Friday, June 29, 2012

planting myself in The Dusun

I travel a lot for work. It's one of the few perks that I truly, truly enjoy about my job. People think it's incredibly glamorous but the truth is that the trips are always business trips. Which means that most of the time we're either in meeting rooms listening to presentations, doing presentations or visiting different trade channels. Believe me, I've seen a lot of supermarkets, drug stores and market stalls in this job.

So it is always a wonderful respite when I can travel and not step into a boardroom or look at a powerpoint slide. Which, thankfully, is exactly what I had on Independence Day weekend. For one brief moment, I was a plane and car-ride away from everything corporate. Literally.

The weekend didn't quite start out as planned. As always, I overslept, waking up 2 hours after the assigned departure time of 10am. So by the time we hit the road it was past noon. Thankfully neither of us were hungry though we were looking forward to lunch. That's because our pit/lunch stop was the town (or city, am not really sure which) of Seremban, off the coast of west Malaysia. And in keeping with Malaysian food tradition, the best food is found in an unassuming stall in the most unglamorous of places.
Stall #748 located in the town public market
I'm not an expert on Malaysian cuisine, but apparently what separates Seremban beef noodle from the rest of its kind is the sauce and the kind of noodle it uses.

the famous Seremband beef noodle
Unlike the Lucky Me Pancit Canton-type noodles I find in other dishes, this uses thicker, white noodles that were almost spaghetti-like in width. Then the meat cut is in slices and not the minced meat I've come to expect. The sauce was thick and although it looked like it was soy sauce based, it had a touch of sweetness. The really new ingredient to me was the sesame seed topping. I've never seen that before. It put a nice crunch to the dish. And, as with all Malaysian dishes, it came with a side of chili sauce which I would dip into liberally when I was in the mood for a kick in my bite. It was really quite delicious and I must admit that staring at the picture again is making me want another serving. hahaha...

From Seremban town it was only a short ride up to our ultimate destination... drumroll please... The Dusun. (yaaaaay!)

Translated as The Orchard, The Dusun is a quaint, rustic resort up a mountainous terrain. Getting there required driving through a road that progressively got narrower and eventually ended in a dirt path. It wasn't a hard drive, but one that sets up how worth it the trip is going to be.

what surrounds you when you get there
When you hit The Dusun there is only a small parking lot good enough to accommodate 4 cars. Which makes sense since there are only 4 cottages available in their entire lot. There is no lobby or check-in station. Just a nice woman who meets you at your car and escorts you to your cottage. Having taken a higher cottage, my long-dormant leg muscles got a shocking wake-up call walking up the path. I was panting by the time we reached the Tembusu house.

home for a day
pagod, pero maganda pa rin. hahahaha!
Built in the style of a traditional Malay house (I assume), it was on stilts, with a fully-stocked kitchen located on the ground floor. Everything you would need was there: stove, ref, water dispenser (with water), plates, utensils, glasses, candles, matches and even mosquito coils. Up a short flight of stairs was the main room. And it really was just that. A room. No partitions, no walls, just one big, airy, breezy room with the comforts of home.

the way to the living/dining/sleeping area

notice the mosquito net. It is very, very helpful at night.

an extra bed, right across the main one

an extremely relaxing chair with the view of the greenery. also just across the main bed
Interestingly enough, the windows had absolutely no shutters or curtains so everything was open and visible. We briefly thought about what would happen should it rain (would we get wet inside?) but the skies, though overcast, remained cooperative and dry.

We had planned to hike that afternoon to the waterfalls and thought we could do it on our own. Unfortunately, we were told that it wasn't safe without a guide, which we were unable to schedule beforehand. So we were instead directed to a nearby river that was supposedly 15mins away. Armed with a roughly-drawn map and a desire to explore, we started our way.

a-hiking we will go, a-hiking we will go... high ho the merry-o a-hiking we will go
The hike was a curious thing. A few minutes after leaving the grounds we were joined by two companions: a male and female dog. Obviously accustomed to humans, they were neither afraid nor hostile to us. Instead they matched our pace, staying only slightly ahead and periodically the female would look back at us, as though making sure that we were following her lead. In fact on our way back we had turned into a side road and she refused to join us. We walked on and tried calling her, but she sat down and refused to budge. Thinking that we may have chosen the wrong path, we retraced our steps and kept to the main road, whereby she got off her haunches and once more began leading us. And FYI, she was right. The side road we took was the wrong way. 

our guide
We never did reach the river. :( It had started to drizzle and we didn't want to risk getting soaked if the rain became too strong (it didn't. oh well). One, because we both had our cameras with us and two, because I was still nursing a cough.

By the time we got back to the cottage, early evening was settling and we started getting ready for dinner. Just outside the main room was a barbeque pit and part of the amenities offered were all-you-need charcoal and grilling equipment plus the services of a fire starter. So we were going to throw ourselves a little barbeque party. We had brought up satay, 3 kinds of sausages, cured meat, an ear of corn, salad and for dessert, marshmallows for roasting. Yummm.

the venue of that night's dinner
not a bad spread, wouldn't you agree?

cookin' and grilllin' on the barbie...
With the volume of food and just our stomachs, we decided to keep the pace nice and relaxed. Under the deepening night and gradually brightening stars, with free-flowing conversation both serious and inane, dinner took us all of 2 hours. And the best part was, we didn't have to do the dishes after! ;)

We kept the fire going way until after we the last morsel had been eaten. We didn't really need the heat, but there's always something comforting about a nice warm, fiery glow.

The next day dawned with the promise of breakfast brought up to the house, served in a traditional food container: nasi lemak. It took me a while to finish up the food, not only because I was naturally slow, but I think some of the previous night's sausage was still inside me. hahaha...

I was kind of hoping for chicken, actually. But old-school nasi lemak really just comes with the egg
We had a little time left before the 12nn check out, so we decided to enjoy the rest of what the resort had to offer. Right beside another cottage, the Berumbun, was the patio, a communal place big enough to hold a larger party of people.

party place
But since we were done with barbeque-ing, we decided to use the pool instead. Water at the resort is sourced from a river up the mountains so it was a little bit icy-cold stepping in. I kept getting told I would eventually acclimate to the temperature. I never did. hahahaha...

But oh, the view from the pool was gorgeous.
it would have been bliss... if I wasn't freezing. hehe.
We got out with just enough time for us to shower and pack up. It was finally time to say goodbye. It would have been great to stay on a bit longer, but that's the beauty of short trips. It leaves you wanting more.

The Dusun is located at Kampung Kolam Air Pantai 71770 Seremban, Malaysia. If that sounds vague, you can visit their website at to get the map and other details. You can also reach them via email: or call +(60)012-6162585.


  1. Great rundown of your experience at the resort. So nice to be surrounded by so much greenery and life. And the food looked awesome too. lol

    1. Thank you Caesar. :) It was a great weekend there. And yes, the food was awesome!

  2. trimakasih infonya sangat,,
    berguna sekali,,


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