Batang Kali, Kuala Selangor and Morib may do the trick for the wanderlust
By HAZATUL SYIMA HARON
FOR avid travellers/explorers like myself, being restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic is no fun.
Gone are the quick trips across the border from my home in Perlis, my plan for a little bit of birthday shopping in Singapore, much less fulfilling my dear mother’s wish for a last pilgrimage in Mecca and Madinah in view of her osteoarthritis steadily progressing.
As a high-risk individual to Covid-19, I don’t fancy queueing up for the ferry to go to Pulau Perhentian etc nor do I see myself boarding AirAsia flights to Kota Kinabalu etc due to its “cram everybody possible on board” policy.
(I did that last month on tickets bought last year to Langkawi and came out of the plane traumatised. Though I still have tickets to Johor Baru next month, sigh.)
However, not going anywhere outside Klang Valley was starting to feel constrictive. Thus, for a best friend’s Saturday brunch, what was supposed to be a normal sedate lunch in one of the many shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur (KL), turned out into a mini day trip planned by Moi. What a fun day it was with requests for my girlfriends to plan some more such travels.
So, for those of you wondering where to go during the weekend or an off day in the middle of the week without breaking the band, here are some suggestions.
Now, this first suggested itinerary is exactly what we did a few weekends ago. My first pick for lunch fell through, but the second option wasn’t too bad at all.
First pick was Warung Bonda at Rumah Hutan Bonda Rozita in Batang Kali. Owned by well-known entrepreneur Rozita Ibrahim, you have to park at the foot of a small hill before going up courtesy of the establishment’s many four-wheel drives.
Sounds adventurous? The pictures look stunning too and the food seems delicious, but book well in advance if you’re planning to eat here. A friend of mine went having booked earlier, but still had to wait three hours for the food.
Rumah Hutan also offers chalets and traditional massages and spa packages for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Again, book in advance, like a month at least.
Let’s go to my second pick for lunch. Nasi Ambeng at Riverstone Eco Resort on the old road between Ulu Yam and Batang Kali. Having called in advance, something we should all do in this pandemic times to ensure the businesses are still open, we booked the Nasi Ambeng for four and I prayed for the best, hoping it would be delicious.
It certainly was and reasonably priced too at RM52 with a jug of rose flavoured syrup. The best part: We had the whole resort to ourselves. According to the lady in charge, reservations have dipped especially since Hari Raya Aidilfitri. The resort was looking a bit rundown, but it was tranquil and the food was tasty and laughter was spilling over.
Next stop, World of Phalaenopsis in Batang Kali. No good birthday outing takes place without cake and ours, I decided, needed to have a peaceful and natural ambience. Upon hours of Googling, this orchid farm was the basis of the entire outing.
Instagrammable, picturesque, we are the older generation took the opportunity to immortalise ourselves with the beautiful background provided by the establishment. Some parts of the farm though were off-limits to photography, probably due to the artful flower arrangements that they didn’t want copied elsewhere.
Oh, the cakes were nice too. We opted for the Chocolate Matcha Mousse and Raspberry Earl Grey. The selection of Nyonya kuih-muih was not bad, but the ice lemon tea was too sweet for me.
I nearly forked out a pretty penny for a pot of beautiful and fragrant orchids with the excuse that it was for my mom, but decided against it. (Not because it wasn’t gorgeous, but because I already have a list of plants to buy at Sungai Buloh.) But yes, World of Phalaenopsis was definitely worthy of the drive there in the pouring rain. (My friend’s husband took her there again on his superbike last weekend.)
On the way back, we took the scenic Rawang Bypass, also known as the Rawang- Serendah Highway. The views of the forest reserves were superb, but the many developments taking place marred parts of the beauty.
As a whole, the trip took about seven hours.
This will be our next girls’ trip. My friends were curious why I take my family often to Kuala Selangor.
Well, I used to live for a few years in Tanjung Karang while growing up. So, I know the area quite well. I told them a day would probably cover only the surface of what Kuala Selangor and its surroundings have to offer, but I’ll try.
Again, starting with lunch, my favourite restaurant is Kuan Hwa Seafood restaurant at Pasir Penambang in Kuala Selangor. I love the “mihun goreng lala” and the dry chilli prawn mantis. Dad likes the braised claypot tofu, while mom loves any kind of shellfish. The kids love butter prawn with gravy and fried mantous.
After gorging on seafood, I’d take them to Cendol Durian Borhan for dessert. The Cendol Durian is flavourful and reasonably priced. The large restaurant is usually packed on the weekends, so be prepared to wait in line. You can also opt to have curry mee here or laksa.
While waiting for the food to go down, I’d take them to the Sekinchan Paddy Museum. There the girls can learn about the history of paddy growing and buy locally produced front rice and other local products such as keropok and such. (By the way, you can also buy keropok and other seafood products at Kuan Hwa.) Not forgetting, the Instagrammable paddy fields all around.
Now that the food has gone down a bit, a drive along the road heading to Sabak Bernam from Sekinchan will see many stalls along the roads selling corns — raw, steamed or bakar — other seasonal fruits and mentarang. A type of shellfish, pick a stall that offers mentarang bakar on the spot to truly enjoy the fresh taste of the seafood. A kg may not be enough.
By this time, it would already be getting late. Last stop, Pantai Remis at Jeram, Kuala Selangor. Here, you’ll find children running along the beach, getting their feet wet, playing kites and searching for shells.
Again, there will be stalls selling food including mentarang and other seafood and corns etc, but what I would buy here are the fresh fish and other seafood on offer at great prices. Bring your Coleman or the white polystyrene box, so that your seafood stays fresh. Also in my radar, the ulam-ulaman that I can rarely get my hands on in KL.
There are other places or activities in Kuala Selangor, such as the many day-trip packages to Sky Mirror, eagle watching, fireflies, fishing etc. Pick your fancy, go and enjoy.
This is also on my list for our future girls’ trip.
Lunch would start at Asam Batu Laut Restaurant, where the must-have for me is the Assam fish. I can eat a whole fish by myself if I didn’t care about my waistline. Just enough spiciness, sourness and freshness to the fish to make it irresistible.
Another recommended dish which I’ve never tried though is the steamed fish with minced ginger. What I’ve tried and loved is the stir-fried sweet potato leaves and salted egg mantis prawn. Oh la la. Yummylicious. (The steamed lala is also delicious.)
Come early if you’re going for dinner as you’d want the tables by the seaside to enjoy the sunset. For lunch, a table under the fan would be more suitable due to the heat.
Rather than Pantai Morib, I’d take the ladies for a spin to Pantai Bagan Lalang. This is where Avani Sepang Gold Coast is located. If you have money to spare, their rooms are superb and recently refurbished.
To me, Pantai Bagan Lalang is less crowded, especially if you head to the part after Avani. The beach is also less steep, so it is safer for children to play in the waves or look for crabs. When it’s low tide, you can walk up to 300m-400m to the middle of the ocean.
There are plenty of shady seating areas and huts for you to sit and enjoy the view, especially of planes taking off and landing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, and the sunset. You can even camp on the beach. There are plenty of stalls along the beach selling souvenirs, beach accessories and food.
If you’re looking to have dinner before going home, I would recommend Restoran
Terapung HM Sri Bagan for the seafood of course. They also have the normal “goreng-goreng” ie mihun goreng etc. If you want a slightly less pricey seafood place, try Senandung Malam. You’d still get the sea- view, but you won’t be on the water like HM Sri Bagan.
Now, us ladies, some with a husband and kids at home etc, would go home before dark, but we’d make sure to stop by Kampung Kanchong Darat where several “kerepek” establishments are located and go to town buying “jajan”.
A good girls’ trip is all about the food, of course, the laughter and the views.
Next for day-trip consideration: Janda Baik, Seremban, Kuala Pilah, Bentong and Tanjung Malim.