Written by Nur Batrisya, Beverley Lennon and Candice Neo
In our beautifully diverse country of Malaysia, there are two types of travellers: those whose hearts belong to our wonderful tropical sea and those whose souls reside by our fresh riverside retreat. For those who belong in the latter, you may find yourself completely enamored with the beauty of our rainforests – surrounded by cooings of song birds and crickets at night.
But mornings are different when you’re sleeping by the riverside. The air is much cooler and the scent of fresh dewy trees awakens your senses as you take your first breath in. And when your toes dip into the cool jungle waters, it tentalises the nerves beneath your skin, and just energises your spirit…
So if you need a deep cleanse, and to rejuvenate all that you need post-lockdown, you must check out these comfortable riverside retreats that’s located not so far from Kuala Lumpur!
1 hour from Kuala Lumpur: Tanah Aina Fareena cafe is a hidden riverside restaurant in the rainforests near Bukit Tinggi with an organic garden!
10 Large villas/retreats in cool weather near KL for your weekend staycation with family and friends (3 BR, with 6-10 pax)
9 Day trips less than 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur where you can explore a slower lifestyle besides Genting Highlands
Note: All rates displayed are correct as at the time of publishing, please let us know if you find any discrepancies and we will update accordingly. The prices reflected are low season rates, and they exclude tax and service charges. Accommodation rates often change with room availability, and low or high seasons. We recommend double checking for the final prices before confirming your booking.
1. Stay and dine by the water at this riverside eco-resort – Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya (1.5 hours from KL, from RM 290 per pax)
Imagine waking up to the calming sound of the flowing river and the gentle rustling of leaves in the rainforest. You get to sit and breathe in the natural air of the forest, refreshed, with your toes dipped in the cool river at your doorstep.
Oh what a dream, and luckily for you and I, this dream can soon be our reality. Welcome to Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya Eco Tourism Resort, your riverside nature getaway for all your stress-relieving needs. What I love about this place is how their motto ‘Journey of love back to nature’ perfectly sums up what you’ll experience here.
How often do you come by a guesthouse with a river flowing right at your doorstep? You can also trek to mini waterfalls nearby as well as go on a flying fox! But what’s really exciting is how various parts of the resort are linked through a bridge, so you can truly immerse yourself in nature all around. The bridges even light up at night!
P.S. Check out their popular Tanah Aina Fareena Cafe that’s about 40 minutes away: Their breakfast sets are amazing!2. Sleep in the jungle in an overwater villa – Ratu Rening Residency (1 hour from KL, from RM 143.75 per pax)
Step into a green lush haven at Ratu Rening Residency, located just 1-hour from KL. The beautiful estate features two properties namely; the Dusun Raja and Sekebun Bunga – both stays are deemed to be magical and unique, surrounded by nature and guarded by the Banjaran Titiwangsa Range.
The two retreats are built over a pond and surrounded by tropical fruit trees, with the soothing Sungai Hijau stream flowing in the surroundings.
Ideal for a group of friends or family, your days here are spent by the riverside for some picnicking or you could well enjoy some fishing, outdoor activities and BBQ in the night! There are intimate spaces for a romantic long table candlelight dining experience as well
Equally great for kids, the Dusun Raja house even offers a fun floating overwater tent option for up to 4 pax!
3. A riverside getaway with a deer farm and jacuzzi with a view – Bidaisari (1 hour from KL, from RM 350 per night)
Located in the heart of Janda Baik, this family-friendly resort should be added to your To-Do list over the weekends!
Surrounded by nature and fun-filled activities, Bidaisari Resort has it all! This resort has 15 chalets (including their new water chalet that sits over their water lily pond), 1 cottage overlooking the pond and river and 1 family bungalow sitting on top of a small private hill that’s perfect for families.
Over here there are several activities for you and your wolf pack to choose from: complimentary bike rides around the area, going over to their Fig Farm or even checking out their Deer Farm and meeting Bambi! This will get the little ones really excited!
But that’s not all, they also have a fishing spot, a horse stable, outdoor pool area, a waterfall trail for some early morning stretch, and finally, ATV rides, so you and your gang can explore the forest around! What better way to round the day off than a nice BBQ session at their BBQ pits and go for a Karaoke session!
Literally this place is the perfect getaway for groups or families who are looking to relax and make unforgettable memories!
4. Stay in a glasshouse right by the river in KL! – Tanah Larwina (50 minutes from KL, from RM 255.75 per pax)
We were so excited when we discovered this hidden glasshouse in Hulu Langat perched on the riverbank, where you can wake up right to the soothing sounds of the river, interact with farm animals and explore the fruit plantation!
You can choose from villas that can accommodate up to 8 pax (Rumah Tebing), and if you’re coming with more people, add on a villa for 4 pax (Bilik TigaGuna) and or even cosy couple rooms (Pod Biru and Pod Hijiau).
Perfect for that weekend retreat if you don’t want to travel far from the city!
5. Hidden riverside glamping villa from Kuala Lumpur – The Sticks Guide (1 hour from KL, from RM 206 per night)
This secret riverside glamping retreat is tucked away in the remote jungles near Fraser’s Hill, where you can fall asleep to the soothing lulls of the Sangloi River and wake to the peaceful sounds of the jungle.
Who knew such an oasis exists just 1 hour from KL? You can even cross the river via a suspension bridge, do river rafting and indulge in fresh local meals as they provide half-board and full-board packages!
6. Wake up by the lake at this enchanted water villa in Janda Baik – Al-Sakinah Resort (1 hour from KL, from RM 57.50 per pax)
When it comes to social detox, we all need a place to escape once in a while where our minds are set free from the obstacles of life. What better way to do that than taking a trip up to a hidden villa in the cooler highlands of Janda Baik.
Al-Sakinah Resort has been around for quite awhile now, but despite it’s rustic touch, this stay has become one of the people’s fave home away from home. Surrounded by clear rivers where you can go tubing, and dense trees to shade yourself under a hot day, this wholesome retreat is just what you need to sit, breathe and clear your mind. There’s so much to fill your day, like BBQs, cooling off in the rivers, and also fishing!
They have several villas and lodges for you to choose from, but if you’re bringing in a group of 15 pax, their Lakeside Villa will comfortably sleep all of you for as low as RM100/pax. Or if you’re family of 5, you can also opt for their Riverlodge or Studio Sakinah!
7. Harvest your own durian at this nature resort offering views by the river, lake and hillside! – The Farm Karak (1.5 hours from KL, from RM 133 per pax)
Who here is a nature lover? If you’re looking for somewhere to revitalise your chakras or simply tune out the noise of life, then come on over to The Farm Karak.
Whether you enjoy the riverside stays, lakeside stays or even hillsides, this place has it all! Stretched across over 100 acres of land, this private property houses beautiful villas and suites that comfortably make for a sweet retreat amongst the chilly hills and lush greens of Bentong, Pahang.
Forget your phone! Enjoy some of their exciting outdoor activities like kayaking, jungle trekking, or even pick your own fruits on their pesticide free farm! (if you’re lucky, you might be able to snag some delicious durian!) This place is great for families or even kids!
Although some of these places are wonderful to explore, there are also a few more riverside retreats around Malaysia that’s worth noting. If you’re willing to venture a little further, check out these beautiful riverside retreats that can also make your trip an unforgettable one!
1. Wake up to a river view in Cameron Highlands! – Heahtitude (3 hours from KL, from RM 109 per night)
Do you need an escape to somewhere further from KL yet close to home? Come check out this riverside 90s inspired bed and breakfast homestay residing on the hills of Cameron Highlands.
The last time I went to Cameron Highlands, my friends and I never really got to explore the place so much, but I remembered how cool the wind was, and how peaceful it was compared to Genting.
Maybe because it’s less crowded and less congested without cars on weekends. So when I came across Heahtitude (pronounced like the Cantonese slang) I couldn’t help but be drawn to the simplicity of its beauty.
Imagine waking up, sipping hot tea in the cold morning with a breathtaking view of a mountain and river. One can only imagine how peaceful that must be …This place is perfect for backpackers or travellers who won’t mind sharing a space with strangers. You can exchange interesting stories or have thoughtful convos with your BFFs at night by their Riverside Patio that overlooks the illuminated flower farms.
The ease of comfort with this place most probably has to do with their unique yet wholesome interior concept, inspired by the vintage charm and simpler times back in the 90s. Sometimes we all need a little something old, to appreciate the new…
2. Stay in a hidden riverside hotel in Perak with breakfast & lunch served! – Rumah Sungai (3 hours from KL, from RM 60 per pax)
If there’s one thing (well, out of the many things) I love about Malaysia, is her abundance of nature that decorates our beautiful country. When life gets hectic, I always love going on a nature retreat to anywhere far and away from the noise, and oftentimes, I find peace in places that are near waterfalls or rivers.
If you’re someone like me who enjoys dipping their toes in fresh river water in the morning, then you might like this hidden Riverside Hotel in Perak. Rumah Sungai Perak has grabbed the attention of many locals, mostly due to its unique concept that comes with such an affordable price. This humble yet rustic stay is perfect for those who are longing for a simple kampung lifestyle.
Over here, you have plenty of things to do, from fishing to jungle trekking, or even just cooling off in the fresh clear river water (has a fun slide too!). An added bonus, they even offer a fabulous massage, JUST for the ladies, at RM 50 per session (how cheap is that!) Nothing beats a classic massage from a local masseuse than the ones in the city which can be rough on your body sometimes…
Most people who visited enjoyed how warm and friendly the host of this place was. Their meals are delicious, their stay is comfortable with rooms fitting up to 3 pax. All you need is good company and nothing else!
I think no matter where you choose to stay, travelling to a place where our minds can escape to is never a bad idea. You deserve to find your home away from home, and if you love places where you are surrounded by greenery and lulled by the soothing sounds of the river, these retreats are a good fit for you! Which of these are you tempted by?