You know you’re about to reach The Sticks when your phone signal begins to weaken. That is an indication of the remoteness of this eco-friendly glamping resort in Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor.
This sort of off-the-grid experience had taken me by surprise when I checked in for a staycation one fine weekend. Being your usual millennial traveller, I had assumed that – at the very least – WiFi would be provided in common areas.
But no, a stay at the resort means being completely disconnected for most people (except the users of one particular telco company).
Located about 75 minutes’ drive from Kuala Lumpur, The Sticks is – in all sense of the word – a hideaway.
The venue is tucked away in lush rainforests, away from public view. There are no signboards to indicate that you have arrived.
The closest thing you have to a marker is a bamboo shack situated close to the popular Chiling Waterfall.
From there, I set out on an adventure through a suspended bridge, green foliage and gushing rivers to get to the resort. Families with young children or seniors can opt to jump onto a 4WD truck, prepared by the resort.
Opened in late 2016, The Sticks is run by husband-and-wife team Rubin Gan and Michelle Teoh. That family business DNA is evident in the personal touch that the pair imbued in their operations.
Upon my arrival, I’m personally received by Gan, who runs through housekeeping rules with all new guests.
More than just a front desk personnel, the man is also the mastermind behind the resort. Top on his agenda then was the self-sustainability of the site.
“We are entirely off-grid here. So how we generate electricity is through solar power and the usage of a generator,” the former ecotourism consultant explains, adding that water is sourced from a nearby stream.
This off-grid environment also means that the usage of air dryers or other heavy energy consumption gadgets are discouraged.
Before Gan shows me to my room, he cautions that we are in the middle of the jungle. That means I shouldn’t discount the probability of running into creepy crawlies and reptiles.
Being a city boy, that reminder does strike a nerve. But my anxiety fades away at the sight of my accommodation for the night.
I’m put up at The Nest, one of the 12 unique “tendoks” – a cross between a tent and a pondok (the Malay word for hut) – at the site. As its name suggests, my jungle home looks out to giant trees with a bird’s eye view of the pristine river below.
To be honest, I was prepared to rough it out. Which is why I’m pleasantly surprised to find a large and well-equipped attached bathroom. The clean and spacious accommodation is also able to sleep five adults comfortably.
When it comes to dining, guests have the option of taking either the half-board (BBQ/steamboat dinner and breakfast) or full-board (the addition of afternoon tea and lunch) package.
I would recommend the latter because The Sticks serves delectable food. My companion remarks that the cuisines taste very “homey”.
And that’s exactly the kind of dining experience you get here – simple and honest home-cooked meals. Prepared under the watchful eye of Gan’s Penangite wife Teoh, the dishes are cooked with the freshest ingredients.
As for activities, options are limited to swimming in the nearby stream, jungle trekking and board games within the resort’s grounds. Arrangements can be made for paragliding and white water rafting, which take place away from the resort.
In my case, I decided to take a short drive down to the Kuala Kubu Baru town. Just remember to head back to the resort before dusk. You wouldn’t want to be on the road without any phone signal.