Valley of Hope - the site of former leprosy settlement in Sungai Buloh
A view of Valley of Hope from the look-out point opposite.
The cluster of old buildings surrounded by nurseries are located just a turn-off from Jalan Hospital, Sungai Buloh. It is on your left after you pass the Sungai Buloh Hospital that is on your right.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
The sight of blooming flowers and undulating greenery is one of the best ways to reinvigorate, better still when there are mossy-roofed cottages and little galleries to study the past of the place.
Such pastoral setting is only a 40-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur city centre and it is the former Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement.
With a history dating back 87 years, the place is being turned into a heritage centre to showcase its rich history.
The place once shunned has a calming and uplifting appeal that convinces one as to why it is also called the Valley of Hope.
The appeal of these rustic houses can well challenge that of Shirakawa-go cottages if given the right care.
Thanks to a group of people who see its beauty and champion hard for its preservation, the settlement has shed the derelict state of affairs it was in a few years ago into a place that exudes life.
A community hall is the first to greet visitors at the entrance of Valley of Hope. It is becoming increasingly popular as a venue for events.
Among them is the Mari pop-up market that promotes sustainable living by gathering artists, designers and organic farmers together.
There is a signpost pointing to the information galleries established by the National Leprosy Control Centre, narrating the centre’s journey with the patients. However, the galleries were closed and are only open to public upon request.
Rows of blooms to delight the soul, and for shopping therapy, too
Nevertheless, that does not reduce the appeal of this place where brick and wooden houses built in old colonial style are scattered all over the green slopes.
Some of them are still occupied by former patients and families while others situated in the interior are a little rundown.
Sia, our photographer, was awed by the vintage beauty of these huts, saying they would have the same appeal as the cottages in Unesco world heritage site Shirakawa-go, Japan, if the area could be further spruced up.
Several structures that were part of the control centre have been refurbished and are ready for activities.
The community hall in Valley of Hope is becoming increasingly popular as a venue for events especially among the arts and craft groups.
It is a relief that the new extension of the control centre is also built in the same low-ceiling architectural style to keep the coherence.
Large trees provide the shades for a pleasant stroll while nurseries run by former patients abound with dewy blossoms.
The flowers offer not just a soothing sight, but also a good retail therapy session with the affordable prices.
There are worship centres including a church and a Chinese temple in the area, complete with kopitiam to while away the hours.
All these are surrounded by lush green hills in the distance, making the Valley of Hope a surreal respite, especially on rainy days when fog sits on the horizon.
A lookout point on the opposite side of the road that is accessible by car even provides a good aerial view of the valley.
The place is set to be even better in the coming months as the conservation group is working together with former patients to set up a story museum through crowd funding. The museum is scheduled to open in August.
The group is also organising regular guided walks in the valley, its next trip is at 9am tomorrow.
If you are hungry on your way out, apart from the many delicacies Sungai Buloh is famous for, you can choose to have a cuppa at the new LGSB Commercial Centre that is gaining attention with its hipster cafes.