There was once when Sekeping Serendah was the trendy retreat location and many online news portals and articles were writing about it.
It is tucked away in the sleepy town of Serendah. It is roughly an hour’s drive away from Kuala Lumpur.
Driving to Serendah, you will drive through 2 orang asli villages. In fact, one of the activities you can do here is to visit the orang asli villages!
the design and concept
Sekeping Serendah adopts a rather open concept – one that brings us closer to mother nature. The sheds are mostly transparent, but far away from one another to have your own privacy.
We booked glass shed 1 (4 pax) and glass shed 2 (4 + 1 pax) because apparently only an addition of 2 guests are allowed for each shed. There were 9 of us.
I would say that we paid for another glass shed only for sleeping and bathing, so it wasn’t really worth the money. The glass sheds were spacious and can potentially fit up to 10 people each.
Definitely a place to take really instagrammable pictures with family and friends.
Ng Sek San is the architect behind this materpiece. The walls and doors of our sheds were all whole glass panels, designed to assimilate human with nature through a visual impact.
There were neither blaring car horns nor squealing of trains; only singing crickets and the gushing water of the creek. Yes, there are creeks here.
For glass shed 2, the entrance was near pool 1, and we had to cross a small wooden bridge and go up a steep flight of stairs to the outside BBQ area.
Once everyone had gone up the flight of stairs, we closed up the opening of the stairs with a makeshift wooden plank so no one would fall.
The first thing that welcomed us after the outside BBQ area was the living room. The wooden-based design and iron rod couch added a minimalist touch to the postmodern design of the glass shed. From the picture, you can see leaves surrounding the glass shed and everywhere you look, there was nature.
The beds were extremely honeymooney designed. Again, the frames of the beds were made by iron rods and insect nettings were provided.
The place was generally clean and minimal. Pillows and blankets weren’t dirty, at least none of my colleagues complained about itchiness or allergies.
I was especially excited for the toilet. Pictures online showed the open-air concept of the toilet. Bathing and peeing were done on a whole new level of weird.
I wasn’t used to looking at trees and leaves-covered sky when I use the toilet. Though I must admit, such exotic way of using the toilet did not really arouse my interest as much as looking at the photographs from the internet.
In glass shed 2, the toilet seemed to be working fine. In glass shed 1, the toilet bowl kept gurgling up bubbles of water that goes “proop, proop, proop!” at intervals, and it did not cease.
Maybe it was a bad idea to use the toilet at night, but during the day, the whole perception changed with light. The toilet looked magical again the next morning.
Online reviews – the good, the bad and the speculations
I’ve read many bad reviews about Sekeping Serendah from Tripadvisor, but it seemed like the management has done all they can to improve their services over the years. It was after all built in mid 2000s. The percentage for good comments still topped the bad ones.
There were certain comments that talked about how the place creeped them out as they experienced supernatural occurrences at night; creepy caretakers; and “odd vibe”.
Throughout our time in Sekeping Serendah, we’ve not encountered any of that.
The building used mainly wooden and metal materials, so unfamiliar sounds were especially amplified. Before I sleep, I can hear banging and knocking on the glass panels, but I immediately cleared those thoughts and drifted off.
There was an instance when a loud “bang!” woke the 3 of us up instantly. We looked at each other through the silent darkness to reconfirm what we heard was not a dream.
Another colleague woke up sleepily and told us it was the “thunder”. We knew it wasn’t. We ignored the sound and went back to bed. The experience was very real.
Even so, I wouldn’t complain, because we’re in an area surrounded by nature. If we respect nature, nature will respect us.
Staying in a retreat or staying in nature would definitely be creepy, but that’s mainly because we aren’t used to staying in the middle of a “forest”, no?
Mobile service reception and signal
Since it’s called Sekeping Serendah Retreat, it would mean a time away from the hustling and bustling of city life – that also includes detoxing from your mobile phones or any other electronic devices.
Outside BBQ area
This area qualifies for my favourite spot during my time in glass shed 2. It is an open area to sit and talk to friends and family, quality bonding time together in open air surrounded by all shades of green.
When I look at the outside BBQ area, I see my playground. I took out my phone and camera and started looking for different angles to take pictures.
It would be the best place to get some bokeh images. Although there was nothing particularly interesting with the landscape, trees were enough to make the image look magical.
Here are some example photos taken at the outside BBQ area:
These photos were taken once the sun started going down and the orange spotlight underneath the glass shed was turned on:
When the orange light outside the glass shed was switched on, the entire mood of the picture changed as well.
Cooking here would make anybody happy, especially Carmen (pictured below). The cooking area was cramp yet open at the same time. The kitchen utensils provided were basic wok, cutleries and cups. We also brought our own pots, induction cooker, portable gas stove, knives, and so on.
Carmen, who took on the role as our big sister and mother, did a great job feeding 9 werewolves the whole time we’re staying there. She was the one that made the whole experience of eating at Sekeping Serendah even amazing.
The sink of the kitchen was built outside of the window, an interesting way of washing dishes and our hands. Though it becomes problematic at night when the blood-suckers are everywhere.
You can also find swimming pools in Sekeping Serendah. There are swimming pool 1, and 2 (infinity pool). I did not take a picture of swimming pool 1 because there were a lot of ladies sitting by the pool having a photoshoot. I managed to capture this though:
Around Sekeping Serendah, you will find concrete trails that link the different accommodations in Sekeping Serendah.
We ventured into one of them and realized that we had arrived at another accommodation. Feeling like we’ve done something bad, we quickly turned back and continued walking elsewhere to discover other things within the vicinity.
In another direction, following the concrete trails, we came to swimming pool 2, also known as infinity pool. This pool was located near a larger accommodation, which I think was the warehouse.
My colleagues look great in the shots at the infinity pool.
You can also choose to just stay in your accommodation and bond! We thoroughly enjoyed our bonding time back at our living quarters.
We also had steamboat and BBQ at night.
Another interesting experience to share.
At night, when we were halfway enjoying our steamboat, insects started flying in in swarms. We freaked out the moment one, two, and three fell into our soup and food.
The insects started breaking off their wings and died on the spot. They were all aiming for the light on top of us. We finally switched off all the lights and closed all the glass panels, eating in darkness.
Then a dog appeared. It was a pale yellowish stray dog. We suspected that the dog was from the Orang Asli village. When this dog appeared, another two dogs joined. Since we closed all the glass panels, they can only sit outside and stare at us.
When it’s time to bid farewell at 12AM, the four of us walked back to glass shed 1 through the red brick path. The pale yellowish dog followed us and sat in the cool BBQ pit of glass shed 1, which we did not use.
The aesthetics of Sekeping Serendah
The next morning, sunlight started squeezing through the trees and dispersed throughout the outside BBQ area. It was a magical and enchanting sight to behold.
Then it was breakfast time, English big breakfast style:
There’s no where better than to eat surrounded in nature:
The final verdict:
I adopt a very neutral position in encouraging people to come to Sekeping Serendah.
First of all, the price point was at a higher end.
Two glass sheds cost us RM580 for 4 pax (glass shed 1); RM630 for 5 pax (glass shed 2). They amount to a staggering RM1210 for 1 night!
Coming to Sekeping Serendah for a retreat with colleagues/friends is the best idea. We bonded overnight and learned so many things about each other.
If you’re on a photography trip to Sekeping Serendah, then I definitely recommend it! It is definitely a great spot for taking wedding photographs.
Overall our stay was an enjoyable one.