More a heritage village than a luxury hotel, Terrapuri – meaning ‘the land of palaces’ – is a resort and conservation project consisting of 20 restored antique Malay houses made without a single nail (all between 100 and 250 years old). Located by the lesser known Pantai Penarik beach in Terengganu, Terrapuri offers tours to a turtle sanctuary, visits to the Setiu fishing village, diving trips, firefly tours and more.
Kampung Mangkuk, Penarik, Setiu, Terengganu (09 624 5020/terrapuri.com). From RM529 per night.
An hour’s drive from the city, this eco-friendly resort is the perfect place for group getaways; think family holidays, company trips or a relaxing break with friends. Choose between dorms that stay a minimum of ten, or tents pitched together in a common area. You can explore the outdoors with a dip in the pool surrounded by the rainforest, water-tubing activities on the river, or a drive to a small waterfall just 20 minutes away.
Lot 2767, Karak, Bentong, Pahang (03 2713 5265/016 3230 888/www.theplantationproject.com). From RM148 per person per night.
Run by a couple of scientists, this beach resort with wooden chalets in coconut groves, located close to the northern tip of Borneo, also pulls double duty as a field scientific research station. Highlights: a secluded beach with crystal clear waters (where you can kayak or fish), great neighbouring dive sites (Pulau Banggi, Pulau Balambangan and more) and a house reef just 200 metres offshore (great for snorkelling).
Kg Bak Bak, Mile 7, Kudat, Sabah (010 803 7310/borneobiostation.com). From RM260 per night.
On the undulating hills of Mantin sit seven fully-equipped houses, which share two infinity pools. Lush woods surround; you may bird-watch, jungle trek to a nearby waterfall with an Orang Asli guide, or visit the deer park onsite. There’s substance beneath the style too – the folks at The Dusun focus on causes around nature conservation and Orang Asli welfare.
3437 Kampung Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan (www.thedusun.com.my). From RM400 per night.
Built by owner and craftsman Yao along with the local Orang Asli, the seven tree houses in this retreat are rustic, comfortable and complete with power plugs, mosquito nets and mattresses. Check out the onsite organic farm, or the natural clay oven where you can try your hand at making pizza. You can also opt for the guided jungle, river or waterfall trekking tours or visits to the nearby bee and pineapple farms.
Jalan Air Terjun, Kampung Sri Gunung Pulai, Johor (012 527 9987/fb.com/rainforest.treehouse.johor). From RM108 per night.
Kamo Homestay used to be the dilapidated home of Kamo Kam’s grandfather in a corner of Kampung Sauk, until he fixed it up and converted it into a guesthouse. Unplug for the weekend, bring a hand-drawn map of the tiny village, and cycle around. There’s also an activities package where you can catch the sunrise over the Titiwangsa range, go on a kayaking trip to Tasik Raben and visit a waterfall.
7 Kampung Baru Sauk, Sauk, Perak (fb.com/kamohome). RM50 per night.
Sekinchan has played host to so many pre-wed photoshoots thanks to its year-round blue skies and lush paddy fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. A day trip is never enough as it’s almost impossible to hurry in this sleepy fishing village of Sabak Bernam, especially if you want to savour all the great seafood and explore the less touristy corners of Sekinchan. So put up at this container homestay at Site B, designed for you to unwind at their expansive golf course and the café overlooking the paddy fields. A majority of the rooms (most with en-suite bathrooms) have a sun-soaked patio upstairs, affording you a quiet respite from the city mayhem.
Lot 11304, Kampung Site B Tambahan, Jalan Tepi Sawah (017 206 8666/fb.com/farmvillecafehomestay). Rooms from RM98 (for two) per night.
Here’s an opportunity to get close to nature without forgoing creature comforts. Stowed away from the strawberry-loving and scone-eating crowd at Cameron Highlands is this tree house perched at some 1,400m above sea level. The owner, Mr Ng – a strong advocate of biodynamic organic farming – commissioned the local Orang Asli to construct the tree house instead of razing the rainforests for farming. What you see now is a pared-down retreat, equipped with organic cotton bed sheets, gas-powered heated showers and meals plucked straight from their farm nearby. Entertainment comes in the form of croaking frogs and insect chirps since electricity is only available from 7pm to 10.30pm – more reason for you to bask in the grandeur of nature and do absolutely nothing at all.
19 Jalan Corina 9, Kampung Raja, Cameron Highlands (SMS only: 012 661 3299/www.terrafarm.com.my). RM360 for two person, per night.
The Yurt – or ‘ger’ in Mongolian – is a circular, transportable tent-like structure made from wooden frames and covered in felt. For thousands of years, it was – and still is – the traditional dwellings of nomads in Central Asia; today, it’s a travel trend.
As the first in Malaysia to introduce the concept of camping in a yurt, Wind Paradise’s yurts are nestled in the hills of Kundasang. They’re not a resort – no Jacuzzis, no on-site massage therapists – but then again, they don’t claim to be. Wind Paradise is a lodge and fits every definition of one: the yurts are outfitted with beds and an attached bathroom, along with basic amenities such as kitchen utilities and toiletries, as well as barbecue and steamboat facilities. Besides, the view of the valleys is more than worth your while.
Jalan Mesilau, Cinta Mata, Kundasang (019 800 0201/mongolianyurt.mrsabah.com). Rates from RM170.
Aesthetically, the A-shaped chalets at Nipah Guesthouse merits an A grade. All other amenities – air-conditioners, balcony, WiFi – add to its charm, comfort and convenience; plus, the guesthouse is tucked away on a quiet street, located only a few minutes’ walk from Karang beach. Humble hosts Anuar Razak and his wife Alicia are all about the hands-on, personal touch: there’s no registration counter because they insist on personally greeting the guests, and they even built the swimming pool themselves. In the morning, you can channel your inner chef and cook your own breakfast: ingredients such as bread, eggs and sausages are provided.
Lot 4506, Teluk Nipah, Pulau Pangkor (05 685 2479/017 506 9259/pangkorbeachchalet.com). Rates from RM120 per chalet per night.