TAMPIN, Sept 1 -- Growing up in a family that has been in the nursery business for 40 years has nurtured Bong Choong Wei’s passion for plants which motivates him to open Durian Ecolodge in Kampung Pondoi here.
Sitting on a four-hectare land, the orchard is not only planted with durians and other local fruits, but it also offers 20 types of caravans and lodging-style accommodations.
Bong, 50, said the accommodations were provided for visitors to relax and soak in the ambience while enjoying fresh fruits at a cheaper price.
Located about 22 kilometres (km) from the Simpang Ampat Toll Plaza and bordering Melaka, Bong intends to turn Durian Ecolodge into an agrotourism destination.
“At the end of 2018, I began looking for a suitable area for not only an orchard but also lodgings for local and international tourists to enjoy fresh local fruits especially the king of fruits, durian, in comfortable surroundings,” he told Bernama here recently.
Bong said other than durian trees, mango, mangosteen, longan, passion fruit, star fruit, papaya, longkong (dokong), pineapple and pandan coconut were planted in early 2019 and now the trees are bearing fruits and ready for visitors.
He said the orchard boasts of 390 durian trees, including the famed Musang King, D24, ‘susu’ and ‘kampung’.
“Price for the accommodation starts from RM250 to RM400 per night. Visitors who spend the night here will enjoy the fruits at a cheaper price compared with those who come here just to eat the fruits,” he said.
Apart from enjoying fresh fruits and reveling in the beautiful scenery of the orchard nestled in hilly areas, Bong said visitors could also learn about durian cultivation and the correct way to look after the trees to get quality fruits.
“I received cooperation from the Mukim Tampin Agriculture Department as well as the Negeri Sembilan Agriculture Department who expressed their strong support when I said I wanted to promote this place as an agrotourism destination.
“I plan to offer a tour package where visitors who spend the night here will be brought to visit a mushroom and jackfruit farms as well as a paddy field, located about 15 to 20 km from Durian Ecolodge,” he added.
Bong said cultivation aspect demands extra patience due to the challenges, as the trees might not grow as planned or be damaged, which could dampen one’s spirit and eventually lead to closing shop.
Therefore, knowledge and experience are crucial in operating any business, he added.