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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Colmar Tropicale | Bukit Tinggi Part 1

We bought a hotel package to Colmar Tropicale at the previous Matta fair in 2012, as we were planing for a short weekend trip after CNY just to relax ourselves. I believe everyone is quite familiar with the name or even the place..and yes..after so many years, finally I decided to visit this place.I guess I have a presumption where I am too scared of the crowd.

After you have reached the guard house, you will have to pay RM12(adult) or RM8(children) per person as the entrance fee. If you are staying there, the hotel will reimburse you the entrance fee when you check out.

Places to visit in Colmar Tropicale: Japanse Village, Botanical Garden, Animal Park, Adventure Park, Horse Riding, Golf



The check in time for Colmar Tropicale Resort is 3pm but we checked in earlier since we reached there around 12pm. We were given a standard room with 1 king sized bed. The room was quite small, empty and old. One window panel's holder was spoiled, and the workmanship of the room is quite lousy. The toilet's wash basin concrete slab was constructed half-way and they just left it bare if you look beneath it. Also, we could hear echoes when we were talking in the room. We paid RM238 per night and I personally think this is not worth it. I rather spend a day trip there and drive up to Genting which is really near for a stay.


Here is the look of Colmar Tropicale. The medieval french village, best place for us to play with our new camera.

There is a stage performance from Tuesday-Sunday with different time slots. There is a big board stating all the time slots just beside the stage.

Since it was still early, so we took the shuttle bus to the Japanese Village. There is a schedule for the bus shuttles which can bring you to different places like the Japanese Village, Animal Park and etc. However, you can also drive to the places yourself, at least it saves you the time from waiting.

Here is the shuttle bus. It is kinda dangerous because some of the seats are broken. When it rains, the rooftop was even leaking, making all the passengers wet under the shelter.

Here is the entrance towards Japanese Village. Better prepare yourself with a pair of sport shoes as you need to climb up a steep hill. And when I say steep, it is roughly around a 30 degree incline, some spots may reach up to 40 degrees even.

Finally arrived at the top. It took us around 10 minutes to walk up the hills and taking photos here and there.

This is the place to relax and get some fresh air. The best place to run away from the busy and stressed city we live in. We walked up towards the Japanese Village which is located on the top hill slowly to enjoy this green environment.

Upon reaching the Japanese Village, you can see some small Japanese cottages built there. I rented their Kimono for RM20 per person. Just for reminder, the Kimono can be rented for 20 minutes only. You are allowed to take photos indoor and outdoor using your own camera. But when it rains, they would only allow you to take photos indoors.

At first thought, RM20 may seem a little expensive to rent a kimono for just 20 minutes. But after all, we just went ahead and did it anyway; it's not like we will be coming back here every month or two. And we're really glad we did it because we had a lot of fun taking pictures and playing around.

We brought along our trusty travel companion, Danbo. You can see he was really excited when he saw this place because you know why? He smelled some home-made food nearby!

This is the only Japanese restaurant on the hill, Ryo Zantei. As you can see here, it is located right in the middle of the garden, with trees and fresh air soothing your tired soul, making you feel truly relaxed like you have never felt before in a long time.

I highly recommend sitting at the aisle here as you can see, your view would be the entire garden below. Just watch out for some, erm, wild spiders while you are there okay? When we sat down, it just started raining heavily. But it wasn't a problem, the water didn't splashed in and we actually had a very great time eating while enjoying the rain and scenery.

We thought that prices would be way over the roof for a restaurant with such a nice scenery. But contrary to that, the prices were actually quite reasonable in my point of view. And here we will see why:
Ebi Maki (Prawn Tempura Roll) - RM16.00
For that price, the portion was really huge: 2 rolls and cut into 12 pieces. It could've been my main course all by itself! The prawn tempura was crunchy and it was still hot, absolutely delicious! Must try!

Unagi Bento Set (Grilled Eel, Salad and Vegetables Tempura) - RM42.00
For avid Japanese food lovers, you might have noticed that the prices of all Unagi has risen in all the Japanese restaurants since last year. If I remember correctly, this is because the Japanese are trying to preserve the population of the eels and thus they have all agreed to raise the prices. Therefore, RM42 for a Unagi set here is actually quite reasonable as many restaurants in KL area have increased their Unagi set prices to RM60++.

What about the taste? Delicious!! The eel could have been slightly more fresh (I'm being picky), but it was grilled almost to perfection and combined with the great sauce which we couldn't have enough of it. 

For those who don't want to have a full meal, they could instead buy some snacks from the stall that the restaurant had set up right at the Botanical Garden entrance. However, I think the prices are slightly on the expensive side, so we were not interested in it.

There is also a small shop nearby that sells souvenirs and snacks. Just the usual things you would expect in a souvenir shop, nothing much to say about here.

Since it was raining, we weren't able to visit other places. So we went back to our hotel to get some rest before the night begins. If you have the time to stay until the sun sets, you could see the other side of this place after dark. Beautiful lighting all over the place which gave you a sense of romance. Walking hand to hand with your partner in this kind of environment, nothing can be more relaxing than this.

We were able to catch the stage performance at 7.30pm that day, which were all dances by a few foreign performers, nothing very special except their various costumes.

We weren't hungry for dinner after late lunch at the Japanese Village. However, I was craving to try out some french cuisine since I am in a french themed village. Nothing can stop me when it is all about food! So we went to La Cigogne which is a fine dining restaurant that served authentic french cuisine. The price should be the most expensive among all restaurants there. Only a few tables are occupied when we arrived.

As you can see, the decor are all classical type tables, chairs and even a fireplace at the side; I don't know whether this looks like french but I feel that judging on being a romantic dining place, it can still be better. Nevertheless, the place was really quiet and the service was pleasant.

For starters, after you make your order they'll serve you french bread with a dip of butter. It tastes normal, a bit too hard for my liking, but bf loves it so it really depends on personal taste.

Our friend Danbo was only interested in the candle, maybe he's never seen one before on a dining table, since he's from Japan and only eats sushi and fast food all the time right? :)

My French colleague mentioned before that in France, it is not a good sign to see that your food is being served too quickly, it is a sign that your food was not carefully prepared. So indeed, we did wait quite some time for our food to arrive. Nevertheless, we were quite full so we didn't order any appetizers and went straight for the main course. Let's see what we had that day:
Pave de Saumon, Asperges et Pois Gourmands, Beurre Blanc - RM49.00++
Pan Fried Salmon Fillet, Green Asparagus with French White Butter
The salmon was perfect, crispy on the outside and cook just right inside. You really ought to take your own sweet time to saviour this dish along with the condiments because if you do, you can taste multiple layers of flavouring all blended together in harmony. If I had to say something bad about this dish, the salmon is slightly on the oily side (but I'm being picky). Again, true to being French, the portion is really small as they do not binge on food like us Malaysians. All I have to say is that, you have to take away the "bigger portion is better" mindset that is deeply rooted in us Malaysians.

Suprême de Volaille 'a la Basquaise', jus brun de volaille - RM39.00++
Chicken Breast served with Peppers, Onions and Au Jus
Strangely, this does not taste like chicken breast at all. But that is a good thing because I have not tasted chicken breast that is so well cooked yet juicy and tender at the same time. The mashed potatoes and peppers are also great with each a strong flavour of their own. Again, you just have to enjoy each one of them take things slowly.

Overall, despite the prices, I'd say the dinner was a worthwhile treat once in a while. Just be sure to order some appetizers and soups if you're there on an empty stomach. Nevertheless, I think the best thing about Colmar is to enjoy the evening stroll here where the weather is cool, the lights are pretty and the place was not so crowded. Stay tuned for day 2 in Colmar!

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