Remember to hug a tree when you visit this tea valley in Perak

Some of the trees are beautifully painted or carved with pictures of animals. — Photos: GISELE SOO/The Star

Tea is a beverage much loved by Malaysians. We even produce a variety of our own tea leaves, and among them, the gaharu tea is said to be the most coveted.

The Hoga Gaharu Tea Valley is a gaharu tea plantation established in 1992 in Gopeng, Perak. We recently visited this place with Tourism Malaysia (North), and discovered that it was listed in the Malaysia Book Of Records as the first organic gaharu tea plantation in the country a few years back.

Gaharu, also known as agarwood, is regarded as a highly valuable plant. It is fragrant, with a dark resinous heartwood. The plantation features a Japanese hybrid of 12 consumable agarwood species. Today, there are about 200,000 trees in the tea valley, and the oldest “resident” there is 31 years old.

The trees have to reach at least 20 to 25 years of maturity before the agarwood, which is found on the ring of the tree bark, can be extracted.

However, the yield from every agarwood tree varies, and is unpredictable, making them a precious commodity in the market. The trees also bear fruit (seasonal) and when they are added to the production of tea leaves, the result is a slightly bitter note.

The plantation has over 200,000 gaharu trees today. — Photos: GISELE SOO/The StarThe plantation has over 200,000 gaharu trees today. — Photos: GISELE SOO/The Star

Fun fact: The tree has to be naturally “wounded” before it can produce agarwood. This is done by animals via scratching or biting, causing the tree to be infected by a particular bacteria (or mould). The tree will then produce a resin that creates the fragrant wood.

This unique scent is also used in essential oils and incense, as well as perfume.

The place is open to visitors who are interested in the production of gaharu. The lush green atmosphere of the plantation is pretty quiet and calm. You may even notice that some of the trees have adorable animal paintings or carvings on them.

And when you are there, don’t forget to hug a tree, as it is said to bring good luck.

The plantation is about 40 minutes from the Ipoh old town.

HOGA ice cream, made of tea, is also a crowd favourite.HOGA ice cream, made of tea, is also a crowd favourite.

Hoga Gaharu Tea Valley

Lot 9840, Kampung Sungai Itek,

31600 Gopeng, Perak.

Opening hours: 9.15am to 6pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Tel: 05-351 1999


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