Yesterday I posted this on Instagram/Facebook and got more Likes than my usual posts:
It just so happened that I was in my friend’s car (friend came from KL) and we decided to go for a round the island tour, so we drove all the way to Balik Pulau, then up the twisting and turning hill road, saw a couple of roadside fruit shacks, and then saw this billboard indicating Tropical Fruit Farm. More importantly, the gate was open. The previous few times I drove past, the gate was always closed.
So, anyway, yeah… This was in the Tropical Fruit Farm somewhere in the hilly terrains of Teluk Bahang.
You have to drive up the hill for a bit more beyond the gate, drive past an employee carpark, up the hill some more, until you see some sort of a shack with an open car park.
This shack is kind of their admin center. You can pay for a fruit farm tour here. There will be vans and tour guides to pick you up, also from here. I think they have different packages, the most comprehensive tour would cost (as of 2016) RM 31.80 per person for Malaysian and RM 42.40 per person for non-Malaysian. Actually that’s just RM 30 and RM 40 respectively, plus GST. For that, a van will pick you up and send you further into the farm, where a tour guide would guide you through a route across the 22 acres fruit farm, and then let you taste some locally brewed fruit enzyme, and then bring you to their “restaurant” to feast on a “fruits buffet”.
According to the admin woman helming the counter, this Tropical Fruit Farm is the largest fruit farm of the kind in Asia (or was it the world?). Such a heady claim, but I wouldn’t be surprised if not many people know of this place, not even the Penang locals. Heck, I didn’t know this. I mean, well, I know this place, I’ve driven past it a few times, but I didn’t know this place was so… special. Anyway, so now you know…
Or, if doing tours is not your thing, this admin center also doubles as a fruit shop/cafe. You can buy fresh fruits from here, or you can buy freshly blended fruit juice and platted cut fruits mix to enjoy in an alfresco area, overlooking the hills.
That was exactly what we did, for we were in shorts and slippers or in other words, not prepared for an orchard hike.
The alfresco view, I hear you ask? Scroll back up to the first picture. That view.
Also, this place is 500 meters (800 feet) above sea level, so… while it is not Genting Highlands/Cameron Highlands cool, the breeze you get here is much more relaxing from what you can get from, say… Georgetown.
I think the fruits mix you get depends on what they have on that day. Mine, we got slices of mango, red and yellow watermelon, red and white dragon fruit, honeydew, papaya, guava, jackfruit, starfruit, pineapple, and pomelo. There were only 2 of us so we got the small plate for RM 13. You can also get medium and big plates for more money (can’t remember the exact figure).
I also got me’self a papaya lime juice and me’ friend got himself acerola (Indian cherry) juice, both RM 5.20 per glass. This was the first time I saw acerola outside of Japan, so that was sweet. I mean the sight of acerola was sweet, the acerola itself is very not sweet.
I came a fatty, and I left… still a fatty. A fatty that felt marginally healthier though… 🙄
And, no, they don’t do durians here. I don’t think they do. If you want durians, don’t come here. There are dozens other durian orchards in Balik Pulau…