It’s a dark and cloudy night. There is no diffused moonlight, no brilliant starlight, no streetlamp. There is no firefly flaunting its bioluminescence ass, nor Tinker Bell and her pixie dust to usher our path. All we have is Jo‘s car headlamps to provide visibility of the pothole-ingested road ahead.
Calling this land a “road” is kinda reaching. It’s actually a stretch of rocky terrain, holey being a fitting adjective. But where smooth boulevards are lacking, the signage is something KLIA 2 could really benefit from. At every crossroad, there is a clearly marked signboard, followed by a red arrow.
After what feels like ages of careful manoeuvring, Broady, Jo, Nat (remember her from my birthday on the helipad?) and I finally arrive at a closed gate. It is way past the check in time, as evident by the pitch black sky. For awhile, I think we are screwed, when the gate slides slightly and a stocky man in red strides up. Nat winds down her window and we look at him apologetically. We’re the idiots who decided to show up 8 hours past the check-in time. Please don’t be mad.
He smiles and says “Agoda? Ingat tak jadi sampai.”
I look ahead at a board attached to the gate, at the bold words confirming our location: REFRESHING SPRINGS RESORT.
Upon entering the main gate, the first thing we notice is how the mildew kiss the air. There is an atmosphere of quietude, interluded with breaths of fresh country air. The trees, the grass, every plant is trimmed to please.
We park the car on the perfectly mowed grass. From here, the man in red (we learn that his name is Ahmad) gives us a ride on a buggy to our chalet.
I’ve stayed in my share of jungle resorts. On top of accommodating us, they usually house a nice collection of creepy-crawlies, not to mention a healthy amount of grime, all part and parcel of the great outdoors. However, our chalet is surprisingly clean. Save for a couple of stray mosquitos and that one lizard Nat had to catch with a plastic bag, the place is really unnaturally clean for a nature resort. Not that I’m complaining.
We are city kids craving a quick nature fix. 3 days 2 nights in this secluded nature site did the trick. There is also the added bonus that the resort is only an hour drive from the Klang Valley. Despite that, only Celcom users get service (“I will follow you”, huh?). For most people, it’s pretty much an unplug from digital mingling.
The place isn’t very big. One can probably walk the entire compound within half an hour. But the sights are pretty. Colourful lanterns dangle from a clothes line. The vegetation is beautifully manicured. There’s a fish pond, lots of trees, and a river. When the currents are acceptable, you can waddle in the stream. The safety benchmark is, ‘can you see the river bed’?
There’s also a humble-size lake with paddle boats. The water’s clarity does leave something to be desired though. The lake has fishes, whose presence we discovered when a kitchen staff dumped a plate full of watermelon rinds into the water.
A climbing wall sits next to the lake. A flying fox is slung from the top of the wall to the other end of the lake. The fee for each activity is RM15.
RM15 might be worth the short thrill (depending on one’s perspective), but we did neither. Seasoned outdoor junkies have probably scaled higher walls and swung from flying foxes many times that length and height- these look a little tame in comparison.
There’s also a paintball field, built into the hilly terrain and its trees. Adjacent to the field is a water slide. A water source must be turn on for its use. The following is a video on how not to use a water slide:
And then, of course, the namesake- a hot spring. The water smells like fart, which is a good thing, because that indicates the presence of sulphur, which means the hot spring is au natural. It’s not some pathetic man-made creation of warmed mineral solvent. It is actual geothermally heated water from the Earth’s crust- or so I think. I can find no internet source to confirm this.
Authenticity aside, the water is crystal clear. There are two pools. One with warmer water than the other. We wade across both springs, of course. Just sitting in the warm waters will make one sweat. I can only hope some fats melted away to compensate my coming gluttony.
Speaking of gluttony, the resort is home to a thicket of durian trees. Durians fall from trees like hotcakes during the season- of which now isn’t. Not durian season, I mean. So we have to contend with frozen durians from the freezer.
Which is better than nothing. Never say no to durians, is my motto.
You know, durian eating- it’s a national sport.
Since this post is starting to feel a lot like a review, I will talk about the food. Other than breakfast, there is no food, unless you order ahead for RM23 per pax. The alternative is to take a pothole-ridden drive out to hunt down a nosh. However, the manager, Andrew is very helpful, and will give you a ride in his 4-wheel drive.
Last but not least, here’s a durian meme. Because a durian meme is always relevant.