A touch of luxury in a forest

Step into a countryside retreat complete with all modern conveniences yet retaining the charms of a forest setting.

Text & Photography by Jan Yong
While Janda Baik and Bukit Tinggi near Bentong in the state of Pahang are dotted with many unique villas amidst verdant jungle, rivers and a mild climate, there are some that truly take your breath away. Nestled in a secluded spot off the old Jalan Lama Bentong trunk road, about 30kms away from Bukit Tinggi, is Puncak Rimba Estate. It’s a retreat that has a river meandering through the 12 acres of gently sloping terrain which is complemented by a natural waterfall and ponds.
Built 18 years ago, little by little, the exclusive resort has expanded over the years culminating with seven villas, a traditional lounge, a dining area by the river and a swimming pool. The process is slow because the owner, Datuk A Shazilly Bakti wanted construction to follow the contours of the sloping land, says Afifi Ishak, managing director of the resort.
Among the exquisite man-made abodes, are fruit trees like durians including the Musang King variety, mangosteens, langsat, jackfruit, rambutan, jambu batu and jambu air, as well as farm animals like ducks, geese, chickens and fish. Guests can pick the fruits during harvest season and keep all the fish (patin and kelah) that they catch!

Escape into nature

The sweeping view of the Titiwangsa mountain range, the chirping of birds, cackling of geese and crowing of chickens undoubtedly add to the countryside vibe. It’s a peace that’s comforting and harks back to our childhood when we used to hear all that in a less developed surrounding.
In the mornings, especially after a rain, mist will envelop the whole area and the smell of fresh rain will transport you back to nature in all its splendor. In such an environment, you feel one with the healing earth.
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The whole experience is rejuvenating involving all five senses and resulting in a soothing and slower rhythm. You only need to let go to allow the full calming effect to take over.
Or you may avail yourself of the activities in the resort such as reclining at the exquisitely crafted sofa and whiling away your time reading. Or wetting your feet at the stream as you pick your way across it. Even better, take a dip in the outdoor pool that frames a spectacular backdrop of the Titiwangsa mountain range. Or, just doze off into another world …
In the evening, have a barbeque in the sprawling grounds overlooking the magnificent views. You can even pitch your own tent there to get closer to nature!
To get even more intimate with the jungle, choose to stay at Rumah Lata which was built next to a waterfall. The cascading waterfall is just right outside the living room!
Puncak Rimba has hosted many celebrities and the well heeled such as famed Malaysian singer-songwriter, Yuna during her 2018 wedding. It was after the wedding that Shazilly decided to open up the place to the public.
Since then, it has gained more prominence with many guests marvelling at the surreal beauty of the place. It is the perfect countryside escapade from Kuala Lumpur city centre which is a mere 45-minute drive away.

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