Agriculture is an important part of rural living. In many villages, agriculture is the mainstay of the economy and many Malaysians are still actively involved in this sector. The agricultural industry is sustained by crops like corn, soya bean, cocoa, rubber and oil palm. Experience first-hand what it is like to tap a rubber tree, harvest paddy, or pluck clusters of oil palm fruits. Malaysia has a great variety of tropical fruits. Some are seasonal while others are available throughout the year. Most homestay villages are fringed by tropical fruit trees and a visit is not complete without tasting these delicious fruits. Don’t miss a chance to savour durian, dubbed the ‘king of fruits’. For the uninitiated, the durian is a thorny fruit with a delicious creamy flesh. It is the fruit’s distinct aroma, however, that makes it highly controversial!
The ‘queen of fruits’ is mangosteen, popular for its sweet, juicy white flesh. Other local fruits include rambutan, watermelon, banana, mango, dragonfruit, pineapple, jackfruit, star fruit, ciku and many more. The Pelegong Homestay in Negeri Sembilan and Bukit Gantang Homestay in Perak are especially famous for the abundance of tropical fruits. Visitors to Perlis should not miss a trip to the Kampung Ujong Bukit Homestay, where visits to grape and mango plantations are among the popular agrotourism activities. Famed for the succulent Harumanis mango, Perlis is also one of the few states in Malaysia where grapes are grown on a large scale. Rice farming is a principle economic activity in the northern states of Perlis and Kedah. Here, rustic views of paddy fields dominate the landscape.
Visitors to the Jeruju Homestay in Kedah and Sungai Sireh Homestay in Selangor will get a chance to visit a paddy field and learn how Malaysia’s staple food is produced. Visits to vegetable farms and plantations are also a highly popular activity. Visitors to Pahang can enjoy a stay at the Desa Murni Homestay. Amidst the tranquil setting, visitors can experience traditional farming and agriculture. Join your host family to visit a leech-breeding site and learn about its medicinal properties. Visitors can also learn about fish breeding. Visitors to Kampung Medang Homestay, also in the state of Pahang, can watch how gula kabung (a type of palm sugar), coconut jelly and traditional noodles are made.
The village is also known for its production of the salak fruit. Commonly known as the ‘snake-skinned’ fruit, salak has a scaly brown skin with a sweet and crunchy pulp. Rubber tapping and latex processing are an important source of income for people who live in the rural areas. In fact, the country is the third largest producer of natural rubber in the world. Try your hand at rubber tapping and watch how latex is processed into rubber sheets at the Mengkuang Titi Homestay in Penang. Fish farming is another popular activity in many villages. Make a trip to the Bukit Gantang Homestay in Perak and feed the fishes while you learn about freshwater fish management. Visitors who are keen on experiencing the life of fisher folk can head to the Pantai Suri Homestay in Kelantan.
Tucked away on a small island, the homestay offers the adventure of living amidst a fishing community and joining in their daily activities. The Patau Patau 2 Water Village in Labuan offers another unique experience, where visitors can try feeding fishes or angling right from their doorstep! Another attraction in Labuan is the Bukit Kuda Homestay, where the villagers are known as ‘modern farmers’. Equipped with modern technology, they produce a special noodle called lidi noodles as well as virgin coconut oil which is widely known for its health benefits. A variety of agricultural activities can be enjoyed in Malaysian villages. Prepare to be immersed in rustic lifestyle, and enjoy experiences that are rare and unique.
Programme Visitors with interest in environmental issues would find the Ministry of Tourism’s Plant a Tree (PAT) programme to be a worthwhile and highly rewarding effort. This programme, under the ‘1Malaysia Green & Clean’ (1MG1MC) campaign, encourages tree-planting in homestays and other places of interest as part of its initiative to promote environmental awareness and conservation. Homestay visitors can purchase saplings at the nurseries and plant them during their stay. Visitors can come back to see for themselves the development of the tree that they had planted. Although miles away from home, the tree would be the visitor’s legacy to the village and the environment. Plant A Tree (PAT) programme is available in all homestay villages that are registered with the Ministry of Tourism.