Have you ever dreamed of waking up to the smell of morning jungle and the sound of buzzing hills with hundreds birds and insects? I did! After our research for nature getaways around Kuala Lumpur I caught the travel bug (again!). So I packed our weekend travel bags and did “point at the list with my closed eyes” in lieu of a random pick to select our next destination.
Aaaaand…. we are going to the Shorea Retreat in Seremban!
With busy main roads left behind and farms replacing the suburban areas, we are driving into the Malaysian countryside through local towns and villages. Although Kuala Lumpur is just one hour drive away, the lifestyle here is visibly slower and more relaxed. After one more turn, even those settlements disappear as we enter the Berembun Forest Reserve, a protected jungle that is almost 4,000 acres in size and up to 1189 meters a.s.l., established during the colonial times.
The road is empty and then it hits us: the civilized world is behind us. No more traffic noise or heat, however, no more 7elevens or ever open mamaks either.
Finally we reach the gate and are greeted by our smiling personal GEM (guest experience manager) that escorts us to The Shorea resort property. “We had guest who got lost here” he warns so we must not wander off alone. It isn’t on our minds as soon as we reach the eco-boutique resort and see its infinity pools, sun decks and personal nooks with a table and chairs that are inviting you to let go of the worldly worries and curl up with a drink and book. Or just admire outstanding views on the rolling jungle hills.
I think we’ve found our personal piece of green heaven.
Summary of my stay in The Shorea:
- Cooling escape from the heat and crowds to the hilly Berembun Forest Reserve
- Get ready to be pampered by your personal guest experience managers and chefs
- Great for a 1 to 3 nights stay
- Best accessible by own car, within a one-hour drive from KL
The Shorea Retreats: Introduction
The Shorea is not your usual resort: It’s small, it’s in the middle of nowhere and off the usual tourist beaten routes. Most won’t have even heard of Seremban or Negeri Sembilan state. And no crowds and small capacity of this villa are precisely what makes this place special – it’s a private retreat where one can simply get a break and detox from the noise, city pollution and heat.
The Shorea Retreat has only two wings, each consisting of 4 villas of different capacity: from secluded suites for two to spacious villas for the whole family. The Shorea Resort is wooden naturally ventilated villa complex with a rustic ambiance, while the recently built Shorea Estate sports modern interior and is equipped with air-conditioner.
But to be honest, the A/C is not necessary here even for those who cannot stand Malaysian heat – the jungle cools down during the nights to a pleasant 20-something and the hilly terrain ensures a breeze even in the middle of the hottest day.
And if you’re still feel to hot – consider a dip in the infinity pools.
Furthermore, it’s one of the few eco resorts in Malaysia. For starters, a part of the resort is constructed using recycled shorea timber and is slanted roofs collect the rainwater for watering and the like. In addition to that, salts are used in the pools, instead of more nature damaging chemicals.
The Shorea also runs its own social programs and supports the local community by training and employing the locals, as well as preserving the knowledge of the surrounding flora from being forgotten.
Couples who are looking for a romantic weekend retreat for two should look no further. For a secluded nook, get the Shorea Villa Kemboja or Villa Bougainvillea that come with a private balcony and unobstructed views.
From your arrival, you’ll be showered with personal attention. Your personal GEM will make sure you are settled in comfortably with a welcome drink.
Later you’ll meet the local chef and his team. All of your meals are going to be freshly prepared in front of your eyes (if you wander to the open kitchen), whereas most of the food is sourced locally, including The Shorea’s own herb garden.
The dinner was simply wow. Scrumptious dishes (you can choose between Western fine dining and Asian cuisines) were beautifully set on the terrace – with candles and fresh flowers. The words don’t really do justice to describe the cozy atmosphere, and with the warm attitude from the staff I’d give it full 6 stars out of 5!
Your stay won’t be boring as there is well maintained common living room with books and board games. And you can take it to the next level with a traditional Malay massage.
Reconnect with nature
Even though it’s a getaway and by definition it means some lazy time for yourself, I’d recommend you to rise early. The sunrise is announced by the almost deafening jungle noise – it’s awake before the sun is up and when the air temperature is still cool. Mure your fave tunes and immerse into the experience!
And since the Villas are located in the Berembun Forest Reserve, opt for nature walk early in the morning or late evenings with an indigenous tribesman, also known as ‘orang asli’ from the nearby village as your guide. This rather easy jungle track follows the Batang Benar River and its beautiful waterfalls. On your way you’ll spot the Shorea tree after which this resort is named after.
Don’t forget your towel and a change of clothes – the trail ends at a pretty waterfall that you will have all for yourself.
We weren’t lucky to spot any birds but our guide mentioned that the magpies, sun birds, pheasants and eagles are quite common around here. “If you are lucky, you may spot the majestic hornbills during sunset when they feed”.
We did meet the Orang Asli family, gathering herbs and other plants, on the way. After 10am the place becomes rather busy although “busy” here means fewer than 5 hikers coming for the trail.
The Shorea review: final verdict
We left the Shorea Villa feeling uplifted, inspired and motivated. It is amazing what a little retreat back to nature can do for your soul! I hope this place will rejuvenate you as it did to me and you’ll find your peace of mind in this quiet green nook off the beaten path, just a short trip away from KL.
So is The Shorea great for a romantic retreat? Definitely! Expect a lot of attention to be put in smallest details to make this stay memorable for you and your significant one.
Booking your stay at The Shorea
Address: Kampung Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai, Jalan Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, 71770
Escaping the noise,
Disclaimer: Thanks to the Shore Retreats for the stay. Nonetheless, Tripfez policy is to always provide honest opinions, and thus all reviews and opinions remain my own.