Stayed 3D2N, 5 families. There were 32 of us (19 kids and 13 adults (2 senior citizens >70 y/o). MRL is basically a farm stay programme, not luxury hotel, so no housekeeping during your stay and they expect you to clean up after yourself (no problems with us). Communal bathroom was a new concept for all our city kids used to more luxurious hotel stays but they took it all in stride. But the 2 elderly missed en-suite bathroom for night-time convenience. The bathrooms and toilets were always clean. Sleeping arrangements consist of platform bed in each room with single mattresses for each person. They have rooms fitting from 2 to 7 persons. The rooms at the new Mollison lodge has proper beds. The Main lodge and Lovelock lodge rooms open up to a beautiful garden. Remember to close doors to keep bugs out. Plenty of hammocks to laze in and enjoy the beautiful garden and breeze. Well stocked library with reading chairs and tables for board games. Even an old piano which plays very well! Meals were canteen style buffet, dining in open air. Lovely, lovely. Meals were homecooked by a local cook, so don’t expect a gourmet experience. They used plenty of fresh vege harvested from their own garden. Electricity from 7-11pm with very limited phone service, so it forces everyone to interact with each other and forget about work!
Had BBQ on the first night (pot luck style, but the staff started the fire for us). It was raining when we arrived and the staff were so kind to put up big umbrellas around the BBQ pit so nobody got wet. The cold weather from the rain made the BBQ atmosphere superb. The kids had movie time on a big projector after dinner while the adults chatted to their heart's content.
Next day, all of us braved the jungle to look for the elusive Rafflesia flower. We were taken by 2 trucks to the starting point. The kids enjoyed the ride in open air rickety truck. What an experience! Much to our surprise, the kids outpaced the adults and located the flower first. The trek was quite challenging for us professionals with steep slopes and crossing streams but it was a really lovely adventure for the children. The guides were extremely helpful, clearing the path for us, literally digging stepping holes into the muddy slopes for us to use as climbing paths, laying down rocks as stepping stones in the stream so we won't get our shoes wet and putting bamboos onto muddy trails so we won't get stuck in the mud! Of course jungle wouldn't be complete without leeches and I would have to say our group should be considered lucky as only one out of 30 of us were bitten! Despite the muscle ache after the 5 hour trek, we came out of the jungle with happy memories and a good tea break waiting for us back at the lodge. Some of us felt the 5 hour trek was too long, but it all depended on the location of the Rafflesia as they have no control over where the flower would bloom. Oh, packed lunch consisted of sandwiches, crackers and an apple was provided for the trek. But we have to bring our own drinking water. Some of us finished our water and got a bit dehydrated. So remember to bring more water because you will sweat and the jungle is warm and humid – no use bringing sweaters.
After tea break, the kids were already restless and hunting for things to do. Peng Kiat (the lodge owner) sportingly organized an impromptu volleyball and football game for the kids while the adults had a snooze! And it was the best volleyball experience for the kids (aged 8 -16!). That night we had a bonfire outing and the staff kindly drove up the 2 elderly and kids who were too tired to walk while the rest walked up to the bonfire site. They even prepared supper for us!
The final day we went on a food forest farm tour showing us their innovative technique of planting vege in autopot system. I'm very glad that all our city kids can see how vege are grown. The tour was complete with explanation on the farming technique which I believe we wouldn't otherwise get if we just walked into any farm up in Cameron.
Finally, a short forest hike up to a small waterfall nearby the lodge. It was a fun walk, crossing streams with more interesting flora to see. The children spotted a boulder full of wood fungi, some species of wild banana flowering plus enormous ginger pine plants with beautiful flowers. All 16 children squeezed into the miniscule wading pool at the waterfall - but that made for a good photo shoot of kids frolicking at nature's best hidden secret spots. Then we were treated to a complimentary brunch (simple noodles and fruits but fully appreciated as the children were tired, hungry and dirty after the waterfall outing).
And then it was good-bye time. Everyone was sad to leave MRL. I would say that this has been a gloriously fun holiday experience for all the families who came. I am truly amazed that a local family started and managed this place. A part of me wants to keep MRL as M'sia's best kept secret but I think it would be very selfish not to share this wonderful place with the rest of the world. We were made to feel like a family there and it feels like home away from home.
Many thanks again to the elder Mr Khoo and wife, Nancy who chatted non-stop with everyone, Tamme the lodge supervisor(?), Peng Kiat the lodge owner (I presumed) who personally came and made sure everyone had a good time and everything was well. To Vincent, William, Faja, John, Apel (the forest guide) the cook and other people who have made our stay truly memorable, all 32 of us would like to thank you very much.
Just like to mention a few caveat, if you like down to earth nature and warm hospitality, MRL is for you. If you're looking for high class luxury impersonal experience, then MRL is not for you. I feel that MRL is best for big groups. Couples may find it boring unless you’re there just to get away from life and back to nature. You will get dirty, sweaty, tired and loads of fun, fun and fun! Go with your best buddies!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Moonriver Lodge is a family owned farmstay nestled in a valley of the lush mountains of Sigar Highlands. We are located half an hour away from the hustle bustle of Cameron Highlands. This is a space where children can roam freely along the food garden paths, run through the food tunnel and play with Webby the duck or Zorro the cat. This is a space where nature lovers can watch hummingbirds and butterflies drinking nectar from the flowers and listen out for the distant call of the monkeys. Here at Moonriver Lodge, we provide not just a relaxing stay but also the opportunity to learn about nature and growing food and to participate in day-to-day farming activities. Go on a trek to see the second largest flower in the world - the magnificent Rafflesia Kerrii. Hop onto the back of our tractors and join a farm tour or participate in one of our fun gardening programmes to teach your children to how food is grown. Harvest fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from our garden to prepare a healthy, organic meal. Whatever you do here at Moonriver Lodge, you are bound to leave our gates rejuvenated but with a heavy heart to part with a place you wish was your second home. Because that's what we try to provide - a comfortable, beautiful home. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Moonriver Hotel Cameron Highlands