The Malaysian homestay experience may have some similarities with the bed and breakfast concept in Europe, but there the similarity ends. It’s not only a retreat for those wanting to escape the city, it’s a lesson in life about humanity, patience, and for us, Malaysians, our heritage and traditions. The East Coast of Malaysia is the epitome of the Malay culture and heritage. Homestays in the east coast will definitely give you a glimpse of that traditional world. Let’s check out some of them:
Homestay Desa Murni, Temerloh – Pahang
As the pioneer homestays, the five villages of Desa Murni in Temerloh, Pahang remain a much sought after home away from home even after more than 20 years.
At these villages, immerse yourself in your adopted family’s way of life. Many of them are rubber tapers so get the opportunity to learn how to tap a rubber tree. Mind you, it’s not as easy as it looks. Perhaps you would like to try your hands at catching the patin fish or freshwater silver catfish which this district is famous for. Then, you can learn the Pahang’s most favourite way to cook the fish – ikan patin masak lemak. The yellowish gravy and slightly watery recipe is definitely delicious but an acquired taste at the same time.
While staying at the village, let your adopted family bring you to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre in Lanchang to have a close interaction with the elephants and visit the Deerland Park nearby where you can learn and interact with deers and also other animals such as sun bears, ostriches and snakes.
If you are into eco-adventure, you can choose to go to for a hiking and climbing at the nearby Gunung Senyum and also explore the caves at the foot of the mountain.
Homestay Desa Murni
Lot 1674 Jalan Homestay
Desa Murni Sanggang,
28020 Temerloh, Pahang, Malaysia
Contact Person: Khairul Hakimin bin Sahariman (+609 284 7949 / +6019 – 2243 805)
Homestay Taman Sedia, Cameron Highlands – Pahang
What is great about this homestay is it is located on the highland, which means cool breezy weather all day long and a breath of fresh air. Taman Sedia is the first Malay settlement in Cameron Highlands and is located between the town of Tanah Rata and Brinchang.
Imagine staying at a home with a strawberry farm in the backyard, it will be a dream come true for some of us. And when there is a strawberry farm, there must be strawberry- related activities in the list of things to do at the village, right? Well, for a start, you will have the opportunity to eat strawberry fresh off the tree and then they will teach you how to make strawberry ice cream and strawberry jam.
Besides the strawberry farms, you can also visit various flowers and vegetable farms, a cactus valley, and various tea plantations that can be found all over the highland. Take a break at one of the tea plantations to sip a hot cup of tea while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the tea valley.
For the more adventurous, try hiking to one of the most popular waterfalls in Cameron Highlands, the Robinson Waterfall, or trekking all the way up to the bewitching Mossy Forest.
Homestay Taman Sedia
Kg. Taman Sedia
39000 Tanah Rata, Pahang
Contact Person: Mohd Zulkifli Daud (+6019 -578 2044)
Homestay Teluk Ketapang – Terengganu
Kampung Teluk Ketapang is a small fishing village where visitors can experience the traditional Terengganu way of life.
During your stay, you will have the opportunity to observe how local dishes are prepared and help out in the kitchen, test your skill in making keropok lekor (popular traditional Terengganu’s fish snack), witness a traditional Malay wedding and play traditional games such as congkak, a type of mancala game and the word congkak came from the old Malay word ‘congak’ which refers to the mental calculation practiced in this game.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the mangrove swamp river where you will be greeted by various species of wild animals such as colourful birds, monitor lizards, monkeys and even otters.
You can also visit one of the riverside villages to get a closer look on the traditional lifestyle of a Terengganu village, as well as participate in cottage industry tour such as an attap leave roof weaving and coconut sugar making.
Homestay Teluk Ketapang
Balai Raya Kg Teluk Ketapang
Seberang Takir, Terengganu
Contact Person: Md. Azmi (+6013 – 923 4837)
Homestay Seterpa – Kelantan
The silent whisper of ripening paddy fields swaying gently in the wind greets visitors, as they step into Kampung Seterpa. Running barefoot, a small boy pushes his small tricycle across the beaten footpath at the edge of the paddy fields. A rooster crows loudly, breaking the deafening silence.
Located 16 kilometers from Kota Bharu in Kelantan, Kampung Seterpa is the nearest homestay village to the city centre. Kampung Seterpa, derived from the Kelantan dialect ‘serepak’ (meeting place), is a wonderful experience for those wanting a taste of traditional village life.
The villagers are warm and friendly, and immediately put you at ease with their lively chatter. Sip a coconut (or two!) to quench your thirst and take in the beautiful surroundings. Served with traditional pastries, ‘tepung pelita’ and munching on local fruit, jambu air, life here is pleasant and slow paced.
No traffic jams for miles, just the chorus of quacking ducks, chickens and buffalo. Breathe in the fresh, morning air as you watch the sun rise during your stay here. Make a date with the farmers to explore the village with its many interesting activities or even try a hand at paddy farming!
On a windy day, fly the ubiquitous and colourful wau (kite) while running across the paths to the paddy fields. Collect freshwater snails, see the mischievous monkey pick a ripe coconut or dance to the tunes of the ancient ‘dikir barat’.
You’ll definitely enjoy your stay here at Kampung Seterpa, don’t forget to share the memories!
Homestay Kg. Seterpa
Lot 112 Taman Indah, Kg. Seterpa
Jalan Penggawa Matsaat
16150, Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Contact Person: Dr. Mohamed Saat bin Hj Ismail (09-765 7685 / 019-939 3553)
Homestay Nelayan Pantai Suri – Kelantan
Greeted by a dozen ducks, quacking a cacophonic welcome, is a pleasant surprise as one sets foot on dry land at Pantai Suri Village. Goats and sheep wander aimlessly, chewing on small shrubs. Everything seems peaceful and very laidback.
The journey to the small island of Kampung Pantai Suri is a 20 minutes boat ride. The village sits at the estuary of the Kelantan River near Tumpat, and is near the South China Sea. Get a glimpse of the life of the villagers’, most of whom are fishermen, as they go out to sea early in the morning.
There are no cars here, only motorcycles and bicycles. Most villagers prefer to walk as the homes are situated closely to one another. As you walk, feel the sand under your feet. The coconut trees’ swaying gently in the wind and everyone knows everyone in the village of 450 people.
Try your hand at making the crunchy kuih sepit (love letters), or savour the tasty and mouth-watering local delicacy, kerabu nipah (palm salad) and play congkak with locals.
Watch too, bees’ fly aimlessly, stopping from flower to flower, as ciku trees start to bear fruits. Roosters walk majestically in the village, watching the village ducks wrestling for a morsel or two.
Dried fish is laid out to dry under the hot sun, to make salted fish. Friendly cats warm up to you as you stroll by. A bicycle lies unattended besides the withered bamboo fence. Life is simple, and this is Pantai Suri at its best.
Homestay Nelayan Pantai Suri
d/a Persatuan Nelayan Kawasan Tumpat Kompleks Perikanan LKIM Geting
16080 Tumpat, Kelantan
Contact Person: Ramly Ibrahim (+6014 – 847 4865)