lake in the country, the Tasik Kenyir Herbal Island is planted with more than 230 types of traditional herbs. An Information Centre provides detailed explanations of the therapeutic uses of each herb.

What to do:

  • Take a dip at magnificent waterfalls
  • Get a herbal drink or purchase herbal products
  • Learn about local herbs and their uses

Directions: From Kuala Lumpur, take the Karak Highway to Jerangau-Jabor Highway to reach Ajil and onwards to Kenyir.

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