If a picture can paint a thousand words, there will not be enough to describe the serene beauty that encompasses Aman Rimba. So, I won’t try too hard to do that. This will, essentially be a photo-heavy post, while I try to do justice to the place with my limited vocabulary in describing this lush and lovely haven, tucked away in a rustic kampung, accessed by a long, narrow and winding road.
It is a bit hard to believe that this piece of paradise lies just barely an hour away from the hustle bustle of Kuala Lumpur. You’d think this would be someplace really off the beaten track and miles (or shall I say kilometers?) away from civilization and would probably take hours and hours of driving! But, no… this is actually in Janda Baik (“The Good Widow”), which is just off the Karak Highway and about 14km from the Genting Sempah exit. You have to be sharp to look out the very discreet signages leading to Aman Rimba but that’s how the owners planned it.
Aman Rimba, with its tropical greenery charm and being in a kampung setting… you would be completely taken and awed with its 5-star set-up and amenities. And the service – oh, it’s so warm and friendly. The best thing to do here? NOTHING. Just lounge back, bask in the tranquility that embraces this place like a soothing balm. Very soothing to jaded souls, stressful minds and tired bodies. The place rejuvenates.
The owners, En Sabri Rahman and his lovely wife, Kak Wati, first built this place as a private retreat for family and friends. This place was a home-away-from-home for the Sabri clan and their friends and host to many family events over the years. However, their children have grown up and are mostly overseas now and that’s how Aman Rimba has been open to the public since a few years ago.
This vast property … all 3 acres of it, houses several villas, all named after local herbs, in Malay.
The Halia (ginger) and Serai (lemongrass) villas are identical villas, located next to each other. Each villa can house 4 guests. The furnishings are mainly wooden with charming features like the white cotton drapes overhanging the bed and beautifully-appointed bathrooms. I love all the bathrooms in Aman Rimba… there’s an “open shower” corner (not completely open or totally exposed) … but a roof-less corner as something for you to bond with nature when you take a shower, perhaps?
The Sireh Villa is the very first villa built by the owners here. This was where they lived whenever they visit Aman Rimba and it remains Kak Wati’s favourite villa. Stepping into Sireh, I can understand why. It is the most charmingly “homely” and cosy villa among all the other villas … the place is filled with many of the owners’ favourite personal memorabilia items, from books to the pretty decorative items and even some classic pieces like the very traditional and “almost ancient” sewing machine and cute table fan.
There’s a lake where a pair of beautiful white swans make mating calls to each other, much to the chagrin of one poor lonely black swan whose mate has died. I guess, even with the company of several pretty ducks in the lake, it can’t make up for the company of a mate! Across this lake lies the 2 majestic Kantan Villas, where I had the opportunity to spend one blissful night!
The 2 Kantan Villas are identical, mirror images of each other, separated by a movable wooden wall at the living room. These 2 are the biggest villas in Aman Rimba, with high wooden ceilings and rock-solid floors made from Balau wood. The whole villa exudes an air of luxury and space… besides the huge master bed, there’s this lovely queen-sized bed by the window which is such a nice place to fall asleep at. The walk-in wardrobe area is huge, with double-sinks at the vanity counter. Needless to say, the bathroom is also impressive, with rustic stones flooring, the signature open-shower area and even a jacuzzi! What luxury!
Did I say I love all the bathrooms in Aman Rimba? Yes, even the “public” ones… which are cutely named “Luv-a-Tree”. When I first arrived at Aman Rimba, I was curious about this wooden “shack-like” hut (there are 2 of them on the property) nestling among the trees. I was told it’s a bathroom.
So…okayyy… looking at the “very basic” exterior, I was blown away with the modern amenities inside! Well, they are modern but also very “rustic” in a way – just look at that bamboo-like tap… so quaint!
OK, I know I said the best thing to do here in Aman Rimba is NOTHING. Well, if you are bored with Doing Nothing, you can opt for some recreational activities, like pool, foosball, board games or play some Wii stuff in the Recreation Centre…
… or how about some fishing at the lake? Some reading, while listening to the birds chirping?
Or simply go traipsing round the area…plenty of flora and foliage to discover…
… and make friends with some feathered residents thereI But a note of warning though – that white parrot who greets everyone with “Apa khabar” isn’t very friendly towards the male species …so, guys, keep a bit of distance, ya! But it loves the females… it shows off shamelessly when we womenfolk go up to him!
One of our favourite hangout places in Aman Rimba must surely be the Dining Hall. The chef at Aman Rimba cooked us lovely meals while we were there… and we all lingered in this airy hall, chatting over the good food.
Ahhh… let’s look at what we ate there. We had Korean-style BBQ and steamboat for dinner … totally enjoyable, especially when the air temperature dips in the evening and night. Perfect for some tummy-warming BBQ and steamboat!
For breakfast, we were served with Nasi Lemak with fried chicken and all the condiments: sambal, peanuts, boiled eggs, crunchy ikan bilis… and there’s also the western fare like toast, cereals, pastries and an egg station for any style of eggs, prepared by the friendly smiling crew.
I missed lunch on the first day as I arrived there late. Everyone else was telling me that I missed the most awesome “machang sambal” ever! Determined to have a taste of this, I made a special request to the chef to have this the next day and the reply was “No problem!”. Freshly-fallen machang fruits (a kind of mango with a strong scent and flavour) were available from the machang trees planted there… the machang flesh is chopped/mashed and mixed with a sambal made from pounded red chillies and belacan (shrimp paste).
Well… just look at that magnificent sambal! It was so good and everyone was lapping this up, it finished before lunch was over and we had to ask the good chef to make another batch and within minutes, a fresh bowl was served! This must be the single most memorably awesome dish that every one of us will remember Aman Rimba by!
Lunch was a very delicious affair… with rich Malay dishes, so fantastically appetising that we piled on the rice – OMG! Well, what do you expect us to do, when there were dishes like Sambal Petai Udang, Pajeri Sayur, Gulai Daging Kawah and Chicken Fried with Dry Chillies?! Yeah, and don’t forget that evil Sambal Machang!
I had a good time snapping photos of the amazing flora… in all shapes and colours…
… my two favourites are these…
This is such an idyllic place for a retreat… a place where you can leave behind the stress and worries of the rat race… a place to appreciate the simple things in life, a place to just do… nothing.
About Aman Rimba
Nestled in the hills of Aman Rimba, a mere 45-60 minutes’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, Aman Rimba is laced with endless natural tropical beauty and serenity. The resort accomodates 20 people comfortably in its 6 villas, is flexible with a few additional paxes, upon request. For exclusivity and privacy, their policy is to let out the whole property (all 6 villas) at any one time. Besides the recreational facilities mentioned, there’s also a karaoke machine, a projector + screen for meetings and there’s a multi-purpose hall that can be set up for any team-building or workshop events.
*Many thanks to Kak Wati and Sabri for this wonderful experience in Aman Rimba!