Day 4 – Sg Pasu Homestay, Raub Pahang & National Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah – Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012

It’s Day 5 of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 and we are heading off from Kuantan to Kuala Terengganu for a “food challenge” first thing in the morning! Anything related to food is much welcomed and I sure love the east coast cuisine. 🙂

Here’s a quick recap on what we did yesterday – Day 4 of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012. So far our schedule has been rather unforgiving. We finished late each night and we have to be up by 6am – 7am each morning for breakfast. Flag off is 8am sharp and we were on the road most of the time traveling through highways and coastal roads to our destinations.

It was a chilly start to our day yesterday as it rained heavily on Fraser Hill. The air was brisk, chilly and oh-so-fresh! I breathe in as deeply as possible, almost as if in belief that it would clean my lungs! 😀

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Shahzan Inn serves decent and basic fare for breakfast with cereals, bread and spreads, an egg station as well as some local hot dishes. Nothing that makes you go for seconds, but provided necessary sustenance.

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A quick check-out and we gathered to take a group picture in front of the iconic clock tower of Fraser Hill. Meanwhile, some of us grabbed the opportunity to snap some pictures among ourselves. Say “hi” to Ben from Beijing, China! 🙂

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It rained again as we headed downhill towards the district of Raub in the state of Pahang. In many rural areas in Malaysia, the locals provides homestay experience to both locals and international travelers. Do find out more here if you’re interested –> http://m.go2homestay.com/.

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The journey towards Homestay Sg Pasu was a long and tiring one via winding roads for almost 2 hours (maybe 200km?). I was the designated driver of the day and I wasn’t sure if I would have felt sicker as a passenger or as a driver. The rain made half the distance slippery and I had to double up my concentration as an accident while in a convoy is not pretty.  Like I said before, being prone to motion sickness is not fun.

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A warm welcome by the local villagers and kids dressed in traditional attire playing  traditional music instruments gave us a rather cheery albeit loud welcome.  We were escorted us into their community hall where some local culinary discoveries awaits.

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Typically of Malaysian hospitality food and drinks were in abundance. Our local favourite – the teh tarik (pulled tea) in a few variations as well as a “kampung” (village) dish called pecal was served. It was amusing watching the participants from China, Taiwan and India as they gamely sampled pecal. Pecal is basically a malay salad with raw local vegetables boiled and eaten with savoury peanut sauce. Ours that day had the addition of noodles.

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BELOW: The women folks of the Homestay Sg Pasu dishing out plates of pecal to the hungry participants.

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My plate! The green kuih (cake) at the top is kuih bakar – a local Malay dessert and on the right is pulut tumbuk (something I myself got acquainted to for the 1st time). The pulut tumbuk is made with glutinous rice and eaten with dry grated coconut. “Tumbuk” here means “punch” in Malay, referring to the process of making the “pulut” – which in Malay means glutinous rice cake.

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For the benefit of our international guests a demonstration of “pulut tumbuk”  was held. While “tumbuk” means “punch”, in this case it referred to the pounding process required to make the “pulut tumbuk”. This was done using a contraption that looked like a pestle and mortar combo. Darn, I forgotten to take a picture of it. Oops…

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Below: The end result – soft sticky glutinous rice cake which is ready to be eaten once seasoned (mixed with coconut milk, salt etc) and steamed.

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Speeches from both the organisers and tourism representative followed.

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We occupied ourselves snapping some funny pictures. 😛

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After that break, we got sprung into action. 3 stations were set up for the participants on the shady fields of Kg Sungai Pasu Homestay. The first station was based on a traditional hunting spit weapon. In the olden days, hunters hunt using poisonous darts blown towards the target via a long wooden pipe. Our task that day was much easier as in comparison as our target was some static balloon barely 5 metres away.

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A simple task yes, but essentially in theory only. A moderate amount of skill and technique were required to actually hit any balloons! Each balloon hit contributed points to the overall team score throughout the 6 days of Malaysian Tourism Hunt 2012.

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Station number 2 requires the participation of 2 out of the 4 team mates’ in each team. One throws the rattan ball; (commonly used in our traditional Malay soccer of “sepak takraw”) while the other juggles it in the air.
The challenge here is to keep the ball bouncing off your feet and in the air for as many counts as possible while wearing the traditional Malay sarong. “Sarong” is a garment worn waist down for males and from under the armpits for females. The garment in this case was obviously to hamper your movements and thus making the task more challenging.

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Here’s a wanna sepak takraw player! :DD

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Lastly was the chicken hunt! Oh that’s my specialty I tell ya. I caught a chicken in less than 2 secs and my team mate recorded it on video!

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The task? 2 team mates goes into a cage and grab a chicken each as fast as they can. Points are only awarded when both team mates had completed the task. Video on the whole 6D5N Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 will be ready once I got back to KL! Stay tuned for it yea! 🙂

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The blazing sun and humidity was tough for some of our international participants but everyone had a good time being silly and enjoyed the fun. No doubt the games successfully fostered closer ties between the participants as well.

Lunch was served and all of us rested and watched the local cultural dance performances.

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Our simple village meal – freshwater fish in creamy curry, “kerabu” – local fresh salad, fried spiced chicken and tangy mango salad.

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We had 2 comedians from Japan for the hunt and both of them are, well, funny. Here’s one of them on stage voluntarily dancing and emulating the dancers’ steps.  The other participants got into rhythm and joined it too! 🙂

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More will be in my video!

After a good laugh we thanked our hosts and drove for the next 1-2 hours (I lost track of time then) to the National Elephant Conservation Centre, Kuala Gandah, Lanchang. Again this was somewhere I haven’t heard of before.

When we arrived there was a show was going on and we joined in to watch some cute antics by the tame elephants here.

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At the end of the show papayas were distributed to the crowd to feed the elephants. Here’s my team mate Faezah’s expression after passing hers to the elephant. LOL!

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Don’t get us wrong. The elephants weren’t disgusting or anything. It’s just that the end of the trunk that grabbed the papaya from her hands was really slimey!

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My first experience with elephants was in Chiangmai. I rode on one over rivers and through jungle paths. That was unforgetable experience! I wasn’t a blogger back then but I do have the pictures in my back-up disk! 🙂

Rides are available too at the National Elephant Conservation Centre. Below are the stations where visitors queued to ride. Entry fees and rides are chargable.

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Lastly we were ushered into an air conditioned hall for a short movie clip that depicts the current elephant relocation program in Malaysia. Logging and deforestation has driven most of them out from the wild into plantations and villages. In an effort to save them, relocation programs are in place to combat extinction. The short clip was informative and personally for me; rather heart-tugging. 🙁

It was sad to see the elephants’ plight; being sedated, sometimes detached from their herd and sent far away from their original homes.

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Below: An elephant fossil.

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This black and white mural is beautiful.

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The journey then continues for another 2 hours’ drive to to Bukit Gambang Resort City, Kuantan. I handed the Proton Exora’s keys to my team mate and knocked out cold on the back seat. The heat, the glare from the sun and the long day took its toil on me.

Food and refreshments and WIFI availability at the Bukit Gambang Resort City, Kuantan revived me. LOL!

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We toured the theme park and though we were allowed to play in the waters, there wasn’t much time before dinner to really enjoy the facilities. I went up to the room, had a shower and rested instead.

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Bukit Gambang Resort City has expanded since I was last here for Firefly’s inaugural Kuantan flight trip. In addition to the water theme park, the safari park will be opening soon.

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The Arabian Bay Resort is a newly completely wing entirely. During my previous Firefly trip we stayed at one of the blocks on the old wing.

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The rooms are very much different in furnishings too.

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The lobby is now even larger and better equipped to handle the crowd compared to their old lobby.

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Dinner was supposed to be by the pool side but it rained so we ate in one of the function halls instead. Piping hot pots after a long day out in the sun and during cool rain was bliss!

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Food was in abundance; 2 steamboats with clear and tom yam soup plus a buffet line of fried rice and more steamboat ingredients ensured all were well fed up and happy.

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Ms. Karen (Marketing of BGRC) and the Director from Tourism Pahang  gave us a quick run-down about Pahang, Bukit Gambang Resort City and its attractions.

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I attempted to update my blog and edited pictures after dinner but the WIFI was facing some problems so I gave up and slept instead! Today’s another long day and I’ll be driving up Terengganu for lekor, the beach and more challenges!

Stay tuned to my blog and follow me on twitter – twitter.com/wackybecky and my FB page – www.fb.com/RebeccaSawBlog where I’ll be posting live whenever possible! 🙂

MORE:
Day 1 & 2 of Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2012 checking in and meeting fellow participants!

Day 3 – Pekan Kuala Kubu and Fraser Hill – the start of the hunt!

Pictures in this post:
sony nex f3