If we had a Ringgit for every time we’ve read or heard the words ‘social distance’, we’d be set until mid-2021. We’re not complaining though, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, so it would be irresponsible to practice otherwise.
With that, ‘isolationist travel’ is projected to be the travel trend for the year. It entails staying in places that people wouldn’t typically flock to (camp sites, the great outdoors) or participating in activities that are best experienced in smaller groups (rowing, hiking, culinary).
‘Glamping is also all the rave these days, with most of us only having heard of it in the last five years or so. For the uninitiated, glamping is, quite simply, luxurious camping. While luxury is a subjective experience, I’m sure most of us will be happy being provided with creature comforts while having nature at our holiday doorstep. Malaysia actually has quite a few options in this department, and we’ve added four more places to our existing list of nine to help you decide where to go.
Caravan Serai Exclusive Private Villas & Eco Resort, Pahang
The Caravan Serai Exclusive Private Villas in Bentong, Pahang, offers glampers a few options ranging from the basic Safari Tent to a deluxe one fitted with a queen-sized bed, furniture, air-conditioning, and an ensuite bathroom. Just 45 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur, this popular glamping spot is surrounded by forests, local fruit orchards, rivers, and beautiful hill views.
Sailor’s Rest Resort, Pahang
Expect a more modest glamping experience here at the Sailor’s Rest Resort in Janda Baik. Although it’s not the most luxurious experience on the list, glampers are still provided with comfy mattresses and hotel bedding sheets, as well as a fluffy comforter. Tents are fitted with fans, but the area is cool enough to do without them. Glampers don’t get attached baths here, but the common toilets are lovely, with individual gardens in each unit as well as hot and cold rain shower facilities.
Tanah Aina Fahad, Pahang
This eight-acre resort is located next to the famous Lata Jarum in Ulu Dong, Raub. This spot offers nature lovers a great opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Less than three hours away from Kuala Lumpur, the trip to Tanah Aina Fahad is an experience in itself, with guests needing to drive through a scenic Malay kampung (village) to get to the resort.
Time Capsule Retreat, Pahang
Time Capsule Retreat in the middle of Sungai Lembing near Kuantan is known for its unique capsule facilities. This quiet and cosy little family-run retreat sits inside a lush forest reserve that provides great views, cool temperatures, and a great ambience for relaxation and serenity. The capsules are well-furnished and fitted with comfortable beds and air conditioning. Restrooms are shared but are well-maintained and clean. Hiking enthusiasts are encouraged to wake up early to hike up a nearby hill and bask in the stunning sunrise.
Japamala Resort, Johor
Perched high above the lush jungle canopy on Tioman Island, Japamala’s wooden chalets are secluded, yet situated only a short walk up from the beach. Suffice to say, these treetop rooms offer an entirely different glamping experience. In fact, some wouldn’t dub it glamping at all. Regardless, you’ll experience life many feet above the ground, sharing a habitat with the jungle’s flora and fauna, all while in the comfort of your bed.
The Sticks, Selangor
The Sticks pride themselves for being an eco-glamping destination, making full use of the natural surroundings and rain for water, and rely on dozens of solar panels to power the entire site. The place is also aptly named for its heavy reliance on bamboo sticks used to build the lavish tent sites. It also needs to be said that the term ‘tent’ is used lightly here, but the glamping experience is definitely top-notch. While perfect for some rest and relaxation, the property is full of fun activities, as well as affording a closeness to lush greenery and its beauty.
Tadom Hills Resorts, Selangor
This glamping spot boasts almost 40 acres of limestone hills, lakes, and trees. The large compound allows for many exciting activities but is also perfect for those who want to take a break from being a city slicker and unwind. Guests may choose between lakeside tents and garden tents that are both equally comfortable. Naturally, they come with all the creature comforts you’ll need, and are especially chilly at night, making it perfect to snuggle in, under a super-soft comforter. Tadom Hills is known for its water activities and archery grounds.
Walai Penyu Resort, Sabah
Just off the coast of Sandakan, Walai Penyu Resort benefits from its stunning location on the Turtle Islands. This experience is tailored specifically to those interested in turtles and the efforts put into protecting these beautiful creatures. Located nearby is the Libaran Turtle Hatchery, where glampers can choose to learn about turtles and discover the island’s long-running turtle conservation program.
Mt. Kinabalu Holiday Camp, Sabah
Mount Kinabalu needs no introduction, what does though, is the stunning Holiday Camp located at its foot. The Mt. Kinabalu Holiday Camp presents something new and unique to travellers seeking detachment from the material world. Located in a remote area, this wooden glamping experience is unlike any other.
Guests are given cosy, comfortable huts equipped with the necessary amenities. However, the remoteness of the area means that there’s no electricity or piped water. Don’t fret though, as this is circumvented by solar panels and reliance on freshwater streams off the peak of Mount Kinabalu.
The adventurous glamper may also use this opportunity to hike up parts of the mountain, or even take a dip in Sabah’s deepest lake. Being a significant distance above sea level, the site offers a spectacular view of Mount Kinabalu and the skies above her, as well as the fresh air many city folks truly crave for.
Tiarasa Escapes, Pahang
Just 45 minutes away from the Kuala Lumpur, Tiarasa Escapes boasts 20 luxurious safari-style tents and five dreamy treehouses that all overlook a free-form pool. It’s the perfect getaway if you’re looking to read a book, zone out on a hammock, or take in breath-taking views.
Dusun Bonda, Batang Kali
Built as a space to create memories for the founder’s daughter, Dusun Bonda is situated in the middle of 2.1 acres of local fruit trees. It features a studio villa, a three-bedroom villa, glamorous five-metre bell tents, and four-metre bell tents. The entire estate can accommodate up to 50 adults overnight.
Sea Horizon Resort, Johor
Built above the cliff side overlooking the South China Sea, these coastal glamping suites are perfect for two people who want to spend the weekend together watching Netflix while napping sporadically. a.k.a the suite life.
Tabin Wildlife Resort, Sabah
Jungle lodges and bungalows built using authentic Borneo timber and staying close to a wildlife reserve? Sign us up! Tabin Wild Resort is a haven for those who live for outdoor activities – like kayaking, white water rafting, bird watching, and unwinding at a hot spring after a long day of hiking, walking, and more hiking.
Glamz, Genting Highlands, Pahang
An events space and clamping site, the possibilities are seemingly endless at Glamz. There are four kinds of clamping domes to choose from — a standard dome room, VIP dome with a private jacuzzi (wow!), a bell tent for those who prefer to rough it out a wee bit more, and a family dome that works for groups of up to six.
Sea Horizon Resort, Johor
If a sea view is what you’re after, then you can’t go wrong by setting up camp (ahem) at Sea Horizon Resort. Besides their standard accommodation, you can also opt to stay in one of the resort’s clamping domes that’s good for two. While sunrise and sunset offer lovely undisturbed panoramas of the ocean, come nightfall, you can also stargaze right from the comfort of your dome’s plush bed.
Gopeng Glamping Park, Perak
Want a river? You got it. Looking to explore a cave? That’s a can do too. Or perhaps you’d like to wander through a forest? Also possible. But what about hiking up a hill? Well, that’s also a yes from the Gopeng Glamping Park. Its location is so strategic, you can really just do it all. Beyond nature, the park is also bordered by the serene Kampung Chulek, allowing visitors to also partake in heritage activities.
Hammocks By The River, Hulu Langat, Selangor
Although, yes, it’s technically a riverside campsite, what elevates it is the inclusion of creature comforts and amenities such as fully-functioning water closets, kitchens, and nice communal spaces. This really gives you that camping experience while still offering you comfort.
Umea Glam Kundasang, Sabah
Killer sunset views, a fully-equipped dome that features a dining area, comfy beds, swing, bean bags and the like so you can just bask in the view? What’s not to like? This is everything glamping ought to be. And the location is in none other than stunning Sabah. If ever you’re in the East Malaysia state, instead of making a day trip out of going to Kundasang, why not check in here instead? Clearly, you won’t regret it.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 18 August 2020 and updated on 19 November 2021 to include more locations.