Thursday, May 26, 2016

Stingless Bee Farm @ Bentong

It has been estimated by scientists that if bees were to suddenly extinct, humans would also go extinct within seven years as agriculture, forests and the entire food pyramid collapses in turn. My trip to the Stingless Bee Farm in Bentong exposed me to the world of bees that humbled me. Nature's power is coded in such an amazing manner that left me amused.
At the Bee Farm @ Bentong
If you are in Bentong, do not miss the chance to visit the The Melipoly Bee Farm which is just a 2-minute drive away from Bilut Adventure Park and in the compounds of Valley Agro Park. 1 1/2 hours' drive away from Kuala Lumpur, there is a farm that rears stingless bees. 
You must be wondering why they are not like the hives we usually see
Unlike the honey bee that we usually have in mind, the Kelulut bee is much smaller and is harmless to humans. They do have stings but they are too weak to penetrate human skin. As they are inferior to the fierce honey bee, they build their hives in hollow trunks of trees to protect themselves from weather and predators. Therefore, when you enter the farm, you will be greeted by little "houses" made of tree stumps at heights you that you can reach.
The bee farm is very safe and tranquil
This farm accepts visitors to their farm in groups of minimum 10 pax by appointment. Opening hours of the farm is from daylight to dusk. This place is not only a honey factory but also an educational place for adults and children alike. Read on to know what I learnt from my trip.
Listen attentively. Explanation is full of nutritious info
Stingless bees are smaller and lesser in population. Therefore, the amount of honey produced is lesser than the yield from honey bees. But bear in mind, their honey is no lesser in nutrition and taste.
Honey is contained in sacs made up of bees wax
Honey is produced and stored inside the tree trunk in sacs. When it has reached its maximum space, the bees will store them in the compartment provided by humans. As rental, humans will reap the golden liquid which the bees have so industriously produced when the the space is full.
Sucking raw honey out of the sacs
Interestingly, not every sac of honey tastes the same. Depending on the flower or plant the bee has extracted the nectar from, the honey will differ in taste. Thus, honey is a combination of nectar from countless species of plants making it nutritious and one of nature's most complete foods. Generally, honey from the Kelulut bee is more watery and sourish. To me, it is just as yummy!
Eating raw, unprocessed honey straight from the hive
Bees are one of the most important animals in the world. Other than producing this amber-coloured liquid, they are extremely helpful in pollination. They help disseminate spores and pollens to ensure continuity of plants.
Appreciation for nature so silently powerful
Honey is potent for skin, hair, wounds, voice and many more. Its healing benefits come from sap of trees which branches have broken, excreted by the plant to heal itself. Honey produced is a reflection of its surroundings. A healthy and organic rain forest as the bees surroundings, in absence of pollution, will result in good quality honey.
The Kelulut bee defense system
Very organic and simplistic decorative composition
Streamlet that defines the bee territory. CDs are hung to chase monkeys away
A homespun but charismatic bridge
If a visit into the farm is not possible without the minimum head count (even after appeal), there are real hives displayed at the Bee Museum for your spectacle as well. Here, visitors can purchase the Kelulut bee honey and other products like royal jelly and propolis which are highly sought after as aging antidotes and beauty elixirs.
Bee Museum
Charming landscape
My trip to the Stingless Bee Farm made me build respect for the bee. So small yet so powerful and generous in its contribution to life of other beings on Earth. Experience it yourself! Remember to end the enlightening experience with some golden honey and an irresistible honey lemon ice tube!
Cooling down with a much needed honey lemon ice tube on a hot day
Discover the many benefits of honey
Pure honey is precious and is worth is seen by its price
Melipoly Bee Farm
PT 44, KM 13, Mukin Tras, 27600 Raub Pahang
Tel: 03-77333921

Melipoly Enterprise Sdn. Bhd.
Suite 623 Block A Damansara Intan
Jalan SS20/27
47400 Petaling Jaya

More reads about bees

Monday, May 23, 2016

Escapade in Valley Agro Park @ Bentong

After toiling in the city day in day out, my ruffled soul cried for some balm. Enough of emails, quick meals and traffic jams. The only jam I wanted to take was of the delicious variety and preferably, the organic kind. I did not have to go far to find my escape. Just 1 1/2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, there is a paradise with lush vegitation and raw mountainous water.
Time for lunch at Agro Valley Park!
Valley Agro Park is a hide-away in between Bentong and Raub in Pahang. The 18-acre swathe of land has been made home to a plantation which provides fresh and organic fruits, vegetables and livestock.
Verdant surroundings
Surrounded by mountains, vast greenery thrives as unpolluted water flows to irrigate the soil and clean air envelopes every pore with oxygen. This farm offers opportunity for relaxation in two ways- through food and stay.
Fish farmed in unpolluted water

The way through a man's heart is through his stomach. And I can guarantee too that it works for women too! Feed yourself with food that is harvested from chemical-free ground, cooked with inherited home-town recipes and served with a view of natural landscapes.
Rearing Talapia fish with fresh water from the mountain
Indoor seating of restaurant
I sat outside to assimilate with nature
When in a place like this, I like to match my drink with the theme-go natural! Natural sugar from sugar cane water. It is not only freshly squeezed, it is organically grown. While deciding on the drink is easy, the variety of food and cooking styles here will make you fickle.
Fresh organic sugar cane
Pumpkin beancurd was the prelude of lunch and it managed to give a commendable impression of the food here. Doused with thick pumpkin gravy, Japanese toufu was accompanied with bak choy and slices of button mushroom. I could make out that there is superior soup cleverly enhancing the taste of pumpkin puree. Before long, my rice was shrouded in golden gravy.
Pumpkin Bean Curd
RM12(S) RM16(M) RM20(B)
The free-ranged chicken does not need fancy cooking to showcase its worth. Choicely steamed with rice wine, the kampung chicken stood out with its innate flavour and firm texture. The Yoke Lan dip is made of ginger and gives a unique articulation to the dish.
Yoke Lan Chicken
RM30(S) RM45(M) RM60(B)
The Claypot Sweet Potato Leaves is cooked to satisfaction. Although merely salted, its tender stems and leaves are enough to derive satisfaction for its texture. The taste of vegetables free from pesticides has a subtle appeal.
Claypot Sweet Potato Leaves
RM8(S) RM12(M) RM16(B)
Fresh water fish bred in mountain water makes dishes like the Grilled Nyonya Style Talapia irresistible. The Nyonya style curry is appetizing and made me top my gut with two more bowls of rice. A tactful hint of sourness teases the palate and aromatic enough to raise the eyebrow. Freshness of fish is obvious with every bite.
Grilled Nyonya Style Tilapia in Foil Packets
After the talapia, it was the catfish's turn to flaunt its tender flesh baste with soy sauce and pepped with green peppers. Its freshness is pronounced and could still charm our taste buds although challenged with nearly full stomachs.
Green Pepper Steamed Catfish/ Grass Carp Fish
The eggplant dish appeared nothing more than ordinary until I found out that those spongy pouches among them are not toufu pok but fish pok! I could not get enough of those gravy-filled fish pok as its texture is out of this world! A combination of a springy fish meat enclosed in a spongy pouch, also made of fish, containing gravy that will squirt out the moment it is bitten.
Claypot Braised Eggplant Fishcurd
RM8(S) RM12(M) RM16(B)
That contented face
Organic passion fruit and bananas for sale

Valley Agro Farm Chalet
Tucked away from the city, visitors can take their escapade a little further by staying at the plantation. The pastoral feel of a village is certainly invigorating and transports the body, mind and soul far from the everyday grind. Unless, of course, if you still check your email (signal is still available).
A village feel
Although the serene environment surrounded by mountains, greenary and cool water nurses the soul, it does not mean you cannot stay active and enjoy excitement. There are many activities for you to stay occupied...just not the iPad kind of activities. Check out things to do in Valley Agro Park:
A place surrounded by water
1. Valley Agro Hill
Celebrate the start of a new day by watching the sunrise over a picnic breakfast.

2. Fishing
Visitors may fish here free of charge. Catch and release is allowed but fishes will be charged based on their weight if visitors wish to take their catch. Fishers must prepare their own fishing equipment and may inform the staff if they want to cook their fish. Fishing time is between 1pm to 8pm.

3. Animal Park
Get to know other beings in the animal park.

4. Vegetable Garden
Watch the many stages of vegetable growth from sprout to fully grown. A great experience for families who wish to teach their children about the origin of vegetables. By seeing the process and effort needed for these vegetables to grow and reach to our plates, we will appreciate them more.

5. River and Streamlets
Children and adults alike can dip into the river and streamlets to feel the cool rush of water.

6. House of Bees- Bee Museum
Enter the mystical world of bees in their natural environment at the bee farm. Pure honey from stingless bees is produced here. Bees collect the essence from thousands of flowers to produce E-Honey. It is full of health benefits as is rich in nutrients. Check it out here.

7. Ride the ATV 
Mount on the four-wheeler for a gush of excitement through the palm oil estate. Check it out here.
Accomodation built above water
8. Chill on a Tree House
If you never got the chance to hang out in a tree house, overlooking the garden from atop, you can find it here! A sturdy tree house for you to rest and relax in while listening to the birds chirp while admiring the panoramic view of the plantation.
Always dreamed of going up a tree house
Relax up in a tree house while listening to birds chirp
Calm on a bamboo bench
The accomodation here is rustic yet charming in its unique way. I find the Special Room where beds are built above water indeed captivating. Lull yourself to sleep while you hear the water gently flowing below your bed which also acts as a natural air conditioner.
The special room for RM220 for 5 pax
Unique rooms where water flows under your bed
As minimal it may look, it is functionally equipped with clean sheets, clean bathroom and sufficient power points. Another interesting fact is that this place has no mosquito although it is surrounded by water. This is because water is always running, disarming the chance of the insect to breed in stagnant water.
Clean bathrooms
The standard room for only RM80 per night for 2 pax
Veranda and balcony to lounge around
9. BBQ
Good news to those who likes communal meals like BBQ! For just RM 25 per pax, a minimum of 6 people may use the barbeque area. However, 3 days advanced booking is required. Connect with family and friends over delicious chicken wings and marshmallows on a flickering charcoal fire while chatting and singing to the strum of the guitar. Sounds good for a weekend, no? 
The BBQ area extended to reach nature
I went home refreshed, ready to take on the coming week and with a resolution to bring my family and friends here the next round.
I will be back with my family and friends
Price list for accomodation
Agro Valley Park also caters to the following activities:
Annual Dinner
Conference or Seminar

PT44, KM13, Mukim Tras, 27600 Raub, Pahang, Malaysia
Tel: +6019-228 9152 ( 11:30am - 09:30pm )

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ATV and Archery at Bilut Extreme Park @ Bentong

As a swashbuckler, adventure has always been one of my favourite ways of appreciating life. This time, my weekend adventure comes in four wheels- the All Terrain Vehicle! I always wondered if the ATV is truely invincible on all terrains. The feeling of a conqueror, I must try, since the ATV rolls on almost any ground!
Me on an ATV
Yes conquering the Earth was not enough and I ended up being a warrior too! Archery was waiting as soon as I got off my ATV and it is all in Bilut Extreme Park at Bentong.
Me with the bow and arrow
Bilut Extreme Park is located at Felda Lurah Bilut, 18km away from Bentong town and approximately 11/2 hours drive from Petaling Jaya. This place is founded by a team of adventurous people who love nature and challenge in 2013.
Bilut Adventure Park in Bentong!
A rocking awesome weekend!
Rabbit compound at the Bilut
Bunnies to soothe the roughed up spirit

Of course the first thing that sparked the spirit was an ATV displayed at the entrance. We were then greeted by a row of four-wheelers parked neatly ready to be at our service. I chose a white one and wriggled with excitement before the engine was even turned on.
Marshal Nazri giving briefing
Be clear that an ATV is NOT a motorcycle. Always remember to keep your feet inside and do not use them to balance or touch the ground. And motorcyclists who think they can tame the ATV like their two-wheelers at home should come and try it first!

I am glad that there are only 3 gears that govern this machine- Front, Neutral and Reverse. Easy!
There are only 3 gears- front, neutral and reverse
For first timers, here are a few things you should bring when going for an ATV adventure:

1. Backpack cos a sling bag will not do much good for your balance
2. Water to keep hydrated for continuous fun! You don't have to worry about toilets in nature anyway
3. Sunblock and cap cos it won't be shaded all the way
4. Handphone/ camera to capture all the beautiful sceneries on the way but do find a way to secure it cos you will be in motion most of the time
5. Comfortable and rugged clothes and shoes cos the last thing you want to worry about is whether your expensive clothes are soiled
6. A change of clothes just in case
7. Gloves are provided but you are most welcomed to bring your own sweet-smelling pair. Required to protect your delicate hands from peeling from twisting the handle.
Remember to bring gloves
Then we were brought to a small track among the palm trees but this is not the real deal yet. Here is where the Marshall will make sure that all are warmed up till our ears and the sound of the engines are one.
The basic track among palm trees
After 15 min, the ATV graduates knuckled down for some extreme fun out in the estate. Rivers, slopes and bumpy roads were defied. This is the only time I enjoyed being off balanced. The more unbalanced, the better! See a long stretch of even road? Ramp up on the accelerator!
Roaring on my  ATV
Admiring nature while on
Terrains at the palm oil estate are challenging yet beautiful. It is a great way to spend a weekend either in a group or just by yourself.


ATV Route A RM 70
Approximately 30 minutes ride
5 min learning & test ride
15 min palm trees track
10 min off road ride 
Stream crossing + uneven off road
*easy & suitable for beginner 

ATV Route B RM 120
Approximately 60 minutes
5 min learning & test ride
15 min palm oil track
40 min off road ride
Stream crossing + challenging Hills + Hilltop viewing point
*moderate = suitable for good skills’ rider 

ATV Route C RM180
Approximately 90 minutes
5 min learning and test ride
15 min palm oil track
70 min off road ride
Stream crossing + riding on the stream + Challenging Hills + 2 hilltops + rubber estate ride
*hard = suitable for experienced rider 

ATV Route D RM 200
Approximately 90 minutes
5 min learning + test ride
15 min palm oil tree ride
50 min off road ride
20 min riding on the stream
Challenging uphill road + Hilltop viewing point + Rubber estate road
*very hard = suitable for experienced rider with good skills

Family Route RM120
Approximately 60 minutes
5 min learning + test ride
15 min palm oil track
40 min off road ride
Stream crossing + small uphill
*easy = suitable for 1st timer, family with children or family with elderly

The excitement continues with bows and arrows at the archery field. Although I am no expert, there is something about archery that gives pleasure and releases tension. The trick is to perhaps imagine the target board to be your bosses head =P Just kidding.
Isabelle, park manager, strapping on safety gear for me
Isabelle giving briefing of how to be the archery should be played
Unlike indoor archery, archery at Bilut will not pamper its players. The field is exposed to nature and its trying circumstances that will only make you pull one arrow after another. Birds, wind and rain will be testing your archery skills while honing them.
Aiming at the boss...oops I mean bulls eye
Hawk eye wannabe


12 Arrows
24 Arrows
36 Arrows
60 Arrows
120 Arrows
Per person
Max 2 person
Max 3 person
Max 4 person
Max 5 person
RM 10.00
RM 18.00
RM 27.00
RM 40.00
RM 72

Save RM 2.00
Save RM 3.00
Save RM 10.00
Save RM 28.00

Free 8 arrows
Free 18 Arrows
Free 28 Arrows

Two new games is lining up to entertain in Bilut Extreme Park- Viper Runner and Archery Tag.

The Viper Runner is set up on a steep landscape. Runner have to go through over 14 obstacles on the track. Crawling through mud, scaling heights with a Fear Factor environment sounds like players will have an unforgettable experience. The set up is Viper Challenge standard, for those who want to train for the event. 

Archery Tag will arrive end of 2016. Played similarly like dodge ball but with bows and foam-tipped arrows, this action-packed activity will shoot lots fun in you. It is a family-friendly game that engages all players.
A great area for outdoor and sports
So time to get our of your couch or put that turn off that video game! You'll discover more precious experiences once you mount that revving ATM and hitting that bulls eye.

Bilut Extreme Park
Lot 6776 Jalan Bilut – Raub, Lurah Bilut, 28800 Bentong, Pahang

Call for booking: 

Operating hours: 
Monday to Sunday (closed on Wednesdays)
9:30am to 6:00pm