A rustic farmstay at UK Farm Agro Resort

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 01, 2018

When I think about farmstays, countries like New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan naturally come to mind. These are the places I would love to bring my kids because they are such animal lovers and love to spend time interacting with every kind of creature. Alas, travelling with the brood means that every vacation for us is like spending a bomb so in order to cut down on such luxury expenses, we try to visit nearby countries whenever possible.

So there I was, looking for a possible farmstay experience for the kids which would allow us to have a somewhat rustic experience yet not having to spend a fortune just to get there. You bet I was thrilled when I came across UK Farm Agro Resort, which, read this, is situated in Kluang, Malaysia and merely a 2-hour drive away!

Just so you know, this wasn't a sponsored trip and I didn't go through the hassle of trying to negotiate for a collaboration too because I wanted it to be a trip where I could just relax with the kids and focus on bonding as a family. Of course, I couldn't help it but take lots of pictures and videos (I think it's in my blood!) because I really wanted to capture these memories for us to look back on and thus, to share with you in today's post too. If you are looking for a quick family getaway and wish to do something more laid back and experience a rural lifestyle, this might interest you too so read on!

The Journey 

Since it was just going to be a short 2D1N stay for us, I had planned on arriving early because I thought it would give us more time to explore the place and make the most of our limited time. It turned out that we took pretty long to get the kids up and ready, the hubby only started packing his stuff late that very morning and we barely managed to get on the road when it was nearing 11am.

It was estimated to be a two-hour drive from our home but considering we had to stop for fuel, light snacks and then got stuck in a jam on the causeway, it took us slightly longer to get to the farm and it was almost 2pm when we arrived.

Was it easy finding our way? Yes it was, with GPS nowadays, you can pretty such go anywhere and it helped that there were plenty of directional signs along the way to guide us. Once we made a left turn, we had to go along a gravel road for a good 10-15 minutes or so before we could get to the farm, so be sure to drive slowly and safely when you are here.

Checking In

It was a Friday but there was already a small crowd forming at the reception when we arrived. We did try to get a weekend slot but it was all fully booked so I do have to tell you that this place seems like a pretty popular attraction even though it might be quite out of the way for some. There are also tour buses that bring a bunch of tourists here every day and students come here for school field trips too.

The reception that greeted us was totally unlike the posh hotels we stayed in just a couple of days prior (think the opulent Oriental Residence, Bangkok) yet it was warm and inviting and the staff was friendly and quick in helping to check us in too.

On the reception desk, you can find a list of the activities available and the pricing too. I was drawn to the pictures about the farm tour and it made me pretty excited for us to start ours too! We were told that our tour would commence at 4pm which gave us ample time to settle down, unpack our stuff and since our package was all-inclusive, afternoon tea was provided for us too and it was much appreciated because we were kind of starving by then! For those of you who are asking, we paid slightly over SGD200 for the entire 2D1N family package (which includes accommodation, meals and farm tour), which I thought was a pretty decent price considering that it was during the June school holidays.

I did top up a small sum of money when I knew that we could upgrade to a horse carting farm tour (more details below) instead of taking the bus with everyone else. Yup, the horse cart would solely cater to one family so it was like we had our own private tour - which I totally loved and found it so worthwhile!

For RM5 per person (which is less than SGD2), I also signed us up for this night tour which is available for stay-in guests only. I mean, an adventurous night tour that lasts for over half an hour and gives you at least a chance to spot owls and fireflies, how can I resist, right?

Exploring the surroundings

There isn't much sightseeing to do around the reception area - which, by the way, is a short distance away from the accommodation area and you have to drive to and fro to get from one to the other - but we did walk around a little to see what we could find.

Right outside the dining area, there is an empty grass patch which the kids were happy to run around and chase after birds and also a pavilion that acts like a stage if your kids are into pretend play.

UK Farm's mascot is the Lucky Aries, also called Etawah Aries, which supposedly helped farmers in Indonesia to survive a volcanic eruption back in 1956 and it is said to bring good fortune to anyone who visits. Well, it's definitely an eye-catching statue from afar and makes for a pretty good photo opportunity for visitors too.

It's not easy to find traditional wooden swings in Singapore anymore so we were happy to go on these swings whenever we had the spare time. Yup, having sand beneath our feet also made it feel so much more authentic than rubber flooring, you know what I mean?


Now, let's show you our room! Before that, here's a quick look at the options you can take up when you visit the farm.

1) Dormitory Package
- 9 air-conditioned blocks with 20 shared toilets and max capacity of 218 pax

2) Camping Package
- 100 tents with max capacity of 400 pax

3) Chalet Package
- Long-house style, 21 units with max 5 people in an air-conditioned room, capacity of 105 pax

Though we were feeling adventurous, considering we were with kids who might kick up a row every five minutes, we decided to stick to the option of self-containing ourselves in a room and went for the most expensive chalet option.

See our long common corridor with wooden boards, vintage chairs, ceiling fans and hanging CDs? For the first time in a long while, we had to use a real key to open our room door and not by tapping a keycard.

Once we entered, the kids went "Oh, our room is just like this only?" which was perfectly why I wanted them to come on trips like this and have a more rustic experience every once in a while. While the room might be spartan, it still provided everything we need - including the beds with pillows and blankets, a wall fan and air conditioning, a kettle and some packets of instant coffee and tea, a small bar fridge with bottled water, a hairdryer and a television too. Yes, I think it's pretty decent and much better than what I had expected already.

The toilet was nothing to boast about with just a sink, toilet bowl and shower area. Well, at least there was a water heater and you can also use a red bucket and water scoop to help conserve water. Every drop counts, right? There were a couple of steps leading down to the toilet and since it can get quite slippery, be sure to ask the kids to be cautious when they go in and out. You can also make use of the 'ah pek' slippers found outside the toilet to make sure that you don't slip and fall too.

We got one of the bigger rooms and this came with a queen bed and three single beds. Knowing how my kids love to roll about in the middle of their sleep, it was such a good thing that we managed to combine all the kids together so we ended up with a super king sized bed for everyone. Haha. Once we settled down, the kids actually started to enjoy the beds - along with their snacks - while the hubby was happy to be able to watch his football game too. Happiness for everyone!

Farm Tour

Now let's move on to the highlight of our trip - the farm tour!  Here are the activities you can look forward to at the tour though some of them might be dependent on the season. We saw many tourists who came here just for a day trip only instead of spending the night so you can opt for that too though I would suggest that you at least stay for a night so as to get the most out of the experience.

When we checked in at the reception, they handed us a big bag of animal feed - including pellets, corn, hay - which were neatly packed for all the different creatures we would see along the way. Don't forget to bring this bag with you for the tour or the kids would be sorely disappointed!

Remember I mentioned that the farm tour mostly brings people around in a bus? Well, this is the bus I am talking about. It might be a little old looking but it is comes with a shelter and is open at the sides so that tourists can get a good view of the surroundings and enjoy the breeze (while helping to save on air conditioning) too.

Still, I much preferred our horse cart and we were very excited when we saw it arriving! The horse was handsome and tame and while our coachman couldn't speak much English, he was definitely very patient and kind with us, for instance he let us take our time to explore, helped us take family photos and didn't mind when we kept switching places as to who would sit in front with him too.

The whole tour lasted over three hours for us and since you had to travel from place to place to visit the different animals, we had plenty of time to enjoy our horse cart ride and it was indeed a treat for the kids. I was so thankful that the weather was great that day and everything went on so smoothly during our tour. Let's see, so what exactly did we do along the way?

Firstly, we came up close with the GOATS! Not only did we feed hay to the goats and were able to stroke the tamer ones, we were also allowed to feed the kids (the goats', not mine) with milk from the special milk bottles. They would use quite a bit of force to suck so make sure that your kid holds onto the bottle well and tilts it properly, if not they will not be able to drink up the entire bottle.

Then we had the chance to carry this tiny and absolutely adorable newborn, much to our joy! How cute, right? This was definitely a first for the kids and they were so in love with this very endearing and very cooperative baby goat!

After that, we were also given a live demonstration on how goat milk is collected and it was quite an eye opener for the kids, who were surprised to see how much milk each mother goat could pump out each time.

We took a short break and the kids were given fresh cups of goat's milk and yoghurt to try. I didn't think they would love it much because I kind of think goat's milk has a strong smell to it, but surprisingly they loved the chocolate flavoured milk and couldn't get enough of the yoghurt too! For those who would love to, you can order bottles of these to bring home when you check out and they would pack them for you in a polystyrene box which can hold up to 18 hours. There are also other goat's milk products such as soap, body wash and lotion that you can check out too.

For our second stop, we came to the DUCK pond. Here, we saw dozens of ducks and the interesting thing was you had to drop the corn feed down the bamboo poles so that it could reach them, which was pretty fun for the kids. We also saw some ducks which would gather at dry spot just over the railing so if you would like to toss the feed directly to them, you could too.

There was also a sign saying that tourists were able to buy back live ducks and pay a small fee to have them slaughtered too, which sounded a little cruel to me at that point after we just fattened them up. Oh well, the reality of life.

Just a short walking distance away from the duck pond was the CHICKEN coop, and not just any chicken but Kampong Chicken.

It was a pretty long stretch and there were holes in the fence so that you could stick your hand in and drop them the pellets.

See how many chickens there were? There must have been at least hundreds of them! No wonder they made such a din!

After that, we went on our horse cart again and this time, we made our way to the DEER. This was one of our favourites because we would feed them the pellets right from our palms, which was kind of ticklish but yet so precious to feel too.

The fawns were really tame and they seemed pretty excited to see us too, which made the kids happy and couldn't stop feeding them again and again till we ran out of food.

Nearby the deer, you can find the OSTRICHES. Now, we were told by our guide that you could feed the ostriches off your palm too and the hubby was the first to try that. Yup, thankfully he was because it cracked us up when he gave that painful expression from the peck which made the girls decide not to try. Haha. The guide was so nice to then get some fresh grass for us and the girls then plucked up courage to use these to feed the big birds instead, who seemed to like it much too.

The last animal we were going to see for the day was also our favourite among the lot - the RABBITS. This was the part that the girls had been looking forward to all day and I was hoping that we could spend a bit more time here. The good thing about being on the horse cart ride was that we were given more time than others to explore and in fact, we came here only when the tour group had already left since we had taken our own sweet time at the previous stops too. This meant that there was more privacy and more interaction opportunities for the kids, which made everything so much more enjoyable for them. Once we saw the cute rabbits in the rabbit hunch, the girls couldn't help it but dash towards them and say "Awww, so cute!"

I thought that the most we could do was to open the cage, pat them a little and then give them the remaining food we had left. It turned out that we did all those and more, because the guide actually asked us if we would like to carry any of them.

And they didn't just let us do it once, we carried so many different rabbits which totally delighted the girls! Yup, just the girls because the boy was too timid to try too though he would stroke their fur. No wonder this was our favourite part of the tour! The hubby and I used to have rabbits for pets before we had kids so this was a good way for us to reminisce those good old days too.

Moving on from the animals, we also had a chance to visit the Jakun Village and be introduced to some interesting features and hunting techniques.

For instance, the villager led the hubby and the girls into this trap, which was meant to catch wild animals. A bait would be placed at the far end near a metal catch and when the animal steps on it, the 'door' comes down and it will be trapped. You should have seen the expressions on the girls when they saw that they couldn't come out, haha.

Since it was a weekday when we came, the village was very quiet though we reckoned that there might be a crowd and stage performances during the peak season and weekends. Nonetheless, we were pretty happy to go on a quick exploration and enjoy our private tour.

One of the highlight activities at the village was how we were each given the chance to shoot balloons! Sounds easy, doesn't it? You should have seen how high in the canopy the balloons were hanging and when I say shoot, I do mean you have to take a deep breath and shoot a sharp wooden stick out of a long bamboo pole. Yup, see what I mean below?

The guide who was with us was a sharpshooter and none of his shots missed. Then it was the hubby's turn who said that he used to be a marksman when he was younger and guess what? He tried not once, not twice but eight times and still....... he failed to even burst a single balloon. Guess it really needs a good aim!

The funny part was I volunteered to try too, I mean, I was after all a darts captain and softball pitcher and captain back in university days. And you know what? I got it on my second try. Woohoo! *victory dance* I probably surprised the hubby but I hope it made him proud of me. Haha.

The nice thing about having a private tour was that each of the kids was given a try too! Now of course, they can't possibly shoot it high up into the trees like we did, so the guide hung some balloons on the stage and helped them to position the pole in a horizontal manner and all they had to do was... blow! It made each of them very proud though, though some of them took more than three tries and I was so thankful that our guides were patient with us. See more in the video below.

Lastly, I think we were brought to this supposedly fruit farm and hydroponic farm but there wasn't much to see, likely because most of it was closed on that day. We did manage to buy some fruits to eat straightaway and the kids were most happy to tuck into their favourite food - ice cream! Yup, and chocolate flavoured goat's milk ice cream somemore. Not bad, not bad at all.

Food and Shopping

I guess you can say we weren't expecting much out of our meals here because they are usually not the highlight of a farmstay. Perhaps it's because we had low expectations, that led to us being pleasantly surprised with what we were served, especially during dinner on the first day. Let's take a look at what we ate, shall we?

The dining area, yes I wouldn't call it a restaurant, is located next to the reception. It is an open air space so don't expect it to have plush chairs, nice table cloths (we had the red plastic ones like you see at zi char places) or air conditioning.

We weren't expecting tea to be served right after we checked in and settled down, so these pandan cupcakes, sandwiches and fried flour cakes along with hot coffee and tea were a delight for us. It was also a good way to fill up our tummies just before we went for the long farm tour too!

The best meal we had was the dinner on our first, and last, night and it was surprisingly delicious! Even the hubby, who is a good chef himself, was pretty amazed by how these homecooked dishes tasted and they might look nothing fanciful yet they were exactly the kind of food we loved to eat.

We had old cucumber with pork ribs soup, sesame oil chicken, beef rendang, sweet and sour fish, tofu with minced pork and stir fried kangkong. The special dish was the freshly barbecued goat's meat which was a highlight and even though I've never been a fan of lamb or goat's meat, this one was quite tasty when dipped in the barbecue sauce. We also had free flow of orange cordial, much to the delight of the kids. It was definitely a satisfying dinner for all of us.

For breakfast the next day, we would have toasted bread with kaya or butter and if you wanted a more fulfilling one, they served us noodle soup and fried rice too. These came in such huge portions that we had to pass some back to them before we began eating because we really didn't want to waste so much food. One complaint we had was when we realised that there were ants in the kids' hot Milo drinks and discovered that this was because there were ants inside the Milo tin they used in the kitchen. Yup, that was after we drank maybe half of it already. Ooops.

Anyway, I wouldn't call this an appetizing or tasty breakfast we had but at least it was something to keep the kids from feeling hungry when we made our way back home after checking out.

For those who would like to get some souvenirs, you can also shop for magnets and keychains in addition to lots of goat's milk related products in the small farm mart located near the reception. We bought home keychains which had engravings of our chinese name characters which I thought was pretty meaningful as a keepsake too.

Night Activities

I love farmstays which provide night activities, for instance like how we did 剉冰 when we were at Flying Cow Ranch in Taiwan. Read more about our farmstay experience here. For UK Farm, the night activity was something that I've been wanting to do with the kids for some time - release our first sky lantern (孔明灯)!

Each family was given one lantern and a marker to let you pen your wishes onto the it. The kids were happy to be able to wish for something for the family and took it quite seriously when their turns came. As always, I really hope for happiness and good health for these people whom I love to the moon and back.

We were also given the fuel cell and a box of matches so the whole process was a pretty much DIY affair. I always thought that once you lit it up, the lantern would fly straight up to the sky but it turned out that we had to hold up the corners and wait for a quite a while so that it would fill up with air before we released it into the night sky.

May all our wishes come true! See more of the lantern release in my video below and how the kids bade farewell to it happily as it floated away.

Besides the sky lantern, we also went for our night tour which was pretty peaceful but the kids were excited to try to follow the flashlight shone by the guides in the search for the nocturnal creatures. And hey, at least we spotted fireflies, an owl and the toddler loved the night breeze and bumpy ride so much that he fell asleep halfway too. Haha.

The Fun Continues on Day 2!

Even though we checked out the next day, there were still a few activities waiting for us after breakfast so the kids were looking forward to more animal interaction opportunities before we departed.

-> Horse Riding

This was an activity that I had to top up for but considering it cost only RM15 for a one kid, I was pretty sure from the start that I wanted each of them to be able to experience it. This was especially so when I asked if there was any age limit, for fear that they wouldn't let the toddler try it out, and was relieved when they said there wasn't, so long as he/she could sit properly and be able to hold on.

Each ride was slightly over five minutes and our friendly guide brought each of the kids for a round trip. He never let go of the reins and didn't walk fast so it was a slow paced and enjoyable ride for the little ones, even for the girls who've done this a few times before.

It was a first for the boy who was brave enough to sit on the horse even though he insisted that he needed to hold our hands for assurance. Haha. The guide was chill about it so we were allowed to walk with our toddler for the whole ride just to make sure that he was okay. It turned out that he loved the ride and nowadays, he keeps asking when he can go 骑马 again lor.

-> Mini Zoo

After that, we explored the mini zoo and even though there wasn't a lot of animal species to admire, my kids loved to spot every animal in every enclosure or just go up to talk to each of them, so we ended up spending a good one hour or so here too.

We saw ducks and ducklings in their pen and the thing was, a couple of ducklings somehow found a way out and made their grand escape! It so happened we were that at the right time so the kids were happy that they helped to save these fluffy yellow ducklings and led them back to their mummies.

Apart from the ducks, we also saw geese, turkeys, boars, monkeys, snakes and peacocks. The turkeys and geese would even follow us as we walked along the trail, hoping that we would give them food. Oh, and we were lucky too because we saw the peacock at its most magnificent moment - 孔雀开屏!

Inside the zoo, there was also a small lavender field which might not boast a lot of flowers in bloom but makes for a nice photo backdrop anyway.

-> Sheep Challenge

Our last activity at the farm was also one of the most memorable ones we would ever have. Yes, it's the sheep challenge! Guess what you are supposed to do? Neh, not race with the sheep, but you are supposed to work as a team and catch a sheep within the time limit of three minutes. 

If you succeed, you will be awarded a special UK medal. This activity was part of our package in the booking but we did read that it would cost RM5.30 per challenge otherwise. I must say that everyone must try this at least once in their lifetime!

We didn't expect it to be easy but we did think that we stood a chance, considering that I have an athletic hubby and the kids are pretty good when it comes to running. I guess we kind of underestimated these sheep because guess what, they were smart, they were fast and they would even make fake moves just to catch us off guard! Yes, I do mean it, one of the sheep shuffled its hooves to the left then to the right before it ran away to the left again, like those moves made by pro basketballers. We were so shocked and amazed!

So did we succeed in the end? Well, nope. We tried our best to split up and corner them and we did come close to touching them but it would have taken more speed, more wit and more guts to actually pounce on them and grab them. I was pretty sure the staff gave us much more than three minutes and the most important thing was, we pretty much enjoyed every moment of it, sheep or no sheep.

The staff did let us carry one of them eventually though and helped us to take our last family shot before we ended our farmstay holiday. We met the boss at the reception before we left, had a good chat and told him that we would be back again next time, perhaps even with our parents too because we think they would enjoy this trip as much as we did. The kids, well, I think they would be the happiest about that and can't wait to come back again soon! To more rustic family farmstay experiences in future!

Check out our video below for more highlights from the trip!

Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat,

86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia.
Tel : +607-759 7555
Fax : +607-759 7991
H/P : 013-778 7235 / 013 - 722 2299
Website: www.ukfarm.com.my
Email: info@ukfarm.com.my

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