Halal nightspot boom in Tambun

IPOH, 29 June 2020:

While most would imagine unsavoury behaviour fuelled by alcohol for entertainment after dark and into the wee hours of the morning, Sunway’s The Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh would beg to differ with its promise of being a really happening halal nighspot just a stone’s throw away from Ipoh.

It offer facilities that can be enjoyed with friends and family well into the night – from hot springs to a luminous forest landscape, paddling kayaks at well-lit lakes or zooming along zip lines and even hiking into caves to view bats at their most active well past midnight.

“You can also have big group gatherings or even team-building activities, or just chilling out with board games or a sing-along, there are endless possibilities to entertain yourselves,” said Sunway Theme parks assistant director Michelle Soong.

“All these are wholesome activities with no alcohol or loud music allowed, so children are free to play within sight of adults nearby and youths have enough space for their own activities too.”

And how would you get to enjoy these halal nightspot privileges? You have to make advance bookings and the surprise here is you get to go camping with double beds, natural air conditioning, toiletries, towels, heated shower, hair dryer, TV, Wifi…. wait what?

Well that’s the glamping experience for you – the one-of-a-kind ‘rugged’ adventure you will encounter in the rainforest at Sunway’s The Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh. You get the outdoor, fresh air, night-in-nature experience, but with the luxuries and comforts of home.

So if you’re planning your holiday trip after months of being indoors, don’t hastily make reservations for the usual beach getaway or shopping haven. Instead book yourself either a comfortable 4-man tent, or a floating villa and spend the night in the tranquil company of 5 billion stars.

The spacious tents come with a fan and four beds, but you will be so busy enjoying the activities outside, you really won’t need much inside until it’s time to sleep. Bathroom facilities here are shared, whereas the three Malayana floating villas (which are newer additions), come with the convenience of an attached bathroom and indoor air conditioning.

The camping grounds at night turn into a fairy-like wonderland, while early morning views of the 400-million year old limestone features – including the Needle of Tambun just beyond the camping grounds, and misty hilltops beyond the serene lake – are stunning.

There are no other visitors yet to the park at sunrise, so you really do feel like you have nature all to yourself. And should you be lucky enough to be caught in a rainstorm, the experience is like no other while you’re well-sheltered and dry within tents or at the covered activities area.

Best of all, you can choose to make your stay as lazy or as busy as you wish it to be.

A 2-hour hike to Gua Datok will give you a bird’s eye view of the whole lake and its surrounding natural beauty. Kayak in, or zip-line over Lake Boga, visit the zoos and get up close with zebras (there’s a three-month old new addition), 14-foot tall giraffes, camels, tapirs, flamingoes, birds, snakes and cheeky raccoons.

Observe Juita, the 26-year old hippo’s graceful movements from the special underwater observation deck in Hippo Kingdom, or get adventurous and try feeding her. If you’ve never stared down the massive jaws of a magnificent 2-tonne animal, this is the time to do so!

Her neighbours – the crocodiles and hyenas – also have impressive not–to-be-missed feeding shows. And you should take a 15-minute peek behind the scenes at Jess and his partner Siti: the Siberian and Bengal tigers in Tiger Valley.

And then there are the extraordinary Adventure Park staff and animal trainers who are approachable, knowledgeable and ready to answer just about any question you ask them about their charges. You get the feeling they are just as eager to see visitors as you are to be there, and will go the extra mile to make guests feel special.

Food-wise, it must be said that for a glamping trip, you don’t have to settle for just  toasted marshmallows and chicken wings (although that is part of the BBQ dinner feast you might opt for).

This being Ipoh, after all, you can expect to enjoy curry mee, chendol, dim sum, wanton mee and the like. In between, do fit in a stop at the charming Dulang Tea House to try their speciality roasted rice tea.

Yes, unusual indeed, but so very yummy. Made from roasted brown rice, it is simmered for ten minutes before honey, pandan leaves and brown sugar are added to give it a distinct aroma. Warning: highly addictive. As is the charming unique little tea house itself.

Cut into the side of a cave, it serves kopi and roti bakar the old fashioned way. There’s tapioca served with a delicious anchovy sambal if you like spice; otherwise have it with brown sugar and shredded coconut that come in a tiffin! Don’t take my word for it – you just have to be there to absorb the whole experience.

Truly worth a go if you’re up for a meet-in-the middle trip that balances the roughing it out with modern luxuries.