Read about one of the most relaxing and stunning places to stay in Negeri Sembilan, The Dusun. With views over the misty mountain ranges from your bungalow or pool, this place does not disappoint.
Ah Kau is 65 years old and politely offers his hand to help me up a steeper section of the jungle track we are walking along. He's probably only 5 foot tall and if a strong wind blows it looks like it would knock him over-I'm thinking I may just launch him over my shoulder and over the head of my wife behind me, but appearances can be deceiving.
He easily hauls me up wearing an ear to ear smile across his tanned face-the father of 15 children and grandfather to forty grandkids has many talents. Ah Kau is just one of the many surprises in store for visitors to The Dusun, a small nature resort hidden in the hills above Pantai, a small village near Seremban.
More and more people are becoming aware of the area's combination of natural offerings with the subsequent man-made comforts to create a special place, a place for a re-generation of the soul if you like. The Dusun has been a weekend respite since 2009 to those fleeing the hustle and bustle of KL, looking to energize their life batteries and enter the fray of city life again. But now it's not just the locals who are kicking back by the infinity pools, overlooking rainforest as far as the eye can see. During my stay a musician from Germany was laying down tracks in-between flying to gigs on a South east Asian tour, practising his yoga poolside, reading under tall trees, home to the chirruping birds and the source of a constant shrill staccato tempo of cicadas. "May I have ice tea please?," chirrups a lady from Pittsburgh, USA.
Originally, The Dusun was the family retreat for Helen and David and their five children after years of hard work by them which began in 1984. They decided to share the same pleasures they gained from the area and their creations to others, by turning it into a nature resort in 2009. It's not just the five unique houses on-site that attract visitors back to the hills, some of which are traditionally made to allow cool air from the jungle to refresh the homes, it's the relationship the family has built with the community and the environment that sets them apart from other resorts. Only residents are hired from nearby kampungs (villages) giving visitors a taste of a simpler way of life. Our jungle guide Ah Kau has been a hunter gatherer most of his life and is a wealth of knowledge about the medicinal properties and traditional usage of everything that grows in the forest. Other locals can take you to the village and show you some of the ways of a traditional Malay kampung life such as the evening time when the heat recedes and most families migrate to the street where children play while parents chat or tend to their gardens.
The Dusun is a great option for overseas guests who prefer to stay out of the city lights which after a while all look the same and desire a more intimate, village style experience of Malaysia: And yes, there are some crawlies- this is after all, a rainforest. Being only one hour away from Kuala Lumpur you are ideally placed to make trips to the city if you like or head the other way for a day trip to the historic town of Malacca in the south. Ah Kau starts pulling some plants and roots from the rainforest floor as we return along the track to The Dusun. He makes a sturdy backpack with large leaves and flexible vines he cuts from the forest to store them and throws the backpack over his shoulders. The plants will be used for traditional medicines he uses on himself. He tells me he birthed all his 15 children himself with no help from doctors or nurses (three passed on), but they no longer use his traditional remedies, preferring hospitals and clinics.
We exit the forest and he pulls out a mobile phone to check his messages, you have to keep in touch when you have forty grandchildren. Just like the Dusun, the best of both worlds, in balance.
Photo-gallery below - click on picture to see full-frame.
WHAT: The Dusun WHERE: An hour south of Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia near Seremban in the state of Negeri Sembilan. WHEN: All year round. THINGS TO DO: Jungle walks, village visit, fishing, birdwatching (300 sighted species), relax, massage, read, recharge, visit historic Malacca, Port Dickson beaches or the wet markets in Seremban. For more visit Website: http://thedusun.com.my/