The Garden of Virtue & Harmony (德和園 Deheyuan) in the Summer Palace was where Empress Dowager Cixi watched Beijing opera shows. Empress Dowager had high demands for the shows and like everything else in the Summer Palace, an elaborate, majestic three-level stage known as The Great Stage (大戲樓 Daxilou) was built to perfection and it is the largest imperial stage in China. Continue reading
The Gaharu Tea Valley in Gopeng (務邊沉香園) has an impressive number of 200,000 gaharu trees. The gaharu trees also known as argawood, span through hundreds of acres of land with Ipoh’s beautiful limestone mountains as the backdrop.
The gaharu tree when infected with mold, produces resin as a defense mechanism, resulting in an aromatic dark wood within the trunk. The dark wood is s of high commercial and medicinal value, whether it’s to be extracted for essential oil, perfume, burnt as incense or used for sculpturing. If you look at the trees closer, you will observe a lot of tiny holes where the molds are injected through.
The gaharu has a beautiful Chinese name “沉香”, literally meaning “sinking aroma”. The grades of gaharu wood are classified by their ability to sink. The more resinous the wood is, the more precious it is and the heavier it is, resulting the wood to sink completely into the water or only semi-sinking if the wood is not heavy enough.
The tour to view around the plantation is RM10 per person (by van), which comes with a packet of gaharu tea and a small piece of kayu raja wood.
The driver cum tour guide first took us to see the panoramic views of the valley. It’s also where the remains of a 20 year old gaharu tree trunk is. Hugging it is supposed to bring you good luck! A hotel is being set up nearby.
Our tour guide is very knowledgeable, telling us stories about how the gaharu tea valley all began. 15 years ago, 200 baby gaharu trees were given to the owner by a Japanese man. When the Japanese man came back to visit again, there were only 30 gaharu trees left due to theft and it was only then the owner realized that the gaharu trees are so precious. The land was originally growing palm trees but the owner decided to pull out everything and plant the gaharu instead. Today, the gaharu valley is flourishing with precious trees with some of the older trees worth hundreds of thousands each.
The trees are colored with yellow, red or black bands, indicating how old they are.
Our guide also showed us this loving tree couple – the darker tree resembles a man courting the lady (white tree). You can see that tree branch is reaching out to the white tree, as if trying to lure her into his arms! Even the tree trunks are intertwined with each other!
At the base of the base of the valley, there’s a souvenir shop, selling gaharu products like gaharu tea, gaharu tea egg premix packs, bak kut teh herbal packs and even gaharu tea instant noodles! The gaharu tea is pretty pricey. My father tried the tea and he reckons that the tea helps him to sleep better.
Gaharu flavor is used in desserts too in herbal jelly and ice cream.
Gaharu sculptured items displayed in the souvenir shop.
This piece here is not for sale!
More gaharu trunks outside the souvenir shop.
The Gaharu Tea Valley sits within the forest areas of Gopeng. When you see this mini Great Wall of China, you have arrived at the main entrance 🙂
Gaharu Tea Valley Official Website
Address: Lot 9840, Mukim Sg Teja, 31600 Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia.
GPS : N 04°27’30.00″ E 101° 11’26.40″
Tel: 05 3511 999
Admission: RM 10 per person to tour around the valley.
Opening Hours: Daily 9am – 6pm.
- What is Gaharu Wood? (gaharuwoods.wordpress.com)