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A place for a motorhead to retire - Janda Baik, Pahang, Malaysia

By Rigval on 28 Jul 2011

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One of the things about Peninsular Malaysia that I totally dig is the fact that there are highland roads. These roads cut through the Titiwangsa Mountain Range which sits right in the middle of the peninsular. This mountain range allows for roads that cut and carve through the hills, mountains and valleys and on these roads is where motoring enthusiasts from all around the peninsular flock to. A drive up Cameron Highlands, Fraser's Hill or even up to Genting Highlands is usually a memorable one and for me, it is home. One to these destinations is someplace which I would love to retire to someday – Janda Baik in the Bentong district of Pahang, Malaysia.

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Loosely translated as the Good Widow (or divorcee – but locals use Widow as it has the same meaning and it isn't so controversial), Janda Baik is located right smack within the Malaysian countryside. It is a small Malay village of about 1,000 inhabitants surrounded by the Malaysian rainforest at an altitude of about 700meters above sea level. It is located right beside Bukit Tinggi town, close by Genting Sempah and therefore, a close neighbour of Genting Highlands as well as being only 40 minutes or so from Kuala Lumpur. And those that are familiar with the area would recognize that this area has some of the best driving roads in this region.

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But enough about the driving and my overblown description of how much I love the roads around here. The reason why I would just love to buy a house and retire here (with my imaginary 911 GT3RS - Right now any sweet handling Impreza, Swift or Civic would do) is the fact that it is so idyllic, peaceful, quaint and homely. It is quaint as if you look at the photo above you'll see that even the fire station is actually a volunteer fire station. And that red car parked in front of it isn't the fire engine.

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It is quaint as the local favourite joint, Andak's Place, has a map that spells out 'Nowhere' and 'Somewhere Else'. It is also quaint in that when I ordered prawn fritters the waiter there said that the item cannot be sold for the moment as the person preparing it had gone on a holiday. I settled for a plate of 'Ah Seng' Fried Rice – prepared by a Malay chap from a recipe he got from a chap named Ah Seng who lived over in Bukit Tinggi town. Quaint isn't it?

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It is idyllic as it also has crystal clear streams flowing through the area, the inhabitants and owners of the houses, chalets, homestays here are lucky. Great to soak your feet in after a hard days work, or in my case after hard work attacking the Ulu Yam-Goh Tong Jaya 'Ring'. It's either scenic mountain stream a or the fact that your house perched on top of a small hill overlooks the countryside. Both are truly awesome. And then when it gets dark, everything slows down like nothing city folks can imagine. Only one or two food stalls and sundry shops are open and everything else is dark. Some roads do not even have street lights and it feels like you're in a horror movie.

For those of you that want to check out Janda Baik there are lots of homestays and chalets. There is one large hotel there called the Cherengin Hills & Spa Resort and the food there is pretty good too. There are other smaller resorts and homestays as I've mentioned. Take a look at this homestay/chalet below that seems to be made out of a weave from 'mengkuang' leaves if I am not mistaken.

Oh yes. The roads around here are superb. Oh, I have mentioned that before haven't I? I'm sorry. I can't seem to help it.

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advice, malaysia and 6 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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Drafting88 Jul 28 2011 05:56 PM
i enjoy this journal.

Rigval Jul 29 2011 12:14 AM
Thank you. It was a pleasure typing it.
Xeonic Jul 29 2011 01:22 AM
Hi Hi,

I was curious if you have the GPS co-ordinates to the placE? I am kind of keen to try out the road... :)
Rigval Jul 29 2011 08:44 AM
Hi Xeonic, Sorry I do not have actual GPS co-ods. The thing about this area is that nearly ALL the roads are good to drive up to. You can start from the Middle Ring Road II down in KL and the take the old road up to genting sempah onwards to bentong. From there you can either go down to bukit tinggi town (left) or right, up towards janda baik. straight gets you to bentong (which is also good). as for ulu-yam - goh tong jaya stretch, do a search as lots of local enthusiasts use that way for a weekend drive up to genting highlands. The road up to the bukit tinggi colmar tropicale resort slightly further down is also a splendid drive. but some of these roads are good on weekdays as weekend mornings and afternoons are filled with tourists and enthusiasts.

Xeonic Aug 12 2011 02:16 PM
Thanks Rigval...

Will go and try out the roads sometime later this year.. :)
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