The Original Kluang Rail Coffee, Johor

If you’re ever looking to hang like the locals while travelling in Singapore and Malaysia, no trip is complete without a visit to a kopitiam. A Kopitiam is a no-frills coffee shop where things like coffee, toast bread, nasi lemak and noodles are on the menu. Expect to sweat it out in a noisy environment, as most of the older ones do not have air conditioning and often squeeze dozens of tables into one small space.

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While in Kluang, we managed to grab breakfast at one of the most famous kopitiams in Malaysia – Kluang rail Coffee. Like the Ipoh OldTown White Coffee franchise, Kluang Rail Coffee has become so popular among Malaysians that it has franchises all over the country. The shop acts as the canteen of the town’s old train station and was opened in 1938.

A big thanks to my friend Evelyn who kindly brought us around her hometown for a bit of sightseeing and makan.

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The Kluang train station is a simple single-storey structure of wood and reinforced concrete. The national train, KTM, still runs through here.

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It was a weekday morning, but the place was still packed with patrons. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. The shop consists of an covered outdoor patio and an indoor dining area, separated by a kitchen where waiters bustle in and out.

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We ordered two types of toast – the normal white bread and the bun. Both were slathered with generous amounts of butter and kaya (a sweet jam made from coconuts/pandan and eggs). The toast’s texture was superb – crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. They still make them using traditional charcoal grills, which gives them an authentic, smokey taste compared to the oven-toasted ones.

They are also famous for their nasi lemak (rice cooked in coconut milk and served with sambal, a spicy chilli/onion/anchovies sauce), which sold like hotcakes whenever a fresh batch was put out on the table. These cost RM1 (about 0.30USD) but were rather plain (usually nasi lemak comes with boiled eggs, cucumbers, fried anchovies and chicken curry or rendang).

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The bun toast, with a crackly brown surface and soft white bread on the inside.

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Old tin teapots and ladles line the wooden shelves.

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Pops and I ordered the half-boiled eggs.

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Perfectly cooked – not too well done or raw. One can opt between normal farm variety eggs or kampung eggs, which are eggs from free range village chickens. We seasoned them with a dash of pepper and soy sauce. You can also dip the toast in this heavenly mix.

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After the meal, I went shooting random photos of people travelling on the train which had just pulled in. Family members waved from the window, standing next to it until the train pulled away to catch last glimpses of their beloved relatives.

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The train looked really old, with a dusty iron gray facade and rusty brown wheels.

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KTM, the ‘Blue Tiger’. FYI, the Malayan tiger is sort of our national animal. We have it on our national emblems. It’s sad that they are slowly being hunted to extinction, or being forced out of their homes due to deforestation.

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If you’re ever in this quaint little Johor town, pay a visit to the Kluang railway station for the simple yet amazing food and maybe sit by the platform to watch the trains come in.:)

Location: At the end of Jalan Station, Kluang

Coffee shop Operating hours:

  • 6.30am-12.30pm, and
  • 2.30pm-6.30pm daily except Tuesdays.

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Evelyn next brought us to the nearby Gunung Lambak Forest Reserve, a hilly area with tracks where locals often go jogging. The place was quiet on a weekday. There were a couple of families swimming in the public pool in front of the reserve.

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Nice and cooling environment, but the few facilities available here are quite unkempt. Evelyn said the local town council could not afford to maintain the upkeep of the park, hence everything is quite dilapidated. The pond is a sad sight, with only two forlorn turtles munching on fallen leaves on the water’s surface.

Kluang has been a fun and relaxing retreat for a day or two, but I don’t know if there’s much ‘return’ value because there is really not that much to do here. Still, a nice place to go for the first time visitor.

1980s Music Bar and Cafe, Kluang, Johor

I admit that I was a little up on my high horse when I was in Kluang, thinking that a small town (not that small these days) would be boring and devoid of a night life.

I was wrong.

I met up with my ex-university mate, Evelyn, who is a local girl and fellow journalist – and she brought me to the commercial hub of Kluang town, where chic bars and pubs have sprouted up all along the square. This is apparently one of the favourite night hangout spots for the younger crowd.

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Located on the second floor above a Western-style bakery-cafe, the 1980s Music Bar and Cafe is heavily influenced by music, pop culture and all things vintage. It reminded me of places like Hard Rock Cafe, with band posters, musical paraphernalia, a small stage for musicians to perform and other cool stuff like old radios and colourful beer cans. There were tall bar stools and tables on one side, while the other side was lined with cosy sofas and pouffes.

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The menu featured faces of music legends, like Bob Marley.

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Chocolate milkshake. It was one of the better milkshakes I’ve had – smooth, thick and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess.

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We also ordered a large curly fries, which was crispy and well-seasoned. The fries were gone in a flash as we caught up with stuff over the food and drinks. They serve mainly Western fare, such as pasta and burgers.

Overall, I think this was a real gem of a cafe – rivaling the ones we have in KL. The service is also much friendlier.

1980s MUSIC BAR & CAFE

2nd Floor, No. 36 & 38, Jalan Duku, 86000, Kluang, Johor.

(+6) 07-776 7980

Things to Do at UK Farm Agro Resort Johor, Malaysia – Goat Feeding, Mushroom Farm, etc.

If you’re looking for an experience beyond the usual shopping malls and tourist spots, well. How about visiting a farm?

Established in 2003, UK Farm is located in Kluang Johor, a good three-hour-drive from Kuala Lumpur. Here, visitors can go on guided tours through the largest goat farm in the country.  It also has a mini zoo area, fruit/vegetable/mushroom farm enclosures, picturesque fields and a gimmicky Orang Asli Jakun (aborigine) village. The fam and I came here for a weekend trip, and it was an interesting experience for this born-and-bred city girl.

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The place caters mainly to Chinese visitors, as the tours are conducted in Mandarin and most of the signs are in Chinese. We waited in a park for the ‘bus’ to arrive. There was a giant goat statue in the middle of the park.

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There are horses on the farm, which are used to pull carts with tourists. This one was really sweet and gentle.

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The ‘bus’ was really just a converted lorry, with makeshift wooden beams holding up a roof. The ride to the first stop, the mill, took about three minutes.

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Here, a guide explained to us (in Mandarin.. earning confused looks from my dad who can’t speak Mandarin to save his life) about the feed process, whereby the bushels of grass are cut into smaller blades and fed through a grinder.

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Just next door was the pen, which housed hundreds of goats. They were mostly white, and there were two distinct types – the one with pointy ears and the ones with long droopy ears like Anjali from The Hunchback of Notredame.

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We fed them grass, and while attempting to take a selfie, one of the goats mistook my hair for food lol. I know I don’t have luscious locks but come on.

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The goats were really sweet and didn’t bite at all (except if you counted the one that tried to chew my hair off.)I felt a bit sickened at the thought that they were destined for the slaughterhouse. I guess it feels different because I actually got to see them on the farm. A lot of times people (myself included) ignore the fact that these are animals raised for their meat – because we often get our meat nicely packaged, sealed and cut up. We forget that these are real, live animals.

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It is not common among Western cultures to eat goat meat, but goat is common in Malaysia, especially when cooked with curries and spicy sauces, as it tastes strong and gamey.

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And wtf these kids were so cute all huddled up in a bundle while they were sleeping. T-T

I shall refrain from consuming mutton if I can help it.

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Another short bus ride later, we got to the ‘milking station’. The goats were all lined up in a row with their butts facing the handlers. Their udders were full and swollen at this point, so the workers placed them in a pumping machine and the milk just started squirting out.  The workers then helped by squeezing any remaining milk left over until the udders were saggy and thin again.

The guide said that it didn’t hurt the goats… because if you left the milk in the udders, it would hurt them even more coz they’d get swollen and uncomfortable.

One goat can produce about 1.5L of milk per day. That’s a lot!

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Pasteurised goat milk. It tastes kind of gamey. Goat milk apparently has a lot of beneficial properties, especially for those who can’t take cow’s milk and are lactose intolerant.

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We hopped on the bus to our next stop – the ‘Ostrich Farm’.

The pens were fairly big, but there was only one ostrich out and about. The other two were resting in the shade. We were given corn feed, but the poor ostrich must have been overstuffed because there were too many people attempting to feed it. Annoying, ill mannered children threw the feed into the ostrich’s coat and it clucked at them impatiently. disapproving grunt. I don’t remember being such a pain in the ass when I was young. Kids these days #youknowyouoldwhenyousaythat 

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Just a minute’s walk away was the ‘Orang Asli’ (aborigine) village…. although technically, there was only one ‘villager/employee’ there. He introduced himself as one of the Jakun people from neighbouring Pahang state. The quaint wooden houses with atap roofs were reminiscent of traditional Orang Asli homes. Everything was very basic, with only one room per house.

The kids loved the tree house. I was too big to climb up.

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They caught a ‘wild’ animal lul.

The guy also demonstrated how to shoot a dart using a blowpipe, by bursting a balloon far up in the tree. Wouldn’t want to mess with him

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We stopped by for a rest at a restaurant/souvenir shop area. What are these creepy masks

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Then there was the mushroom farm, where they had a pretty ‘wishing tree’ complete with small wooden gazebo on top and hundreds of prayers from visitors.

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Inside the damp and dark mushroom farm area. I didn’t know they grew them in bottles stuffed with wood shavings and moist earth. They even had ‘lingzhi’, which is a type of fungus prized for its medicinal properties (and very expensive!)

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We tried a few mushrooms snacks, like monkey head ‘satay’ sticks and spicy mushroom/vege salad.

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A board where visitors could leave messages and doodles.

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Our last stop was a mini ‘zoo’ area near the entrance, where chickens, ducks and fowls ran rampant. There was a paddock where visitors paid money to try and catch a herd of goats (?). You get a medal if you manage to catch one. Most of the times, they didn’t but it was hilarious watching people attempt to lol.

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Most. Informative. Board. Ever.

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Le fluffehz. They kept twerking their little butts, so cute.

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We finished our tour with some refreshing passion fruit drinks and goat’s milk ice-cream. The whole visit took about three hours.

If you’re bored and would like a day trip, UK Farm is a good choice to spend a few hours. It’s also educational, both for adults and children – a great place for family or student trips. The entry price is RM47 for adults and RM37 for children; including a bottle for goat feeding, corn and grass feed, as well as snacks.

I think the owners of the farm have excellent entrepreneurship, because aside from just running the farm, they’ve created this tourist destination where people can come and buy products, mingle with the livestock and get educated on the farming process. They even have chalets available for rent, for those who would like a taste of farm/country life.

GETTING THERE 

There are no buses servicing the route, so if you’re not driving, a taxi is your best choice. If you are coming from KL and using the North South Expressway, take the Air Hitam exit. Further down the road there will be many signs guiding you to the farm.

UK FARM/AGRO RESORT 

Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat,
86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia.
Tel : +607-759 7555
Fax : +607-759 7991
H/P : 013-778 7235 / 013 – 722 2299
Website: www.ukfarm.com.my
Email: info@ukfarm.com.my