Scenic drive through Hulu Yam
New Straits Times
Driving along a short road connecting two towns in Hulu Selangor can be wonderfully relaxing, writes ZALINA MOHD SOM
IT is only 25km long but the Selayang-Hulu Yam road is probably the most scenic drive just outside the city once you’ve braved the unpredictable 20km traffic from the heart of the city to Selayang. While its main purpose is to connect the two small townships of Hulu Selangor, the road offers ample opportunities for leisure and recreation.
What probably sets the character of the Selayang-Hulu Yam road is Empangan Batu (Batu Dam). The expanse of deep green water and the striking Titiwangsa range brings on a cool, balmy feeling when you’re driving along a hilly part of the road. Since the dam is the first thing that motorists coming from Batu Caves see, it gives an inkling of what lies ahead. Few first timers can drive past without giving in to the urge to get down and enjoy the breeze and picturesque scenery. Knowing this, the local authority has built rest areas at strategic spots. There are three rest areas, each giving a different view of the dam and the Batu Caves-Hulu Yam road. One is reminiscent of Vista Point in Perak (located between Jelapang and Kuala Kangsar of the North-South Expressway) except for the view of the Batu Dam instead of the rainforest. These rest areas make the dam a perfect “instant” sanctuary for city folks, either to enjoy the beautiful nature, to hang out with friends and families or just to get away from the bustling city.
Rocky River Of Sungai Tua
From Batu Dam, you don’t have to drive far for more cool water spots. Just around the corner after the bridge at the end or the dam is a tall waterfall that seems to fall below road level. You need to get down and stand at the edge of the short concrete wall built around it, to see the rocky bed at the bottom before the river continues underground. Near the concrete wall is a small stall selling drinks, snacks and fruit. On the other side of the road about 10 metres from the waterfall, is the Sungai Tua Recreational Forest which is gazetted as Selangor State Park. There are three entry points with ample parking space at each, rest huts, stalls, toilets and changing rooms. Next to the P1 entry point, there is a huge dirt bike track. Surrounded by dipterocarp forest, the recreational forest has the rocky Sungai Tua running almost parallel to the road. Where the road ends with a T-junction – to Hulu Yam Baru/Batang Kali and to Sungai Sendat, rocky Sungai Tua turns to its origin at Sendat Falls. At one point along the road where there is a small stretch of limestone hills, you’ll see many cars parked on the side of the road and a queue of motorists carying empty water bottles, waiting to collect water from cylinders placed diagonally from the limestone wall. Many believe that the natural water, rich in mineral, is good for health. For those who wish to spend the night, there are a few resorts located along the road. Lodging choices start with Riverstone Eco Resort, The Woods Resort, Amberstone Eco Resort, Kem Lembah Genting and D’Heritage.
Old Town, New Town
The small town of Hulu Yam Baru is less than five minutes from the T-junction. The town also thrives along the sides of yet another T-junction that leads to the old Hulu Yam/Ipoh and Genting Highland/Batang Kali. Most cars turn off to Genting Highland/Batang Kali. Perhaps the Selayang-Hulu Yam old road is an interesting route to get to Genting Highland. The old Hulu Yam town is located 4km from the junction. There is nothing there to indicate what was once a bustling little town. There is a row of single-storey wooden, zinc-roofed shophouses occupied by bicycle/mechanic shops, restaurants and sundry shops as well as private residences.
Between these two towns, take a detour to Hulu Yam’s best-kept agriculture secret – the 1,920-hectare Selangor Vege Farm. There are fields of vegetables on one side and the skyline of Hulu Yam on the other with minarets of a mosque and the tops of low-rise buildings set against the Titiwangsa Range. And while you are there, stop for the famous Hulu Yam Loh Mee. It is reputedly so good that people don’t mind driving the distance for a taste of this non-halal noodle dish.