East Indies Mansion – Heritage home stay, George Town, Malaysia

Home stays are my all time preferred stay options. I love the idea of home setting, cozy rooms, warm bed and off-course little corner table with chai kettle. Well these things are something you get in hotel too but lacks personal touch. On the contrary, home stays are run by warm home owners and local people working in there. They aren’t taught by professionals to smile and hence, that piece sets the experience apart for me. A warm chat with them over the chai, just adds the zinc to the chai flavor.

When we booked this place during our visit to Malaysia, we didn’t exactly read its history. We just happen to book them on Agoda since it had high ratings. When we reached there, from outside the house looks like any normal house in George Town. Situated in the Little India street, in the heart of UNESCO Heritage

Zone of George Town, the charming East Indies Mansion, also known as the house of Koh Lay Huan, is a delightful place to stay that you will love. Spacious, quiet and breezy verandas; they all speak of the long history that breathes through the house. A little part of me just dream’t of owning a house like that some day.

This gorgeous historic mansion first built in 1793, is now a restoration result of three original Chinese houses. By looking at the East Indies Mansion from the street, we never imagined how immense the interior could be. A spacious entrance hall with a reception that opens into quiet veranda adorned with a plants and flowers everywhere and a lounge area that urges you to read a book or just relax and enjoy the silence. The veranda leads to various rooms and common dinning area and some more verandas. Every corner of the house is blooming with plants and flowers.

The architecture of the house is built on the principle of 5 elements – a common phenomena in Indian and Chinese architecture. The open veranda invites fresh flow of air and rain water that cleanses the house on all sides symbolising prosperity to seep into the house and into the lives of the people. The original frame of the house, walls, floors and most of the relics of the various house owners have been preserved which are on display at every corner. The house is a visual treat and one could spend hours adoring the heritage relics and details sprinkled all over the house.

East Indies Mansion features three spacious rooms (Standard Suites – Nutmeg), two large apartments (Deluxe Suite and Duplex Quadruple Room – Cinnamon), two family apartments on first floor (Family Suite – Anistar and King Suite – Clove) with each room serving a special feast to the eyes. We livid in Nutmeg which was a perfect place for 2 people on budget. 1 of the Nutmeg rooms has an tiny attic with a single bed and just perfect if you have toddler or 3rd person along. The staff is warm and attentive. The common dinning area has a well equipped kitchen which guests can use to cook some breakfast or coffee.

This mansion is also close to all stunning Chinese temples, amazing restaurants and other attractions of George Town making it a perfect choice to stay when in George Town. I would definitely love to visit them again someday and experience this house once again.

(Read my entire Malaysia tour with a tour to Kuala Lampur, Taman Negara, Cameroon Highlands, and George Town. Read about our other unique stays and cafes.)

Here is a visual tour of this gorgeous 230 years old mansion:

Dinning area with this beautiful window panes

The owner seems to be obsessed with rattan furniture and it just goes perfect with the mansion’s vibes

Gold lettered house name is gorgeous

One of the lounging areas. I just wanna live here forever

Akhil and his coffee

Nutmeg room where we stayed

I almost wanted to flick that porcelain kettle on the left. In my defense its insanely adorable ūüėõ

Lounging area outside Cinnamon room

These pastel metal chairs for tiny tots is just too cute

Such bohemian vibes

They have these windows installed in so many areas. Such cool tip to keep the house cool and airy

They haven’t missed any details in this home

The intricate carvings of this wooden support is utility with beauty

Etched mirror

They have lotus growing in many such pots

Here’s a happy soul with her cuppa

Advertisements

Travel guide for Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

 

Cameron Highland is a high estate located just about 200 km from Kuala Lumpur. Being one of the highest region in Malaysia, this place has cool weather and charming tea estates. The bungalows, gardens, and golf course are the reminiscence of the British colonisers who would come to the highland for relaxation. Check further post for things to do in Cameron Highlands which can be wrapped up in about 2-3 days if you are on a roll.

SEE

Gunung Brinchang: Ideal way to start morning at Cameron is with hike to Gunung Brinchang, which is mainly a road walk and is not very tiring due to the lovely weather. The panoramic view at the peak which is at 6666ft and is worth every step. I had the opportunity to be among the clouds and aah that feeling of mist on my cheeks. You may hike up on your own or opt for an guide which is more recommendable.

Mossy Forest: After the hike at Gunung Brinchang, Mossy forest was our next destination.  Every plant and branch is covered with moss. The forest gives us the feeling of jungles from King Kong movie Рdense, mossy all over and creepers everywhere. But there were no reptiles or insects and I presume its mainly because of the therapeutic plants which grow in abundance here (the Cajeput tree from which famous Tiger balm is made, grows here).  One can also spot Pitcher plants in abundance here, but do not touch them as some variety of this plant are carnivorous. You will be lucky to spot Giant Rafflesia, an endangered flower which claims to be the largest flower in world, in this forest. Make sure to go only with a local guide or you may get lost in the forest.

Tea Plantation: Cameron highland has excellent weather for tea plantations here and ‘Boh‘ at Sungai Palas is an ideal estate to breathe in some tea vibes here (also it is the biggest). I find tea estates very romantic as there is vastness of the estate which is so green and the chill in the air makes my bare shoulder tinkle. At Boh tea plantation we took a tour of the tea factory and then got ourselves comfortable ¬†to sip some lovely tea with sumptuous little cakes. Make sure to buy little tea boxes for yourself and friends and family.

Starwberry farm:¬†Raju’s strawberry farm seems to be pretty famous as it was confirmed by a local person and various portals in my research – and since its strawberries it couldn’t go wrong for us in anyway. Go around and pick strawberries with your lovelies and then enjoy the joys of your pluck. Though I found this to be a bit expensive activity which costed 35RMs (for 1/2kg I guess). But I think the price is more for the experience than for the strawberries. You can find quite some local fresh fruits and vegetables shops very close to Raju’s strawberry farm.

Bee farm/ reptile farm: There are many farms that breed bees and other reptiles as well. Its a good place to look at gorgeous butterflies and vibrant snakes and hedgehogs at such farms. Its a fun activity for a reptile lover or to show the kids around.

Cactus Valley: Walk along the lovely terraces to see the varieties of flowers and vegetables and off course cactus. They are all in abundance and will stimulate all your sensory organs. I went little crazy at the site of cactus varieties.

Robinson Waterfalls: Jungle trail number 9 leads to Robinson Waterfalls – a serene place to relax and soak in the air. These are impressive falls especially in rain time (September to January) and its an off beat trail as well.

Kea Farm Market: Take a walk at this farmer’s market and buy yourself some fresh fruits. If you are in strawberry season, then you’ll find them everywhere while they will be cheaper at such farmer’s market.

Tip: For about 40RMs/ 8 hours there are motorcycles available to go around the city and relax at our own pace. Though I wouldn’t recommend taking them when going to any uphill areas. The engines might not be powerful enough to take you through high elevations.

EAT

Steamboat cuisine: Best way to enjoy this dish would be to go brunching with friends and family – because its like potluck. You wont regret trying this dish. This dish has variations in various Asian countries such as Hot Pot in China. You may try this at Cameron Organic Produce Steamboat Restaurant and Ok Tuck Restaurant.

Steamed corns and sweet potatoes: How awesome are these to just keep nibbling while roaming in streets of Cameron and that chilly weather. I was amazed to see the amount of sweet potatoes sold and consumed here.

Ye Olde Smokehouse: If you are craving for some smoked food, then this place is right for you as it serves some good meat.

Curry House: Malaysia is a home to many Indians (mainly Tamilians) hence Indian Masala Chai was need of the hour to let my taste buds feels closer to home. This is also a good place to try some kebabs and other nibblers.

Uncle Chow’s Kopitam: Cool hangout place to snack and sip coffee among the locals visiting this place.

Fruits: I love trying local fruits while I am visiting the country. It gives me good insight of the vegetation and natures’ delight in form of fruits. Must try fruits at Cameron highlands are strawberries, langsat, red and white guavas (jambu batu), rose apple (jambu merah), and love fruit which I shopped at the Kea farm market

SLEEP

There are tons of budget hotels and BnBs in Tanha Rata, Cameron Highlands. Just take a walk in the area and try your luck at multiple inexpensive stays. As most of these places either shut or change names so its difficult to keep track of them by their names. For stay options on a little expensive side (which isn’t really very expensive either) try Copthorne Hotel, Century Pines Resort, and Lakehouse Hotel. I really liked some Airbnb options such as this, this, and this.

We stayed in Farm View apartment which is hosted by Dennis Hong and I must say it was a delight staying at this Airbnb. The house is really amazing with lovely farm view. The house had all possible things available for tourist to live in comfortably. Dennis has a really interesting way of handing over the keys to its customer and I stop at that for you to experience it yourself, if you happen to stay here.

Tip: While selecting the stay options you either choose hotels in Tanha rata area which is like the main area to hang out and spend evenings or hotels in Brinchang area which is closer to tea estates and peaks and really quiet area. As the distance between the two is almost about 5kms, both areas give a little different feel.

Best season: Since Cameron Highlands is mountainous, its really cool for most of the season. To enjoy cool breezy weather January to April is a good time and to enjoy sunny weather May to July is a good time. Spetember onwards there are heavy rainfall making the temperature dip even below 10C during night Рhaving said that flora and fauna is at its best during this time.

Here’s a little virtual tour of our trip along with the tourist map:

Hat, simple sandal and map is all I need

Elevated roads and green all around

Beautiful cacti

Akhil being silly at the cactus farm

A table for two

Lavender farm

View of Boh Tea Plantation – till your eyes can see

Vibrant butterfly

View from Gunung Brinchang peak at 6666ft – those are clouds

Waiting for clouds to touch my face

Mossy forest

Enjoying footpath golf outside a cafe

Street food at Kea farm market

Strawberry farm just took it all literally

Check out other posts on our Malaysia tour.