Hotel review: The Sticks, Fraser's Hill, Malaysia



Address: Lot 213 Jalan KKB - Fraser's Hill, 44000 Kuala Kubu Baru, Selangor, Malaysia
Cost per night: Starting from around £47 based on four people sharing a hut with half board meals. It's an £5 to opt for full board.

I can't take any credit for finding this gem of a place. All credit lays with my friends who live in Malaysia and I'm very glad they knew about it! You'll need a car to drive to The Sticks as it really is in the middle of nowhere. But it's well worth navigating those Malaysian roads for.





Free of WIFI in the middle of a forest, The Sticks consists of lots of self-contained huts dotted around. You can spend your days sitting on your terrace with a cold can of beer, splashing around in the river with a rubber dingy, feasting on delicious home cooked meals, petting the dogs wandering around or competitively playing board games. The whole point of The Sticks is to be with nature and completely switch off from the outside world.

We only stayed overnight so just took advantage of exploring the river and catching up over a few ice cold beers. But you can book jungle treks, white water rafting, paragliding or botanical walks - depending on how adventurous you're feeling.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner can all be included in the price, meaning you don't have to worry about a thing. We missed lunch as we got stuck in traffic on the way there but made up for it stuffing our faces at dinner. We were served a delicious evening meal of BBQ'd fish and veggies on a banana leaf. Breakfast was Western themed and just as tasty.

The Sticks really is a great place to get away from it all and well worth making the extra effort to find. It was one of my favourite places during my trip. Such a hardship to leave!


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Recipe: my favourite roast chicken recipe


I didn't grow up in a household where we religiously had a roast dinner every Sunday so I've always been a bit nonplus about the traditional British dinner. I always thought that roast chicken was a bit boring and not really my jam. But as I continue on my quest to become a whizz in the kitchen (very much a work in progress),  I've been trying out a few recipes and decided that I actually do really like it. It's a really simple dish to do when you have guests over and is always a crowd pleaser. I've been trying out a few different recipes and come up with a mix-matched recipe from Ottolenghi and Rukmini Iyer that I think is a corker.

Ingredients
1 large free range chicken
1/2 bunch of thyme
1 preserved lemon
1 unwaxed lemon
70g of unsalted butter
1 garlic bulb plus two cloves
200g potatoes
200g sweet potatoes
Generous sprinkle of sea salt (Maldons is my favourite)
Generous grind of black pepper
Rapeseed oil



1. Get the chicken out of the fridge and leave to rest on the side so it gets to room temperature.

2. Put the butter, preserved lemon, pepper, salt, three teaspoons of thyme leaves and two peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until all mixed together.

3. Chop the potatoes into slightly bigger than bite size pieces and place in a large roasting. Pour over some rapeseed oil.

4. Cut a garlic bulb in half and nestle the bottom half within the potatoes. Peel six strips of lemon peel and scatter over. Mix it all together in the oil with your hands.

4. Place the chicken in the large baking tray on top of the potatoes with the legs facing towards you. Gently peel the skin back and start rubbing the butter mixture. Make sure to rub it on top of the legs too. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.


5. Cut the unwaxed lemon in half and put in the chicken's bum along with a few springs of thyme and the rest of the garlic cloves from the bulb.

6. Put the chicken in the oven with the legs facing the back. Cook for around two hours. I usually start checking after 90 minutes as my oven cooks rather quick.

7. Once it's cooked take it out and leave it to rest for 10-15 before carving. Serve with all your favourite trimmings!

Let me know if you make it on Twitter, I'd love to see pictures!

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Cameron Highlands, Malaysia: How to get there, where to stay, what to do and where to eat


I think I spotted pictures of the Cameron Highlands on Instagram and immediately fell hard for it. And I fell even harder for it when I saw it in real life. The scenery is just mind blowing and so unlike anything we have here in the U.K. I honestly had no idea that a tea plantations could be so impressive. The towns in Cameron Highlands are very touristy and don't get me started on the sheer amount of traffic. But if you can look past the mock-tutor hotels, giant strawberry statues advertising farms and an incredible amount of people then you're in for a treat if you make it to this part of the world. We were only there for 24 hours but I think we saw the best bits!

How to get there
We visited during our Malaysian road trip so drove here from Ipoh. It was a pretty simple route and took us around 3 hours, do keep in mind that you'll have to schedule in time for traffic as it seems to be notorious in Malaysia. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous as we kept climbing higher and higher above sea level. Definitely one of the prettiest drives we took over the week. 

Where to stay
Address: Father's Guest House, 2000, Jalan Mentigi Utama, Tanah Rata, 39000 Tanah Rata, Pahang, Malaysia

Cost per night: Just under £20 for a private double room with an en-suite bathroom 

Father's Guesthouse was basic but it was perfect for one night. The staff couldn't be more helpful, it was within walking distance of restaurants and bars, the rooms were clean, the shower was great and they offer free tea and coffee. If you really don't fancy venturing far then they have a restaurant on site when you can feed your hunger. We didn't use them but they also offer nature tours around the area which I've read great things about.

What to do




You can't make a trip to the Cameron Highlands without visiting a tea plantation - after all, it's what the area is famous for! We took a tour with Eco Cameron (we did something else too which I'll talk about in a minute) as I wanted to use an organisation that promotes ethical and responsible tourism. We've gotta save the planet we live on! The tour picked us up in a minibus at 8.45am sharp from our guesthouse before driving us to the tea plantation. Our very knowledgable guide gave us the background information of tea plantations in Malaysia and what the future means for them. He showed us all the best spots to get that ideal Instagram shot! After our tour we had some spare time to enjoy a cup of tea in the cafe, browse the shop and take a quick guided tour of the factory. It was really cool and definitely something I'd recommend. 





Take a tour of the Mossy Forest
The second part of our tour with Eco Cameron was a trip to the Mossy Forest. After hopping in  a Land Rover, the guide drives you 6,666 feet above sea level - make sure you keep looking out to the window for the views. The Mossy Forest is a type of environment which only exists in the Cameron Highlands and across Malaysia. The eco system is perfect for moss, orchids, ferns and lichen. Our guide took us on a walk to explain all the different types of plants. It was sobering to hear what will happen to this beautiful eco-system if we don't look after it and treat it with the respect it deserves. Then we got to go on a specially designed walk through the forest and up to a cracking viewpoint with views for miles. It was stunning. 

Where to eat



Sri Brinchang
Indian food was our favourite cuisine while we were in Malaysia and we had some great dishes in Cameron Highlands. Before we checked into our guesthouse we went to Sri Brinchang to help satisfy our rumbling tummies. It doesn't look to much from the outside but in my experience that always means it will be pretty special. And I was right! We opted to have a variety of dishes to share between us. I highly rate the tandoori chicken, the roti canai and the vegetarian-friendly banana leaf meal. Service was really helpful, the food came out pretty quick and it was ridiculously cheap - even by Malaysian standards! If you've enjoyed your meal on the banana leaf be sure to forward it in half towards you to show your appreciation to the chef. 



Kumars
Our guide from the Mossy Forrest recommended Kumars, which is another Indian restaurant. Next door to Sri Brinchang! This was so delicious as well and again we had the roti canai with the vetegarian-friendly banana leaf because we couldn't get enough of it in Malaysia. I also recommend the Murtabak which was incredibly tasty. It was a thick roti filled with egg, meat, spices and onion. The curry which came with the banana leaf was gorgeous, I really didn't want to share it.

Travellers bar
We only shared a bowl of chips here as we were craving some Western food but it's a great little bar to have a few drinks in the evening. Travellers Bar was recommended by our guesthouse as a place to chill out. It wasn't too far a walk and prices were pretty reasonable.
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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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