A Natural Engagement

Deviating from the theme of ‘Movies’ momentarily.

Sungai Chongkak Recreational Park.

It’s been 2 weeks since I blogged about my gallivantings around town. That’s because for those few weekends (1st & 2nd Dec, 8th & 9th Dec) I went off the city track and headed off to ‘Hulu Langat’ for some nature therapy to offset my daily urban grip of road blocks, queues, & mass groups of sheep known only as people. Anyway, here’s a little information about ‘Hulu Langat’. It is basically a district bordering between Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, with metropolitan settlements sprinkled all over. Amongst the population, it is eclipsed with vast areas of natural greenery and its hilly geography makes it a unique companion to the concrete surroundings of the City Center, Ampang, Cheras and such. It must be noted that enclosed in ‘Hulu Langat’ is also Selangor’s only forest reserve.

My first stop was a nature park which is very popular amongst the local people, and has been around for many years. It’s the Sungai Chongkak Nature Recreational Park. If you are passing through a village called Kampung Kuala Perdik from Kuala Lumpur, do look out for a small signage on your left along the main trunk road. Turn in, drive along the small winding roads and you will be met with sounds of splashing water falls and welcoming breaths of fresh air. But do not stop if you really wish to visit the Sungai Chongkak Nature Park. Do keep on driving and you will eventually see the entrance to the park. You will not miss it. Parking can be considered limited, as space is constrained with growths of trees and such. This trip will take you approximately 45 minutes from the end of Jalan Ampang, coming from the City Center.

This is the part where you unload your belongings from your parked car and leave your city burdens well locked in it. It is an excellent nature stop with stretches of picnic spots and well maintained basic amenities for the guests. While enjoying the facilities, you will be accompanied by majestic trees, free-flowing rivers of crystal clear waters and unique companions of the forest that will entertain you throughout your visit.

While I was there, I had made many observations with this engagement with nature:

Trees as old as time stand firmly all around the park, looking down on the guests as though guarding them from the evils of the city and the sun. But the tree roots grip firmly onto the ground to make their stand of authority in the forest known, for we, the humans are on sacred ground of the natural world. Bestow respect to them, and they shall respond in kind return. Many leaves glisten the forest floor, and many more still strong in their attachment to the trees. The leaves come in a myriad of colors, shapes and sizes, all splendid in their natural forms, so splendid as though they are God’s canvas of paintings left behind for us to see, for it is only God can craft such heavenly creations.

Glittering multihued flowers dot the natural landscape, enchanting all visitors that lay their eyes on to them, while many more shy blooms hide in secret gardens veiled deep in the forest, for they appear only to those that dare seek them. From hues of amber, turquoise to burgundy, all flowers bask magnificently in the attention of the alluring sunlight, giving a performance of color and figure so splendid, it is nature’ version of a fashion show with sounds of waterfalls as its music and the sunlight as its runway.

The dwellers of the forest, just like the human world, come in all color, shapes, and sizes too. But they come in combinations so unique, they make man pale in comparison to the inspired creativity of nature. Blends of color so vivid and unimaginable, it as though colors were erratically poured, but aided with a touch of an artistic hand by God. Many inhabitants reside in this forest, some bold and some shy, but it is their world, and all respect should be given to them while we take pleasure in their domain.

Basking in this natural setting, I whiled away my time free from the demons of the city as the angels of the forest stood as guardians above me. Of life’s stress and torments flowed absently away with the tide of the river, poured into me a new rejuvenation of life, of confidence and of a perspective that, come what challenges or confrontations that may emerge in later times, I know in safe thinking that there is a place to search for safe sanctuary. And it is here, not far away...

Come with your family or your significant other, this place has a charm only you can sense when time is spent admiring its natural environment. Take some time off and bask in its sunlight, in its invigorating waters and its welcoming inhabitants, for that small amount of time you take to get here, it may just repay you back with a timeless piece of natural memory…

Look-out point, Hulu Langat.

If you are coming to Hulu Langat from the Ampang direction, then you should not miss this opportunity to dine or have a cup of java with the company of the clouds. Ok, maybe not exactly that high up the sky but closer than any place you can find in KL. Up above the hilly landscapes of Hulu Langat, there sits a place called ‘Menara Tinjau’, and enveloped in it are a few restaurants with spectacular views of the city skyline.

Mind you, this place is not new, as it has been there for many years. For those that has yet to visit this place, it is best that you do because if you are a citizen of KL like me, you will be amazed at how such a place can exist among the confines of city concrete and glass, and yet such a unique oasis is readily available so near to the city.

Back to ‘Menara Tinjau’ or the ‘Look-Out Point’ as it is most commonly known, it is approximately 300m above sea level, hence it offers a bird’s eye view of the city for just a 30 minutes drive from Ampang (pending on traffic of course). In it, there sits 3 food & beverage outlets for your convenient patronage: 1 café, 1 steak & chicken chop restaurant called ‘Look-Out Point Restaurant’ (duh) and another just opened namely ‘The Bread & Olive’ which offers a Mediterranean menu (this place offers a more up-market feel).

However, I visited the ‘Look-Out Point Restaurant’, and had some black pepper chicken chop that is honestly speaking, just your standard fare that you can get commonly anywhere around town (especially around Taman Billion, Cheras). The food is not too expensive, as it is on par with middle-class chicken chop places (RM 12 for Sizzling Black Pepper Chicken). But what made it special is of course, the view. The scenery is priceless and a camera is a must if you intend to go there. If you go there early in morning for a cup of coffee, you might be lucky enough to experience some mist in your panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur. If you are there in the evenings, do go early and grab a seat close to the edge of the restaurant as the sunset can be magnificent while it descends peacefully and slowly, like God’s eye closing lazily for the day, amid the city’s vast skyscrapers.

The food is decent, the journey slightly tedious, but the view makes up all the flaws and blemishes that you may encounter. But In the end, after the sun has set and the meal is done, it will linger in your memory like a nice cozy dream still lazily swimming in consciousness, and will be a moment forever lightly etched in your life until time passes no more.

C.A.F.F.E.I.N.E.E.S., Ampang Hilir.

After a day of high altitude splendor, coming down back to Earth can really be a hard task. To ease your transition back to your city grind, there is a place that can offer a cozy solace. If you are still in the Ampang area, do stop by at C.A.F.F.E.I.N.E.E.S. located at Jalan Excella 2, Taman Ampang Hilir. It’s a bit hard to find as it has just opened for business in the rows of shop lots not far from Ampang Point. This place it is a little unique from other cafes as its design is based on ‘The Apartment’ concept were a homey feel is offered to patrons while dining. So, expect some cozy sofas to snug into while you take pleasure in your cup of coffee or food. A outside patio of candle-lit tables offer patrons the opportunity to have the al-fresco motive while tall refined chairs deck long tables that are suitable for the bold and the beautiful to strut their stuff. Inside, candles light up most of the dim corners and this gives a very gothic feel that is very moody and is excellent for close proximity chats (either that or they were having a cost-cutting exercise on electricity usage while I was there). The food is not bad too, as they offer food like sandwiches, salads and steaks which comes in quite big portions. I had the ‘Caribbean Chicken Sandwich’ which was excellent, offering a slightly spicy feel to the usual chicken-sandwich taste. The Garden Salad came in an abundance of fresh vegetables, cut in large chunky bites very well suited for the hard-core veggie lover. The coffee was brewed in satisfactory perfection too as the fine aroma was rich, but subtle to the mouth and the many other drinks offer great enticements, just like an oasis of temptation in a desert sand dune. All in all, it may not be as classy as its counterpart at ‘The Curve’, but it is still a good retreat nonetheless and offers plenty of opportunities for long chat sessions and at the same time provides a decent gamut of fine food and beverage.

From the Corner - A Musical Companion

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