Country Heights Resort was the first gated and guarded community to be developed in Malaysia. It was launched in 1987 on former rubber plantation land around 25km south of Kuala Lumpur. It was always intended to be an exclusive neighbourhood and the developers referred to it as the ‘Beverly Hills of Malaysia’.
It is still one of more up-market areas in the Klang Valley and includes VIPs and the rich and famous among its residents.
It is not one of those immaculately neat sub-divisions where every home is of a similar design. Here spacious plots are sold off to individual owners who build homes according to their own tastes and budgets. The result is that virtually no two homes are alike except in a couple of areas where developers have built mini sub-divisions within the boundaries of Country Heights.
Nearly all the houses are big with six bedrooms and seven bathrooms being commonplace while there are many huge mansions with lifts, private security, underground car parks, swimming pools and ten bedrooms or more. Architectural styles range from modern tropical to mock-colonial bungalow to Mediterranean villa. Some of the homes are more elegantly designed than others. Some are exquisite while others are flashy and ostentatious proving that being rich does not guarantee good taste.
If you want to live in Country Heights you can expect to pay a lot of money. There are some houses costing less than a million US Dollars but the average price is probably around two million and much more for the top-end super luxury homes. Sadly I won’t be buying here in the foreseeable future!
Here is a sample of the homes you can find at Country Heights, Kajang.
When I was driving on a highway near Kajang recently I noticed a large Chinese temple on a hilltop. I had driven on this road a number of times but somehow had never spotted it before. Perhaps it has recently been extended. I thought I would drive up to take a closer look.
From the sign outside I could see that it is called Pertubuhan Budhis Manju Suddhi which translates as Manju Suddhi Buddhist Organization. It is located in Kampung Sungai Chua on the outskirts of Kajang, Selangor.
The complex comprises two large buildings, pagodas, gardens, courtyards and a recycling centre.
There is a large three-sided Guan Yin statue and a Maitreya Buddha statue.
The organization’s website is all in Chinese which does not translate well on Google Translate but from what I could make out the temple’s activities include prayer/meditation, weddings and funerals, education, charity and welfare, recycling, and celebrations of all the big Chinese and Buddhist holidays.
While driving along the Cheras-Kajang Highway recently I noticed a sign for Pusat Flora Cheras (Cheras Flora Centre) and decided to take a look.
This place is run by the Department of Agriculture and it was opened in 1924 as an agricultural research centre.
In those days this area was probably surrounded by forest and rubber estates but today it is in danger of being engulfed by the urban sprawl of greater Kuala Lumpur.
In 1984 the named was changed to its current one and a number of nurseries and garden centres opened up shop here.
It seems the place has seen better days and many of the shop lots look abandoned or vacant. Mr. Rudin Hasan, owner of Shrubs & Creepers, confirmed that the centre used to be busy but now its future looks uncertain.
With few customers around, now is a good time to pick up some bargain plants. Being located in a former agricultural research station, Mr. Hasan’s nursery sells some unusual and rare species such as the Powderpuff Plant (calliandra tergemina var. emarginata) and peach-coloured Allamanda ‘Jamaican Sunset’.
Pay a visit and see what you can find.
The address is Bt.11 Jalan Cheras, 43000 Kajang, Selangor. Mr. Hasan’s phone number is 013 373 8182 if you want to find out what he has in stock.
Kajang in Selangor state might not be the most attractive town in Malaysia but it sure has some colourful and photogenic Chinese temples.
This one in Jalan Reko is called Tokong (temple) Kui Tin Biow. Inside, offerings of fruit had been neatly stacked up on the altar in front of the assembled deities. Rather incongruously, the courtyard in front of the temple had a large banner advertising Carlsberg and the place seemed to double up as a restaurant.
I could not find out what this one is called because I cannot read Chinese characters.
Rooftop dragon statues are a common feature of Taoist temples.
On the top of Bukit Mewah, with a fine view of Kajang and the surrounding countryside is Loong Tien Koong Temple. I believe it is a Taoist temple.
Happy Chinese New Year, Kung Hei Fatt Choi, Gong Xi Fa Cai.
I went to visit my bank today, HSBC. The closest branch is in Kajang about 30 minutes drive from where I live (the world’s local bank is sometimes not local enough). Afterwards I thought I would take some time to look around the scruffy town centre. It is fair to say that Kajang is well and truly off the beaten track for tourists. It is an old place with settlement said to have begun in the early 1700s which makes it about 150 years older than Kuala Lumpur. It is also quite sprawling with a large population of around 300,000 having grown rapidly in recent years. The centre though still retains a small town feel except for the appalling traffic.
Among the food-mad Malaysians, Kajang is famous for one thing only and that is satay (sate), the barbecued meat sticks served with spicy peanut sauce. According to some, Kajang is the satay capital of the world, although Indonesians might disagree. One of the best known satay restaurants is this place, Haji Samuri’s (looking a bit quiet at 11am).
Opposite is the old post office building appearing in the postage stamp above. My home-made version of the stamp using the real life building does not look so attractive!
Next time I go to the bank I shall try and see a bit more of this town.