Friday, July 22, 2016

Valley Agro Park (山寨谷休閒度假村), Bentong

About 2 hours drive away from the hectic lifestyle in Klang Valley ( I Do!), lies a beautiful town named Bentong. There are many hidden gems that you should explore in this town. Following my experience at Bilut Extreme Park (my previous post here, if you haven't read it yet), we continued our journey to another beautiful and must-visit destination in Bentong.

This must-visit place is called Valley Agro Park (山寨谷休閒度假)which is located about 15-20 minutes away from Bilut Extreme Park. It's not just an ordinary park for recreation but it's much more than that. I would call it a resort with tons of facilities. 

Located on a 18-acre piece of originally an oil palm plantation land which the founder, Mr. Sing inherited from his late father; it is built based on the Wu Xia setting from one of the Four Greatest Classical Novels of Chinese Literature called 水滸傳 aka Outlaws of the Marsh. The founder was inspired by this novel that he wanted to bring the stories to life. Therefore, you can call it a水滸傳 themed resort because its unique built-up here at Valley Agro Park are inspired from the water town in the novel. I did a bit of a Google-ing on the 水滸傳 to get a rough idea on how the town in the story would look like. According to the Discover Hangzhou site, the Meicheng (梅城古镇) water town has a deep connection with many famous Chinese classical novels including水滸傳. I would say that the founder, Mr. Sing did quite a great job in bringing the ancient town to live - you gotta stay tune till the end of this post to be mesmerized by the beautiful setting at Valley Agro Park.

From a glance of the resort's surrounding, you might thought that this entire resort aka park is built on a lake or river or something - as the building are located on a mini lake or river look-a-like setting.  However, it is originally an oil palm plantation. According to the team at Valley Agro Park, irrigation was created and the land was cleared during the construction period to improve the ecological cycle and air quality of the area. As this piece of land is situated quite near (within walking distance) to the nearby waterfalls, irrigation was created to allow the water from the waterfalls to also flow throughout - or underneath the resort. It creates a serene scenery which is a perfect destination for a weekend getaway from the city.

Valley Agro Park offers a unique accommodation experience whereby your rooms are built on a continuous water-flowing mini lake. Plus, the look and feel of the rooms (wooden attap huts) makes you feel as if you had travel back in time to the ancient Chinese dynasty setting. Rates are affordable and you can take lots of nostalgic feeling kind of photographs or selfies here. As this resort is surrounded by natural forest, you can listen to the sound of nature (it can be birds chirping, insects cricking, etc) at different times of the day while enjoying yourself (or a 'me' time) under a green landscape.

We did a tour around the rooms available and rooms are clean :) - one of the items I will put on my check-list when looking for an accommodation. There's also a unique room in this resort which you can see water-flowing (water from nearby waterfalls) underneath the room called水上間. The room's floor are made of wooden planks that you can see the water-flowing underneath it. This room does not requires air conditioned because the continuous water flowing underneath it cools the room naturally. You might want to be careful not to drop small items on the floor - hehe.

There's also an in-house restaurant which serves authentic and delicious home-styled Chinese cuisine; organic food and vegetables in particularly.

 Thanks to the team at Valley Agro Park, we were treated to a scrumptious lunch which I love it a lot - yes, all my favorite dishes are served - and more on their menu.

We had the Fresh Sugarcane Juice (with no sugar or water added) which is great to quench our thirst - it was a hot day. Satisfying with natural sweetener from the plant itself.

Valley Agro Park offers fresh river fish to its customers - thus you gotta order their seafood dishes here. Prices are affordable and you'll be putting your double thumbs up at the end of the meal. We had 2 types of fish based dishes; the Grilled Nyonya Style Tilapia in Foil Packets (金鳳娘惹燒) and Green Pepper Steamed Catfish (青椒白鬚公). The Nyonya fish is good - sourish spicy gravy with natural sweetness from the fish. I love the Green Pepper Steamed Catfish even more! Gravy is good, a bit of a spiciness (not the curry kind of spicy but from the pepper) to give a bit of kick and steamed to perfection - best part, my favorite parsley and ginger are presence on the dish.

If you're looking for a perfectly steamed kampung chicken, you gotta try it here at Valley Agro Park. The Yoke Lan Chicken (玉蘭) is basically Steamed Chicken with Kai Lan vegetable - minus the Chinese Ham from the original recipe because it's a pork free restaurant. Love the chicken - real and mature (not those 100 days and under) Kampung Chicken where the meat is moist and a bit more bites on the meat part as Kampung chicken runs around the farm - which means lots of exercise to its muscle. Their homemade dipping paste (fried onions, garlic and ginger paste in sesame oil - I guessed, just like how I cooked it at home) for the chicken is superb (would love to learn it from the chef - hehe). And I love the Chinese parsley - delicious chicken meat with perfectly homemade dipping and a drizzle of soy sauce from the chicken dish + Chinese parsley all in one bite - it's heavenly. I guess I took all the Chinese parsley from the dish, hehe. 

We also had the Pumpkin Beancurd (金瓜豆)where the sauce is great - lots of pumpkin puree being used without MSG. Scope lots of gravy and eat it with your rice. I had more than a bowl of rice during the lunch due to their delicious food. 

The next dish on the table is the Claypot Braised Eggplant with Fish Cakes (煲仔茄子燴魚).Delicious braised eggplant (aka brinjal) in a claypot - best to be served when it's sizzling hot. The fish cakes here (known as ) is the gluten type of fish cakes where fish paste is being mixed with accompanying ingredients such as garlic and etc and shaped into balls shape before being deep fried. It's one type of traditional Chinese styled fish cakes that you gotta try.    

Last but not least, it's my favorite Claypot Sweet Potato Leaves (瓦煲蕃薯) being served on the table. More of this please :)

You should include a meal at this lovely restaurant when you're staying here or even around the Bentong town. 

Other facilities around the resort includes Barbeque facility at only RM25/pax (area suits minimum 6 pax) and requires 3 days advanced booking, Karaoke, Conference facilities, Camping, Miniature Animal Park, Tree House activity, touring their own Vegetable garden, Fishing (catch and release at no charge and if you would like to bring your catch home, charges apply) and many more.

For more info on Valley Agro park, visit their official website here or message them through their Facebook page at Valley Agro Park.

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