Some call it responsible tourism, others call it eco-friendliness but it’s what we try to do.
Helen and David bought this little piece of hill in 1984. It was a rubber estate with no water source or electricity. Haanim was 7-years old and played with kids in the neighbouring village. Helen and David started hiring some of the villagers who had helpful local knowledge and skills.
As a resort (est 2010) our policy is to hire as close as possible, prioritizing the Orang Asli (Original People) villages, where employment opportunities are few. We looked a bit further for our Assistant Manager, but kept our search within the matriarchal state of Negeri Sembilan.
We offer staff interest free loans. Items financed so far include a washing machine and a computer for a school-going teenager. We’re careful about their hours, give bonuses in tandem with our occupancy and time bonuses around their cultural festivals. Our staff feel free to bring their kids to work on the weekends, when they are not in school. Everyone goes home after check-out on Sunday to spend time with family.
We try to generate side businesses for others in the community. A lady from Pantai runs our kitchen as her own business. Her son who is studying catering at college helps her on the weekends. The jungle trek is guided by Ah Kau, a former hunter/ gatherer. He keeps all the fees paid. The Bird Watching Tour is run by a retired couple who live nearby. All proceeds from this tour go to the Bird Conservation Council.
We have strict booking guidelines to ensure low density and minimal noise. Not just because we live here ourselves but also out of respect for the other residents of Pantai Hills.
The contractors find it amusing that we always want to keep as many trees as possible when we build. We cut very little into the hill, but rather design houses to fit into the landscape.
We don’t need pesticides as the fruit trees are quite resilient and our vegetable patches are organic. For fertilizer, chicken shit is a favourite and the resort produces huge amounts of compost. Composting gives us an added bonus – the garbage remaining is non-organic and so doesn’t smell so bad. What we cannot recycle we drive to the closest bins in Pekan Pantai. All waste water goes back into the ground and trees so we buy eco-friendly products from the Malaysian non-profit Truly Loving Company (TLC).
The beautifully scented, eco-friendly body wash and soap in each house is from Indochine (Penang), who also practice responsible hiring.
For 30 years our water was piped down from the jungle. But now that more neighbours are tapping from that source, we will limit our use of that water for sustainability and safety. All of our houses are now supplied by the state water authority, SAINS.
Organisations We Support
We focus on causes around nature conservation and Orang Asli welfare. During the floods in early 2015 we donated to the Centre For Orang Asli Concerns, who distributed relief aid to Orang Asli villages not reached by government aid.
A very exciting programme by MyCat called Citizen Action for Tigers (CAT) allows everyone to contribute towards saving Malayan Tigers. We sponsored a camera and some of our team camped in the jungle to help set it up. Here is our documentation of that adventure.
This is how we operate within our community and environment. Some find our policies cumbersome, but we want to preserve this beautiful place for as long as possible. And we do everything we can to preserve the quiet, so we can all enjoy the rare tropical orchestra of birds, bugs and frogs.