A peak, a river and a keris maker
Published on February 29, 2020 | by nst.com.my
LOOKING down from the peak of Bukit Batu Pahat, one can see panoramic view of the small town of Kuala Kubu Bahru, fondly called KKB.
The 410m-height hill offers a breathtaking view of the valley below and is one of the popular hiking spots there.
Yes, the view is indeed breathtaking but somehow I don’t feel that I earned it as my group reached the peak on four-wheel-drives, not through the grit of hiking up the trail.
It’s also somewhat frustrating as since the view reminds me of the missed opportunity to soar through the air above the valley.
Our group of media practitioners is on a familiarisation trip organised by Tourism Malaysia, hosted by the Hulu Selangor District Council. Bukit Batu Pahat is the first item in our two-day itinerary.
Bukit Batu Pahat is actually the take-off point for paragliding activity. Brave souls run down the flat and open peak of the hill to launch themselves into the air and gracefully soar through the air.
Yes, Hulu Selangor kick-starts our visit with a daring adventure. Unfortunately, the wind condition is not ideal for paragliding.
So we can only listen to Mohd Nazri Sulaiman, president of the Kuala Kubu Bahru Paragliding Club, as he briefs us on the activity.
To his and the club’s credit, the choice not to proceed with paragliding today is proof of the safety measures in place, ensuring that guests flying with them lands safely on solid ground each time.
With its lush green rolling hills, charming towns and scenic rivers, Hulu Selangor has been steadilyattracting visitors.
More and more nature and adventure lovers, particularly from nearby Kuala Lumpur, are seeking escape amidst the green landscape of Hulu Selangor, a district located in the northeastern part of the state of Selangor.
A RIVERSIDE RESORT
From Kuala Kubu Bahru, we make our way towards Ulu Bernam, one of the 13 mukim or administrative townships within Hulu Selangor.
The town sits near the Perak and Selangor border, with the town of Tanjung Malim, Perak right beside it.
Stopping beside the main road across the housing area of Taman Universiti near Tanjung Malim’s well-known Sultan Idris Education University, we leave the tour bus we arrived in and step into rugged off-road vehicles waiting at the start of a small road.
This is the entry point to Teratak River View, a riverside resort and camping ground near the Bernam River.
Driving down the small road that winds pass private fruit orchards, I catch the familiar sound of a river, its water babbling and burbling over rocks and boulders.
The vehicle I’m in stops next to a wooden building built beside a riverbank and the refreshing scent of stream and forest fills my senses.
Under the warm rays of the afternoon sun, Teratak River View paints an almost picture-perfect scene, with its wooden buildings, chalets and two walkway bridges hanging across the Bernam river.
Built in 2008, the resort interestingly sits between two states, one side in Perak and the other in Selangor.
The flowing tranquillity of the Bernam river acts as a natural demarcation line.
With riverside chalets, a camping ground, a spacious dining hall and even dorms, Teratak River View is one of Hulu Selangor’s most picturesque eco-destinations.
The resort caters to a variety of visitors ranging from families looking for a quick getaway to groups on multi-day team-building programmes.
Plenty of activities and sports are available at the resort, such as water tubing down the rapids or gliding across the river on high zip-lines.
Interestingly, the resort is also an off-road driving training centre with its own obstacle track and experienced trainers, which explains why we are greeted and ferried to the resort by a convoy of tough-looking off-road vehicles.
A GLAMPING NIGHT
Bidding the serenity of Teratak Riverview farewell, we journey towards the area of Ulu Tamu in the mukim of Batang Kali, some 39km away.
Here, nestled amidst a fruit orchard in the village of Kampong Sungai Tamu is Dusun Bonda, a glamping site offering a more luxurious stay outdoors.
Sprawled over a 0.85-hectare plot of land, Dusun Bonda comprises villas and five-metre-tall bell tents. A man-made waterfall and pool surrounded by tropical foliage take centre stage at the glamping site.
Serenely calming and harmonious during the day, Dusun Bonda exudes a magical charm at night when we gather for dinner at the dining hall beside the gently flowing stream.
A plethora of garden lights illuminates the grounds and even upwards to the tree canopies, their warm tinted glow dancing and shimmering on the stream’s surface.
Equipped with facilities and creature comforts one expects from a camping site, families with small children staying at Dusun Bonda may find the small stream more than sufficient for their leisurely dip.
For those seeking more scenery or adventure though, the glamping site is a stone’s throw away from hiking trails to Ulu Tamu Falls, as well as the popular Hulu Tamu Hot Springs, a natural hot spring with free admission managed by the local district council.
THE KERIS MAKER
It is near the end of my brief visit to Hulu Selangor and I am at the small bladesmithing shop of Azmi Azhar Ahmad.
Having explored mostly the natural heritage of Hulu Selangor during these two days, the visit at Azmi’s shop in Kuala Kubu Bahru is a good opportunity to learn more about the cultural heritage of the land.
Donning the traditional Malay headgear known as tanjak proudly on his head, Azmi pounds a small slab of glowing red hot iron on an anvil with his hammer.
Sparks fly with each of his strikes as he skillfully forges the iron into what would finally be a keris, the famous traditional Malay dagger with a distinct wavy blade.
Skilled in blacksmithing and woodworking, Azmi has been making various types of keris, parangs and knives at his little shop here in Kuala Kubu Bahru for the past 15 years.
Most of his creations are made to order for private collectors and traditional weapon enthusiasts. He takes at least two weeks to finish a weapon.
Watching Azmi work and shape the red hot iron on his anvil while explaining the intricacies and myths in creating a traditional kris, it’s uplifting to know that at least here in a quiet corner of Hulu Selangor, the traditional craft of Malay bladesmithing is still being kept alive and strong.
Now seen more as pieces of art rather than deadly weapons, the keris made by the bladesmith of Kuala Kubu Bahru are beautiful and mesmerising in form and function. It can even stand upright on its point if carefully balanced.
According to Azmi, this is merely because of physics and not due to some supernatural power, alluding to the mysticism usually associated with the weapon.
Even so, the sight of these beautiful weapons standing upright does add to their mysterious allure.
KUALA KUBU BAHRU PARAGLIDING CLUB
TERATAK RIVER VIEW
Taman Universiti, 35900 Tanjong Malim, Perak
Lot 2121 (2996) Jalan Ulu Tamu,
Kampung Orang Asli Gurney, Ulu Tamu,
44300 Batang Kali, Selangor
AZMI AZHAR AHMAD BLADESMITH
No 1 Kedai PLB Jalan Hospital,
Kuala Kubu Bharu, Hulu Selangor.
Pictures by Zulkifly Ab Latif
The Federal Government then bought the palace in 1957, to be converted into the Istana Negara. Since then it had undergone several renovations and extensions. But the most extensive upgrading was carried out in 1980, as it was the first time that the Installation Ceremony of His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong was held at the Istana Negara. Prior to this the Installation Ceremonies were held at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Hall in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
This majestic building is nestled within a serene and beautiful 11.34-hectare compound with a variety of plants and flowers, swimming pool and indoor badminton hall. It is located at Syed Putra Road right in the heart of the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. The building has several halls for specific purposes such as the two main halls, the Throne Hall (Balairong Seri) and the Audience Hall (Dewan Mengadap) on the ground floor.
The whole area is fenced up and the Royal Insignia of His Majesty is placed on each steel bar between two pillars of the fence. At the front of the Istana Negara, there is the main entrance which resembles a beautiful arch. On each side of the arch, are two guard posts to shelter two members of the cavalry in their smart full dress uniform similar to the ones at Buckingham Palace, London.
As the palace grounds are not opened to members of the public or tourists, the Main Palace Entrance is a favourite picture spot for tourists.