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* This article was originally published on Ummi Goes Where? in 2021.
I had heard of Tadom Hill Resorts several years ago when it went viral as a unique bamboo-themed resort surrounded by natural beauty. It was also one of the first glamping spots in Malaysia.
But somehow, I never got around to visiting, because it was a little out of the way, and I never found the right group of people to go with. Plus, there was also the fact that I was more keen on filling my passport pages than exploring my own country.
But during the pandemic when we couldn’t travel abroad, and with more of my friends working from home, it was suddenly easier to gather the right people and organize a trip together.
About Tadom Hill Resorts
Tadom Hill Resorts started out as a village of the indigenous Temuan tribe, surrounded by acres of forests fronting an emerald lake (that used to be a limestone quarry). Several years ago, the village evolved into a 45-acre bamboo resort as the Temuan aborigines shared their piece of paradise with the world.
What makes Tadom Hill Resort special is the unique bamboo culture that plays a prominent part in the aboriginal lifestyle. The whole resort is built almost entirely out of bamboo materials that are traditionally used by the aborigines to build their homes.
Tadom Hill Resorts pride themselves on being an environmentally-friendly and sustainable resort, co-existing harmoniously with the environment and at the same time empowering the local community. The majority of the staff members comprise of local aborigines in the area. More than a resort, they are a community and a family.
Best Time to Visit Tadom Hill
Weather-wise, the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia is good to visit all year round, with no distinct wet or dry season. The climate is almost consistently hot (28 degrees Celsius on average) and humid with potential rain at any time of the year.
However, to avoid crowds at the Tadom Hill Resorts, try not to go on weekends, extended weekends, school holidays, and national public holidays.
We went on a Monday and got the whole lake to ourselves — at least for the most part of the first day.
Just after we were done swimming, a large group of about 50 people (probably college students) arrived, but there was still ample space for us to not feel overwhelmed by their presence.
So, try to arrive early if you can. The day pass is valid from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the lake operation hours are between 9 a.m. and 6.30 p.m.
How to Get to Tadom Hill Resorts
Tadom Hill Resorts is exclusively nestled in Banting’s nature reserve, about 45 minutes’ drive from the heart of Kuala Lumpur and 15 minutes’ drive from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
If you don’t have your own transport (or are just too lazy to drive like we were), the good news is you could take the Express Rail Link (ERL) from either Kuala Lumpur or the airport to Salak Tinggi station. Click here for the latest train schedule.
From there, there’s a free shuttle to the resort, available upon request. Please make a reservation with at least 48 hours’ advance notice so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
Room Rates at Tadom Hill Resorts
The Chalet Collection
Tadom Hill’s signature chalets, the Premium Gendui Chalets are designed to convey the resort’s passion for bamboo buildings and furnishing, including a king-sized four-poster bed to ensure optimal comfort. Fits 2 persons. From RM288/night.
The Semantan is the resort’s answer to the crowd’s overwhelming response to the Gendui chalets. Similar to the Gendui chalets, the Semantan is also air-conditioned with an en suite bathroom and hot shower. Fits 2 persons. From RM268/night.
Bamboo Madu Chalet
A smaller version of Gendui Chalet, the Bamboo Madu was formerly known as “Astana Ninik” and is furnished with 2 comfortable mattresses.
Each chalet can accommodate up to 3 persons (with additional charges for the third person). From RM288/night.
Lakeside Mini Chalet
If you prefer going for something a little more basic, the Lakeside Mini Chalet offers a clean, compact space for two persons with a comfortable mattress on the floor, pillows, and a window with views of the lake. Shared bathrooms are available close by. From RM155/night.
If the chalets aren’t outdoorsy enough for you, the Hammock Sphere is probably what you need. A favorite among solo travelers, the sphere can fit up to 10 hammocks and is equipped with mosquito nets.
You can choose to come alone and share the space with other like-minded travelers or book the entire sphere for your own group of buddies. From RM65/person/night.
For Groups & Families
The Hakka Village has two floors and 12 rooms on each floor, designed to cater to groups and families (4 – 6 pax per room). The Hakka Village Lux is air-conditioned, while Hakka Village Eco is equipped with ceiling fans and wall fans. Shared bathrooms are available on both floors. From RM320/night for a 4-person room.
Another private and cozy space for bigger groups or families, the Bamboo Hut offers a spacious dormitory room with floor mattresses and an ensuite bathroom. Fits up to 7 pax. From RM609/night.
Check-in time is officially at 3 p.m., but we decided to try our luck and go earlier. If the room was not yet ready, we would like to use the time to explore the place and enjoy the outdoor facilities.
So, we arrived at Salak Tinggi station a little after 12 p.m. just in time for our 12.30 scheduled pickup.
The journey from the station to the resort was surprisingly short and uneventful. Due to its name, we had imagined the place to be very remote — somewhere deep in the forest on top of a hill, requiring the use of a 4WD — which was the reason why we opted not to drive in the first place. Turned out it was actually so easy to get to, just by the side of the main road.
The van dropped us off right in front of the check-in counter, where they allowed us to have an early check-in without much fuss. We were each given the Day Pass wrist tag to be worn throughout our stay.
The pass would give us access to the lake and most of the areas within the resort. I’m not sure how strict they were about monitoring the guests, but being the obedient people that we were, we did as we were told and wore the tags for the whole two days without taking them off even for sleep!
Our Room at Hakka Village
Since there were 4 of us, we chose to stay in one of the smaller rooms at Hakka Village. And since we weren’t too fussy about air-cond, we chose the one without.
The Hakka Village has a unique architecture inspired by the “tulou”, a type of circular building popular in the southwestern Fujian province of China. It is a large fortress and apartment combined into one. Tadom’s Hakka Village is the one and only Hakka village in Malaysia that is made entirely out of bamboo.
Our room, on the second floor, has two bunk beds, with one of the bottom ones a double bed, so essentially the room can sleep up to 5 persons.
The room also comes with a dressing table with a mirror, a bamboo/rattan shelf, power points (enough for everyone to charge their phones at the same time), an electric fan, a wall fan at each bed, and an electric mosquito repellent. Blankets and free bottles of mineral water are also provided. Towels can be requested at the reception.
The wall fans at each of our beds were so strong that we actually switched them off in the middle of the night. The ceiling fan was more than enough. Glad we didn’t stay in an air-conditioned room.
There are shared bathrooms on both floors (the female one downstairs, and the male one upstairs) and a water dispenser at the female bathroom.
Dining at Tadom Hill Resorts
After checking in, we left our stuff in the room and headed straight to Tadom Hill Cafe for lunch.
The cafe had a lot of options on their menu — from fried rice to a variety of noodle dishes — but what caught our eyes was the bamboo rice set.
Priced at only RM10, it came with rice, herb fried chicken, curry sauce, sambal (chili paste), and a drink. It was quite a bargain and would be a perfect fit for our bamboo-themed holiday!
As we were their first customers of the day, the girls at the counter had to make a call to check if the bamboo rice was available. Luckily for us, it was, but would take a while to prepare.
It proved to be worth the wait. The steaming hot rice was soft and fragrant in its banana-leaf wrapper, the chicken crisp and flavorful, and the curry just the right amount of spicy. I doubt we could get anything similar for that price in Kuala Lumpur.
For dinner, we went to the other cafe called Garden Bistro that sat overlooking the lake. Slightly swankier than the self-service Tadom Hill Cafe, the Garden Bistro has a more sophisticated menu selection and the waiter comes to serve you at the table. But the prices didn’t reflect this swankiness.
I had grilled chicken and lime juice while my travel companions had fried noodles, fried rice with crispy chicken, and spicy fried rice with bird’s eye chili. Each of us paid less than RM20 for our meals, and the taste went beyond our expectation.
Our fellow guests, the college students, had a BBQ party outside. The BBQ pit rental fee is RM65, inclusive of a packet of bamboo charcoal. You can either order a BBQ platter from the resort or bring your own, but the food must be strictly pork-free. Bringing your own BBQ pit into the resort is not allowed.
Breakfast is included in the room rate. I’m not sure what they would serve if there were fewer guests, but our buffet spread consisted of a selection of local and Western dishes, including fried rice, fried noodles, sausages, sambal, eggs, baked beans, toast, cereals, rice congee, curry puffs, and some local desserts.
The taste unfortunately wasn’t as impressive as our lunch and dinner, but it was still more than what we could hope for.
Things to Do at Tadom Hill Resorts
At Tadom Hill Resorts, you’ll never run out of things to do. Whether you want to get your adrenaline pumping with adventurous activities or you prefer sitting back to enjoy the view, there’s something for everyone.
Right after lunch, we didn’t waste any more time and went straight to the Emerald Lake. Our first activity was bamboo rafting.
One bamboo raft could carry up to 4 persons — perfect for our little group of 4. If you’ve never rowed a bamboo raft before, it’s harder than a kayak or a canoe due to its non aerodynamic shape, and especially when there are 4 persons on board and only 2 persons rowing.
There was a 5-metre diving platform, water slides, and a rope swing, but we unanimously decided to give them a miss. Instead, we just swam and went on the less adventurous swing:
Then, we got out of the lake and once our clothes had dried somewhat, we went for the ATV ride. This was charged separately at RM43 per person for a 2.5-kilometre ride.
I had driven an ATV before but for my friends, this was their first time. Before we began, our guide briefed us on how to operate the vehicle, as well as the do’s and don’ts when driving.
The ride took us through what felt like an obstacle course, gradually increasing in difficulty to test our new skills. We bulldozed through winding roads, mud puddles, and up and down steep inclines, with our guide leading the way.
The guide was simply amazing. He knew all the best instagrammable spots along the trail. Three or four times during the ride, he stopped, arranged our ATVs into the right positions, and helped to take photos for us.
Next, as it was still early, we took the time to explore more around the area. We found a beautiful covered walkway that led to a three-story pagoda in the middle of a marshland.
Climbing to the top floor of the pagoda will give you a spectacular panorama of the marshland and surrounding bushes.
Here is a full list of activities you can do at Tadom Hill Resorts:
- Swimming in the lake
- Diving off a 5-metre bamboo platform
- Bamboo rafting
- Boat rides (donut boat, transparent boat, water skipper)
- Tarzan swing
- Water slides
- Table tennis
- Giant Jenga
- Flying fox
- Beach volleyball
- Water gel target shooting
- Tug of war
- Bamboo playground / obstacle course for children
If you’re only planning to make a day trip to Tadom Hill Resorts, you could purchase the Day Pass for RM20 (Adult) / RM15 (Child) on a weekday, or RM25 (Adult) / RM20 (Child) on a weekend.
This pass gives you access to all the water and land activities, except ATV, go-kart, archery, sumpit, paintball, water gel gun, boat rides, abseiling, and flying fox. The day pass is complimentary with any accommodation booking.
Beyond the day pass, all the other activities are charged separately on an ala carte basis. You can check the price list for each activity here.
Additional Tips & Info
- Walk-ins are allowed, but to avoid disappointment, it’s recommended to book in advance.
- There’s no WiFi on the property. At Tadom Hill Resorts, you’re meant to disconnect from the virtual world and reconnect with nature (and other travelers).
- There’s a convenience store next to the reception selling snacks, ice cream, and basic necessities.
- You are not allowed to bring your own tent, BBQ pit, portable stove, electric grill / steamboat, or flour.
- There are lifeguards on duty during the lake opening hours.
- All guests are required to wear life jackets at all times when doing any water activity. Come early to make full use of your day pass.
- Use sunscreen. It can get really hot during the day.
- Bring insect repellent. I personally didn’t have any problem with mosquitoes, but it’s always good to be prepared, especially if you’re more susceptible to insect bites.
- Tadom Hill Resorts are open for team-building events, weddings, and pre-wedding photoshoots.
- There are a lot of parking spaces available and they’re free for guests.
If you’re a group of more than 15 pax, you can pre-book your meals with a 3-day advance booking.
Tadom Hill Resorts promises to give you the opportunity to get in touch with nature without compromising on comfort. It also claims to offer a cultural immersion with a touch of luxury. And it truly delivers on both counts.
Despite being a ‘themed resort’, it does not have the kitschy theme-park vibe that often characterize places that are trying to be something they’re not — for example, one of those nondescript Asian towns that try desperately to look like Europe.
Quite the contrary, Tadom Hill Resorts feels very authentic as its unique bamboo architecture blends seamlessly with its surroundings. I’m especially bowled over by how affordable it is.
Tadom Hill Resorts is indeed Klang Valley’s hidden gem.