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Malaysia Asia

Malaysia Asia

Malaysia travel blog and website on eco-tourism, nature, hotels and resorts, islands and beaches and also around Southeast Asia.
URL: http://blog.malaysia-asia.my/

Malaysia Asia

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2012-02-23 16:12:32

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  • Why Alor Island Should Be Your Next Scuba Diving Destination
    If you are wondering why Alor Island should be your next scuba diving destination, I will share with you the information based on my recent trip there in September 2017.First of all, Alor Island is located in the east of Nusa Tenggara, just after the island of Flores in Indonesia. And second, Alor is one of those places that not many people have explored, making this one of truly raw destinations in the world for scuba diving. Alor Island is part of the Alor Archipelago and has only one main town called Kalabahi where the main airport is located at. In total, Alor Island is home to around 200,000 people which are mostly found in the remote villages around here. The main industries of Alor Island are mostly homegrown small industries like farming and cultivating. With a slow development, there is not much infrastructure here, but there are roads connecting the island. Incredible clear waters of Alor IslandWhy Alor Island Should Be Your Next Scuba Diving DestinationAs tourism is one of the up and coming industries in Alor Island, it is mainly due to scuba diving and snorkeling at the incredibly clear waters and rich marine life. However, there is only one main hotel found in Kalabahi which is the two star Pulo Alor Island. That is it, and I am not kidding. The other accommodations are a few local operated beach lodges and homestays. Usually divers that visit here will opt for the live on board boats for scuba diving. There are no proper restaurants, cafes or modern retail shops and everything is still raw and untouched here. So why you should make Alor your next scuba diving destination? Simply because of the non commercialization, this places takes you to a place never before experienced. People are not spoiled by modernization and this is one of the best factors to visit here.Some of the accommodations seen at the smaller islands of AlorDiving at Alor IslandRight now, there are probably only five dive operators on the entire island, where they are all located in the town of Kalabahi. One of the reputable operators here is no other than Donovan of Dive Alor Dive, who has 25 years of experience diving these waters and its surroundings.Great news is that there are over 63 dive sites at Alor Island, suited for experienced divers and those with the advanced open water certification. Each of the sites provide unique experiences, and the main highlight is the incredible clarity or visibility at all these sites.One of the Alor Island dive sites with incredible visibilityThe main reason for this is that the place is not commercialized. This means, at any dive site you visit, it will be only your group. This is not like diving at Komodo Island where it has become a major tourist attraction.Alor Island is still considered as one of the undiscovered dive destinations of Indonesia, and is a very raw place. Things are still as they were 50 years ago as development here is one of the slowest. Honestly, I really like this place because of this.For anyone planning to dive in Alor, I would suggest you come in a small group as the costs are cheaper when combined together. Read about my Alor Dive trip report from my visit here in September 2017.Dive Operators in Alor Island1. Dive Alor Dive2. Alor Divers3. Alor Diving Kepa4. Alami Dive Alor5. Air Dive AlorBandar Udara Mali-Alor, the main airport on Alor IslandHow to get to Alor Island?Generally, I would recommended you fly in from Kupang in Flores which is a one hour flight and this is the best and fastest way to get here. For my visit here, I took the local flights from Kupang to Alor.Alternatively, there are ferries that operate from Kupang and other smaller ports around East Nusa Tenggara, but this can be tricky or take a longer time. There are private boats that operate from Kupang to Alor, but the journey can take hours.If you are going backpacking style, then you really need to do your homework as not many people speak English. I would strongly recommend you make arrangements with your dive operator, so they can have everything pre-arranged for you when you arrive.The Abui tribe of Takpala Village on Alor IslandWhat Else Can You Do In Alor Island? While diving is the main itinerary here, there are in face a number of things that you can do in Alor Island which is quite general. In most cases, you will either be staying at a homestay, Pulo Alor Hotel or on the live on board boats.I would personally recommend visiting the local town and markets, with a guide of course, and sample some of the local Alornese food. One of them to try is the betel nut chewing which is absolutely out of this world.Pulo Alor Hotel, the best and only hotel on Alor IslandOn the island, you should also make it a point to explore the Takpala Village, which is a traditional Alornese ethnic village. This place is open for tourism and usually the trips here are arranged by your travel or dive operator.For seasoned scuba divers, if you are planning to visit Komodo to dive, I would recommend you consider adding in Alor Island as your next scuba diving destination. This is because you have already made your way to this part of Indonesia and Alor is just the next island on the east of Flores. 
    Monday 15th of January 2018 03:00:00 AM
  • Japan Travel Fair 2018
    It is just early January and the Japan Travel Fair 2018 is the first travel fair in Malaysia to take place this year. Held from 11-14 January and at The Starling Mall in Petaling Jaya, this mini fair is all out to promote the various destinations in Japan. The objective of the Japan travel fair is purely to get more awareness to the consumers, namely those living in the suburban areas of Petaling Jaya and its surroundings. This time around, JNTO or the Japan National Tourism Organization, has selected the venue at one of the new shopping malls in Damansara Utama.Travel agents at the Japan Travel Fair in Starling MallWhat Promotions Are Available At Japan Travel Fair 2018? You can find all things Japan at the fair, meaning, all sorts of information about destinations around Japan. In total, there are 20 booths with various Japanese vendors from all over Japan and also some of the local Malaysian tour companies. For first timers visiting here, you should know that commercial places in Japan is not being promoted here at the fair. This means destinations like Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and Hokkaido information booths are not available.Instead, you will see more unique destinations that are not too far from the usual popular places. Train travel is one of the main highlights as they are the best method to move from city to city in Japan.The JNTO Booth at the Starling Mall in Damansara UamaYou can get travel brochures for these interesting places from the main JNTO booth at the travel fair. The main mission is to introduce other regions from around Japan to Malaysians. If you should already know, most Malaysians have been to Japan, and to the main commercial cities.  At this years Japan Travel Fair, there is a main stage area just next to the JNTO main information booth. This is where contest and performances are conducted. A beautiful photo booth is also located next to the JNTO booth.Japanese Yukata photo sessions at the travel fairThis photo booth is where you can wear the Japanese Yukata to take photos against the famous Japanese bamboo wall, which is quite nice. In another section, there are about 10 booths from various Japanese and Malaysian travel agents that specialize in Japan tours. This is where you can get information on the many types of packages being offered. Some of the Japanese travel agentsTravel Agents at Japan Travel Fair 2018H.I.S Travel MalaysiaJapan Travel BureauParlo ToursApple JapanJ-HorizonsHello HolidaysRoystar TravelPearl Holiday TravelMHTTSome of the Japanese prefectures and businesses participating Japanese Travel Companies at Japan Travel Fair 2018 Also invited to participate are selected Japanese prefectures, hotels & resorts and train operators from all over Japan. These vendors are where you can get first hand information about the destinations, in regards to logistics, accommodations, food and places of interest.You would also be in for a surprise as there are not one, not two but three different train companies from Japan participating at the Japan Travel Fair. There are also some tourism prefectures taking part and they are;Okinawa TourismTokyo Disney ResortChi Hotel & ResortIshikawa PrefectureShizuoka PrefectureJR East HotelsJR WestTokyo MetroAsakusa-Ueno VisiondataVisitors on the first day of the Japan Travel Fair 2018Fun activities at the fairThe event itinerary for Japan Travel Fair 2018Visitors to the travel fair can get valuable information from the above companies, and if you still need more information, you can jut visit the main JNTO booth or any of the travel agents there.There are numerous brochures available on various parts of Japan for you to take home and read. They have destinations, food, adventure, Muslim travel and more, and if you have questions, you can always ask the JNTO Malaysia staff.A section of the travel fair at the Starling Mall in PJThe Tokyo Metro booth seem to be one of the popular vendors as there is a lot of information for anyone planning to visit Tokyo. Namely travelling around this metropolis where the daily train passes are the most important item one needs.And if you fill up their questionnaire, you can get a special gift from them which is quite interesting. Even I filled up a form for that unique souvenir from Tokyo Metro.Watch the Japan Travel Fair 2018 VideoAs for fun and games, visitors can have the opportunity to meet a real live Pokemon at the Japan Travel Fair 2018. This is only on the selected hours. But there is a cute Pokemon game where anyone can play to win some cute Pokemon sticker sheets.You can also find out the previous Japan travel fair in Malaysia as I had visited the event to see what was being promoted. The last event was held at One Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya.Overall, the Japan Travel Fair is catered to the people of Petaling Jaya and also from around the other parts of the Klang Valley. If you are not doing anything this weekend, bring your family, friends or loved ones here as there is much to discover about the other interesting places in Japan. 
    Friday 12th of January 2018 12:05:00 PM
  • Scuba Diving Expos in Malaysia
    Over the years, there has only been the Malaysia International Dive Exhibition or MIDE which is held mid year in Kuala Lumpur. This was the only Malaysian scuba diving expo to be held for years, and as of 2018, another international player has emerged to bring the popular Dive Resort Travel Expo to Malaysia. This of course has widened the branding and awareness for scuba diving as a recreational sport, which in turn will assist to enhance tourism in Malaysia and the region. Consumers and scuba divers now have more options with two world class scuba diving expos being held here in Malaysia.At one of the Malaysian dive expos in Kuala LumpurMalaysia Scuba Diving ExhibitionsWith the announcement of DRT Malaysia taking place in early February 2018, many scuba divers are excited to attend this event as all this while, there was only one event happening in Malaysia. When choices are offered, it tends to keep the game up for the exhibition organizers, and many are waiting to see what DRT has to offer. While MIDE happens around mid year, DRT was creative in order to capture the market in the earlier part of the year. This is also seen as a positive move as many diver tend to plan their dive trips early in order to save on expensive flight tickets, better promotions and so on. The Chinese New Year 2018 celebrations also take place on the 16th February, which is roughly two weeks after the dive expo. Dive expo's like the below also attract a number of business to business (B2B) sessions, and at the last expo in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board or MTPB hosted a group of international buyers for the B2B sessions. DRT Show in Malaysia1. Dive Resort Travel Expo Malaysia (DRT Malaysia)As DRT is a strong presence around Asia, namely in China, the dive expo is also found in other countries around the region. DRT is also supported by diving training agencies such as National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), Diving Instructor World Association (DIWA),  and the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers (IANTD).Originally, the first show was held in Hong Kong in 2010, 18 years ago and since then, it has been to the Philippines, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, and Singapore. It is now the largest dive, resort and travel show in Asia which hosts seven expo's a year. Almost 1000 exhibitors take part from 50 countries around the world, and each show accommodates around 1300 booths. DRT also has a database of almost 100,000 registered members from around the region. As this is the first time that the event will take place in Malaysia, many are curious on to what is being offered here. There should be different exhibitors coming in from other countries around Asia, making this something to look forward to. Some of the key elements that take place at the DRT Show in Malaysia are;Save Our Ocean ProjectLive Judging for Asia Pacific Underwater Photo Challenge (UWPC)100 Star Underwater Photo GalleryScuba Diving SeminarFreediving SeminarUnderwater Photography SeminarUnderwater Videography SeminarDive Destination SeminarMarine Conservation SeminarLucky DrawKids ZoneWhen is DRT Expo Malaysia 2018Date: 2-4 February 2018Venue: PWTC (Putra World Trade Center), Kuala LumpurTime: Fri/Sat: 11.00 AM to 8.00 PM, Sun: 11.00 AM to 6.00 PMWebsite: http://www.malaysiadiveexpo.com/Tickets: RM 10.00 (Normal Entry)Promotion: RM 5.00 (Sign up our WeChat to become our fan and get RM 5 voucher when you visit the show)What MIDE Malaysia looks like2. MIDE 2018 The Malaysia International Dive Expo will take place in early May, slightly earlier this year due to the Hari Raya holidays which falls on 14th June 2018. A month before that, Muslims will observe the fasting period which starts on the 13th May, hence the dive expo is in the first week of May. MIDE is the pioneer scuba diving expo that has been running for `12 years, and 2018 will be the 13th year for this dive expo here in Malaysia. I would safely say that most scuba divers in Malaysia have visited MIDE at least once before. This dive expo provides all the latest news in the diving industry, hosts seminars and talks by various diving industry professionals, underwater photography contest and gallery, retail diving equipment promotions and more. At MIDE 2017, a total of 12,166 visitors attended throughout the three days. Out of that number, there were 1,777 non-divers who were present at the expo. Part of this was also in conjunction with the 'Be A Diver' program, where non-divers were invited to try scuba diving at a mobile pool. There was also a total revenue of RM8.2 million generated throughout the three day dive expo, which is a very healthy number considering that scuba diving is a niche hobby and sport. When is MIDE 2018Date: 4-6 May 2018Venue: PWTC (Putra World Trade Center), Kuala LumpurTime: 10.00 AM to 7.00 PMWebsite: https://mide.com.my/Tickets: RM 5.00Dive expos in Malaysia attract many foreign dive operators to participateWhy scuba divers visit dive expo's in Malaysia? There are a number of reasons why Malaysians visit these dive expos and they are listed below in no order.Information - The main reason is to get updated on the latest trends, news and products for scuba diving. It does not matter if you are a beginner, experienced or even a technical diver. There is a lot of information available for all levels of divers. During these die expo's, one of the highlights are the many seminars conducted by various dive experts. This is one way of sharing information about products, destinations and even marine conservation. At any expo, there would be at least 10 to 20 speakers conducting this over the three days. Tourism - As this underwater sport has grown tremendously in Malaysia and around the region, more people are getting into scuba diving as a leisure hobby. This allows people to visit destinations that cater to diving, as there are many beautiful places in Asia for this. With tourism being one of the biggest travel factor, a number of tourism boards from around Asia will take part at the dive expo's in Malaysia. You can expect to see tourism boards from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia taking part, providing diving information for their countries. So, if you have been planning to make that epic dive trip to Raja Ampat, you should attend these expos as you can get first hand information about the destinations. Scuba Diving Products - Without fail, dive expo's have created a consumer myth that diving equipment is at its cheapest during this time, and many will hold back from buying any equipment until the expo. At some point, this has become a fact, that retailers and suppliers would offer massive savings, promotions and discount for diving equipment, dive packages and even courses for photography or other levels of diving. A lot of consumers will hold back from buying any equipment, and wait for the dive expo's to see if there are new products or promotions being offered. Underwater Photography - For the underwater photography category, this is also the best time for consumers to browse the many different brands and accessories. Reputable distributors and brands are prominent here and accessories are explained in detailed, providing tips and tricks. This is also the best time for the brands to showcase their new products and accessories for the consumers, and if you are lucky, you could walk away with some items at discounted prices. Some of the brands that participate at the dive exposFor any scuba diver out there, these are the two largest diving expos held in Malaysia and it is recommended to visit. There may have been smaller ones organised by state tourism boards around Malaysia, but those are state specific and cater to the local industries there. DRT Malaysia will be the talk of scuba diving for the beginning of 2018 as it is the first time this expo is happening in Malaysia. As a diver myself, I would highly recommend visiting this expo due to it having a very positive response from other countries in Asia. About the WriterMy scuba diving has taken me around the world, and also to some of the most beautiful dive sites in Malaysia. As a Malaysian, I am proud to say that we do have some world class dive sites which should not be missed by anyone. My last dive was also in the far East of Indonesia in September 2017, where I explored the remote Alor Island on the far east of Flores. You can read about my Alor Island dive trip report if you are interested to venture to this part of Indonesia.That is me diving at Alor Island, East Nusa TenggaraDuring my two week expedition, I also went on the Komodo Island live on board to dive at some of the best spots here. This was truly an experience that is recommended for any diver. My final stop was no other than Raja Ampat in West Papua where I had the opportunity to spend five day there. I ended up seeing the beautiful landscapes, doing some bird watching and of course, the main even which was diving at one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you want to explore other parts of Asia for diving, I would say that any of the dive expos in Malaysia are worth a visit. It is here that you will find all the information you will need for your trip and as for me, I will definitely be there so see you at the next Malaysia dive expo. 
    Monday 8th of January 2018 02:30:00 AM
  • Mutiara Taman Negara Resort Review
    This is a review of the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort in Taman Negara National Park. First thing you should know is that in the national park, there is no other resort but this one. All other hotels or guest houses are located opposite the park at Kuala Tahan. To get to Taman Negara National Park, everyone will have to access it through Kuala Tahan, a small river town by the Tembeling River. Once you reach Kuala Tahan, you head to the jetty area and take a river taxi across to Taman Negara National Park. The price is RM1.00 one way per person. The entrance to the national park is also the main entrance of the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort, which is where the park headquarters is located at. All park activities start from here, therefore I hope this provides you with the valuable information. Review of Mutiara Taman Negara ResortThe main lobby area of the resortI visited Taman Negara in April 2017 as part of my tourism product update and stayed two nights at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. The third night, I spent in Kuala Tahan at one of the local guest houses, which was quite decent. The Mutiara Resort has been around for more than two decades, named as the most luxurious resort in the national park. Prices are premium, where you can expect to pay around RM200.00 to RM500.00 per night, depending on the type of room, chalet, bungalow or villa. One of the chalets at the Taman Negara ResortBefore you continue reading, you may have already seen photos of this resort on other websites and so on. Let me just share with you about photography and its tricks.Most of the photos are enhanced with HDR or photoshopped by professional photographers. In this article, my photos are all taken by me and edited very little, to show you the real deal. For those of you who plan to stay longer than two days, the resort offers various room promotions with minor discounts. This would work well if you are traveling as a couple or family wanting to have a lovely nature experience. For single travelers, there is also an air-conditioned dorm available and for larger families, there are bungalows with multiple rooms. And if you are a company looking for a retreat or team building trip, Mutiara Taman Negara Resort is one of the recommended places away from the city. The resort also offers meeting and banquet rooms that can accommodate up to 250 people. In total, there are three function rooms within the park grounds, and for that additional surprise, an outdoor barbecue can also be arranged.Deluxe chalet units at the resortChalet Room at Taman NegaraI checked into a chalet suit, which is a single storey semi-detached unit that came with a king sized bed. There is a living room with access to your own private balcony and a mini kitchen area.The unit is done in a rustic wood ambiance which blends in with the rainforest surrounding and perfect for any nature lover.The bedroom at the suiteThe suit chalet also comes with two air conditions, and the attached bathroom is pretty modern which I believe was recently upgraded. Overall, rusting and Eco-friendly and a modern contemporary bathroom, which is a perfect mix. The chalet units are lined along the main walk way, which is about five minutes walk from the main reception area. If you have problems walking, I recommend you book a room that is nearer to the reception area and restaurant.The common area or living hall in the suiteBathrooms are modern contemporaryFor meals, there is only one restaurant called Seri Mutiara, which serves buffet or ala-carte meals that is Halal, and catering to all walks of life. Choices include Asian cuisine and also Continental cuisine.The menu is quite diverse as pizzas, pastas and burgers are also offered. For the non-Muslims, beer is offered by the can or wine is served by the glass or bottle.If you are spending a much longer time staying here, do take the boat taxi across to Kuala Tahan and try some of the local restaurants there. Some of them are pretty interesting, serving Malaysian style local and western food.Seri Mutiara Restaurant at Taman NegaraMutiara Taman Negara FacilitiesIn the main reception area and park head quarters office, there is a souvenir and mini mart combined that sells snacks, ice cream, drinks and even daily necessities. You can also get your insect repellents here. On my free time, I pretty much self trekked around the resort trails which are very safe. Recommended to do this in the mornings. One of the trails lead all the way to the canopy walk too, so if you are not up to sitting on a boat and heading there, you can trek there. One thing you should know is that one weekends, the park entrance can get a little crowded, or even extremely crowded. This is usually because many companies tend to have their retreats here, or even schools having their day trips. If you dislike crowds, I highly recommend you book your stay for a weekday, as it will almost guarantee a peaceful time with you and nature. I have read and head so many complaints about the noisy kids and crowds in the main entrance area. As mentioned, the reason for this is because anyone entering Taman Negara National Park will have to go through here to get to the park headquarters. This is for the park permit and other park activities.The Mutiara Taman Negara Resort JettyActivities at Mutiara Taman Negara ResortWhen you stay here, there are quite a bit of outdoor, nature and adventure activities for guests to choose from. This is suitable for both couples and families, including kids.While I was here, I did the most common things, which were walking the longest canopy walk in the world, rapid shooting up the Tembeling River, visiting the local ethnic village, a night walk and of course bird watching.Some of the deer I spotted while doing the nocturnal walk at Taman Negara National ParkHowever, for visitors here, you can choose what you like and the resort can arrange it for you. Alternatively, you can go to the park headquarters and book your own activities. Below is the list of activities being offered;Night Jungle WalkJungle Trekking at Bukit Teresek and Canopy WalkwayBoat Cruise to Lata BerkohCave ExplorationShooting the RapidsFishingOrang Asli SettlementsWildlife observation hide (Jungle hide)Mountain climbingFour Steps WaterfallOne of the chalets at nightMutiara Taman Negara ResortLocation: Inside Taman Negara National Park, Kuala TahanPhone: +609-266 2200Website: http://www.mutiaratamannegara.com/Book Mutiara Taman Negara ResortBook from Ivy Holidays in Kuala LumpurTel: +60109008699 Whatsapp/Line/WeChatOverall, Taman Negara National Park can be visited on a day trip, but I strongly suggest you spend at least two to three nights to fully experience Malaysia's oldest national park. There are many companies that sell tour packages for Taman Negara, but I recommend one of the reputable tour agents who is Ivy Holidays, and is based in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. They have been selling packages for a while and also operate daily shuttle services to and from Taman Negara. The Taman Negara daily shuttle service is catered to those who only need the transport to get to Taman Negara. Most of these guests have already booked a stay at the resort, hotel or guest house around here and there is not actual bus service to the national park.River cruising on the Tembeling River to JerantutIvy Holidays also provides very attractive Taman Negara packages at reasonable prices that suit the visitors budgets. So if you are on a tight budget, they can arrange for a cheaper alternative, while if you want a proper stay at Taman Negara, they can give you the best deal. Birders are also one of many people who come here, especially on weekdays as bird watching in Taman Negara is one of the top places in Malaysia with over 200 species of birds to be spotted. Overall, my conclusion is that for anyone wanting to have a proper experience here, you should consider staying at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. Though it is old, and may look a little run down, it is the only resort or hotel located in the national park. 
    Monday 1st of January 2018 06:06:00 AM
  • Bird Watching Places Near Kuala Lumpur
    For those who need to do quick birding, here is a list of bird watching spots near Kuala Lumpur which you can do in half a day or one full day without having to travel too far.Most of these places are selected based on the easy accessibility for the bird watcher and nature lover. However, you should know that the best way to go to these places are by hiring a private car, taxi or tour company service. These bird watching places near Kuala Lumpur are also divided into different habitats, for example, there are wetland birds, lowland birds, mangrove birds and sub-montane birds.Overall there are almost 800 species of birds found in Malaysia, and you can easily spot them and even some endemics at some of these easy bird watching spots around Kuala Lumpur. Bird watchers at Fraser's HillBird Watching Locations Near Kuala Lumpur1. Fraser's HillThis is probably the best place to get a good number of birds in one location. From lowland to sub-montane birds, Fraser's Hill is well known as one of the best bird watching spots in Malaysia.There are bird watching events that take place here, namely the Fraser's Hill Bird Race 2017 which takes place from the 25-26 Feb. So if you are visiting KL and want to explore this even on the weekend, it would be a perfect opportunity to participate and get to know the local birders. Fraser's Hill is located about 2.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and you can rent a car to make your way here. There is accommodation for those wanting to spend the night in this highland small town. In total, there are also over 260 bird species found here, so almost every local Malaysian bird watcher has been here.This former British Hill Station is the best kept Mock Tudor town in Malaysia and offers numerous trails for birding and trekking. The cool climate at Fraser's Hill is also perfect for bird watching around here.Birds to spot: Trogons, Barbets, Laughingthrush, Minivets, Sibia, Mesia, Eagle, Sunbirds, Spiderhunters, Warblers, Babblers, Bulbuls and Niltavas.Fraser's HillDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 100 kmDriving time one way: 2.5 hoursA migratory Tiger Shrike spotted at Awana Genting2. Awana Genting IBAAnother great morning bird watching spot is at Awana Genting Highlands, which is only an hours drive from the city of KL. Awana is also well known among the locals as this spot is part of the bird watching event called Wings of KKB which takes place from 21-23 April 2017. The event has also taken a new branding called the Selangor International Bird Race 2017.For the serious birders, Awana is also one of the Important Birding Areas (IBA) of Malaysia and launched in 2010. There is an area dedicated to this for bird watchers and a total of 200 native and migratory birds have been spotted in this area. A road leads into this part where you can park your car and walk along the small road here.Birds to spot: Trogon, Black-thighed Falconet, Black-browed Barbet, Mountain Bulbul, Banded Kingfisher, Grey-chinned Minivet, Long-tailed Sibia, Verditer Flyctcher.Awana GentingDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 50 kmDriving time one way: 1.1 hoursA flock of Lesser Adjutant birds nestling in Tanjung Tuan. Photo by http://urchinsundertakings.blogspot.my3. Port Dickson - Tanjung Tuan National Park90 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur and you are at Malaysia's coastline in Negeri Sembilan. Port Dickson is a popular place for beach goers and exploring 10 minutes away from the main area will allow you to do some coastal birding at the Tanjung Tuan National Park.The strange thing is that Tanjung Tuan is actually in Melaka, but the entrance is from Port Dickson. Anyway, over here, there are a total of 94 species of birds recorded. Two of the species are globally threatened.The best time to come is is also from February to April when it is the Raptor Season. The yearly Raptor Watch also takes place here during that time. I would recommend you spend the night around here and do an early morning bird watching session.Birds to spot: Raffles Malkoha, Black-bellied Malkoha (Threatened), Osprey, Black-winged Kite, Greater Spotted Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Blue-rumped Parakeet, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker.Tanjung TuanDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 103 kmDriving time one way: 2 hoursAn Orange-backed Woodpecker spotted in FRIM. Photo by https://ron-nature-adventure.blogspot.my4. FRIM at Kuala Lumpur Known as the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, this forest is located 30 minutes drive from the center of Kuala Lumpur city. In total, there are about 182 species of birds found at this forest reserve and one of the best places is near the pond area.The best times are also in the early mornings or late afternoons. FRIM is well know as a quick nature getaway from Kuala Lumpur city, and at times, there can be a large crowd here. There is a canopy walkway here but it has been closed for renovations and may reopen in 2020.The operation hours are also from 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM and best to get more information from the official FRIM website. Best places to spot birds are at the wetlands, Kepong botanical garden, fruits arboretum, non-dipterocarps arboretum and the trails.Birds to spot: Drongo, Kingfisher, Cuckoo, Flycatcher, Waterhens, Iora, Bulbul, Barbet, Babbler, Tailor Bird, Leafbird.FRIMDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 20 kmDriving time one way: 30-40 MinutesA Golden-whiskered Barbet photographed in Templers Park. Photo by https://ron-nature-adventure.blogspot.my5. Templer ParkLocated about 30 minute drive from Kuala Lumpur city center, Templer Park is one of the old nature reserves which can provide some bird watching. Though the place may be a little run down or not well kept, birders will find some gems here.The popular spots are the forest trails here where one of them leads to the waterfall. Avoid the weekends as there could be a lot of people around here. In total, there are over 50 species of birds to spot here, depending on the time of day too.Birds to spot: Trogon, Bulbul, Treeswift, Hawk-eagle, Babbler, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Sunbird, Yuhinas, Red-throated Sunbird, Malkoha and others.Templer ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 24 kmDriving time one way: 30-40 minutesBirds spotted at the Putrajaya Wetlands Park. Photo by http://siti-ctazpics.blogspot.my6. Putrajaya Wetlands Park (Payah Indah Wetlands)One of the better places is to do bird watching at the Putrajaya Wetlands area. The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya can take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. The beauty about this place is that you will find lots of migratory birds, marshland birds and also water birds in this 2000 hectare wetland area.In general, over 200 species of birds make the wetlands their home, so for birders, this is one of the good places to explore. The bird migratory season is from September to December.The best place to spot birds in Putrajaya is at Upper Bisa 1 in Precinct 16. You can park at the Putra Square parking lot and walk about 2 km along the lake until you reach the islands. Make sure you bring some water with you.Birds to spot: A few species of Heron's, Egrets, Bittern, Flycatcher, Swiftlet, Warbler and Ospray.Putrajaya Wetland ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 36 kmDriving time one way: 1 hourA Brahminy kite photographed at Sepang Gold Coast. Photo by http://www.wildbirdclub.my/7. Sepang Gold CoastBird watching at Sepang Gold Coast is the closest place to KLIA airport. For birders who are on a stopover, you can do some quick birding as it takes around 50-60 minutes drive from both KLIA and KLIA2 airport.From Kuala Lumpur, it takes about 120 minutes drive to get here. One prominent area is the Sungai Sepang Besar River as it has a healthy mangrove area by the river mouth. Another area in Sepang is near the Taman Murni Sepang Town Jetty.The best is to hire a local guide to bring you to some of these places. If you are doing it to pass time, then stay around the Taman Murni Sepang Town Jetty. Make sure you tell your taxi driver to wait or pick you up at a agreed time.Birds to spot: Kingfishers, Raptors, Magpies, Mynas, Accipiter, Sea Eagles, Kite, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Tit, Warblers, and some others. Sepang Gold CoastDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 85 kmDriving time one way: 2 hoursThe boardwalk area at Kuala Selangor Nature Park. Photo by http://rnjmedia.com/8. Kuala Selangor Nature ParkOne of the popular places for a good bird watching trip is at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park or KSNP where a total of 160 species of birds have been recorded here. At any one time, you can spot more than 30 species of birds.The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is a great bird watching site for coastal, mangrove and open field birds and for those wanting to tick off their checklist, this is the place to visit. However, you need a bird watching guide service to see the best of this place.The best season to spot migratory birds is between middle of September until late April. And if you are a fan of fireflies, Kuala Selangor is famous for them.Birds to spot: Jambu Fruit Dove, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Threatened), Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Mangrove Pitta, Masked Finfoot, Milky Stork, Curlew Sandpiper, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black-naped Oriole, Black Drongo.Kuala Selangor Nature ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 70 kmDriving time one way: 2.1 hoursA White-throated Kingfisher at Taman Botani Shah Alam. Photo by Edward Chen9. Taman Botani Shah Alam (Shah Alam Botanical Park)The Taman Botani Shah Alam is located in the Selangor side and is only about an hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. This places used to be called Bukit Chaya and still is by the locals. Over here, if you are in luck, you can spot the Pitta among the many birds found here.There is a RM3.00 entry fee to enter the park and all you need to do is explore the park. Get here as early as you can to avoid the highway traffic. There are bicycle rentals available and avoid weekends as many people will come here. Visit the official Taman Botani Shah Alam website for more information.Birds to spot: Kingfishers, Hooded Pitta, Drongo, Minivets, Woodpeckers, Barbets, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Pink-necked Pigeon, Asian Glossy Starling.Taman Botani Shah AlamDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 34 kmDriving time one way: 1 hourOne of the trails at Sungai Tekala for bird watching. Photo by ww.xplorasidestinasi.com10. Sungai Tekala Recreational ForestThis is one of the lesser visited places and is close to the Semenyih Dam in the Hulu Langat district of Selangor. Here, there are a few trails to walk and spot the birds, but you nee to come early for this. If you book a taxi or Grab, make sure you get their number so that when you want to return, you can easily contact them.There is little infrastructure here, but there are public toilets, a couple of stalls selling food and drinks. The place is a little run down, but just enough to get your bird watching fix if you are nearby.Birds to spot: Red-naped, Diard's and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, Blue-banded and Rufous-collared Kingfishers, and many other common lowland birds.Sungai Tekala Recreational ForestDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 37 kmDriving time one way: 1 hoursOperational Hour: Daily from 7.00 am ? 6.00 pmAnd If Everything Else Fails...The KL Bird Park is a sure bet to see birds if everything else fails11. Kuala Lumpur Bird ParkThis is your last resort to spot some birds, but at the KL Bird Park which is in the city area. Here, you pay a small fee to get in and you can spot all kinds of tropical birds from Malaysia and around the world.There are quite a large number of birds to see here, including foreign birds. However, one of the star birds to spot is the Rhinoceros Hornbill, native to Malaysia, and is easily spotted at the KL Bird Park Cafe area.Overall, this is an awesome place to bring your family, to introduce them to the bird life. Plus you can also take a photo with some of the unique birds here. The place is huge, therefore it is recommended to go early in the mornings.Kuala Lumpur Bird ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 1 kmDriving time one way: 0.1 hoursThe Kuala Lumpur Kale Gardens is a great place to relax an spot birds while in KL city12. Kuala Lumpur Lake GardensThe most beautiful lake gardens in Kuala Lumpur called Taman Tasik Perdana, this place is just a 20 minute walk from Dataran Merdeka. In the mornings, there are a lot of common birds spotted around here, and walking to and around this place, you can easily spot the smaller birds.The KL Lake Gardens is also close to the KL Bird Park and many other parks, so if all things fail, and you want an easy bird watching place in Kuala Lumpur, this is the place to head to. Be prepared to spend a few hours here as the entire place is quite huge.Along your walk, there are spots where small cafes are found and also public toilets. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along some drinking water.Kuala Lumpur Lake GardensWalking Distance from Kuala Lumpur: 1.5 kmA Large Niltava photographed at Awana GentingThe above places for bird watching near Kuala Lumpur is created for the convenience of those who want somewhere easy to do this hobby. Most of the places are easily accessible and you can either use Grab or UBER to get to them. One thing you must remember is to make sure that your driver will pick you up or wait for you. Overall, you just need about 2-4 hours for bird watching and travel time is around two to three hours both ways.For those who plane to do more serious birding, and plan to travel around the country, you can also refer to my other article on the best bird watching places in Malaysia. That list narrows down some of the top places worth visiting.For locals, you may or may not have been to these places, but they are quite decent as I have personally been to a number of these places. If you know of any other good bird watching spots near Kuala Lumpur, do share them with me in the comment form below and I will update this list. 
    Friday 29th of December 2017 07:14:00 AM
  • Ultimate Nature Retreat Getaway Guide From Kuala Lumpur
    Are you looking for a nature retreat for a weekend getaway in Malaysia? You came to the right place as I have compiled a master list of the best retreats out of Kuala Lumpur. This list caters to everyone, especially locals who have little time but need an escape from the city life to somewhere near. If you are a traveler or tourist that has a couple of free days in Malaysia and want to have an experience for a rainforest retreat, this list will provide you with some valuable information. Overall, some these nature retreats are located near Kuala Lumpur or just a short drive or flight from here.The retreats listed here are also based on price, for entire villas or bungalows or by persons therefore you need to double check when booking. Weekends and public holidays are always priced higher than weekdays. Ultimate Nature Retreat Getaway Guide From Kuala LumpurBelow is a list of 18 rainforest and nature retreats that are built in the lush tropical rainforest of Malaysia. The list is also for Peninsular Malaysia only, as it is not easy to find resorts or retreats in this genre for this part of Malaysia. They are also in no order and varies from state to state around here. The Thai style Malihom Private Estate Resort in Penang. (Photo by http://grauboat.jalbum.net)1. Malihom PenangOne of the much talked about rainforest resorts is the Malihom Private Estate in Penang. This is a luxurious retreat set in the lush rainforest of Balik Pulau on the island of Penang (Pulau Pinang). Malihom is made up of eight Thai style rice-barns which are converted to modern day resort living.Malihom feels more like a private estate resort with a 16-acre hilltop property that has an infinity pool overlooking the lush scenery. For those seeking something different, can expect quality over quantity when you stay here.Slightly on the pricier side, but well worth it for anyone wanting a bit of luxury away from the mainstream tourist places of Penang, but still in reach. Malihom PenangAddress: Kiri N/T 168, Bukit Penara, Mukim 6 Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang, MalaysiaPrice: From RM520+ per nightWebsite: http://malihom.com/Booking: Book MalihomLuxury in the Rainforest at Sekeping Serendah (Photo by https://www.sekeping.com/serendah/)2. Sekeping SerendahA very popular weekend escape from Kuala Lumpur is no other than Sekeping Serendah just outside the Rawang area of Selangor. This Eco retreat has been the talk of social media for many years and attracts all walks of life, namely millennials, hipsters and the occasional corporate group or family. Surrounded by five acres of rainforest, Sekeping Serendah brands itself as a luxurious escape with a strong minimalist design that plays with glass and rustic designs. The seclusion is nature perfect with a lot of greens everywhere.There are a total of 10 units available and a lot of companies use this place for group retreats or events. Avoid long holiday periods here as it can get crowded or booked up fast. Sekeping SerendahAddress: N3.368050 E101.631150, MalaysiaPrice: From RM300+ per nightWebsite: https://www.sekeping.com/serendah/The beautiful natural scenery at Awanmulan. (Photo by http://www.goasiaplus.com03. AwanmulanIn neighboring Selangor, you can find Awanmulan which is one of the nature escapes that provide a peaceful and quiet experience. This rainforest escape is located in Negeri Sembilan and provides eight individual homes with unique names to them. Six of the units cater to four or six people while the remaining two villas are for couples only. The highlight of Awanmulan apart from the beautiful lush scenery are the two salted swimming pools, a jungle pool and a sky pool, that provides an ultimate relaxation in the rainforest. Nothing beats lounging by the pool with cocktail in hand and nature surrounding you.Nature activities like hiking is available for those who want to explore the area and there is transport options available for those needing it to get here. AwalmulanAddress: Kampung Baru Pantai, Jalan Jelebu, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, MalaysiaPrice: From RM774 - RM2,445 per nightWebsite: http://www.awanmulan.com/Penang's Fig Tree Hill Resort (Photo by http://www.figtreehill-resort.com/)4. Fig Tree Hill Resort PenangThe Fig Tree Hill Resort in Penang is another luxurious nature escape which is located in the Sungai Ara area, far from the main tourist and commercial areas. This beautiful rustic property offers six beautiful wooden villas which is suitable for couples or families. Each of the villas come with their own names and are themed accordingly, with a spacious living room, a dining area and a private balcony area. The size of each villas are around 150 to 200 square meters in size, with king sized beds, LCD television, complete bathroom and coffee amenities.The showers are quite cool as they provide open aired bathrooms with outdoor showers. Only breakfast is provided, so you need to get your other meals arranged. The property can also be rented for private events or photography, but avoid booking during the rainy season. Fig Tree Hill ResortAddress: Jalan Kenari, mkm 10, Sungai Ara, Balik Pulau, 11900 Penang, MalaysiaPrice: From RM500+ per nightWebsite: http://www.figtreehill-resort.com/Green Acres is a luxury orchard stay in Penang (Photo by http://greenacrespenang.com/)5. Green Acres PenangOne of the more unique and interesting weekend escapes is Green Acres in Penang. This getaway is located in a Durian orchard, so if you are a durian lover, this can be considered heaven for you. Green Acres is an organic farm which has over 500 fruit trees with a selection of unique spice plants and perfect for the green traveler. Created with an organic and Eco theme, the resort sits on a 16 acre farm property which has been around for the last 50 years. The villas are styled towards a very Malaysian 'Kampung' home, and is 250 meters above sea level.Green Acres is suitable for groups, families or even couples and the property is nestled away from commercialization. Oh, and if you love durians or local fruits, this is your mecca and very highly recommended. Green Acres PenangAddress: Batu Itam, Balik Pulau, PenangPrice: From RM500 per nightWebsite: http://greenacrespenang.com/Back to basics at Terra's Treehouse in Cameron Highlands6. Terra?s Treehouse Cameron HighlandsThis natural experience is well suited for the adventurous traveler or family where you need to take a 4WD into the lush rainforest of Cameron Highlands in Pahang. After reaching your stop, you continue to trek 400 meters to Terra's Treehouse. An experience suited for the the serious outdoor and nature lover, this tree house accommodation is not your luxury escape, but more of an experiential tourism getaway. Terra's Treehouse is located in the cool climate of Brinchang in Cameron Highlands, and you can expect the best of nature here.A total of six tree houses are available with a common kitchen and an activity hall. Electricity is powered by a generator from 6.30 AM to 10.00 PM. Here, you can expect temperatures from around 14-25 degrees Celsius in a natural and organic kind of retreat. If you are looking for something totally different and back to basic, then this is it. Terra's Treehouse Cameron HighlandsAddress: Address: Jalan Sungai Mansion, Brinchang, Pahang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia 39010Price: From RM160+ per personWebsite: http://www.terrafarm.com.my/2013/02/tree-house.htmlGunung Pulai's Rainforest Treehouse Accommodation (Photo by https://www.facebook.com/rainforest.treehouse.johor/)7. Rainforest Treehouse Gunung Pulai JohorOne of the raw-styled nature retreats in Johor is the Rainforest Treehouse at Gunung Pulai. Just like Terra's Treehouse, there are six treehouses available for nature and outdoor lovers. Four of the tree houses cater to six people while two of them can accommodate up to 12 people. Very natural but a little modern, there are electrical outlets, proper bedding, mosquito nets, common bathroom and activity area. All of this was built by the owner who was filled with passion and determination. He worked with the locals in the area to crate this amazing place which uses all natural resources. Again, this is not your luxury escape, but more of an experience in the rainforest of Johor. Please do not bring your wheeled luggage as you need to trek up to the tree houses. Rainforest Treehouse Gunung PulaiAddress: Gunung Pulai, 81000 Kulai, JohorPrice: RM250+ per person including foodWebsite: https://www.facebook.com/rainforest.treehouse.johor/Bali Villa at Dusuntara Jungle Retreat in Batang Kali. (Photo by http://dusuntarajungleretreat.com/)8. Dusuntara Jungle RetreatIn Batang Kali, you can find the Dusuntara Jungle Retreat which is only about an hours drive from the city of Kuala Lumpur. This retreat is more of a modern resort with wood, brick and mortar villas, salt water swimming pool, Jacuzzi and facilities. Camping is available, provided you bring your own tents and for activities, there is trekking, fishing, bird watching and anything outdoors. Otherwise, its swimming and just taking a break from the fast city life.Getting into the resort takes you off-road, and Kamal the owner can arrange the 4WD drive if needed. In total, there are three acres of land here for you to explore the wilderness. I would recommend coming here on a weekday due to the place being popular on weekends for groups and team building activities. Dusuntara Jungle RetreatAddress: No.1, Dusun Drive, Batang Kali Estate | Kg. Sungei Kamin, Batang Kali 48300Price: RM180+ per personWebsite: http://dusuntarajungleretreat.com/Luxury in the rainforest at The Dusun in Seremban (Photo by http://thedusun.com.my/)9. The DusunOne of the old timers in the rainforest retreats of Malaysia is The Dusun, which has been around since 1984 and turned into an Eco retreat in 2009. In total, the resort sits in a 12 acre orchard which is 800 meters above sea level in the Berembun Forest Resort here. There are six different bungalows which cater to families, groups or couples. Operated by Helen and David, they have been living here since the beginning and sharing this beautiful retreat with passionate people who believe in responsible tourism. Activities include trekking, bird watching, waterfall visits and even a cooking workshop. Due to the higher pricing, you can expect quality service and accommodations here, and also privacy without mass tourism. From Kuala Lumpur, it is only an hour and a half to get here and this would be one of the closer weekend retreats from KL. The Dusun Negeri SembilanAddress: 3437, Kampung Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai, 71770 Seremban, Negeri SembilanPrice: From RM400 - RM900Website: http://thedusun.com.my/Two of the beautiful villas at The Shorea in Seremban10. The ShoreaAround the Berembun Forest Reserve, you can find The Shorea Resort, which is one of the new players for the weekend getaway category. They are branded as a boutique Eco resort with eight bungalows and a total of 15 rooms. The Shorea is divided into two sections which is the Shorea Estate and the Shorea Resort, which is built in line with the rustic and Eco theme surrounded by the lush rainforest. Swimming pools face the beautiful landscaped forest where sunsets can be enjoyed. A full facility resort, The Shorea provides fine dining, Asian dining and private dining hence this is an excellent choice for a romantic getaway for couples. Activities around here include trekking, water fall visits and good old nature walks. Need a family retreat? Book a villa of your own at The Shorea, an architectural wonder built within the tropical forest reserves of Berembun. Set on natural terrains, there are meandering paths leading down to a jungle stream, and even a waterfall. The resort is also constructed using recycled timber, so you know it?s a real Eco retreat.The ShoreaAddress: Village Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai,, Jalan Jelebu, 71770 Seremban, Negeri SembilanPrice: RM530+ per nightWebsite: http://www.theshorea.com/Farrah Soraya villas by Tanah Aina in Raub, Pahang. (Photo by http://www.tanahaina.com/farrah-soraya/)11. Tanah Aina - Farrah Soraya Eco Tourism ResortLocated in the Raub area, one hour away from Kuala Lumpur is the Farrah Soraya Resort which is under the Tanah Aina brand of retreats. Yes, the name sounds confusing as many people seem to think it is Tanah Aina Resort, which is actually the group name. This multiple resort concept is created by Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina Syed Akil, who is passionate about protecting and conserving Malaysia?s rainforests and natural environment. She has also branded this as an exclusive Eco resort which sits 1,700 meters above sea level. This equals a cooling and private getaway in the rainforest of Pahang. Activities are abundant with nature related experiences as they boast of three private waterfalls, trekking and a flying fox through the lush tropical rainforest here. For accommodations, there is villas and camping available. Based on reviews, Farrah Soraya Resort gets really busy on weekends and long holidays, hence I recommend visiting this place on a weekday. Tanah Aina Resort (Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya)Address: 8, Jalan Tras, 27600 Raub, Pahang, MalaysiaPrice: RM100+ per night per personWebsite: http://www.tanahaina.com/farrah-soraya/The stunning pool at the Templer Park Rainforest Retreat (Photo by https://www.pinterest.com)12. Templer Park Rainforest RetreatThe closest rainforest retreat in Kuala Lumpur is the all new Templer Park Rainforest Retreat which is only about 40 minutes drive from the city. This urban rainforest escape sprawls over three acres on a hilltop of the Kanching Rainforest Reserve here. There are only two houses located at this weekend escape, making this one of the most private retreats out of Kuala Lumpur. One unit is a luxurious villa while the other is a container style unit and both a far apart. Activities include trekking and hiking to the Kanching Waterfalls and its surroundings. Generally, this place is suitable for large families or groups who want to do private gatherings, events, parties or jut a massive escape from the hustle and bustle of the fast city life. After all, if you desire to book the entire place for a romantic escape, that would work, but you need to pay the entire fees. Templer Park Rainforest RetreatAddress: 22, Jalan 3/2, Templer Heights, Templer Park, 48000 Rawang, SelangorPrice: RM1,000 weekdays, RM1,500 weekends for 6 pax. Website: https://www.tprr.net/The incredible views at Casabrina Villa (Photo by http://www.casabrina.net/)13. Casabrina Vacation VillasAnother luxurious rainforest retreat is Casabrina Villas, which is located in the hills of Raub, Pahang and about an hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. There are only two villas here with four suites hence you can expect privacy at its best. The theme is tropical-rustic, and fine details are not missed. The owners have invested quite a bit to ensure this falls into the luxury category in a rainforest. Casabrina is perfect for small families or groups that seek a hidden and private property away from it all. As for activities, there are quite a bit to do around here, meaning trips out of the main resort area to to popular tourist places around Raub, Lancang and Karak. I would just recommend staying here and absorbing nature by the pool. Casabrina VillasAddress: Lot 1460, Jalan Tras, Mukim Tras, 27600 Raub PahangPrice: RM800+ per nightWebsite: http://www.casabrina.net/Natural landscapes surrounding Tanah Larwina (Photo by http://www.tanahlarwina.com/)14. Tanah Larwina Retreat A nature retreat in an orchard and animal farm in Hulu Langat, Selangor? Introducing Tanah Larwina Retreat which is a single unit getaway for families or friends who want to experience design in a rainforest. Overall this is a one unit resort with four queen sized beds in an open room concept that lets you be one with nature. The unit sits just by a river while there is a special campfire site outside the unit. There is also a barbecue and cooking area and for larger groups, there is a campsite available.The owner is currently in the midst of adding two pods which caters to couples wanting privacy. They are to be opened in early 2018. Extension plans are in the process for an additional villa in 2018 as well.Tanah Larwina RetreatAddress: Lot 4075, Kg Paya Lebar, Batu 23,  Jalan Sg Lui, Hulu Langat, SelangorPrice: RM1,679 per night for 8 guestsWebsite: http://www.tanahlarwina.com/Kampung style villa at Selepas Hujan (Phot by http://selepashujan.com/wp/)15. Selepas Hujan Deep in the Berembun Rainforest of Negeri Sembilan lies a retreat perfect for couples, very small families or groups. There are only two bungalows or villas available here which is traditionally built in wood combined with modern designs and fittings.Selepas Hujan means after the rain, and it is here that you will find one of the best private escapes to nature. Consider this place as one of the premium luxury escapes in a pristine forest reserve near Kuala Lumpur as it only takes about one hours drive here.Activities include trekking, bird watching and simply doing nothing but relaxing. One of the villas is actually a honeymoon villa, which is perfect for the newlyweds with little time to travel.Selepas Hujan Address: 43A (Lot 3154) Pantai Hill Orchard Resort, Jalan Kampung Pantai, 71770 Pantai Negeri SembilanPrice: RM700 to RM1,500+ per nightTel: +6012-931 5147Website: http://selepashujan.com/wp/The beautiful Enderong Resort in Janda Baik (Photo by https://enderong.wixsite.com/enderongresort)16. Enderong ResortLocated 2000 feet above sea level is a retreat called Enderong Resort, which is in the Janda Baik area of Pahang. This means it only takes you no more than an hour to get here from Kuala Lumpur using the Karak Highway.The Enderong Resort consist of one villa with eight rooms, a cottage with four rooms, an Annexe with 18 rooms, and a multipurpose function hall. All of this combined and you get the perfect venue for small gatherings, retreats, weddings and anything else that says 'Out of KL, but near KL'.The location is pretty close to Bukit Tinggi and Genting Highlands, making this one of the logistically perfect retreat for just about anyone. The key factor is that it is only 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. Tends to get crowded on long weekends and holidays, therefore for privacy, book on a weekday.Enderong ResortAddress: Lot C21, Persiaran Enderong, Jalan Tanarimba Pine, Tanarimba, Janda Baik, Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Bentong, PahangPrice: RM370 to RM4,200 per nightTel: +609 2330533Website: https://enderong.wixsite.com/enderongresortOne of the villas at the Waterway Villas in Bukit Tinggi (Photo by http://www.thewaterwayvilla.com/)17. The Waterway VillaAnother rainforest retreat near Kuala Lumpur is The Waterway Villa, which is also located in the Bukit Tinggi area of Pahang. This part of Bukit Tinggi is home to numerous retreats and resorts that cater to weekend escapes.Waterway Villa consist of five different types of villas where each of them represent a different type of materials. Choose from Balinese, Timber, Stone, Glass and Bamboo design villas as each one provides a different staying experience. The resort also comes with a common swimming pool.The catch is that you either visit on a weekday when the retreat is less crowded, or just book the entire place for your own function or event. Otherwise, you will be sharing the place with other visitors. Waterway VillaAddress: PT 21564,Bt. 7,Jalan Kuala Lumpur Lama, Bukit Tinggi, Bentong PahangPrice: RM400 to RM1,920 per nightTel: +60 3 3343 3888Website: http://www.thewaterwayvilla.com/Stand alone Plasid Villa in Seremban. (Photo by http://gan-lifewalker.blogspot.my)18. Plassid VillaLocated in the Pantai area of Seremban is the Plassid bungalow or villa, which is perfect for very small groups or travelers. This villa which is owned by Patrick, and is a stand alone unit that sits on a hill overlooking the beautiful natural landscapes.The villa is designed after a traditional 'Kampung House' that is also modern contemporary and simple. For accommodations, the villa comes with two bedrooms, eight beds and two baths with standard amenities.Privately owned, the owner takes the initiative to complete the villa with almost anything you can think off in terms of snacks or drinks. Locals from Kuala Lumpur take a quick weekend break here with friends or family to escape the busy city life. Plassid VillaAddress: Lot 3173 Pantai Hill Resort, Jalan Pantai Batu 8, Kg Orang Asli, Negeri SembilanPrice: RM1,200 per nightWebsite: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3399685This is what some of the villa retreats look like inside. (Photo by http://www.casabrina.net/)What To Bring For Your Retreat or Getaway?Depending on which retreat you book, some of them only provide basic amenities while other will provide full service. You need to double check when booking. Most of them provide breakfast only and you can buy your own food to cook there or barbecue.Some retreats also provide fridges, complete kitchen utensils and storage spaces. As for snacks, it is always best to bring them as at nights, there are no places for you to buy them, so stock up if needed.As for mosquito's, these places are located in the rainforest and some places may have mosquito's so best to bring insect repellent. And if you plan to swim or go trekking or hiking, please bring the necessary attire for them.And finally, because these are purely nature retreats, please, I repeat, please do not throw your rubbish everywhere. Especially smokers, please use an ashtray or a makeshift one. We all know this reminds you of a hotel, where you can leave the place in a mess, but please practice good ethics at these places.Trekking to a waterfall at The Dusun (Photo by http://thedusun.com.my/)To be very honest, this list was specially created from reader request as many people want to know where they can find some nature resorts or retreats for a family getaway over the weekend from Kuala Lumpur. Personally, I am yet to visit any of these resorts to date.  However, I have been to some of the most beautiful rainforest resorts of Malaysia since 2010 for my work, also for bird watching and wildlife watching activities. For the serious outdoor and nature lover, I would recommend Sabah as one of the best places for this kind of activity. And if you are looking for something totally different, read about my experiences visiting some of the most beautiful private island resorts in Malaysia, which I have stayed at. And you should know that there are also many different types of resorts found all over Malaysia. Hopefully soon, I will have the opportunity to visit some of the nature retreats, resorts or villas listed here to fully review them. Also if you know of any other weekend getaways that are rainforest or Eco related, do share them in the comment form below. I will look into them and list them here as long as they meet the criteria.
    Wednesday 27th of December 2017 07:37:00 AM
  • 10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia for 2018
    For anyone planning to travel to this part of the world in 2018, here is a list of 10 places to visit in Southeast Asia, catered for all types of travelers. This part of the world has been one of the must-visit destinations for many years and this list highlights some of the best places for travelers. The countries in Southeast Asia consist of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and these places are seeing a huge increase in tourism in recent years.As I am a Malaysian, I personally have traveled to many of these countries for work and leisure and have found each of these places to offer their own uniqueness and identity. Therefore, I have decided to share some of these amazing places for anyone wanting to explore Southeast Asia. 10 Places to Visit in Southeast AsiaOne of the Tri-Color Lakes at Mount Kelimutu, Flores1. Indonesia - Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. Forget Bali and Lombok as Flores is one of the new Indonesian destinations that is raw and amazingly beautiful. Imagine an island that is just developing for tourism, that is what travellers seek nowadays, versus over-commercialized destinations. Even getting to Flores is an exciting journey, imagine what else is there for you. Most people that have visited Flores in the past generally headed to Komodo Island to see the majestic Komodo Dragons. But exploring further in Flores is a whole new world all together.More information can be seen at Indonesia Tourism or read my previous article on Things To Do in Flores which highlights some of the best places here.The incredible Sky Walk at Ulu Temburong in Brunei2. Brunei - Ulu Temburong National Park The Kingdom of Brunei offers Eco lovers one of the best national parks to explore which is the Ulu Temburong National Park. Located some two hours from Bandar Seri Begawan or BSB as the locals call it, the journey to the national park is a unique adventure where you need to travel by boat, van, long boat and then trek. There is only one nature resort called Ulu Ulu Resort (www.uluuluresort.com) in the park and the main highlight is no other than the Ulu Temburong Canopy Walk which stands at 50 meters tall and about 350 meters long.Nature lovers, jungle trekkers and bird watchers are the main clientele here. Explore pristine rainforest, jungle treks, boat rides and an escape from modernization here.View of the Bario Highlands in Sarawak 3. Malaysia - Bario Highlands, SarawakForget Penang Island, Kuala Lumpur or any other commercial destination in Malaysia if you want to experience something truly original and different in Malaysia. The Bario Highlands in Sarawak is my recommendation for places to visit in Malaysia in 2018.The main reason is that this remote highland village located some 1000 meters high is home to the ethnic highland people of Sarawak Borneo. There are no modern developments like convenient stores, banks, hotels, pharmacies or anything seen in most places. Everything here is as it was from back in the day. The journey here is also another adventure where you have to fly a small turbo propeller plane to get here and once here, you are back to basic. Explore traditional highland longhouses, do jungle trekking, visit paddy fields, take long picturesque walks and mingle with the local highland people are your main itineraries here. Bario is most definitely off Malaysia's beaten path and is highly recommended for pure travelers. You can also read about my journey to the Bario Highlands.The vibrant colors of Haji Lane in Singapore. Photo by www.clxreese.wordpress.com4. Singapore - Haji LaneThis is probably the most interesting lifestyle and hipster place in Singapore. More younger generation travelers are visiting this place than any other popular tourist destination on the island, mainly to take photographs and chill out here. This place is also one of the most Instagrammable places due to the vivid colors found along Haji Lane.There are numerous hipster and lifestyle cafes, trendy boutiques and a lot of opportunities to just chill out and relax while you are in Singapore. Haji Lane is also located in Kampung Glam, which caters to a lot of younger generation social media travelers.Ombak Sunset Sea Swings in Gili Trawangan5. Indonesia - Gili Trawangan IslandIf there is one island you should visit besides Bali, Gili Trawangan is the place to go to. Known as a backpackers paradise once, the chain if islands east of Lombok is now the flavor of the Millennial traveler.Social media is to blame as Gili Trawangan was one of the popular places where visitors came here to line up and take photos of the famous sea swings of Ombak Sunset. Yes, the Ombak Sunset sea swings are the original with many other beach resorts following and creating their own sea swings.Gili Trawangan is part of the Gili Islands with Gili Air and Gili Meno also being popular choices. On all three islands, there are no vehicles or motorbikes except for horse carriages and bicycle rentals. You can now imagine how beautiful this island and to get here, you need to travel from Lombok via boat or ferry only. Find out what else you can do in Gili Trawangan from my earlier article.Koh Lipe's pristine beaches6. Thailand - Koh Lipe IslandWith so many interesting places found all over Thailand, I am recommending Koh Lipe Island as a must-visit destination in Southern Thailand. The main reason behind this is purely because there are no vehicles allowed on the island and everyone simply walks all around.The island is part of the Tarutao National Park and is one of the perfect beach escapes. Other smaller island provide trekking, hiking, snorkeling and just exploring. Lipe is the main island where everyone stays at and the Lipe Walking street is the star of the island.Koh Lipe is only accessible via boats from either Pak Barra town or Langkawi Island. There are many basic accommodations to luxury boutique resorts found all over the island. In general, you can walk from one end to the other end in just 30 minutes. Learn how to go to Koh Lipe from my previous article.The incredible Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia7. Cambodia - Bayon, Siem ReapWell, Cambodia has always been on the radar of every traveler, it is Siem Reap that attracts the bulk of visitors. Many who visit the majestic Angkor Wat which is located just outside the city of Siem Reap, will know that this world-class tourist attraction is the epitome of temples.But beyond Angkor, lies the unique Bayon, the ultra rich Khmer temple where extra large heads of smiling faces dominate the temple grounds. For those who are into temples, Buddhism and historical cultures, Bayon and its surroundings are definitely a must-visit.And if you are a first time traveler, Siem Reap is hands down one of the places in Southeast Asia to visit in 2018. The trick to visiting Siem Reap is by doing it on a weekday and try to avoid weekends as it can really get over crowded with all kinds of tourist.One of the beautiful temples in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo by https://www.zicasso.com/8. Laos - Luang PrabangThere is no doubt that Luang Prabang is the best place to visit in Laos as this UNESCO World Heritage Site has amazed the world since 2008. Until this very day, things are still as they were with no modern development and if you love all things monks, alms giving and traditional Lao culture, this is the place to visit in Laos for 2018. Tourism in Luang Prabang caters to all walks of life and some of the tours are quite Eco friendly where you visit traditional Lao villages, caves, river trips and even elephant riding. Just being around the main town area, you will have an amazing time exploring the many Buddhist temples and stupas.A must-visit is the Luang Prabang Night Market where local Hmong people gather on a nightly basis selling unique traditional craft, fabrics, art and silverware. For culture hunters, Luang Prabang is one of those must visit places, especially if you love non-commercialized tourism destinations.Hanoi's amazing Old Quarter. Photo by http://www.vietnam-guide.com9. Vietnam - HanoiMost travelers would recommend Sa Pa, Hoi An, Danang and Da Lat as places to visit, but this time around for 2018, I am recommending first timers to Vietnam to visit Hanoi. Over-rated? Perhaps, but for a first timer, Hanoi which is 1007 years old, holds a very rich historical, traditional and culinary experience that will impress any kind of traveler.Explore off-the-beaten-path places, streets, lanes around Hanoi and savor some of the unique Vietnamese foods from local hawkers and restaurants. Plus, the Hanoi Coffee is something that coffee aficionados or coffee travelers would love, especially tasting that world famous Weasel Coffee in Hanoi. The Hanoi Old Quarter should not be missed as it is here that you can explore freely to see the traditional businesses and also experience Hanoi old town area. A must-do for any traveler is to experience the Hanoi Beer Corner where you sit outside a corner shop on six inch stools and drink beer.For shoppers, Hanoi is pretty diverse with fashion and bags where they are sold mostly around the main city areas. And for something world class, take a overnight trip to the world famous Halong Bay.Magnificent Bagan in Myanmar. Photo by https://asiatourist.co10. Myanmar -  BaganSince opening up to tourism not too long ago, Myanmar has been on many travelers wishlist and apart from the capital, Bagan is the place to visit in Myanmar due to the amazing scenic beauty that will mesmerize anyone who loves traditional cultures and landscapes.When you see photos of Myanmar, most of the time it is pictures of Bagan that is featured hence this is the best place to explore when you visit this part of Indochina.This is one place that I am yet to visit but I have put it down based on travelers recommendations and also a schoolmate of mine who is currently working in Myanmar. Hopefully in 2018, I will find the opportunity to explore Myanmar or Burma. The unique Manggarai people of FloresThe above list of 10 places to visit in Southeast Asia was compiled purely by me and the opinions and recommendations are my own and not endorsed by anyone or any tourism board. I have personally been to most of these places in my field of travel work and have experienced these places therefore, they are written based on a general approach towards all kinds of travelers.To see more photos of my travels, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter under the name Malaysia Asia. With social travel growing tremendously, more people are embracing these platforms to learn and share travel information. If you have any questions, feedback or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you. Of all the places listed above, I have one last bucket list which is to visit Bagan in Myanmar to complete my 10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia for 2018. 
    Wednesday 20th of December 2017 03:47:00 AM
  • Zouk Genting Opening in 2018
    News travels fast when it comes to entertainment tourism in Kuala Lumpur, and the hottest news in town is about the new Zouk Genting opening in 2018. The top entertainment club in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is now opening in Genting Highlands, Pahang. Zouk Genting will be the highest club in Malaysia as Genting Highlands is located at a height of 1,865 meters or 6,118 feet above sea level. This mountain entertainment resort is also home to the only casino in Malaysia, a series of three to five star hotels, an entertainment hub and a soon to come world class theme park.In the last few years, news of the first 20th Century Fox Theme Park in Malaysia is to open in Genting Highlands by 2018. With Zouk Genting combined together, this will definitely make Genting the place to visit in Malaysia. When is Zouk Genting Opening? Clubbers at Zouk Singapore. (Photo by Zouk Singapore)No official date has been announced, but from other lifestyle sources, it is stated that Zouk Genting will open in mid year around June of 2018. Again, this is not official and as of 15th December 2017, there has been no official news on this. While Genting Highlands is touted to be one of the top entertainment destinations for tourism and leisure in 2018, the opening of Zouk Genting is definitely adding strong credibility to this highland resort destination. Zouk is a household name in the youth circle, namely for bringing in world renown DJ's to perform and for some of their incredible events. With the opening of Zouk Genting, you can be sure that they will be bringing in some of the Top 10 DJ's in the world for the grand opening. Stay tuned for official announcements of this as when I get the information, I will share it here. One thing is for sure, you can expect Zouk to bring the 'Dare to be different' concept to Genting. What is Zouk Genting?Zouk is a well known brand when it comes to nightlife and entertainment in Singapore and Malaysia. In 2015, Genting Hong Kong bought over the Zouk brand in a tactical move to incorporate the brand into their lifestyle and entertainment business. Zouk Genting is slated to be one of the classiest clubs created, offering a 4-in-1 concept for clubbers, with a special day club area that has a swimming pool facing the 20th Century Fox theme park. For sound and lighting, you can expect the best in the world as Genting has brought in the top sound architects and lighting specialist people from Las Vegas. In a bid to strengthen themselves with the opening of the first 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia and the world, Zouk Genting will be one of the highlights targeted toward the millennial traveler visiting here. Announcement by RedTail GentingRed Tail Bar GentingAnother supporting concept by Zouk is also the Red Tail Bar, which is a unique gaming concept bar that is scheduled to open on 19th January 2018 here at Genting Highlands. Red Tail Bar in Genting will provide not only drinks by a series of entertainment games such as beer pong, X-Box consoles, arcade games, pool, Jenga, electronic darts and live sport with occasional live music. This concept bar is targeted towards the lifestyle consumers that head up the highlands. Red Tail Genting is sized around 4,300 square feet and can accommodate around 150 people. It will also be located just next to the Zouk Day Club Pool. Zouk at Sea, on Genting Dream Cruise Ship (Photo by Genting High Life Magazine)Genting Owns Zouk Yes, if you did not already know, Genting Hong Kong bought over Zouk in late 2015 in a very interesting acquisition. With that, they have incorporated the Zouk brand into some of their businesses. Zouk at Sea  is one of them, which is on their latest cruise ship called Genting Dream. They have incorporated Zouk into the 18 deck, 3,352 passenger ship that promises a cruise to remember. Imagine going on a cruise with some of the top DJ's in the world. One word - Epic! Zouk Genting LocationLower Ground, Sky AvenueResorts World GentingGenting Highlands,Pahang, MalaysiaA scene inside Zouk. Photo by ZoukTo find out more about what is happening in Resort Worlds Genting, you can check out the High Life Magazine by Genting. They have a digital version on what is happening in terms of entertainment and lifestyle. Zouk is also set to venture into international countries with more outlets to open. One of the much talked about is Zouk Las Vegas, while the other being Zouk at Sea, which is operated by Genting Dream.Till then, we can all wait for the Zouk Genting opening in 2018 which is scheduled for somewhere in June. For lifestyle and partying tourist to Malaysia, this will be one of the must not miss places to visit. 
    Friday 15th of December 2017 09:21:00 AM
  • 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia Opening
    While the news in December 2017 is all about Disney buying over 21st Century Fox, this does not impact the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia opening in any way. Construction is still on going and the big question is when will the nee Genting theme park open? In previous press releases earlier this year, the group has stated that the new 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Malaysia will open somewhere in early 2018. According to visitors who have recently been there, construction is around 60% and far from being ready. The main image above is from Rookie Drone who beautifully captured Genting Highlands from a drone photograph. 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia OpeningWith this comes a lot of speculation on the actual opening date of the new 20th Century Fox World theme park here in Malaysia. There has been no official press statements done in a very long time by the developers and owners. The last big hype was stated by mainstream news portals and papers in Malaysia where it was mentioned that the official opening in 2017 was pushed to early 2018. Many were hoping that the new theme park would open before or during the 2018 Chinese New Year period.One of the watchdogs that have been keeping updates through their forums is ThemeParx who has been posting latest of photos from people who recently visited Genting Highlands. However, even they do not have any solid answers on the opening. A photo of the 20th Century Fox World theme park construction taken in October 2017 by Danny YapWhen is the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia Opening? Since there has been no official announcement made, I am also joining in the speculation race that it will be late in 2018 or perhaps even in early 2019. Judging from the construction seen in recent photos for December 2017, the site looks like it is only 60% completed. There is still a lot of work needed to be done, which looks like it will not be ready for the early 2018 opening. The overall construction is massive as you can see from the main photo above. Those visiting Genting Highlands using the new Awana Skyway gondola cable car will have the opportunity to see the ongoing construction. This can be seen just before reaching the end. One news portal ran a statement by the Genting Berhad Group which quoted;Resorts World Genting casino resort ? also known as Genting Highlands ? is currently undergoing an extensive revamp.The project ?  dubbed the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP) ? was launched in December 2013. It is a multi-phase initiative described as a 10-year, MYR10-billion (US$2.45-billion) master plan. The Malaysian property has already opened several new facilities and attractions. There will also be progressive openings for new mall and for new casino areas. Genting Malaysia said last month it was ?looking forward to the roll out? of a 20th Century Fox World Theme Park at Resorts World Genting, as well as to the opening of a new indoor theme park in 2018, as part of the GITP.Disney Buys 21st Century Fox in December 2017The hottest business news in December 2017 is that the Disney Group has bought 21st Century Fox for a whopping USD$52.4 billion. This however, does not directly affect the 20th Century Fox Theme Parks and no, it is not going to be renamed to Disney Malaysia Theme Park.You should also know that there are some Malaysian bloggers who may toy around with this idea, just to get people to click on their links. Some bloggers even go to the extent in copying or re-writing articles that I cover on tourism news, which is quite sad. Construction of Ice Age World at Genting. (Photo by unknown Instragram user)ConclusionAs mentioned, there is no official statement being released and everything now is just plain speculation. One contributor stated that the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park will only open its doors to the public once 80%-90% is confirmed completed.The most common question being asked by general consumers is when is the Genting new theme park opening? Seems like no one can answer this question for now until Genting Berhad makes an official announcement. As for the developers and owners, it is a smart move that they have not made any official announcement previously as it would have been a hot in the food and bad publicity. Especially if they kept on postponing the opening.For the lifestyle travelers, you should also take note that Southeast Asia's top club Zouk is opening in Genting Highlands at the Sky Avenue Mall in 2018. This will be the highest club in Malaysia at 6000 feet above sea level. While all this is happening, we can patiently wait for news on the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia opening. Till then, you can also look forward to the new Desaru Coast project which is scheduled to open somewhere in 2018. 
    Friday 15th of December 2017 04:39:00 AM
  • Kuching New Darul Hana Bridge
    In November 2017, the New Darul Hana Bridge was officially opened to the people and tourist in Kuching, Sarawak. This is a new tourism product and will be one of the main highlights of the Waterfront in Kuching city.The new Kuching bridge links the Waterfront area to the former State Legislative Assembly building. It also passes the Botanic Gardens and Orchid Garden to the iconic Fort Margherita and the present State Legislative Assembly Complex across the river.The new Darul Hana Bridge in Kuching at the WaterfrontDarul Hana Bridge in KuchingCosting around RM35 Million, the S-shaped bridge is a total of 335 meters long and contains elements of ethnic traditional Sarawakian designs and motifs. One of the prominent features is that the bridge looks like a futuristic Bidayuh bamboo bridge. There are two towers that support the bridge with steel cables, where the towers resemble a Hornbill tower. There is also a meaning to the new bridge which is "Home to Peace and Tranquillity".The name Darul Hana also comes from the states old history, where the Sultan Tengah had given the state and official name of Sarawak Darul Hana.Previously, if anyone wanted to cross over the other side of the river, they needed to use the local river taxi or 'penambang' boat. This has been a normal daily thing for the locals who cross daily to get to work and back.A view of Kuching's new bridge across the Sarawak RiverWhen Did The Darul Hana Bridge Open? The new bridge was officially opened on 11th November 2017 by Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. A massive display of fireworks was part of the opening ceremony for the people of Sarawak.This project was started in August 2013 where the objective was also to connect the northern part of Kuching with the southern part. The bridge will also add on as part of the Kuching Waterfront. The bridge is also designed and constructed by local company PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd.Now, the Darul Hana Bridge will become a new icon for Kuching and Sarawak, as it stands majestically over the Sarawak River. It is also being promoted as a tourist product, where heritage trails can be conducted using the bridge to get across.The new Kuching bridge is located at the end of Jalan Main Bazaar, where the Sarawak Handicraft Center is located. From there, you can just walk across to the other side and see some of the historical monuments and buildings of old Sarawak. 
    Monday 11th of December 2017 01:40:00 PM
  • Best Places for Day Trips Out of Kuala Lumpur
    If you are wondering what are the best places for day trips out of Kuala Lumpur, I have compiled a list for you here. This is perfect for those who want to venture out of Kuala Lumpur or KL city, especially when you have extra days to spend here.This list is also great for those on a business trip to KL as you can even consider seeing some of the beautiful places out of Kuala Lumpur which are closer. With today's technology, most of the popular places are easily found using applications like Waze or Google Maps. If you are self driving, you can simply get a local Sim Card in Kuala Lumpur and use your smartphone to guide you to these places. Best Places For Day Trips Out Of Kuala LumpurBelow are a list of places that you can take a day trip out of Kuala Lumpur and be back in the evening. Most of the trips below can be either booked through a tour company or by renting a car and self driving to the places.Batu Caves is one of the most popular destinations just out of Kuala LumpurBatu Caves Day TripThis is probably the most easiest and popular place for a day trip out of Kuala Lumpur. Located about 20-30 minutes drive from KL is one of the most fascinating cave temples in the world where you get to visit an amazing place and workout at the same time.272 steps lead uphill towards a Hindu cave temple while at the foot, one of the largest Hindu statues in the world awaits you.You can take public transport here using the KL Commuter Train from KL Sentral, self drive here or take a Batu Caves Tour Package from the many travel companies in KL city. Best to go in the mornings as the weather is good.If you have the opportunity, do try the local Malaysian Indian restaurants there. Tip - Watch out for the stray monkeys as they tend to grab food if you are holding it.Travel Time: About 20-30 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 2-4 HoursWhat to See: Hindu Cave Temple, Lord Murugan Gold Statue, Art Cave and Hanuman Statue.Genting Highlands currently being renovated for the all new 20th Century Fox World Theme ParkGenting Highlands Day TripA popular day trip destination from Kuala Lumpur is no other than Genting Highlands as it is only about 60 minutes drive up, before you take the Awana Skyway cable car to the peak. Genting Highlands has also re-branded itself as Resorts World Genting in the last few years and is one of the top entertainment tourism spots in Malaysia.The much talked about 20th Century Fox World Genting theme park, which is the first in the world will also be opened in early 2018 and currently, the existing theme park is closed. The main attraction of Genting is the cool mountain climate accompanied with an entertainment city that houses Malaysia's only casino and largest hotel in the world. There are public buses, taxis and tour companies that provide transport to Genting Highlands.Travel Time: About 60 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 4-10 HoursWhat to See: Resorts World, Indoor Theme Park, Casino, Gardens.Berjaya Hills is also known as Bukit Tinggi and is a popular place for a day tripBerjaya Hills Day TripAnother highlands after Genting is Berjaya Hills, which is less crowded and about 750 meters high. Formerly known as Bukit Tinggi, this hill has one main resort and a very unique French themed town which replicates a traditional French village.This place is great for families who love outdoors and nature as there is much to explore here in terms of simple walking and trekking. A recommended place is to visit the Japanese Garden here.There are some tour companies that offer packages to Berjaya Hills but this place is best visited on your own, meaning you should rent a car and self drive up here. However, if your expectations are high, then it is best to visit Genting Highlands. Berjaya Hills is a very mellow place compared to Genting.Travel Time: About 80 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 5-8 HoursWhat to See: Colmar Tropicale French Town, Japanese Garden, Rabbit Farm, Trekking.Malaysia's most famous Canopy Walk at Taman Negara National ParkTaman Negara Day TripWho would have thought you could do a day trip to Taman Negara? Yes, you can do so by leaving at 8.30am and returning back to KL city by 9pm. Generally, it is a full day activity if you do this on a day trip.Malaysia's oldest national park is accessible and for day trippers, you can experience the rainforest canopy walk, river cruise, visit the orang asli village and experience the beautiful rainforest here. Taman Negara is Malaysia's premier national park and highly recommended for anyone who loves the rainforest and nature.The best way to travel to Taman Negara is also by using the day tours offered from Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, you can also op for some of the many tour packages for Taman Negara, depending on how long you want to stay here.One of the recommended travel companies is Ivy Holidays who operates a tour counter in Kompleks Selangor in Petaling Street. They run daily transfers to Taman Negara at 8.30 AM.Travel Time: About 4-5 hours one wayTotal Time to Spend: 12-14 HoursWhat to See: Canopy Walk, River Cruise, Native Village, 130 Million Old Rainforest.Sekinchan is well known for their Paddy fields and beautiful landscapesSekinchan Day TripA more unique landscape and photography destination is the area of Sekinchan in Selangor where a majority of millennial travelers are heading too as a lifestyle destination. Generally, Sekinchan offers vast rice fields or Paddy Fields for photography and an old town filled with character and charm.From what I know, there are mainly homegrown attractions here like local seafood, restaurants temples and there are no official tours being sold, therefore you need to arrange this by self driving there or booking a private tour here. Travel Time: About 120 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 6-8 HoursWhat to See: Paddy Fields, Old Malaysian Chinese towns, great food.The Old Town of Ipoh is best explored on foot. Photo by www.lonelyplanet.comIpoh Day TripOne of the less visited cities is Ipoh, in the bordering state of Perak and just north of Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh was one a thriving city as it was known as a tin miners town, rich with cultural and historical influences.There are quite a number of places to visit in Ipoh and one full day would just make half of the list. Ipoh was listed in Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 places to visit in Asia for 2017. For those travelling with kids, there is the Ipoh Lost World theme park and possibly to be opened in mid to late 2017, the new Movie Animation Park Studios or MAPS Ipoh. Those seeking a unique wellness getaway, check out The Banjaran Hot Springs Resort.Other well known attractions include Kong Heng Square, Sam Po Tong Cave Temple, the main Ipoh Old Town area and the amazing Ipoh food. Tour to Ipoh are sold by some companies or you can self drive or even take the ETS Train service to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur. Travel Time: About 120 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 6-10 HoursWhat to See: Heritage Buildings, Ipoh Old Town, Railway Stations, Cave Temples, Ipoh Night Bazaar.Melaka's Red Square is the epicenter of tourismMelaka Day TripOne of the most popular day trips out of Kuala Lumpur is no other than a visit to historical Melaka city. Located about 90 minutes from KL, you can easily spend a full day in Melaka as there is much to see and do here.From popular Jonker Street which is lined with interesting shops, to centuries old historical sites, there is a little of everything for any traveler visiting here. One of the fun things to do in Melaka is also taking the river cruise and also going up the Tamingsari Tower.Melaka is also well known for its Peranakan Culture and a must try is the popular Melaka food which can be found at many places. Travel Time: About 90 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 5-8 HoursWhat to See: Too much. Lots of history, attractions and great food here.Kuala Selangor boasts of historical tourism which dates back hundreds of yearsKuala Selangor Day TripA must for anyone who wants to see the famous Kuala Selangor Fireflies. This old area of Selangor also provides a good cultural and heritage experience, especially at Bukit Malawati where the old lighthouse is located on a hill by a fort.Other things to do include visiting the fishing town of Kuala Selangor where you can see the locals going about their daily chores. End the day with a Malaysian seafood dinner at any of the local restaurants here. As the firefly tours start about 7.00 PM, it is recommended you head to Bukit Malawati in the morning and then explore the local fishing villages before going for the firefly tour, and then end the night with a seafood dinner. There are daily Firefly Tours in Kuala Selangor sold around Kuala Lumpur city or you can even self drive here with a rented car. Travel Time: About 120-140 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 6-10 HoursWhat to See: Fireflies, Lighthouse, Fishing Villages, Temples, Seafood RestaurantsPort Dickson is developing at a rapid rate to cater to tourismPort Dickson Day TripMalaysia's oldest beach destination which is still being frequented by locals, Port Dickson offers a super long stretch of beaches for around 12 miles. Attractions here include Avani Gold Coast, a resort in the shape of a palm tree (Like the Dubai Palm), Lexis Hibiscus, a new resort in the shape of a hibiscus flower over water, lots of beaches and a few interesting tourism spots. Some tour companies offer daily tours to Port Dickson or you can self drive here from Kuala Lumpur. Travel Time: About 90 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 5-8 HoursWhat to See: Beaches, Lighthouse, Lexis Hibiscus, Avani Gold Coast, Old Port Dickson Town.The man made Putrajaya administrative capital of Malaysia, just 45 minutes from Kuala LumpurPutrajaya Day TripA visit to Malaysia's administrative capital is a must for anyone who wants to see the best modern governmental architecture. Putrajaya is also an easy drive as many highways lead here and road signs are good.Apart from administrative buildings, there is the Putrajaya Wetlands, botanical garden, lakeside and many other interesting places. Many tour companies sell Putrajaya day tours and if you are adventurous enough, rent a car and self drive here. Travel Time: About 40-60 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 3-6 HoursWhat to See: Putrajaya Mosque, Wetlands, Boulevard, Bridges.Sometimes, tourist just want to get out of the cityIf there are any other places that deserves to be mentioned in this list, please do let me know. Generally, the best way to explore outside of Kuala Lumpur would be to take a professional tour companies service as you will save much time, but at times, tour companies want to make a fast buck, which in return, provides average services.Therefore, many travelers nowadays prefer to explore on their own by taking public transport, renting a car or even relying on services like Uber and Grab to move around and search for the best places for day trips out of Kuala Lumpur. 
    Thursday 7th of December 2017 04:00:00 AM
  • Matta Travel Fair 2018 Promotions
    Malaysians are now well traveled and this Matta Travel Fair 2018 promotions article is for those who are planning to travel locally or around the world. The Matta Fair is also Malaysia's largest travel fair that is held twice a year on a massive scale here at the Putra World Trade Centre or PWTC in Kuala Lumpur. So, what is the Matta Travel Fair 2018 promotions all about? Well, at the upcoming travel fair this 17-19 March, consumers will be coming here to get the best and cheapest travel packages being offered by hundreds of travel agents from around Malaysia.The beauty about the Matta Fair is that you can get incredible bargains to almost anywhere in Malaysia or around the world. The catch? You just need to do a lot of walking around and asking questions during the fair. Travel agents giving out Matta promotionsMatta Travel Fair 2018 Promotions and DiscountsA very Malaysian thing, where consumers are always on the lookout for discounts and promotions for just about anything, even travelling has entered this game.People flock to the travel fair in KL just to browse and shop for travel packages that are being offered on huge discounts. Well, not every destination is cheap, but common tourist destinations are usually on promotions. Over 100,000 people will attend this fair which is spread over three days and at any one time, there are thousands of people walking around and enquiring with travel agents and tourism boards. This has been a phenomena for the last decade and has changed how Malaysians travel.Gone are the good old days of walking into a travel agent to book your tours. Nowadays, people just book them online or wait for the Matta Fair.Local travel package deals from Sabah Tourism Board booth at Matta FairMatta Fair Promotions are usually offered for popular destinations where there is a huge volume of visitors to that place. In return, tourism operators there can offer better deals in terms of tours, packages and even hotel accommodations.This is then translated into travel packages with massive discounts that are sold during the Matta Fairs. Well, this is just one of the promo factors and there are many more. The types of promotions also come in various forms of travel, which are;Full Board Packages - Everything from flight, transport, food, rooms and attraction are included. Half Board Packages - Almost everything is included.Ground Packages - Only the hotel room or transfers is provided.Series Group - Fixed schedule departures. The dates are locked and you travel on those dates.Cruise Packages - Local and International Cruise PackagesCheap Travel Promotions at Matta Fair 2018Most consumers tend to go for cheap travel packages at Matta Fair 2018, but the reality is that sometimes, cheap does not mean good quality.Depending on the type of travel a person or family chooses, it can range from short vacations to long holidays. However, the majority or mass would be going for the mid range or three to five days. While prices are sometimes unbelievable, you need to double check with the tour agents about what is offered in the package. You should also read this article about the Matta Fair Tips and Tricks as it highlights almost everything you need to know. From the travel codes to what kind of packages are sold.Matta Fair Hall LayoutSo, depending on where you want to visit, the options are many. You just need to know which section on the Matta Fair you need to be at. In total, there are four main halls and one mezzanine floor above hall one, and each of these halls cater to different regions. They are;The main International Hall at Matta FairHall One - International Hall (Worldwide)This is where you will find all the international travel packages and tour agents that sell worldwide tour packages. You will also find the major tourism boards like Japan Tourism who will be focusing heavily on visiting Tokyo.The Tokyo Booth at Matta Fair will be offering much information about one of the most sought after destinations. So, if you plan to visit Japan, Korea, Europe or other international destinations, this would be a good place to start. Hall One - Mezzanine Floor (Upstairs)Here, you will find the main stage for the Matta Fair 2017, where all the activities and shows take place. Also, the food and beverage area is located up here too. There are toilets, a nursing room and a surau for prayers.In one area, you will also find travel agents that are selling the Muslim Umrah Packages or Haj Packages. You can use the escalator to go up on one end of the hall or use the stairs at the food and beverage area.Entrance to the International Hall 2 at Matta FairHall Two - International Hall (Worldwide and Smaller Hall)Hall 2 also provides tour agents that sell worldwide tours, but the hall is a little smaller than the main hall one. Generally, Hall 2 offers only travel agents. Most of the reputable and larger companies occupy this hall. Hall Three - ASEAN HallThis hall provides all the travel agents that sell ASEAN country tours. You will also find the ASEAN Tourism Boards in this hall and among them are Indonesia Tourism, Nepal, Cambodia and the Philippines. Indonesia Tourism will be the largest booth with a lot being offered. You will find other companies like Star Cruises, Royal Caribbean and some local hotel operators.Entrance to the domestic hall or Malaysia Hall at Matta FairHall Four - Malaysian Domestic HallFor any local travel in Malaysia, this is the main hall where you will find all the local travel packages and local tourism boards like Sabah Tourism, Sarawak Tourism, Langkawi Tourism and Terengganu Tourism.Malaysian theme park operators are also found here, like Legoland Malaysia, Sunway Lost World, Angry Birds Activity Park and some other hotels as well. Please note, if you visit the Malaysia Hall, you will not be able to buy any ASEAN travel packages or International travel packages. The halls are divided into sections for this therefore, you need to go to the hall that sells the packages you want. Meaning, if you want to buy a Tokyo Travel Package at Matta Fair, you need to go to Hall 1 & 2.  Some of the halls attract plenty of visitors due to cheap travel promotionsMost Popular Tour Packages at Matta Fair You may be wondering what are the most popular tour packages at the Matta Fair? Over the years, Malaysians have been travelling all over the world and a huge thanks goes to the budget airlines that have changed travel.Players like AirAsia, AirAsia X, Malindo and FireFly have been aggressively promoting cheap airline tickets at Matta Fair where consumers will buy the flight tickets from the airline, and then buy the ground only package from the travel agent. This goes to say, where ever the airline runs a promotion, that is where the consumer will decide on going. So, places like Bali, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Taiwan, Korea and Japan have been very popular destinations.Matta Fair is held for three days and offers all kinds of travel promotionsUsually, the airlines will run special promotions in conjunction with the Matta Fair and offer discounts to various destinations. Japan is one of the top performing destinations due to many Malaysians wanting to visit this fascinating country. Most of the popular Japan travel packages include Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido as AirAsia X flies to these three destinations. Recent news in February about AirAsia X flights to Hawaii in the USA has also gained much interest from many Malaysians as this would be the cheapest airline to offer flights to the US.This opens up a whole new destination as Hawaii has always been one of the top island destinations in the world. From Hawaii, you can easily connect to west coast USA, to places like Los Angeles and San Francisco.Airline tickets are always on promotion at the Matta FairMatta Fair March 2018Date: 9-11 MarchVenue: PWTC, Kuala LumpurTime: 10.00 AM to 9.00 PMTickets: RM4.00 per entryFinally, if you still need more information, read Matta Fair Malaysia - 10 Questions Answered, which could be of much help for first timers to this massive travel fair here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Other than that, you need to go to the fair and see for yourself on what Matta Travel Fair 2018 promotions are being offered. 
    Tuesday 5th of December 2017 05:48:00 AM
  • Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 Winners
    A total of  35 awards were given out for this years Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 Winners. The prestigious tourism appreciation event was held on the 2nd December at the Sutera Harbor in Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah Tourism Awards are also a tribute to individuals and organizations that have excelled and contributed to the development of tourism and hospitality in Sabah for 2015/2016. These industry awards are also held once every two years. The awards night was officiated by Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who took the opportunity to mention that the ministry had recorded almost 3 million tourist arrivals up to November 2017.Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun also mentioned that beginning Dec 20, a new airline, Batik Air Indonesia will commence direct flights between Jakarta and Kota Kinabalu. Sabah will also see direct flights from Chengdu, Changsha and Tianjin starting 2018 while the ministry will be focusing on Rural Tourism in Sabah for the same year. The Sabah Tourism Awards - A Tribute to ExcellenceSabah Tourism Awards 2017 WinnersWith over 50+ nominations from 13 categories, winners were selected from a panel of judges that took a couple of months of intense judging. Below is the list of this years winners. Best Tourism Attraction-Nature in SabahWinner: Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Best Tourism Attraction-Non- Nature/Man-made in SabahWinner: Mari Mari Cultural Village Dr. Wong Siew Te accepting the Best Tourism Attraction for NatureBest 5 Star Hotel in SabahWinner: Shangri-La?s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa Best 3-4 Star Hotel in SabahWinner: Ming Garden Hotel & ResidencesBest 2 Star and below Hotel in SabahWinner: Hotel Sixty3 Best Nature Lodge in SabahWinner: Borneo Nature LodgeBest Homestay in SabahWinner: Koposizon Homestay PaparBest Dive Resort in SabahWinner: Sipadan Mabul Resort Water BungalowSabah's Most Improved Wholesaler AwardBest Tour Operator in SabahBest Inbound (Malaysia/Sabah) Tour OperatorWinner: Amazing Borneo Tours & Events Sdn BhdBest Overseas Tour OperatorChina: Century Holiday International Travel Service Co. LtdTaiwan: Comfort Travel Services Co. Ltd/ Cola TourKorea: Modetour Network Inc.Japan: H.I.S. Co. Japan Most Improved WholesalerWinner: GuangDong China Women International Travel Services Co. Ltd (China)Best Inbound Tour PackageWinner: 3D2N Bird Watching Tour at Kinabatangan (Kinabatangan Jungle Camp)Best MICE ContributorWinner: Sounds Tech Production Sdn Bhd Best Tour Guide in SabahWinner: Napoleon Bin Dimus (Borneo Rainforest Lodge)Most Promising Tour Guide in SabahWinner: Mohd. Shirou R. Lerado (S.I Tours)Carol West receiving the award for Best Tourism ArticleBest Tourism Article Published in MalaysiaWinner: Heart of Conservation by Ryan Goh (New Straits Times)Best Tourism Article Published OverseasWinner: Reefs, Wrecks & Barracudas by Carol West (Silkwinds)Best TV Programme on Sabah Produced in MalaysiaNo Winner: Submissions did not meet criteriaBest TV Programme on Sabah Produced OverseasNo Winner: Submissions did not meet criteriaBest Online Media for this years STA17Best Online Media for SabahWinner: Once in a Life Time: Conquer Mt. Kinabalu Summit by Potchara KreangkredBest Restaurant ? Hotel/ResortWinner: Naan-Flavours of India, Shangri-La?s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa Best Restaurant ? Stand AloneWinner: Hokkaido Sakagura RestaurantBest Shopping Complex in Sabah Winner: IMAGO Shopping MallBest Night Spot Experience in SabahWinner: Shamrock Irish Bar, Waterfront Best Spa in Sabah - Stand AloneWinner: Helen Beauty ReflexologyBest Spa in Sabah - Hotel/ResortWinner: CHI, The Spa, Shangri-La?s Tanjung Aru Resort & SpaAirAsia receives the Best Partner Airline for MalaysiaBest Partner Airlines for SabahForeign Based Winners1. China Southern Airlines (China) 2. Eastar Jet (Korea)3. Spring Airlines (China)Malaysia Based WinnersWinner: AirAsia Robert Lo receives the Minister Special AwardsBest Community Based Tourism Initiative for Rural Winner: Padas Farmstay, TenomBest Golfing Experience in SabahWinner: Dalit Bay Golf and Country ClubMinister Special AwardsRecipient : Kadamaian Tourism AssociationRecipient : Robert LoWinners from the previous Sabah Tourism Awards under the media categoryThis years Sabah Tourism Awards theme was masquerade and the awards was a black tie and evening dress with sit down dinner. In between the awards, special performances by local artist entertained guests. 2017 is also Malaysia's awards year where the Sarawak Hornbill Awards and Tourism Malaysia Awards are being held for the previous years work. Once again, I would like to congratulate all the Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 Winners. For the full list of winners and nominees, head over to the Sabah Tourism Awards website. And if you have not visited Sabah, I highly recommend you do so. 
    Sunday 3rd of December 2017 10:14:00 AM
  • What to do in Alor Island
    For anyone heading to this part of Indonesia, I have come up with a list of what to do in Alor Island based purely on my experience here in September 2017. Well, Alor Island is not your regular tourism destination, so the information is quite crucial for anyone heading here. Alor Island is actually well known for scuba diving but after my visit here, I managed to compile a list of things to do in Alor Island for just about any other traveler. You must know that there is only one main town on the island called Kalabahi and probably 90% of the people here do not speak English.There are no modern buildings, cafes, malls, Starbucks or what you usually find at popular tourism destinations. This is the real kind of Indonesia that some travelers want to experience.One of the iconic structures at Alor Island, East Nusa TenggaraWhat to do in Alor Island?I will be very honest as during my four days on Alor Island in East Nusa Tenggara, I managed to do some other things besides scuba diving. I wish I had more time to explore this beautiful island too.For those who love to explore the unexplored, Alor Island is a great place for this, considering this is one of the least visited places around this region. I have compiled a list of things to do in Alor Island is in no order below.Takpala Village, one of the highlights of Alor Island1. Visit Takpala VillageTakpala Village is a traditional Alornese tribe that lives on a hill. They are probably the only tourist friendly attraction on the island where you can visit with a tour. You most definitely need a tour guide as no one in the village speaks any English, hence the translation is needed. To visit Takpala Village, it is about 30 minutes drive from Kalabahi and arrangements need to be made by the tour company. Here, you will witness the traditional lifestyle of the Abui tribe of Alor Island.The beautiful clear waters for scuba diving in Alor Island2. Scuba Diving at Alor IslandMost of you will be visiting Alor for scuba diving as it is probably the main and only attraction here. Scuba diving at Alor Island will allow you to see one of Indonesia's best dive spots.The underwater landscape is rich with marine life and comes with crystal clear visibility. For macro and leisure divers, you will be in for a treat of your life when you dive here at Alor.A photo taken with a GoPro during one of my dives at Alor IslandDiving at Alor can be done by staying on land or with a live on board. However, for my trip, we used a live on board boat for our daily diving, but stayed at the only hotel on the island which is Pulo Alor Hotel. You can find out about the dive sites in Alor Island for those interested.For those of you who want to experience cold water diving and with crystal clear visibility, I highly recommend this place. I have a Alor Island scuba diving trip report based on the few days of diving here. It has photos taken underwater and an overall review of the place.The local Bubu Fishermen of Alor Island with their huge bamboo fish traps3. See the Alor 'Bubu' FishermenOne of the uniqueness of the Alor fishermen is the fact that they can dive deep underwater with only their handmade wooden goggles. These are called the Bubu Fishermen of Alor, where Bubu means bamboo fish trap.These Bubu fish traps are massive, ranging around one to two meters in length. They are brought down underwater by the diving fishermen and placed there to catch whatever goes in. The fish caught are consumed by the locals and not commercially sold.Seeing the Bubu Fishermen of Alor in action is one of the highlights when you go scuba diving around here. If you are lucky, chances are that you may come across them at one of the dive sites of Alor.A sea bird with its catch spotted at Alor Island4. Bird Watching in Alor IslandThis is for those who are into bird watching as Alor is home to quite a number of island birds, sea birds and land birds. As an amateur bird watcher, I must have spotted at least 20-30 species of birds during my trip here.I think there are probably no bird guides available on Alor Island, therefore you need to engage one from Labuan Bajo or Kupang. Birding here is relatively new, as there are no proper guide books on this. I use the general Indonesia birds guide book.The Cantik Homestay at Alor Island5. Experience an Alornese HomestayFor the culture lover, you can book a homestay on the island in Kalabahi and there are a few of them around. This will allow you to get to know the local Alornese people, their cultures and eat local food.Most of the homestays in Alor cater to tourist and also local travelers, and they speak decent English. The rooms are basic and decent while the local home cooked meals are worth the experience. I had the pleasure of visiting a homestay and having dinner there, twice too.Locals at Pasar Kadelang Market in Alor Island6. Explore the Local Alor MarketThis wet and dry market in Kalabahi known as Pasar Kadelang (Kadelang Market) is pretty raw and original. Therefore, if you are the type that enjoys a proper market, give this a miss. At the local 'Pasar Kalabahi' or Kalabahi market, you will see how daily life revolves among the Alornese people.The market sells a variety of local home grown produce, dry goods, fish and meats and some of the local Alor snacks and cakes. These are the ones to try, especially the local Alor pop corn. People are friendly and smile when you smile at them here.Mike, Nick and Olly try betel nut chewing at the Pasar Kadelang market in Alor Island7. Try Chewing Betel Nut in Alor IslandOne thing that is on your must-try list at Pasar Kadelang is the Betel Nut or Areca Nut, which is a popular habit among the locals. The Betel Nut is chewed with the leaf and is one of the very unique strange food or customs in this part of the world.The taste can be exhilarating and out of this world, but it is an experience of a lifetime. If you are a food lover, this is hands down a mist-try thing. To do this, you need to engage a local guide to bring you around here.Inside the Museum Seribu Moko in Kalabahi. Photo by https://backpackerjakarta.com8. Visit the Museum 1000 MokoI wanted to see this place but time did not permit me, hence I will still list it down here. Located in Kalabahi, this Alor Island museum showcases the diverse culture of the Alor people and their old traditions.The museum is also called Museum Seribu Moko or 1000 Moko Museum and gets its name from the Moko jar which represents an important Alornese cultural object. Among the items on display, you will find traditional looms, woven fabrics, pottery, fishing equipment on display here.The museum is pretty informative and you can easily spend an hour here. It is open from Monday to Friday only and from 8.00 AM till 2.00 PM, and till 3.00 PM on Fridays.Sarah from Girls That Scuba spots some dolphins9. Go Dolphin WatchingThe fact that the waters around here are untouched almost guarantees you that you can spot dolphins easily. On my trip in September, I was an entire school of dolphins, numbering into the hundreds which included a pilot whale.This can be arranged by the dive operators as they would know where the best places to spot dolphins in Alor Island. You should know that to charter the boat, it is best done in groups, as there are no dolphin tours here at the moment.10. Learn an Alor LanguageWith so many different tribes found in Alor Island, the languages are said to be from Papuan or non-Austronesian descend. However, from one village to another, the locals do not communicate in their mother tongue but in Bahasa Indonesia, which is widely spoken throughout Indonesia.For the linguistic traveler, you could probably learn a language from the Abui, Adang, Hamap, Kabola, Kafoa, Woisika, Kelo, and Kui tribes here. Unfortunately, I tried to learn a few words but it was quite hard.One of the amazing beaches at Alor Island. Photo by https://www.pesonaindo.com11. Explore the Alor BeachesThere are quite a few beautiful beaches found all over Alor Island, and some of them in pristine condition. This means, it is generally untouched and only by the locals here. You can only imagine what you will discover on some of the wonderful beaches at Alor Island.Ling'al Beach - Found on the south west of Alor Island and is known as probably the most beautiful beach on the island. Traveling from Kalabahi overland will take around five hours, while there are boat charters that take around three to four hours. The closest village to the beach is called Halerman Village.A beautiful photo of Ling'al Beach by https://travel.tempo.coDola Koya Koya Beach - This beautiful spot is found on the eastern part of Alor Island and is known for their scenic views. People come here to take beautiful postcard perfect photos. Imagine no crowds or people in your photos.Batu Putih Beach - Known in English as White Stone Beach, it is in the north of Alor Island. This beach gets its name from the white corals that dominate the beach here. The turquoise tone waters and white beach make this a perfect place to just relax.Sakura Kalabahi Beach - Found on the north west of Alor Island, Sakura Kalabahi Beach is a popular beach among the locals. No actual Japanese Sakura trees are found here, but you can find the local cherry blossom species grown along the main road of the beach here.Sakura Kalabahi beach is quite popular among the locals, especially during sunset hour, where you can get some beautiful photos of the Alor sunset here.The Sakura Kalabahi Beach in Alor Island. Photo from https://aroundguides.comWhat else to do in Alor Island? Generally, the above kind of sums it up. Alor is considered a very new destination to many, and still in the infancy stage for tourism. A lot needs to be done in order to cater for mass tourism, but I honestly hope it stays the way it is.Indonesia already has many places that cater to mass tourism, with places like Bali, Lombok, Gili Trawangan and now Komodo Island. However, for those wanting to see the natural side of Indonesia, then Alor Island is the place to visit.The Alor Island Airport known as Bandar Udara Mali AlorHow to get to Alor Island? The best way to get to Alor Island is via flight, if you want to save time. There is only one flight that lands at the Alor Island airport which is via Kupang in Flores. There are no direct flights from Bali or Jakarta, so please note that you have to connect from the larger cities.Even if you are in Labuan Bajo or Komodo, you still need to connect via Kupang. Flights that code share and connect to Alor Island are Garuda Airlines, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, TransNusa Airlines and Wings Abadi Airlines. Only TransNusa and Wings Abadi fly in from Kupang.The Wings Abadi Airline plane which I took from Kupang to Alor IslandThe other way to get here is via ferry, and there are a few companies that operate the Alor island service. You should know that ferries take long and timings are quite tricky. You have the option to take the Pelni Ferry from Kupang to Kalabahi, Alor Island.Another good choice is to check Indonesia Ferry for the timings and schedules, and you can also book your ferry tickets there. There is a car ferry that runs daily from Kupang to Kalabahi which takes about 12 hours journey.Me and the women of the Takpala VillageFor those planning to visit Alor Island, I recommend you do your research well before heading here. Your choice of stay would either be one of the homestays, local resort or at the Pulo Alor Hotel. You need a proper registered tour company and also a local guide.If you book an Alor Island dive package, all of your arrangements will be provided by the dive operator there. Only your flights or ferry service will be done by you. Additional tours are optional, therefore you need to inform your operator if you want to explore Alor Island.This guide on what to do in Alor Island is written based on my trip here in September 2017. It was a campaign with the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia to promote scuba diving and adventure for this part of Indonesia. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below. 
    Saturday 2nd of December 2017 09:24:00 AM
  • Raja Ampat Dive Resort Review
    This Raja Ampat Dive Resort review is based on my dive trip here in September 2017. As it was my first time visiting Raja Ampat in West Papua Indonesia, I never did any research about this place as I wanted to surprise myself. A surprise it was indeed as the Raja Ampat Dive Resort is really impressive. Imagine, an eco style rustic lodge, made entirely out of natural wood and carefully within the natural landscape of Waisai Island. As a dive resort, it is also one of the best that I have visited in a very long time. They have been around for years and is also noted as one of the best dive resorts of Raja Ampat. As the resort sits just by the beach, they have a private stretch of beach that is home to two beautiful jetties.Just look at the pristine foliage at the Raja Ampat Dive Resort Review of Raja Ampat Dive ResortThe place actually looks more like a private resort, mainly due to the modern contemporary design and architecture. But a bonus was the friendly faces of the resort, which were all locals who knew their jobs. My group had been travelling from Alor Island to Komodo Island, then to Labuan Bajo before finally stopping here in Raja Ampat. Just to clarify, it is not easy to get here as it involves two flights, van transfer and a boat trip to get here. In general, you will spend probably half a day travelling.The main reception area of the resortBut after a long  and tiring journey, the Raja Ampat Dive Resort was a pleasant surprise, especially when seeing the beautiful and cozy room units. In total, they have 12 units of villas, where 10 villas are double units and two of them being family villas. They come with full amenities, air conditioning, hot showers, mosquito nets, comfortable beds and standard toiletries.Inside one of the rooms at the resortMy rustic room was the Dolphin units, which is around 32 square meters large, and it is really spacious. It was located closest to the dive center, and is built on higher ground. The other villas were sea facing and just meters from the private beach. Spacing between the rooms are wide, providing privacy from other blocks.Each block comprises of two units side by side. So if you are traveling in a group of four, you can get rooms next to each other. And each unit comes with space for an extra bed.The dive center at the resortDive Center at Raja Ampat Dive Resort My main objective was to go scuba diving at Raja Ampat, therefore this was the most crucial part of the resort. The dive center at Raja Ampat Dive Resort was the first thing anyone would see when they arrived here. Most dive centers tend to overdo their outlet, but here, it was slightly different. They have a complete dive center, but they do not over exaggerate the center. IT is functional and provided what scuba divers need.Some of the diving gear being prepped up before the 1st dive in the morningMore importantly is the dive master or dive guides, which are well experienced and fluent in English. They have years of experience and are locals who know the waters around Raja Ampat. For each of the dives, the morning briefing was done in front of the dive center and the dive master made sure everyone was listening to the brief. It is crucial that you listen well as they go into details about descends, ascends, currents and so on.Heading out for some serious diving from the resortThe Raja Ampat Dive Resort dive center is complete with all the standard leisure diving equipment needed. This means you can just come here empty handed and rent all the necessary equipment you need. They also have three dive boats which can take different groups to the many dive sites around Raja Ampat. The dive boats are pretty standard fibreglass boats so do not expect the luxury type of dive boats. Bird Watching at Raja Ampat Dive Resort As I am an avid bird watcher, but not the dead serious type, I was pleased to know that the resort also offers bird watching tours. This is done via the local village bird watching guide and the price is really reasonable. I had some free time before diving and one of the early mornings, I woke up around 4.00 AM to go bird watching in the area. My objective was to spot the endemic Bird of Paradise, and about 40 minutes from the resort was one of the sites. My local village guide and me took a stroll through the village roads and then into the pristine rainforest to see this beautiful bird. To cut a long story short, on that Raja Ampat bird watching trip, I did see the Red Bird of Paradise and about 25 other bird species in that three hours.The main leisure jetty at the Raja Ampat Dive ResortRaja Ampat Dive Resort RestaurantThe resort has only one main restaurant and common area where all meals are served. There is no rooms service, but you can specially order from the restaurant and they can send the meals to your room. I have to say that the Raja Ampat Dive Resort restaurant is pleasantly welcoming and the food served is of international standards. A choice of local and continental cuisine is available, but on a daily basis, buffet meals are served as it is part of your Raja Ampat Dive Resort package. For anyone planning to make a booking for Raja Ampat Dive Resort, note that the packages come in full board which includes boat transfer from Waisai Harbor. This will make your stay easy and convenient for those who do not want to worry too much.Photos of Raja Ampat Dive ResortBelow are some random photos taken in and around the resort. Just take a look at the day and sunset photo taken from the same angle. I have to admit, the place is perfect for any kind of travel, may it be leisure, honeymoon, wedding, exploring or scuba diving.Photo taken in the day at the resortPhoto taken during sunset at the resortGeneral view of Raja AmpatThe activity board at the dive resortThe headline on the notice board is 'Spot-On'A room photo from one of the other rooms at the resortA sea swing for those wanting to get some epic photosConclusion Having only been here for the first time in my life, I probably have to re-visit Raja Ampat to experience other dive resorts here. But on a first timers experience to Raja Ampat, my conclusion to staying here is that it was a wonderful experience. I honestly could no find any mistakes or problems staying here as everything was clockwork. The staff knew what they were doing and most importantly, they knew their roll in this industry. Food was excellent and choices were rather interesting. The tea breaks saw local cakes and also western desserts being served,which was carefully thought of.Me when I just arrived at the Raja Ampat Dive ResortHow to get to the Raja Ampat Dive Resort Generally, it takes a couple of flights, bus ride and a boat ride to get here. To know more, I wrote an article on how to go to Raja Ampat for anyone interested. Again, you need to allocate one day to get here and one day to get back. From Sorong in West Papua, you can also take Bahari Express ferry to Raja Ampat as this is the most reputable boat service here. The experience is well worth it as it only takes a few hours from Sorong city. I hope this Raja Ampat Dive Resort review will come in handy for anyone planning to visit here for scuba diving, bird watching or just to experience this beautiful place. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below and thank you.
    Thursday 30th of November 2017 11:54:00 AM
  • Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016
    The Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 was held on 24th November 2017, at the Imperial Hotel in Kuching Sarawak. This is the states most prestigious tourism industry awards held every two years.For this years 7th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards, a total of 28 winners were selected after a tedious judging process. There was 6 Special Recognition category awards that were give out to industry players this year. The Sarawak Hornbill Awards was introduced in 2003 to recognize individuals or organisations whose contribute towards the development of the tourism sector in Sarawak, Malaysia Borneo.As I have been an active contributor to Sarawak over the years, I was invited as one of the finalist under the Best Tourism Article Online for Sarawak. Find out who won below. One of the category winners bring announced at the SHTASarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 WinnersThis year saw some of the previous categories being removed and a special recognition category being awarded to some of the industry players. The winners for this years Hornbill Awards are as follows; Category A : Outstanding Media Contribution To The Tourism IndustryBest Tourism Online Article Published on SarawakWinner: ?Ba Kelalan Sarawak? by David Hogan Jr, Malaysia AsiaBest Tourism Printed Article Published on SarawakWinner: ?Pesta Nukenen Bario? by Hoo Choon Ping (Sin Chew Daily, Selangor)Best Tourism PhotographyWinner: ?Selangor Meets Sarawak: Semenggoh Wildlife Centre? by  Ramble and Wander Best Tourism Related Videos on SarawakWinner: No WinnerCategory B : Outstanding Cottage Industry Contribution To The Tourism Industry Best Handicraft Product Winner: Senia Anak Jugi - Bemban HandbagBest Handicraft OutletWinner: Ranee Gift GalleryCategory C : Outstanding Food OutletsBest RestaurantWinner: Steak House, KuchingBest Café/BistroWinner: The Gold Mines Gastropub, BintuluBest KopitiamWinner: Yoyo Café, BintuluBest Hawker CenterWinner: Top Spot Foodcourt, KuchingCategory D : Outstanding Tourist GuideBest Regional Specific Tourists Guide (RSTG)Winner: Teddy Bunga Nangoi Anak Robert DaisBest Park GuideWinner: Jenny MalangCategory E : Outstanding Tourism Attraction And EventsBest Natural AttractionsWinner: Gunung Mulu National ParkBest Man-Made AttractionsWinner: Sarawak Cultural VillageBest Events & FestivalsWinner: Borneo International Kite Festival Category F : Outstanding Destination Management Company (DMC)Best And Creative Tourism PackageWinner: Ecogreen Holidays Sdn. Bhd.Most Outstanding DMC (Domestic)Borneo Exploration Tours & Travel Sdn. Bhd.Most Outstanding DMC (International)*Under Special RecognitionEmerging DMC*Under Special RecognitionCategory G : Outstanding Hotel And Accommodation ProviderBest 5 Star Hotel/ResortWinner: Mulu Marriott Resort and SpaBest 4 Star Hotel/ResortWinner: Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching Best 3 Star Hotel/ResortWinner: New World Suites BintuluBest 2 Star and Below HotelWinner: Inn86 BintuluBest HomestayWinner: Homestay Rh Benjaming AngkiSPECIAL RECOGNITION CATEGORYInternational Destination Management Company - DMC Asia MarketSee Mark Travel Services, TaipeiInternational Destination Management Company - DMC Australia MarketFlight Centre Group International Destination Management Company - DMC Europe MarketAudley TravelAirline OperatorAir Asia BerhadMost Outstanding DMC (International)CPH Travel Agencies SarawakEmerging DMCOne Wayang Tours SDN.BHD.Scene at the SHTA 2017, held at the Imperial Hotel in KuchingPanoramic view of the Sarawak Hornbill Awards in KuchingThe Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards was attended by the Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Datu Ik Pahon Joyik ? permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports; and Sarawak Tourism Federation president Philip Yong. Guest of honor was no other than the chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, who was also once the Sarawak Tourism Minister. In his opening speech, the chief minister talked about the new tourism products that were launched, and also mentioned that the tourism industry players need to start accepting the digital age and embrace it. This was also in line with the Sarawak Pay, a cashless digital payment system, which was launched recently. Posing with YBhg Datu Ik Pahon JoyikCurrent Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was not present as he was currently in Europe to negotiate the return of some Sarawak artifacts in the Netherlands and also in the British Museum.The prestigious black tie event came to a close at around 11.00 PM after the Chief Minister made his exit. Winners of the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 were seen taking photos, posing with their trophies against the photo wall at the Imperial Hotel in Kuching. The Hornbill Award for Best Tourism Online Article on Sarawak which I wonMe with my Best Tourism Online Award for SarawakAs for me the writer, I was ecstatic that I had won the Best Tourism Online Article for Sarawak as I have been actively contributing to Sarawak over the last five to six years.I would like to thank the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, the Sarawak Tourism Board, friends and acquaintances I have met over the years of my travels to Sarawak.You can read about my winning article titled Ba'Kelalan which was written 2016. I have also other articles on Sarawak if you would like to know more. Thank you again to the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 and I hope to see, explore and write more about Sarawak in the future. 
    Monday 27th of November 2017 01:00:00 AM
  • Visit Miri Year 2018
    If you have already been to Kuching, then you should consider your next destination to be Miri as the Visit Miri Year 2018 will be quite interesting for anyone visiting Sarawak. Miri is located in the north west of Sarawak bordering the kingdom of Brunei, which is only two hours drive and also one of the main gateways to the Mulu National Park. Miri is also home to the international Borneo Jazz Festival and country music festival. This article will provide you with general information on what to expect for the Visit Miri Year 2018 which is quite exciting for not only foreigners, but also local travelers.Miri Resort CityVisit Miri Year 2018For the entire year of 2018, a total of 30 events have been proposed throughout the year for Visit Miri Year 2018. The largest of the events being no other than the Miri Mat Fest which takes place n the month of May. The official launching of the Visit Miri Year 2018 (VMY 2018) will also take place at the Miri Central Park on new year's eve, which is the perfect opportunity to brand VMY 2018 to the many people that will be here. The re-opening of the Miri Handicraft Center is also scheduled for VMY 2018. This is a new building that is revamped to showcase the traditional cultures of the Miri people and its surrounding ethnic quarters.Borneo Jazz Festival held in Miri, SarawakProposed  and Existing Events for Visit Miri Year 2018Below is a list of existing events that take place in Miri and also those proposed for VMY 2018.Opening Ceremony of Mir Handicraft CenterSarawak Native FestivalMiss Grand Miri PageantMiri Pet ExpoMiri Mural Art ExhibitionMalaysia Dragon Temple Krokop 5 - 40th AnniversaryInternational Conference on Sustainable Building Asia (SBE2018)Southeast Asia Poet Convention Borneo Jazz Festival 2018Miri Color Rush Run 2018Afro Latin ConferenceInternational Deep Sea Fishing Tournament11th Miri City DayMiri International MarathonMiri Country Music FestivalThe Seahorse Lighthouse, one of the icons on MiriVMY 2018 - Local OpinionsAccording to news reports, locals voiced out to the organisers that other events from outside of the Miri district should be also highlighted and promoted, not only those in Miri. There are events from areas of Sibuti, Marudi and the nearby national parks of Niah, Lambir and Loagan Bunut. They want this to be a successful event due to the fact that Miri was selected at the place to visit for 2018. Miri is also a fast developing resort city that offers quite a lot of tourism, only that the place is not promoted heavily at the moment.Niah Caves, just two hours from MiriGrand Old Lady of MiriI have been an avid fan of Miri, having visit this resort city on a yearly basis since 2010 and have seen he changes since back then. There are international world class hotels and resorts, modern shopping malls, rich local heritage and culture and beautiful places to explore. I have also done an article on what to do in Miri, for anyone heading here. The coastal city is unlike your normal city, where things are a little more laid back and peaceful.E-Mart in Miri is one of the very popular shopping spotsSunset at Luak Esplanade in MiriJust so you know, scuba diving in Miri is also one of the untouched tourism activities. Usually, adventure lovers tend to come here due to the three national parks in the area. For food lovers, Miri also offers some of the best local and ethnic foods in Sarawak, which is located in the main city area. Walking around Miri old and new town is highly recommended for first time visitors here.Authentic Kelabit food in MiriMiri's Tamu Khas or Special Ethnic Market in the cityYou can find services like Grab and Uber in Miri as taxi's are not easy to get. Most visitors tend to book day tours from the various travel companies in Miri as traveling around requires a knowledgeable guide. If you plan to visit here during the Visit Miri Year 2018, I recommend you wait for the official Miri calendar of events to be released, then you would know when is the best time to visit. If you have questions, please do ask them below. 
    Friday 24th of November 2017 06:30:00 AM
  • Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort
    Raja Ampat is becoming a more and more popular travel destination, with travelers looking to get away from the crowds of the cities and towns and other beach holiday locations. Those that are truly looking for a remote untouched tropical paradise turn to a Resort in Raja Ampat.Raja Ampat is located off the Northwest tip of the Bird?s Head Peninsula off of the Island of New Guinea and the region known as Papua. Raja Ampat means the ?Four Kings? and the 4 main Islands are Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo; it is an archipelago that comprises of over 1500 Islands, Islets and cays.  The Raja Ampat Archipelago is part of the Coral Triangle which spans between Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia. The coral triangle holds the largest diversity of coral species compared to other coral reefs in tropical locations.The Biodiversity Eco Resort in Raja AmpatRaja Ampat Biodiversity Eco ResortRaja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort is nestled in a remote location on the Island of Gam neighboring the Island of Waigeo which houses the main town of the regency; Waisai. Biodiversity Eco Resort has so much to offer the more adventurous traveler.  The resort offers comfortable accommodation in Raja Ampat, in traditional Papuan style huts right on the beach front. With a selection of three different cottages to choose from there is a cottage to suit most budgets.Biodiversity Eco Resort offers more comfort than the local alternative home stays and a more affordable budget than the other resorts in Raja Ampat. Biodiversity Eco Resort offers the best and most flexible all round packages and full board accommodation for staying in a resort whilst visiting the area.  Aerial view of Piaynemo in Raja AmpatUnlike many of the other resorts in the area we have no fixed check in or check out days, allowing guests to arrive at the time that suits them the best. All the cottages are on the beach front and provide either a double or twin room in comfort, with plenty of areas in the cottage, or outside the cottage on the deck with a bean bag or hammock, or on the beach with a sun bed or pergola or even the sofas on the jetty to relax in.Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort offers the opportunity to connect with Mother Nature both on land and under the water with daily dives being offered to certified divers. Underwater landscape at Raja AmpatIt offers the opportunity to try scuba diving for the first time and even complete the full open water diver training for those that aren?t certified. Diving in Indonesia is a unique experience for divers that are looking for unique biodiversity in the world.With dive boats heading out to different dive sites everyday to explore the wondrous marine life that Raja Ampat has to offer there is 2 to 4 dive trips available every day and the opportunity for snorkelers to join the boat and see the different reefs here in Raja Ampat.  Raja Ampat is ranked in the top 10 dive destinations but it?s still the world record holder for the highest count of different fish species counted in a single dive on Cape Kri, just a 20min boat ride from the resort.The famous Wobbegong or Carpet Shark in Raja AmpatFor that time not spent under water there are opportunities to join treks into the jungle to see the rare Birds of Paradise, walks along the beach and join a boat to the local villages to see the true native Papuan lifestyle.There is even the chance to rent a Kayak and explore the winding waterways between Gam and Waigeo and venture into secluded bays and beaches uninhabited by man.Biodiversity Eco resort has been established with a family feel at its core, welcoming all travelers, be it couples, Families or Single travelers. The diversity of the travelers to the resorts reflects the diversity of the area and offers this special and amazing experience for all to enjoy.
    Thursday 23rd of November 2017 09:14:00 AM
  • Get travel promotion discounts with MyDigi App?
    By this day in time, most of us would already have a smart phone and have gone through a number of different network providers. As for me, I have been using a smart phone since the the launching of the 1st iPhone. It was back in early July of 2007, when I got my iPhone 1 shipped one day after its launch in the USA and I still remember that I was on Digi back then. After all, I had been using Digi since the early 90s and it hasn?t failed me in the 20 years since and one of the reasons why I?m still a Digi loyalist is because of all the promos and discounts you can get from the MyDigi app. My work requires me to travel around Malaysia, the region of Southeast Asia and also around the world, and DiGi has always served me well with their data roaming and other services while abroad. This article was written to share what is new with the smart phone provider and why I am still a loyal DiGi user after all this time. It also shares information about how to get travel promotion and discounts by using the MyDiGi App. MyDiGi AppGetting Travel Promotions via MyDiGi AppSince Digi launched the app in March 2017, I thought little of it, as normally you would see the same old boring discounts and offers up for grabs, which is of not much use for someone like me. But around Aug 2017, I was actually surprised when I saw that there were some pretty interesting travel promos and discounts in the app. Some of the exciting promos I discovered were for international brands like Agoda, Double Tree by The Hilton and even local tourism players like Sunway Lagoon and Sunway Lost World. One of the interesting places that I visited in Bangkok, ThailandOnce I spotted these, I started scrolling through one-by-one. After my research, I conclude that it IS. Here are some of November 2017 promos that you need to get now. Agoda 10% OFFSo, on my recent travel to Bangkok, I actually used the Agoda travel promotion as it allowed me to get a further 10% off my hotel room booking. So instead of paying RM285 for three nights hotel stay, I paid only RM256.50 and saved RM28.50. Sunway Lagoon 32% OFFGood for families, this is a real jewel for the coming school holidays. If you?re planning to visit Sunway Lagoon theme park, then claim the 32% discount. Sunway Lost World Hotel 60% OFF For those who want to escape the Klang Valley, there is a fantastic offer from Sunway?s Lost World of Tambun where the Lost World Hotel is offering a 60% discount for hotel room rates. Not only that, there is a 35% discount on the Lost World Theme Park tickets. Triip Travel RM420 OFFAnd if your next hols needs to be somewhere unique and exotic, Triip is offering a 5D/4N travel promotion to Bhutan with a USD$100 discount. Convert that and it?s RM420.00 off your trip to Bhutan! Some of the promotions available on the MyDiGi AppWhat else can you do with MyDiGi App? Generally, as a MyDigi user, there are quite a number of things that can be done using this application. One of the best functions is that you can actually reload prepaid credit for family and friends, and this lets you unlock cash vouchers to be redeemed. The minimum reload is RM15.00 and every reload earns you a badge which is redeemable. Generally, this is best for parents with kids, because you can keep track of your child?s internet usage and spending, and in return get rewarded. Inviting friends and getting rewarded is something many users should also use. The steps are pretty simple and straightforward, you can refer to method here : MyDigi App, . Also, do not forget to read the terms and conditions for this.MyDiGi Superdeal and Monthly RewardsIn your MyDiGi App, there are two main sections available, which are;1.MyDiGi Superdeals2.MyDiGi Monthly RewardsMyDigi Superdeals - This is for the lifestyle user where there are many different promotions and offers available for your everyday use. You can choose from food and beverage promotions to entertainment and even buy Android Internet Security for promotional prices.  MyDigi Monthly Rewards - This is the one that I prefer, where you can get some really great deals and savings, especially if you are traveling or shopping. There are quite a number of promotions available and it changes from month to month. There is additional information about MyDigi App, if you?re interested, and if you are an existing Digi user, I would simply say that it is a free app with nothing to lose. Just like me, I installed it out of curiosity, and found that I could get some travel promotions and discounts from the app. 
    Monday 20th of November 2017 06:30:00 AM
  • Coconut Garden Beach Resort Review
    If you are visiting Maumere in Flores for scuba diving, work or leisure, you will find this Coconut Garden Beach Resort review rather interesting. Especially, if you are planning to look for a beautiful  place to stay at in Maumere. Flores, is also one of the up and coming tourism destinations of Indonesia, namely because of Komodo Island where you can see the real life Komodo Dragons in person. On a trip here in September 2016, I was given the opportunity to explore this fascinating island. Maumere is one of the lesser visited destinations in Flores, probably due to very little promotions being done, but for any adventure traveler or even scuba diver, Maumere is highly recommended as it is untouched, peaceful and beautiful. A view of the restaurant and some of the beach bungalowsReview of Coconut Garden Beach Resort in MaumereI have to be honest as I had no knowledge of this place until I visited here. Arriving at the Maumere Airport, everything looked undeveloped and my group was picked up and sent to the Coconut Garden Beach Resort here. For a local run resort, I was impressed the minute I stepped out of the bus. Coconut trees dominated the resort landscape and the strange mushroom looking villa units were very eco-designer styled. The main reception area is in the only restaurant which serves as your common area.  Staff are locals from Maumere and very hospitable, which was a great start to staying here. There were about 8 of us and each of us got our own private bungalow. Coconut Garden resort also sits on a private land with its own private beachfront. Everything here is picture perfect as you can see from the photos, lush island landscapes, bamboo bungalows, friendly staff and picturesque moments waiting to be captured. It is also said that this eco-friendly resort caters to a number of honeymooners seeking the ultimate escape to nowhere. One of the beach bungalows at the resort in MaumereBeach Bungalows at Coconut Garden ResortBecause there are only 8 bungalows, you are getting the best of Indonesian hospitality here. The owners took no slack in creating some of the finest beach bungalows in the east of Indonesia. Never have I seen such craftsmanship in a finished resort product. Every detail was carefully looked into, ensuring that guests get the ultimate experience while staying here. As I walked into my Sunset Bungalow, my eyes immediately looked around to see the small fittings that made a difference.A full view of the mosquito net covered queen sized bedThe open concept beach bungalow allows guests to feel free, with no walls in the interior of the unit except for a queen sized beds with traditional mosquito nets and comfy pillows invite guests to just jump in. The bathroom area is a separate outdoor part that has a eight foot wooden fence surrounding the place. Natural beach sand is used at the flooring with stepping stones as your walkway. The outdoor bathroom at the bungalowShower area which is outdoors and cleverly constructedThe toilet area which is quite interestingThe bathroom is connected by a sliding glass doors to the main bungalow, making this a very natural experience for anyone staying here. Actually, I quite liked how the planned the bungalow layout. Each bungalow is also air-conditioned while the hexagon glass walls have rustic matching curtains for privacy. At the entrance of the bungalow, you find a hammock to just laze in all day, while there is also a seating area for you to have your drink while watching the Maumere sunset. A full view of the sunset bungalow at the resort with coconut trees in the backgroundAround Coconut Beach Garden ResortThe peaceful and natural surroundings here are incredibly beautiful. In the mornings, I was woken up by the soothing bird chirping which is a common thing at the resort. The private beach has a couple of gazebos where you can just laze with cocktail in hand and gazing at the scenery. Or you have have the local masseur give you a local and traditional massage. The beach gazebo at the resortTraditional massage can also be done in your bungalow. Other activities include kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, fishing, boat trips or anything that fancies you. But, do not hope for jet skiing, sky diving or bungy jumping. You must remember, this is in the middle of nowhere. For a more cultural experience, the resort can arrange for you to learn 'Ikat Weaving' which is a traditional Maumere way of weaving leaves. If not, you can rent a motorbike and self explore Maumere. The one and only restaurant which serves as a reception areaFor the fitness lovers, they have an amazing outdoor beach gym, which is also in a similar bungalow design. The gym comes complete with international standard equipment. There is no private pool or swimming pool here as an entire sea awaits you. The restaurant here must be highlighted as they only serve from farm to kitchen organic food. Yes, everything here is sourced locally from the various farmers. Fish is bought directly from the local fishermen and livestock from the farmers. The outcome, simply delicious and healthy. Seafood and rice, done organic and Maumere styleAs for drinks, fear not as alcohol is served here. You can get local Indonesian beer and also imported beer, wine and spirits. Beer is sold by the bottles too. For special occasions, a seafood barbecue can be arranged by the resort. Room service is not available, but can be arranged. As for the food choices, you can choose from local Indonesian to International fusion styled food. One of the recommendations to try is the fried banana fritters and the calamari, as snacks or starters. The beautiful Maumere beach at the resortBeyond Coconut Garden Beach ResortFor adventures, you can book a trip to Mount Kelimutu to see the amazing tri-color lakes and also explore the Kelimutu National Park. If you are religious, do ask the resort to plan a visit to the Bukit Nilo to see the huge statue of Mother Mary perched on top of the hill here. There is also an old wooden church which is said to be over a hundred years old and still in its natural form. These places are all located in the Sikka Regency, where Maumere is the capital here. Scuba diving in Maumere is also one of the growing activities as there has been some promotions done in recent years. Maumere is known to be one of the most diverse spots on earth, just after Raja Ampat, in terms of diving. A couple of the Sunset Bungalows that face the Maumere seaThere is a good balance of marine life here with opportunities to spot many types of rays, large and small, healthy amount of reef fish and a wide variety of nudibranch. If you are lucky, you can even spot pilot whales, dolphins or whale sharks on route to your dive sites. Honestly, I am hoping that in 2018, my good friend Pinneng from Kupang will arrange a diving experience in Maumere one day, so I can complete my dive articles for this part of East Indonesia. Let us see if this happens. For additional information around here, you can read my article on things to do in Flores as it narrows down that are the main attractions here. The 'Wedding Gazebo' on the beach at the resortRealistic ConclusionLet us be honest here - why go to Bali when you can visit somewhere totally exotic and yet have the luxuries of beach side resorts plus exploring a place where not many people have visited. I would easily recommend visiting Maumere to anyone who wants something different. For honeymooners or those wanting a romantic getaway minus the crowds, the resort offers some pretty good wedding or romantic packages on their website. They even have a 'Retie the Knot' package. Just take a look at the peaceful and quiet beach hereIf you are interested, you can book a bungalow at Coconut Garden Beach Resort as there are some great rates available online for singles or couples. Or you can contact the resort directly. On a side note, they also have a dorm here that caters to backpackers or those on a budget. The location of the resort is about 15-20 minutes from the Maumere Airport and transport is available when you book directly from the resort. The drive there is quite an eye opener for first timers too, so do keep a look out your window. This trip was made possible with the team from Skyscanner as we explored various places from Bali to Flores in East Nusa Tenggara. I never thought I would have the opportunity exploring the east side of Flores, as it has always been on my bucket list.  I hope this review of the Coconut Garden Beach Resort comes in handy for anyone planning to visit this part of Flores. And if you have any questions, please do ask them below in the comment form.
    Saturday 11th of November 2017 01:06:00 PM
  • IST Malaysia Scuba Diving Products
    With 40 years of production experience, IST Malaysia scuba diving products are now available as a choice of reliable equipment for all divers out there. The brand which originates from Taiwan also has a strong presence in over 200 countries around the world, and now available here in Malaysia.IST Malaysia provides brands such as IST Proline, IST Sports and Dolphin Tech which offers consumers a choice of latest technology in scuba diving. Some ma say this is a new player in the scuba diving industry, but in fact, they are one of the seasoned international brands.Recently launched in October 2017, IST Malaysia officially launched it's Malaysian office and also its online dive shop where consumers can buy directly with massive discounts being offered. And speaking of discounts, the brand is offering a 35% discount for all IST scuba diving products till 31st December 2017.A photo I took while diving at Raja Ampat in October 2017IST MalaysiaA little history about IST, a company founded in Taiwan in 1976 producing masks, snorkels and fins which has a 41 year history. Over the years, the company ventured in more sport diving products and eventually catered from head to toe in diving equipment.Not only for casual divers, IST also produces other equipment such as freediving, technical diving and also commercial diving with a vast range of products. The company has a simple and strict mission statement which is to produce safe, reliable, high quality products, and at very affordable prices.This mission statement is accepted well around the world over and now IST Sports is one of the top scuba diving brands around the world. Products include general diving equipment, bags, BCD sets, gloves, gauges, torches, hard gear parts and many other related items. Selection of Rash Guards from IST MalaysiaIST Scuba Diving Products in MalaysiaWith so many scuba diving products out in the market nowadays, divers have too many choices. However, for those with a budget and who still want quality, IST diving products are one to consider. For those who dive regularly, they usually would want to have their own equipment. Just like me, I dive quite regularly and have been using my own dive equipment, and the main reason is purely for safety. Divers would know about the general dive center rental equipment, and how some of them are worn or not well kept. As many divers choose to have their own dive equipment, I will list down some of the popular items required by divers. IST Pro Ear MaskDiving Mask - This is probably the most personal dive equipment anyone must have. A mask provides you clarity underwater, and a good mask will not give you problems when you are diving. As I use glasses, I choose a prescription mask with power and the mask is comfortable. IST Malaysia has a new technology diving mask which is a ProEar Mask that assists divers with equalization problems. You can check out the Pro Ear Mask by IST. Wet Suits and Rash Guards - These are also sought after by most divers, as a wet suit or rash guard is quite personal. The best is to obtain your own personal sized that fits you and you are comfortable while diving. You can check out some of the interesting wet suits and rash guards from IST Malaysia. Fins - Probably the least owned dive equipment, due to availability from most dive centers. However, more divers are getting their own fins nowadays, especially for personal diving comfort and probably for overall matching. Dive Combo Sets - These are a combination of mask, snorkel and fins for those who want a good deal in getting the set. They are usually matching colors and for the dive fashionistas, these provide the perfect finishing. Other Scuba Diving Equipment - IST Malaysia offers a very wide range of scuba diving equipment from head to tow and also diving accessories. You can get BCD's, regulators, parts and many other items. Check the IST Malaysia diving catalog for the equipment list and prices. IST Malaysia VideoBelow is a video on IST Malaysia, highlighting the brand and its interesting scuba diving products. The video also shows the launching of IST Malaysia in October 2017. IST Malaysia InformationMegan Avenue 1,Unit B7-5,189 Jalan Tun Razak,50400 Kuala Lumpur.Tel: +603 2164 3311Website: http://istmalaysia.my/Online Shop: https://www.keluar.my/You can also contact IST Malaysia via their social media platforms as listed below;IST Malaysia FacebookIST Malaysia InstagramIST Malaysia is having a special sale till 31st of December 2017 on their websiteScuba divers out there, especially if you are a new scuba diver, IST Sport diving equipment is one of the recommended products which are affordable. Some of the equipment sold are world class and quite unique, and you can check out the 2018 IST dive equipment from their main website. Again, IST Malaysia is offering a 35% discount for all their scuba diving equipment if you shop online and this offer ends on the 31st December 2017. When it comes to diving, consumers have many choices and IST Malaysia scuba diving products are one of the new players in Malaysia. 
    Wednesday 8th of November 2017 10:48:00 AM
  • Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia
    One of the countries largest anime events called Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia will take place in December at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center or KLCC. The dates are from 16-17 December and will see over 50,000 people attending this event. The Comic Fiesta 2017 in Malaysia has also been running for many years, and has attracted a lot of anime, manga and comic fans from all over the country and region. This event is also touted as the largest comic and pop culture market to date.Malaysia Comic Fiesta 2017One of the halls at the Comic Fiesta 2016 MalaysiaThis unique event not only showcases comics as the title says, but there are many other sub-genres available at the entire event. Most of the vendors there will be selling fan merchandise from popular comics, anime and manga characters. Retail business will also be at its best as collectors and fans wait for this one massive event to get their desired items. In total, there would be over 300 vendors at the Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia.At the event, there are dedicated areas for different genres, and divided into halls. Consumer merchandise is allocated in one hall where the suppliers and importers will have their large booths selling items.Cosplayers form Malaysia at the Comic FiestaYou can find replica items from your favourite characters, costumes, accessories, stickers and many other items from the vendors here.At the last Comic Fiesta 2016, there was one area dedicated to gaming, and they had live game playing on a super huge screen where spectators could watch. Around that area, game developers and distributors are seen at their booths.As for food, usually there is a special area dedicated to food and beverage. There is also a eating area with tables and chairs for visitors to sit and relax. Usually, people who attend this event will spend the entire day here.Earthbound Papas concert and show at Comic Fiesta 2017Live Event at Comic Fiesta 2017Great news for Final Fantasy fans as legendary Final Fantasy Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu will be there with Earthbound Papas performing. This will take place at the main stage area and special tickets are required to be purchases for this showcase.Tickets are in three classes which are Novice RM50, Expert RM100 and Master RM150. Tickets are limited too so get them as soon as possible if you are a massive Final Fantasy fan.Cosplayers in action at Comic Fiesta MalaysiaCosplay at Comic Fiesta 2017One of the main highlights at this even where you will see the best of Malaysian Cosplay at one event. This is quite unique as fans dress up all the way, and showcase themselves all over the event.From the main entrance all the way into the event, you will definitively see cosplayers in full action. Guys, girls and even kids take advantage of this event to dress up as characters.Collectible Card Games (CCG) at Comic Fiesta 2017Another popular genre are the collectible card games (CCG) or trading card games (TCG) that are featured in one special area. Last year, Magic The Gathering or MTG took the opportunity to launch MTG Commander 2016 Edition at the event with a huge turnout of fans.There are also many other CCG and TCG available, especially new ones which have been introduced into the market. They also see Comic Fiesta as one of the excellent platforms to gain popularity and branding fro their card games.Some vendors are also selling cards games which are new in box. Alternatively, you can also talk to them to pre-order certain up and coming games.Probably the largest single bazaar in Malaysia, the Comic Fiesta BazaarComic Fiesta 2017 BazaarProbably the largest single pop culture bazaar in Malaysia, there will be over 200 bazaar vendors that will be in a special dedicated area for this. You will find all kinds of everything related to comics, anime, manga and pop culture.This bazaar is open to vendors from the public who sell their own creations, costumes, accessories and collectibles. Prepare to spend a couple of hours at this bazaar if you are a huge fan.Early bird tickets for this years Comic Fiesta 2017 in MalaysiaComic Fiesta 2017 TicketsThe tickets for Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia are available online for the early bird tickets which are RM60.00 for two days. What is so special about getting the early bird tickets? If I were you, I would get them because you will be entitled to;1. Early Access to the event (30 minutes earlier than the general ticket holders)2. Shorter queue for entering the event hallsThis means, early bird ticket holders are like hot seat passengers where they get priority access to the event. And no, this does not mean you are getting a back stage pass, only the priority access.The normal priced tickets are RM30 for one day and RM60 for two days.Special Magic Cube Ticket for Comic Fiesta 2017This is a special ticket where it includes exclusive limited edition items with your ticket. Items include a special mystic magic mug, Touch 'n Go card and a special limited edition pin. This is recommended for the serious collectors and fans.Inside the event, lots of vendors selling all sorts of thingsWhere to buy early bird tickets for Comic Fiesta 2017?There are selected retail outlets that are selling the Comic Fiesta 2017 early bird tickets, and you can also get them from the selected road shows listed further below.For foreigners, there is a dedicated page where you can pre-order the tickets and pay via PayPal. Go to this link for foreigner tickets for Comic Fiesta 2016. If you are non-Malaysian, you need to purchase this.Tickets Counters On Event DayYou can purchase these tickets on the event day at the entrance to Comic Fiesta. However, you should not that the ticket counters only open at 10.00 AM, after the early bird queue is cleared. And entry to the event is also after the early bird queue.Tickets are also in the form of wristbands, therefore please do not lose them or it will be difficult to get back in after you exit.Some of the vendors at the recent Comic Fiesta in MalaysiaChildren Below 12 Years OldEntrance is free for children below 12 years old, but they must be accompanied by a parent or adult. This means, the parent or adult must purchase a ticket in order to bring the child in.Remember, if you are bringing your child or children, the place can get really crowded. Please keep an eye on your kids and take regular breaks at the F&B area or other open areas.Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia RoadshowThe organisers have also created a series of road shows for the event which will take place at three main locations around the Klang Valley and Melaka. The places and information are;MGACEEvolve Concept Mall21 & 22 October (Concluded)RAGEElements Mall, Melaka28-29 October 2017 (Concluded)Publika Comic Play 2017Publika Shopping Gallery18-19 November 2017Comic Fiesta 2016 VideoBelow is a video of last years Comic Fiesta 2016 taken by me, and showcasing an overall view of the event. Last years event was held at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur and in a few different halls.If you have never been to this event, just take a look at the video and you will know what to expect at the Malaysian Comic Fiesta 2017. It shows cosplayers, booths, events and overall what you can expect here.Visitors coming from out of Malaysia for Comic Fiesta 2017If you are from out of Malaysia and planning to travel to Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia, I strongly recommend you make your accommodation bookings fast. This is because during the year end, Kuala Lumpur tends to be busy and hotels can be fully booked.I recommend also trying AirBnB for lodging if you cannot find any hotels. For transport, there is the main LRT train line that stops at KLCC and you can walk about five minutes to the convention center. If you want convenience, I recommend you try some of the hotels located around the KLCC area.Those wanting the four and five star hotels, you can try booking Impiana KLCC Hotel as this is located just across the main road from the convention center. Alternatively, there is the Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur which is about five minutes walking  distance to the event.Those who want to stay at a luxury hotel, you can try the Mandarin Oriental Hotel or even the new Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur as they are both just next to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.For those who need other transport, you can take private car services like UBER and GRAB, which is quite easy and economical to use. There are many cars running these services in the city area and are reliable and cheap.A local cosplayer at Comic FiestaIf you have been a huge comic, anime or manga fan, this is the one event that is highly recommended to attend or visit. Comic Fiesta 2017 Malaysia just gets better year after year and because of events like this, more people are finally getting into this genre.If you have any questions, please contact the organisers at their Comic Fiesta 2017 Facebook Page or through their website. You can even leave them in the comment form below and hopefully someone will help answer it. 
    Saturday 4th of November 2017 07:20:00 AM
  • Qatar Airways Doha to Penang Flights Launched
    Incredible airline news as Qatar Airways is starting its Doha to Penang direct flights from 2018. This comes as a shock to many states in Malaysia on the direct middle east flight to the Pearl of the Orient. The three times weekly direct flight will start on 8th February 2018, and will be a long haul flight on Qatar Airways. The aircraft used will be the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which will seat approximately 254 passengers and take 8.5 hours one way.Penang is one of the must-visit destinations in Malaysia, rich with culture, food and heritageQatar Airways Doha to Penang Flights Penang has long been one of the must-visit destinations of Malaysia for many decades, and in the past few years, Penang Island has made international travel headlines where Lonely Planet, CNN Travel and other international publications have named Penang as one of the top cities in the world to visit. The Pearl of the Orient as it is also know, has impressed many high yield tourist from the west for many years. Penang also comes with over 200 years of solid history, where the British first landed here in 1786, making the island the first spot for the British colonial era. From that, the island has seen a rich and diverse melting pot of races that have thrived over the centuries. George Town is the capital of Penang and is also home to one of two UNESCO World Heritage Cities in Malaysia. The other being Melaka.Penang's very unique and interesting shops in George TownWhy Penang is a popular places is also due to the diverse combination of food, culture and history. Penang food is world renown and serves some of the best local Malaysian hawker fare. Ask any Malaysia about Penang hawker food and you will get a thumbs up. With news of Qatar Airways flying directly into Penang from Doha, this will surely increase the tourism on the island. As for facilities, the island has been ready for years and you can find luxurious hotels, resorts, boutique accommodations and many guesthouses.Qatar Airways will begin direct flights from Doha to Penang in Feb 2018Qatar Airways Doha Penang Flight InformationDoha to Penang Inaugural Flight will take off on Feb 6, 2018Flight QR850 will land in Penang at 2.30 pm local time.Penang to Doha Inaugural Flight will leave at 8.30 pm on Feb 6, 2018Flight QR851 will arrive at 11.20 pm Qatar local time.3 flights weekly will be on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.Penang is also home to the world's smallest national park which is easily visited in just half a day. Temples of all sorts away the cultural tourist while exploring the UNESCO core heritage zone in George Town by foot is an adventure waiting to b experienced.For anyone heading to Penang for the first time, you may experience a culture shock, but a good one. And here is a list of free things to do in Penang while you are here. The island is not very big, therefore most of the things can be done around George Town area.Till Qatar Airways launches its direct flights to Penang this February 2018, the island is ever ready to receive guest from anywhere in the world. This also means that Penangites can soon visit the Middle East and other countries in Europe with the Penang to Doha direct flights from Qatar Airways. 
    Wednesday 1st of November 2017 11:15:00 AM
  • Visit Malaysia Year 2020
    In the recent Malaysia Budget 2018 announcement on 27th October, the prime minister had officially mentioned that Visit Malaysia Year 2020 was approved and on track for the tourism development of the country. With the Budget 2018 news, an infrastructure development fund was allocated with 1 Billion Ringgit Malaysia (US$235 Billion) to prepare for Visit Malaysia Year 2020. This was a huge amount of money being invested into the tourism sector of Malaysia.Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020)For the vision of Visit Malaysia Year 2020 (VMY2020), the tourism promotions and development fund of RM500 Million (US$117 Million) was allocated under the Budget 2018. This brings good news to industry players all over the country.Also in the works was the expansion of the regional eVisa hub to make entry and exit smoother for visitors to Malaysia. Currently, the eVisa program is available online where an application platform enables foreign nationals to apply for an electronic visa to enter Malaysia at the comfort of your convenience.Some of the spectacular sunsets seen around Malaysia. This one taken at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah BorneoFor the hoteliers news, tax incentives for new 4 & 5 star hotel investments have been extended by 2 years. And for tourism industry players, the inclusion of income tax exemption is now extended to 31 December 2020. As this news is still fresh off the press, there are no other guidelines available on the Visit Malaysia Year 2020. The numbers should be released probably in 2018. In 2017, the target set by the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia for visitors to Malaysia in 2017 is 31 Million visitors with tourist receipts of RM114 Billion (US$26.8 Billion). In 2016, Malaysia achieved 26.8 Million visitors with a total of RM82.1 Billion (US$19.1 Billion) in receipts.National Parks not only feature rainforest but also incredible sea stacks like this in Bako, SarawakNew Tourism Products For MalaysiaIn 2018, we can see quite a number of new tourism products for Malaysia being launched. One of the most talked about is the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Genting, which is the first of its kind in the world. This alone will easily contribute to millions of visitors when it opens its doors in early 2018. Another massive tourism project is also the Desaru Coast project which will open in 2018 in the south east of Johor. At this integrated project, the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark will be one of the highlights here. It is touted to be one of the most modern and largest water parks in the region. Other contributing factors at Desaru Coast are four world class hotels and resorts that are opening, 2 world class golf courses and a lifestyle and entertainment area called Desaru Coast Riverside. Other massive tourism projects include a Jurassic World, Sea World, Ubisoft Theme Park and Langkawi Eco Theme Park which are all in the planning and scheduled to open by 2020. However, nothing solid has come up as these are just news.There is so much natural rainforest and national parks all over MalaysiaNatural Tourism Resources in MalaysiaWhile Malaysia is rich with natural tourism sources, I truly hope that the tourism ministry will re-look into promoting nature, outdoors and adventure tourism as there are so many national parks in Malaysia, both Peninsular and also in Sabah and Sarawak. I understand that a majority of tourist want popular tourism spots like the Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya, Shopping, Batu Caves and so on, but these are the short stay tourist which only provide numbers.Malaysia was once known as a nature, adventure and eco tourism destination as we have so much natural resources and tourism spots. Our national parks are some of the best in the world and also one of the oldest in the world. These natural tourism places provide adventure, trekking, hiking, climbing, wildlife watching and even bird watching tourism, which can contribute well to the receipts, if managed and promoted well. Even for scuba diving tourism, we have some of the best diving spots in the region, and Sipadan Island is one of the top three dive sites in the world. When wrongly promoted, agents will mass-sell beautiful destination to fast turn around tourist, and this results in turning away the quality longer staying tourist. Trust me, I have seen this happen at some of the islands in Malaysia.Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, one of the most popular commercial tourism spots in MalaysiaCommercial Tourism Places in MalaysiaWhile cross border tourism is the biggest contributor to the tourism arrivals in Malaysia, the rest of the percentage goes to the commercial man made tourism products. These are usually the shopping malls, theme parks, structures and so on. As these places are fully tapped by most travel agents, some of the other agents could spend focus on other places of interest. And yes, the not so commercial places are lacking in infrastructure and so on. But perhaps the new tourism fund from the Budget 2018 will be allocated to this?River Cruises are one of the natural Eco Tourism products that can be further promotedNon-Commercial tourism Places in MalaysiaOn a personal note, I would like to see the ministry of tourism pay additional attention to nature, wildlife, outdoors, trekking, hiking and other non-commercialized tourism products. Even tough they do not generate massive tourism numbers, it would provide an alternate to the genuine tourist who want to see the real Malaysia. As an active travel writer since 2008, I have personally visited and seen many interesting places that would be appealing towards tourist who want to experience something different. However, speaking to the relevant tourism boards, there are always too many red tape issues in developing some of these interesting places. I have also been actively scuba diving and bird watching around Malaysia, and see this as one of the potential tourism products that could put Malaysia on the world tourism map. Again, niche genres like bird watching and scuba diving need more publicity and awareness and also funding to improve the infrastructure of these places. Bird Watching is one of the high yield tourism products that can be developedMore To Come...Since the new of this just came out in late October 2017, there will be more to come from me about Visit Malaysia 2020. There is at least two full years to go before the VMY2020 campaign takes off, and 2019 will be the crucial year for the marketing and promotions. The article here is written by me with my own personal views while they may differ from others. As a tourism and travel writer over the last 10 years, I have worked hand in hand with Tourism Malaysia, Sabah Tourism Board, Sarawak Tourism Board and even Tourism Selangor in the early years too. Currently, Tourism Malaysia Familiarization trips or Media Fam are not doing the correct job due to non-experience personnel organising them. If you keep calling your friends or bloggers who have no experience or ethics, we will never grow our online or digital industry in promoting Malaysia. For now, this is just the start of VMY2020 and I will be back with updates on Visit Malaysia Year 2020 whenever I get more information. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. 
    Tuesday 31st of October 2017 09:45:00 AM
  • Desaru Coast
    One of the much talked about projects for 2018 is no other than the Desaru Coast project, which is a massive premium integrated destination resort and possibly a new tourism destination for Malaysia. Currently, there are massive projects ongoing where a series of world class hotels and resorts are being built and complimented with golf courses, a massive conference center, a water park, upscale homes and a unique retail village. Desaru Coast also boasts of 3,900 acres of prime land and a whopping 17 kilometers of unspoiled beachfront, which covers the southeast part of the state of Johor, Malaysia. This alone will stir up interest for travelers, local and international who want something different in Malaysia.The Desaru Coast Adventure Water ParkDesaru Coast Hotels and ResortsWith such a massive integrated project, a number of international hotels and resorts have already started construction here at Desaru Coast. The hotel and resort names would speak for themselves as they are all five star brands.Please note there are no actual photos available and therefore what you see below are all artist impressions for now. As soon as I can get actual photos, I will do my best to update it here.Inside the Westin Desaru CoastThe Westin Desaru Coast ResortA 5-Star beachfront property with a total of 275 rooms and operated by Marriott International. The resort comes with a conference center adjoined to the resort and a world class spa that has been highly recommended by many. If you are a Starwood Proffered Guest member, this is your next destination.View of the South China Sea from the Anantara Resort Desaru CoastAnantara Desaru Coast Resort and VillasA world class name known to the luxury travelers, the Anantara Desaru will be fully managed under the Anantara Hotels and Resorts brand. A total of 123 luxurious units are offered for guests and the Anantara Spa fit for a king and queen will be one of the highlights here. Strategically located in the main hub of Desaru Coast, the luxurious resort is located near the Desaru Coast Riverside and the two world class golf courses.Aman Resort and Villas Desaru CoastThis is going to be the only 6-Star Resort in Desaru, offering a total of 46 luxury club suites and 48 residential villas facing the South China Sea. The luxurious resort will be managed by world famous Amanresorts, so you can expect world class luxury service here.Artist impression of the Hard Rock Hotel Desaru CoastHard Rock Hotel Desaru CoastAnother branch of the Hard Rock family is also set to open at Desaru Coast, bring more credential towards this new tourism and lifestyle project. The Hard Rock Hotel Desaru will offer 365 rooms, a cafe and everything Hard Rock, and look out for the unique Rock Spa. This property will also be located next to the world class Desaru Coast Water Park.Desaru Coast Entertainment PlacesDesaru Coast Riverside, an artist impression of what it will look likeDesaru Coast RiversideThis is the much talked about entertainment project which sees a 23 acre waterfront village catering to entertainment and lifestyle. You can expect quality retails shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and other entertainment outlets in one place. Not much has been announced on who are the outlets opening here, but we expect top brands and names as tenants here.The adventure water park at Desaru CoastDesaru Coast Adventure WaterparkThe much awaited and talked about latest water park in Malaysia is the Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark. This is also touted to be one of the world?s biggest water parks, which features 17 different water slide rides. Not only that, you can expect the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia and experience the first water roller coaster in Southeast Asia. Convinced? I am quite excited about this new water park in Johor.Desaru Coast Convention and Conference Center artist impressionDesaru Coast Conference CentreTargeting the MICE and business travelers, the Desaru Coast Conference Center (DCCC) will be the newest player in this part of the country. A banquet area and exhibition space will cater up to 1,000 participants, which is complemented with meeting and breakout rooms, VIP lounges, pre-function area and a courtyard. This will easily cater to corporate functions, exhibitions, meetings and entertainment events.Gold Courses at Desaru CoastFor golfers, there is excellent news as there will be two world class golf courses available at Desaru Coast and the first in Asia Golf Academy by Ernie Els.The Ocean Golf Course at Desaru CoastThe Els Club Desaru Coast - Ocean Course This ocean golf course is designed by 4-time Major Champion, Ernie Els and is a 27 hole golf course here at Desaru Coast. Probably the is currently most talked about golf course in Malaysia, and many golfers can't wait to give this world class golf course a try.The Valley Course at Desaru CoastThe Els Club Desaru Coast - Valley Course Designed by world famous Vijay Singh and jointly developed with Ernie Els, The Valley Course at Desaru Coast is an 18-hole golf course with breath taking scenery. This 7,200 yard Par 72 course also welcomes any level of golfers. The Els Performance Golf Academy This is the first Gold Academy of its kind in Asia which is an EPGA Par 3 Academy Course suitable for the entire family. The Els Club Performance Golf Academy is a state-of-the-art center of excellence that many seasoned or young golfers are looking forward to visiting this place.A map showing where the golf courses are located in Desaru CoastHow To Go To Desaru CoastDriving - The most easiest way is to self drive here, where you can take the north-south express way and then connect to the Senai-Desaru Expressway. In total, you will drive about five hours. But for those going for a vacation, do that ritual and make a stop in Melaka or Johor Baharu. From Singapore, it will only take you a 90 minute drive from the causeway which is relatively easy. Flying - For those who prefer to fly, you can do so by taking a direct flight to the Senai Airport in Johor. From there, you need to take a taxi, hire a private driver (Uber/Grab) or simply rent a car. From Senai Airport to Desaru, it will take you around 45-50 minutes. A flight from Kuala Lumpur to Senai will take you around 45 minutes too.Map showing where the hotels and attractions in Desaru CoastFerry - Those in Singapore who want to take the ferry, you can do so from the Changi Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal. It will take you around 30 minutes boat ride and then you need to rent a car or private driver/taxi to Desaru which takes another 30 minutes. Desaru Coast will be the most talked about place in 2018 as the massive project has been discussed for years. Also in 2018, some of the hotels and entertainment places here will be opened to the public.For more information, you can visit the Desaru Coast official website and you can contact them directly for further questions.Currently, there is still construction ongoing and one of the golf course has already been opened. In early 2018, the Desaru Coast Adventure Water Park will be opened and attracting many people. On when the full project of Desaru Coast will be opened, it is speculated to be in 2019.
    Saturday 28th of October 2017 12:02:00 PM


Malaysia Asia Stats

Daily Unique PVs Total PVs Unique In Total In Unique Out Total Out
Average 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.2
Today 0 0 0 0 0 0
Yesterday 0 0 0 0 0 0
January 14 0 0 0 0 0 0
January 13 0 0 0 0 0 0
January 12 0 0 0 0 1 1
January 11 0 0 0 0 1 1
January 10 0 0 0 0 0 0
January 09 0 0 0 0 0 0
January 08 0 0 0 0 0 0
January 07 0 0 0 0 0 0
Highest 5 5 0 0 4 64
Weekly Unique PVs Total PVs Unique In Total In Unique Out Total Out
Average 0.9 0.9 0.0 0.0 1.2 1.2
This Week 0 0 0 0 0 0
Last Week 0 0 0 0 2 2
Week 01 0 0 0 0 1 1
Week 52 1 1 0 0 1 1
Week 51 0 0 0 0 0 0
Week 50 1 1 0 0 0 0
Week 49 2 2 0 0 0 0
Week 48 1 1 0 0 1 1
Week 47 2 2 0 0 4 4
Week 46 2 2 0 0 3 3
Highest 8 9 0 0 9 66
Monthly Unique PVs Total PVs Unique In Total In Unique Out Total Out
Average 5.5 5.7 0.0 0.0 7.3 13.3
This Month 0 0 0 0 3 3
Last Month 4 4 0 0 1 1
November 17 9 9 0 0 12 12
October 17 5 5 0 0 6 6
September 17 9 10 0 0 8 8
August 17 6 7 0 0 9 9
July 17 6 6 0 0 5 5
June 17 6 6 0 0 11 71
May 17 4 4 0 0 7 7
April 17 6 6 0 0 11 11
Highest 20 20 0 0 19 71
Unique PVs Total PVs Unique In Total In Unique Out Total Out
Overall 545 571 0 0 269 366

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