Monday, May 14, 2007

Dutch family in love with Kampung Life

A Dutch couple traded the winters of their homeland for the perpetual summer of Kelantan three years ago and have not looked back since.

Harry and Annemieke Mulder, who had a taste of Malaysia in the 1980s when Harry was posted in Penang, realised their long-held dream of operating a cosy Malay-style village resort.

Harry, 39, who worked in the travel industry, said they found the perfect site in 2004 about 2km from here and coaxed the local landowner into leasing them the land. They have built two chalets on stilts and will build three more by the end of the year.

Calling it “Pasir Belanda Resort and Travel Sdn Bhd,” the couple have since hosted some 150 visitors, mostly foreigners, keen on sampling traditional village life with modern amenities amidst the lush setting of Kampung Banggol in the Pantai Cahaya Bulan area.

Rustic lifestyle: Harry and Annemieke and their sons Jesse, eight, and Abel, two, posing in front of their village resort in Kampung Banggol, Kota Baru recently.
“Since its opening last year, we have received a stream of tourists from Holland, America, Britain, Germany and even some Malaysians keen on village life,” said Harry.

Tourism for the couple is selling and promoting the unique Malay village lifestyle, filled with serenity and peace in a green environment and far from the hustle and bustle of city crowds.

Guests can go cycling, sit back and relax on a terrace by the quiet stream which runs into Sungai Pengkalan Chepa, taste Malay cuisine, and take part in cooking and batik painting workshops.

With Visit Malaysia 2007, Harry expects a record number of visitors.

But why did they choose laidback Kelantan ruled by an Islamist party that did not allow alcohol to be served?

“Well, it's all about a rustic lifestyle. It's slow and charming here. And if our guests want alcohol, we just tell them where to find it,” he said.

And it is a lifestyle that the two have fallen in love with.

The Mulders do marketing and promotion of the chalets through their own website which has received about 6,000 hits daily since it was launched last year.

Source : STAR
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