Thursday, December 24, 2015

Hot Springs Therapy in Hulu Tami

Hulu Tamu Hotsprings lies in the Batang Kali forest, off the main road.

DEEP in the heart of Bantang Kali, some six kilometres off the old road to Kuala Kubu Baru, lies the Hulu Tamu Hotsprings. The hotsprings is a popular haunt among locals and weekenders who know how to get there. It was rumoured that the hotsprings’ waters have medicinal value.

The Hulu Tamu hotsprings, which is believed to have undergone a RM100,000 upgrade early this year, has three  shaded gazebos and three pools. The waters in the two smaller pools are very hot, especially towards noon, while the biggest one is lukewarm. There is a canteen at the far end of the pool but choices are limited to bottle drinks and some food.

The pebbled path for those who want some foot reflexology.
The hotsprings area is surrounded by tall trees with thick foliage, making it shady spot for picnickers. There are also short pebbled paths beside the main gazebo that visitors use for foot massage or reflexology after soaking their feet. There is a small car park at the entrance to the hotsprings and a few more parking lots beside the canteen.

According to a local I met there, the hotsprings area has been fenced up and rumours have it that the local council would soon be charging a fee for entrance. It is not known if the pool is open 24 hours as there was no signboard or a security post.

Adjacent to the hotspring is the Cholo-cholo Resort and Restaurant, a privately operated establishment that is also quite popular with holiday makers.

I found Hulu Tamu hotsprings by accident while heading to Kuala Kubu Bharu to escape the recent haze. Having spotted the signboard near Batang Kali, on the KL-Ipoh old road, I decided to take a detour to seek it out. My GPS device did not show its location but you may use Waze as there is an entry of the location. Network connection in the area is erratic, however.

I painted this scene from the canteen parking lot, armed with mosquito repellent to keep the big variety of insect at bay.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Raub - a town gold made famous

This rest house lies on the hillock overlooking the padang.

ACCORDING to a local who saw me painting the Raub Rest House at Jalan Dato Abdullah recently, the name of the township came from the Malay term “raup”, which means a scoop. The 70-something pakcik told me that his grandfather had related to him a story about a farmer and his two sons who had ventured to set up farm in the wilderness.

After having cleared and ploughed the land, the farmer and his son went to the river to get water to irrigate the plots. Upon reaching the river, they were not only attracted by the crystal-clear waters but also the glitter on the riverbed. Curious, they took a scoop of sand from the bottom of riverbed to see what the glitter was and were surprised to find gold nuggets among the grains of sand.

The news of their finding spread quickly and prospectors came from near and far to look for gold. There was so much gold in the river that every dulang of sand washed would yield a “raup” or a scoop of gold. Hence, the township became known as “Raup” or Raub today. It is said that the area where the padang is now located used to be a waterlogged piece of land that yielded the highest amount of gold deposits.

Another story told was that Raub received its name from the Rao (or Rawo) immigrant community who lived in the area who were mostly farmers and miners. The area, then known as the Rao Valley, became Raub in later years.

I painted his colonial-style rest house seated beneath an old raintree on the south-eastern end. This old rest house is located on top of a hillock which offers it a commanding view of Raub town. The rest house was built in 1908 and had been described as one of the finest in Pahang and Selangor in an old newspaper cutting of the 1930s. Back those days, whenever there was a major event in town, its premises were reserved for the accommodation of VIPs and top government officials.

Today, the rest house is still popular with tourists, especially those who want to experience a little bit of nostalgia in the bustling town centre.  On the walls of the rest house’s high ceiling lobby are old photographs and newspaper cuttings that mark the various milestone events in the town that gold made famous.

An old clock greets visitors on the ground floor.

The padang as seen from the arched doorway of the rest house.