Located on the fringes of Seremban city in Negeri Sembilan, The Dusun (the Malay word for fruit orchard) is less than two hours away from our home and relatively easy to get to via the Lekas highway. Once we exit, a road sign labeled Pantai tells us we’re getting close.
We keep our eyes opened for the turnoff just after the mosque in Kampung Pantai. After a while you will notice several signs informing us that we are in the district of Pekan Broga and if youre into property development, Broga Hills are famous for some upcoming developments for the upper class dwellers who want classy living but away from the hustle and bustle of city life. I dont blame them.
This entire area is Malay land in a sense that the villages are all Malay villages and people have been here since time began, nestled in the valley and rainforest of Pekan Broga.
The quiet, winding road onwards, passes two schools then narrows after the Kampung Kolam Air junction.
We continue heading up…..and it’s steep…
An introduction to this paradise tucked away in the rainforest of Pekan Broga, Negri Sembilan
The lane leading to The Dusun is on the left and once through The Dusun’s resort gates and up the steep slope, we grab a parking space in front of the reception area. There’s also parking lower down on the hill, or if you are hesitant about the incline you can park at Perling House (being the newest to be built).
It’s pretty hairy looking though entirely navigable. One van parked near the Perling House and another up that steep slope to the Guest Parking zone. Its high up.
The Dusun is an 12 acre orchard resort close to Kuala Lumpur and its airports, although it feels like miles from anywhere. To be precise, it is only 1 hour 15 minutes south of Kuala Lumpur, 1 hour from the Kuala Lumpur International Airports and Low Cost Terminal (KLIA and KLIA2) and 30 minutes east of Seremban, the capital of Negeri Sembilan.
The Dusun is 800 feet above sea level in the foothills of the Titiwangsa Main Range, so expect cool nights. Next door is the Berembun Forest Reserve, 4,000 acres of protected virgin forest rising to 3,900 feet.
This is a dipterocarp forest, little known outside the orang asli community, which is rich in birds and plant life of all kinds. The tigers died out a generation ago, but there are still wild boar and deer, although what you are more likely to see are giant millipedes, monkeys – and leeches. The Batang Penar river arises in this reserve and is a main source of water for Seremban.
The Dusun’s nearest neighbours are two Temuan villages. Harvesting the jungle is still a vital part of their economy and lifestyle, although they also have rubber trees and work for cash in nearby farms and factories. Most of our staff are from this community. The orang asli knowledge of the jungle is unparalleled and they are proud to share it with visitors.
Pantai is in the Seremban district of Negeri Sembilan. Negeri is a unique state in Malaysia. Most of its original Malay population came from the Padang region of Sumatra in the 18th and 19th centuries, and so are matrilineal Minangkabau in culture. They also have a distinctive cuisine, which is celebrated in the Dusun kitchen. And their food, whether it be lunch or the famous barbeque, is simply wonderful!!
I’ve taken a little from what this couple said on their website at http://thedusun.com.my/nature-resort and I quote.
“This small nature resort began as a simple retreat from the city for our family. In 1984, Helen put an ad in the Malay Mail to purchase a rural lot. Walking through a rubber smallholding in Negeri Sembilan, she looked out to the Mantin hills and fell in love.”
All the rubber trees were removed and durian seedlings were planted by Helen, David and their five children. Lovingly developed over the years, the family always referred to their home as the Dusun, or the Orchard.
When it became apparent that others love the Dusun as much as we do, Helen and David decided to turn it into a nature resort in 2009. Starting with two houses, the Dusun expanded one house at a time to only five houses. Each house is unique and set apart from the others so guests can enjoy privacy and a sense of space, what this family most enjoys.
The Dusun honours sustainable development in farming and building, which has created a beautiful and healthy environment. The family has a good relationship with the local community. The business only hires from nearby kampungs and shops from small entrepreneurs and other interesting responsible businesses. Activities are designed to raise awareness of Malaysia’s beautiful natural heritage and support local traditions, communities and NGOs.
Life on the Dusun may be surprising to some, but it is designed for those who enjoy fresh air, lush greenery, jungle views, lingering meals with loved ones, peaceful strolls and the wonderfully uncoordinated orchestra of the birds, crickets and frogs. Unquote.
For us as a family, this was our first time venturing out of our house this far. We have of course travelled as far as the East Coast to Cherating to another resort namely Ruby’s Resort, Cherating not far from Kuantan. But thats too far to travel, it took over six hours to get there. Not again.
This place is much nearer and recommended if youre looking for something closer and just as nice and peaceful. A perfect place to explore Nature, the Orang Asli, the nearby Waterfalls or just being yourself surrounded by animals, birds and taking in the fresh jungle air which is sorely missing in town life. A time to sit back, unwind and relax.
There are two infinity pools at the Dusun shared by 5 houses so that guests can enjoy a sense of space and privacy. Both pools are surrounded by timber decking and furnished with carved benches and loungers. The pool close to Perling House has a children’s wading pool.
Each house has a kitchen equipped with basic crockery, pots and pans. The spice rack has tumeric, cili powder and coriander powder. Cooking oil, salt, sugar, soy sauce, instant coffee and tea are also available in each kitchen. Guests may request fresh ground coffee from the Patio Kitchen.
Breakfast is included in the house rates. They have a different breakfast each day along with fresh fruit, fresh juice, brewed coffee and tea. The main breakfast is usually Malaysian fare; toast and eggs are available for those who prefer a light breakfast. Nasi Lemak (a typical malaysian staple breakfast – which I will feature along with the barbeque in the second part of this Dusun travel article).
They also have a small (but good) menu that they send to guests upon confirmation of bookings. Barbeque, Minangkabau and Pasta sets are available and need to be ordered at least five days before your stay. They do not cater menus on Sundays.
The patio is shaded by huge Angsana trees and surrounded by lush gardens. We serve breakfast and cook our catered meals for guests here. This kitchen and dining area is strictly halal. Being a perfect place to celebrate and gather, it can accommodate 20 people for a sit down meal, and 40 people for special occasions on arrangement. See map of the orchard, facilties and house locations above.
Although they are situated on a hill, there is one flat garden area for events, games and gatherings. It has a winding path that ends on a semi-circle crafted for wedding vows and speeches.
They provide one parking lot for each house on the resort level. There is more parking space a little walk away. Dont forget the lowest level where park one of our cars.
Our fully equipped houses allow guests a great deal of privacy. But the management does provide daily housekeeping, so don’t hesitate to leave the dishes for them!.
The beautiful scenery and off-the-grid nature of the Dusun makes it a popular place to spend quality time with loved ones. One frequently finds generations of a family meeting here for a few days of cooking, eating and relaxing. It seems like a good opportunity to capture these beautiful moments.
The management happens to have a neighbour who is an illustrious photographer. The following photography packages available with Nikt Wong for guests.
Family Package: max 4 people, each additional person RM350 (including children)
5 scenes: RM 2800 (1 day)
8 scenes: rm3500 (2 days)
5 scenes: rm2500 (1 day)
8 scenes: rm3200 (2 days)
– face and hair touch-up
– clothes/ color/ accessory styling**
– free preparation phone consultation
– online viewing of photos and slideshow (password protected)
– 3 complimentary A4 size prints
– CD of final edited high-res photos
– 8 hours of shooting with posed and casual scenes per day**
* bring your own accessories and clothes
** it is advised to book your slot at least 2 weeks in advance
As stated on their website…
How to book:
“Book house(s) on the Dusun via our online booking system and write in the comments that you would like to book a photography session. Please ensure you leave a correct phone number. The booking email you receive from our booking staff will include Nikt Wong’s contact details. We will book Nikt’s time and he will follow up accordingly”
“Some call it responsible tourism, others call it eco-friendliness” but it’s what they try to do that makes the difference. More on this couple, their staff and their eco-friendly business:-
Helen and David bought this little piece of hill in 1984. It was a rubber estate with no water source or electricity. Haanim was 7-years old and played with kids in the neighbouring village. Helen and David started hiring some of the villagers who had helpful local knowledge and skills.
As a resort (est 2010) their policy is to hire as close as possible, prioritizing the Orang Asli (Original People) villages, where employment opportunities are few. We looked a bit further for our Assistant Manager, but kept their search within the matriarchal state of Negeri Sembilan.
They also try to generate side businesses for others in the community. A lady from Pantai runs their kitchen as her own business. Her son who is studying catering at college helps her on the weekends. The jungle trek is guided by Ah Kau, a former hunter/ gatherer. He keeps all the fees paid. The Bird Watching Tour is run by a retired couple who live nearby. All proceeds from this tour go to the Bird Conservation Council.
The do however have strict booking guidelines to ensure low density and minimal noise. Not just because they live there, but also out of respect for the other residents of Pantai Hills.
They focus on causes around nature conservation and Orang Asli welfare. During the floods in early 2015 they donated to the Centre For Orang Asli Concerns, who distributed relief aid to Orang Asli villages not reached by government aid.
A very exciting programme by MyCat called Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) allows everyone to contribute towards saving Malayan Tigers. We sponsored a camera and some of our team camped in the jungle to help set it up. Here is the documentation of that adventure.
This is how they operate within the community and environment. Some find their policies cumbersome, but they want to preserve this beautiful place for as long as possible. And they do everything they can to preserve the quiet, so they can all enjoy the rare tropical orchestra of birds, bugs and frogs.
There are in total six houses. Photo of their sixth, The Perling Bukit is not included, sorry. I roamed everywhere throughout the 12 acres and all their houses looked amazing….so here goes…look at all of them.
I will in the second part go more into details about these houses especially the Emas House, where we stayed. the third part will no doubt talk about the food, the breakfast, lunch and our private barbecue with all the delicious photos to boot. So keep your wits about you and lookout for the 2nd part!!:-)
“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”