Road Trip: Ulu Yam Day Trip
On this first #RoadtripMy series, we decided to drive down to Ulu Yam, a small town located in Batang Kali, Selangor known for its natural surroundings and waterfalls. Upon Googling, I found out that the popular Loh Mee dish was founded here by Hock Choon Kee during the Japanese occupation days. If they had a vegetarian version, I wouldn’t mind tasting that!
Using the reliable Waze app, we drove through Gombak, Selayang before entering the Batang Kali area, which was such a contrast to the busy city life.Trees lined the roads and behind them hills of lush forest shadowed our one hour journey drive. It was definitely calming and serene. We had no specific plans on where to go so we relied heavily on what we saw and that was enough to stir our curiosity.
Scenic Empangan Batu
The road was a winding one but it was nicely distracted by the blue sky and surrounding nature. On the left was the scenic Batu Empangan Batu or also known as Batu Dam which is one of the major dams in Klang Valley. It looked more like a man made lake to me and when we stopped to see it up close, we could see people with their fishing rods waiting patiently for a bite. An elderly couple was busy setting up their stall, propping the packet nasi lemak in a round tray. The table was long and had colourful drinks, rojak station as well as kuih muih for the hungry tummy. If you’re not in a hurry, you can stop here for a quick breakfast before seeking the waterfalls.
Getting to Know Ulu Yam Baru Town
Ulu Yam is split into two, the new and the old town. We first came upon Ulu Yam new where two rows of shop houses can be seen to the left and right of us. It looked like a sleepy town but as we drove further down we could see the locals enjoying the Saturday breakfast in a popular dim shop. Another lady was stationed in front of it selling homemade nasi lemak to passerby. We walked down a few roads and uncovered more local shops such as a Kopitiam, a stall selling the popular Loh Mee which originated here, a nostalgic barber shop among others.
Getting Lost in a Town
After the Ulu Yam new town, we drove to another area while looking for a place to settle down for lunch. The road led us to a closed railway station and nicely kept residential area, with houses reminiscent of the 1960s era. Honestly, we took a wrong turn and while trying to find our way out, we discovered these houses with sugar canes planted in the backyard. A wooden house stood tall surrounded by a vegetable farm but we were not allowed to enter the area. We spotted the main road and the banana tree planted underneath the highway. The placement was strange as it meshes both nature and modern world, yet it made for a beautiful combination of both worlds.
Lunch with the Locals
We decided to have lunch at Restoran Bella located at the junction heading towards Sungai Sendat. I’ve often had good experiences eating in small towns as the cooking style is mostly authentic, just like how you eat at home. The same can be said for this particular restaurant which served rice and a variety of local dishes such as chicken curry, fish assam pedas and ulam (vegetables). There’s also soto ayam nasi himpit (my favourite), a spread of local kuih muih, a box of vintage looking soda bottles and roti canai.
Taking a Dip in Hutan Lipur Selangor
On our back to the city, we stopped by at the Hutan Lipur Selangor which was one of the waterfalls and hot springs that can be found in this area. It was quiet for the weekend but we could see families bringing picnic baskets with hot food, tents and mats to spend their day there. The entrance fee to the recreational area was only RM1.00 per person and you could stay there for the entire day if you want to because there’s camping site available with facilities such as barbecue pit, tables and chairs as well as showers in the bathroom area. A suspension bridge runs across the main area to the facilities while the cooling river runs below it. Sitting on the rocks with the water seeping through my feet was just calming. We should come back to search for the rest of the waterfalls here and bring proper swim wear!
So I made up the word ‘fruitjacking’ because it meant stopping at every roadside fruit stalls to taste and to buy a dozen or so of those fruits home. Right after the Ulu Yam new town are the fruit stalls which sells mangosteens, pulasan, starfruits, bananas, jackfruits and rambutans. The owner normally would allow anyone to try the fruits before deciding on the purchase and we tried quite a few! The best part was that the rambutans, pulasan and the mangosteens were freshly plucked from the orchard. One tip that the lady seller shared with us was that the older the fruit, the better in taste. When we got home and peeled the fruits, it all looked good! Now I know how to choose good fruits from the stalls!
Have you been to Ulu Yam and what other attractions have you discovered here?
About Yafieda Jamil
Yafieda Jamil (fienuts) is a travel blogger from Kuala Lumpur and now makes a living in The Kingdom of Wonder (Cambodia). Her blog, The Travel Chameleon is about the journey of a Malaysian girl who loves a good road trip and blending in with the locals wherever she goes. When she’s not on the road, she's at the beach with her sunglasses and flip flops, instagramming the world.