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World of Phalaenopsis, Ulu Yam – Malaysia’s Largest Moth Orchid Farm with Its Own Hipster Cafe

What’s the best remedy for stress? Experts suggest that spending time in nature – a term coined ‘ecotherapy’ – can help to boost mental health and improve your wellbeing. It can be anything, from hiking and camping, to a picnic by the waterfall, or even a visit to a plant nursery.

If it’s the latter, then I suggest a day trip to Ulu Yam, where you’ll find World of Phalaenopsis, a plant nursery that specialises in phalaenopsis (or moth orchids, because phalaenopsis is a mouthful. lol). Tucked within a quiet kampung, about an hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur, the nursery is home to thousands of orchids as well as a myriad of other plants — and it even has its own hipster-esque cafe called Florescence.

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There’s no admission fee, so feel free to waltz in, admire the blooms and get a plant or two (or a dozen – one can never have too many plants!) to bring home. Photos are allowed in the outdoor areas, but not in the dedicated air-conditioned sections, where they carry some of the more exotic plants.

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Moth orchids are a genus of orchids, of which there are over 70 species. They are native to places such as India, Taiwan, China, New Guinea and Australia, as well as Southeast Asia. With their bright colours (usually in hues of pink, white and purple) and large, shapely petals, these orchids are a popular choice for many gardens in Malaysia (which is why you’ll see them often at plant nurseries.

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But first things first – food. I had skipped lunch and was feeling famished (we got there around 3.15PM), so we made a beeline for the in-house cafe, Florescence. The interior was spacious and bright, thanks to glass windows which allowed for plenty of natural light to filter in. The windows also afforded diners with a nice view of the duck pond next to the cafe.

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The menu is rather limited, but what they offer, they do well. My Nasi Lemak with Rendang Chicken (RM13.90) came in a sizable portion, and although the chicken was a tad salty, it was tender and seasoned well. The rice was fluffy and the sambal added a nice kick, without being overpowering.

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Pop’s ordered the Assam Laksa. The cafe also has items like Mee Goreng Siam, pasta, and a variety of coffees and cakes. Moo got a Banana Cake with Ice Cream, which was excellent as the cake was not too sweet and still warm when served, which contrasted nicely with the chocolate ice cream. My iced chocolate drink was a disappointment, though, as it was powdery. Maybe you’re better off ordering one of their teas or coffees.

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The ducks in the pond outside looked clean, healthy and well fed. You can buy feed for them at the counter.

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After we were fed and watered, it was back to exploring the nursery. The moth orchids look lovely when they’re all lined up in a row together – you can walk in between the aisles and literally be surrounded by flowers.

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Most of the orchids are white, pink and purple, but there are yellow ones too.

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The orchids are for sale, and you can get a plant for between RM25 and RM40.

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A section dedicated to other varieties of plants.

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We spent about an hour soaking in the greenery. Didn’t buy anything though, because the fam and I don’t have green fingers, and any plant that makes its way to our ‘garden’ will just be in for a world of sadness.

World of Phalaenopsis is open daily from 9AM to 5PM. It’s best to drive there (Waze or Google Maps: World of Phalaenopsis), as there is limited public transport in the area. Ample parking can be found outside the farm.

WORLD OF PHALAENOPSIS

1017, Jalan Batang Kali – Hulu Yam Bharu, Kampung Sungai Kamin, 44300 Batang Kali, Selangor

Phone: 03-6075 1133

Website

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Review: Ulu Yam Loh Mee @ Restoran Swee Yen, Ulu Yam

We wanted to visit the Batu Dam in Ulu Yam, which was close to a two-hour drive – but upon getting there we found out that they recently put up a fence all around the dam/lake, and visitors were not allowed to go in anymore. Talk about bummer luck!

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Disappointed, we decided to hunt for some food at the nearby town of Ulu Yam, which is famous for its loh mee – a Malaysian/Singaporean Hokkien Chinese noodle dish in a thick, starchy dark brown broth. After looking up some suggestions from the Internet, we stopped by Swee Yen restaurant, which was packed to the brim with customers for lunch hour. There were lots of KL cars parked along the road, so we were guessing they were fellow KL-ites who had travelled from the city for some R&R.

There aren’t many shops in Ulu Yam Lama (old quarters) because it’s almost a village-like place with only two rows of shops. Swee Yen is just next to another famous loh mee place, Hock Choon Kee. 

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The place is housed in a modest single-storey colonial wooden shop lot. Along with plastic chairs and tables, there were also local snacks and delicacies on sale, such as prawn crackers.

After a 15-minute wait, we finally got a place inside the air-conditioned interior of the restaurant and were quickly served iced honey-lemon. This is tricky to make because too much honey – it becomes too sweet, but too little will result in an overly sour drink. Swee Yen made it just right, and the drink was cold and refreshing.

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On the waiter’s recommendation, we ordered a few portions of sai toh (wolf herring)fish cakes. Wolf herrings are known to have a very sweet and bouncy flesh texture, perfect for fish balls and fish cakes. The ones here did not disappoint. Initially mum was like oh the portions here are really big, we should bring some back home but we ended up eating all of it lol.

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Since there were four of us, we had two portions of fried rice to go along with the main star, the loh mee. The fried rice was done with eggs, shrimp, pork, waxed Chinese sausage, long beans and garnished with spring onions. Pretty good, although slightly salty.

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And finally, the loh mee! The bowl came overflowing with broth and looked super messy, but the taste was decent. The soupy sauce is  made of corn starch (that’s why it has a slightly gooey texture), bits of fried pork lard, vegetables, vinegar, pork and shrimp.

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To be honest, I preferred the fried rice and fish cakes, but I guess this was okay too. If you’re ever in the vicinity, why not give it a try?

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Cookies and other snacks line the shelves, so pick one after having your lunch. I havent had Shaat Kek Ma for ages! It’s a crunchy dessert made of maltose, egg, flour and sugar.

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Various types of Western and Asian pre-packed noodles, including longevity noodles and fettucine.

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Heong Beng, (literally translated as fragrant biscuit), a biscuit with roasted maltose on the inside which is then baked in a flaky pastry.

Address:
Swee Yen Restaurant
No 38, Jalan Besar, Ulu Yam Lama,
43300 Batang Kali,
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Opening hours: 10.30AM – 8.30PM (Daily)

Phone: 03-6075 1125