Saturday, 29 May 2021

Good Reads/Podcasts/Videos: May 2021

If I were to give May a theme, it'd be resonance - most of the articles that I'd be sharing here are articles that resonate with what I've been going through for the month of May 2021

1. There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing - New York Times

"It wasn't burnout -- we still had energy. It wasn't depression -- we didn't feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there's a name for that: languishing."

"Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you're muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotions of 2021" 

Like many others, I can't help but resonate with "languishing" so much for the past year. We are going through a period of unprecedented uncertainties. We are grieving over the loss of "normalcy: - how life was before the pandemic. 

The article gave a few suggestions for us to manage languishing: 

1. Acknowledge what & how you're feeling 

Put a name to your emotions. When someone asks you how are you feeling, instead of the cookie-cutter "Great" or "I'm fine", be honest and tell them honestly how you're feeling. 

I find that accepting and acknowledging my feelings really helped me cope - and helps me dive deeper into the why(s) of my emotions. 

2. Find your "flow"

ie do things that make you forget about the sense of time, space and place. It may be watching Netflix, immersing yourself in a book you love, and for me - it's baking. When I start baking, everything else seems to melt away. 

The state of "flow" differs for everyone - do things that make you feel happy :) 

3. Set boundaries - give yourself uninterrupted time 

The magic of boundaries. Now that I'm officially...self-employed/a freelancer, I am setting Sundays as my rest day. 

Set aside about 10-30 minute each there where you'll mute your notifications. Give yourself space 

4. Focus on a small goal 

Create small wins. 

2. Here’s how many social media followers you need to make $100,000 - CNBC

No, I'm not seeking to be an influencer at this point in time :p but it's an interesting insight into how many followers & sponsored post you need on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok respectively to generate $100,000 in earnings.

Youtube: 1,000 YouTube subscribers and about 24 million yearly views 

Instagram: 5,000 Instagram followers and 308 sponsored posts a year

Tik Tok: 10,000 TikTok subscribers and over 270 million views a year

Content creation is no easy - the amount of time one has to spend editing photos/videos/audio, to structure their content etc. etc. When this blog was at its prime (I was getting daily views of 3k-5k views),  I had posts that were sponsored, but it was not enough to make a living out of what I was getting. In fact, I don't think it covered my cost of travelling to the place where I had to do the review etc etc :p but back then as a student, blogging was a hobby I truly enjoyed, I get to know many new friends and it opened many doors for me. Definitely worth it, but not something I can pursue full time, at least this is what I think now. :P

3. Loss and Renewal: Moving Forward After A Door Closes - Hidden Brain

"No matter how hard we work, we won’t always achieve the goals we set for ourselves."

This podcast starts off with the story of Maya Shankar. Maya was well on her way to an extraordinary career as a violinist, but an injury closed that door. She eventually found a new path forward in a very different field.

This struck me close to heart - being someone who has shifted switch my career path and close the door behind me. It gives me the reassurance that well, it's not the end of the world when one door closes. 

This episode ended with the poem, One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

4.  Why You Should Take Time to Mourn During Career Transitions - New York Times

what informs that connection to work is the human need for a sense of belonging, said Beth Humberd, an assistant professor of management at UMass Lowell.

“We want to be a part of something, and we want to be seen as needed in an area,” she said.

Dr. Wrzesniewski added that for many people, what they do professionally is symbolic of other things. “It’s symbolic of the things you care about,” she said. “It’s symbolic of your talents. It’s symbolic of your offering to the world.”

I've just recently left my job - and I find myself nodding vigorously while reading this article. On the days leading up to my final workday, I find myself feeling sad, empty, lost, and sometimes I felt as though I have no sense of purpose. Reading this article helped me make sense of why I was feeling so :) What I was feeling was essentially grief.

The article also shared some tips on how to manage those feeling:

1. Expect the feeling of grief

Accept & expect it will come - and it may be different for everyone. You might feel sadness, anxiety, anger, or a combination of different emotions. Know that it is normal, and like any other emotions, this too shall pass. 

2. Have a succession plan

Plan how you'll be phasing out from your career - it might be creating a list of things you've done, or compiling all the important document related to your work.

“It’s really important to value the complexity of what goes on at work. It isn’t this experience where you just execute tasks,” Dr. Orbé-Austin said. “There are really complex, dynamic growth experiences that are occurring, and when you experience loss, you’re acknowledging the full breadth of all you experienced at that workplace.”

5. Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker 

Saw this on Minshift's Facebook page and thought these are good reflections questions that we should ask ourselves :) 


That's it for this month's round-ups. Take care and stay safe everyone, looks like we're in for a longer lockdown in June... 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Chica Bonita, Publika

I have heard many good things about Chica Bonita from friends and social media, which has piqued my interest to visit them. This place has been on my to-visit list since last year, and I've had quite a bit of trouble making a reservation on weekends night - they seem to always be fully booked (disclaimer: it is also my fault for not placing the reservation early).

I was over the moon when I (finally) managed to get a booking on a Monday night. A huge sense of relief descended upon me when I got the booking confirmation. Finally, not a rejection! Oh, the excitement! The anticipation! The longing! 

Located at The Square, just right next to The Social, Chica Bonita is hard to miss with the kaleidoscope of colours - the chairs were all painted in splashes of colour - orange & blue, green & yellow. 

Look up at the ceiling and you'll see colourful paintings even on the ceiling. The colours I need in my life right now. :p

The place was relatively empty when we visited on a Monday night. The food was served rather promptly - less than 5 minutes after ordering :O (or at least it felt so). Was expecting that the starter will be served first, followed by the mains but the food was served all at once - perhaps because they're very used to fast services on busy nights/lunch hours.
Quesadillas La Diva (Chicken) RM23
Grilled flour tortilla with your choice of filling (choose from chicken, beef, chicken & beef, pumpkin or mushroom), cheese, pico de gallo and salsa roja on side. The prices differ according to the filling you choose. 

La Bomba Nachos RM30
Corn chips topped with grilled cheese with salsa. You may choose from chilli con carne (beef) or pollo (chicken) for the topping. Opted for the beef topping for this. 

I've seen photos of this dish making its round on social media with a carpet of oozing cheese, but unfortunately, we did not get that D: Perhaps because the cheese was at the bottom of the pile of beef. But I can't help but feel a little disappointed. 

But that aside - the portion of this was huge. Loved how generous they were with the chilli con carne. This is good to share with a group - we (two of us) struggled to finish it!

Sangria Roja (Pitcher) RM120
The Sangria served at Chica Bonita is different from what I'm used to - it seems like the fruits have been blended together with the alcohol. A refreshing drink that is great for unwinding on a hot day. 

Overal...It was not bad. Food was decent. But perhaps it was the hype that heightened my expectations, I somehow felt that I was expecting "more" or some "wow factor". (EXPECTATIONS always ruin things!) Would definitely return if I'm around the area and craving some Mexican food. Wished that the food was served in phase/a little slowly so that we could better enjoy the dishes though!

Chica Bonita
Lot 34, Level G2, 
Block C5 Publika Shopping Gallery, 
Solaris Dutamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Friday, 21 May 2021

Cafe Deli by El Meson, Desa Park City [Non-Halal]

When it comes to Spanish food, El Meson/Cafe Deli has always been one of my personal favourites. The food never disappoints, and I love the Sangria there!

(Note: Cafe Deli is a spin-off from El Meson - both are under the same umbrella company & have the same menu, but the vibes I get at Cafe Deli is more chill and laid back, more "cafe-like")

There are three Cafe Deli/El Meson branches in Klang Valley - Bangsar, Desa Park City & Kiara 163. I've been to the one in Bangsar & Desa Park City and the food & service at those two branches are on par & equally good. But if I were to choose which branch I prefer, it'd be the Desa Park City branch. The outdoor seating deck overlooks the park & the lake, where you can see doggies running about with their owners :)

The outdoor seating of Cafe Deli, Desa Park Branch.

On weekdays between 11:30am to 3:00pm (excluding Public Holidays), Cafe Deli offers a two-course set lunch for RM25+. You may choose either a tapas and a main, or a drink and a main. I find this a really good deal, as the portion of the main course is the same as their ala-carte portion! 

You may refer to the full menu with the prices on their website.

Red Sangria (Jug) RM85
If you know you'll be drinking quite a bit, get the jug. One jug could serve around 7/8 glasses (refer to the picture above for the size!) 

[Tapas] Albondigas con patatinas

Pork and beef meatballs in tomato sauce with fried potato cubes served with slices of bread. The meatball was tender and flavourful, I like :) 

[Tapas] Jamon serrano on tomato bruschetta
The size of the tapas when you order from their lunch menu is seemingly smaller from their ala carte tapas portion size - I'd say it is a decent size...because their mains are full-sized and can be really filling! 
Ultimate Pork Burger
Pork burger served with a side of fries. The ala carte price for this burger is RM21. 

Ah, a bite into happiness. The burger was simple but satisfying, the patty was juicy, and there was nothing too fancy, but good enough for me :) By the end of the meal, I felt utterly stuffed.  


I've paid a separate visit to Cafe Deli on a weekend to try out their breakfast menu, which is available daily until 3pm. You may refer to the full breakfast menu on their websiteThe lunch menu definitely offers a better value for money, understandable as it is only available on weekdays. 

Breakfast Butty with Pulled Pork RM24
I can't help but feel a little disappointed when the dish was served - because the portion feels small, perhaps due to the planting. I thought the breakfast butty looks lonely on this plate, with some cherry tomatoes on the sides. Having some fries on the sides would be great BUT then again, it is breakfast food, and fries aren't your typical breakfast food. 

Taste-wise was fine. The pulled pork was yummy, but I think I was influenced by the appearance & plating of this dish, and was really hopping for fries ;P
Mumbai Eggs Kejriwal RM23 (Vegetarian) 
Brown toast topped with spiced scrambled eggs with sliced chillies & chilli flakes and a sunny side up egg, served with avocado and spicy brinjal.

The plating of this dish was certainly more "vibrant" compared to the breakfast butty. Loved how flavourful the dish was - with the myriads of colour and spice. Be warned though that the chili is a bit spicy!
Truffle Fries RM24
Served with shaved parmesan. Was feeling peckish and in need of fries after the breakfast butty, we ordered a side of truffle fries to complete the experience. 

If you want a hearty, yet value-for-money lunch, go for their weekdays set lunch! Though beware of post-lunch food coma :p 

Be sure to make a reservation on weekends, especially if you'd like the outdoor seatings, as they get pretty crowded on weekends! 

CAFE DELI BY EL MESÓN (Desa Park City Branch)
Lot GF-05,
The Waterfront@Parkcity,
No.5, Persiaran Residen,
Desa ParkCity, 52200
Kuala Lumpur

Contact Number: +603 6263 6227

Business Hours
Weekday: 9am-10pm 
Weekend: 8am-10pm

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Good Reads/Podcasts/Videos: April 2021

A very very late post (Wow wait we've already passed the midpoint of May?). We're back into lockdown, and I've been keeping myself busy by baking cookies, my new side gig. Hoping to be able to share more about this in an upcoming blog post :D. But for now, here's a round-up of some of the Good Reads/Podcasts/Videos I've came across in April 2021. 

1. Are some homebuyers in Malaysia paid to borrow and buy? - Edge Prop

Some of the key points from this article: 

- Number of properties going into auction in Malaysia has been going on a worrying uptrend since 2015. In fact, the value of properties ending up in auction has been growing at a much faster pace compared with annual new property sales.
- We have a large overhang of unsold properties but developers are still aggressively launching new projects at a high price.
- Property prices in the secondary market is weak, which is reflective of the real underlying property demand. See the disconnect here? 
- The auction reserve price is just about 78%, on average, of the Sale & Purchase Agreement (SPA) price, based on the data collected in this article, compared to our neighbour Singapore, where the auction reserve price does not run far from the actual SPA price.

Why is this happening? The writer deduced that the SPA price might be artificially inflated by the developer — above the prevailing market prices for similar units within the vicinity. 

This is an open secret that some developers then offer discounts-rebates to homebuyers — typically 10% of the SPA price, in some cases much more. In other words, the SPA price is overstated by at least 10%.

Mortgages are given based on SPA pricing. For example, buyers can get up to 90% loan on this amount for their first two properties. Therefore, by inflating the SPA price, homebuyers are incentivised to buy because they can now effectively obtain 100% financing. House price = SPA price less 10% discount = total mortgage financing.

A lot of property marketing /discount scheme now suddenly makes a lot of sense to me. I was often confused about how some people tell me they managed to obtain up to 100% financing, and now I can see the whys and hows. 

2. Leading Difficult Conversations with Emotional Intelligence - Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence 

This was part of the readings provided in the Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty & Stress online course I took in April. It is a set of reminders for us when we're engaging in difficult conversations, or when we are going through difficult times.

We've just entered into MCO 3.0, the second round of lockdown this year. We are going through difficult times now - I'd like to acknowledge that I am feeling rather upset, when I've slowly gotten used to going out a little, meeting more friends. And these feelings are normal too - we've been under lockdown on and off. Most of us are experiencing some sort of lockdown fatigue.

But I understand that the situation now is dire and we should all do our part and stay home. 

I'd still like to be grateful that I still have a roof over my head. To have food on my table. To still have friends I can talk to when I need them. 

(This is me practising the reminders in this article - to acknowledge and accept what I'm going through and feeling, and to be grateful for what I have)

3. THE GREAT MENTAL MODELS by Shane Parrish - Productivity Game

This is a summary of the book, The Great Mental Models by Shane Parrish. I really love the three foundations of thinking presented in this book, namely the I.F.S.:

1) Inversion
- if you're facing difficulty solving a problem/brainstorming for an idea, try inverting your problem
- eg: instead of thinking about how to create a fun & interactive lesson, think of how you can create a boring and dull lesson - and avoid them!

2) First Principle Thinking 
- Drill down to why a solution works - question and drill down to why existing solutions work, find out the fundamental component on why it works!
- Eg: if your friend is enjoying his/her career, try to drill down why he/she likes the career, don't stop at the face value! Use the first principle of thinking and drill down to the why(s) 
- Examine, test and understand solutions 

3) Second-Order Thinking
- Before implementing a solution/taking an action, think beyond the outcome you're going for, and try to think of the reaction you might get from your actions, to avoid disastrous consequences 
- Eg: you are a CEO of the company trying to get your employees back to the office after working from home for a year. Your intended outcome is to improve the culture, which might be achievable by getting everyone back to the office. However, what is some of the reactions you may obtain that will lead to unintended consequences? Employees might feel unsafe or realise how much they dislike commuting every day, after being used to working from home for so long and might eventually leave the company 

This book is definitely on my to-read list! 

4. The Insanely Simple Way I Learned To Be Useful In Every Meeting - Fast Company

Meetings. We all have a love-hate relationship with meetings. There are times where we might not have a total understanding and grasps of what is going on in the meeting. 

My main takeaway from this article is to not pretend you know everything if you ever find yourself in this situation. Pretending to know something takes up headspace. Instead, focus on what you will allow you to better showcase your strength. Take a step back from the urge of wanting to pretend that you know everything. 

5. Why we’re experiencing ‘Zoom fatigue’ and how to fix it - CNBC

Oh yes, in this era of Zoom, 'Zoom fatigue' is a real thing many are experiencing. It doesn't help that we're back in lockdown again, where we're forced to shift all our meetings and social interaction to online platform. I often feel drained and it takes some time for me to recover my productivity back after having a Zoom conference so this article was helpful in helping me delve into the whys of this, and the hows on how to overcome this.

The four main reason why we experience 'Zoom fatigue':
- Videoconferencing forces users to make extended eye contact
- It requires us to use nonverbal signals, such as nodding, which require more effort
- The little box where users see themselves is unnatural
- Users are forced to sit in one place.

Ways to overcome 'Zoom fatigue':
- Hide self-view.
- Shrink the Zoom window to make other people a little bit smaller, or sit further away from your screen 
- Turn off your camera and take a five-minute audio-only break during a long meeting to give yourself a chance to move around.
- Set cultural norms with your co-workers that it’s OK to turn off the camera sometimes.

Personally, want to try hiding my own camera view the next time I feel exhausted from Zoom meetings.

That's it for the Good Reads/Podcasts/Videos of the month! Stay safe and take care everyone! 

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Planter Chin x Taman Hati. Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar

Taman Hati has a special place in my heart (pun intended!), as I bought my very first houseplant there - a Fittonia, back in February 2020 in their old space along Lorong Maarof. And since then, my love for houseplants just started sprawling.  
Fast forward to today, Taman Hati has moved to a new location @ Jalan Kemuja, which is not too far from their old location. and has collaborated with Planter Chin to set up a cafe in the same space. I have been wanting to visit this space, but have been putting off any attempt to visit this place due to its location, which is notoriously known for limited parking spots especially on weekdays.

Was really excited to finally pay the new spot a visit on a Sunday afternoon! Was also able to find a carpark, albeit quite a bit of walking distance away, around that area :) 

Search for the little pink Sakura plant and the number 6a for the entrance (refer to picture above).
Upon going out the stairs, you'll be greeted by the lovely sight of plants sprawling all over and sunshine trickling in through the ceiling.

It was rather packed on a Sunday afternoon, even though it was Ramadan month during my time of visit. - it was nearly a full house. I'll let the picture do the talking. 

I love the use of different furniture in the space - some of the potting benches is seemingly made out of chest of drawers, mounted with a countertop! 
There is long corridor at the back of the space that leads to the toilet, with different plants (predominantly cactuses) lined up on the ledge. Such a cute sight! 
You may order coffee & some cakes from Planter Chin while taking in the lovely ambiance at Taman Hati. :) They serve black & white coffee as well as some selection of cakes at a decent price. 

Black Coffee RM10

Definitely, this is a lovely space for coffee, and to feast your eyes with plants. This place is like my #housegoals - I aspire to have such a beautiful space with this much natural daylight streaming in for my plants :) 

If you're seeking to get some houseplants but don't know where to start, I do recommend dropping by Taman Hati! Jan is a very knowledgeable lady about houseplants so this is definitely a great place to start if you want to get into houseplants, as she'd be able to give recommendation on what type of houseplants you should get.

Planter Chin x Taman Hati
6a, Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar, 
59000 Kuala Lumpur, 
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Business Hours:
10am-5pm, Tuesdays-Sundays
Closed on Mondays

Instagram: @tamanhatijz

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

[Travel] Overnight Stay @ The Sticks, Kuala Kubu Bharu - an eco off-grid retreat

Right before this recent MC0 3.0 lockdown, I managed to go on a much-needed staycation @ The Sticks, Kuala Kubu Bharu.

The Sticks is an off-grid eco-retreat/glamping site located in Kuala Kubu Bharu, just about an hour drive from Kuala Lumpur. Surrounded by lush forests and located right next to a river, it is the perfect site for one to take a step back, unwind and relax. Mobile data is almost non-existent/weak there too unless your network service provider is Celcom.

I've been keen on visiting The Sticks for quite a while but was however rather hesitant due to the rather high price point (rate begins from RM200+ per person per night, depending on the type of room, more profoundly known as tendoks, and dates you choose). 
View from the verandah/balcony I stayed in 

I was having the blues and was yearning to go on a vacation somewhere, probably from the prolonged lockdown, and interstate travel seems to be impossible anytime soon. And with that...I decided to go ahead and book a two-night stay at The Sticks in end of April. 

I have to say, it was worth every single cent I paid and The Sticks greatly exceeded my expectations.

Getting There & Check-In

The Sticks is located in Kuala Kubu Bharu, close by to Sg Chilling waterfall (The entrance to Sg Chilling waterfall is only 200m away!). Navigating there is straightforward - there's no clear signage but you'd see a makeshift open car park space on your left side about ~300m after Waze announced you have arrived at your destination if you're driving from Kuala Kubu Bharu town - this is your cue to turn in! 

Note that there is a roadblock in between Kuala Kubu Bharu town and The Sticks (during our visit in April 2021, where interstate travel is not possible and the road heading to The Sticks will eventually lead you to Fraser Hills, Pahang if you keep going forwrd) so do have your booking confirmation slip downloaded beforehand & ready to show the police, in case internet connection is weak on the way there.
Parking lot - there is someone manning the parking lot and you are required to register your vehicle's details upon arrival 

From the parking lot, you're required to first check-in by scanning MySejahtera & have your temperature checked, then follow the path where the Malaysian flag poll is.

You'll have to walk down about 400m of stairs. The Sticks recommend guests pack soft duffel bags instead of trolley bags for this reason - going down these stairs is still okay but don't forget you'll be using the same pair of stairs up when you're leaving! As you walk down the path, the sound of the river gets louder and louder...
And lo and behold - the beautiful river
You'd have to cross a suspension bridge to get over to the other side of the river where The Sticks is located at.

View upstream from the suspension bridge - the river upstream is much calmer and seemingly shallower, whereas the water is seemingly deeper downstream (just realised that I don't have a photo of it!) 
After crossing the suspension bridge you'll see the Hut by the River (which is available for day-trips booking only) on your right, and the entrance to the Riverside Tendok on your left.
Follow the path up and you'll reach the Dewan, which is the common hall where all meals are served, and where guests will gather first for check-in & briefing.
Check-in starts at 3pm but guests are allowed to arrive as early as 2pm to enjoy the surroundings. We arrived at 3:00pm and were seemingly the last guests for the day to check-in - most have opted to arrive early it seems.

You might meet their resident doggies and meow there - who were really friendly & seemingly accustomed to guests! 
You'll be invited to your designated table during your stay and served a welcome drink - Serai (lemongrass) drink! Your table is fixed throughout your stay to minimise movement and exposure of guests at the Dewan during their stay at The Stick
After that, you'll have a short briefing about the do's and don'ts and the SOPs from the staff. After the briefing, you'll be brought to your tendoks. 

Our Tendok

As of the time of writing, there are only 8 tendoks guests can choose from for overnight stay at The Sticks. The rooms are called Tendoks because they are a combination of a tent and a pondok, which is the Malay word for a hut. Do book as early as one month ahead if you want to ensure your tendok of choice is available! 

Each of the overnight tendok comes with en-suite toilets, hot water shower and bed, comfort at its best! Each tendok has its own unique feature and highlights, and I had fun deciding which tendok to stay in! I was initially drawn towards the Riverside Tendok as it has its own private access to the river, but decided to settle for The Nest tendok instead as we were drawn towards its balcony/verandah. It is the Tendok that is closest to the Dewan, yet I find that it offers the most privacy as: 

1. It is facing outwards towards the river 
2. The constant lapping of water, which muffles any conversations 

I've read some reviews saying that the tendoks away from the river are quite close to one another and conversations can be easily heard, especially at night when it's quiet. There are a few tendoks on the path leading down from The Nest tendok but they are only available for day-trip hire. 
Our closest neighbour - The First Tendok, which is only available for day-trip booking at the time of writing, was unoccupied during our stay

I also appreciate the close distance to the Dewan, as we can easily make our way back after dinner at the Dewan - the area is completely pitch black (less some lamps here and there) so it does feel kinda scary having to navigate back in complete pitch dark.
The Nest as the sun is about to set

The Nest at night
My favourite thing about The Nest Tendok is the balcony/verandah, which overlooks trees & the river below. We spent most of our time here at the balcony/verandah, sipping tea and wine (self-brought) 
Some reviews mentioned that the sound of the river is "too loud", but to me, it just feels as though it is perpetually raining. I find the sound from the river soothing if anything :)

The view changes at different time of the day - in the morning, you can see sunlight trickling in 

And the formation of shadows in the morning 
Having a cup of coffee at our verandah/balcony

And of course, a bottle of wine :p

The tendok was spacious and comfy - it comes with two mini, but powerful ceiling fan (which you may or may not need, since it gets quite chilly at night), two bottles of drinking water (refillable - just bring it to the Dewan and they will replace a new bottle for you), glass cups and a storage box with lock. 

The Sticks do not provide hairdryer and water kettle in the room. That's because The Stick is off-grid and they do not allow the use of high voltage electrical equipment. So please, do not bring your own hairdryer! Phone chargers or laptop chargers are fine though. And if you require hot drinking water, you can always obtain a hot water flask from the Dewan to be brought back to your room.
View from the double bed in the morning - note that you can roll down the windows 

The toilet too was clean and spacious - I especially like the view from the toilet (don't worry - it is overlooking a cliff so no one will be able to peep in)

The hot water shower is powered by gas - have only seen this at the lodge around Kinabalu area in Sabah before this. 

Some important note to consider if you're interested to book The Nest - if you're noise-sensitive you might want to consider the other tendoks that are away from the river, as some people may find the noise of the river too "loud".  Also, take note that as this tendok is located right next to the river, the humidity level was exceptionally high (didn't help that it was raining too!). If you're wearing 100% cotton t-shirt, you might find that your t-shirt feels perpetually damp because of the high humidity.

The electricity supply will be switched off at The Stick between 9-10pm, and the place will rely entirely on reserve. So guests are advised to use electricity sparingly at night
We are encouraged to leave the lights at the verandah/balcony on when we head out for dinner though - as bugs/insects will be drawn outside rather than try to get into your room :p 

Food & Drinks

All bookings are inclusive of meals during your stay. For one night stay, the price is inclusive of half board meals - which is  x1 dinner and x1 breakfast, whereas if you're staying 2 nights, your half board meal consists of x2 dinner, x2 breakfast, x1 lunch and x1 tea time. 

Honestly, I think the meals were the biggest highlight of my stay. The food portion was huge and there are different varieties of food served every day (if you stay for 2 nights>, perhaps you might have a different opinion though!). All meals are served in the Dewan, at your designated table. You may opt for special arrangement (eg: having a birthday cake, a bottle of champagne, or even arrange a dinner at your very own verandah/balcony at The Sticks with an additional fee)

You may also pay RM37.50 extra per pax to convert your half-board meals to full board (add tea time on the day of arrival and lunch on the day of departure). 


Dinner at The Sticks is either steamboat or BBQ - since we stayed for two nights, we got to taste both. The winner was the BBQ dinner, hands down. 
We were served some fries, fried rice and coleslaw in enamel bowls when we sat down. The staff sprawled a long piece of banana leaf on our table and served a few cuts of beef and chicken, hot & fresh from the grill. 

I thought, ok wow, good stuff. Beef was flavourful and tender and the chicken was juicy and tender. 
Then the staff came back and plopped more food onto the banana leaf - grilled fish, prawns, pumpkin, garlic bread and corn. 

Note: this portion is intended for just two people. 

I found everything to be delicious - the seafood was fresh, I loved the beef & chicken the most, and the fried rice was rather yummy too (coming from someone who is not a big fan of rice here!)

On top of that, they'd serve a serving of fruit to each guest at the end of the meal.

We had the BBQ dinner on our first night and I remember just feeling absolutely stuffed and satisfied. On the second night, we had a steamboat which was okay. I'm not really a fan of steamboat so I won't. say much here :p

Clear chicken-stock soup base was used. It was nice to have steamboat at night I guess, because it does get a little chilly at night, especially if it has been raining.
The spread of food for steamboat - from seafood to chicken fillet, chicken meatball, assortment of mushroom, tofus, noodles, veggies, fishball and eggs.

Tea Time

On day two, we had pisang goreng (banana fritters) & french toast for tea. The pisang goreng was one of the best I've ever had - crispy on the outside and the bananas were so sweet! 


Lunch served at The Stick is typically a home-cooked meal, served in enamel tiffin carriers.
I had so much fun opening the tiffin carrier - discovering what is inside each of the compartment. 
Again - this is for two person - we had stir-fried leafy green, deep-fried mushroom, vegetables in thick egg sauce, chicken curry, nestum prawn, rice and mangoes!


During dinner time, staffs at The Stick will go around table to table asking for our breakfast order - so that they can serve us our choice of breakfast as soon as we get seated in the morning. Guests can choose from a choice of continental breakfast (Yoghurt & muesli and fruit) with eggs cooked in your choice or English breakfast (eggs cooked in your choice, mushroom, baked beans & beef/chicken sausage)

There's also a breakfast station with cereal & milk (choice of coco-crunch, honey stars & cornflakes) and bread with various spread. 

Coffee & tea, drinking water, and alcohol?

You may go to your table and have coffee and tea (note: kopi-o and black tea bags!) provided at any time of the day. Same goes for drinking water. You can even bring the bottle back to your room (but remember to bring the empty bottles out for refill and before check-out!). 

The Sticks sell alcohol beverages too, albeit at a higher price (a can of Tiger was about RM12 if I'm not mistaken). If you bring your own alcohol to be consumed at the Dewan, you are required to pay a corkage fee, however, if you consume it in your own tendok it'd be FOC!
To control the movement of guests and ensure the Dewan doesn't get overcrowded, guests are encouraged to plan their meal times and write down the time slots they'd like for their mealtime.

Our designated table 

Things To Do

1. Do little - Sit back. Enjoy nature. Do nothing. Immerse yourself in the beautiful surrounding, and enjoy the fresh air. 

Laze around in the hammock on their grounds.

2. Play some board games - there are some for guests to lend at the Dewan. Chess was the popular choice and was always in use

3. Read a book. Bring your own books, else, there are a few copies of books at the Dewan as well). 

4. Go hiking. There is a short-ish trail which you may do for free, without a guide but you'll need. to inform the staffs beforehand and they'll lend you a walkie-talkie just in case you need it.

Did not go hiking during our stay but I did spend some time in the river, which is item no 5!

5. Have a dip/Go tubbing at the river
I spent quite a bit of my time at The Sticks by the river. The water was clear and cool - when it is not raining that is. 
You may also lend a tube for free, be careful not to lose it or you'll have to pay RM50. The water upstream is much calmer and shallower, and we were recommended not to go downstream, as it's a rocky areas.  

"There are too many phones there already!", the staff told us. (an indication that many people slipped and fall...and unfortunately loosing their phones too while venturing to that side of the river)

It was raining a couple of hours prior to this photo was taken. We were happily enjoying the river when suddenly, we notice that the water level was increasing.
And within a couple of minutes, this happened.

The staffs warned us about this during the briefing - if the water starts turning murky, and/or it has been raining a couple of hours ago, stay away from the river. The river starts from Fraser's Hill and swells up when it rains up there at Fraser's Hill - it'd take a few hours for the water upstream to flow to where The Sticks is located, and you wouldn't want to be caught by the river when this happens!

6. Have a walk around the compound
There were plenty of butterflies around - even Raja Brooke's butterfly! (Not in picture)

And be careful not to step on this giant millipede that might cross path with you! (They're harmless - don't worry) 

Took the opportunity to just check out the other Tendoks further away from the river.
The Sticks Retreat Layout. Source: The Sticks website

The first tendok we came across on this end of the compound was Opera House, which is hidden behind the bushes & plants here in this photo.
The path to the left leads to Bamboo House & Serengeti Tent, which are slightly more "hidden" and farther away from the rest of the tendoks on this end. The path on the right involves more flight of stairs up.

The Ara
The Euca


Verdict: 10/10 recommended!

My experience was nothing less than amazing. The price point is definitely on the higher end, but you don't need to worry about anything during your stay at The Sticks :) Meals are provided and I've got to say - the meals are fantastic and well worth your money. The staffs were friendly and helpful and I've got to give an A+ for their social distancing SOP.

If you're in search of a quick nature getaway from KL, do check out this place :) (if interdistrict travel is allowed!)

The Sticks
Lot 213 Jalan KKB-Fraser's Hill, 
44000 Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor

Instagram: @thesticksguide

Check out my blog posts about other eco off-grid retreat:

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