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As motorcyclists, we all relate to how therapeutic it is to get onto a bike, get out on the open road and maybe, conquer a few twisties while we’re at it. This therapy washes away the stress of bad days, and can be quite soul-cleansing – which is truly rejuvenating. I suppose that’s one of the reasons why bikers ride and some even enjoy taking a longer route to their destination. This trip, we rode two-up on a 2013 Triumph Tiger 800 ABS.
Couple motorcycle therapy with nature, and no mobile phone distractions, and you probably get an idea how much my partner and I enjoyed our recent glamping (shorthand for glamorous camping; luxury camping) experience in Bentong, Pahang.
Google defines glamping as “a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.” We were looking to explore beyond the places we had already been to, and were intrigued when we first chanced on this idea. More online research convinced us that Caravan Serai Exclusive Private Villas would be perfect for our virgin glamping experience.
Seemingly, the retreat started in 2006, and a quick look at its reviews on Facebook, TripAdvisor and Agoda prove the owners definitely understand their niche offering and have delivered on their promise of offering a good glamping experience.
Bentong is about 80km from Kuala Lumpur, and approximately 401km from Tuas Checkpoint, depending on the route taken, while the property is another 20km from Bentong town. We left close to midnight on Thursday and arrived at the campsite on Friday morning about 5am, having braved a huge storm and heavy traffic (for late night travel).
We spent a total of three nights in Bentong, exploring the town and neighbouring attractions – Bukit Tinggi (35km) and Batu Caves (60km from Bentong). There is also Fraser’s Hill and Genting Highlands, all within reach with one’s own transport. Bikers will certainly enjoy the twisties plying Bukit Tinggi.
Immersing in the great outdoors has its benefits but the best has to be when its done distraction free: there is no WIFI available here, and mobile service is limited. It gave my partner and I an opportunity to fully engage each other. It is such a great place to fall off the grid, and just focus on nature and each other. Go on a nature walk around the property with the “glamper” guide and try out rubber-tapping!
The retreat gets crowded over weekends as local families venture out to enjoy staycations as such. The place also seems to be a choice location for companies to conduct team building sessions.
We spent two nights in a kitted-out tent that came with air-conditioning, attached shower and toilet and a queen-sized bed, then moved into a one-bedroom villa on our last night. The one-bedroom villa has a sitting area (large enough for two extra beds), a king-sized bed and an attached wet room with standing shower, water heater and toilet.
The tent gets hot in the day from the thick tarpaulin sheets trapping heat but in the evening, the interior of the tent starts to cool off and is more than comfortable to lounge in.
If you enjoy the outdoors but aren’t big on having to haul your own tent and gear, you might take to the idea of glamping. For me, I appreciate camping occasionally but the bonus of glamping at Caravan Serai has to be the air-conditioned tents that are pitched on a cement base so no water seeps through the ground when it rains.
Food served at Caravan Serai is very decent with generous portions. I particularly enjoyed the creamy D24 durians that were offered to us since they were in season during our visit!
The service at Caravan Serai is highly commendable. I was bowled over when the staff offered to set up our steamboat dinner in the villa so we could enjoy a quiet in-room dining experience, definitely a first having steamboat in a hotel room for me!
Payment was a little dicey when I booked with them. While they are listed on Airbnb and Agoda, the retreat encourages guests to book and pay direct but only accepts telegraphic transfers or internet bank transfers for the full amount of the booking before confirming your stay. Despite the small hiccup I encountered with payment transfer, it quickly became a non-issue the moment I arrived at the campsite. I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience of glamping and I’m glad we chose Caravan Serai.
Send your inquiries by getting in touch with Caravan Serai through their Facebook Page here: Caravan Serai Bentong or WhatsApp +601 6332 3815. For those who may be interested in plotting the route: click the link to a direction map from Tuas Checkpoint to Caravan Serai. Happy trails and safe travels!
And as always, keep the rubber side down.