Over The Hills & Far Far Away

Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi, Bentong has been around for ages but somehow it’s always gotten passed over for Genting Highlands whenever it came to making the trek to Pahang.

Located just a short distance away from Genting on the East Coast Expressway, Colmar is apparently fashioned after a town of the same name in France. I could not decide if it was truly French as parts of it looked downright medieval English. Smaller than I had expected, this model town complete with moat and draw bridge, is certainly a quaint little getaway that’s just an hour’s drive from KL.

The restaurant where I had lunch was nothing to write home about and overpriced as were most of the eateries in the area. RM26 for a piece of dead chicken roasted poorly and RM7 for a coke was excessive.

_DSC5023The resident Pinoy trio did what they do best. Filipinos were born to sing and sing well they did. Serenading diners at each table, they did their song and dance routine for all. When they got to my turn, they quickly sassed me out and sang a Hindi tune. But they picked a super oldie from a movie even I do not remember. My age must be showing.

There’s really nothing much to do at Colmar except chill with a coffee or a beer depending on preference. Perhaps that’s the whole point of getting away from the big city in the first place. Personally, a day trip was adequate for me. It rained all the way there and the weather was cool and pleasant.

_DSC5067The Chateau is a hotel for guests with bookings only so a view from the outside was the best I could muster.

The Botanical Garden
The forest canopy at 3,500ft above sea level is quite unlike what you’d find in suburban KL.  It’s been said that our rain forest at 130 million years is the oldest one in the world. The greenery was a refreshing respite from the concrete jungle with the odd monkey moving from tree to tree. Tropical fauna and flora bursting with colour appear to thrive up on the hill in this temperate climate.

Japanese Garden
A short hike up the hill from the botanical garden is a well manicured Japanese garden with a Tea House. The fake waterfall and rock formations are nicely designed to fit in with the overall forest and does look the part. You can even rent a his and hers kimono and go selfie crazy in the gardens.

Four Faced Buddha
This was the find of the day for me. The name was a little misleading as I was expecting a Buddhist Temple with a 4 faced statue of Lord Buddha but when I got there I could not help but notice that the statue was unlike any of Lord Buddha I’ve seen at other pagoda’s I’ve visited elsewhere. I kept thinking it looks a lot like a Hindu deity with the multiple arms which is common among statues found in Indian Temples. As it turns out, I was right, the statue is actually one of Lord Shiva in the form of Ardhanareshvara (half male half female), to His right is Lord Brahma, behind Him is Lord Vishnu and to His left is Lord Parameshvara.

The temple nestled in the dense forest is majestic yet open and simple. It was calming to spend a little time there. It started to rain once again while I was there and that just added to the ambience. Simply beautiful. I’m glad I saw the signage and found the temple before heading back to sin city. It poured relentlessly in true tropical monsoon style all the way home with several accidents, slippery hill side slopes and lots of flooding along the way.

Somehow, I felt someone had my back and I got home safely without incident.

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