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- Marinda Airport Waisai Review
This review of the Marinda Airport in Waisai is for anyone who plans to fly from Sorong to Waisai in the Raja Ampat Regency if West Papua.You should know that there is currently one daily flight from Sorong to Waisai, and this is the closest airport to entering the main Raja Ampat area. From other major cities in Indonesia, all the flights will land at the Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong, West Papua.Usually, travelers will opt to take the ferry or boat to Waisai before catching the local boats to your resort in Raja Ampat. For those who get seasick, flying from Sorong to Waisai would be your best option, as it only takes a 30 minute flight.If you take a ferry or fast boat from Sorong, it will take you around two hours by sea, and this all depends on sea conditions, which are usually not that bad. Review of Marinda Airport WaisaiThe welcome sign as you walk into the Marinda Airport in Waisai, Raja Ampat.On my trip to Raja Ampat in late 2017, I was fortunate to have experienced flying from Makassar to Sorong, and then catch a connecting flight to Marinda Airport here in Waisai.Therefore, I am doing this airport review for anyone who plans to do this same route, in order of cutting some travel time. The Marinda Airport (RJM) is considered to be one of the very small airports in this part of Indonesia, which is a Class 3 domestic airport.This is also the closest airport to the Waisai Harbor where you catch your boat to the resort you are staying at.The Marinda Airport officially opened in May 2012, which is due mainly to the increase in tourism to Raja Ampat.Currently, the airport is undergoing structural renovations to better the facilities and load of the termina.The renovations include extending the airport runway in order to accommodate larger wide bodied aircraft like the Airbus A320's and Boeing 737's. At the moment, only the ATR turboprop planes can land here.Arriving lets you walk to the main terminal buildingThe Indonesian transport ministry is hoping to turn the Marinda Airport into an international airport, to receive more guests into Raja Ampat. Originally initiated in 2015, renovations were ongoing when I visited this place. The current runway is only 1,200 meters long by 30 meters wide, and a very small terminal with a total size of 120 square meters.This is the old format of small remote airports in Indonesia, but with tourism leading the way here, it is only right to renovate this airport for the future.Surprisingly in 2017, a total of 40,000 tourist visited Raja Ampat, making this one of the up and coming places to visit in Indonesia. Here is a fun fact - The unique name of Marinda Airport (Bandar Udara Marinda) is also adopted from the combination of West Papua regional leader (Bupati), where his name is Marcus Wanma and also vice Bupati Inda Arfan. So they named the airport after both of them calling it Marinda.The baggage collection area is still manual hereFacilities at Marinda Airport WaisaiWhen you arrive, be prepared to go back in time. The aircraft will make a quick landing and then a quick turnaround, before stopping about 10 meters from the airport entrance.Sorry, there is no shuttle bus or aero bridges here, you exit the aircraft and take a nice slow walk to the terminal building. The airport is so small, there is only one door leading into the arrival room. Luggage is sill manual and dropped through a hole in the wall.You pick up your own bags as the staff put them through the hole. Honestly, this was so old school, as I have seen this at some other remote airports in Borneo too. Once you collect your luggage, it will take you five steps, and you are outside the arrival entrance. Here you will be greeted by the local drivers or 'supirs' who will ask you if you need a taxi service or if you are a confirmed guest.Before you exit, there are some general notice boards with signs indicating how much it will cost to travel around Waisai.The one and only gift and general store at the Marinda Airport.Sorry to say, there is no coupon or taxi counter at this small airport. You will fin only locals dressed in their everyday attire, waiting to pick up confirmed guests or act as taxis.If you have arranged a pick up with your resort, they would most likely send a modern day air conditioned van to pick you up. Well, I did see a couple that used one of the services. There are toilets, but they look like a scene from the 1980's. They are overall clean and usable, as some of us had to go after landing.But do not attempt to shower or drink the local water from the bathroom taps. Just buy a bottle of mineral water from outside the general shop.Promotional banners on Raja Ampat are the only colors you see just as you exit the airport.Yes, there is only one little shop that sells coffee, tea, some local snacks and instant noodles. This is located just outside the arrival hall by the entrance.From what I saw, only the locals will frequent this place for their daily coffee fix or a quick meal while waiting for guests to arrive. There is nothing modern in terms of Starbucks, souvenir shops or any kind of shop. Just one local general shop, so if you need to buy anything, please do so at the Sorong airport in West Papua before you come here.The transportation service from the Marinda Airport to various places in Waisai.Outside, minor renovations are still ongoing, but I guess at a very slow pace as debris and construction materials are seen lying around the area.Well, they are doing upgrading works, and according to the locals, the new Marinda airport should be ready by end of 2018 or early 2019, if it all goes smoothly. Marinda Airport is a stand alone airport, and located about 20 minutes out of the Waisai Harbor. My group was decently large with about 15 people, hence a local bus from the 1980's was arranged to send us to the harbor. It was classic design with no air conditioned, and slide up windows, this was truly a trip down memory lane.The bus ride took us through a pristine rainforest, which was so raw, just like those I have seen deep in Borneo. I sat at the last seat by the window to capture anything out of the ordinary on my camera, and to my surprise as the bus was traveling, an eagle was flying next to the bus after being startled.You can imagine the look on my face when I saw it. This is truly Raja Ampat.By the way, if you are planning to visit this exotic place in West Papua, please don't forget to get your Raja Ampat Marine park permit from Sorong before you come to Waisai.Wings Air ATR-72 aircraft that flies to the Marinda AirportAirlines that fly to Marinda Airport in WaisaiAs of April 2018, only two airlines fly to Marinda Airport in Waisai. They are Susi Air which uses a Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft since 2012, and Wings Air which started once a day flights in January 2017. Wings Air uses an ATR 72-600 aircraft for this flight which operates four cities. The flight route is Manado, Waisai, Sorong and Monokwari which is a once a day flight. This means the airport only operates from 8.00 AM to around 5.00 PM. Apparently, Nam Air and Sriwijaya Air are to operate flights to Marinda Airport from the Sorong Airport as well.There are a total of 17 flights a week operating this route, but you should double check the schedules, as at times, other airlines may cancel or reschedule.News also surfaced in 2018 that there may be AirAsia flights to Raja Ampat in the near future, but it was only verbally announced.Once AirAsia starts flying here, the airline will most likely land at the Sorong Airport due to the aircraft size used, unless the Marinda Airport is ready to accept larger aircraft. Marinda Airport Waisai Address: Jln. Marinda Waisai Raja Ampat.GPS Coordinates: 00 ° 25'56,3 "S130 ° 46'22,33" EContact: firstname.lastname@example.orgConclusionRaja Ampat is home to 75 percent of the world?s corals, with a whopping total of 553 coral species and 1,437 coral reef species.The destination also contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth, making this place one of the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving in the world.To travel here, you can read my other article on how to get to Raja Ampat, as I share the most common ways to travel here.Overall, I would say that you should not be booking a three or five day trip here as it is not worth it. You really need to spend at least a week in Raja Ampat to fully enjoy this amazing place. Again, for those who plan to take a flight from Sorong to Waisai, this is the main airport that you will arrive at, and I hope you got some valuable information from my review Marinda Airport in Waisai.
Thursday 21st of February 2019 11:44:00 AM
- Don Mueang Airport vs KLIA2 Review
As a frequent traveller all these years, I have visited more than 50 different airports ranging from really small to mega world class airports, and I guess it is time that I put some focus on airport reviews now. This is not my first airport review as towards the end of this article, I will share some of my other airport reviews done over the last few years.However, in this review, I would like to emphasise on the current budget or low cost terminals that have changed travel rapidly in the last decade, and it will focus on the Don Mueang International Airport and KLIA2, Malaysia's budget airline airport.The Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.Review of the Don Mueang International Airport vs KLIA2First and foremost, flying into Don Mueang airport requires you to be on a budget airline, and for me, it was AirAsia that flies from Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 or KLIA2 to the Bangkok budget terminal. As I have been flying into Bangkok for the last 30 years, using various airlines, I would like to share how Don Mueang was quite run down after Suvarnabhumi Airport took over as Thailand's international airport.The new terminal two of Don Muang International. Since September 2006, all major airlines moved to the new international airport, and Don Mueang closed shortly for some renovations, only to reopen back in March 2007. Since then, the former airport was known as the low cost carrier airport of Bangkok. If you have been flying as long as I have, you would have known how bad the condition of Don Mueang was back in 2006 to 2013. But soon, it all changed to one of the most efficient airports in the region. Well, all I can say is that Thailand really valued tourism very much, and from 2013 to 2018, tremendous improvements have been done to make this one of the most easiest airports in Southeast Asia to visit. Below is a timeline of what Airports of Thailand did, and is still doing for the Don Mueang Airport;September 2013 to May 2014 - Three billion Baht renovation for Terminal 2.December 2015 - Completion of Terminal 2. Passenger capacity increased to 30 million a year.December 2018 - 38 million passenger capacity achieved.2018 to 2024 - 38 billion Baht expansion plan, includes Terminal 3. When you look at the statistics and numbers for Don Mueang Airport, it is no surprise that Thailand is going full steam ahead for the tourism arrivals, and to do so, you need a fully functional airport that can handle this.Nok Air is one of the airlines that flies from Don MueangWhat Airlines Fly To Don Mueang Airport? There is no doubt that AirAsia is Don Mueang's biggest customer, with AirAsia Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia all landing there. However, there are also many other budget carriers that land here as well. They include;AirAsia - Malaysia- Thailand- Philippines- IndonesiaMalindo AirNok AirNokScootScootJC InternationalThai AirAsia XThai Lion AirTigerair TaiwanAs a hub for budget airlines, I have to say it is quite impressive to have so many different airlines landing here in Don Mueang, and if you look at KLIA2, in one hand, you can count the number of airlines that land here.Don Mueang International Airport, outside.Comparison of Don Mueang Airport and KLIA2Malaysia is home to AirAsia, and we obviously have our own budget terminal, which is called the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, or KLIA2 in short.With that I assumed that our budget terminal would also be on par or perhaps better than other countries. Yes, Malaysia Airports has been trying hard to make the airports world-class over the last decade. However, when you do an apple to apple comparison, we are left far behind. Even though KLIA2 launched as a modern lifestyle budget terminal, everything did not flow as how an airport should flow. With that, let me just share with you the simple process of what happens when you go to an airport to check in for your flight, comparing both airports.The distance of both airports, using Google Maps.Distance to the AirportKLIA2 - The distance from the city center to KLIA to is a whopping 58.3 kilometers, making this one of the furthest airports in Asia, if not the furthest. To drive here, it takes about 60 minutes, and sometimes up to 90 minutes one way, depending on traffic. The only good thing is that there is a train that gets you from KL Sentral to KLIA2 in 30 minutes. A Grab Car will cost you RM65.00 one way, minus toll charges. Don Mueang Airport - From the airport to Bangkok Central, it is only 23 kilometers in distance, and an average of 30 minutes drive. Grab Car only charges around 300 to 400 Baht, or you can even take the local bus and then change to the BTS for less than that. Conclusion - As KLIA2 is a beautiful airport without a proper system, it does not work in favour of the passengers. I will have to say that Don Mueang takes the prize here as the closest airport to a city.The main drop off area of KLIA2. Photo by www.klia2.infoArriving at the AirportKLIA2 - When you arrive at departure area, you will find multiple lanes, with cars always hogging the drop off areas on the out most lane. Police or authorities are hardly seen monitoring this, or often at times, they are there but not doing anything. Plus the closest lane to the airport entrance is permanently blocked off for VIPs, and often the second lane can also be closed, leaving only the third and outer lane open. When this happens, there is a congestion in the third lane during peak hours, which can be frustrating.One thing I always notice is the urgency of people that get dropped off at KLIA2. Sometimes, the entire family and neighbors want to tag along, and they spend a good ten minutes saying their goodbyes at the drop off areas.The drop off area at Don Mueang International Airport.Don Mueang Airport - The main highway runs pass the airport and turning in is hassle free. When you arrive at the terminals, there is only one main road for vehicles to drop off passengers, and it is constantly monitored by airport authorities.They are strict and no nonsense, and will chase away cars that wait there. Because of this system, there is hardly any traffic congestion here, and providing a smooth traffic flow. The terminals are also all laid out in an elongated format, so terminal one and two has their own drop off, which is part of a continuous road. Along both terminals, you will also find bus stops, taxi stops and the general car stop for dropping passengers off.The great thing about this drop off area is that people get dropped off, and the cars dropping them will move on. If they want to say long goodbyes, they will usually park at the airport parking. Conclusion - Don Mueang wins this vote due to the simple and practical airport layout and flow. This makes it easy for travellers to maneuver from the drop off to the check in counter without much walking.Authorities are extremely strict at the drop off areas in Bangkok, wherelse in KLIA2, they may or may not be there, and this is a loophole for locals taking advantage of the system.One of the check in counters at KLIA2.Check-In Counters at the AirportKLIA2 - Because of the lifestyle concept of having a mall and terminal linked together, Malaysia Airports makes passengers walk through the mall before reaching the departure terminal of KLIA2.If you have been here before, you will know that you need to walk at least half a kilometer inside before you arrive at the check in counters of the departure terminal. Malaysians being always late, tend to rush for their check in and so on, and in most cases, they are always cutting it close. This has also become a local habit for those travelling.Honestly, this concept does not work for a budget terminal, but I do not blame the airport designers for trying to be different, and in the end, it shows how passengers are always rushing to check in for their flights. This also means that you need extra time to walk from the main door of the drop off point, and I estimate around 10 minutes before you reach the departure hall, with a casual walk.There is no direct drop off to the departure hall of the airport, hence please take not of this flaw.The distance from where you get dropped off and the check in counters. Don Mueang Airport - The minute you walk into the airport door, the check in counters are located just meters from the main doors. All you need to do is find out which row your counter is and head straight there. This layout is extremely functionable, and straight to the point with no hassles or distraction. Airports of Thailand or AoT in short, has made it easy for passengers to check in once they arrive at the airport, which is what it should be.Even how busy or stressed, the Thai AirAsia staff know how to maintain a pleasant smile. The only set back I found is that due to the popularity of the airlines, come of the check in counters can get crowded. But the airlines have overcome this with fast and efficient staff that keep the momentum moving, to avoid jamming up the areas. Conclusion - Again, Don Mueang Airport gets the vote due to a simple and functionable system where after you get dropped off, you are already at the check in area, without having to walk too far.Gateway KLIA2, the main shopping mall before the airport terminal.Shops Layout at the Airport KLIA2 - Because of the KL Gateway mall being your main entry point, you can easily get distracted before checking in for your flight. There is good and bad in having this concept of a mall in an airport. Anyway, the mall is spacious, but the outlets tend to be occupied by only the big names or chains. One thing for sure is that you will not find any local small brands here, due to the excessively high rentals charged. The bad side of this is that because most travellers are always in a rush, many tend to just bypass the mall and head straight to the check in areas.When your gate is right at the end, you tend to hurry and will not stop at the retail shops along the way.Honestly, how many times have you actually stopped to look at some of the shops, and if your gate is at the other end, you just tend to worry about reaching your gate. This results in the retail shops not doing well at all.Those retail outlets nearest to the departure terminal tend to be the ones doing well, as after checking in, you can then explore the mall, provided you are not rushing. But here's the fun part - The main departure hall at KLIA2 also has some food, cafe and retail outlets, and this is rather confusing as it looks like the airport management just wants to fill the place up with retail outlets.How some of the restaurants and fast food shops are laid out conveniently.Don Mueang Airport - Somehow, I find the departure area being very straight forward, where when you first arrive, you will be greeted by the check in area. Only after checking in, you will start to see the retail lots, and this is how an airport layout should be. The whole point of going to an airport is to check in for your flight, and then only you look for retail outlets, food or drinks. Correct me if I am wrong on this part, but it has been like that for all these years, so why change the flow? Don't you think so? After the second phase of renovations, Don Mueang Airport was very well laid out for the passengers. After checking in to your flights, you get your boarding pass, and for those who do not want to shop or eat, can immediately just cross over to the passport control area without any hassle.The perfect layout for passengers as they head to the boarding gates.And if you wanted to eat or just walk around, you could do so in this elongated terminal concept. Priority outlets get to be closer to the check in area, like the airport hospital, airport inquiry center, toilets and also prayer rooms. All other general retail outlets follow after the priority ones, and you can find them at two main levels of the airport with one of the best selections of fast food and other eateries and cafes. Conclusion - Another vote goes to Don Mueang Airport for the overall shop layout plan in the airport. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, unless you just want to fill an airport with shops located anywhere you can find a slot.The automated passport gate for Malaysians at KLIA2. Passport Control at the Airport KLIA2 - After you have checked in, you will walk to the domestic passport or identification check, and also for the first layer of the body and bag screening. The domestic check is located at one leftmost corner of the airport. The international passport section is smack center of the departure terminal, and is not hard to miss. It is here where you will first go through the first layer of the airport police check for your boarding pass and identification. Right after this, it is straight to the immigration counter for your passport check.The kind of sign you do not want to see when you are coming home to Malaysia.For local Malaysian, there are passport gates, which are meant to make passengers go through much faster and smoother. But often at times, they passport gates may not be all fully functioning, which can create really long lines.Plus it does not help when there are no staff there to assist confused passengers. Many times that I have gone through these gates, there was no immigration staff stationed there. This led to many passengers frustrations on trying to utilize the passport gates. Non-Malaysians still need to line up at the manned counters, and usually, it this works well. But on many occasions, I noticed a lack of immigration officers manning the counters, which result is really long lines. Honestly, do I need to elaborate more on this matter?Asean lane at the immigration counters. Photo by www.chiangraitimes.comDon Mueang Airport - There are two entry points to the immigration checks for passengers, and I have to say AoT again, thought ahead for this. One point is for foreign travellers, and another entry point is for local Thai and Asean country citizens. This way, you break up the different travellers, making it an easier flow for the passengers lining up to get their passport checked. At the Asean counters, there are at least two immigration officers serving at any one time.Towards the far right of the immigration, they have the Thai passport autogate. Other country travellers will just line up at the 'Foreign Passport' counters. Here is what I found interesting. There are always AoT and immigration staff at the beginning of the lines, where they ask you where are you from, in order to smoothen out the process. And yes, they speak good English too. This way, you know which lane you are supposed to be lining up at, and it will not confuse the lines at the passport checks.Another plus point is that they have a dedicated lane just for PRC travellers, where the officer manning those counters are Mandarin speaking staff.This all makes perfect sense as it divides the majority of China travellers and the general other country travellers. I simply call this thinking ahead, and not making matters worst. Conclusion - As for a smooth immigration or passport flow, Don Mueang Airport again gets the vote for efficiency, courtesy, and most of all, friendly staff assisting passengers in this part of the airport.A security check towards Gate Q at KLIA2, this is after the first check. Security Scanning Checks at the Airport KLIA2 - Recently, the security scanning points at our local airports have gone from bad to worst, and not only KLIA2, but even at KLIA. Why I'm saying this is that there is no longer any professionalism involved among the airport police who man the stations.Often, they are seen chatting away, laughing and treating it like a casual fast food job. There have been times I notice how they treat passengers in a harsh manner, especially when the passengers do not know about the security check procedures.There are also times, I see some of them on their smartphones. Wow, how did this behaviour become part of their jobs. Often, I find that they have a very 'sempoi' or laid back attitude, versus ten years ago when there was a little more professionalism involved. Don Mueang Airport - The number of times I have been in and out of Bangkok, I never once saw the airport security personal or police joking or laughing among themselves, as they treat their job with respect and professionalism.Yes, they do talk, but they keep it to a minimal, and are constantly paying attention to the passengers that are undergoing the security checks. I think at most airports around the world, certain positions require strict professionalism, rather than a casual fun job. Conclusion - Another vote to Don Mueang Airport for their staff's professional attitude. Honestly, I find the Malaysian security personal lacking integrity and professionalism, which looks really bad for our country. I hope that something gets done about this fast. Often at times, passengers are seen rushing through the duty free to get to their gates on time. Duty Free Area at the AirportKLIA2 - For many years, I have personally seen how our duty free products have been getting bad to worst. Correct me if I am wrong, but most passengers don't even stop at the duty free areas anymore, and maybe just to get cigarettes or liquor, and that is all.Have you wondered why? Simple, the duty free selection that we carry are pretty limited. Meaning, the choices are not on par with other international airports.For example, chocolates are one of the things that I personally avoid. Why? Because most of the chocolates have a short expiry life, and are usually sold with promotions like buy two, get one free.The duty free at KLIA2 is conveniently located as passengers have to walk through to get their luggage, and this is at the international arrival hall. But due to the poor selection, passengers rather buy duty free from the departing country than buying it from KLIA2.Well laid out duty free section in the international departure area.Don Mueang Airport - Their duty free section is conveniently located just after your screening check, and the area is huge and well lit, and inviting. Probably due to the market research on what travellers want, or what is in trend.Promoters are seen all over, and ready to attend to customers, while products are world class, with great selections, from perfumes, to liquor, to local snacks, chocolates and cigarettes. This is exactly what travellers want to see when they travel.The lively duty free section of Don Mueang Airport.Even if I am not buying anything from duty free, I will still make a detour to see what is new or what is available. Often at times, I somehow managed to buy something due to the price and wow factor. Overall, the duty free area layout is great for high traffic, as it is spacious and with many things to see. Conclusion - And another vote goes to Don Mueang Airport, mainly for the wide selection, brightly lit duty free area and a lively place with attentive staff.At KLIA2, if your gate is J22, then good luck walking there.Boarding Gates at the AirportKLIA2 - This has been a joke ever since the airport opened up, and why have gates laid out in a one kilometer long row, when only AirAsia seems to be utilizing most of the gates.Honestly, have you ever been given Gate J22? That is like the end of the airport, and they expect passengers to walk over 700 or 800 meters.Gate J layout map at KLIA2. Just look at the number of gates in one area. As for design, yes, it looks nice on paper, but for functionality sake, it does not help at all, namely if the passengers are elderly. Moreover, you really need to find which wing your gate is located, and then find your way there.The airport authorities may claim that they have a buggy service for elderly and disabled, but if you have been travelling as long as me, you will know that at times, there are no buggies available. Or you will have to wait over 20 minutes for one.Don Mueang Airport - Their gating system is well planned and extremely functional for passengers, meaning that after you exit the passport control, you are in the main boarding walk area. All you need to do is find your gate which is either left of right.An aerial view of the main departure gate system at Don Mueang AirportAt most times, when I exit the passport control and security checks, I am in the main departure area, and I just need to walk about a hundred or two hundred meters to my main gate. And once I go into that area, the gates are broken up into six or eight boarding gates.Not only that, each of the main gates have their own convenient shops or cafes, selling coffee, soft drinks, snacks and quick bites. This is what passengers want, and the best part, at affordable prices. Conclusion - In terms of easy access and convenience, Don Mueang gets the vote, and one does not really need to get lost in their system. Just look for your gate number, which is straightforward.This is just one of the many photos I took at KLIA2. Cleanliness at the AirportKLIA2 - Airport cleanliness has always been one of my top criteria whenever I visit any airport, especially if it is a modern style airport, and for KLIA2, I have to say when it first opened, it was very clean.However, over the years that I have been using the airport, I noticed that a lot of areas are neglected, and this simply shows what the airport management is doing. It is an eyesore and imagine first time visitors to Malaysia seeing the dirt and stains.Well, not only KLIA2, but even KLIA, the national airport is also similar. I mean, yes the floors are clean, but it is the walls, glass and other areas that seem to be overlooked. Is it because the airport management has cut back on the cleaners?Just take a look at the photo above, and it was taken along the walkway from the international arrival towards the main terminal building. Areas like these are visible by passing passengers, and it is such a shame to see that no one did anything about it.The best part is that I hardly see cleaners around, and if there are, they are usually the foreign contract cleaners. I have a feeling that the contract budget was cut, hence the company only provides a limited number of cleaners.An example to maintain the cleanliness of an airport on a daily basis, you require a workforce of 50 staff to do so, but with certain budget cuts or just trying to save some money, there are probably only 20 workers doing the work of 50 people.This was after I reached the baggage area of Don Mueang. It looks spotless. Don Mueang - Because Don Mueang is an old airport, the original terminal building looks old, but somehow they manage to keep it clean. But when you compare the new terminal two, it is such a modern look and feel, with bright white lights and extremely clean.Every now and then, I see cleaners pushing their cleaning carts, and often working solo and doing their work as supposed too. I tried to find fault by looking around for any areas that were dirty along the main path that passengers use, but I was surprised that I could not find any.Conclusion - Vote to Don Mueang Airport again, and this is probably due to the airport management strict procedures of keeping an airport clean. Staff are all local, and not seen chatting or lazing, and some might conclude that there is an oversupply of local workers there.The outdoor smoking areas on both wings of KLIA2, with a great view.Smoking Room and Areas at the AirportKLIA2 - This section had to be included because I am a smoker, and there are also many smoking travellers all over the world. But for KLIA2, I am quite sad that the airport management does not view this as a passenger service or facility inside the main terminal.Outside the airport, the smoking area is found at both wings of the main terminal building, which is located outside. The area is huge, and open aired, which is also great for the view, and if it rains, you cannot utilise this area.Yes, there are only two smoking rooms located inside the airport, one at the local domestic departure hall, and one more at the international departure hall. However, good luck if you want to locate it, as it is hidden away from general view, and with little or no signs.The international departures smoking room at KLIA2 in horrible condition.Not only that, they do not have adequate signs to show where the smoking rooms are located at, and you will end up having to ask someone. When you find them, just take a look at the condition of the smoking rooms. Dirty, unhygienic, and there is not even a monitor for the flight details.For some reason, the airports in Malaysia are the worst in terms of smoking rooms. Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand all have proper smoking rooms that are clean, and with good ventilation systems. Why are we so different? If you do not want to encourage passengers to smoke, then do not sell cigarettes in the airports.The smoking rooms are conveniently places at each main gate area in Don MueangDon Mueang - The smoking rooms outside Don Mueang are clearly indicated, and one look, you will see signs pointing to where you can smoke outside the airport. They have allocated a number of area for this, and have even provided chairs to sit down.Inside the airport, there are smoking rooms at each gate, making it convenient for smokers to just pop in and have a cigarette before the flight. Yes, every main gate area has one smoking room. And the best part, the airport cleaners are constantly in and out, making sure the place is clean.Conclusion - KLIA2 does not deserve any credit to this part as for years, they have neglected the smoking rooms inside the airport, and are one of the worst in the region.They have it there for the sake of having it, but do not upkeep the rooms. So, Don Mueang gets the vote because they do care for all passengers, smokers or non-smokers.Outside the Don Mueang International AirportOverall Conclusion After writing all of the above, I have to say that Don Mueang International Airport is the clear winner in all of the categories discussed. And as a Malaysian writing this, I kind of feel a little ashamed about this.First and foremost, we are one of the emerging countries in Southeast Asia for aviation and air travel, with award winning airports and airlines, but when you look beyond those, you tend to see how we are lacking in many areas.Yes, there is so much room for improvement, but with our laid back mentality of 'if it is not broken, don't fix it', we will fall further back, and other up and coming countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos will overtake us.KLIA2 only look good in terms of architecture, but for functionality, it lacks in many ways. Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport has clearly showed how efficient and traveller friendly they are, wherelse, our KLIA2 is nothing more than just a fancy lifestyle airport that is truly not passenger friendly at all.We tend to always have a vision, but never will manage to fulfill it, and at many times, things are done half hearted, or just plain mismanagement of everything.When an issue arises, we are quick to point fingers at others, which is one of our worst traits in any business. Maybe if things cannot change, the local airports should be managed and operated by a private entity? If we never try, we will never know.I only hope that our KLIA2 airport management bucks up, and be on par with the other airports in the region, or we will never move forward, especially with our backward or laid back thinking.Over the years, I have also done a number of airport reviews, and they include STOL airports to international airports, and from Malaysia, Indonesia and even Japan.If you would like to comment about my Don Mueang Airport and KLIA2 review, please leave it below in the comment form. Again, this is a very personal review after years of being an air commuter, utilizing these two airports.
Friday 25th of January 2019 01:29:00 PM
- Silabur Cave in Sarawak
Have you heard about the Jade Caves of Sarawak? Yes, a cave that looks like it is made from jade, which is called the Silabur Cave in Serian, Sarawak. This beautiful cave has been around for a very long time, and mostly visited by researchers, but in 2016, the cave became more popular among the locals, mainly due to the beautiful jade texture of the cave walls. Silabur Cave in SarawakThis beautiful cave is found in the district of Serian, which is about 90 minutes drive from the city of Kuching in Sarawak. Currently as I write this article, there are only one or two tour companies that bring you here, and you can also request from some of the adventure travel agents in Kuching for trips to Silabur Cave. Overall, a trip here would take you half a day to a full day, and to explore the cave area, it will take you roughly around four to five hours. The entrance of the cave is about one hours trek up the hill, and located in the middle of Mount Silabur. Be prepared for a medium level hike up here.From the entrance of the cave, it will take you another 15 minutes before you reach the main cave chamber, which is called Labak Tirason.One of the photographers pose inside the cave. Photo by Paul Sarawak.What is Silabur Caves? Silabur Cave is a limestone cave that is located inside of Mount Silabur, and offers vertical cliffs. From the village, it is a one hour trek to the foot of the mountain.From the foot of the mountain, you then need to trek up halfway which is roughly another hour before you reach the entrance of the cave at the mid of the mountain.These caves have been long harvested for the prized birds nest from the local swiftlets. A local association operates and manages the caves here, where bird next harvesting takes place a couple of times a year. Most of the harvested Silabur bird nest is processed and exported to China, and very little is sold to the locals.Inside the beautiful cave at Mount SilaburWhat to do in Silabur Caves? A cave is always a cave, and there are very limited things one can do here. In most cases, those who are into caving or cave exploration will find this place quite fascinating.Probably due to the overall jade coloring inside the cave, it gives a beautiful color tone versus the general dark grey colors. Some people have actually gone into the cave to do some photography, and then shared the images on social platforms, which has now created interest among the locals around Kuching and also Sarawak. A the top of Mount Silabur is a peak called Sky-Park which is about 400 meters, where most visitors will also trek or climb up to this peak. The view is not too bad at Sky-Park, and is recommended for outdoor lovers. Nearby, there is another underwater cave called Siturib Cave, where clear cave waters are waist or chest high. You need local guides for both of these places. Read at the end for more info. Overall, I will list down a number of things that you can so at Silabur Caves as below;Trekking and hiking up to the Silabur caveSpot birds nest inside the cavePhotography shoot, Instagram and Facebook shootTrek up to the peak of Mount Silabur called Sky-ParkExplore the Siturib Underwater Cave hereSimply visiting to tick this place off your cave bucket list View this post on Instagram A post shared by Alena Murang (@alenamurang) on Jan 4, 2019 at 5:48pm PSTAlena Murang Singing At Silabur CavesA famous Sarawakian female sape artist called Alena Murang has also created a short video of herself singing inside the Silabur Caves, which has been viewed over 1,400 times. Alena Murang is part Kelabit, and is one of the up and coming Sarawakian sape musicians that has created an interest among today's music lifestyle. She has performed all over the world, and her video in the Silabur cave has also created a lot of interest from the locals about the location.A group of cavers climbing the wooden stairs inside the caveSilabur Cave LegendAlong with many other caves in Sarawak, there are always folk legends connected to these places, and some of them are pretty interesting to know. In Silabur Cave, the legend revolves around the Bidayuh people, the harvest festival and the culture, and you can read below;The Gua Silabur LegendA long time ago, the local Bidayuh people here celebrated the harvest festival once every year. On one harvest festive celebration night, there was an old man who lived in the village. The old man has one grandchild who stays together with him. For the kids parents are nowhere to be found after they went out for food, some say they were killed by the head hunters, and some say they were eaten by animals.On that festive celebration night, the old man was eating Kasam Ikan (a local delicacy where they marinade the raw fish with rice and salt, put it in a tight jar, leave it in a dark corner for a month or so and eat it), but one of the village people mixed the fish with the rubber tree fruits to play a joke with the old man. The old man eventually ate the rubber fruits, and got laughed by the village people. And the old man then called his dog, and he tied a bell on the leg of the dog, and asked the dog to bark at the village people.The dog starts chasing after them, and due to the bell, the old man will know the where his dog is from the sound. But all of a sudden the sound of the bell is gone, complete silence. The old man keeps on calling the dog to come back, but it never returned. The old man cried, and while was crying, it started to rain, and a weird thing happened where it rained rocks instead of water drops. The rain became heavier, and soon when they knew it, the rocks had then formed the mountain, and also the cave. Photos of Silabur CaveBelow are some beautiful photos of Silabur Caves, taken by Paul Sarawak and his group, when they visited in August of 2017. The photography skills of this team is awesome, and you can see from the photos why. Have a look at them, and tell me you do not want to visit these caves? If you plan to do so, read the end of the article where details on how to go there and so on is shared. Light falls through the cave ceiling onto the floor. Photo by Paul Sarawak.Photo of the cave mouth. Photo by Paul Sarawak.Interesting cave formations inside. Photo by Paul Sarawak.A caves sits for some cave photography. Photo by Paul Sarawak.Beautiful combination of cave flora and lights. Photo by Paul Sarawak.A caves poses by the Jade Cave. Photo by Paul Sarawak.Light shines through openings in the cave ceiling. Photo Paul Sarawak. All photos are from the Paul Sarawak and team Facebook Page, unless stated under the photos.Where is Silabur Caves? Gua Silabur is located just out of Kuching City, in the district of Serian, and is located near the town of Tebakang.It is about 90 kilometers from Kuching, but because of the small roads to get here, it will take you around two hours drive one way. The caves are also located close to the Kalimantan border, which is only about five kilometers distance. This part of Kalimantan Indonesia is known as the Sanggau Regency of West Kalimantan. The closest Malaysia-Indonesia checkpoint to Silabur Cave is the Tebedu Immigration Complex, which is also a popular place for both countries. At the entrance of the Siturib Cave, which is a water cave. Photo from Silabur Facebook Page. Siturib Cave or Gua SituribFor those into some serious adventure caving, there is also another cave in the area which is called Siturib Cave or Gua Siturib. This is a water cave, where you need the local guides to bring you in the waist or even chest deep waters. Anyone going into the Siturib Cave will guarantee to get wet, so come prepared for this. You should also arrange this with your cave guide, who will be the locals from the village area. They know the caves by the back of their hands, which is vital to anyone entering this water cave. Aerial view of Sky-Park on top of Mount Silabur. Photo from Silabur Facebook Page. Sky-Park, Peak of Mount SilaburThis is the top of the mountain, where many visitors will also trek or climb up since they are here. A trek up to Sky-Park will take you about three hours, and is a medium level trekking. For those interested in doing this, you must engage the local Silabur guides, as they know the place inside out.The thrill about the trek up Mount Silabur is enjoying the amazing view of the area from the peak here. Usually, it would be better to start with the trek up, and then visit the caves.However, you can ask your local guides about this, and which is easier done. If you plan to do both trekking and caving, then you will require a full day here.How to go to Silabur Caves? If you are in Kuching, you can ask some of the travel agents in town, as they would know who organize trips to Silabur Caves. For those who plan to explore by themselves, you can easily drive to Silabur Cave on your own, with your friends. Please do not go by yourself, as visiting caves is best done in a small group. The best way to go to Silabur Cave for travelers is to rent a car and self drive there. There are directions on Google Maps which make your drive here easy.Once you reach here, you can contact the local Silabur Cave Association to make arrangements. The contact is below in a photo.Driving directions to Silabur Cave from Google Maps. Driving Directions to Silabur Cave or Gua SilaburFirst, you need to head to Serian town from Kuching, which is about 90 minutes drive with mild traffic. I would recommend using Google Maps or Waze to do this. After you reach Serian, head to Tebakang town, which is another 15 minute drive. From the main Jalan Serian-Tebedu, you need to turn off at Kampung Tebakang. Here, there are two villages, known as Kampung Tebakang Dayak, and Kampung Tebakang Melayu, which are located one after the other.Once you enter this village, you need to drive about 20 minutes until you reach Lampung Lobang Batu, and then look out for SK Lobang Batu, then look for a sign that turns right into the Gua Silabur or Silabur Cave.After you turn into that road, head towards Kampung Batu Lin and Batu Mawang, which is about 1.5 km inside. Batu Lin is also a Bidayuh village, and there are sign boards showing the village name.Do ask for directions if you are unsure as the locals are very helpful in this part of Sarawak.The contact persons for anyone who wants to explore Silabur Caves in Serian.Additional Information For Silabur CavesThere is an entrance fee of RM10.00 per person paid at the foot of Mount Silabur, to the Silabur Association. The cave is also managed by the local Silabur Birdnest Operator Association.Local tour guides for the caves are available at RM50.00.The main office to do your booking is at the village closest to the caves. There is a small office there, and you can ask the locals when you are there. I would recommend you contact them from the numbers above to make an appointment. Posing in the light of the caves. Photo by Paul Sarawak.ConclusionIf you have a thing for caves, and is visiting Kuching in Sarawak, I would make the Silabur cave a place to explore and visit, as it is not too far from Kuching City. You will most likely do a morning trip here and be back in Kuching after lunch, hence it is less than half a day to spend. However, if you are heading here for some photography, make sure you come prepared, and just like any other cave in Sarawak, one should always be cautious when walking in the caves.Take a look at some of the other caves in Sarawak and Sabah, which I wrote about many years ago, if you are interested in visiting the others.I write this article about the Silabur Caves in Serian, based on the Visit Sarawak Campaign, which is in 2019, and the objective is to promote the other places of Sarawak, with a tagline of Sarawak More To Discover.
Friday 11th of January 2019 09:33:00 AM
- DRT Malaysia 2019 Expo
The DRT Malaysia dive expo is back for the second time and this scuba diving expo is being held at the Putra World Trade Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This year's DRT Malaysia 2019 show will take place from the 15th to 17th February, and is the 30th DRT regional show.For this years Malaysian dive show, a total of 150 vendors will be participating to showcase their products while many other activities are lined up.Press conference during the official launch of DRT Malaysia 2018Dive Resort Travel Malaysia Show 2019First of all, if you are new to this, the DRT stands for Dive and Resort Travel Expo, which puts focus on scuba diving, conservation and introduction of scuba related products. Participants include scuba diving operators, re-sellers, retailers, dive resorts, dive operators, NGOs, tourism boards and many more. The DRT dive expo is also branded as a B2B or business to business networking session where local and international related businesses can connect.International vendors at the last DRT MalaysiaWhile the main target is to provide a platform for scuba divers to discover new products and also learn about diving around Malaysia, and even Asia, there is also emphasis on scuba conservation and other kinds of conservation efforts. If you are an avid new scuba diver from Malaysia, then this is one scuba diving show that you should be attending, as there is much to see, do and learn.After all, there are only two dive shows in Malaysia, and DRT is one of the big players that have entered the market here in Malaysia.Department of Tourism Philippines at the last dive expo in Kuala LumpurWhat to Expect at DRT Malaysia Show 2019? While this is the second DRT show in Malaysia, a number of people are looking forward to the second show this year, and to see what will be offered. After the inaugural DRT Malaysia 2018 show, many were unaware of this expo, probably due to the timing, and also lack of marketing.But this time around, the organizers have been quite busy with promotions since the last event, with focus on social media, online branding and also through word of mouth. One of the local vendors at DRT Malaysia 2018Generally, the consumer or visitor can expect retailers and vendors selling all items related to scuba diving, free diving and underwater photography.There will be vendors who specialize in specific underwater niche products, namely for the latest scuba gear and also latest gadgets for underwater photography. This means that if you are a new scuba diver, this would be a great place to visit, as you will be introduced to many new diving equipment and so on. While Malaysian divers love the all black look and feel for their dive equipment and gear, there are also some that prefer to have color themed equipment, and at DRT Malaysia show, you can find a lot of these being sold.Some retailers even go the extra mile to combine complete sets in colors like pink, yellow, blue and so on.One of the underwater camera rigs on display during DRT MalaysiaUnderwater photographers will also be happy to know that most of the latest camera and equipment will be on display, and also sold during the DRT show here. The great part about attending dive expos like this is that you can talk to the retailer or vendor about product knowledge, and also get tips and tricks about the underwater cameras and equipment.For the DRT Malaysia 2019 show, the organizers will be adding a new section called Ocean Market, which is a specialized bazaar with an ocean theme.A vendor selling handmade underwater charms made from stainless steelSpecially selected vendors will be selling handmade ocean themed crafts, or selling ready made similar theme items during the dive expo. There will also be a "Be An Ocean Saver Project" where a total of 6 NGOs will be involved in this project, and you can also find out more from attending the dive expo.For photography lovers, there is also the 100 Star underwater photo gallery, which will be on display during the dive expo. This is open to the public for viewing.One of the underwater photos being displayed at the last DRT Malaysia expoConservation and Environmental Organisations at DRT Malaysia ShowSince the first DRT Malaysia show, the organizers have provided a specially dedicated area for any conservation and environmental organization from Malaysia, and for free. This is part of the CSR commitment from DRT, in order to provide a larger area for underwater and related conservation efforts by the various NGOs in Malaysia. While you attend the dive expo here, you can also take some time to go and learn about the conservation efforts done by these NGOs.Some of them even provide knowledge based games, where you can participate, and walk away with various gifts.Some of the interesting underwater lights for various setupsTo me conservation awareness is important in today's lifestyle, with all the global warming and climate changes taking place, it is paramount that we take note on what is happening, and what better way than through events like this.In total, there will be seven NGOs participating in this year Malaysia DRT Show, and they will be in a special area in the expo. One of them will be Reef Check Malaysia.All kinds of scuba diving equipment sold at the dive expoWho Are the Speakers at DRT Malaysia? As at any DRT dive show, there are always speakers who will talk about their experiences, share valuable knowledge, tips and information about dive locations, and also provide underwater photography sharing. This segment of talks at the DRT show is much needed in order for the experienced speakers to share their knowledge with the new divers, or even the seasoned divers. For DRT Malaysia 2019, the speakers are;A.B Lee from MalaysiaPartick Ong from MalaysiaKenji Chow from MalaysiaIpah Uid from MalaysiaLilian Koh from SingaporeLee Kian Lie from MalaysiaJulian Hyde from United KingdomPaul Sack from MalaysiaStacy Chee from MalaysiaNicholas Attenborough from MalaysiaAzhar Hussin from Malaysia Azua Shafii from MalaysiaEmily Yong from BruneiPhilip Lim from MalaysiaFor those interested, you can visit the DRT Malaysia website for the complete profile and information of the list of speakers for 2019. A visitor to DRT Malaysia taking a photoAsia Pacific Underwater Photo Challenge 2019 This is known as one of the most prestigious underwater photography competitions in Asia Pacific, and is also known as the UWPC. The contest is open for three months from 10th October 2018 to 10th January 2019. The Underwater Photo Challenge 2019 is open to all classes of photographers, meaning anyone can submit their work, if they think it is suitable to be entered. All finalist are judged by world-class and award-winning photographers, and prizes include cash, live abroad packages, dive gear and also underwater photography gear. When you attend DRT Malaysia, you will see all the selected underwater photographs being displayed at a special area, and let me just say that some of them are out of this world.Some of the matching scuba diving equipment sold in complete setsWho is DRT? DRT or Drive, Travel Resort is the largest diving, resort and travel expo in Asia, and has been around for many years. They also operate similar shows in various countries around Asia and have a total of over 100,000 registered members. Cities where DRT shows are held include Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore. DRT is also supported by many international diving associations, federations, and scuba diving clubs. The organization is also in partnership with over 30 international media publications. DRT Malaysia 2019 ShowDate: 15 to 17 February, 2019Venue: Hall 3, Putra World Trade Center, Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaTime: 11.00 AM to 8.00 PM, and 6.00 PM on the last dayWebsite: DRT MalaysiaDRT Malaysia Tickets/Entrance FeeEntrance fee: RM10.00Certified divers, seniors above 60 years old: RM5.00Disabled and children who are under 130cm high: Free EntranceVisitors checking out some of the vendors at DRT MalaysiaConclusionIf you are a new scuba diver in Malaysia, this is one show that you should not miss. Just like any other scuba diving expos in Malaysia, the objective is to provide alternate platforms for consumers. As a seasoned diver, you may have conflicting views, but then again, having more dive shows in Malaysia opens up the possibility for the hobby or sport to grow. Dive tourism in Malaysia has increased over the last decade, and it is thanks to multiple dive expos like the DRT Malaysia show, that creates awareness among the community and public.
Friday 4th of January 2019 11:38:00 AM
- Top Instagrammable Places in Kuala Lumpur - Ultimate Guide
For those who love getting the best instagram shot when traveling, here is a list of the top Instagrammable places in Kuala Lumpur which is also an ultimate guide. Most of these Instagrammable places are easy to get to, and require little traveling as they are found in the main city area of Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is commonly called. However, just out of KL, you may be able to find some pretty Instagrammable places to explore, and be slightly different from the other posts that you see.I hate to say this, but there are many articles that share the Top 10 Most Instagrammable Spots and Places in Kuala Lumpur and so on, but everyone just shares the same IG images with very little information.This means that there are many who just want to rank for the keyword, and have forgotten about making it easy for people who want information on how to get there and the best times.This article was done with personal experience, meaning that I have visited all of these places to know the logistics, distance and other vital information which can save you lots of time. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Colours?/Soul?/Travel?? (@coloursandsouloftravel) on Dec 28, 2018 at 8:29am PSTTop Instagrammable Places In Kuala LumpurIn this article, I will list down the most popular places in Kuala Lumpur to take your Instagram photos, and when you are there, it is entirely up to you on how you want to do it.If you notice, I am using mostly common Instagram accounts to be featured, versus some Influencer who has bought engagement and followers, which is very cliche. Let us explore these beautiful places below. View this post on Instagram A post shared by ILLEGNA (@lovebabs17) on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:12am PDT1. Petronas Twin TowersThis is probably the most instagrammed place in Kuala Lumpur, and the great thing about the twin towers is that you can take your photo from just about any direction.The most popular angle is from the foot of the Petronas Twin Towers from the north west area as there is a lot of open space, and not crowded. But, you can walk around and explore the angles you prefer, namely from the KLCC Park area or even from the junctions of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P.Ramlee.To avoid being photo bombed, come early to get your shot, otherwise, find a location with less people around and avoid areas where the tour buses unload Chinese tourist.How To Get Here: The Petronas Twin Towers is located in the Kuala Lumpur City Center, and is the most center part of Kuala Lumpur. Just look up for the twin towers and follow the direction. From Chinatown, it takes about 20 minutes walk to get here.Best Time To Visit: Strongly recommended to visit in the mornings around 9 to 10 AM, and hope no one is there yet. Otherwise, head here on a weekday, but avoid the afternoons as it tends to get hot or even sudden showers. Before you go, check the sky to see if it is a good day too.Other Information: Open all day, and the KLCC vicinity area is free to walk around. You only need to pay if you want to go up to the sky bridge. Or if you visit Marini's on 57, you can get a beautiful shot from this restaurant on the 57th floor of the adjoining building. View this post on Instagram A post shared by BACKPACKERS IN THE WORLD ? (@backpackersintheworld) on Oct 16, 2018 at 4:32am PDT2. Batu Caves With the newly revamped rainbow colors splashed on the 272 steps up to the cave temple, many people are now heading here to get that epic shot of Batu Caves. The Batu Caves committee did a massive makeover in August 2018, and the rainbow staircase was completed by the end of August 2018.Currently, a temple at the side of the entrance is also completed, which provides additional colors to the entire place, and during Thaipusam in the month of January, this place will be simply amazing.Batu Caves is a place of worship, and you are required to dress appropriately when you are here, so please take note of this. Flowy and colorful dresses would be great for photos on the rainbow stairs.How To Get Here: Batu Caves is located in the state of Selangor, which is just bordering Kuala Lumpur. From KL Sentral, take the Batu Caves Komuter Train to the Batu Caves Temple. Journey is 30 minutes one way, and trains are every 15 minutes.It is also recommended to take a ride hailing service from the city as it only cost around RM10 to RM15 one way, and there are many cars available.Best Time To Visit: Strongly recommended to visit in the mornings around 8 to 10 AM, before the main tourist arrive after 10.00 AM. The weather is also the best, and if you come here after 11.00 AM, prepare for a hot and humid experience, if it does not rain.Other Information: Open all day, but best to come during the business hours. Watch out for the monkeys here as they tend to grab anything that resembles food or drinks ,and do not try to touch them. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sabrina Anna Sprenger (@sapril_as) on Oct 17, 2018 at 9:12am PDT3. Sky Box at KL TowerThis special glass box that protrudes out from the top of the KL Tower is another of the popular places for Instagrammable photos in KL. This place is not recommended for the faint hearted as it can be quite scary, but rest assured, the entire concept of the KL Sky Box is safe.Many visitors come here dressed casually, but for your Instagram photo, it is best to bring a nice change of clothes for the beautiful contrast.Also, they have an official photographer at the Sky Box, but you are allowed to take your own photos as well, so, do not be misled into thinking that you cannot. How To Get Here: The KL Tower Sky Box is located at the top of the KL Tower at Bukit Nanas. It is also a 20 to 30 minute walk from Bukit Bintang or even the KLCC Area. Use Waze for walking to get here too. Best Time To Visit: Strongly recommended to visit in the mornings around 9 to 10 AM as the weather is best around this time. Try to avoid the afternoons as it tends to get hot or even experience sudden showers. Before you go, check the sky to see if it is a good day too. Other Information: Opens from 9.00 AM to 10.00 PM and entrance is RM71 for MyKad holders, and RM99 for non-Malaysians. Take note that no personal bags briefcases, laptop bags, or backpacks are permitted in sky deck area. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Before Honeymoon (@before_honeymoon) on Sep 3, 2018 at 6:24am PDT4. KL Forest Eco Park Canopy WalkThe recently opened KL Forest Eco Park offers a rainforest in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, and is probably the smallest forest reserve in Malaysia.In this forest reserve, there is a beautiful canopy walk that gives a fantastic and unique Instagram photo of Kuala Lumpur, versus the commercialized man made structures and towers.The canopy walk is about 200 meters long and 21 meters above ground, but there is one spot where everyone wants to get the Instagram shot where you see the canopy walk, trees and a bit of the KL skyline. How To Get Here: The KL Forest Eco Park is located just by the Bukit Nanas Monorail Station or the Dang Wangi LRT Station. It is also a 20 to 30 minute walk from Bukit Bintang or even the KLCC Area. Use Waze for walking to get here too. Best Time To Visit: Strongly recommended to visit in the mornings around 8 to 9 AM, and hope no one is there yet. Otherwise, head here on a weekday, but avoid the afternoons as it tends to get hot or even sudden showers. Before you go, check the sky to see if it is a good day too. Other Information: Opens from 7.00 AM to 8.00 PM and entrance is free at the moment of writing this article. View this post on Instagram A post shared by ESSENCE OF ASIA (@eoa_concierge) on Oct 7, 2018 at 8:53pm PDT5. Petronas Twin Tower View From One Of The Hotel PoolsIf you are staying in Kuala Lumpur on a better budget, I recommend getting one of the hotels or residences that surround the Petronas Twin Towers or KLCC area.The photo above is taken from the all new Banyan Tree in Kuala Lumpur, which offers a fantastic opportunity for the perfect Instagram shot in Kuala Lumpur.This is one way of getting one of the most unique Instagram photos when you are in KL, and just by staying at one of these places with an amazing view of the city center. How To Get Here: The hotels are mostly surrounding the Petronas Twin Towers, hence they are in the core area of Kuala Lumpur. Best Time To Visit: Anytime if you are staying at any of the hotels that face the KLCC. Other Information: Depending on which hotel, serviced apartment or AirBnB you book, make sure you get the unit facing the Petronas Twin Towers. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Núria Pedrós ? (@nuriaalos) on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:22am PDT6. Tian Hou TempleThis has to be one of the grandest and most beautiful temples in Kuala Lumpur, and Tian Hou Temple is located just out of the main city area. Tian Hou Temple has been one of the lesser visited places, due to its location, but upon arriving here, you will easily be amazed on how large this Buddhist temple is. In general, you can spend up to two hours exploring this place.Come on weekdays as there are less people, and at the lower level of the temple, there are shops selling vegetarian food, drinks and souvenirs. On weekends, it tends to get a little crowded, and often you will see local couples doing wedding photography here. How To Get Here: Tian Hou Temple is about 20 minutes walk from Jalan Petaling or Chinatown, and you need to walk along the Federal Highway to get there. But seriously, I would recommend you take a taxi or Grab, as it will take you no more than 10 minutes. Best Time To Visit: I would say go in the mornings, because the weather is much better before noon, and you get the beautiful blue skies with white clouds. Also, go on a weekday to avoid crowds. Other Information: Opens from 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM and entrance is free.A tourist taking a selfie at Batu Caves early in 2018, before the rainbow steps were painted View this post on Instagram A post shared by YS (@shintarialiao) on Dec 27, 2018 at 3:22am PSTConclusion and Final ThoughtsWhile there are many other Instagrammable places around Kuala Lumpur which may not be listed here, it is entirely up to you to discover them.If you think that some other Instagrammable places around KL which should be included in this list, please do let me know in the comment form below.Just remember, for the most epic Instagram shot, a contrast of clothing attire is a must, namely for the female travelers and you may want to do some research before bringing your change of clothes. View this post on Instagram A post shared by HOMESTAY 5-STAR KL ? (@khazeesuites) on Dec 28, 2018 at 11:21pm PSTFor anyone who went through this post for the best Instagrammable places in Kuala Lumpur, I do hope that you have got all the shots you need.If you are active on Instagram and want to see more beautiful places from around Malaysia, feel free to also follow my MalaysiaAsia Instagram account.I hope you enjoyed this article and if you did, please do share this on your social media. Happy travels, and welcome to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.
Saturday 29th of December 2018 09:56:00 AM
- Borneo Bird Festival 2018 Event Review
This year, the 10th Borneo Bird Festival took place in its inaugural homeground at the Rainforest Discovery Center or RDC in Sepilok, Sandakan. This is also in the east coast part of Sabah Borneo. Being one of the most influential bird watching events held in Malaysia, this festival sees a beautiful balance among nature, conservation and most importantly education. Never before has a yearly bird festival take the initiative to promote bird conservation and awareness on such a large scale, and the Borneo Bird Festival is one to do it.Entrance to the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok, SandakanReview Of The Borneo Bird Festival 2018Created purely by bird watchers for bird lovers, this unique festival was conceptualized by the Sandakan Borneo Bird Club back in 2008.Originally, with the influence of the bird club and its members, the word spread around to what it has become today. This year, the bird festival saw over 2000 participants and visitors attending, with fringe events, conservation talks and a variety of vendors.The overall atmosphere of the event was more curiosity that a general event as visitors were keen to see and learn about birds and bird watching.This year around the festival saw industry players from the tour agencies, nature resorts, optics, cameras and NGOs participating.Datuk Rosmadi Datu Sulai giving his speech on behalf of Datuk Christina LiewOfficial Opening And SpeechThe official opening of the event was launched by YB Datuk Rosmadi Datu Sulai, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment Sabah.Originally, YB Datuk Christina Liew, who is the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment for Sabah, but due to unfortunate circumstances, she was unable to attend this event.In his speech, he clearly wanted Sabah to be a leader in the bird watching industry. This was made into a mission for the Borneo Bird Club President Gary Albert.Bird watching is a lucrative business where it is bringing in quality visitors who will not stinge on services and accommodation.This was also compared to the general commercial tourism in terms of tourism revenue or tourism spending in Sabah.Guest during the launching of the Borneo Bird Festival 2018 at RDC in SandakanDatuk Rosmadi also put it as a comparison with golf tourism, where golfers will fly in for at least five days to play some of the unique golf courses in Sabah.He mentioned that if the golfers could do that, why not promote bird watching in Sabah on a similar level.The opening ceremony was closed with a launching of a new bird book on Borneo by Wong Tsu Shi, with Datuk Rosmadi.Some of the trails where the bir race is conductedBird Race And Bird Photography CompetitionThis years bird race saw 12 teams participating in a two day race to spot the most number of birds around the Rainforest Discovery Center. In the end, the winning team was spotted a record breaking number of 120 birds.For the bird photography contest, a total of 40 entrants were collected a year before the actual festival date, and it was judged on the final day of the festival.Sanjit giving his talk about merging Arts and ScienceTalks At The Borneo Bird Festival As usual, every year, a number of reputable speakers will be invited to give their 30 minute talks which cover conservation, bird migration, bird tourism and also about birding in other countries.Speakers came from as far as Cambodia and even Kuala Lumpur to share their expertise on the various subjects including strong focus on nature conservation.The Borneo Bird Run 2018 winners Borneo Bird Run A special bird themed marathon that is in the third year was one of the general public highlight on Sunday where over 500 participants from around Sandakan turned up for the Borneo Bird Run.The event is a fun run which takes runners through the inner roads of Sepilok, and through the nature trails of the RDC before finishing at the event grounds.One of the marathon winners was also celebrating his birthday on the same day.Some of the runners came dressed with the bird theme as it was purely a fun run, and everyone finished the run, to collect the marathon medal.Photos at the Borneo Bird Festival 2018Below are some random photos taken during the two day bird watching event here in Sandakan, Sabah. Photos were all taken using my Oppo R9s Smartphone.The opening performance for the Borneo Bird Festival 2018Main registration section for the festivalThe food and drink vendors at the event in RDC, SandakanA Zumba session taking place at the festivalDatuk Rosmadi checking out the Birds of Borneo book by Wong Tsu Shi during the launchCambodia birding group at their booth during the festivalOne of the NGO booths during the Borneo Bird FestivalTaking a selfie moment with Mr Henry Goh of Malaysia Nature Society and Bird Life InternationalThe amazing bird watchers and bird guides of Sabah BorneoConclusionWith the success of this event being fully managed by the Sandakan Borneo Bird Club, this years event saw a slight rise in new bird watchers, naturalist and also conservationist that attended the event.Having being managed independently, this is truly one of the best homegrown events that take place in Sandakan and known as the Borneo Bird Festival.For the next event, the Borneo Bird Festival 2019 will most likely take place in the city of Tawau, which is further southeast of Sabah Borneo.
Friday 28th of December 2018 10:17:00 AM
- 10 Natural Wonders Of Malaysia
For travellers who are seeking an original tourism experience, I have come up with a list of 10 natural wonders of Malaysia that is undeniably beautiful. This list was created personally by me, and now being recommended to anyone who wants to experience the best natural tourism destinations in Malaysia. These natural wonders are not man made, but purely nature made, so places like Cameron Highlands Tea Plantations or even Putrajaya and others do not qualify in this list.10 Natural Wonders Of MalaysiaAbraham Lincoln silhouette at Mulu National Park in Sarawak1. Mulu National Park in SarawakThis famous national park in Sarawak is probably the one place where you can find the most number of natural wonders in Malaysia. Established in 1974, the massive park covers an area of 526 square kilometers.Visitors come here to experience the Deer Cave, which is the largest cave passage in the world and where you can see the silhouette of Abraham Lincoln from an angle, from inside the cave.In the late afternoons, visitors head just outside the cave to watch millions of bats take flight out of the caves. Truly a sight to see and one of the best natural experiences in Malaysia.Inside the massive deer caveThe Mulu National Park also offers the famous limestone pinnacles of Mount Api. Though it is beautiful, but in reality, visitors need to trek there and back in three days. It is not a commercial tourist spot where you can see in half a day. To Get Here: Fly in via MasWings from Miri and Kuching in Sarawak, and also from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. Ultimate Experience: Take the traditional way of long boat from Marudi to Mulu, a seven hour journey via the river.The exterior of Batu Caves in 2018, but the highlight is inside the cave temple2. Batu Caves in SelangorThis is no doubt one of the best natural attractions nearest to Kuala Lumpur, and considering that the facade is man made, it is the interior of the cave temple that is fascinating that made it into this list. Batu Caves dates back to the late 1800's when it was discovered by British explorers, and a temple was built up in the caves for worship. Over the last century, Batu Caves has become one of the most iconic natural destinations in Malaysia.In 2018, a massive makeover was conducted where the committee had undergone a beautification for the exterior of the caves, which is what you see in the photo above. However, the natural beauty lies inside the cave temple area.To Get Here - From Kuala Lumpur, it is only a 30 minute drive to Batu Caves via taxi or Grab. Alternatively, you can take the Kommuter Train from KL Sentral which stops at the Batu Caves Station. Best to do this in the mornings before lunch time. Ultimate Experience - Visiting Batu Caves during the Thaipusam Festival, and it is normally at the end of January. Over one million people will visit, with rituals and vows being performed at the foot of the cave temple.The Horse Rock at Tusan Beach3. Tusan Cliff Horse Rock in Miri, SarawakRelatively unknown to many, Tusan Beach in Miri, Sarawak is one of the hidden gems of Malaysia, and you can find a very unique horse shaped cliff with a beautiful arch here. This location is called the Horse Rock of Tusan Beach, and is slowly getting recognition from travelers as a place for photography. Many come here in the wee hours of the morning to capture the beautiful sunrise with the horse rock.If you are headed to this part of Sarawak, here is a list of what to do in Miri, if you want to stay for a few days. To Get Here - From Miri City, it is a 45 minute drive to Tusan Cliff. Best to rent a car and do your own trip, so you can take your own time. Ultimate Experience - Take a Miri Photography Tour from one of the local companies where Tusan Cliff is one of the locations.Mount Kinabalu view seen from the Kinabalu Park entrance area4. Mount Kinabalu in SabahKnown as the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, many come here to climb Mount Kinabalu for achievement sake, but if you are not a mountain climber, you can still visit the Kinabalu National Park, which is just two hours drive from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.The national park here is totally worth the trip as the weather is cooling, and there are a lot of short trails for you to explore. Overall, this is probably one of the top three things you can do around Kota Kinabalu.For those planning to explore around KK city, read my list of free things you can do in Kota Kinabalu if you are on a budget. To Get Here - Anyone can self drive from Kota Kinabalu by renting a car, or you can just book one of the Kinabalu day trip tours from KK City. You can also do this in a day trip and be back in KK City for dinner. Ultimate Experience - Do the Mount Kinabalu climb, which takes you around two days, and then relax by staying at the national park for an additional day.The stunning pinnacles of the Mulu National Park5. Pinnacles at Mulu National Park in SarawakNot your regular trek, the Pinnacles of Mulu is a natural formation that attract serious trekkers and hikers. This beautiful spot is located in the Mulu National Park in Sarawak and requires a three day trip to experience it. To Get Here - First, you need to get to the Mulu National Park, and then from there, your three day trek begins. Around the national park, there are homestays, basic accommodations and even the Mulu Marriott Resort. Ultimate Experience - The ultimate is to trek there during the dry season which is from March till October, and then spend another two days in Mulu National Park to explore the caves.Magnificent Sipadan Island seen from a boat6. Sipadan Island in SabahFor any scuba diver, this is truly the mecca of diving and is one of the must dive spots in the world. Any scuba diver heading to this part of the world will sure make a stop here, just to have this place ticked off their diving bucket list. Sipadan is also listed as one of the Top 3 dive spots in the world, and was made famous by legendary diver Jacques Cousteau. I would also like to share that personally, I have dived here at least 6 times to date. Sipadan Island is only accessible by special entry permit, and this means you cannot just take a boat there as and when you like. You need to pre-book your slot to dive at Sipadan.There are 120 daily permits for visitors, that are arranged by various dive operators in Mabul and Semporna. To dive at Sipadan Island, it can cost you easily about RM1000.00 for three dives and boat transfers.Scuba diving with a school of barracuda's at Sipadan IslandTo Get Here - From Semporna Town, it is a 40 minute boat ride, while from Mabul Island, it only takes 20 minutes. From Kota Kinabalu, you need to fly to Tawau City, then drive down about 90 minutes to Semporna Town where you catch your boat to Mabul Island. Ultimate Experience - To scuba dive at Barracuda Point and be inside the vortex of Barracudas or Jack Fish, and have your photo taken while doing this. This is the ultimate scuba divers dream.One of the cave entrances at Niah National Park7. Niah Caves in SarawakOne of the oldest trading caves in Malaysia is known as the Niah Caves, and come with an interesting history that dates back to the neolithic era. Located just out of Miri city in Sarawak, the multiple caves are located in the Niah National Park.For the adventurer, Niah is one of the top three caves to visit in Malaysia, due to the sheer massive size of it. One of the caves that will have you mesmerized is the Traders Cave, as seen in the photo below. Just look at the comparison of the people in the photo.Traders Cave in Niah, look at the people in the photoTo Get Here - It is 90 minute drive one way from the city of Miri, and you will need a tour company to arrange for this. Park fees and guide is a must, as the caves are huge and you may even get lost exploring. Ultimate Experience - Visiting this cave and seeing the prehistoric cave paintings that dates back over 40,000 years.Glimpse inside the Mossy Forest of Cameron Highlands8. Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands, PahangFor a true Lord of the Rings experience, head over to the state of Pahang, and you will find the mesmerizing Mossy Forest in Cameron Highlands, which is also one of the most unique natural attractions in Malaysia. The mossy forest is accessible via road by trekking or even taking a tour company service to explore this place. Located just out of the Brinchang town area, it takes about 30 minutes drive or a two hour trek there. This is one location where you can get some really nice photographs, or even insta-worthy pictures, and it is highly recommended you go in the morning when it is nice and sunny.Moss growing everywhere in the forestTo Get Here - Self drive, hike or engage a local tour service with guide from Brinchang Town in Cameron Highlands. From Kuala Lumpur, it is a four hour drive one way to Cameron Highlands. Ultimate Experience - Do a slow trek from Brinchang and leave early in the morning. Bring contrasting clothes to take some selfies here, perhaps even dress up as Gandalf.A scale model of Maluai Basin outside the visitor center9. Maliau Basin in SabahThis is one place that not many people have ventured into, and is highly recommended for extreme nature lovers, trekkers, hikers, campers and even bird watchers. Maliau Basin is also known as the Lost World of Sabah, and credit goes to this place being one of the least explored places in Malaysia. This Class One Protected Forest is off limits to walk-in tourist, and one needs to engage tour companies that specialize in trips here. Imagine from the main entrance of the basin to the study center, it takes a six hour trek one way, and the basin goes all the way in where you may need a three day two night trip just to visit the famous seven tier waterfalls or Maliau Falls.The Maliau Falls, a 7 tier waterfall taken from a helicopterFrom the Maliau Basin studies center, it is a 23 km trek through thick rainforest and park rangers are required to bring you through one of the most amazing rainforest in Southeast Asia. You can also expect some amazing flora and fauna here. To Get Here - From Kota Kinabalu City, it takes about four and a half hours drive to the entrance. From Tawau, it only takes you three hours drive. Ultimate Experience - Doing the full Maliau Basin experience, trekking to the Maliau Waterfalls, and then trekking to the Camel Trophy Camp.The amazing cobra sea stack at Bako National Park10. Cobra Sea Stack at Bako National Park in SarawakThis unique rock formation in the sea has been one of Sarawak's iconic natural landmark for decades. Located in the Bako National Park waters, the cobra head sea stack is best seen during the low tide and in the mornings. Visitors are only allowed to see the sea stack from a boat, and you are not permitted to climb onto it as the currents and waves are pretty strong.While seeing the cobra sea stack here, your guide will also show you some other unique rock formations in the vicinity, which are equally stunning. One needs a sharp eye to identify some of them too. To Get Here - You need to book a Bako National Park tour in Kuching, and from Kuching, it takes about two hours to get to the national park. From the Bako Jetty, local boatmen will take you to the national park, and just before reaching, they will bring you to the cobra sea stack for a photo, depending on the tide of course. Ultimate Experience - Well, it's a sea stack and you will be seeing it from a boat, so there is no ultimate experience for this, except getting a nice photo with blue skies and from the right angle.Silhouette of Mount Kinabalu. Photo taken from Crocker RangeConclusionThe places listed above have been personally visited by me, hence they are first hand experiences that I am sharing here. Many who come up with list like these are usually desktop writers who only research the info online and publish the listicle. For me, I have been travelling extensively for 30 years all over Malaysia, and my work has taken me to many interesting and unique places. Hence I share the info with my readers here, and they are all actual experiences. If you think there could be other natural wonders of Malaysia that needs to be listed down here, do let me know in the comment form below, and I will gladly look into it.If you are on Instagram, you can also follow my MalaysiaAsia account, where I post quite a number of photos on Malaysia from time to time. Here's wishing you a wonderful trip to Malaysia if you are planning to come to this part of the world, and have a great time here.
Friday 21st of December 2018 01:39:00 PM
- Malaysia Airports, Airlines Booking Fees and Taxes - All You Need To Know
With many people traveling many times a year from Malaysia, some travellers have been hit hard by hidden booking fee charges from airlines and also the increasing airport taxes and fees. Well, this article sheds light on all you need to know about the Malaysia Airports and Airlines booking fees and taxes, that may even shock you. Over the years, many air travellers have had things easy, but in the last few years, much has changed in terms of online booking fees and even the increasing airport taxes. Debates over this have been common between the airport officials and airlines, which has also been publicized on mainstream media, and of course on social media too. All You Need To Know About Malaysia Airports and Airlines Booking Fees and TaxesFlying through KLIA2 nowadays can be quite stressfulFrustrations keep increasing nowadays when travellers find a cheap priced ticket to and from a destination, and only to find out that the total fee to pay has increased at the payment page. This simply means, when you make that booking to Bali, Indonesia, and you see your to and from ticket costing only RM450.00, and when you are about to make payment, it jumps to RM490.00. If you go back 10 or 15 years back, booking airline tickets in Malaysia was such a joy, and I remember those days when there was a free ticket promotion on AirAsia, I only paid the fuel surcharge. Yes, back then, it was under RM100 per person, and I clearly remember booking a ticket to Laos for two person in 2008 for under RM200.00. This was also during the free air ticket promotions, and there was only minimal charges imposed. Nowadays, things are different, and sometimes complicated for the passengers, but there are those who do not really care. They just want to travel, and that is all, regardless of the fees and so on.AirAsia's booking fees and taxes noted when you book a flight ticketHidden Charges For Booking Airline Tickets OnlineLately, there has been a number of complaints from consumers about the exuberant hidden fees when they make an airline ticket booking online. In December of 2018, outspoken blogger Wee Choo Keong, had published an article about the hidden airline booking fees that totals up to RM38.00 per booking. Back in January of 2018, local newspaper The Sun Daily also ran and article about the end of extra charges by airlines in Malaysia. However, to day, nothing has changed, or there could be even other kinds of fees. I have taken the initiative to explore some of the popular airlines in Malaysia and listed down all the different fees involved when you make an airline ticket booking online; Passenger Service Fee - RM11.00, RM35.00 or RM73.00Booking Service Fees - RM20.00Credit Card Processing Fees - RM8.00Debit Card Processing Fees - RM4.00Direct Debit Payment Fees - RM6.00KLIA2 Fee - RM3.00 *Fees above based on November 2018The taxes and fees when booking online for Malaysia AirlinesMalaysia Airports Passenger Service Charge Fees (PSC)Also in 2018, there was much controversy over the passenger service charge or PSC, and the government had intervened in this area where a new tariff was imposed on passengers traveling out of Malaysia. Previously, the PSC at the KLIA2 was priced at RM50.00 per person before the revision. To understand more about this situation, read this article published on The Malaysian Reserve, dated 23 July 2018. For those who still do not know what is this all about, below is a break down of the passenger service charge or PSC fees per person up to 2018;Domestic Travel - RM11.00 per personAsean Countries Travel - RM35.00 per personInternational Flights - RM73.00 per personYou should also know that the Passenger Service Charge is also collected by Malaysia Airports, and not the airlines or government, with a reason of running the airport. With this PSC tax collected by Malaysia Airports, the issue about KLIA2 is still a hot topic, where many consumers have and still are complaining about the poor facilities and layout of the terminal. One main question being thrown about who designed KLIA2? While it looks modern, but overall, it is not passenger friendly at all. If you have taken an AirAsia flight, you will know what I mean.Malindo Airlines booking fees section with all the taxes and chargesMalaysia Airport Departure TaxOn top of the PSC imposed on passengers traveling from airports, there has also been a new departure levy being imposed to travellers. This is not the same as the PSC. Effective 1st June 2019, air travellers will have to pay a new airport departure tax, which has been high on debated among consumers and also industry players. The New 2019 Malaysia airport departure tax is;Asean Countries - RM20.00 per personNon-Asean Countries - RM40.00 per personWhen you total everything up, you are in for a nice hefty amount paid in all kinds of taxes. This will surely add up into consumers travellers cost, while it does not really effect business travellers. But for some strange reason, Malaysian always amaze me, as when the news breaks, everyone will complain, but give it a few weeks or months, and everything goes back to normal. The Minister at the transport ministry had stated that the departure levy imposed at the airports is in line with raising revenue for the government. He also stated that other countries including Thailand and Indonesia have been collecting a departure tax for all passengers in their respective countries. One of the main reasons cited for this departure tax is to encourage the development of domestic tourism among the local Malaysians. The fees when booking Firefly Airlines ticket onlineMAVCOM Promises Service Level Agreement PolicyOn July of 2018, the Malaysian Aviation Commission or Mavcom, under the new executive chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, pledged to introduce a service level agreement (SLA) policy between airport operators and airline service providers.This was created to ensure the continuous growth and sustainability of the aviation industry, as it has never been done before in the history of Malaysia. Over the years, the controversial passenger service charges (PSC) rates have been a major issues for airlines, which affected all airports in Malaysia, regardless if they were small or large. Check Airline Fees and Charges in MalaysiaAfter much research and reading online, I managed to bump into a page on AirAsia where they have listed down all the fees that a passenger has to pay for their travels. Honestly, this is a very good guide done by AirAsia, and they have have a search button for fees depending on where you are flying too. Check the AirAsia Fees and Charges page if you want to know more about any other fees, namely if you are travelling with infants, sporting equipment and so on. Fees listed in that page are also one way direct flights, hence if you are connecting or transiting, you may need to check it twice for the different destinations. The great thing about the fees section is that AirAsia is being very transparent about all their fees. You can check the following fees on that page;Baggage Fees (Online and At Counter Fees)Sports Equipment Fees (Online and At Counter Fees)Other Baggage InformationSeat Booking Fees (All types)Handling FeesProcessing FeesFlight Changing FeesCancellation FeesWheelchair Service FeesHowever, for those booking online tickets on AirAsia, you should take note of the processing and payment fees, as they are all clearly stated as below;- Processing Fee (direct debit) is non-refundable and is charged per passenger, per booking for payments made via UnionPay, Alipay, WeChat, CCAvenue, Rupay, India Wallet, LINE Pay, NAPAS and PayPal. Others will be charged per booking.- Processing Fee (credit, debit, charge cards) is non-refundable and is charged when payment is made by credit debit or charge cards per guest per way at point of purchase.- Please note that airport tax refund can be subjected to a Processing Fee (credit, debit, charge cards)(where applicable). Refund Processing Fee is waived for refunds made in Korea Won for bookings made in Korea.- Booking service fee applies to all bookings made via Call Centre, Sales Offices, Airport Sales Counters, Indonesia AirAsia Carrefour booth and ATSC's.Passengers at KLIA2 International Departure Section ConclusionDue to many complaints over the years, a number of consumers are pointing their fingers at the Ministry of Transport, and why they are allowing this to happen.You will easily come across many articles published by the mainstream media where airlines, airports and government people will be pointing fingers or trying to work out issues on the airports, taxes and so on.Finally, consumers may think that budget airlines or even full service airlines may be cheap when they offer promotional flights, but when you look at all the fees imposed, you will be surprised.
Wednesday 19th of December 2018 07:46:00 AM
- Rainforest World Music Festival Wins Asia-Pacific Excellence Awards
With a 21 year history for a music festival held in Sarawak Borneo, the Rainforest World Music Festival wins the prestigious Asia-Pacific Excellence Awards 2018 for the film and video category in Dublin, Ireland. Helmed by the Sarawak Tourism Board, the unique music festival held in a rainforest was shortlisted as a finalist under the tourism and travel category for the 2018 Asia-Pacific Excellence Awards.The Rainforest World Music Festival or RWMF as it is commonly called, is also a multiple award winning festival, and is rated as one of the Top 25 Music Festivals in the world to attend by Songlines Magazine. CEO Sharzede Salleh Askor (Right) and Daniella Lupi, STB?s Assistant Digital Marketing ManagerAsia-Pacific Excellence Awards For RWMF and Sarawak Tourism BoardUnder the category of 'Film and Video', Asia Pacific Excellence Awards organizers noted the below statement for the winner;"The festival first started in 1998 showcasing world music, bringing into Sarawak, indigenous performers from all corners of the world performing a special kind of music which is aptly described as ?the music of, or resulting from, traditional or indigenous cultures?.Under the 'Travel and Tourism' category, the Sarawak Tourism Board was also among the three finalist, which the organizers had quoted;"Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) has been recognized as one of the leading music festival in the region. Efforts on implementing sustainable events? elements within RWMF are important in today?s environment, where RWMF 2018 sees implementation of recycling and food waste management for the third year. RWMF 2018 once again made important contributions towards reducing environmental impacts".Sarawak Tourism CEO Sharzede Salleh Askor receiving the award in DublinThe Rainforest world Music Festival 2018When Is The Next Rainforest World Music Festival? For those who have not attended this unique music festival, the next RWMF will take place from 12-14 July, 2019. The three day event will also be held inside the Sarawak Cultural Village, which is about an hours drive from the city of Kuching. Visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets early to get the early bird discounts, while hotel booking should also be done as early as possible for good rates. It is also recommended that you dedicate time to also explore around Kuching and Sarawak, since you plan to make you way here. For 2019, the Sarawak Tourism Board will embark on a campaign called "Sarawak More To Discover", where focus will be put on various categories in tourism. This simple says that there is more to discover when you visit Sarawak, namely the categories of culture, nature, wildlife, ecotourism and food.Each district and region around Sarawak is different from one another, making it a unique experience to travel from place to place, and this is all in part with the tagline. The crowd at the recent Rainforest World Music FestivalRainforest World Music Festival 2019Date: 12 to 14 JulyVenue: Sarawak Cultural Village, SantubongTickets: OnlineWebsite: http://rwmf.net/ConclusionIt is no surprise that the Rainforest World Music Festival is a multiple award winning event, due to the overall uniqueness, creativity and conservation efforts done by the tourism board. Volunteers of the RWMF are the main people behind the scene that make this a success, and for the last 21 years, the event has grown to become one of the world's most unique music festivals to attend. If you have not attended the Rainforest World Music Festival, then my personal recommendation is to do it at least once in your lifetime.
Saturday 8th of December 2018 08:20:00 AM
- Fox World Theme Park Genting Malaysia Cancelled
The supposedly new 20th Century Fox Theme Park in Genting Malaysia has been canceled, and new owners Genting Malaysia has also sued Fox and Disney over this matter. The shocking news was published on The Edge Markets on 27th November 2018, months before the opening of the first 20 Century Fox theme park in Asia. This comes as a massive shock for many theme park lovers, and also to the tourism industry of Malaysia.Many have been looking forward to the opening of this world class theme park which was to be the first of its kind in the world, and here in Malaysia. It was also set to make Malaysia the theme park capital of Southeast Asia, but with the current shocking news, this is a huge set back for the country. 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia Cancelled Over the last four years, the news that Fox World was collaborating with Genting Malaysia to bring Asia's first 20th Century Fox theme park was news to theme park lovers. During that time, opening dates kept being postponed due to many reasons. This made people eager year after year, with the anticipation of having one of the most modern theme parks here in Malaysia.The progress of the Fox World theme park photographed in April 2018Construction is almost done, with about 10% to 20% left to finish, before officially opening its doors to the public somewhere in early 2019. On my last visit there in May of 2018, I had personally seen the latest updates on the 20th Century Fox World construction, where most of the rides have been installed. Final touches were being done, and anyone visiting Resorts World Genting using the cable car, would have seen the ongoing construction. The cable car passes over the new theme park before stopping at SkyAvenue Genting. Why Did 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Pull Out Of Genting Malaysia?According to reports, Fox and Disney pulled out by terminating the Genting-Fox deal. The main reason was that Disney does not want to be associated with a gaming business. Disney also stated that they do not want to be associated with any gambling or gaming as the companies brand strategy was purely family friendly. Genting has been a resort and entertainment facility for as long as anyone knows, and they operated their own theme park before signing a deal with Fox in 2013. In April of 2018, Genting announced the launch of the Fox World Studio Store in SkyAvenue, with a massive opening. The Fox World Store Malaysia was to compliment the soon to open theme park and carried official merchandise for the park. Progress of the Fox World theme park seen from the cable car in Genting MalaysiaWhat Is Next For The New Genting Theme Park? For now, Genting Berhad is suing Fox and Disney for more than USD$1 Billion in damages, and many are awaiting to see what transpires from this. However, with the Genting new theme park almost complete, it would be no surprise that Genting themselves will take over the entire project under their own brand. After all, it is 90% complete, and Genting themselves just need to rebrand and probably launch it somewhere in 2019. Prior to this shocking news of the new theme park being cancelled, I previously wrote about 10 facts on the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Genting Malaysia. The Genting group is also no stranger to the entertainment world, having successfully managed and operated the Genting theme park till it closed in 2013 for the new project. Some of the Fox World rides being constructed, photographed in April 2018ConclusionWith all of this happening, there are sure to be much speculations, and many parties writing about this shocking news. From my end, I have been following the 20th Century Fox World theme park news since day one, and have been getting reliable information from reputable sources directly linked to the project. Anyway, with the 20th Century Fox World theme park project cancelled, we now await to see what will Genting do with the existing structure, which is almost 90% complete. If you have any feedback or opinions, I would love to hear it in the comment form below, and we can now just wait for any upcoming news on this massive theme park project in Genting Malaysia.
Tuesday 27th of November 2018 05:19:00 AM
- The Last Lun Bawang Longhouse In Bakelalan
For some reason, I had to write this article about the last standing Lun Bawang longhouse here in Bakelalan, which was inspired on my last visit here in October 2018.Though these people are a minority in the many ethnic tribes of Sarawak, the Lun Bawang people are also one of the smallest of the Orang Ulu group here.They can be found in the Lawas district of Northern Sarawak which borders Brunei and Sabah, where Bakelalan is one of the original and traditional place to see them. After visiting Bakelalan a number of times, I finally got around to learning about this friendly society that live in the beautiful highlands of Sarawak.Frontal view of the last longhouse in BakelalanLast Lun Bawang Longhouse in BakelalanOn my recent visit to Buduk Nur, Bakelalan, I was there on a bird watching expedition, where a cross border initiative was arranged between Sabah and Sarawak to promote birding in Sarawak. It was then when our group had the pleasure of staying at the lovely homestay of Cikgu Sang and his amazing wife, Julia Sang. By the way, Cikgu translates from the Malay language as teacher.Just so you know, there are no hotels in Bakelalan, and only warm homestays that make this one of the best experiential tourism places. We would be out at 7.00 AM daily to explore trails or bird watching, and just before lunch, the group would be back at Cikgu Sang's place for lunch. One of the days when we were relaxing after lunch, I was talking to Cikgu Sang about the Lun Bawang people here, and asked him about their interesting culture. The topic lead on to why there was proper traditional longhouse, and Cikgu Sang pointed out that there was in fact one last longhouse for the Lun Bawang people, and his relatives were living there. Pointing out his window, it was right there, about 200 meters from his home, and not looking like one of those authentic longhouses that I was expecting. Without fail, I got overly excited, and of course, an invitation by Cikgu Sang to visit the Lun Bawang longhouse was the following words. Grabbing my smartphone and camera, we headed to the longhouse, and along the way there, a barrage of questions started coming out from my mouth. Why, who, what, when were all asked, and having been a local growing up in Bakelalan, Cikgu Sang had explained what he know about the Lun Bawang culture, dating back to his grandparents era.Originally, the community of the Lun Bawang people lived in multiple longhouses all over the Bakelalan heartland, coming in from Long Bawan across the border.History also states that the origins of the Lun Bawangs come from central Borneo, and congregated in the Maligan Highland area where they made it their home.A photo of a traditional Lun Bawang Longhouse in Long Semado, taken many years ago.Lun Bawang LonghouseSadly, I do not have any photos of what an original Lun Bawang longhouse looks like, but I did find some examples on the internet, which the photos were taken in Long Semado a long time ago.The last Lun Bawang longhouse in Bakelalan is pretty much a modern wood and brick design, with a total of six doors or 'rumah panjang enam pintu'. This means, six families stay at this double storey building.The two photos above were taken in Long Semado or Long Tanid, many years agoI was informed that in the old days, these longhouses could have up to 20 to 30 doors, and over 100 people from various families staying in one single longhouse.The last few original longhouse were seen back in the 70's and 80's, and over the years, they started to break up and become individual homes.Some of them caught fire due to the materials, but most of them started to modernize and be standalone units.Right now, this one longhouse in Buduk Nur still remains, and from outside, you would not even notice that it is a longhouse.Only when you get closer and get inside, you will see the that this is indeed the last Lun Bawang longhouse left here in Bakelalan, and possibly the entire Lawas and Maligan Highland area.Inside the back portion of the Lun Bawang longhouse in BakelalanThe current Bakelalan longhouse entrance serves as the main receiving hall, family and visitor area for guests, friends and family members.From the front portion, you will walk through the washroom and toilet area, and into the kitchen and common area where families gather, cook and eat.This is one huge and long open area, where there is no divider, hence families are free to walk about in this section of the longhouse.In the kitchen area at the back, it is one long area open to all families. But each family has their own kitchen section and traditional wood stove where they still use for cooking and boiling water.Why did the Lun Bawang people live in longhouses? Well, from research papers, their main reason was for defense against other attacking tribes.However, since the turn of the 20th century, is no longer happening, and most of the thatched longhouses have been replaced by wood, zinc and bricks. Lun Bawang Longhouse PhotosBelow are random photos taken inside the last Lun Bawang longhouse in Bakelalan. I specifically asked Cikgu Sang to show me around, except the personal bedrooms.Just to add that when I visited the longhouse, the entire village was there for their rare bamboo musical instrument tuning session, and you can see it in one of the photos below.Good friend and traveling buddy Kevin Nila also documented the Lun Bawang bamboo band in one of his articles, which stresses on the 'Bas' of bamboo horn.Exterior of the longhouseA common sight at the longhouse main entranceThe family common area in the longhouseFamily and visitors area in the main longhouse A typical wall decoration for each of the family units in the common areaPhotos, a Lun Bawang ceremonial sword and a weaved basket The toilet and bathroom, connecting the main longhouse to the kitchen areaOne of the longhouse kitchens from one unit, at the backAnother Lun Bawang longhouse kitchen set upThe common wood fire stove of the longhouse, each unit has their ownView of the Lun Bawang Longhouse from one end of the back portionA lounge area on the first floor of the longhouse where other rooms are foundLun Bawang men gather to make and fine tune their bamboo instruments in the longhouseThe oldest Lun Bawang man in Bakelalan, aged around 90 years oldOutside the end of the longhouseWhere Is Bakelalan? Bakelalan is located in the Maligan Highlands in the Limbang district of Northern Sarawak. This remote village is also 20 minutes from the border to Kalimantan, and has a border checkpoint.The altitude of Bakelalan is estimated to be around 950 meters above sea level, which makes this village a very cooling place.The immediate neighbor is no other than Long Bawan, a 20 minute drive across the Kalimantan-Malaysia border.The next closest village to Bakelalan in the Sarawak side is Bario, which is another highland village that is home to the Kelabit people.You can also read about my interesting travel to the Bario Highlands, as I have visited the other village numerous times.What the Lun Bawang longhouse looks like from the fieldHow To Go To Bakelalan? There are only two way to get here, and the most practical is by taking a 4x4 off road truck. But depending on the luxury of time, you have the alternative flight you can take. Driving to Bakelalan - Most people do this as it is much easier, but a unique rural journey passing villages and incredible landscapes. The dive from Lawas takes about five to six hours, depending on the weather. The best way to drive to Bakelalan is through the town of Lawas, which sits in between Sabah and Brunei. This place is quite laid back and is one of the known Lun Bawang towns of Sarawak. For visitors coming here, they usually fly into Miri City, then connect with a MAS Wings flight to the town of Lawas. From Lawas, they will embark on the 4x4 journey to Bakelalan. Flight To Bakelalan - This is of course, the fastest way to get here, but there are only two flights a week, and you need to plan your arrival and departures well to meet the flight schedule.Flying to Bakelalan can be done via Miri Airport or Lawas Airport, and in a day, there are only two flights. Tickets should be booked way in advance for these rural flights due to the plane capacity.The planes used are the DCH-6 Twin Otter turboprop aircraft, which sits a maximum of 15 passengers at one time.Check in luggage is 15 kgs, and each additional kilogram is charged at RM2.00 per kilo, which is purely subsidized for the local Lun Bawang people traveling.The Bakelalan Airport is also one of the most unique Short Take Off and Landing (STOL) airports I have visited, and can be a culture shock for regular travelers.A map of the Maligan Highlands and where Bakelalan is locatedWho Should Visit Bakelalan? To be very honest, Bakelalan is not for everyone. Yes, if you love the fast city life, lifestyle cafes, malls, fancy restaurants, fast food and so on, you will not find any of that here.There isn't even an ATM machine or banks available in the highlands, hence cash is king here. Unless you have something of interesting to barter trade? This is a pure and natural destination, without any modernization or development. It is a farming culture that lives in the highlands and perfect for anyone who wants to see the original side of Sarawak.Life remains simple and yet beautiful, with a lot of outdoor activities to participate in. Hence, this place is a bird watchers paradise or for anyone who loves trekking, culture and nature.And if you are considering to visit this stunning place, I have also written about the things to do in Bakelalan as a rough guide.An elderly Lun Bawang lady plays a handmade bamboo flute in the longhouseConclusionIn my few times of visiting Bakelalan over the last few years, nothing has changed here and still remains the way it should be. What got me overly excited was the fact that I managed to see and experience the last Lun Bawang longhouse here in Bakelalan, and I hope that the locals keep it the way it is.I would highly recommend this destination for anyone who prefers an eco tourism experience, and also to see and learn about the amazing Lun Bawang people of Bakelalan, Sarawak.
Saturday 10th of November 2018 05:19:00 AM
- 10th Borneo Bird Festival 2018 - What Can You Expect
The 10th Borneo Bird Festival 2018 will be held in Sandakan, Sabah on 1st and 2nd December, and many are happy to know that the decade long birding event is now coming back to its home ground.Since the conceptualization of this unique bird watching festival which started back in 2009, the Borneo Bird Festival has seen huge changes in the last 10 years, and is also known as the largest bird watching and nature festival in Malaysia. The event has also brought together bird watchers from all over Sabah, Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia and also from around the world to this event.The very unique RDC steel canopy walk is one of the areas for the bird festivalBorneo Bird Festival 2018 HighlightsWhile the regulars may know what happens during this bird festival in Sabah, it is also important to keep the awareness going, namely to the overall population.The theme for this years Borneo Bird Festival 2018 is 'Born To Be Wild', where strong emphasis has been put on not caging the birds, and letting them be in their natural habitat.The theme also focuses on forest conservation all over Sabah and Malaysia, plus the main highlight is to be able to stop the legal and illegal bird trade which has shocked the world in recent years.Bird watching at RDC, SepilokMany birds have been trapped and hunted to be sold in the black markets, and some of these birds are poached and hunted for their natural beaks, like in the hornbills.Bird and wildlife education is a never ending process, and the best that people can do is by constantly educating the public about this.Another highlight of the event is also to promote nature and bird watching as a hobby, as this is one of the growing trends in experiential tourism.Photographing the animals and birds is also one of the growing hobbies by locals and also many foreigners who come here to experience Sabah's beautiful wildlife. Awareness is never enough, and it is at event like these where you can get more information from the organizers and even the participating vendors.The official banner for the 10th Borneo Bird Festival 2018Activities At The Borneo Bird FestivalThroughout the two days, there are a number of activities that go on during the festival, and they are broken into different areas. Depending on what you or your family want to participate in, the list of events is below, and you can choose. Sabah Bird Race - This is the most popular event where teams need to register and go on a bird watching race around the RDC. Bird Photo Race - Similar to the bird race, but this event is done in a photography style race, where participants photograph the most number of birds during the race. Bird Photography Contest - This contest is open to everyone, and is submitted before the festival, and photos are judged during the festival, where the winners are selected and announced on the final day.A talk going on inside the air-conditioned hall at RDCTalks - Without fail, there will be a number of talks by local and international speakers in regards to bird watching, migrations, conservations and techniques. A number of NGOs will also give talks on conservation and ecotourism. Workshops - These are specialized workshops dedicated to bird watching and conservation, done by professionals in the respective fields. Some include Borneo Bird Run - A unique marathon around Sepilok that is fun for the family, and takes the bird theme. Participants have a best dressed category in this fun run, and over 2000 people will be seen taking part on the final day morning.Some of the bird watching equipment on display at the festivalExhibitions - There are various exhibitions that take place around the event, which will suit all walks of life. Some exhibits display conservation efforts by the wildlife department, WWF and even MNS. Others will be on books, paintings and photography. Bird Watching Equipment - A number of vendors from renown brands will be seen displaying their latest equipment that ranges from binoculars, cameras, telephoto lenses, field scopes, bird and nature book and many other interesting items.At the start of the Borneo Bird RunGuided Nature Walks - Special timed nature walks by volunteer guides will take place on both days where it is free. Interested parties need to just sign up for the guided walks around the RDC. Food and Drinks - There will be a section dedicated to food and drinks at the event where you will find local food like bites, burgers and snacks among cold drinks and juices. Games and Quiz - There will also be a series of games and quizzes held throughout the event, and these are very suitable for both adults and kids.The scene at the Borneo Bird Festival at RDC, SepilokWho Should Go To The Borneo Bird Festival?This is a popular bird watching event in Sabah that attracts all walks of life. The main purpose of this event is to create awareness of the importance of birds and the environment. If you are a nature lover, or even a beginner bird watcher or photographer, this is the perfect place to start. At the event, you will see a lot of beginners, amateurs and even professionals participating.At the RDC, there is also an amazing steel canopy walk that stretches about one kilometer long, and it is a modern design type that can accommodate hundreds of people at any time. For those who live out of Sabah, this event could be something very different compared to other events you may have attended.Personally, I easily recommend attending this, namely because it is in Sandakan, on the east coast of Sabah Borneo.The open aired restaurant at the RDC in SepilokSandakan is also known as the nature city of Sabah Borneo, where there is abundance of nature to be discovered.There is of course the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation, Labuk Bay and many other places for wildlife and nature watching. Even around Sepilok, there are a number of nature resorts available for guests to stay at, which is also walking distance to the Rainforest discovery Center or RDC as it is commonly called.On one of my previous trips, I had the pleasure of staying at the popular Sepilok Nature Resort, which is perfect for any kind of traveler.Bird watchers in full attire for the eventWhat to Bring to the Borneo Bird Festival?As this is an outdoors event at the RDC, you will be walking around most of the time. A majority of the events take place outdoors, hence you should be prepared for any weather changes.In a rainforest, it can also get hot and humid, so here is a list of what you can bring to the RDC for the Borneo Bird Festival;Mosquito or insect repellentPoncho, raincoat or umbrella in case it rains as the walkways are not coveredBottled water and snacksA pair of binoculars are worth bringing if you want to see birdsProper trekking or sports shoes here as some of the walkways can be slipperyThe Bornean Bristlehead look out point at the RDCTickets / Entrance Fees for the RDCMalaysian Resident RM 7.00 : Adults RM 3.00 : Children 5-17 years old Free: Children below 5 years old Non-Malaysian (Foreigners)RM 15.00 : Adults RM 7.00 : Children 5-17 years oldFree : Children below 5 years oldOpening Hours for the RDC:Daily 8.00 am to 5.00 pm (Daily)Birders start as early as 6.00 am at the car park area Rainforest Discovery Centre Address and Contact;PO Box 140790715 SandakanSabah, Malaysia.Telephone: + 60 089 533780 / 781Website: Rainforest Discovery Center SepilokA list of birds of BorneoA couple of Pied Hornbills spotted at the RDCHow To Go To RDC In Sepilok? The Rainforest Discovery Center or RDC is located just out of Sandakan city, and is about 23 kilometers away. To get here, you have a few options which includes taking a taxi, Grab or renting your own car. For locals, it is a 30 minute drive without any traffic jams.Driving Directions To RDCDrive along Jalan Labuk from Sandakan TownTurn left at the Mile 14 roundabout (with a large Orangutan statue)Drive along until you see the large, pictorial RDC sign and turn rightDrive for about 500m to the RDC car parkTaking A Bus From Sandakan To Sepilok - There is a public bus service from Labuk Bus Company that departs from the Sandakan Town Council, and the timings are not as frequent.The bus stops at the junction of the main road of the Sepilok entrance and you then need to walk in about 1.5km. This is not recommended, unless you are doing a budget travel around this part of Sabah. Flying To Sandakan - There are a few airlines that fly from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan, where AirAsia has the most flights a day. Malaysia Airlines has two direct flights into Sandakan from KL. AirAsia also connects from Kota Kinabalu and some other cities to Sandakan for those traveling locally. Taxi or Grab Ride Hailing Service - Taxis and Grab is available, but you need to weigh the pros and cons of this, as you know Grab is the cheaper alternative. 10th Borneo Bird Festival in Sandakan InformationDate: 1st and 2nd December 2018 (Sat & Sun)Venue: Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), Sepilok, SandakanTime: 8.00 AM to 5.00 PMOfficial Website: Borneo Bird FestivalThe Kabili-Sepilok rainforest has been recognized as an Important Bird Area or IBAThe Sandakan Borneo Bird Club (SBBC) home at RDCThe incredible team of organizers and bird marshall's for the Borneo Bird FestivalConclusionIf you love birds and nature, this is one birding event you should consider attending. Even though it is located in Sandakan, Sabah, it is very well organized and truly an eye opener for many. For me, I live in Semenangjung Malaysia, and in the fast city life of Kuala Lumpur, and I have attended quite a number of bird events around Malaysia.But on my first event trip to Sandakan to witness the second Borneo Bird Festival in 2010, I was taken aback with the overall organization done by the local bird club called Sandakan Borneo Bird Club. Never did I expect that a local organized bird festival could have been done in such international standards, attracting people from all over the region. Therefore, I would easily state that the Borneo Bird Festival 2018 is something you may not want to miss if you have been planning to visit this part of Sabah.
Friday 2nd of November 2018 01:15:00 PM
- Travel Visa Guide Information for Malaysians
For most Malaysians, we have the luxury to travel visa free to many countries, and this is thanks to the Commonwealth agreement among each of the countries. Over the years, we have traveled without issues to many countries without the hassle of applying for any type of visa. But since the last ten years or so, more Malaysians are getting adventurous and starting to travel to new destinations, and a little further than the regular destinations around Southeast Asia. Malaysians love to visit ChinaWhy Malaysians Love TravelingThe mushrooming of budget airlines in Malaysia and around the region has been the biggest contributor to the rise of travel among Malaysians. In fact, it has become a normal weekly or monthly affair for friends or families to be traveling somewhere out of Malaysia. Another reason for this is also thanks to the many long weekends from the public holidays that Malaysia observes. Yes, Malaysia is one of the rare countries that sees over 17 public holidaysIf you ask any Malaysia if they have been to Bali or Bangkok, chances are that they have been not once, but several times! Well, this goes to show how much Malaysians travel nowadays, and why some travelers opt for further and no to commercialized destinations. Applying for a China Visa in Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaHow To Apply For Travel Visas for Malaysians?There are a few ways you can do this, and of course the most common one is by visiting the embassy of the country you want to visit. But many people who are first time travelers would not know the proper procedures in getting a visa, hence you should always do your homework on the country you are visiting. Back many years ago, Japan used to require a travel visa to visit, but in recent years, the Japanese government decided to waive the visa requirement for Malaysians, making travel there easy. China however, still requires a travel visa, and no matter which part of mainland China you visit, you still need to get one done beforehand. Through my research, I actually did find information for China visa application, which was very helpful. General China visa applicationTypes Of Travel VisasThere are three main types of travel visas that Malaysian would be applying for, and this depends on which country you are planning to visit. Hence it is important to know which kind of visa you need. Single Entry Visa - This visa is used when you visit a country only once. For example, if you are visiting Beijing in China for a holiday, you simple need to apply for this one time single entry visa. Multiple Entry Visa - Similar as the single entry, this visa allows you to travel to the country as many times as you like throughout the duration of the visa. Example would be if you are in love with Tokyo and plan to visit there again and again, the multiple entry visa is recommended. Transit Visa - This is a common visa for anyone who is traveling to Europe and transits in Dubai or Qatar and want to explore the transit country. For example, if you are traveling to London or Europe on any Middle Eastern airlines, you will most definitely be transiting at one of the countries of the United Arab Emirates. And you will want to spend at least a day or two there, where a transit visa is required. Visa On Arrival - This is when you arrive at the airport and get a visa on your arrival. Some countries practice this, and you simply fill up a visa form. Certain countries have waived the visa fees, but some still require you to pay for the visa on arrival.Business Travel Visa - This is only if you are traveling for business and you can apply for a business visa to the selected countries. In this case, a family traveling may have the father or mother going there for business and leisure, and bringing along the family. The working adult applies for the business visa while the family members apply for the travel visa. The last thing you want to see on your passport is this chop. Photo Wikipedia. Cause of ConcernsWhile many think it is easy to get a visa and just travel to the desired country, there are very rare cases where visitors have been turned away at the arrival from immigration officers. Yes, we think it may never happen to any of us, but there have been cases where tourist have been denied entry to a country even he or she has all the proper documents and visas. This is completely out of your hands as the immigration officers at the arrival country have the right to do this. There could be many reasons for this, and you should be prepared for any sudden emergencies like this. The China visa application formFirst of all, it is always recommended to dress smart casual when entering a country, as you do not want to look dodgy or shady. These are warning signs for immigration officers on duty. Second, at times, immigration officers will question you on arrival, asking you all sorts of questions, and if you do not answer them correctly, this is where many visitors get sent back. Questions are usually about where you are staying at, why are you visiting the country, and how much money are you carrying. In order to pass the checks, you need to look presentable, have your visa paperwork in order and never look nervous. The China Visa once applied to your passportConclusionAgain, this article was written purely for Malaysians as we do love to travel nowadays, and at times, we often overlook many things. It is highly important to know if the country you are visiting requires a travel visa, hence you need to get this done at least a month before your travel. China is a popular destination for many Malaysians, and a travel visa is still required for you to visit any part of China. There are services where you can do this online, or visit the Australian Embassy to get this done. While flights are abundance, and with many airlines to choose from, most Malaysians are penny wise and always go for the cheapest and best deal. With so many choices, I often look at many websites and eventually found one to book cheap flights for my travels. The long lines at one of the China immigrationRemember, if you are a first time visitor to China, you need to follow the instructions of completing the online visa application before you head to the China Embassy to get your visa.At the end of the day, I would stress to always find out beforehand about general information of the country you are visiting. The main thing to check if the country requires you to have a visa before visiting, and how long the visa application will take. As many would say, it is better to be prepared rather than get caught off guard, especially if you love to do thing last minute or on the eleventh hour.So, for Malaysians, I recommend getting your travel visa information beforehand, as it will save you heaps of unwanted issues.
Thursday 18th of October 2018 12:33:00 PM
- Sarawak More To Discover Campaign Launch
The Sarawak More To Discover Campaign for 2019 and 2020 was officially launched at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on the 16th October 2018 to media and tourism industry players from here . A creative approach in tourism for the coming year, the Sarawak Tourism Board and also the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak came up with a simple and yet catchy logo for this campaign that is schedule to run for two years. The Sarawak Tourism Minister, CEO and other VIP's during the launching in Kuala LumpurWhat is Sarawak More To Discover?While many wonder what the tagline means, it was created with simplicity and with an objective to focus on the unique culture, endless adventures, amazing nature, fascinating food and incredible festivals of Sarawak.The More To Discover logo comprises of seven different colors, where each of them represents the elements and diversity that makes up Sarawak, otherwise known as the Land of the Hornbills.If you notice the letter "a" in the logo, it has cleverly been replaced by the iconic Rhinoceros Hornbill bird, which is native to Sarawak. And finally, the brush strokes of the More To Discover logo font portrays fun and friendliness, which is representing the unparalleled hospitality found all over Sarawak.The More to Discover LogoSarawak More To Discover Logo MeaningFor those who really want to dive deeper into the logo meaning of the More To Discover tagline, here it is below;S - The 'S' is in red color, which represents the Sarawak Flag, and the motif is part of the traditional design for the Dayak and Orang Ulu people of Sarawak.A - The 'A' is orange in color, which represents the vibrant energy and strong spirit of the multi ethnic people in Sarawak.R - The 'R' comes in the amber yellow color, which is also the color of the Sarawak flag, and represents supremacy of law and order, unity and stability in diversity.A - The 'A' in green color is cleverly represented with the head of the Hornbill bird, and signifies the 'Bumi Kenyalang' or Land of the Hornbills.W - The 'W' in blue color reflects the calmness of the ocean along Sarawak?s vast coastline.A - The blue colored 'A' is the same as above, representing the ocean.K - The 'K' also in a darker tone of green represents the lush tropical rainforest in abundance all over Sarawak. Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Karim giving his talk during the launchingObjective of More To Discover in SarawakThe main mission is to brand Sarawak as a destination for culture, adventure, nature, food and festivals, which is all totally unique to the largest state of Malaysia. The Sarawak Tourism Minister, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah also jokingly mentioned that Sarawak is not your shopping destination. He also clearly stated that 'If you want to do shopping, just visit Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong or Singapore'. Sarawak has always been one of the more unique states of Malaysia, and located on the island of Borneo, and is shared with Brunei and Kalimantan. The island is well known to the world simply as Borneo too. With such unique flora and fauna, Sarawak boasts of a very diverse multi-ethnic culture and with that comes unique celebrations, festivals, crafts and of course food. The CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board, Sharzede Datu Hj. Salleh Askor giving her opening speechAn incredible 27 ethnic groups make up Sarawak and there are a total of 45 different languages and dialects being spoken through here. This is part of the culture campaign that Sarawak has to offer visitors. The abundance of tropical rainforest only sees fit to have beautiful and unique national parks, and in Sarawak, there are a total of 56 totally protected areas. Out of the 56, there are 37 gazetted national parks, the most in one state for Malaysia. A total of 14 nature reserves can be found and there are five wildlife sanctuaries found in Sarawak. When it comes to festivals, you can find a number of unique ethnic festivals and celebrations throughout the year, and one can only imagine what is being celebrated from the 27 ethnic groups. Modern day festivals also contribute to this area where one of the most famous events is no other than the Rainforest world Music Festival, held for the last 21 years at the Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong. There is also the Borneo Jazz Festival in Miri, and the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival among the well known events that see international and local visitors. The amazing marketing and communication team of Sarawak Tourism BoardA Recent Exploration for Culture, Nature and Wildlife in Bakelalan, SarawakI would like to share with you a preview of my recent exploration trip to Ba'kelalan in the highlands of northeast Sarawak just this early October 2018.On this trip, I visited the Lun Bawang community of 9 villages that make up the entire area of Bakelalan, where I spent about five days here with the friendly highland people.Even though this is my second visit here, I learned so many new things, explored many new places and found out even more about the local Orang Ulu here. Check out some of my Bakelalan preview photos below, which were all taken with my Oppo Smartphone on this trip. The general landscape around Bakelalan in SarawakAn elderly Lun Bawang lady plays a bamboo flute in BakelalanMe taking a pose at one of the incredible landscapes of Bakelalan in SarawakConclusionAs I have been continuously visiting Sarawak for the last ten years since 2008, I can only share two words - Amazing Place. After visiting almost all of Sarawak, there is still so much to discover, and this is just me. Imagine what a first timer to Sarawak will discover when he or she steps foot in this unique destination? As far as I know, there is limitless amount of adventure, nature, culture and food awaiting anyone here in Sarawak. If you want a fast city life with shopping and skyscrapers, this is not the place to explore, but if you want a different kind of tourism experience, then Sarawak should be high on your bucket list. And finally, I concur with the Sarawak Tourism Minister, Datuk Karim, where if you want something very unique and different, then it is recommended to visit Sarawak as there is more to discover here.
Tuesday 16th of October 2018 02:06:00 PM
- How To Go To Chemerong Waterfalls
The Chemerong Waterfalls are one of the most beautiful in Malaysia, and this article shares information about how to get here from Kuala Lumpur or anywhere from the country. First of all, you should know that it is possible to make a day trip here to visit the waterfalls, namely for those who just want to take that Instagram shot. And for the serious outdoor and nature lovers, you can book a tour that lets you trek and camp at the Chemerong Waterfalls, which is also known as one of the tallest waterfalls in Southeast Asia. This place is often called the CBL or Chemerong, Berembun, Langsir, and in Malay, this place is known as the Hutan Lipur Chemerong, or Chemerong Forest Reserve in the Pasir Raja Forest Reserve of Dungun region in Terengganu. How To Go To Chemerong WaterfallsThe beautiful Chemerong Waterfalls. Note the people at the bottom right of the photoMost of you will either be in Kuala Lumpur or some other city around Malaysia, and many would be wondering how to get to the Chemerong Waterfalls in Terengganu. Before I get into the details of traveling here, you should know what else is there to do around the Chemerong Waterfalls, the park and its surrounding. Chemerong Waterfalls is located about two kilometers into the Chemerong Forest Reserve, and there is a park entrance fee of RM2.00 per person to enter, and RM5.00 per person for camping.Outside the park entrance, there is a wildlife park office and center where you get your tickets, park guides and so on. The main car park is also located outside here.The Chemerong Park Office and waterfalls at the backGood news is that you can drive here or from any other city in a few hours, and from Kuala Lumpur, it is only a four hour drive to the forest entrance.Once you reach the park entrance, you can park your car and make the ticket purchase from the main office here.If you are just visiting the waterfalls, you pay only RM2.00 per person, and it is a one to two hour trek to the main Chemerong waterfalls.If you are planning to do camping, you need to pre-arrange this, and get the necessary documents from the Terengganu Forestry office, book your guide and so on.You may need a minimum of three (3) weeks advance booking for your camping permit. The official contact is listed at the end of this article.A park guide at CBL ChemerongWhat You Need To Know About Chemerong WaterfallsBefore you blindly say "I'm going here", you need to take note that this is not your easy Bukit Gasing trekking trip.Overall, one needs to be fit to trek up this waterfall. If you are a pure city person, make sure you can hike for at least one hour without having to stop every ten minutes. First thing you need is an entry ticket from the park quarters, and it is compulsory for everyone to pay this fees. Guides are compulsory as they do not allow self trekking here. However, the guide fees is around RM500 a day, for one or two persons, of even a group. You can hire them from the park quarters. Porters are also available for hire to carry up any heavy things, and there is a set price for this where you can arrange this with the park office.Hikers trekking the CBL here. Photo by www.jenalothman.comFor those planning to hike to Langsir, it will take around eight hours one way, and this is excluding stopping and photography. Some visitors are actually photographers and they trek all the way to Langsir to overnight there and photograph the clear and beautiful stars. This spot is well known for stargazing too. If you are trekking the 3D/2N CBL Trail, then do keep an eye out for one of the biggest Chengal Tree in Asia. Also keep an eye out for the strange hollow tree which is very Instagrammable.If you are expecting 4G coverage, so sorry to burst your bubble, but there is limited cellphone coverage in this area. You would be lucky to get GPRS at some points.But your objective is to trek and hike here, so let's keep to that and use your smartphones to take photographs.Chemerong Forest Reserve in TerengganuWhat is Available at Chemerong Waterfalls ParkThis is important for anyone who is planning to visit here and you need to know what is available once you reach the park. I will list down the general facilities at park area;Park Office / Ranger Station - For tickets and bookingsSmall Cafe - Local and simple food and drinksSouvenir Shop - Basic souvenirs soldCar Park - For those who drive hereSmall Children's Playground - Really, it's only for the kidsSurau or Prayer Room - For prayer timeHanging Bridge - Just a hanging bridgeThe park office is managed by the forestry department and is quite well laid out with walking paths to the trails, picnic areas and the start of the waterfall trek.ATV adventure just outside of Chemerong Forest ReserveWhat Else To Do Around Chemerong Waterfalls?You are either coming here to see the waterfalls or most probably for trekking and camping. Hence for those who want to know what else can be done, below are some other activities to explore.Chemerong Offroad ATV Adventure - Your complete ATV adventures in the rainforest of Chemerong. This company provides all kinds of ATV experiences in this area and can be contacted via phone - 012-202 9057Chemerong Outdoor Adventure - This is an outdoor and adventure company who provides trekking, camping, kayaking, team building and many other activities around the Chemerong Reserve. They are all local guides from the area. They can be contacted via phone - 012-202 9057Al-Muktafi Billah Shah - This is the nearest town to Chemerong Forest Reserve, and is where you can get your supplies of snacks, food, drinks and other smaller items. From the town, it takes a 30 minute drive to the forest reserve.Sunset and stargazing are one of the must experience things at Chemerong. Photo by Zati Iwani Abdul Malek.What To Bring For Chemerong Waterfalls Trekking? Most seasoned trekkers or waterfall hunters would know what to bring, but I am going to list down the general items you need when you visit this place.The list will be broken into two sections, one for just the waterfall day trip visit, and the other for camping overnight here.Chemerong Waterfall Day Trip ChecklistHiking Shoes (Basic, Expensive or Adidas Kampung)Insect Repellent (Malaysian made ones are the best)Poncho (It's a rainforest, and it can rain)Waterproof Bags (Always a must for any trekking trip)Swimwear and Towel (Unless you are not planning to swim here)Sunblock (Especially for morning and midday trekking)Tripod (For photographers)Mini First Aid Kit (Always a necessity)Drinking Water (At least 2 liters per person)Snacks and Power Bars (For those who need it)Chemerong CBL Camping Trip ChecklistHiking Shoes (Basic, Expensive or Adidas Kampung)Insect Repellent (Malaysian made ones are the best)Poncho (It's a rainforest, and it can and will rain)Waterproof Bags (Always a must for any trekking trip)Trekking Gloves (For steep climbs and support)Change of Clothes (Light wear)Swimwear and Towel (Unless you are not planning to swim here)Sunblock (Especially for morning and midday trekking)Tripod (For photographers)Proper First Aid Kit (Required for camping)Drinking Water (At least 5 liters per person)Snacks and Power Bars (For those who need it)Camping Utensils (For those who plan to cook)Raw Food (Simple and easy to cook like instant noodles, eggs)Other general camping equipment (This list goes on)Nadzira from In A Nutshell poses at the Chemerong WaterfallsHiking Reviews of Chemerong WaterfallsOver the years, many hikers have made their way to Chemerong Waterfalls, namely for hiking and camping at the CBL here in Dungun, Terengganu.Since 2016 and 2017, more hikers have been coming here or the amazing experience and I have gathered some of their articles for you to read and see photos. Catherine from 'Catching Travels', shares her 3D/2N camping experience at Chemerong in May of 2017 along with 30 hikers. She shares detail about her journey up, camping overnight and some beautiful photos. Nadzira Hata from 'In A Nutshell' has also experienced 3D/2N camping and trekking at Chemerong Waterfalls in April of 2017. Nadzira is one of those hiking and trekking lovers from Malaysia. MCHiker is also one of those hard core hikers and trekkers from Malaysia who has experience trekking to Chemerong Waterfalls in his detailed trekking blog. His journey was in 2015 and there are lots of photos. Joan from LuvFeelin has also experienced visiting Chemerong Forest Reserve in July of 2016 and spent two nights hiking and camping here. Her blog is entirely in Chinese for those who can read. The various national parks and forest reserves around TerengganuChemerong Waterfall Information1000 feet (305 meter)Chemerong Waterfalls GPS Coordinates: N4.65988 E102.98899 Gunung Berembun GPS Coordinates: N4.63963 E102.97063 Langsir Waterfalls GPS Coordinates: N4.63291 E102.97555Chemerong Waterfalls ContactJabatan Perhutanan Negeri Terengganu,Tingkat 8, Wisma Negeri,Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu,20200 MalaysiaTel: +6 09 6222444 Ext. 6808Talian Terus : +6 09 6221587 / 6274123Email : email@example.comAdditional Info: Chemerong Forest Reserve WebsiteCBL Trekking MapApplication for Climbing and Camping Permit for CBL Chemerong WaterfallsSend to: Pengarah Perhutanan Negeri Terengganu, Jabatan Perhutanan Negeri Terengganu,Tingkat 8, Wisma Negeri,20000 Kuala TerengganuTel : +6 09 627 4155Fax: +6 09 623 6552Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgFees for Chemerong Waterfalls and CampingAccording to the last update in 2017, there are a number of different fees for visitors and they are;Park Entrance Fees: RM2.00 Adults, RM1.00 for childrenCamping Fees: RM5.00 per personPark Ranger Fees: RM500.00 per dayWhat Time Does The Chemerong Park Open?The Chemerong Forest Reserve operated on government hours which is from 8.00 AM till 5.00 PM. If you want to get your park entry, tickets and other fees, you need to do it during these hours. The best is to plan your travels so that you reach here during the park operation hours. And the park office is open seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. An epic photo of Chemerong WaterfallsWhen is the Best Time to Visit Chemerong WaterfallsAnyone planning to visit Chemerong Waterfalls must take note that the park closes during the Monsoon season in east coast Malaysia from late October to mid March. Why do they close? Because the monsoon period brings a lot of rain, and it can sometimes rain for days. This can cause mudslides, uprooting of trees and even floods, which can endanger the lives of trekkers, hikers or general visitors. It is recommended to visit during the dry season in May, June and July. However the park is open from March till October, and during the other months, you can expect small showers.On weekends, school holidays and public holidays, this place can get really crowded. So, if you dislike crowds, I will personally recommend you avoid these times and go on a weekday.You will enjoy a peaceful trek with very little people, which is something that I really enjoy when trekking. For those interested, it is best to contact the park office and find out when exactly they close and reopen.Driving Distance from KL to Chemerong CBLHow to Drive to Chemerong WaterfallsFor those driving, this is important information as the road signs are quite tricky. Unless the park has put up more signboards, you need to follow the Waterfall Junction GPS Coordinates: N4.66192 E102.98992Distance to Chemerong WaterfallsBelow are distances from various cities around Malaysia to Chemerong waterfalls, and the time taken is from Google Maps calculation. Give and take, just add another 30 to 60 minutes for food and toilet breaks during your journey.From Al-Muktafi Billah Shah - 35.8 KM, 30 minutes driveFrom Kuala Terengganu - 126 KM, 1 hour 45 minutes driveFrom Dungun - 67 KM, 1 hour driveFrom Kuantan City - 147 KM, 2 hours driveFrom Kota Bharu - 265 KM, 4 hours driveFrom Kuala Lumpur - 378 KM, 4 hours driveFrom Ipoh - 431 KM, 6.5 hours driveFrom Melaka - 419 KM, 5.5 hour driveFrom Johor Bharu - 489 KM, 6.5 hours driveFrom Penang - 593 KM, 8 hours driveFrom Singapore - 473 KM, Coastal Road, 7 hours driveFor those without their own transportThis applies to tourist or anyone without a car or bike, there is no public transport to Chemerong Waterfalls. You need to travel to Dungun or Kuala Terengganu and then take a taxi or private car service to the park.There is no bus service to Chemerong Waterfalls so you can forget this option. If you are going in a group, usually you will charter a bus or van for the trip.I would recommend three options;1. Taxi or Private Car Service - First, get the price for a one way trip. Then get the taxi contact number or make arrangements for him to pick you up when you are done here. I do not think that Grab will pick you up from the park, so please do check on that.2. Rent a Car - You can also rent a car in Kuala Terengganu and self drive to the park as this would be a fun way to explore this part of Terengganu. Make sure you have a GPS, Waze or Google Maps for this.3. Book a Tour - There are various travel agents that offer special tours here, and you can book them in Terengganu or other cities. For example, if you book one in Kuala Terengganu, they will pick you up, send you there and after you are done, send you back to the city.The Chemerong Waterfall information from Tourism MalaysiaAdditional Information for Chemerong WaterfallsSome people may want additional information about this beautiful waterfalls which is one of the tallest in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.Photography - There is a required permit for any professional photography at the park and you need to apply for this through the forestry office for the photographers permit.This simply means if you are coming here with crew, equipment and talents for a photo shoot, wedding photo or other photography, you need to apply for a permit from the park office.Video Shooting - Depending on what kind of filming you want to do, it requires different permits from the forestry department.If you are just doing your own filming for your company, you can get the permit from the park office at RM200 per day. If you are doing a TV commercial, music video or movie that requires crew, you need to apply a special permit from the main office.Drone Photography - This is still new, but I believe you must inform the park office if you are doing anything commercial here.One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Malaysia, Photo by www.jenalothman.comFinal ThoughtsThe Chemerong Waterfalls are simply breathtaking and one of the amazing Eco destinations in Terengganu, Malaysia. If you are an outdoors, adventure and nature lover, this is one of the highly recommended places to visit.And if you are into camping, trekking, hiking and a waterfall lover, this is one of the highly recommended places in Malaysia to visit. I hope this guide on how to go to Chemerong Waterfalls has come in handy for you.Any questions, comments or updates, please leave a comment in the form below or you can use the contact me form. Have a great trip here.
Friday 14th of September 2018 12:31:00 PM
- Bakelalan Airport [Review]
This is a review of the Bakelalan Airport in Sarawak, specially done for anyone who is planning to visit this beautiful highland in northern Sarawak, on the island of Borneo. Bakelalan is one of two main highland towns that offers probably the best of Malaysian Ecotourism and also rural tourism, which is purely community driven by the local Lun Bawang people here. Review of the Bakelalan Airport in SarawakArriving at the Bakelalan AirportFirst of all, you should take not that only MasWings, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines flies to Bakelalan and there are no other airlines that service this route.The aircraft they use is the DCH Twin Otter turboprop planes which can only seat up to 16 passengers per flight, and takes about an hour from Miri Airport. The Bakelalan airport is probably one of the smallest airports in Malaysia, and is very straightforward and simple, unlike what you are commonly used to.The arrival hall at the airportThe Bakelalan airport code is BKM, and is located just by the main village of Bakelalan, which is at an altitude of 884 meters or 2,900 feet above sea level. Here is my personal and unique experience about the Bakelalan airport when I last visited a number of years ago.The airport sits at the edge of the Bakelalan village, meaning that when you land here, you can just walk to your homestay from the airport. Yes, the airport is so small, it is made of mainly wood and has only three sections. A combined arrival and departure room, a ticket counter, and a control tower on the top. Important Information About Flying to BakelalanMe sitting in the Twin Otter plane bound for BakelalanFirst timers will need to know that in the event you leave Miri for Bakelalan, there could be diversions or other factors that may require the flight to turn back.For example, just before your flight is arriving and there is a storm or strong winds, the flight may return back to Miri and your flight will be re-timed for the next available flight. If you have a confirmed flight ticket and on that day, if it storms terribly, your flight may be pushed to the next available day. Yes, I am not kidding about this as it once almost happened to me.The MasWings flight about to land in BakelalanI have heard of situations where passengers could already see Bakelalan from their plane window, but had to turn back to Miri because of the strong winds and the flight could not land. Another case I heard is that on the flight out of Bakelalan, the passengers could not fly on that day due to a heavy storm, and the fight from Miri or Lawas was unable to leave. How Many Flights Are There to Bakelalan? Aerial view of Bakelalan while flying in the Twin Otter planeThere are only three flights to Bakelalan a week, which is on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays only. This means you really need to plan your flight in and out, according to the flight schedules. Another thing to note is that most of the flights will get fully booked, due to the locals traveling around. This is also because each flight can only accommodate up to 15 passengers per flight. If you are planning to visit here, I would strongly recommend you book at least a couple of months in advance as at times, last minute bookings may not offer any seats.During the school holidays or other large holidays in Sarawak, the flight are usually fully booked by the locals who travel back home. There are only three airports that service the Bakelalan route, and they are Miri, Lawas and Bario. Miri is the international airport for Northern Sarawak, while the other two are smaller village airports.The emergency response unit at Bakelalan Airport Bakelalan Flight InformationThree flights a week, and this is crucial for your booking if you want to visit this unique highland village. The best option is a direct flight from Miri to Bakelalan.Miri to Lawas, then to Bakelalan (Mon, Wed, Sat) - Depart: 10.35 AM, Arrive: 12.10 PMThe above flight makes a stop in Lawas for a very short transit before continuing to Bakelalan. There is no direct Miri to Bakelalan flight. Luggage has to be weighed before checking in, including the passengerWhat If I Cannot Book A Flight? This is a common question asked by visitors who try and book on the last minute. In most cases there may be only one of two seats available, or you have to keep trying until you get it.This applies to those traveling in pairs or groups of three or more, and as I mentioned earlier, it is best to book well ahead if you want to visit this beautiful place. Some visitors manage to fly in, but are unable to fly out, hence they will have to take the local 4WD transport out of Bakelalan, back to Lawas or Limbang.The price varies, and is usually above RM100 per person, and depending if there is a trip going on that day. Usually it will be woth other locals that are using this service too.If you plan to charter the entire 4WD, the price may be three to four times higher. This is only done if you really need to catch a connecting flight or other urgent matters. Other Ways To Go To BakelalanWell, if all fails, there is still the good old way of taking a 4WD from Miri or any of the other cities around here. There are no buses or trains that travel to Bakelalan, and you need to book a 4WD from those who regularly operate the service. If you are driving cross border, you will need to have your passport with you as you will head into Brunei before exiting again. What most people do is take a flight to Lawas or Limbang, and then start their journey to Bakelalan from there. From Miri - 8 Hour Drive (Cross Border)From Limbang - 5 Hour Drive From Lawas - 4 Hour DriveFrom Kota Kinabalu - 7 Hour Drive (Cross Border)From Bandar Seri Begawan - 7 Hour Drive (Cross Border)For this experience, you will need to engage a specialized tour company that operates these routes. For me, I worked with one of the reputable companies from Sarawak, and my journey started from Lawas. A trek up the lookout point shows part of the Bakelalan Airport landing stripWhat to Do in Bakelalan?Well, if you are already planning to come here, you must have some sort of itinerary planned out for you, unless you are taking a tour package to Bakelalan.For those who are thinking of visiting this unique destination in Sarawak, then you need to know what you can do in Bakelalan, as I have written about this place. There are no proper hotels or modern day shops available here, only homestays and family run grocer shops, local cafes and restaurants.Things are pretty laid back here, and activities include trekking, learning about the local culture and just absorbing the laidback life here. Bird watching in Bakelalan is one of the special activities as a couple of endemic birds in Sarawak are found in the area. This needs to be specially arranged, and not a commercial activity.I have also written a comprehensive article on what to do in Bakelalan, and if you are planning to visit here, you should read that article to get a heads up. Bakelalan Airport in SarawakAirport Code: BKMAircraft: DCH-6 Twin OtterAirlines: MasWingsOperator: Malaysia AirportsMasWings Flight Network around Sabah and SarawakConclusion The Bakelalan airport is probably one of the most unique airports I have been in the world, and when you do get here, you will see why.Overall, if you are an aviation fan, this is a unique rural airport experience, which you will remember for life. The way things are done, still date back to the early days and is such a rush to witness and experience.
Tuesday 28th of August 2018 11:39:00 AM
- Royal Floria 2018 in Putrajaya
After skipping one year, Royal Floria 2018 in Putrajaya is back, and will take place from 25th August till 2nd September at Anjung Floria or Precinct 4. This years Royal Floria Putrajaya will also be highlighting the expertise, creativity and professionalism of Malaysian designers to showcase our local talents, as part of the Malaysia National Day which falls on 31st August. Royal Floria Putrajaya 2018This year's Royal Floria will have a theme called ?10 Wonders of Floria?, in conjunction of the 10th anniversary of the event being held at Anjung Floria in Precinct Four.Artist impression of Royal Floria's 10 Wonders of Floria gardenOver 400,000 flowering plants will be on display which includes bougainvilleas, begonias, lilies, hibiscus, orchids, heliconias, roses and chrysanthemum flowers, which are all the theme flowers over the last 9 years. This year's Royal Floria 2018 expects to see a total of 1,500,000 people attending the event over nine days, as during the last event in 2016, a total of 1 Million visitors were recorded visiting the show. For those who are new to this event, you may be wondering why there was no Royal Floria 2017, and this was not publicized during that year.Royal Floria has been ongoing since 2007 and only in 2017, it was halted, where prior to this, the last event was actually Royal Floria 2016, with the theme called Magical World of Floria, and the Chrysanthemum as the theme flower.Flowers at the Putrajaya Royal Floria ShowVisitors coming to this floral event in Putrajaya also need to take note that you will be spending at least three hours and above here. The area is huge, and there is a lot of walking to be done.For amateur or professional photographers, this will be a great place to practice your landscape, portrait and macro photography skills. There is also a photography contest during the event.One of the flower art pieces at Floria PutrajayaOne of the concepts that attract many are the many different themes and gardens that are specially created by the government departments, schools, colleges, universities and corporate sectors.Each of these gardens showcase their own unique design and landscaping, and visitors are invited to walk in to see the details. Some of them are really creative, hence you will need to explore them all.A total of 29 international participants from nine countries will be featuring their floral art and displays throughout the event. Activities and Events at Royal Floria 2018Artist Impression of Taman Diraja or Perak Royal Garden for Royal Floria 2018Every Floria event, there will be many different activities that take place around the event grounds. These activities have time slots and best to get the information brochure when you enter.Some of them are held in the air-conditioned tents while others are located around Anjung Floria. This year will also see similar events as the past including some news ones, and they are in alphabetic order below;Designer Gardens - A yearly feature where professional landscape architects create unique and designer gardens for the urban lifestyle.Entrance Statement - This is the main entrance, where colorful fabrics from Royal Floria's logo are cleverly used overhead as you enter the expo grounds. This will be your first impression of Royal Floria when you walk in.Fantasy Garden - A garden crated for those who love fantasy and children, there will be a surprise for kids as the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel will be giving out free lollipops, candies, popcorn and balloons.Fertigation Garden - This unique feature demonstrates urban farming techniques for the general public to cultivate greens and vegetables. Fertigation is suitable for use in homes or apartments with limited space for gardening.Floral Pavilion - One of the most popular attractions as the Floral Pavilion is inside an air-conditioned tent. The pavilion also showcases floral displays by international and local exhibitors.Floria Arts and Crafts - This is a new attraction for Royal Floria 2018 where you will find vendors selling traditional Malaysian handicraft products. A total of 90 vendors will display and sell their products at this section. Floria Flavours - A must visit for anyone who is attending this event as you will at some point need to eat or drinks. Vendors include stalls selling local Malaysian food from different states, drink stalls, and also local souvenir shops.Floria Sunshine Run - This special run is organized by Hivelocity Sdn. Bhd. and takes place on the 26th August from 6.00 AM to 11.00 AM. Flower Arrangement Demonstrations - For the florist hobbyist and businesses, this demonstration is held on certain days and times. Inquire with the organizer for the schedules.Food Trucks - Various food trucks from all over the Klang Valley will be stationed at an area in Anjung Floria. They will be serving a cosmopolitan mix of local, international and fusion food and drinks. Garden Bazaar and Horticultural Market - This is a standard feature at every event where visitors can buy flowers, plants, garden products, outdoor furniture and many related items.Gardening Workshops - Interesting workshops that discuss about gardening tips and techniques. You can find out more from the information counter about these workshops. Hipster Square - A new shopping culture experience is aimed at teenagers and young people who are visiting Royal Floria 2018. International Floral Pavilion - 19 International designers from Singapore, China, Japan, Germany, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam will be showcasing their floral designs at the International Floral Pavilion.International Orchid Competition - A highly popular competition where many orchid lovers from local and abroad will participate their prized and rare orchids for this competition. Over 300 Orchids will be on competition this year.Miniature Gardens - This feature is brought back due to the success of the the Bucolic Gardens from 2015 where the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton House was one of the main features. It is also themed as the Mini Hobbiton of Malaysia, and is one of the most photographed garden at Royal Floria.The Garden Bazaar and Horticulture Market at Royal FloriaPhotography Competition - This is for the photographers and is a very popular category. Prizes include cash and other prizes. You need to register with the relevant department at the event. This takes place on 26th August from 9.30 AM to 10.00 PM. Royal Floria International Dialogue - A seminar and talk sharing and discussing horticulture and related topics by local and international speakers takes place from 25th to 26th August. This is registered event and you can get more information about this from the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia or ILAM.Royal Garden - Since becoming Royal Floria in 2014, the organizers will select one state of Malaysia as the Royal Garden. This year will feature the gardens of Istana Kenangan in Kuala Kangsar, Perak. The main entrance of the Perak Royal Garden will feature the Istana Iskandariah in Bukit Chandan.Showcase Gardens - This is a segment participated by various associations, organizations, schools, to display their garden design talents.The Magic of Bonsai and Suiseki Exhibition - For those into Bonsai and Suiseki, this is not to be missed as there will be a display for this category.Tropical Magic In A Glass - This is a Terrarium exhibition for anyone who is into this indoor plant hobby.Watercolour Contest - Open for kids, you need to register at the event or get details from the main information counter here. This takes place on 26th august, from 10.00 AM to 3.00 PM. Watercolor Workshop - There will be a special watercolor workshop taking place on four days at Royal Floria. The dates are 25th, 26th and 31st August and one more on 2nd September. Wonder Garden - This is the main showcase for Royal Floria 2018, which takes you through the 10 years of Floria through various garden displays. You can see unique flower towers and multi-colored flower beds through the Floria Wonder Garden.Flower art decoration during Royal Floria 2016Awards and Prizes at Royal Floria 2018At every Royal Floria event, there will be multiple awards and prizes up for grabs and this year will see over RM40,000 in cash prizes for numerous categories. They include;Garden Prime Award - RM15,000Designer Boutique Garden Award - RM10,000Garden of Malaysia Award - RM5,000 Best Media Article - RM5,000Best Media Photograph - RM5,000Other awards for participants are also up for grabs based on categories which include;Royal Floria Putrajaya International Cup + RM5,000 CashBonsai and Suiseki Competition AwardsOrchid Competition AwardsNight time at Royal Floria PutrajayaRoyal Floria 2018 in PutrajayaDate: August 25th to September 2nd, 2018Monday to Thursday: From 9:00 am to 10:30 pmFriday, Saturday and Sunday: From 9:00 am to 12:00 midnightGeneral Contact Number: 03 8893 1967Website: Royal Floria PutrajayaTickets for Royal Floria 2018You can buy tickets at the door, or buy them online from the official website. Royal Floria tickets are priced at;Weekday TicketsMalaysian Adult - RM12.00Malaysian Child (7 to 12 Years Old) - RM6.00Malaysian Senior Citizen/OKU - RM6.00Non Malayisan Adult - RM24.00Non Malaysian Child/Senior Citizen/OKU - RM12.00Weekend TicketsMalaysian Adult- RM15.00Malaysian Child (7 to 12 Years Old) - RM6.00Malaysian Senior Citizen/OKU - RM8.00Non Malaysian Adult - RM30.00Non Malaysian Child/Senior Citizen/OKU - RM16.00Layout Map for Royal Floria 2018How To Go To Royal Floria Putrajaya 2018? Driving - Those driving can simply key in Anjung Floria into their Google Maps or Waze Application, and it will bring you directly to the event. There is a huge parking area in front of Anjung Floria. ERL Train - If you are taking public transportation, there is the ERL train service to Putrajaya from KL Sentral, and when you arrive at Putrajaya Sentral train station, you need to take a taxi, Grab or bus to Anjung Floria in Precinct 4. You need to take Bus Route 301 and 401. Private Car - You can also take raid hailing services like Grab, GoCar or MyCar to Putrajaya, and the journey one way is around 50 to 60 minutes from Kuala Lumpur.Various public transport to PutrajayaWhere is Royal Floria Putrajaya?Royal Floria 2018 is located at Anjung Floria in Precinct 4 of Putrajaya. This is the administrative capital of Malaysia and is located about 35 kilometers from Kuala Lumpur city.To drive here, it can take from 35 minutes to 60 minutes one way, depending on the time of the day, and the traffic.Generally, if you plan to do a day trip, then head here early to get parking and also to avoid the midday heat. Or you can come in the late afternoon and spend the evening and night here. Sponsors and Partners for Royal Floria 2018Official Hotel Partner - Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside HotelOfficial Transport Partner - myCarOfficial Ticketing Partner - Seat AdvisorOfficial Charity Partner - Mercy MalaysiaRoyal FLORIA Putrajaya International Cup Sponsor - Putrajaya Holdings Sdn BhdThe Negeri Sembilan Royal Garden from Royal Floria 2015Beautiful Slipper Orchids at Royal FloriaConclusionMy personal tip is if you love flowers and gardens, you should go for this event, as it truly is one of Malaysia's most beautiful event held over 9 days here in Putrajaya. Also, if you want to avoid the large crowds, I will recommend you visit Royal Floria 2018 on a weekday in the mornings when they just open.If you visit on a weekend, you will be among the tens of thousands of people at the event. Therefore, it is entirely up to you when you want to visit.To see live photo updates, follow my social media accounts of Air Plants Malaysia Instagram or David Travels on Instagram as I will be uploading photos on those accounts.If you are new to this, the Royal Floria 2018 is a recommended event to visit, namely if you love gardens and flowers. I can guarantee that you will be impressed by the level of international standards seen here.
Wednesday 22nd of August 2018 02:06:00 PM
- AirAsia Flights To Raja Ampat
In an interesting turn in aviation news, AirAsia is currently considering adding a number of flights to new destinations around Indonesia, and one of them comes as a shocker. There may soon be AirAsia flights to Raja Ampat. Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes mentioned that they are currently in talks with the relevant authorities about flights to Belitung. They are also looking at direct flights to Banyuwangi and Raja Ampat. AirAsia Flights To Raja AmpatArborek Island, one of the popular destinations in Raja AmpatThe news came about in early August 2018 when Tony Fernandes spoke to media after announcing direct flights from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (klia2) to Silangit Airport in Tapanuli, North Sumatra.If this materializes, it would be a huge game changer for scuba divers as Raja Ampat has always been one of the most beautiful dive destinations in the world, and one of the hardest to reach. Some even claim that it costs too much to dive at Raja Ampat, where the cost can reach up to RM10,000 per person, who is doing a live on board dive trip. My flight landing at Sorong in West PapuaAs I visited Raja Ampat in late 2017, I had the pleasure of finding out how complicated it can be to get to this part of West Papua. I also write an article on airlines that fly to Raja Ampat, which provides detailed information. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism, 25 percent of international tourists currently travel to Indonesia via the AirAsia Group. And AirAsia is dedicated to continue supporting the ministry to achieve a target of 20 million visitors by the year 2019, versus the target of 17 million arrivals for 2018. Why Do People Want To Go To Raja Ampat? Scuba diving in the pristine clear waters of Raja AmpatHonestly, this place is truly one of earth's most beautiful and natural destination that is not spoiled by general tourism. Imagine Bali 50 years ago, that is how it is here. Well, I would say it is more than that. Raja Ampat's underwater biodiversity is so rich, it has become of the best places on earth to dive at. Most divers that have been here usually stay on a live on board or at a dive resort on Waisai Island. Checking out the world's largest clam in Raja AmpatImagine I spent five days here, and during every dive I did, there was only my group and no one else around. At times, I felt like we were the only diving tourist here. This is how peaceful and enjoyable Raja Ampat is. No pretentious or wannabe tourist, no shouting tourist, no screaming kids, none of that. But if there are AirAsia flights to Raja Ampat, I can promise you that this place may lose its natural charm and beauty. Well, it will be very good for tourism here, but bad for the conservation. Honestly if you ask me, this is a catch 22 situation which could go either way. I am sure many would not want Raja Ampat to end up like Bali or Labuan Bajo, where it looks like a tourist circus, versus a beautiful vacation destination. Watch one of my Raja Ampat Scuba Diving Videos belowHow Do You Get To Raja Ampat?The Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong, West PapuaDon't get too excited yet as this is only being discussed by AirAsia, but knowing the group, they will eventually do it, but will the flight last? That all depends if the route is profitable or not. So, many of you may think that when AirAsia flies to Raja Ampat, you can just hop on a flight, arrive there and just check in and go for your dive. Sorry, you got it all wrong as there is more to that. The Sorong Airport which recently had a makeover in 2017The only airport that AirAsia can land is at the Sorong Airport, or simply called the Raja Ampat Airport. Sorong is the city on the western part of West Papua, whis is known as Indonesia Papua. This is where all international and domestic flights land, as the airport is capable to cater to small and mid sized aircraft like Airbus A320's, Bombardiers or even the Boeing 737 series. On the island of Waigeo, where most of the Raja Ampat Resorts are located atFrom Sorong, you need to travel to Waisai Harbour on Waigeo Island, which is also known as Raja Ampat. This can be done either by flight or boat. All this is extra travel time which you should take note of, and you can find out in detail on my article on how to go to Raja Ampat, which covers flights and boats. ConclusionIf AirAsia starts flying to Raja Ampat in the near future, this would be a huge bonus for scuba divers as it has been a dream diving destination for many.Honestly, it is not your Bali, Lombok or Gili Trawangan destination, so for the general travelers, you can still visit but do not keep your expectations too high. Me sitting at the view deck of the famous Piaynemo in Raja AmpatFor bird watchers, this would also be a super bonus as bird watching in Raja Ampat is also high on the bucket list where people want to spot the beautiful Bird of Paradise. This species can only be spotted here and nowhere else in the world. To be honest, I would look forward to AirAsia flying to Raja Ampat, as I would love to return for more bird watching and scuba diving there, so we can only wait for the news to be official.
Thursday 16th of August 2018 10:27:00 AM
- Malaysia Airlines New Baggage Allowance For Domestic Flights
From 1st August 2018, the new Malaysia Airlines baggage allowance for domestic flights will be reduced. This comes as a shock for many local travelers who have been used to the free 30kg baggage allowance all this while. Malaysia Airlines has announced that they will reduce the baggage allowance by 10kg, bringing it down to 20kg from August 1st, and this applies to all economy class flights and tickets booked after the date. Malaysia Airlines Domestic Flight New Baggage AllowanceMalaysia Airlines passengers still get complimentary perksSince I do fly Malaysia Airlines regularly, the news comes to a shock for me, as all this while, I have enjoyed the free 30kg baggage allowance for my travels.Now, I have to watch my luggage weight for my future MAS flights, hence I thought I might as well share this new information with anyone who flies regularly with Malaysia Airlines on domestic routes.Malaysia Airlines claims that the revised baggage allowance was in line with other full service airlines. This applies to all economy fares booked from 1 August 2018, and existing bookings are still exempted. The main reason for Malaysia Airlines new baggage allowances are to ensure competitive prices with the issue of increasing fuel prices worldwide. The airline also commented that passengers will get the complimentary 7kg cabin baggage allowance, in flight entertainment and the in flight meals. Business and First Class passengers have no change in their allowances.One of the Malaysia Airlines check in counters at KLIACurrent Baggage Allowance for Malaysia AirlinesCurrently, the allowance for check-in baggage is 30kg per passenger, and the new revised MAS baggage allowance is 20kg effective from 1 August 2018.For Malaysia Airlines cabin baggage allowances;Economy Class passengers: One cabin baggage with a maximum weight of 7kgBusiness Class passengers: Two pieces of cabin baggage weighing a total of 14kg.Cabin Luggage Measurements: Each cabin bag must not exceed L36cm x W23cm x H56cm.For more information, visit the Malaysia Airlines website, as you can contact the customer service for your questions. Passengers at Kuala Lumpur International AirportAirlines That Fly Domestic Routes in MalaysiaIn Malaysia, other airlines that operate domestic flights are AirAsia, Malindo Air or Batik Air Malaysia and FireFly Airlines. Each of these airlines also offer different baggage allowances as stated below;1. Firefly AirlinesDomestic and International Check In Baggage Allowance - 20kgAdditional 5kg, 10kg and 15kg can be purchased online, call centre or at sales officesCabin Baggage - One piece of hand baggage per passengerWeighs 7kg or lessMore information on Firefly Airlines Baggage FeesPlease note that the Firefly Airline B737 aircraft 15kg baggage is now 20kg and free2. Malindo Air (Batik Air Malaysia)Check In Baggage for Malindo AirDomestic & International Flights Business Class - 40kg (for Boeing aircraft)Economy Class - 25kg (for Boeing aircraft) excluding DAC & CGP, 35kgEconomy Class - 15kg (for ATR aircraft)Malindo Air Excess Baggage FeesAny excess baggage fees will be charged at the check in counter, and this will cost you extra money and time so please double check your baggage weight before checking in. International Flights - RM48.00 per kilogram Domestic Flights - RM39.20 per kilogramMalindo Air's baggage allowanceCabin Baggage for Malindo AirBusiness ClassEach passenger (2) two pieces of cabin baggage AND 1 laptop bag OR 1 handbag on-boardCabin baggage shall not exceed 36 x 56 x 23 cm Weighs no more than 10kg.Economy ClassEach passenger (1) one piece of cabin baggage AND 1 laptop bag OR 1 handbag on-boardCabin baggage shall not exceed 36 x 56 x 23 cmWeighs no more than 7kg.For more information on the baggage allowances or sporting equipment luggage, visit the Malindo Air website. AirAsia's cabin baggage allowance3. AirAsia You should know by now that there is no free check in baggage for any AirAsia flight. Everything is charged and passengers have options to choose the weight they want to buy.You usually purchase your baggage when you buy your flight tickets online. And if you suddenly have access luggage, you can easily buy extra baggage before your flight.The last thing you want is to be charged at the check in counter for excess luggage, as this can run into the hundreds.AirAsia Domestic Check In Baggage Allowance 15kg, 20kg, 25kg, 30kg, 40kgAirAsia International Check In Baggage Allowance20kg, 25kg, 30kg, 40kgAirAsia Cabin Baggage or Hand Luggage AllowancePassengers on AirAsia are allowed to carry on board 2 pieces of cabin baggage comprising of either:One Cabin Baggage: Not exceeding 56cm (H) X 36cm (W) X 23cm (D)One Laptop Bag or One Handbag or One Small Bag: Not exceeding 40cm (H) X 30cm (W) X 10cm (D)The total weight of both pieces must not exceed 7kg. For more information on baggage information like sports bags or golf bags, please visit the AirAsia website.Passengers on Malaysia Airlines at the domestic check in linesFor those planning to fly locally with Malaysia Airlines from 1 August 2018, please take note of the new revised domestic flight baggage allowances of 20kg for MAS.You will be required to pay for any extra weight while checking in. This means you will have to pay the excess weight at another counter, then come back to your check in counter to show that you have paid for the access luggage.If you are rushing, this will not work in your favor and you will end up being frustrated. I hope this information will come in handy for the local frequent flyers on Malaysia Airlines. If you think someone should know about this news, please share this article and thank you.
Thursday 2nd of August 2018 01:42:00 PM
- Things To Do In Bakelalan
Here is a list of things to do in Bakelalan, based on actual experiences that I have done over the years visiting this unique part of Sarawak, which borders Kalimantan. Bakelalan is home to the Lun Bawang people who live 3000 feet up in the Maligan Highlands, which is sometimes referred to as the Kelabit Highlands. This is truly one of Sarawak's most hidden gem for a true tourism experience. What To Do In BakelalanThe general landscape view in BakelalanFor those heading to Bakelalan, you should take note on what can be done here. First of all, Bakelalan is not your everyday commercial tourism destination, but more of a rural tourism destination of Sarawak. There are no hotels or commercial shops, cafes or anything you can find in general towns or cities. Bakelalan is a highland village that has a population of around 1000 Lun Bawang people. Only homestays, local run restaurants and sundry shops are what you will find here. Bakelalan is perfect for anyone wanting a digital detox, escaping the city life or anyone wanting to experience the Sarawakian outdoors, culture and heritage.Bakelalan also consist of nine villages, where each of them are connected by walking trails. So, below is the list of what to do in Bakelalan, created from my experiences. 1. Visit the Bakelalan Salt Factory Locals with their Bakelalan salt at Buduk BuiThis is hands down a must for anyone who visits Bakelalan, the Buduk Bui salt factory is a homegrown community business that makes traditional Bakelalan salt. This village is the furthest from the main village called Buduk Nur.Trips here are usually arranged by your homestay or tour operator where you will take a 60 minute ride via 4WD. Once at the salt factory, you will be introduced to the traditional process of salt making which dates back hundreds of years ago. The unique part of the Bakelalan salt is that it is processed from natural salt springs that have been in the village for centuries.There are actually three salt springs found in Bakelalan at Buduk Bui, Pa Komap and Punang Kelalan, where Buduk Bui is the most popular Bakelalan salt factory to visit. 2. Try the Lun Bawang Food Preparing the local Lun Bawang foodThis is something that you will be guaranteed to experience, which is a bonus if you are a food lover. The Lun Bawang food is one-of-a-kind and very different from the general Sarawakian food that you can find in Miri or Kuching. When you are staying at any of the local homestays here, you will be introduced to traditional Lun Bawang cuisine, and it is considered a very traditional ethnic food. Most of the food is organic, which is grown, farmed and harvested in Bakelalan.Traditional Lun Bawang dessertsOne of the signature dishes to try is the Nubalaya, which is pounded rice wrapped in banana leaves. If you are lucky, you can try the pickled fish or game meat called Telu.For Muslim travelers, there is no Halal food, though maybe one or two families may have converted to Muslims, and you could probably get it there. Or, just bring your own rations for this trip. 3. Go Trekking or Hiking in BakelalanView of Bakelalan from Pa Sarui HillWhen you are here, this is probably the main activity that you wile experience. Bakelalan has many trails that are very interesting, and most importantly, raw.These trekking trails are used mainly by the local for hunting or even for traveling to other parts of the highlands. Some of the trails are relatively easy, while others may be a little hard. One of the trials I hiked was actually to a hill behind the village called Pa Sarui.Trekking up a hillThe trails was easy at the start but got a little hard halfway up with a total time of about 90 minutes. The reward was amazing, as you could see the entire village from the top of Pa Sarui Hill. These trails must be accompanied by a local guide, as you do not want to get lost here. On a side note, the border to Kalimantan is just kilometers away from Bakelalan, making this place one of the closest villages to Indonesia. 4. Experience a Traditional Lun Bawang Cultural ShowLun Bawang women in traditional costume for the cultural showThis can be arranged by your homestay or tour operator, where the locals will have a special performance for you or your group. The Lun Bawang cultural show can be done in the day or during dinner. At this performance, you will be introduced to the traditional song and dance of the Lun Bawang people here.The Lun Bawang traditional dances include the popular Hornbill dance, long dances and single dances, which are accompanied by a Sape instrument being played. The Lun Bawang people were once known as fierce warriors and also head hunters, but no longer are since the turn of the century.A traditional Lun Bawang dinner is also part of this experience, and for any first timer to Bakelalan, this is not to be missed. 5. Bird Watching in BakelalanSome of the highland birdsThis hobby and activity has been around for about a decade, with only specialist bird watchers coming here to complete their checklist of Borneo birds.To do this, you need to engage a specialized company that does bird tours to Bakelalan, and there are not many around. On my last trip here, my itinerary was so filled up, I did not manage to do this, but on writing this in July 2018, I am planning a bird watching trip to Bakelalan this year.It is said that you can find two endemic birds in Borneo in Bakelalan, and they are the Dulit Frogmouth and the Black Oriole. Nowhere else on the island of Borneo can you spot them too. Not to worry, as when I complete my bird watching here, I will surely post about it in my future postings. Yes, I am an amateur bird watcher with a lot of experiences all over Sabah and Sarawak over the years. 6. Try the Bakelalan PineapplesA Bakelalan pineapple growing in the wildYes, they have pineapples growing, but not on a commercial scale. You need to ask the locals when is the season the fruits are available, and I was lucky enough to try one of them, which was on par with the ones I tried at the sister village called Bario. One of the places where you can see the Bakelalan pineapples growing is on the trek up to PA Sarui Hill, the part when it starts to ascend, there are pineapples grown in the wild.So if you are lucky, you can find a ripe pineapple and eat it on your way up or down the hill. Not to worry as these pineapples are free for all, because no one wants to look after them. 7. See the Bakelalan Megalith StonesThe Bakelalan megalith stones. Photo by Carolyn from Footsteps on the Fringe.As any old culture has their own myths, the Bakelalan megaliths are one of them, and the best part is that you can actually see them. This is provided you have a good guide that can explain the stories behind these strange stones found in Bakelalan. The Bakelalan ancient stone monuments are seen at Long Lemutut village, and there are a few of them which carries their own stories.One of the more popular and easier to get to megaliths is the Upai Semaring Stove at Pa Tawing. Here, four to five massive boulders make up a cooking stove area, as the legend Upai Semaring was known to be a giant. If you have seen the Bario Megalith stones, the ones here in Bakelalan are totally different, minus the carvings and purely myth or legend driven. However, a good guide will share a very interesting story on them.8. Visit the Bakelalan WaterfallsOne of the Bakelalan waterfalls. Photo by Carolyn from Footsteps on the Fringe. According to Kevin from Dayak Wanderer, there are two main waterfalls in Bakelalan worth exploring. They are the Ritan Waterfall and the Pa Kumap Waterfalls. Both which require trekking and is generally a half to full day trip. Honestly, I have not been to either, but plan to do so.Pa Kumap Waterfalls in Bakelalan is the nearer one, which is only a two trek from the village, and can be done in half a day.The Ritan Waterfalls is the harder one, which is about six to eight hours of trekking. Generally, people would take a 4X4 to get here, as it saves a lot of time.I found out that there are in fact a few other smaller waterfalls located in Bakelalan, but sadly due to the hydro electric dam project, most of these waterfalls have shrunk in size, with very little water.9. Try the Bakelalan Rice CoffeeBakelalan Rice Coffee or Kopi BeraThis is one of the most intriguing things I did when I visited Bakelalan, trying the local rice coffee. I have to admit, in my lifetime, I have never heard or rice being made into coffee until I visited this place.They call this Bera Kopi or literally rice coffee made from the Adan rice, which is one of the highest grades of highland rice. The rice is fried in a pan over firewood, and sugar is added while constantly stirring the rice to caramelize it a little.After the rice turns to a dark reddish brown, it is ready to be made into your regular black coffee. The method is so straight forward, put the rice in a cup, just add hot water and stir. Sift it and your Bakelalan coffee is ready.10. Visit the Bakelalan Strawberry Farm Since Bakelalan stopped growing apples, some local farmers have resorted to growing strawberries as the climate is much more suitable here. The Bakelalan strawberries project was initiated in 2015 and the farm is located in Buduk Nur.This private farm is owned by local Purait Gatum or Tagal Paran (Pak Tagal) and they open their houses and farms for visitors who want to come and see his Bakelalan strawberries. You can even buy them fresh from his farm.11. Try the Bakelalan ApplesA Lun Bawang girl holds the Bakelalan Apples. Photo by Cinta.Alright, this one is a little vague but you should know that Bakelalan was once the apple capital of Malaysia. Yes, they grew apples in Bakelalan,which was an amazing feat, considering that Malaysia is a tropical country.I was told by a local that they stopped the apple farming many years ago due to manpower shortage and weather changes in Bakelalan.However, the good news is that some of the locals recently started to plane apples in early 2018, hence it takes a three to four years before we can see fruits.But there are a few apple trees that are still being grown in Bakelalan, but unfortunately, they are not well taken care of, and if you are lucky, they may be fruiting. Or else, do ask about the other unique fruits that they grow here like oranges, grapes and even persimmons.12. Attend the Irau Aco Lun Bawang Festival (Special)The Irau Aco Lun Bawang Festival held in Lawas. Photo by Irau Aco FB Page. This is only for those who are seriously into the whole ethnic culture. The most popular local festival is called Irau Aco Lun Bawang which is held on from the 31st May to 1st of June every year.Known as a rice harvest festival for the Lun Bawang people, this is also in conjunction with the Gawai Festival that is celebrated all over Sarawak. The Lun Bawang people celebrate this all over Bakelalan on a local scale, but if you want to fully experience this on a large scale, the main event will take place in the town of Lawas, which hosts the Irau Aco Lun Bawang Festival. At Lawas, you will see a Lun Bawang beauty pageant contest called Rurun Ulung and also the male warrior contest.Visitors can also find the Ngiup Suling, which is a local traditional bamboo flute band, accompanied by an Angklung performance, which is a traditional bamboo instrument being performed here. Many other activities take place in the day and night, hence this is one of the Lun Bawang festivals not to be missed if you love all things ethnic.When is the Best Time to Visit Bakelalan? A rare sunset seen in Bakelalan by the airport when I was hereFor me, anytime is a good time as Bakelalan is located in the highlands, the temperature is always cooling, and ranges from around 19°C and 24°C.If you want to see the beautiful green paddy fields in Bakelalan, the best time for this is from November to early December.This is when the paddy fields are in full green color. At the end of December, the color begins to turn golden yellow for the harvest.Rainy season in Bakelalan is from November to January, but with today's unpredictable weather, it can rain anytime. Other months, it is often dry season.June is the harvest season celebration or Gawai, and is also a good time to experience the local Lun Bawang harvest festival in Bakelalan. How to go to Bakelalan? A DCH6 Twin Otter aircraft operated by MasWings landing at Bakelalan airportOverall, Bakelalan is one of the truly amazing destinations in Sarawak which caters to a very niche breed of tourism.Due to connectivity and infrastructure, this place is not that easy to access and here is the best way to travel to Bakelalan.Flights to Bakelalan - I highly recommend you book a flight there and back, as it only takes about an hour from Miri with a quick stopover in Lawas. There are only three flights a week, Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.You also need to book well in advance if you plan to travel in groups of two or more. There is also a strict weight allowance for passengers, and usually flights will take up to 12 or 14 passengers, even though they say it is a 19 seater aircraft.4x4's that travel to Bakelalan4x4 to Bakelalan - This is the old way, and is still being used by the locals to transport items. However, you need to do this via Lawas, and through a travel agent that specializes in Bakelalan tours.The 4x4 journey will take you about four to five hours one way through logging roads, plantations and beautiful picturesque scenery.You will also experience the famous Bornean massage on this journey. No, not that one, but the one sitting in a bumpy 4x4 for the entire journey. I did this!Other Ways - Sadly, the above are the only two ways to go to Bakelalan. There are no buses or trains for this experience. Out of curiosity, I did a Google check for walking to Bakelalan from Laws, and it would take you 31 hours non stop.What Should I Bring To Bakelalan?This has to be added, if not visitors will travel with their extra large luggage bags, hair dryers, laptops and so on. First of all, if you take a flight here, they need to weigh you and your luggage. So, just bring what you need.Trekking backpackTrekking clothes and shoes (I just use Adidas Kampung)GPS tracker if you plan to explore on your ownMosquito and insect repellentSpecial dietary food if requiredSnacks and junk food if you mustHalal or vegetarian food for special needsCamera and chargersA book would be a nice touchA good attitude towards the amazing local Lun Bawang peopleStunning landscapes waiting to be discovered in Ba KelalanConclusionIf you have been looking for a special destination in Malaysia to explore, which is rustic and out of the ordinary, Bakelalan is the just the perfect place to visit. Just keep in mind that Bakelalan and Bario is not your regular tourist destination.For those contemplating on where to visit, you can also read about my travel to the Bario Highlands, which is the sister village of Bakelalan. I have visited both, where each of them have their own unique experiences.An image of what you can expect in BakelalanBakelalan is suitable for anyone who wants to experience what real tourism in Malaysia is all about. This location lets you experience what the local Lun Bawang highland people go through on an everyday life, which is sweet and simple.There is little to no phone signals and WiFi available, hence you will most likely be disconnected from your daily grind. I call this a digital detox, which I believe is good for everyone, especially when you know how everyone is just attached to their smartphones and gadgets nowadays.Up here, you will embark on a unique experience and learn about the Lun Bawang culture, feast on the local food while exploring the many things to do in Bakelalan as shared above.
Wednesday 25th of July 2018 01:18:00 PM
- How To Go To The Rainforest World Music Festival
For anyone wanting to know how to go to the Rainforest World Music Festival in Santubong, I have come up with this guide for your convenience. This includes various ways including self driving to the Sarawak Cultural Village. The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place on a yearly basis, and is one of the most unique music festivals in the world which is held in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo.Often called RWMF in short, this unique music festival in Sarawak tends to attracts people from all over the world. How To Go To The Rainforest World Music FestivalThe Sarawak Cultural Village, where the music festival will take placeThis article applies to those who are staying in the Kuching or other areas out of Santubong, and it takes about 60-90 minutes travel one way to the Sarawak Cultural Village where the Rainforest World Music Festival is held. In most cases, festival goers will be taking public transport as it will be the most economical way to travel to the festival from Kuching. Options include a shuttle bus, public taxi or even GRAB, a private car service. For the foreigners attending the festival, please note there is no more UBER in Malaysia, ad it was bought over by GRAB, so you need to download the GRAB App on your phone for this. Below are the ways to get to the Rainforest World Music Festival. The Free Shuttle Bus to the Rainforest World Music Festival. Source KuchingBorneo. 1. Free Shuttle Bus to Rainforest World Music FestivalThis is a bonus for Rainforest World Music Festival ticket holders, as there is a free shuttle bus service from Kuching to the Sarawak Cultural Village. The free shuttle bus will depart from four main stops around Kuching city and they are;Hills Shopping Mall - From 9.30 AM till 8.00 PMRiverside Majestic Astana Wing - From 9.40 AM till 8.10 PMHarbour View Hotel - From 9.50 AM till 8.20 PMMerdeka Palace - From 10.00 AM till 8.30 PMThe free shuttle bus service is an hourly service, hence if you miss the bus, then you need to wait for the next timing. The Free Shuttle Bus Time Table for RWMF 2018All you need to do is show your valid Rainforest World Music Festival ticket to the bus driver or conductor. All shuttle buses will drop off in front of the Sarawak Cultural Village entrance.Good news is that if there is a huge demand for passengers, the organizers have extra buses on standby if the need arises. This is for during peak hours and pending on the volume of festival goers.Shuttle buses back to Kuching will also start from 12.30 PM on an hourly basis, and the last bus back to Kuching is at 1.30 AM2. GRAB GRAB Kuching is the official transport partner for the Rainforest World Music Festival, and is offering a special promotion code where you can get RM10.00 off for one trip when you use the promo code of "RWMF2018". A normal GRAB ride from Kuching to the Sarawak Cultural Village will cost you RM35.00 one way, and using the code, you can get it for RM25.00. You can book a GRAB from anywhere around Kuching or other areas around the city. What the common taxi's look like in Kuching. Source Wikipedia CC By-SA 3.03. Regular TaxiThere are many local taxis available, but please note that in Kuching, the local taxi's do not usually run around looking for passengers. IT is the other way around where you need to find a taxi stand where all they are waiting. Taxi's in Kuching also do not operate on meters, hence you need to ask them how much it will cost for your journey there. I am told that during the music festival, prices may be a little higher than usual. In 2017, I took a local taxi from Kuching to the Cultural Village, and it cost me RM40.00 one way. Also, local taxi's only seat four persons by law. So if you are in a group, you may need two taxi's and best to book them together. One of the performers during the festival4. Car Rental or Self DrivingIn rare cases, there are some visitors who actually rent a car to travel up and down for the festival. This is entirely up to you, but you need to know that all regular cars are not allowed to drive directly into the festival. When you reach the Rainforest World Music Festival checkpoint at the Damai Gold Club junction, you will be required to park your car or bike there. Parking is free, and first come, first serve. From the check point, you need to take a van shuttle to the festival grounds. The price is RM7.00 for adults and RM4.00 for children one way.Not to worry as there is constant security places at the checkpoint, hence your vehicle will be safe. Take note that to drive from Kuching, it will take you around one hour, one way. Malaysia is not very open toward Hitchhiking. Source Wikimedia. 5. Hitchhiking While this does happen, you should know that in Malaysia, hitchhiking is not accepted due to crime and so on. Throughout Malaysia, hitchhiking is rarely seen on the roads. However, a couple of years back when I attended the Rainforest World Music Festival, I saw a couple hitchhiking along the main road to the festival. If you actually plan to do this, be prepared not o be picked up, or if you are lucky, someone may even stop for you. What the traditional Sarawakian ethnic people look like in full costumeAdditional InformationFor those staying around the Santubong or Damai area here, it is possible for you to walk to the festival. It also depends how far your hotel or guest house is located, but those in the immediate vicinity can easily walk there. If you are planning to stay longer for the festival, here is a list of what to do around the Rainforest World Music Festival. The list provides places to visit around the cultural village and around the Damai Santubong area. There are many who will stay for a week here, and in the day, you may be wondering if there are any places you can visit in Santubong. You can also explore out of Santubong and head to Kuching, where there are a ton of places to visit in the city.Crowd at the Rainforest World Music FestivalLast Minute Hotels in KuchingThere are many who will make their way here last minute, or friends may suddenly decide to follow you to the Rainforest World Music Festival on the eleventh hour. Just to let you know, most hotels will be fully booked by then, and it will be a nightmare to look for one. I have created a list of accommodations in Kuching, and you can go through them to see if there are any available rooms left. The list provides hotels ranging from five stars right till guest houses to suit your budget. Outside the Sarawak Cultural Village, a sign stating the home of the Rainforest World Music FestivalConclusion The Rainforest World Music Festival takes place annually here in Santubong, Sarawak, and usually held mid year in June, July or sometimes August. This is Malaysia's most successful music festival and has been running for 20 years, and organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board. For any additional information, you should visit the official RWMF website as it provides you with the ticket prices, dates, performers list and all other information. For those heading to the festival, I hope to bump into you and most importantly, have an amazing time there. So, if you have been wondering how to get to the Rainforest World Music Festival, I hope this information has helped you greatly.
Tuesday 10th of July 2018 02:36:00 PM
- If You Only Have One Day In Kuala Lumpur
This article is specially created if you have only one day in Kuala Lumpur, and wonder what can you do around here. Many travelers make Kuala Lumpur a stopping or transit city when they are traveling around the region, mainly due to the cheap AirAsia flights being offered. Personally, I have had many emails over the years asking me what to do in Kuala Lumpur in a day, and I have been providing all sorts of personal information to these travelers.I guess it is high time that I create this article for anyone who wants to know what can you do in Kuala Lumpur in a day.Visiting Kuala Lumpur in One DaySuria KLCC, the massive shopping mall under the Petronas Twin TowersLet me start with your arrival into Kuala Lumpur. Most travelers will be doing a long transit or one day layover in Kuala Lumpur before catching their connecting flights. For anyone transiting in Kuala Lumpur, it is important that you know how long your transit is before you make your way into KL city. This list caters to anyone who has 12 to 24 hours in Kuala Lumpur.If you are on a very short transit or stay, then just scroll to the bottom of this page as I have a solution on what you can possibly do in a short time.Another reason may be that you are in Kuala Lumpur for a business trip or event, and you may have a free day to explore the city. Kuala Lumpur offers some exciting landmarks to explore, and most of them can be conquered within half a day. Among the most prominent landmarks, the Petronas Twin Towers are not to be missed along with the Kuala Lumpur Tower or KL Tower. Both of these landmarks are just 15 minute walking distance from one another, and located in the golden triangle of Kuala Lumpur.Note that if you are traveling from the international airports, it will take you around 28 minutes to 60 minutes one way, depending on the mode of transport you use. Below, I will list down the areas that you can explore with a estimate time to spend there.Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur. Photo by EasyBook. Golden Triangle of Kuala Lumpur or KLCC AreaThere are a number of attractions found around the golden triangle area of Kuala Lumpur and these places can be visited within three to four hours. Remember to use Google Maps or Waze to find the best walking routes in the city.These places listed below are all within walking distance and best done in the day. For those who have an entire day to spare, you can generally see the best of Kuala Lumpur in one day at the places mentioned below.The Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur1. Petronas Twin Towers - This would be the best starting point where you can see the tallest twin towers in the world. The best place to take photographs is from the junction of Jalan Ampang and Jalan P. Ramlee, near the Public Bank Tower. Alternatively, you can also explore the Kuala Lumpur City Center Park or KLCC Park, which is the green lung providing manicured landscapes, beautiful views of the twin towers and the dancing fountain at Simfoni Lake, just outside Suria KLCC. For those who want to indulge in some lifestyle shopping, the Suria KLCC is the mall to visit here. In the mall, there is the Petrosains Discovery Center, which is a fun place for those traveling with kids. Time to spend: From 30 to 90 minutes.The Underwater Tunnel at Aquaria KLCC. Photo by Star2. 2. Aquaria KLCC - Kuala Lumpur's most exciting aquarium which is located at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center or KLCC is just a few minutes walk. Great for both adults and kids, this aquarium houses marine and freshwater fishes, corals and a beautiful underwater tunnel. Tickets are priced at RM65.00 for adults and RM56.00 for kids, and you can easily spend about an hour to two hours inside here. Go only if you love aquariums, otherwise, skip this and head to KL Tower. Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.One of the thrilling experiences at KL Tower Sky Box. Photo by KL Tower.3. Kuala Lumpur Tower or Menara KL - From Aquaria KLCC, you can take a 25 minute walk to KL Tower which is the tallest structure in the city offering majestic city views of Kuala Lumpur. You can experience three things here which is the main indoor observation deck, the outdoor sky deck and the unique glass sky box. The tickets start at RM52.00 for adults and RM31.00 for children, and have various combo packages. At Menara KL, there are also many other attractions like the unique Upside Down House and a mini zoo, which is perfect for both adults and kids. Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.4. KL Forest Eco Park - Just next to KL Tower is a unique Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve located in the heart of the city. This is the only green lung of Kuala Lumpur is also the smallest forest reserve in Malaysia. There are really short treks with 300 meter lengths and a unique canopy walkway or tree top walk. I would recommend visiting here to experience a true Malaysian rainforest if you have not. To walk here from Menara KL, you will take about 20 minutes and use Jalan Raja Chulan to get to the main entrance. This place is open from 7.00 AM till 6.00 PM and is free entrance. Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.Bukit Bintang Shopping Area in Kuala Lumpur. Photo by Wonderful Malaysia 5. Bukit Bintang Shopping Street - After your rainforest adventure, you can take a 20 minute walk to the heart of Kuala Lumpur, which is the Bukit Bintang shopping area. This is where all the top shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur is located at, and recommended if you want to do shopping. The main shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur to explore are Pavilion, Lot 10, Sungai Wang Plaza and Berjaya Times Square, and all of them are located within walking distance. Think of this place as the Malaysian Champ-Elysees, but the Southeast Asian version. If you want to explore a unique mall, it would be Low Yat Plaza, entirely dedicated to gadgets, accessories, phones, cameras and computer stuff. This mall is located along Jalan Bukit Bintang. Time to spend: From 1 to 3 hours.Jalan Alor at night. Photo by IQRemix on Flickr. 6. Jalan Alor Food Street - Minutes walk from Jalan Bukit Bintang is the famous Jalan Alor food street where an entire one kilometer street is dominated by restaurants serving Malaysian Chinese, Thai, Cambodian and Vietnamese food. This popular street is best visited around 5.00 PM, for an early dinner, but the ambiance gets better when the sun goes down.Apart from the amazing food sold here, you can also sample local fruits and also the world famous durians. Cold beer is also available at all the restaurants here.You can also visit Jalan Alor in the day, just that the ambiance is not 100%. There are local restaurants opened here in the day. Time to spend: From 30 to 60 minutes.Changkat Bukit Bintang at night. Photo by Kuaby. 7. Changkat Bukit Bintang - This lively street is just a minutes walk from Jalan Alor and is known as the lifestyle and nightlife hub of Kuala Lumpur.Along this road, you will find all kinds of unique bars, clubs and restaurants catering to the lifestyle travelers. Some of the more quiet bars or cafes are located off Changkat Bukit Bintang, along Jalan Nagasari, Jalan Berangan and Jalan Mesiu.Choices include a Cuban bar called Havana Bar and Grill, a Jazz Bar called No Black Tie, a Tapas Bar and even a place called The Whiskey Bar.These are just a few popular places, where there are probably around 20-30 different entertainment outlets around here which close around 1.00 AM to 3.00 AM. Time to spend: From 30 to 90 minutes.The Kuala Lumpur Heli Lounge Bar, one of the most unique bars in Malaysia8. Heli Lounge Bar KL - Probably one of the most unique rooftop bars in Kuala Lumpur and the world is the Heli Lounge Bar, which is located at a helicopter landing on top of a skyscraper.This unique place only opens at 5.00 PM, and is one of the best places to experience the Kuala Lumpur skyline view. It is also the best location to catch the sunset. From Jalan Alor, it is a 10-15 minute walk to the Heli Lounge Bar, which operates till midnight on weekdays and on weekends, it closes at 3.00 AM.Truly one of the iconic lifestyle places in Kuala Lumpur, anyone visiting should make this place a must-visit location. Time to spend: From 1 to 3 hours.TREC Kuala Lumpur, the trendiest place for clubbing, bars and restaurants9. TREC Kuala Lumpur - This is an optional suggestion where TREC KL is currently the latest lifestyle entertainment spot for Kuala Lumpur where you can find the best clubs in KL city.The place comes alive once the sun goes down and you can find a good selection of clubs, bars, live music and restaurants in one dedicated place. The TREC main street is where you can find all these entertainment outlets, all next to each other which creates a beautiful nightlife scene. Overall, you can come here to just have dinner, coffee and drinks if you are not into the clubbing scene. And for the clubbers, Zouk Kuala Lumpur is the most happening club in Malaysia with local and international DJ's performing till 5.00 AM on weekends. The best way to get here is to take a taxi or Grab from anywhere in the city. Time to spend: From 1 to 3 hours.Petaling Street or Chinatown Kuala LumpurChinatown Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Street AreaThis is the older part of Kuala Lumpur and is worth a visit if you like culture and heritage with a bit of shopping and architecture viewing.This itinerary will take you on foot through some of Kuala Lumpur's most historical places and you can do it in two to four hours. 10. Petaling Street or Chinatown Kuala Lumpur - This would be your starting point and the main area to explore here is Jalan Petaling and Jalan Sultan. Just so you know, 'Jalan' means Street in Malay. Jalan Petaling is an open aired covered walkway, littered with stalls and shops selling all sorts of things, namely souvenirs, clothes, knock off products and local food. In the day, the main Jalan Petaling is active with shops and stalls on the sides, and come 4.00 PM, vendors start moving in to occupy the center of the road, creating a lively night market atmosphere.The surrounding roads provide various types of restaurants, coffee shops and stalls selling all sorts of items. Time to spend: 40 to 120 minutes around here.Central Market Annexe art row in Kuala Lumpur11. Central Market and Central Market Annexe - This is a historical wet market converted into a handicraft and art complex called Central Market KL.From Jalan Petaling, it is only a four minute walk here. Once you arrive, you will enter the air conditioned market which offers two floors of shopping or window shopping.Inside Central Market KL you will find countless shops and booths selling all sorts of souvenirs from Malaysia.On the first floor, there is a local Malaysian food court offering some local hawker cuisine which is worth an experience. A recommended shop to visit is the Malaysian Wau or kite shop, which also sells miniature kites. The connecting building at the back entrance leads you into the Central Market Annexe, a specialized section dedicated to Malaysian art.Here you will find a section where local artist are seen painting their works in small cubical shops. Other shops found here are art galleries showcasing some of the more reputable Malaysian artworks. Time to spend: 20 to 30 minutes.The birthplace of Kuala Lumpur at Masjid Jamek Mosque. Photo John Mason on Flickr. 12. Kuala Lumpur Birthplace Lookout Point - From Central Market Annexe, just walk out the back to Leboh Pasar Besar Road and head towards the only bridge over the Klang River. From this bridge, you can spot Masjid Jamek Mosque and where the two rivers meet. This historical place is called the confluence of rivers, where Kuala Lumpur was born. What does Kuala Lumpur mean?Kuala mean confluence and Lumpur means muddy. There you go, now you know what the capital of Malaysia means. Time to spend: 5 minutes.Victoria Fountain at Merdeka Square in KL. Photo by IQRemix on Flickr. 13. Merdeka Square or Dataran Merdeka - From the bridge, just continue walking another two minutes and you will arrive at Dataran Merdeka, which is a massive field called the Independence Square of Malaysia. At Merdeka Square, you will find Southeast Asia's tallest flagpole and the century old Victoria Fountain, which was presented to Kuala Lumpur as a gift from Queen Victoria. From the field, you will see the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which is a Moorish Classic Renaissance architecture built in 1897.Around the field, there are various heritage buildings that house the Kuala Lumpur Textile Museum, Kuala Lumpur City Gallery and the KL Library. Time to spend: 10 to 30 minutesMasjid India market street in Kuala Lumpur. Photo Wikimedia. 14. Masjid India Market Street Area - A very localized area that caters to the local fabric scene of Kuala Lumpur where you will find hoards of traders selling all kinds of fabrics, sarongs, batik and general apparels for all walks of life.From Dataran Merdeka Square, it is only a 10 minute walk to Masjid India area. There is also a local covered bazaar that is nearer to the main train station here. If you are fabric hunting, this is the place recommended to explore in Kuala Lumpur, which is commonly called Masjid India. But for tourist, it would also be called India Street Market, and is a great place to explore on foot. At one section of Masjid India, you will see Indian jewelers selling all kinds of gold, and also a mini bazaar selling a mix of fabrics and souvenirs.Exploring further in, retail shops and even small shopping complexes offer all kinds of raw fabrics or ready made clothes. If you want to get Malaysian Indian attire and jewelry, this is the place to visit. Time to spend: 30 to 60 minutes or more.Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur. Photo Lonely Planet. 15. Little India or Brickfields Kuala Lumpur - This is the official Little India of Kuala Lumpur, and located just out of the main city area, and very close to KL Sentral Station.Noted in many guidebooks or travel sites, most tourist want to visit this place. So, if you are traveling back to KLIA airport, this could be your last stop. Over at Brickfields, you can explore the many authentic Indian restaurants, buy Indian jewelry and even art, browse through some of the Indian textiles, or explore some of the Indian temples here. Little India is a vibrant place with strong colors, and is located To walk here from Masjid India or Dataran Merdeka Square, it will take you around 30-40 minutes. But from Masjid Jamek Station, you can hop on a train which will take you 20 minutes to KL Sentral, then walk across to Little India, which takes you 5 minutes. Visit only if you have the extra time.Time to spend: 30 to 60 minutes or more.Nu Sentral Mall at KL Sentral16. Nu Sentral Mall - One of the lifestyle and trendy shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur is connected to the KL Sentral Station. This place would serve as a place to get whatever you need before heading back to the airport. And if you are into the shopping and lifestyle scene, Nu Sentral Mall is the perfect place to chill out with some casual shopping.There are many cafes, restaurants and lifestyle bars found here. Well, this is recommended, namely if you have a very short transit and want to explore shopping in Kuala Lumpur, this is one of the places.Time to spend: 30 to 60 minutes or more.The KLIA Express, fastest way into Kuala Lumpur. Photo Wikimedia. How to Travel To Kuala Lumpur from KLIA / KLIA2? By Train - The fastest way to travel into Kuala Lumpur from KLIA is by taking the KLIA Express Train, which takes 28 minutes one way. However, the train schedule varies throughout the day and night. Train tickets cost RM55.00 one way. If you arrive late evening in Malaysia, with a six or eight hour transit, you might as well just hang out at the airport until your connecting flight. Or you could do a Kuala Lumpur nightlife visit to some of the entertainment places mentioned in number 7,8 or 9 above. By Bus - This would be the budget way of traveling into Kuala Lumpur, and takes about 60-70 minutes. The bus ticket is RM12.00 per person one way into KL Sentral, and after midnight, the frequency is less. By Taxi - Taxi's cost anywhere from RM80 to RM100 one way into the city, and depending on which part. There is also a 50% surcharge on top of the taxi fare after midnight.There are budget taxi's which run on meters, or fix rate taxis. And for four or more persons, you need a bigger taxi, which will cost more.You can get a taxi coupon from the transportation counters at each terminal. Please do not accept or entertain anyone approaching you for a taxi service. These are taxi touts, and against the law.MyCar and Grab, ride hailing services in MalaysiaBy Ride Hailing Services - If you are two to six persons, you can take a private car service which is called Grab or MyCar, into Kuala Lumpur.You need to download the Grab or MyCar App for your smart phone to book this. The journey takes about 50-60 minutes one way and straight to your starting destination. Ride Hailing company Grab currently offers a promotion of RM65.00 one way for up to four persons, and this is all day.MyCar is similar to Grab, and they are currently offering a promotion of RM59.00 one way from or to the international airports.Uber in Malaysia - There is no more Uber in Malaysia, they were bought over by Grab.Baggage area at KLIA2Tips for Transits in Kuala LumpurI have also come up with these tips for transits in Kuala Lumpur, which will help you a great deal if you want to make the best out of your travels. The best way to make use of a long transit is by booking your flight to arrive early in the morning in KL, where you can use the entire day to explore Kuala Lumpur city for a day trip. Then by evening, you can head back to the airport to catch your connecting flight. Please note that for a one way travel in to Kuala Lumpur, you must allocate at least two hours if you take a bus or taxi. This also works for your travel back to the airport. In simple terms, you need at least minimum three hours for travel to and from Kuala Lumpur. You should have a transit time of at least six hours or more to visit Kuala Lumpur and experience some of the recommended places above. If your transit is just three or four hours, the best thing you can do is to take the KLIA Express Train into KL Sentral, and then exploring (15) Little India and (16) Nu Sentral and then head back to the airport. This would also be best in the day time from 7.00 AM till 8.00 PM. Anything less that that, you are better off just hanging out in the airport, as you would not want to risk the timing to travel in and out of Kuala Lumpur.For those on a budget, it is recommend that you get the KL Travel Pass as it the best way to move around Kuala Lumpur. This includes the KLIA Express tickets and other local train passes. Lovers bridge at Tanjung Sepat. Photo Wikipedia. What is there to do around KLIA or KLIA2 in Sepang? Honestly, there is nothing much to do around the Kuala Lumpur International Airport area. The closest town is Sepang Town, which is about 30 minutes drive one way. To be honest, this is a local town with very Malaysian businesses and coffee shops. There are a number of hotels or budget hostels found in Sepang town, but in terms of a tourist destination, there is nothing here. The closest options would be quite niche and unique, depending on the type of traveler you are. Nearby, there is a small town called Tanjung Sepat, which you can also explore, but this place is mainly for the local tourism. There are some nice very local restaurants, a traditional coffee maker factory and a scenic wooden lovers bridge here.Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala LumpurShort Layover in MalaysiaIf you are on a short layover in Kuala Lumpur, you may want to check out this article on what to do on a short transit in Malaysia. It highlights a few iconic places you can visit for anyone who is transiting for six to ten hours.Overall, this article about having one day in Kuala Lumpur is specially created for anyone who is on a long transit in Kuala Lumpur, or business travelers who have one free day after your meetings.The places mentioned above include the estimate time required to visit, and based on your timings, you can actually visit multiple places which are in the same area or district of Kuala Lumpur.If you have questions, comments or suggestions, I would love to hear them below. Otherwise, have a great visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Friday 29th of June 2018 07:00:00 AM
- Short Transit In Kuala Lumpur - What To Do
For anyone having a short transit in Kuala Lumpur and wanting to know what to do, I have come up with some choices that you can choose from.These places to visit are the main iconic destinations in Kuala Lumpur city for anyone who is on a short transit in KLIA or KLIA2. The list calculates the time taken from KLIA or KLIA2 to travel to the city, and by using the KLIA Express Train as this is the fastest route into the city with only 28 minutes travel one way. Also considered are the walking time to the train platforms and so on. If your bags are going all the way, you can just exit the airport and make a quick visit to Kuala Lumpur city. If you have to collect your baggage and re-check in, then there are luggage storage services available at KLIA and KLIA2 airports. KLIA2 is the budget terminal for Malaysia where airlines like AirAsia will land atWhat To Do On A Short Transit in Kuala LumpurFor those on a short transit, meaning from six to eight hours at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport or KLIA2, I have come up with this super quick and almost flawless itinerary for you.This includes visiting one iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur and then head straight back to the airport to catch your flight.At KLIA, you need to find this elevator that takes you to the KLIA Express platformAt KLIA2, the KLIA Express platform is located in the Gateway MallPlease not that international flights require 2 hours check-in before your flight, but you can get by with 1 hour 45 minutes check in, if it is not peak hour.Below are some of the major iconic places in Kuala Lumpur you can visit. Please note that the time does not include your 2 hour check in at the airport, so you need to plan your timing well.The times given are based on general timing for a common person, but you can actually cut the sightseeing time and save some time for your exploration.IF you are planning to see multiple places in Kuala Lumpur due to a slightly longer transit, you may want to check out the KL Travel Pass, which includes all your train tickets.The Petronas Twin Towers, seen from the KLCC Park areaA. See the Petronas Twin Towers and KLCCTake the KLIA Express Train into KL Sentral (28 minutes travel time)Exit the station and look for the LRT Train Platform (KJ15) in KL SentralBoard LRT Train Magenta Line, heading to Gombak (20 minutes travel time)Exit at KLCC Station (KJ10)Walk towards the exit and you are outside the Petronas Twin Towers (10-20 minutes)Visit Suria KLCC Mall and the Dancing Fountain - Simfoni Lake (50-60 minutes)Return to KLIA/KLIA 2 the same way you came (50-60 minutes)Total Time: 3 Hours Chinatown KL or Petaling Street Kuala Lumpur in the dayB. Visit Petaling Street and Central Market KLTake the KLIA Express Train into KL Sentral (28 minutes travel time)Exit the station and look for the LRT Train Platform (KJ15)Board LRT Train Magenta Line, heading to Gombak (10 minutes travel time)Exit at Pasar Seni Station (KJ14)Walk towards Jalan Sultan, then along Jalan Petaling (7-10 minutes walk)Arrive at the main Petaling Street shopping area (Spend about 1 hour here)Walk to Central Market along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok (5 minute walk)Arrive at Central Market. (Spend about 30 to 60 minutes here)Walk back to Pasar Seni Station (5 minutes)Return to KLIA/KLIA 2 the same way you came (40 minutes)Total Time: 3.5 Hours Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur at night. Photo by Straits Times. C. Visit Bukit Bintang Shopping and Jalan Alor Food Street AreaTake the KLIA Express Train into KL Sentral (28 minutes travel time)Exit KL Sentral Station and walk to the KL Sentral Monorail Station (MR1) (10 minutes)Board Monorail Green Line, heading to Titiwangsa (20 minutes travel time)Exit at Bukit Bintang - AirAsia Station (MR6)Exit Station and you are in the middle of Bukit Bintang areaExplore the shopping malls around here and also Jalan Alor food street (2 hours)Return to KLIA/KLIA 2 the same way you came (60-70 minutes)Total Time: 4 HoursThe famous Batu Caves in MalaysiaD. Visit Batu Caves (Only One Location)Take the KLIA Express Train into KL Sentral (28 minutes travel time)Exit the station and look for the KTM Komuter Platform (KA01)Board Komuter Gold Line, heading to Batu Caves (35 minutes travel time)Note that train frequency is every 40 minutesExit at Batu Caves Station (KC05)Walk straight in to Batu Caves (5 minutes walk)Climb the 272 steps to the cave temple (2 hours)Return to KLIA/KLIA 2 the same way you came (1.5 hours)The allocation for train frequency is counted in the total timeTotal Time: 5.5 Hours*Optional Batu Caves - If you do not climb the 272 steps to the cave temple, you can minus 1 hour to 1.5 hours depending on how fit you are.Generally it takes about 20-30 minutes walk up one way for a decent healthy person. This means, you can just visit the foot of the entrance and explore the art cave area and the surrounding areas.When you arrive at KL Sentral, look for the KJ15 train platform to move around Kuala LumpurKL Sentral is quite huge and is the main train hub for the entire Malaysia. You can find the MRT, LRT, Monorail, ETS and all other trains here.For buses, there is only the KLIA and KLIA2 airport bus terminal located at the lowest level.When you take any train from the airports, they will all arrive here, and you can change to other train services from here. KL Sentral is also connected to Nu Sentral, which is a modern lifestyle shopping mall.A lot of fast food chains are available at KLIA2 and also KLIA airportWhat to do around KLIA Airport? Some of you may not want to risk it, and prefer to see what is there to do around KLIA or KLIA2, and let me be very honest as there is nothing much to do in terms of fun and excitement.Fear not as I have included what you can do around the airport for a short transit. Well, they are limited, but still, you can exit the airports and explore around here.Mitsui Outlet Park KLIA. Photo from Mitsui Outlet Park.E. Visit Mitsui Outlet Park KLIAThis is a factory outlet park, located some six kilometers away from both KLIA and KLIA2. There are shuttle buses to the outlet park, which are on a 20 minute interval from both airports. It also takes 10 minutes from KLIA and 20 minutes from KLIA 2 to travel to Mitsui Outlet Park.At Mitsui, you can walk around the massive outlet park which offers over a hundred stores in an air conditioned environment. There are also four zones at the outlet park, including a Japanese zone.Cafes and restaurants that sell local and international food are available. This place is based on the concept of the common factory outlet mixed with a mall, and who knows that you could probably buy some items for a good deal here.Mitsui Outlet Park KLIAOpening Hours: 10.00 AM to 10.00 PMShuttle Service: 8.30 AM to 11.10 PM dailyTicket: Free ServiceGateway @ KLIA2 AirportF. Visit Gateway @ KLIA2At KLIA2 airport, there is a lifestyle mall connected to the main terminal. KLIA2 is the budget airline airport for Malaysia, and a number of budget airlines like AirAsia are based here. If you are connecting on most budget airlines, you will transit here.For those who connect on full serviced airlines like Malaysia Airlines, Garuda, KLM, Emirates and so on, you will transit in KLIA airport.This means that you can take the free shuttle bus from KLIA to KLIA2. It takes less than 10 minutes transfer from airport to airport.FOS at KLIA2Jaya Grocer Supermarket at KLIA2 Gateway MallGateway @ KLIA2 was created to incorporate a lifestyle shopping mall concept, and this has worked extremely well with the passengers.There are many fast food joints, coffee cafes, restaurants, supermarket, general retail outlets and even a vegetarian restaurant available here.While KLIA offers a choice of shops, cafes and restaurants, Gateway @ KLIA2 is way much better, in terms of window shopping and so on. The mall operates for 16, but some cafes and restaurants do operate much later hours.Gateway @ KLIA2Opening Hours: 8.00 AM to 12.00 AM (16 Hours)Shuttle Service: Transportation Hub at both airportsTicket: Free ServiceMany choices for coffee cafes at KLIA2 AirportStarbucks offers a really huge outlet at KLIA2While you are at KLIA or KLIA2, the area is known as Sepang, which is a district of Selangor. There is absolutely nothing else to do around here, apart from visiting the old town of Sepang, where a number of budget hotels are found along with the general small town shops.If you really want to explore, I would recommend you visit Mitsui Outlet or Gateway @ KLIA2 and this is for those with three or four hour transits.Otherwise, you can just chill out at your respective airport before catching your connecting flight. There are quite a lot of duty shops at KLIA worth exploring.Some of the Premium Lounges at KLIA and KLIA2 are also worth checking out as they have quite good facilities. This of course, caters to the premium lounge fans.Nu Sentral Shopping Mall at KL SentralFor anyone who is connecting to the local Malaysian FireFly Airlines that fly domestic, I have done an guide on how to go to Subang SkyPark airport, which is located in Petaling Jaya.This article was created specially for anyone who wants to know what to do on a short transit in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.There are also business travelers or those in visiting Kuala Lumpur who may have an extra day to spare, and I have done an article for those who need to know what to do in Kuala Lumpur in one day.If you are on a long transit in Malaysia, this would also come in handy for you. Any questions or comments, please leave them below and I hope this came in handy for you.
Tuesday 19th of June 2018 06:18:00 AM
- Uncommon Places to Visit Around Kuala Lumpur
Have you ever wanted to do something out of the ordinary out of Kuala Lumpur? Something really off the beaten path? Well, you are in luck as Kuala Lumpur does have some uncommon places worth visiting. Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is commonly called, sits in the middle of the Klang Valley, which is the core of Selangor. As you may already know the regular touristic or Instagram worthy places, this list takes you to the next level. Getting to some of the places mentioned here requires you to either rent a car or take a private car service for your transportation. Some of them can be done in a few hours while others may require a full day exploring. Uncommon Places to Visit around Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaTanjung Sepat fishing village in SelangorTanjung Sepat, Selangor A quaint little fishing town located in the Sepang area is one of the Selangor's little hidden secret. Here, you can literally explore Tanjung Sepat on foot as it is quite a small village.Located about 1.5 hours from KL Sentral by car or 60 minutes from KLIA, the best time to explore here is in the mornings. When you get here, the first thing you can do is wander around the main town area and you will find the famous local Seafood Bak Kut Teh restaurants. This is one of the recommended places to have your brunch or lunch.A beautiful sunset at Tanjung Sepat. Photo by Aqmal Riezal. After your food, take a walk and look for the local coffee roaster, which is located in a wooden house. They are open to visitors and you can see how they roast the coffee inside. When don, buy some of the local processed coffee beans as souvenirs. Your next stop will be the local Bao (Pau) factory, where you can see how these traditional Chinese buns are prepared. They have a small cafe where you can buy different types of Baos to sample. After this, head to the jetty area for a view of the Straits of Melaka. There is a wooden lovers bridge located here. For further information, you can read my other article on what to do in Tanjung Sepat as I have narrowed down almost everything there is to do there.Tanjung SepatAddress: Jalan Besar, Selangor, Pekan Tanjung Sepat, 42800 Tanjung Sepat, SelangorOpen: All day/nightBest Time To Visit: Day TimeThe historical brick chimney at Batu Arang TownBatu Arang Coal Mining TownOnce a colonial coal mining town, this place dates back over a century ago when mining was at its peak in the early 1900's.Now almost forgotten, remnants of the glory day are left standing. An old brick factory chimney stands majestically, towering over this quaint town in Selangor. Visiting Batu Arang on a weekend is probably the best bet as you get to see how a laid back local life goes about on autopilot.A Sunday outdoor market sells necessities versus modern day bazaars, and you can find some stalls selling traditional cakes and food. After arriving here, you can simply walk around, speaking to locals and savoring old world coffee shop food and drinks.At one particular coffee shop, an Indian lady is seen making the famous Malaysian roti canai or flat bread.One of the abandoned houses with character at Batu Arang. Photo Ah Pek Biker. Batu Arang is more of a place to discover what old towns used to look and feel like. Buildings and homes from decades ago still stand strong and you can easily spot the British colonial charm here.This place is best visited with a local or someone who knows the area. Alternatively you can drive here and venture with friends. To get here, it takes about one hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. And you can also continue towards Kuala Selangor for some seafood on the same day.Batu Arang TownAddress: Jalan Stesen, Batu Arang, 48100 Batu Arang, SelangorOpen: All day/nightBest Time To Visit: Day TimeThe colorful fishing village in SekinchanSekinchan Old TownQuite popular among the locals, Sekinchan is a coastal town near the border of Selangor and Perak. Many come here for the beautiful paddy fields when they are in the harvesting season. This is when the entire paddy fields are bright green in color. Usually, the visit here is best done in the mornings as you can spend more time exploring the paddy fields and then the old town area before heading to the beach area.I would recommend renting a bicycle and cycling around the area is this would be the best way to see the entire Sekinchan village. The beach is called Pantai Redang or Redang Beach and this is where you can find a Chinese temple with a special wishing tree.Visitors can give a small donation for some red ribbons and you write your wish before throwing it up on the wishing tree.A beautiful sunset at Sekinchan, Selangor. Photo Zhai Genji. For food, there are some seafood restaurants to try and for the photographers, there is a unique 100 feet watch tower overlooking the town and sea.Climbing up here allows visitors to see the seascape and also the fishing village on the opposite direction. For the curious, visit the Sekinchan paddy processing factory where you can see how the entire process is done. Quite a learning experience if you ask me.To get to Sekinchan, you can either self drive for about two hours from Kuala Lumpur or take a special tour from some of the travel companies in Kuala Lumpur.Sekinchan AddressPekan Sekinchan, 45400 Sekinchan, SelangorOpen: All day/night\Best Time To Visit: Day Time Dong Zen Temple in Jenjarom, SelangorFGS Dong Zen Temple in BantingFor the cultural lovers, this is one of the beautiful Buddhist temples that is off the mainstream tourist radar. FGS stands for Fo Guang Shan and this is probably one of the largest Buddhist temples in Malaysia with a area of 16,000 square feet. Visitors that come here are usually locals but there have been a slight rise in foreigners also visiting here. Mainly, the want to see a more natural temple in Kuala Lumpur apart form the usual commercial places.Dong Zen Temple decorated during festivalsAt FGS Dong Zen Temple Jenjarom, you can spend almost half a day here exploring this massive religious place. The main hall houses the largest copper Buddha statue in Malaysia which is 18 feet high. An art museum called Buddha Guangyuan is also available for those who want to explore the local artist work.Outside in the temple grounds, you can find a replica of the Lumbini Park, where it is said that Prince Siddhartha was born under a Bodhi tree at the original park.A lotus pond with statues at FGS Dong Zen TempleExploring further, you will come across a beautiful 25 feet high glass pagoda which is very special. This glass structure symbolizes bringing light to all things in the universe and eradicating darkness. A huge 4,200 feet lotus pond is also in the vicinity, allowing visitors to take photos here. After spending a day exploring this place, there is a Chinese and Western vegetarian restaurant called Drip where you can have your meals, or just sit for a cup of Chinese tea. There are many other attractions at the Dong Zen Temple which I have not listed as it is best to explore on your own. To get here, you need to rent a car and drive here, and it takes about two hours from Kuala Lumpur city.FGS Dong Zen Temple, JenjaromAddress: PT 2297, Jalan Sungai Buaya, Kampung Jenjarom, 42600 Kuala Langat, SelangorHours: 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM (Closed Monday)Phone: +6 03 3191 1533Best Time To Visit: Day Time, and night time during festivalsWaterfalls at Sungai Tekala Forest ReserveSungai Tekala Recreational Forest at SemenyihOne of the lesser visited forest reserves is the Sungai Tekala Forest Reserve, located about one hours drive from KL city center. This beautiful rainforest dipterocarp forest boasts of crystal clear waters, lush greenery and minor wildlife.One thing great about this forest reserve in KL is that the place is quite well maintained with proper walkways and basic facilities.However, the bad side is visiting this place on weekends or school holidays as it can get really crowded with locals.I would highly recommend visiting the Sungai Tekala Recreational Park on a weekday to avoid any crowds, and if you want some peace and quiet hiking or trekking here.The park is open from 7.00 AM to 6.00 PM and is free admission, but one website stats there is a minimal fee of RM1.00 per person. Check out the 1.5 km jungle trek and also the local waterfall when you visit here.To get here, you can either book a tour from the local tour companies in KL, or best is by renting a car and self driving here.Sungai Tekala Recreational ParkPejabat Hutan Daerah Selangor Tengah,KM11(Batu 7), Jalan Cheras,43200 Cheras, Selangor.Tel: 603 ? 9075 2885Best Time To Visit: Day TimeRainforest at Sungai Tekala, Selangor. Photo MyItchyBackside.ConclusionThe above information has been compiled personally by me, the writer and having been to these places, I can say that I have experience all of these uncommon places around Kuala Lumpur.This is also created for those wanting to do something out of the ordinary, or visit some off the beaten path places in Kuala Lumpur, which is not mentioned in travel guide books.Most visitors would always want to visit the common and popular tourist places, and you can find quite a lot of information on them, but it is the uncommon places around Kuala Lumpur that makes it much more interesting.
Wednesday 13th of June 2018 12:20:00 PM
- Miri Handicraft Center
The Miri Handicraft Center is now a brand new modern building and located in the heart of Miri City. This center has been the heart of ethnic and cultural products of northern Sarawak since the 1990's and still continues to do so till this very day. As I have been frequenting Miri since 2013, I have always made it a point to visit the Miri Handicraft Center to see if there was anything to purchase. This is purely due to my collection of native Sarawakian items.The Miri Handicraft CenterMiri Handicraft CenterThe new Miri Handicraft Center was built at a cost of RM1.6 million, which is quite reasonable, considering that the entire building was town down and rebuilt. Interior wise, it has two levels and a modern design for the vendors. The old Miri Handicraft Center was officially closed for major renovations on October 2016, and was eventually completed and then relaunched in September 2017.Inside the craft centerSliding automatic glass doors welcome visitors into the handicraft center and an information counter is the first thing you will see to your left.s you walk in, the beautiful colors of the ethnic crafts and products will distract your attention, luring you deeper into the vendor section. Once you get into the main area, you will be welcomed by a 270 degree angle of vendors selling all sorts of Sarawakian ethnic items, where 90% of them are all hand made by the different ethnic groups.One of the vendors at the craft centerThe beauty about the Miri Handicraft Center is that all the products here are Sarawakian, which means that this is one of the very rare places where you actually get real native or ethnic products. At many handicraft centers around Malaysia, you will always see a number of non-Malaysian handicraft being sold or passed off as Malaysian handicraft. Currently at this center, you will find a total of 13 different vendors selling all sorts of local Sarawakian handicraft that comes from various parts of Sarawak.This is the old Miri Handicraft CenterThe Old Miri Handicraft CenterPreviously before becoming a handicraft center, this place was known as the Miri Community Hall, where a lot of local events took place, including concerts, plays, weddings and so on. This community hall opened in 16th August 1958, which makes this place now 60 years old. The place was also changed to the Miri Handicraft Center in the year 2001, after serving 42 years as a local community hall. Ethnic crafts sold at the Miri Handicraft CentreWhat to Buy at the Miri Handicraft Center? The most important thing to buy for visitors are souvenirs, and the Miri Handicraft Center is one of the best places for this. There are countless items available, depending on what you want to get. The list of items you can buy from the Miri Handicraft Center are;Woven BagsBeaded JewelryHand Carved SouvenirsTraditional BasketsLocal AntiquesTree Bark Hats and VestBatik SarongsLocal Sarawak T-ShirtsLadies Woven Clutch BagsLayered Cakes (Kek Lapis)Bario Salt in CylindersEthnic WeaponsWoven MatsPotteryPenan woven bags sold at the handicraft center hereThe above items are mainly done by the different ethnic groups of Sarawak. Some of them are made at the local villages and then sent here, while others may be made on the spot there by the vendors. These local ethnic people from Sarawak consist of;DayakPenanKayanKenyahMelanauKelabitLun BawangMap to the Miri Handicraft CenterWhere is the Miri Handicraft Center? The handicraft center is located at the intersection of Jalan Brooke and Jalan Merbau in the city center. Another prominent landmark is the Bintang Megamall and Meritz Hotel.From the other part, where Ming Cafe is located on Jalan North Yu Seng, you can just walk five minutes to the Miri Handicraft Center.For those driving, there is ample parking available here, and you simply need to use Waze or Google Maps to get here.The new Miri Handicraft CenterOther Facilities at Miri Handicraft CenterThere is a local cafe called NarsCafe that serves drinks, cakes and some food which is all local. This cafe also provides sit down service where you can take a break and relax while you are here. Miri Handicraft Center AddressAddress: Corner of Jalan Brooke and Jalan Merbau, Miri City, SarawakHours: 8.00 M to 6.00 PMTel: +6085 433 501GPS Coordinates: 4.39614, 113.99115Business hours at the craft center in MiriThe Miri Handicraft Centre was officiated by Datuk Lee Kim ShinDue to the year long renovations that took place, most of the original vendors were moved to a temporary handicraft center at Jalan High Street in Miri.And when the new handicraft center re-opened, many came back, but some vendors preferred to stay back at High Street. This means there is now two handicraft centers in Miri for visitors to choose from. One of them is located at High Street and the original one at the city center.After you are done here, just take a walk over to Miri Container City for some food and drinks. This is one of the latest lifestyle, coffee and food places which is made entirely out of shipping containers. This is also a great place to chill and unwind after a long day of walking around.Outside the craft center, a giant Orang Ulu mural is seen on a billboardThe Miri Handicraft Center is also the best place where you can find some unique Sarawakian souvenirs and the good thing here is that you can bargain a little from the locals when buying a lot from them.I also wrote an article on things to do around Miri for anyone who wants more information. It generally covers the main tourist areas here, and can can be easily done on your own.If you are spending a few days here, and on the weekend, do check out Coco Cabana in Miri on a weekend, namely just before sunset as this place is one of the trending lifestyle places in Miri. If you are visiting Miri, make sure you visit the Miri Handicraft Center as it houses a fantastic collection of ethnic products from northern Sarawak. In the near future, there will also be special cultural performances for visitors here.
Saturday 26th of May 2018 06:59:00 AM
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