Ipoh for hotsprings, Cherating for beaches, Langkawi for drinks; all your run-of-the-mill hotspots for a roadtrip. But why not ditch the tried and tested the next time you gather your travel buddies, and go for a durian vacay? Yup, we’re talking about a staycation or homestay on a durian farm to feast on the king of fruits all day and all night, while taking in the gorgeous natural surroundings. Take your pick from these places that offer all kinds of accommodation – from luxurious resort-style living to back-to-nature simplicity!
Tip: Call the resorts ahead of durian season to find out when’s the best time to visit. Some of these places reserve their best fruits for stay-in guests!
GREEN ACRES ORCHARD & ECOLODGE
Organic, solar-powered and animal friendly, Green Acres is an eco-conscious farm that’s in a league of its own. Located only 3km from Balik Pulau town centre, the 16-acre land in the hillsides has been kept free of chemicals for over 50 years.
This was long before it was purchased by current owners, Eric and Kim, who built upon that and turned it into a gorgeous durian retreat. You’ll be amazed by their 450 matured durian trees (some are between 80 to 100 years old!) with over 32 different cultivars to tickle your taste buds! Can you hear our lips smacking already?
The owners maintain that they are not a commercial farm and don’t take in many guests at once. Its sustainably built ecolodges were fully restored from rundown Malay village houses. You’ll enjoy spacious, tranquil accommodation with balconies looking out to gorgeous views of the hills. The main lodge is built from half recycled wood, half durian timber (you can tell people you’ve slept on a durian tree!) and comes with a fresh spring water dipping pool. Don’t forget to head up to their Musang King treehouse!
Location: Batu Itam, Balik Pulau, Penang
Owned by Carl, an American who used to work for the Wall Street Journal, and his durian-loving wife Lilian, Karuna Hill is nestled in the hills of Balik Pulau and injects some lavishness in a durian retreat. The resort used to be a durian orchard before the building of their villas, so they preserved and currently nurture 20 types of durians which are served to their guests all day, every day!
But durians aside, just check out their breathtaking view. Now tell us if you wouldn’t want to go there just to kick back and recharge with the oh-so-fresh air, perhaps with a good book in one hand and a drink (or piece of durian) in the other!
The well-maintained chalets provide a comfortable place to stay amid the serene beauty of nature. Perfect for a couple’s getaway, family staycation or retreat with your durian-crazy pals! Tip: Free up loads of space on your mobile phone, because you’re going to go snap-happy!
Location: 849 Bukit Kechil Mukim 2, Balik Pulau, Penang
Arguably one of the most popular durian farms due to their great online presence, but also for very good reasons. Established way back in 1959, Bao Sheng boasts 16 types of durians and durian trees that are over 60 years old (it is said that the older the tree, the tastier the durian!), and are known for providing a full-on durian experience.
You are welcomed to not only tour the farm and learn how to choose durians, but also hunt for freshly-dropped durians and taste them on the spot! The owners will guide you in experiencing five flavours of the durian, including the unique ‘numb’ taste which can only be experienced within 30 minutes after the durian drops.
Their room rates start from RM250 per person for a 2D1N stay and include unlimited durians and tropical fruits, which will literally be all your meals! You will be staying in chalets surrounded by durian trees, and some rooms even come with a pool for you to rest and relax amid natural greenery; ahh, talk about living the life!
Location: 150 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau, Penang
SIM KOA YEN
One eye-catching tidbit about Sim Koa Yen in the historical city of Malacca is that they offer 29 varieties of durians on the farm (including many we have not heard of before!); definitely the place to go if you want a wide variety or go all #yolo and try them all!
The 25-year-old orchard is also award-winning – they snagged first place in the durian category in a local agriculture competition in 2008. They only use organic fertilizer and minimizes the use of pesticides, and their over four hectares of land is adjacent to the largest dam in Malacca, giving you a picturesque al-fresco dining experience.
The homestay is however very basic with communal bathrooms, and start from RM110 per room. They also offer dormitories for eight or ten peeps if you want to rough it out with a group of friends!
Location: MC-2-34 & MC-2-35, Jalan SB Utama, Taman Seri Bayan, Durian Tunggal, Malacca (Office)
Contemporary yet rustic, quirky yet simplistic. That’s Eight Acres in a nutshell; a jungle resort that gets you in touch with nature and a life under the stars. Outdoorsy peeps will love this fun, family-friendly place, as it’s packed with activities to tick off your to-do list, such as paddleboarding, cycling, pony riding, fishing (catch and release), animal feeding, and vegetable and fruit harvesting. Oh, and don’t be surprised if you see geese and ducks roaming around the compound.
Situated between Bentong and Raub, Eight Acres is environmental-friendly and self-sustained. Buildings such as the Brick House, which has six themed rooms, was built with recycled materials and is powered by hydroelectricity and solar energy. Meals are provided during your stay, and cooked in their kitchen with meat and vegetables taken from their very own produce!
This, of course, also includes their luscious durian when in season, as the eight-acre (hence their name) land is surrounded by hundreds of durian trees. During their Durian Festival, you can indulge in an eat-all-you-can feast of D24, 101, Teka and Durian Kampung as per availability.
Location: Lot 7822, Mukim Gali, Off Jalan Sungai Klau, Raub
TRAS DURIAN FARMSTAY
This little publicized farm is located in Raub, where 23 acres of land used for agriculture, rubber tapping, commercial aquaculture and a free-range poultry farm is overlooked by the owner and his crew.
The peaceful place is filled with family-friendly outdoor activities such as game fishing at the nearby river, jungle trekking, biking and barbequing (yes, that means barbequed durians!).
In fact, their simple 2-room chalet was originally built for personal family and friends to chill and bond in a simple farm life setting. The homestay is now open to the public, and comes with a fully equipped kitchen for you to cook your own organic kampung chicken and fish, and of course, to dig into the king of fruits during durian season.
Location: 55, Taman Muhibah, Raub