Tropical Spice Garden
In the jungle setting of the Tropical Spice Garden, the heady scent of over 100 herbs and spice plants fills the air. As you walk among the palms, ferns and other exotic flora, pause to take in the sweet scent of a ginger flower, or rub your fingers on the pungent leaves of a curry plant.
Situated on the island’s northwest coast on the site of a former rubber plantation, the gardens contain over 500 species of plants and animals, and make for a pleasant and educational day trip.
Three trails take you around the 8 acre (3 hectare) area; each trail takes about 30 minutes at a leisurely pace and the plants you see along the way have educational signs pointing out their medicinal and culinary uses.
The Ornamental Trail showcases a stunning array of exotic plants, while the Jungle Trail introduces you to ferns, palms and orchids. Be sure to stop in the garden rooms as you make your way around. These contain detailed explanations of several of the varieties you will see in the jungle, including ginger, cycads and sugar palms.
Take a guided tour if you’re hungry for more information on Malaysian spices. These run throughout the day and have a small fee.
If all of those scents have your mouth watering, try your hand at creating a local dish in one of the cooking classes. These classes begin with a tour of the garden. Then, use the herbs and spices you have seen growing to cook a typical Malaysian dish under the instruction of an expert chef.
If you’d rather someone else do the cooking, the Tree Monkey Restaurant near the visitor center offers meals as well as spectacular views over the coast.
Bear in mind that although shady, the jungle can get hot and humid in the afternoons. Appropriate clothing and plenty of water is recommended. Good footwear is also recommended, as the paths are steep in places and you’re likely to be doing a lot of walking.
The Tropical Spice Garden is located close to the Teluk Balang coast, just past Batu Ferranghi. It’s open daily and there is a charge for entry, with extra charges for the cooking classes and guides.