Over a weekend, I was treated to a back-to-nature experience in Eight Acres. Located in Raub, Pahang – a mere 2.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur – it is a well-hidden gem off the highway.
The place is everything you would expect a nature retreat to be – and a little more.
HOW IT CAME ABOUT
The owner, Uncle Kam (as he is fondly known as), told us that the place was a neglected durian plantation filled with snakes 6 years ago. It took years to slowly clear off a few areas while preserving as many trees as possible, especially the large ones. They even have a natural waterfall that helps to support the flow of a natural spring source, the first thing you hear and see when you enter the premises. They have 3 ponds as well, one of the main ones for water activities, one for fishing and another that’s filled with lotus plants and lily pads. Some of the trees here bear fruit – like durians and passionfruit. Uncle Kam allowed us to pick some of the passionfruit off the vines to try.
Most of the parts that make up the structures of the accommodation and facilities are upcycled parts sourced from old furniture and given new life. So much love and effort goes into the existence of this retreat that you can’t help but fall in love with it.
Oh and there are free roaming geese, ducks, chickens, a lamb named Lamb Chop and a pony too!
DO WE NEED TO STAY IN TENTS?
Only if you want to. They have a dedicated camping area usually reserved for kids or groups who want to try sleeping in a tent and cooking their own food. In the main building, they have comfortable accommodations for those who are averse to camping outdoors. The rooms are all uniquely designed and some with themes.
I got the Surreality room – which was inspired by one of my favourite artists, Salvador Dali. It’s a white and red room with a love seat shaped like lips, and a ceiling of surrealist art staring back at you as you lie down. The adjoining bathroom is my favourite – gold door, golden tiles that reflect the sunset rays beautifully, and 3 rain showerheads above. To complete the surrealist experience, a wooden ladder is also placed in the corner of the room, just because.
Although not all rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, mine was (woohoo!), their windows have screens on the windows so you can enjoy the breeze and sounds of nature without bugs flying into your room. Seems like Uncle Kam has thought of every comfort aspect for the urbanites. One other room that had a guest while I was there, is filled with shelves and shelves of books, which I love. I didn’t get to go in, but here’s how it looks like.
WHAT ABOUT FOOD?
Fear not, Eight Acres has a dedicated kitchen & team who prepares 3 meals a day in the open canteen, buffet style, so just go for meals when you hear the gong. The food is good and you get a variety of local fare to try. The fishes are caught from their own pond and some of the vegetables are from their land.
Since I was there over the Easter weekend, there was an Easter breakfast that had lots of pancakes and oatmeal in a jar. Upon advanced request, you can also ask for a special dish to be served while you are there. I got to try the Baked Lamb that was baked in an underground pit just by the pond, to go with Focaccia Basil bread and a Salad in a Coconut shell. Another specialty is the Tagine Chicken, a Maghrebi dish cooked using a unique pot called the ‘tagine’ that’s shaped like an upside-down funnel. Food is honestly amazing there, and it makes you eager for the meal gong to ring so you can start stuffing your face with good food.
Their homemade lemongrass juice is regularly served there as every guest loves the refreshing taste of it. I had several cups of it per sitting myself!
BESIDES EATING, WHAT ELSE CAN I DO THERE?
They have dedicated activities happening daily from fishing to walking tours, pony rides (kids only) and even ATV for rent! Honestly, the best thing to do is lounge by the waterfall with a sketchbook & a paintbox like what I did, and just enjoy nature. There’s also a flying-fox apparatus to play with if you want to.
You can also chill in their large Tatami Room which has an amazing array of lounges, pillows, fluffy bean bags and cocoon seats just waiting to be used for a nap or to read a good book. It’s the absolute best place! We also had a movie night there in that space with all the other guests because it was Easter!
I can’t wait to come back here again for another much needed break from the city! I noticed that a lot of companies actually carry out their team building getaways here because there’s so little distraction and gives everyone a breath of change from the urban jungle they’re so used to.
FIND OUT MORE BELOW
Lot 7822, Mukim Gali, Off Sungai Klau, 27630 Raub, Pahang, Malaysia
GPS N3°43’ 43.68” E 101° 59’ 41.74
T: +603 7877 5048