Contributed by Nuraini
Zenxin Organic Park, 8 April 2017
Farm tours are a great way for city dwellers to be acquainted with their source of food. They aren’t just for kids but for adults too. I wanted to understand more about how organic fruits and vegetables are grown and what it is like to eat fresh fruit plucked from the garden. I, along with my friend visited Zenxin Organic Park for a tour organized by Zenxin Travel located in Kluang, Malaysia on the first weekend of April 2017 to learn about organic farming.
Kulai Hakka Village
Before heading to the park, our friendly tour guide, Vivonne and driver, Mazlan brought us to a vegetarian restaurant for a hearty breakfast meal at Kulai, which was half an hour drive away from Malaysia’s checkpoint in a van. My friend and I ordered Nasi Lemak. Since it was a vegetarian restaurant, we were not expecting anything tasty but I was wrong. The pandan fragranced rice complemented by the spicy sambal chilli sauce, egg and mushroom replacing the usual ‘ikan bilis’ was mouthwatering. We also ordered Mung Bean biscuits, the locals’ famous confectionery, which was only roughly RM4. After a short rest, we proceeded to Kulai Hakka village to explore the community. There were numerous murals, which were painted by artists along the alley. The entire alley was soon filled with tourists posing with all the different murals. After about an hour of exploration and being a personal photographer for my friend, we finally drove to Zenxin Organic Park. It was approximately an hour ride away from the village.
(Cai Ban – A traditional Hakka delicacy)
Zenxin Organic Park Tour
Upon arrival, the friendly staffs greeted us and served us freshly brewed mulberry tea whilst educating us the benefits of it. The tour started with a short video about how the organic farm started and followed by an hour of tour around the park by the park’s tour guide. Not only did we visit the dragon fruit and mulberry farm, we even had to opportunity to pick some mulberries and taste it for our own (Dark red ones are sweet and the whiter ones are sour). The tour guide was very well educated about the various herbs and the uses of it. My greatest takeaway was that I learnt that every single herb and vegetable planted in the farm had different benefits; something which will definitely be useful in my life.
Lunch | Free & easy time
For lunch, we had a steamboat meal and freshly juiced dragon fruit juice. There chicken, fish, prawn, mushrooms and other organic produce. It was a very satisfying meal (I was so full, I could barely move). You can opt for a vegetarian steamboat if you wish. We had an hour and a half after lunch to ourselves. There are many activities lined up at the park, from archery to cycling to longkang fish catching, milk bottle fish feeding and many more (all on our own expense). All the activities are very affordable, between RM3 to RM10. The idea of feeding the fishes with soaked fish food in a milk bottle was a very unique way to feeding the fishes. The fishes dive to the surface of the water competing with each other once you start bringing the bottle close to them. We also did some organic shopping at Zenxin organic food mart. The prices are reasonable and not overly priced unlike some other organic stores (If you reside in Singapore, Zenxin has an organic store located at Pasir Panjang wholesale centre).
2nd Guided Tour
We met with the tour guide again around 3pm for a second guided tour. Our first activity was called “Knock for fun”, imprinting of flower prints onto a white fabric. Basically, we place the flowers in-between the fabric and use a hammer to whack them. This will leave an imprint on the fabric, which we can bring back home as a souvenir. It was fun and a great stress reliever.
The hands-on fun activity continued when we headed over to make our own curry puff. This was my personal favorite(I was too busy gobbling the curry puff down , I didn’t get to take a photo). Instead of using regular potatoes, we used sweet potato and it was one of the best curry puffs I’ve tasted in a long time. There was also an array of delights like broccoli balls, vegetarian rojak, cherry tomatoes, mulberry tea and coffee.
After the tea break, we went on the last leg of our tour to harvest some herbs. The guide gave us tips on how to harvest and the benefits of them. Apart from harvesting potato leaves and dill, my friend who has a little garden at home even plucked some flowers that can be re-planted at home. Our journey came to an end and we bid farewell to the lovely tour guides and departed at 5pm and arrived in Singapore at 7.30pm. Its not everyday that we get to spend our time at the farm and the trip was worthwhile especially travelling with a friend, gaining information about organic farming and getting up close and personal with animals. My friend had just as much fun as I did and we wouldn’t mind travelling with Zenxin Travel for another tour again.