Last weekend we went for a short trip to Kuala Selangor and we had arranged to stay at Apps Hotel, which is a small boutique hotel located within the row of shophouse with the Selangor River just behind it. The Deluxe Queen room we got comes with a pretty comfortable queen bed, equiped with conditioner (though it does take a while to cool down), hot/cold showers, LED TV, mini fridge, safety box, coffee making facilities and toileteries. Although the fact that WIFI is only available in the lobby
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Last weekend we went for a short trip to Kuala Selangor and we had arranged to stay at Apps Hotel, which is a small boutique hotel located within the row of shophouse with the Selangor River just behind it. The Deluxe Queen room we got comes with a pretty comfortable queen bed, equiped with conditioner (though it does take a while to cool down), hot/cold showers, LED TV, mini fridge, safety box, coffee making facilities and toileteries. Although the fact that WIFI is only available in the lobby bothered us a little. And it's a little incondusive when the mini fridge also turns off when the main power cuts off (perhaps a second key would have been useful). Noise level wise, there's unfortunately an outdoor KTV that goes til really late, which would have been fun if we were planning to sleep late, though it wasn't the case when we stayed.
There is a jetti located just behind the hotel providing 2 major attractions for Kuala Selangor: Eagle Feeding and Fireflies watching. We unfortunately missed the Eagle feeding because the bed was calling our names. But we definitely didn't want to miss the fireflies. The trip itself takes around 20-30 minutes and we cruised along the river and marvelled at the sight. The fireflies are all found on the mangrove trees and lit up the whole area like Christmas trees. Along with sky full of stars, it was truly an enchanting experience. Highly recommended.
After the cruise, it was time for dinner. Apps hotel has its own restaurant called Wharf 72, obviously specialising in Seafood. As we visited during Ramadhan month, there is also a Ramadhan buffet and the restaurant was pretty packed. However, it didn't take long for us to be served our food. We left the ordering to the management so I assume these are all their signature dishes.
This dish, however, won our hearts totally. I've never had Tom Yam so rich in flavour, yet non-cloying at all. It has a right balance of tang, sweet, savoury and spiceness and has at least 10 succulent fresh prawns. There's a prominent lemongrass note which I love too and I think they probably use fresh coconut juice in the broth for that special sweetness. We couldn't help but finish it to the last drop.
The Deep Fried Kangkung is tasty in its own right, with perfectly crispy strands of veges drenched in Thai Chili Sauce. Though both of us tend to shy away from deep fried/oily stuff so we didn't manage to finish this.
There were at least 3 crabs on this plate, and each of them full of eggs. I guess crabs are not really in season right now so they were a bit on the small side. But I still enjoyed the lovely sweet flesh along with the heavy seasoning of Kam Heong.
Last but not least, our favourite style of Steamed fish (Teochew steamed). Siakap is not the usual choice for Teochew Steamed Fish but this one is exceptionally fresh so it's still lovely. I couldn't resist drenching my rice with the sauce (even though we were supposed to be skipping the rice).
We were really impressed by the food at Wharf 72, although I forgot to ask for the price of each dish (I believe it's inexpensive). We were also treated to a thirst quenching coconut shake after our meal. If there's ever a chance of us returning to Kuala Selangor, we'll sure come to this restaurant again.
(The above review is the personal opinion of a user which does not represent OpenRice's point of view.)
19 June 2015I was not sure what to feel about going to Kuala Selangor to see fireflies. I have been here when I was 17 years old, through a school trip to KL but I could barely remember the experience. Since Father’s Day is the next day, I decided to make this a Father’s Day celebration and a pre-birthday celebration for myself.We rarely drive as far as Kuala Selangor, even my mother came here previously by tour bus all the way from Penang with her friends. We set our journey at 12 pm from Petal
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19 June 2015
I was not sure what to feel about going to Kuala Selangor to see fireflies. I have been here when I was 17 years old, through a school trip to KL but I could barely remember the experience. Since Father’s Day is the next day, I decided to make this a Father’s Day celebration and a pre-birthday celebration for myself.
We rarely drive as far as Kuala Selangor, even my mother came here previously by tour bus all the way from Penang with her friends. We set our journey at 12 pm from Petaling Jaya and reached at 2 pm in Apps Hotel. The journey was very smooth.
My years of traveling has developed in me an attitude of not expecting much. The good thing about this hotel is that it looks brand new as it was opened in November 2013.
There was a sweet Malay lady at the reception of the Hotel. We were surprised to see the smallest twin beds in the world. What do you expect for a hotel where a room with single bed here only costs RM 88? The kind Malay employee even offered to change our twin beds to a Queen bed which was more comfortable. The entire room and bedsheet are very clean, even cleaner than the small budget motel I stayed in Muar a year ago.
Even the lift is automated and the buttons are by sensor touch screen. Surprise! Surprise! The lift is at least big enough compared to the ones in Klang Valley. All the rooms have automated access cards too. So I guess my misconception of Kuala Selangor being what we Malaysians term as “ulu” is misplaced. My room has a view of the jetty owned by Apps Hotel and also overlooks the Selangor River. The room was beautifully renovated and fully equipped with modern amenities. There were basic toiletries such as in three star hotels like, two pairs of toothbrushes and toothpaste, showcap, sanitary pads, soap bars, shampoo and shower gel. The flooring of the washroom is in black tiles which makes the overall look clean and modern. There were clean towels of all range be it hand towels, bath towels and floor mat. The mirror is similar to most hotels, with three panels of the mirror on the wall, compared to hotels like these which usually just have a cheap small DIY mirror. The next morning, after washing my hair, I was so pleasantly surprised that they actually provide a mini hairdryer! Initially, I thought I would have to leave my hair with water dripping down my clothes but being the experience traveler, I thought of checking the drawer of the desk and voila, I found the hairdryer!
Back to our traveling itinerary. We went for Eagle Cruise on a speedboat at 6 pm. We are lucky that Apps Hotel owns the jetty which means we do not need to travel far to reach the jetty and just need to go down when it is time. The service of the hotel is very good as the receptionist even called me at 5.55 pm for my cruise. It was a very good day for a cruise as the day was windy though a little too sunny for the skin. The entire ride lasted for 45 minutes. We saw storks and seagulls along the way. I also spotted a grey flamingo. We saw many eagles soaring in the sky. It was a most wonderful sight. It represents freedom. The entire blue sky was full of lines of brown carved by the eagles.
The boatmen took us to the middle of the sea, between Selangor River and Straits of Malacca. They then threw tiny chopped chicken skin and then we stayed away to watch the sight. After a few minutes of patience, the eagles’ sharp eyesight caught this and they swooped down. This scene lasted for almost 10 minutes, or what lasted for quite long in my terms. It is quite a wonder to me how just simple chicken skin can tempt the eagles so much. Furthermore, so many of them came one by one. This is really what we call eco-tourism where we were so near to nature.According to the boatmen, there are about 200 to 300 eagles here. Their mating season is in March when they fly less. We were also shown the eagles’ nest on top of the trees. It was amazing how the heavy birds can perch on top of the light nests on top of the branches. The nests look like flowers from afar. The boatmen ended the trip with aplomb by bringing us to the swamp trees to see a big monitor lizard that camouflages itself with the tree bark.DINNER AT SEAFOOD WHARF RESTAURANT
We had an earlier dinner at Seafood Wharf Restaurant that belongs to Apps Hotel today. I was feeling really hungry due to my early brunch at 10.30 am today. Before the eagle cruise, Benny Quah, the General Manager of Apps Hotel actually asked me what I wanted to eat. I told him I would eat any of his signature dishes and he served me all of the local delicacies which are famous here. I am so glad that Benny gave us the special service that would be the feel good factor for every guest. My mother who stayed here for her last trip here with a big tour group was actually served by the big boss of Apps Hotel who is the boss of Benny. The chef is Chinese but he manages to make the halal food delicious.
We were coaxed to take the Deep Fried Kangkung (RM 6.60) because it was said to be a dish that is not to be missed. We personally do not like to eat deep fried food so mother wanted to have stir fried belacan kangkung instead but luckily we did not order that since this is a very conventional dish that can be eaten anywhere. The kangkung was not overly oily. There is Thai chilli at the bottom of the kangkung yet it was not drenched in the sauce till it is soggy. The chef certainly have a special way of deep frying vegetables here. Usually they deep fry Pegaga leaves as I have eaten in Bali highlands or some other places but this is a must try otherwise you will regret it.
Next, was the Pandan Chicken (RM 8.49) which was served in triangular shaped pandan leaves. The best part about this is that one can really even separate out each triangle into many smaller pieces. I could not help but notice that this pandan chicken is very unique, unlike the conventional ones in all Thai or Chinese eateries. In fact, the one served here can be easily eaten without dirtying the fingers to peel it, which is perfect for girls. The pandan chicken is also infused with a secret ingredient that makes it very fragrant. I specifically like the deep fried curry leaves and also the very thinly carved carrots that I initially mistaken for kunyit. I wondered how they made it light and thin like shredded paper.
Initially, I thought the Coconut Tomyam Prawns (RM 15.09) were just like the ones served at normal Thai restaurants. Seafood Wharf Chef proved me wrong when the prawns were so fresh and succulent compared to the one I had in the famous Thai café in Penang. It was amazing that for the price of RM 15.09, we could have at least 10 giant prawns for only RM 15.09! The difference between this and the ones outside is that the soup elsewhere is too thick and has too much coconut milk that one can see white spots in the soup. In addition, the tomyam is not too sour yet maintains the spiciness.
The Nyonya Steamed Siakap Fish (RM 22.64) was smoking hot. The flesh is so tender soft that it literally melt the moment it landed in my mouth. The small pieces of sweet and fresh pineapples and also ladies fingers were great pairings to the thick sauce. I am the champion taster when it comes to fish because I really like to order Nyonya Steamed Fish everywhere I go. The sauce here does not have the powdery curry taste too. In fact, it was so delicious that I kept drinking the sauce despite finishing my meal.
The three gigantic Kam Heong Ko Hai Crabs were the most awesome crabs we have tasted in our entire life. According to Benny, Ko Hai is the local crab in Kuala Selangor but it is quite a difficult to get here. The shell is so hard and we had to use the special crab shell opener to crack it open. Not only did the crab have so much orange coloured eggs which were so hard, the crabs lie on a bed of stir fried crab eggs cooked with dried shrimps which the town is famous for. Initially, we have mistaken the eggs for normal chicken eggs which is natural since we are Penangites and that is what people do with fried crab. One thing is for sure, this is something that will make people feel guilty when eating. A kind reminder would be not to measure your cholesterol level immediately after dinner.
We accompanied our dinner with refreshing and non-sweet coconut shakes (RM 2.30), done just the way I like it. They seem to understand our health conscious taste bud of not liking dessert or drinks to be overly sweet.
The portions are very big here. When the receipt came, we almost fainted at the total bill of RM 137.12 because we could not believe that the crabs here cost cheaper than the market price in Kuala Selangor stilt house seafood eateries, at RM 40 per kilo in Apps Hotel and RM 60 market price. We KL-ites definitely know that the crabs in Klang Valley costs at least RM 70 per kilo but for RM 75.47, we had the privilege of eating three succulent and hard crabs to our hearts’ content. Most people think that eating at a hotel is more expensive than eating at the non-air-conditioned kopitiam outside but Seafood Wharf proved us wrong again. I met a few guys in the firefly cruise later who went outside Apps Hotel to eat crab costing RM 60 per kilo as they thought that since the decoration is traditional Malay style here, the food is Malay style and the chef is Malay too. I corrected their misperception. I find it hard to believe that those ten giant prawns in the coconut only cost RM 15.09 whereas it costs at least more than RM 25 in Selangor. One open air restaurant in Selangor along the highway even charges a whopping RM 75 for only a few measly prawns. Simple pandan chicken costs at least more than RM 15 in most Thai restaurants but it only costs RM 8.49 here. I was even more shocked when I saw the price of the Nyonya Steamed Fish at only RM 22.64. Even in the cheapest kopitiam in Kajang, it costs RM 25-30 per steamed fish. All in all, the price and absolutely lip-smacking food here have changed 360 degrees the perception of food in Apps Hotel.
After a very hearty meal which ended at exactly 8 pm, we were ready for our Firefly Cruise which cause RM 15 per pax for only this cruise. This time, the place was pitch dark. Since the tide was high, we could see the top of the trees and the fireflies appeared to be lighting up the bushes thereby turning it into fairyland. The scene was just magical. Fireflies are more accurately called “lightning beetles” and their uniqueness lies in the ability of their tails to emit light. The male fireflies flash brighter to attract the female ones. There were three species of fireflies found here which are the Pteroptyx Tener, Pteroptyx Valida and Pteroptyx Malaccae.
The boatmen were very friendly and they answered most questions while teasing me in between. They even asked me questions like why the fireflies are more in some trees and do not exist on others. It is because they only go to Berembang Trees because they feed on its rubber and leaves which are their main diet. In the daytime, fireflies become inactive and rest at the bottom of the Berembang Tree. Some of the trees have more fireflies whereas some have less. The trees which have less fireflies is due to their friends ostracizing them. I am yet to verify the veracity of this fact. The boatmen were so kind to even help us to catch a few fireflies and place them between our hands. It reminds me of Peter Pan movies where the fairy places some special thing in your hand. My hands were so slippery that I let go two of them. The boat lights were switched on to enable us to see their bodies. Then, we let go of the fireflies. At the end of the trip, the cheeky boatmen asked whether we are satisfied with watching the fireflies. I asked “If not?” They retorted, “Look up (in the sky)!” I was aghast at their joke and still looked at the stars sparkling in the sky. One would have to admit that the stars lost to the fireflies that night.
During the night, tourists can sing karaoke in the outdoor stage probably till midnight. There are other day activities like paintball and ATV biking in the three acres of jungle that is owned by Apps Hotel. I wanted to ride on the ATV bike in the jungle which costs RM 80 but I was lack of time.
That night I went to sleep swayed by dreams of fireflies. Good night world, see you tomorrow!
20 JUNE 2015, SATURDAY
We woke up to a the most simple breakfast of just fried bihun, scrambled eggs and fried sausages, coffee or tea on the buffet, which comes together with our room package. After breakfast and check out, we managed to thank Benny Quah for his hospitality as he happened to be at the reception having a meeting with his employees. Then, we followed Benny’s advice to visit Melawati Hill which is just five minutes away. We could see the famous Melawati Lighthouse from far, even when we were on the cruise the day before. The tram ticket only costs RM 5 that covers the journey to the top of the hill where there is the Historical Museum of Kuala Selangor District. The museum is good place to bring your school-going children to learn about Malaysian history which shows how Kuala Selangor and first establishment of Selangor administration started from the side of Selangor River. In fact, the name “Selangor” derives from the name of this river. We also relooked into the civil wars in Selangor whereby Raja Mahadi was one of the ones who started a war. The museum also features the old currency in the olden days like Tampang etc.During our tram journey, we saw many Silver-Tailed Monkeys and also Long Tailed Macaques which are roaming all over the place. They were not wild like the monkeys in Bali or the ones in our own Botanical Gardens, Penang. Probably they were not as wild because the hawkers threw biscuit crumbs to them. The hawkers sell long beans and unripe bananas to be fed to the monkeys. The tram ticket also covers the trip to Taman Alam (Nature Park) which has a few aviaries, rabbits, aquariums, and chicken coops.All in all, Kuala Selangor is a fantastic place for eco-tourism and I am definitely coming back to Seafood Wharf for the most reasonably priced seafood which is more than worth every penny paid. Oh, and do visit Apps Hotel if only to change your earlier perception!
(The above review is the personal opinion of a user which does not represent OpenRice's point of view.)