Chill out in the lovely highlands around Bentong, Pahang, and tuck into the delicious local fare when you’re in town.
Sunday November 25, 2007
Just 40 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur, this popular resort, which used to be known as Bukit Tinggi, encompasses about 7,000ha of rugged hills and mountains still covered by lush tropical rainforests. Standing at about 1,000m above sea level, it is also home to various cultures put together in the form of the French Colmar Tropicale, the Japanese Village and the Chateau Spa Resort. Naturally, the resort has a golf course for enthusiasts.
Located about 10 minutes from Bentong town, the hot springs were formed from some volcanic activities millions of years ago. The mineral in the water is said to be good for health. Accessible via the old Bentong-Kuala Lumpur road, it is a great place to relax, and enjoy its lush unspoilt greenery and the lovely mountainous view.
This is one of the biggest international crowd-pullers of the nation, not only because it is known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia – being the only legal land-based casino in the country – but also because it has one of the best theme parks in the region. It is also home to a 100-million-year-old forest.
One of the resorts closest to Kuala Lumpur, Selesa Hillhomes is frequently turned into a training venue of many government agencies and corporations. It is ideal for those who want peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city life.
Named after a Scottish pioneer, James Fraser, who set up a tin-ore trading post in the 1890s, Fraser’s Hill is one of the prettiest highland getaways of Malaysian hill resorts. It is located some 1,500m above sea level on the Titiwangsa mountain range of Peninsular Malaysia and consists of seven hills.
A great spot for picnics, Chamang Waterfalls, also known as Lover’s Fall, is only minutes away from Bentong’s Jalan Loke Yew. It is often crowded on weekends and during public holidays with people heading there for a refreshing change in the cool spring water.
Bunga Buah Mountain
At 1,500m above sea level, Bunga Buah mountain is a training ground for most hikers. Nonetheless, it offers a great view and it is truly beautiful during the months when the forest trees are flowering or sprouting new shoots in many hues of red and yellow. Its parking area is less than five minutes’ drive from the Genting Check Point/ Police Station, heading up to Genting Highlands.
Home to several VIPs in the country, Janda Baik is a beautiful hilly area near Bentong. There are some homes open to homestay visitors. Check out the Wildlife Fauna Breeding and Research Centre which has many species of wildlife, especially beautiful birds.
If it is not for the sights, then only food can drag KL-ites on an hour-long drive to savour delicious and satisfying fare in Bentong. Here, Jalan Chui Yin is thoroughly popular for its Wan Tan Mee. For ice kacang, head for the famous one sold at one of the stalls in Jalan Loke Yew. Names of the foodstalls are not important, as the locals will direct you to the best. Don’t forget to have a taste of the famous Bentong tau foo products as they are made with the crystal clear spring water and taste out of this world.
Raub Fish Head Curry
Originating in the nearby town of Raub, the one here is even more popular due to its proximity to Kuala Lumpur. If you arrive early enough at the shop in Jalan Loke Yew, then go for its excellent breakfast fare such as the coconut appam, puttu, and puri. For tea, there is its famous samosa, and the yoghurt vadai is a must with its top of the list Dancing Tea! For lunch, besides the fish head curry, the fried chicken and chicken varuval or dry masala chicken are highly recommended.
Take the road that leads to Kuantan and after the Lentang toll at the Karak Highway, look for the two turn-offs to Bentong. Take either one and it will lead you to the town.
Buses are available almost hourly from Kuala Lumpur at the Jalan Pekeliling bus station in front of Vistana Hotel.