Last year, we decided to keep our December vacation plans simple and revisit some old favorites and explore new places never before experienced. We are very familiar with driving around in Malaysia so this trip was rather easy to plan, however it still had many surprises in store! Shows that Malaysia is always worth visiting again and again.
The whole trip was one week and we went to these four destinations; Sekinchan – Cameron Highlands – Ipoh – Kuala Lumpur
Day 1: Singapore to Sekinchan
- PadiBox Container Hotel
- Rice Museum by Cap Asas
- Mango King
- Dinner at Kun Kee
We have never been to Sekinchan before and wondered what this little town has to offer. From what I have read online, the paddy fields aka rice fields are mainly what makes Sekinchan Sekinchan. We decided to stay two nights at Padi Box.
We set off early in the morning from Singapore for Sekinchan. It was only a 4-5 hour drive away, similar to travelling to Kuala Lumpur.
After a quick rest stop, we arrived at Sekinchan with lots of time to spare! We decided to check into our hotel and check out the Rice Museum.
Address: Lot no, 9990, Jalan Tali Air 5, Ban 2, Selangor, 45400 Sekinchan, Malaysia
This rice museum charges a small entrance fee but you get a small sample packet of rice (probably good for 5-6 people) and it was a fantastic gift! The museum is also well-run with docents bringing you on a short tour and explaining the rice harvesting, polishing and packing process.
After that, we went to Mango King which was a must-see in Sekinchan. We had the mango smoothie and fresh mangoes but it was honestly nothing much than a fruit stall and not great if you’re hungry for carbs and protein.
Address: 248 Lorong Empat, 45400 Sekinchan
For dinner, we went to this restaurant called Kun Kee which was located in the jetty area.
Address: 42 Jalan Sekinchan Damai 1 | Taman Sekinchan, Sekinchan 45400
We didn’t choose the restaurant on purpose for the reviews (which were few and far between), we just saw that it was opened and needed an early dinner. However the food was rather good and cheap, and I do recommend this restaurant.
After dinner, we retired back to our accommodation (which they rather call it a homestay) for a quick shower and rest. We chose the quirky and very #instagrammable Padi Box as our accommodation in Sekinchan.
Day 2: Sekinchan
We spent the entire Day 2 at Sekinchan. People would usually just stopover for one night but as it was our first time here and we wanted to get to know the charms of the place by spending more time here.
The Sekinchan Day 2 hit list:
- Try shark porridge at Restoran Jiann Chyi
- Go back in time at Ah Ma House
- Visit the beach and fishing village
- Enjoy more rice fields
- Dinner in a bus
We had shark porridge at the “famous” restaurant. I put famous in quotes because nothing is actually famous or touristy in Sekinchan, which is great if you want to explore places off the beaten path.
Restoran Jiann Chyi
Address: 156, Jalan Sungai Labu, Taman Sekinchan Damai, 45400 Sekinchan, Selangor, Malaysia
If there was such thing as tourism in Sekinchan, then the Ah Ma house is the only thing that comes to mind first as a tourist trap. However, it was still good fun to see a traditional style Malaysian house that is also a shop for the awesome variety of childhood snacks and bubble gum. Oh how I miss the artificial flavors and colors of gum. Unfortunately, Grace can only taste this bit of nostalgia only when we are in Malaysia. (If you are scratching your head on why I’m over-emphasizing on gum, it is banned in Singapore when I was 9 years old.)
After spending about 30 mins in the 1980’s, we made our way to the beach and immediately realized we have made a grave mistake. The sun, which has been friendly so far, made its presence felt, strongly. But we resolved to do everything we had on our list, even if it threatened to turn us all into toast! Armed with paltry sun hats, sunscreen and an umbrella, we braved the sun…
Finally, we had admit defeat and to slink away to the shade and thought a quick bite in the shade might help us cool off.
Big mistake! As delicious and alluring the seafood by the beach was, the heat was relentless! We had to throw in the towel and beat a hasty retreat. It was such a relief to be back at our rooms for a quick shower.
We had no idea what it was until we walked up and saw that it is actually really cute retro-style restaurant called the N.16 Cafe.
Address: Jalan Tali Air 4, Kampung Parit Empat, 45400 Sekinchan
They serve simple but delicious western dishes in a box, the kitchen is on the ground floor and the bus is perched above the kitchen about 3 meters off the ground. The best part? The air-conditioning actually works! For the first time today, we actually felt cool. We were there at 4pm and there wasn’t a huge crowd and we could enjoy the view of that was on fire (literally!) and the food. We also took plenty of photos!
Overall review of Sekinchan:
My general view of Sekinchan is that there is not much to do here. It is mainly a farming and fishing community and tourism hasn’t gotten its grip around here. There are pros and cons. The food and attractions are still relatively cheap and honest, but the heat saps every last bit of your energy and there are no malls or even properly air-conditioned places for you to cool down. You have to summon superhuman strength and willpower to brave the extreme sun even in mid-December.
PadiBox Review: It was a novel experience to stay in a true container hotel and the bed and bathroom isn’t bad. There is no room service or food or breakfast at the hotel, it operates similar to an AirBnB. The aircon isn’t cold enough though and it would have been very comfortable if it worked in the day. There’s also really not much to do other than wandering around, which is too hot anyway. Sorry it seems like I’ve mentioned the heat once too many times but it is really a prevailing theme whenever I think about Sekinchan.
By the end of Day 2, I’m actually glad to leave Sekinchan for a more touristy part of Malaysia, Cameron Highlands.
Day 3: Cameron Highlands
- Drop by the fishing village Bagan Pasir Laut
- Strawberry Park Resort
Before we actually enter Cameron, we had to visit Bagan Pasir Laut to see why Axian (Jason) visited this tiny Teochew fishing village. It is only 1.5 hours away from Sekinchan and I honestly love this place. It is seems to be frozen in time as you walk past the small, tightly packed streets as the occasional motorcycles zoom pass you. The hustle and bustle of the noise of trading going on and the smells of cooked food are so alluring.
If you come by, make sure it is early in the morning as the crowds seem to mysteriously melt away as the sun goes higher in the sky. It was so strange to come into town around 10 am to see street stalls doing business and leave at around 12 pm and see it completely empty, with the exception of a stray dog.
After our early lunch at Bagan Pasir Laut, we made our way towards the mountains for cool air. Unfortunately our little detour caused a 1 hour delay as we got lost. Oops! We did come across padi fields which were much more grandiose than Sekinchan though. It was amazing.
Finally, we arrived at Cameron Highlands just in time for high tea. When in Cameron Highlands, you are obliged to have high tea, preferably with scones.
The best high tea can be had at The Lakehouse but it was soooo far from our hotel which is Strawberry Park Resort so we opted to have our tea and scones in the hotel instead.
It does look pretty nice but I find it quite mediocre. The Indian food was superb though! For us, it was nice to finally sit down and eat after sitting in the car for 4 hours.
After going to our beautiful black-and-white colonial style room, we originally wanted to go to the night market but it was drizzling and knowing this was Cameron Highlands, the traffic would be at a standstill. So we ended up back at the hotel’s other restaurant that offers steamboat. Needless to say, we were stuffed!
Day 4: Cameron Highlands
We have been to Cameron Highlands so many times I don’t really want to review the attractions so much as to say what is worth visiting. This is a very short list:
- Tea Plantation
- Night Market
Over here in this post, I also reviewed a very unique place to stay in Cameron Highlands which I highly recommend called Terra’s Tree House.
The strawberry farms, bee farms, even the new lavender garden is pretty much a hit with the children or young people but I find that they are all tourist traps. However, just simply walking around and getting out there is the best way to enjoy the crisp mountain air.
Here are some photos of us at Cameron Lavender, the newest attraction at Cameron Highlands.
Welcome to the end of part one.
Our adventure is to be continued…