When I was a kid, my grandma and I used to go back to Penang for Hari Raya (Eid) while my parents stayed back in KL. Hmm...didn't realize how weird that is until I write this.
Anyway, we used to stay in my great-grandmother's kampung wooden house built above the ground on cement pillars in Ayer Itam among the more modern houses inhabited by our mostly Chinese neighbours. During the monsoon season or heavy rainfall, the area would be flooded and we would make paper boats to float outside the house. We were lucky that the waters never came indoors.
We had rambutan and mango trees and a big yard at the back. (It looked much bigger when I was a kid.) In the later years, my grand-aunt built a shed at the side of the house to rear pigeons.
There was no toilet in the house itself but there was one attached to the back of the house. We made sure to do all big and small businesses before we went to sleep at night to avoid going out in the darkness. We used to bathe with nice, cold water using dippers to dip into the cement water tank inside the bathroom.
The house had two levels. My grand-aunt who took care of my great-grandma who was very alert till her passing in her 80s, slept upstairs. During raya, my grand-uncle from KL and his children would occupy the upstairs by sleeping on mattresses laid out on the floor.
The rest of us would usually sleep on mattresses on the ground floor. It was really quite fun. We would wake up to the sounds of cockerels and the smell of coffee being brewed by my great-grandma. Mind you, she wasn't the affectionate sort but she did her great-grandmotherly duties well.
I loved dipping the thickly sliced bread (sold by the rotiman (breadman) on his motorbike) in our coffee for breakfast. This was waaaaaaay before kopitiams like Papparich and Old Town White Coffee became popular.
|Photo credit: vkeong.com|
Last weekend, I was delighted to find out that Johor Tourism launched the DesaStay Programme where 32 villages in Johor have been identified as locations to host homestays. The programme was officiated by the Johor Menteri Besar, YAB Dato' Mohamed Khaled bin Nordin on 30 July 2016 at Kampung Parit Tengah, Batu Pahat Johor.
Homestays allow visitors to rent a room from a family or to rent the whole home for a short stay so that visitors can fully integrate into the Johor and Malaysian culture and to learn the Malay language as intensively as possible. Staying in homestays are also usually cheaper than staying at a hotel.
Not only will visitors get a taste of how it's like to live in a village, the villagers will also have an opportunity to sell their goods and services and learn what people outside of their village have to offer.
You don't have to stay the night if they don't want to. You can even opt for half day packages.
|Kampung Parit Tengah, Batu Pahat|
|Teratak Selari Bonda is the biggest homestay available at DesaStay Kampung Parit Batu Pahat|
|Bedroom one downstairs|
|Bedroom 2 downstairs|
|Stairs leading to the upper level|
|Windows upstairs overlooking the courtyard|
|The main hall downstairs|
For more information about the other homestays that are part of the DesaStay Programme, please contact the Johor Tourism Information Centre at (+607) 223 4935, (+607) 224 9960 or (+6 07) 224 1432 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's some traditional music to entertain you while you dream of your next holiday to Johor