Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng – Agarwood Sanctuary
Doris Lim took a jaunt to Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng – Agarwood Sanctuary to check out the most expensive tree in the world and drank teas made from its leaves!
I’ve always wanted to recharge my batteries by wasting time where negative ions are found in abundance.
The rainforests call to me with beautiful green places where the air is cool and pristine.
I lost my lethargies and felt lighter the moment we entered the Gaharu Tea Valley, an Agarwood plantation just outside Gopeng, Perak.
This agro-tourism destination is one of the best green lungs in Malaysia to experience the immediate effect of the negative ion-rich oxygen.
It has a soothing relaxing effect on my body.
The locally grown Gaharu is actually Agarwood, the most expensive wood in the world!
Agarwood is highly prized for its distinctive exotic fragrance found in the dark resin embedded in the heartwood.
Western perfumers in many cultures value the essential oil called “oud” or “Oudh”.
The highest grade of Agarwood oil fetches higher prices than gold.
Its high commercial value and popularity in Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures made the Agarwood rare and endangered in the wild.
History of Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng
Gaharu Valley is the brainchild of David Ho, who was given two hundred saplings by a Japanese researcher in 1992 for planting.
It was a patient endeavor as the trees took fifteen years to mature.
There are now more than 200,000 trees planted on a 330-acre site.
The Ho family wanted to promote the medicinal use of this endangered plant species and opened the facilities to the public in 2011.
Take a Tour of Gaharu Tea Valley
We took a tour via a minivan to go up the meandering roads to view the Gaharu trees in the valley.
As we ascended the hill, the road became steeper and the weather, cooler.
Agarwood is harvested from the older and more mature trees higher up the hill.
Our guide explained that in nature when the Agarwood is attacked by insects such as weevils that bore into the trees, the tree will produce a resin from these “wounds”.
Commercially; holes are drilled in the mature trees to inoculate them and to “encourage” rotting.
The resin leaking out from these wounds are used to manufacture the precious “oud”.
The older wood is split, and the resin is processed into aromatic oil by boiling.
We passed by a processing plant where Gaharu leaves are processed into tea.
The leaves and branches from the younger trees are harvested after the trees reached two years old.
The Gaharu Tea is made from these leaves.
We were taken to a couple of parks to walk around, experience the serene environments, and to take some photos.
Hugging Hill has colorful animals painting that looked like the animals were hugging the trees.
We even spotted a few visitors hugging a Gaharu tree for good luck!
Gaharu Tea Valley Viewing Platform
Right at the peak, there is a viewing platform overlooking the plantation.
I love the view here and drank in the fresh mountain air.
The great panoramic view of the evergreen plantation is invigorating.
The Gaharu tree is reputed to emanate negative ions.
The air seems fresher and soothing.
The naturally cool Gaharu forest is reputed to encourage creativity and relieve stress.
I felt inspired.
On the way down we stopped at the Lover’s Park centered on an intertwining pair of embracing trees.
Legend has it that any couple who makes an oath under the Century Lover’s Tree will remain devoted to each other forever.
The tree has multiple health and medicinal values.
One of the most popular products is the Gaharu Tea is reputed to
- reduce the effect of a gout
- control diabetes
- lower blood pressure
- has anti-inflammatory properties
- help in insomnia
Anti-cancer and anti-aging properties are also claimed.
Other products which contain Gaharu include
- instant noodles
- soup mix
- wood chip pendants
I drank copious cups of the free tea which is fragrant and refreshing and bought a stash home for future pick me ups!
If you can’t plant a Gaharu tree in your garden, don’t fret, there are large decorative pieces of Gaharu Wood sold as deco for homeowners to enjoy the aura of the forest.
For snacks, we tried some tea eggs, cakes, and even ice-cream with the Gaharu products in it.
Tour of Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng
The tour around the Gaharu plantation cost RM10-00 for adults and half-price for children with a minimum of two people required for each tour.
I got a sample sachet of Gaharu Tea, a piece of Gaharu wood (to ward off evil and give good aura), and an informational/promotion DVD for joining the tour.
The road to Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng is through Kampung Sungai Itek.
The plantation is surrounded by a 3-meter high crenelated wall designed to resemble the Great Wall of China to protect the valuable Agarwood from intruders or wild animals.
A 10-year-old Gaharu tree can contain Agarwood worth RM 25,000 so the trees are worth protecting.
HOGA, Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng 务边沉香山茶园 Agarwood Sanctuary
Lot 9840, Mukim Teja, Kg. Pintu Padang,
31600 Gopeng, Perak.
Visiting Hours: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm