19 September 2008

'Moh, Balik Kampung!' to Homestay Bagan Datoh

BAGAN DATOH, 9 August 2008 – It was like going back to your hometown after being away working in the city for too long. It is a place where time seems to stand still, and everyday’s life in the village is an easy and relaxing one.

Bagan Datoh, developed more than 100 years ago, is a beautiful traditional village surrounded by a picturesque coconut farm with a rich and proud ethnics heritage. Malays, Chinese and Indians create the social fabrics of Bagan Datoh society, where the traditional practice in culture is still very much alive, all sharing the outgoing and warm hospitality Bagan Datoh is well known for.

This is immediately evident upon the visitors’ arrival as they are greeted by the welcoming beats of rebana (small kompangs, Malay drums) and singing along to Pukul Lekun. Even the excited makciks and pakciks (literal Malay translation for 'aunties' and 'uncles') will come up and bersalam (greet) with the visitors, who will soon be their foster children.

Visitors will also get to enjoy an interesting line up of cultural dance performances to keep everyone entertained: Tarian Dabus, an extreme form of dance where dancers use sharp objects to stab themselves without feeling any pain; Tarian Lenggok, a dance with delicate moves that was performed once upon a time to entertain the kings; and Tarian Zapin, which is complemented with traditional instruments like gong, rebana and gendang.

If you are lucky, you will also get to witness the famous Tarian Bubu, a traditional dance hailing from Perak about 120 years ago. Although this dance is famous since olden times as a mere entertainment to the tired workers, it is hard to turn away from the mystical myths that shadow the dance. Such myths include that of the mermaids, the spirit of a mother who died during childbirth, the fisherman who lost his daughter, and three youngsters who got lost in the jungle.

Bagan Datoh is also known as the ‘Coconut Paradise’, the heart of Perak’s coconut industry, and noted as the nation’s highest quality coconut producer. With that, they are known for their Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), which is said to possess a wide range of health benefits, such as reducing health diseases like stroke, stomach ulcers and diabetes, improving digestions, increasing the metabolism rate that promotes weight loss, and many more.

There are all sorts of VCO products for your everyday needs: food supplements, massage oil, lotion, night cream, cleansing soap and hair tonic.

Take up some new skills while you are with the residents of Bagan Datoh by learning how to weave ketupat pouches and serunai (whistles made solely from banana leaves), make ropes from the trunks of banana trees, and scrape coconut skins from the shells. Who knows? It could be a gateway to start a new business of your own.

Homestay Bagan Datoh was established by YB Datuk Seri Dr Hj Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Bagan Datoh’s Member of Parliament and officially opened by YAB Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister on January 26, 2006. Made up of 13 villages in the districts of Hilir Perak, Homestay Bagan Datoh is the biggest homestay in Malaysia. At Homestay Bagan Datoh, there are 100 homes/families available facilitated with hospitality, food, activities and village (kampung) tours.

If you get the chance, spend a night or two at Encik Daim’s house in Kampung Sungai Haji Muhammad. His is an authentic traditional Malay house, which has been around for a hundred years! Though seasoned, the house is still neatly kept with ample space and rooms to house many guests willing to experience the authentic kampung lifestyle. Other than that, Encik Daim has a few persevered artefacts hidden under his sleeves – or under his roof, in this case: a 100-year-old iron-framed bed, a pair of spears from the olden days, gambus, gong, and a vintage radio made in the 1960s, which is still working! See if you have any luck tuning into airwaves from yesteryear.

Bagan Datoh is located about 150KM from Kuala Lumpur. The village is accessible by any means of road transport, such as taxi and bus services from Kuala Lumpur. The three-hour journey is an enjoyable experience in local flavours, sights and sounds.

For further information, please contact:
Homestay Bagan Datoh
d/a, Pejabat Penghulu Mukim Bagan Datoh,
36100 Bagan Datoh, Perak
Tel: +6 05 646 6829
Fax: +6 05 646 8461

KL Marketing Officer:
En. Osman Hamzah
HP: +6 019 226 0748 / +6 019 549 9777 / +6 019 526 5564 / +6 019 460 8115
Email saedbagandatoh@yahoo.com


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