Sunday, October 25, 2009

Berjaya Hills (16 - 18 Oct 2009)

It was 1.30 in the morning and we were slowly climbing up the steep and thankfully empty road on second gear in the little red Hyundai Getz, with four people and luggage, after having braved a six-hour drive across the causeway, with strange and sudden slowdowns, crazy drivers and getting lost in Kuala Lumpur, to try Berjaya Hills Horse Trails at Bukit Tinggi.

Finally, we reached Selesa Resort and our rented apartment and were excited to find that it was huge, with two floors! The drawbacks? It was slightly musty and run down, breakfast wasn’t included, and it was a half hour drive from the stable. However, it was much cheaper than two superior rooms at Colmar Tropicale, certainly less “touristy” and much more peaceful. The staff were also very helpful and friendly. Kampung Bukit Tinggi down the road had fairly priced tze char and roti canai compared to the Singapore priced western fare at the La and Le Restaurant places at Colmar.

It’s best to have a car if you’re going to be staying out of the Berjaya Hills resort area. The resort itself runs a shuttle bus from KL, as well as a local shuttle that takes you to all the Berjaya Hills “attractions”, including the stables.

Berjaya Hills Horse Trails looked well maintained, clean and neat. They have approximately twelve horses that were groomed and showed signs of good care. The stable mainly uses stock saddles which are ooh so nice and secure for trail riding!

Our first trail was a half-day ride which included a packed lunch and I guess we have to say it wasn’t quite what we were expecting - which was partly our fault. We were in the mood to trot and canter but, unfortunately, the stable had some of its trails cut off recently due to the construction of a new international sports school in the area. So the only place we could really go to canter was an arena that the stable had cleared out on top of one of the hills. We rode up a bitumen road to the arena, stayed there for an hour and a half (with lunch) and rode back down again… The saving grace was that we got to trot, canter and gallop around the arena.

The two-hour ride on the second day however, really made up for the first day. It was a very interesting trail and a lot of fun! The ride passed over a small stream, went through thick bamboo, up and down steep slopes and out on the hill side where we could see the “French chateau” Colmar Tropicale in the distance. We had to duck and dodge and lean over our horses’ necks to avoid low hanging branches. The horses were steady throughout, even when we met an aggressive macaque in the trees and impatient traffic on the roads.

One point to note is that Berjaya Hills Horse Trails is mostly geared towards trail riding and not so much for lessons. We were told that they could do beginner lessons but could not provide lessons for riders beyond that. We were originally thinking of doing two lessons on our second day, but after seeing the place and speaking to the folks there we decided to switch to the trail, which turned out well!

All in all, would we go there again? Yes, we would, although it might be as a day trip because the trails seem limited at the moment. Hopefully they will cut some trail to circumvent the construction, but the jungle ride is definitely worth going for if you’ve never been.

For information and rates:
Berjaya Hills Horse Trails
Opening hours: 1000 - 1800
Half-Day Ride: 1000-1300
Full-Day Ride: 1000-1500
Payment: Cash or Card
(Note: If you’re not riding there it’s RM2 to enter the stable and look at the horses.)

Selesa Resort

Riding Song

Let us ride together, -
Blowing mane and hair,
Careless of the weather,
Miles ahead of care,
Ring of hoof and snaffle,
Swing of waist and hip,
Trotting down the twisted road
With the world let slip.

Let us laugh together, -
Merry as of old
To the creak of leather
And the morning cold.
Break into a canter;
Shout to bank and tree;
Rocking down the waking trail,
Steady hand and knee.

Take the life of cities, -
Here's the life for me.
'Twere a thousand pities
Not to gallop free
So we'll ride together,
Comrade, you and I,
Careless of the weather,
Letting care go by.

- Anonymous

From Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp
Lomax, John A. (1919) The Macmillan Company, New York