Malaysia travel blog and website on eco-tourism, nature, hotels and resorts, islands and beaches and also around Southeast Asia.
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- 99 Wonderland Park
A new recreational spot has opened in Kuala Lumpur called the 99 Wonderland Park. This new park is located in the Selayang area of KL and surrounds a beautiful lake. The new tourism attraction was officially opened on 14th March 2018 by the Malaysian prime minister. Currently as the 99 Wonderland Park is a new tourism attraction in the Klang Valley, it will be seeing a huge turn out from locals and also foreigners, especially during the weekends. The park also adopts an open concept which allows visitors to interact with nature and landscape. The RM18 million park took about two years to be constructed, and is located in the border of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Various photos of 99 Wonderland Park99 Wonderland ParkThe 99 Wonderland Park in Selayang has a total area of 8.9 hectares, surrounding the Sri Murni Lake (Tasik Sri Murni) and also the Lakepark Residence. 23 acres of recreational park offers attractions, while another 20 acres of lake is used for the lake attractions. Open only in the evenings, visitors can start exploring this park from 6.00 pm till 9.30 pm (10.00 pm on weekends), to enjoy the many unique and fun attractions. You can find natural animal attractions mixed with man made attractions all over this new recreational park in KL. There are two main entrances to the 99 Wonderland Park, the main entrance which is south of the park and the other which is from the Lakepark Residences. Most visitors will be entering from the main entrance at the south side. Sections of the park in the day and nightWhat Can You See At 99 Wonderland ParkThis new park offers quite a bit of things to see and do which is suitable for adults, families and kids. There is a bird island, where are a number of unique birds that have been brought in from around the world are on display.With so many different types of birds, you can expect to see peacocks, parrots, flamingos, ducks, swans and pheasants. Flamingos are highly popular and you can expect many photographers coming here to take photos of these beautiful birds. A special duck lagoon is the open area where ducks roam freely in this part of the park. An ostrich farm is also where they keep live ostriches for visitors to see. I am unsure if there are any ostrich rides at the moment. There is also a deer yard, where you can find Samba Deer. An exotic animal enclave also lets visitors see some of the more unique and smaller animals like the South American Mara and Marmoset (Miniature monkeys), and also Meerkats from South Africa. For now, this is not a petting zoo. Some of the birds and exotic animals seen at the parkOne of the popular places at the park is no other than the Magical Bridge which spans 158 meters across the lake here. The attraction of this is the Love Locks area where lovers lock a padlock on a chain or gate and then throw away the key, symbolically locking their love forever.Once the sun goes down, you will see LED lights illuminate trees and sections of the park, providing a fantasy and fairyland feel here. The best way to enjoy the park is to walk around it and you will come across the many attractions here. Most of them are photo spots, namely to be used for your social media and so on. Please note that this is a walking park, therefore you will be doing a lot of walking to see this park, and the best way is to take your time to walk around. For those who have walking issues, please reconsider. Unless you contact the park about a wheelchair service. Bird Island seen from aboveKinds of unique birds that can be seen at Bird Square of the parkAttractions at 99 Wonderland ParkThe attractions are broken up into different areas around the park and you can find both natural animal attractions and also man-made attractions at 99 Wonderland Park. Remember, you are required to walk around the park to see them. The attractions are;Animal AttractionsBird SquareDeer YardDuck LagoonExotic AnimalsHatchery and Incubator Room (Bird Island)Ostrich FarmRabbit HouseMan-made AttractionsSky Fountain (Lake area)Magical Bridge (158 meters and Love Locks)T-Rex Ring (Mechanical Dinosaurs)Golden Waterfall (Best at night)12 Zodiac Zone (200 meter zodiac walkway)99 Cruise (Cruise around the lake)Signs showing where everything is located atFacilities at 99 Wonderland ParkWhile this park opened in March 2018, there are many other attractions and facilities to be opened soon. For food, there are plans to open a Thai and Seafood Restaurant in the main park area. Drinks and snacks are available at the park from various kiosk located around the lake. For the Muslims, there is a surau or prayer room available. A number of toilets are places around the park too. Night view of the 99 Wonderland ParkFor the patriotic lovers, there is a special I Love BN and Kuala Lumpur structure, and also a 1Malaysia Structure erected at the park. You can get some photos of this at the south entrance of the park. A souvenir shop and cafeteria will soon be opened and you can then buy souvenirs for friends or loved ones from here. Soon To Open ActivitiesAnimal Learning SanctuaryTransformer Open SpaceGlass HouseDirections to 99 Wonderland ParkWhere is 99 Wonderland Park This recreational park is located in Kuala Lumpur and in the area of Selayang. The nearest popular landmark will be Batu Caves. From the center of Kuala Lumpur, it will take you about 20-40 minutes drive one way, depending on traffic. I recommend you leave before rush hour which starts at about 5.15 pm, hence it is best to leave Kuala Lumpur city just before 5.00 pm. You should take about 22-30 minutes to reach the park if the traffic is smooth. If you leave at 6.00 pm, be prepared to get caught in the infamous KL traffic jam heading out of the city area. This can easily take you from 40-60 minutes of traffic time. Google Maps shows it takes 32 minutes during early rush hour from Kuala LumpurHow to go to 99 Wonderland ParkFor tourist, you can easily take a taxi or private car service like Grab or Uber to get to 99 Wonderland Park in Selayang. When you are done, just take the same transport back to Kuala Lumpur. For those self driving, you simply need to head on the Jalan Kuching main road towards Selayang and Rawang, passing the Batu Caves. Once you reach the junction of the old Selayang Wholesale Market (Pasar Borong Selayang), keep left, the park is located by the Lakepark Residence. You can also use Waze or Google Maps to guide you to the park. For those driving, you can use these GPS coordinates - Latitude: 3.236570 Longitude: 101.664519 and there is ample parking available around the park. Make sure you park in the designated parking area of 99 Wonderland Park. 99 Wonderland Park Layout Map99 Wonderland Recreational Park InformationAddress: Jalan 9/3A, Pusat Bandar Utara, 68100 Batu Caves, SelangorTelephone: +6 03 6138 1899Website: http://99wonderlandpark.com.my/Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgOpening Hours: Mon to Thurs: 6.00 pm to 9.30 pm Weekends and Public Holidays: 6.00 pm to 10.00 pm Entrance Fee: Free of charge until 13th April 2018 for all Malaysians with MyKad.Non-Malaysians: No information yet*Disclaimer: Photos shown here are from 99 Wonderland Park Facebook and Website. 99 Wonderland Park logoWho Owns 99 Wonderland Park?99 Wonderland Park is a unique recreational landmark in Kuala Lumpur owned by JL99 Group, a remarkable Malaysia property developer who believes in giving back to the society. As this is a totally new tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it is guaranteed that the park will be seeing a lot of visitors over the weekends. If you dislike crowds, it is best to go on a weekday evening. Due to the proximity of 99 Wonderland Park being close to Batu Caves, tourist can now opt to visit Batu Caves in the late afternoon, and then head to the park by about 6.00 pm. This way, you can see two attractions of Kuala Lumpur in one go.
Thursday 15th of March 2018 12:01:00 PM
- How to Get to Christmas Island
Christmas Island has been high on my bucket list for the longest time ever and recently, something prompted me to do some research on how to get to Christmas Island from Malaysia. You see, back in the day, about 20 years ago, I really wanted to visit Christmas Island but during that time, it was quite difficult as you needed to fly into Western Australia then only connect on another flight there. But over the years, with the aviation industry growing an incredible pace, more and more airlines or budget airlines have emerged providing vast choices for unique destinations. Christmas Island was one of them, so if you want to know how to go to Christmas Island, read on.Where is Christmas Island exactly? Image from Google MapsGetting to Christmas IslandThere are two main airlines that fly to Christmas Island which is from Perth, Jakarta and a third flight from Kuala Lumpur. Surprised? Well, for Malaysians, don't get too excited just yet as the flight from Kuala Lumpur is a special charted flight. This needs to be booked by a travel agents that sells Christmas Island tour packages from Malaysia. From Perth, Australia Virgin Australia flies to Christmas Island twice weekly and on route back, they make a stop over at Cocos Islands before arriving back at Perth. The flight also departs from Terminal 1 of Perth International Airport. Flights are;Every TuesdayVA1909 Depart Perth 13:00 Arrive Christmas Island 15:50VA1918 Depart Christmas Island 16:35 Arrive Cocos Islands 17:40VA1916 Depart Cocos Islands 18:25 Arrive Perth 00:20+1Every SaturdayVA1913 Depart Perth 06:10 Arrive Cocos Islands 09:15VA1917 Depart Cocos Islands 10:00 Arrive Christmas Island 12:05VA1912 Depart Christmas Island 12:50 Arrive Perth 17:25*Prices vary and you need to check the dates or the accurate price. The world famous Christmas Island crab migration. Photo from Christmas Island TourismFrom Jakarta, IndonesiaThe good news for Malaysians or Southeast Asians is that you can now fly in from Jakarta in Indonesia. This means you need not fly all the way to Perth and then to Christmas Island. Departure is also from the International Terminal 3, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. For scuba divers, you should take note that the general checked baggage allowances is 20 kg per person . There is an additional allowance for dive equipment which is AUD30.00 when pre booked. Every SaturdayGA7000 Depart Jakarta: 13:40 PM - Arrive Christmas Island: 15:00 PMGA7010 Depart Christmas Island: 15:40 PM - Arrive Jakarta: 17:05 PMFlight Prices to Christmas IslandOne Way via Jakarta : AUD375.00One Way via Christmas Island : AUD405.00Return Tickets : AUD780.00Bird watching at Christmas Island is one of the main activities. Photo from Christmas Island TourismFrom Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaUnfortunately there are only special chartered flights that depart from Kuala Lumpur. Many years ago, FireFly Airlines used to have direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Christmas Island in 2012. The once a week flight was every Saturday and took 2 hours and 35 minutes flight time one way. The airline also used a B737-400 aircraft for the flights. FireFly Airlines then stopped this route and Malaysia never again saw a direct flight with a commercial airline. In November 2014, Malaysia Airlines announced that they will operate a special charter flight to Christmas Island from KLIA. However, this was short lived too as it was only for one and a half months. The last I heard was that there are one or two travel agents in Malaysia that sell Christmas Island tour package. They operate a series tour with fixed departures with chartered flights from Kuala Lumpur to Christmas Island. But I cannot obtain any information on this.One of the beautiful beaches at Christmas Island. Photo by David Stanley via Flickr.Do Malaysians Need A Visa To Visit Christmas Island? Yes, Malaysians need an Australian visa to visit Christmas Island. The visa can be obtained at the Australian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and is the same visa that is required for entry into Australia. Please note that you should get your Australian visa done before booking your flight or tour package to Christmas Island. Please also note that Australian Dollars are used as the main currency on the island.If you are travelling to Christmas Island from Australia, you do not need any visa or passport as you would have already used it to get into Australia. However, a form of identification is required at the airport.One of the beautiful seaside golf course at Christmas Island. Photo by David Stanley via Flickr.Events at Christmas IslandBelow are some of the major events taking place on Christmas Island for 2018. You may want to plan your visit here according to what type of even you would like to attend. 19 - 20 May 2018 - Christmas Island Golf Open5 - 11 August 2018 - Christmas Island Sea Week8 August 2018 - Ocean Film Festival World Tour screening at the Outdoor Cinema28 August - 4 September 2018 - 12th Annual Bird'n'Nature Week19 - 21 September 2018 - World ARC Yachts Visit Christmas Island1 October 2018 - 60th anniversary of Christmas Island becoming an Australian Territory14 October 2018 - Annual Christmas Island "Destination" MarathonNovember 2018 - Whale sharks return to Christmas IslandFor more information, please visit the Christmas Island website.Signs indicating which roads are open and closed for the crab migration. Photo by David Stanley via Flickr.Interesting road signs seen at Christmas Island. Photo by David Stanley via Flickr.Christmas Island is so small, there are only less than 2,000 residents living there. This makes the destination one of the more interesting places to visit and the island is well known for their Red Crab migration from November to January 2019. You can find Malaysians living there with a mixed community of Chinese, Malays, Eurasians and Australians living together. For language, English, Malay and Chinese is commonly used around the island too. Generally this place is perfect for anyone seeking outdoors, nature, wildlife and culture. For those who have been wanting to know how to get to Christmas Island, I hope this article provides you with the information needed. I truly hope that one of these days, I will have the opportunity to visit this amazing place and in return, share my experience with you all.
Saturday 3rd of March 2018 03:30:00 AM
- Bona Cinemas Opens At Resorts World Genting
Bona Cinemas has recently opened at Resorts World Genting, which is one of the the first attractions that accommodates the new 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia, and located at SkyAvenue Genting.Opened on the 24th February 2018, China's largest film distributor Bona Film Group who owns the cinema, also plans to open other Bona Cinemas around Malaysia. The Bona Cinema in Genting is also the first overseas cinema for the movie group.The official opening of Bona Cinemas in Genting. Photo by https://www.theedgemarkets.com/Bona Cinemas at Resorts World GentingAs the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Genting is opening soon, Bona Cinema has opened its doors to visitors and is located in the SkyAvenue area of Genting. The modern cinema currently has four movie halls, and two additional halls will be added in August 2018, which is a VIP hall and also a 250-seat IMAX theater. The current movie halls include state-of-the-art comfortable seats which promises movie goers an amazing experience. For the cinema sound effects, there are using the latest using Dolby Atmos, a next generation audio experience for cinemas.Genting Malaysia Bhd chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay with Yu Dong (Photo by http://www.sohu.com/)Yu Dong and Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Salleh Said Keruak (Photo by http://www.sohu.com/)This joint venture is something grand that will accommodate visitors to the soon to open 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Genting. Currently, many are in anticipation for the opening of this new theme park in Genting, which is the first in the world, and here in Malaysia. During the grand opening, the group chairman Yu Dong and Bona Cinema chairman Wang Yi specially flew in from China for this auspicious event held here at SkyAvenue Genting. The opening saw a huge turnout from the public and invited media while it was graced with a traditional lion dance and a ribbon cutting ceremony.Bona Film Theme ParkBona Film Group chairman and general manager Yu Dong has also revealed that there are also plans to build a Bona Film Theme Park next to the new 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Genting.Recreations from some of the movie sets will be the main attractions of the movie theme park. On when this new movie theme park is opening, there is no official announcement made, but it will soon be known once everything is finalized by both parties.Bona Film GroupAbout Bona FilmsThe company Bona Film was founded in 1999 as film and television production, and also a distribution firm. It is also the first private company to receive a film distribution license from China.Bona Film is currently one of China's largest film distributors having produced and distributed over 220 domestic and international films with a cumulative box office of almost RMB 200 billion (approximately MYR123 billion). They also have cineplexes in 50 locations throughout cities in China.With the new Genting theme park opening and an the Bona Film theme park will definitely make Resorts World Genting (RWG) one of the premier entertainment destinations in Southeast Asia. For now, visitors coming here can enjoy some of the latest blockbuster movies at the all new Bona Cinemas at SkyAvenue Genting.
Thursday 1st of March 2018 08:50:00 AM
- Top 10 Cities You Should Visit In 2018
Travelling has changed so much over the years that people can just hop on a plane and go just about anywhere they like. With easy access that allows both luxury and budget travel, more people are venturing to destinations that have once been considered expensive. Trends too have changed with this, and many travel companies have put effort in monitoring today?s travel trends. One of the companies that has been paying attention to travel trends is no other than Wego, who has been closely accessing what Malaysian consumers what nowadays. The list of top 10 cities to visit for 2018 also saw some changes compared to the previous year. With this data compiled, the company has also made it easier for travelers to highlight which cities they want to visit, and with easy access to booking the flights from Wego. Top 10 Cities You Should Visit In 2018As 2018 is already in the second month, all you need to do is simply plan ahead and just explore these amazing cities listed below, and with their current standings compared to 2017;Shanghai?s amazing skyline. Photo Credit: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/shanghaiShanghai, China (51 to 42)Coming in at number 42, Shanghai has always and will be an acquired destination for many travelers. No doubt it is one of the most prominent city in all China, Shanghai comes with a mix of both modern and nostalgic old Shanghai. The Bund in Shanghai. Photo Credit: http://www.chinadiscovery.com/shanghai/the-bund.html Visitors love to explore both sides of this fascinating city where food, lifestyle, shopping, culture and art are easily sourced. Over in the Pudong district, a barrage of modern skyscrapers will easily capture anyone?s attention. The Bund, which separates the old and new areas is probably the most visited place in all Shanghai. A Longtang area in Shanghai. Photo Credit: http://www.china.org.cn/living_in_china/life_in_pictures/2009-07/03/content_18061942.htmThe Puxi area is well known as the core of culture and entertainment in Shanghai and should not be missed. For the explorer, the Shanghai Old Quarter or Old Town Shanghai is probably the best area to get lost in. Notable places include Danfeng and Sipai Road for its authentic architecture and also Yuyuan Gardens for the amazing architecture, food and shopping. Average Airfare to Shanghai : RM1006Best Price: RM427Best Time to Book: MayView of Kathmandu City. Photo Credit: https://travelmassive.com/chapters/kathmanduKathmandu, Nepal (67 to 35)One of the up and coming destinations for Malaysians is no other that this city that is nested among the mighty Himalayas of Nepal. In 2015, a massive earthquake robbed the city of much of its? ancient luster, and two years after that, Kathmandu continues to endure as a curiously intoxicating mix of exotic scents and heartwarming hospitality. Swayambhunath Stupa. Photo Credit: https://handluggageonly.co.uk/2017/09/08/exploring-swayambhunath-stupa-monkey-temple-kathmandu-nepal/Whether you find yourself lost in the backpacker crowd in Thamel or marvelling at ancient monuments in Durbar Square, Kathmandu continues to awe travellers around the world ? so much in fact, the city leapfrogged from 67th place to 35th in 2017.Mustard fields of Khokana. Photo Credit: https://twitter.com/asia_foundation/status/583006258384351232One of the most popular places that travelers love is Durbar Square and Swayambunath Stupa. Kathmandu is a city steeped in faith and mysticism, and one need look no further than the many coins nailed to the Toothache Tree to affirm this. While not in Kathmandu proper, the village of Khokana is famed for the brightly coloured fields of yellow mustard flowers.Average to Airfare to Kathmandu: RM1234Best Price: RM607Best Time to Book: April to JuneIsland hopping in Phuket. Photo Credit: http://www.phuket.com/Phuket, Thailand (37 to 33)Coming in at 33rd place, Thailand?s world-renowned island getaway continues to captivate travellers all around the world. Phuket?s abundance of outlying islands provide the ideal respite from toil and routine as well as opportunities for an awesome snorkeling or diving experience, while Patong offers quite the contrary experience.Patong Nightlife. Photo Credit: http://www.phuket.com/island/beaches_patong.htmWhile Patong or one of the many elephant sanctuaries in Phuket are crowd favourites, tourists wanting a glimpse into the island?s confluence of many cultures can stop by the Shrine of the Serene Light.Sang Tham Shrine/ Photo Credit: http://www.jamiesphuketblog.com/2009/04/shrine-of-serene-light.htmlThe view point of Samet Nangshe. Photo Credit: http://www.travellennial.com/camping-at-samet-nangshe-viewpoint-in-phang-nga/Once a tourists? best kept secret, Samet Nangshe Viewpoint is now one of Phuket?s most popular spots to capture panoramic views. Average Airfare to Phuket: RM339Best Price: RM166Best Time to Book: March to JulySunset View of Sydney. Photo Credit: http://www.australia.com/en-sg/places/sydney.htmlSydney, Australia (32 to 26)Most Australian cities have a readily identifiable niche or two, but Sydney wears so many facades it?s close to impossible to pin it down to anything at all. Vibrant and charming, the Harbour City commands not only a respectable amount of international fame, but also panoramic seafront views, beautiful beaches and a strong confluence of the old and new.Sydney?s most prominent attractions are quite impossible to miss ? the pearl-hued sails of the world-renowned Opera House invite huge crowds all year round and the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an imposing sight to behold as you traipse down The Rocks.Manly Wharf in Sidney. Photo Credit: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/manly-daily/first-look-at-proposed-upgrades-adding-a-secondstorey-to-manly-wharf/news-story/e9b98c5bf751139dbb897e38e2a4ce75If you?re looking to do Sydney like a Sydneysider, head over to Manly Wharf for great surf and great food, or take a tour of Barangaroo and marvel at the district?s many architectural masterpieces.Average Airfare to Sydney: RM1572Best Price: RM621Best Time to Book: MarchOsaka?s Dotonbori Area. Photo Credit: https://blog.gaijinpot.com/neon-lights-dotonbori/Osaka, Japan (26 to 25)Most Malaysians love visiting Japan and it is always Tokyo or Osaka that pops up as the favourite destination. Osaka is all about hanging out with great company over awesome food with a livelier and more playful city compared to busy Tokyo or culturally reserved Kyoto. Japan?s third-largest city truly knows how to have a good time.Downtown Minami in Osaka. Photo Credit: https://kansaionepass.com/en/article/detail/19Visitors can find the perfect balance of shopping and eating in Osaka. While the the abundance of good food and dazzling lights at Dotonbori and the magnificence of Osaka Castle are inarguably Osaka?s main draws, Hozenji Yokocho (which happens to be just adjacent to Dotonbori) and Chihaya ? Akasaka Mura are off-the-beaten trail spots ideal for travellers looking to experience a more traditional side of the city.Average Airfare to Osaka: RM1222Best Price: RM527Best Time to Book: June to JulyIstanbul in Turkey. Photo Credit: http://eventturkiye.com/en/istanbula-7-milyon-yabanci-turist-geldi/Istanbul, Turkey (28 to 17)Turkey had an amazing year for tourism where they emerged from 28th to 17th place in 2017. Situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a colourful potpourri of cultures richly blended together by antique grandeur and contemporary gleam.Topkapi Palace Library. Photo Credit: http://www.theguideistanbul.com/location/topkap%C4%B1-palace-museum-libraryWhile no trip to Istanbul is complete without a visit to Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sofia, intrepid travelers should give less conventional locations such as the Basilica Cistern and Sakirin Mosque a look.Balisica Cistern in Istanbul. Photo Credit httpswww.ruebarue.comistanbulattractionbasilica-cistern5473559203807232The sheer scale and astounding symmetry of the underground Basilica Cistern not only offers myriad opportunities for enterprising photographers, but also a convenient respite from the summer heat.Sarikin Mosque. Photo Credit: http://www.cheria-travel.com/2016/11/nuansa-klasik-masjid-sakirin-turki.htmlWhile mosques are an ubiquitous sight across the city, Sakirin Mosque is an architectural masterpiece of unparallelled beauty.Average Airfare to Istanbul: RM2340Best Price: RM1328Best Time to Book: MarchMelbourne City. Photo Credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/oceania/australia/victoria/melbourne/Melbourne, Australia (27 to 13)Melbourne is well known as a global microcosm of cultures where the city?s many districts teem with rich art-deco architecture and offers a myriad of gastronomical experiences for Malaysians.Narrow lane ways and secret alleys conceal some of the world?s best bars and epicurean experiences, as well as a wealth of street art well-deserving of greater mention. Jumping to 13th place, Melbourne?s reputation continues to hold strong in 2018.Melbourne?s Southbank Promenade. Photo Credit : http://shafir.info/plain/australia~melbourne~southbank_1.htmMost visitors to Melbourne will want to traipse down one of the city?s many street-art lane ways or shopping arcades, with mandatory stopovers at the Royal Botanic Gardens and the ever popular Southbank promenade. View of the Coops Shot Tower. Photo Credit: https://www.triphobo.com/places/melbourne-australia/coops-shot-towerIf you are looking for a more eclectic experience, Coop?s Shot Tower provides a glimpse into Melbourne?s past, while The Limelight Department, an attic studio located in the Salvation Army, pays homage to one of the world?s first movie studios.Average Airfare to Melbourne: RM1539Best Price: RM651Best Time to Book: MarchView of Taipei 101. Photo Credit: https://nomadisbeautiful.com/travel-blogs/amazing-things-to-do-in-taipei-taiwan/Taipei, Taiwan (5 to 4)Known for the plethora of mouthwatering street food to the eclectic mix of architectural styles both traditional and modern, Taiwan?s capital feels like a cultural hotchpotch unlike any other.And this is one of the top reasons why Malaysians love to visit Taipei, namely for food tourism and also the unique culture that spreads all over the island. Ximending in Taipei. Photo Credit: https://www.treksplorer.com/best-hotels-in-ximending-taipei/While the Taipei 101 and Ximending are obvious tourist mainstays, Taipei has many hidden secrets and lesser-known attractions that are well-worth a visit. If the summer heat in Taipei is getting you, stop by Ice Monster for their signature Taiwanese-style shaved ice. Longshan Temple in Taiwan. Photo Credit: https://www.expedia.com.sg/Longshan-Temple-Taipei.d6080203.Place-To-Visit?rfrr=Redirect.From.www.expedia.com%2FLongshan-Temple-Taipei.d6080203.Vacation-AttractionWant some hints on where your life is headed? Take a trip down to Longshan Temple and have your fortunes read by a White Javanese Sparrow.Average Airfare to Taipei: RM766Best Price: RM148Best Time to Book: OctoberKK City View. Photo Credit: http://bewickedtravel.blogspot.sg/2012/11/changi-airport-special-kota-kinabalu.htmlKota Kinabalu, Sabah Borneo (4 to 3)Kota Kinabalu makes it to number three on the list, up from 4th place in 2016. Well-known for its? many treks around and up Mount Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu or KK is also a place of breathtaking seaside sunsets and a sanctuary where native cultures flourish alongside the perpetual progression of modernity. The city is huge on seafood, but that?s no excuse to miss out on the excellent street food scene.Peak of Mount Kinabalu. Photo Credit: http://www.mountkinabalu.com/While KK?s biggest draws are inarguably Mount Kinabalu and Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, the city has its? fair share of obscure spots deserving of mention too.Kota Kinabalu Mosque. Photo Credit: https://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=543478Rumah Terbalik Upside Down House will guarantee quite the literal topsy-turvy experience, and the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, seemingly just floating above the water, will enthrall even the less architecturally ? inclined.Average Airfare to Kota Kinabalu: RM361Best Price: RM267Best Time to Book: AugustAerial view of Bangkok City. Photo Credit: http://www.bangkok.com/Bangkok, Thailand (Maintain at 2)There is no doubt that Bangkok is that one place everybody probably knows at the back of their hands. Coming in at 1st place, the Thai Capital is hands down Malaysia?s favourite destination, and it is very easy enough to see why.A local bazaar in Bangkok. Photo Credit: http://blog.panpacific.com/hotels/singapore-getaways/Choices include great food for highly affordable prices cater to even the most curious palate, a wealth of casual and street-shopping options for even the traveller on a shoestring budget and the reputable standard of Thai hospitality and general warmth that invites casual banter even at the most unfamiliar occasion.Thai wooden boats in Bangkok. Photo Credit: https://www.expedia.com.sg/Bangkok.d178236.Destination-Travel-GuidesMost will agree Chatuchak and Jatujak Green Market (otherwise known as JJGreen) are definite must-sees, and the more culturally inclined ought to include Wat Pho in the list too.For a more interesting take, try the Bangkok Forensic Museum ? a collection of the gory and grotesque, this is one place absolutely off-limits to the faint-hearted; exploring the city?s many Khlongs in a river boat offers a unique alternative to the standard Chao Phraya river cruise. Alternatively, many tourist love to book the cheapest hotels from Wego and the best ones are usually along the Chao Phraya River, where they can easily access all parts of Bangkok. Average Airfare to Bangkok: RM413Best Price: RM169Best Time to Book: SeptemberFor anyone planning to explore and travel for this year, I hope that this list of top 10 cities to visit in 2018 will come in handy for you. Any questions, please do ask below.
Friday 23rd of February 2018 10:32:00 AM
- Bird Watching in Raja Ampat
One of the things that I managed to do during my scuba diving trip was some bird watching in Raja Ampat in West Papua. You may already know from my niche travel blog that I am a scuba diver, adventurer and also bird watcher. I have been bird watching as long as I have been scuba diving and as of 2017, it has been a total of 9 years doing both niche hobbies. Raja Ampat in West Papua has always been a dream destination or major bucket list for me, and in September 2017, this dream came true.A green parrot spotted on my trek to see the Red Bird of ParadiseRaja Ampat Bird WatchingWorking with the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism, under the Wonderful Indonesia Campaign for 2017, a group of us were invited on a scuba diving adventure to three island in the far east of Indonesia, and Raja Ampat in West Papua was the last stop. This gave me some free time and without fail, I had immediately booked a local village bird watching guide who took me for a half morning birding experience here in Raja Ampat. Of course my main objective was to spot the amazing Bird of Paradise, which is the star endemic bird here.Raja Ampat Dive Resort, where I stayed atOn this trip, my sole purpose for visiting Raja Ampat was for scuba diving and with what free time I had, I utilized it to the fullest for my bird watching. I stayed at the Raja Ampat Dive Resort, and around the resort area, I must have spotted at least 10 species of birds. Every morning, I would be woken up by the calls of the Red Bird of Paradise, Parrots and a number of other canopy birds which are really loud. While having my coffee, I would see some of the lory and parrots flying above for their morning feed.A Grey-headed Cuckooshrike spotted eating a cicada on Piaynemo IslandWest Papua is known to be a bird watchers paradise as there are over 704 species (as of 2016) of birds that can be found throughout this part of Indonesia. However, my trip was only to Waisai in the Raja Ampat Regency and thus, I could only do bird watching around here. The balance of bird species are also incredible as there are a total of 640 island that make up the Raja Ampat Regency. Some large islands and many smaller ones attract both lowland and water birds. On an average day, I could easily spot about 10-20 species even without trying.A Great Frigatebird spotted flying over my dive boat in Raja AmpatWhat makes this place a birding wonderland is that the pristine rainforest have been preserved all this time, with very little development done around here. The area is not crowded with villages or people, making it ideal for the avian life. My Raja Ampat Bird Watching Experience For my special birding adventure, I paid IDR300,000 (US$22.00) for a half morning trek and this was via foot from my resort to the Bird of Paradise spot which is about one hours trek inland and uphill. This was of course a special rate for the very little time I had.The beautiful Paradise Kingfisher spotted at about 6.00 am on my trekI started at about 4.00 AM and ended by 8.00 AM, so in actual fact, I only managed to do two hours of solid birding. But the one hour walks were equally fruitful as there were many birds to spot along the way. There were two locations in the rainforest where you can spot the Red Bird of Paradise and if the first location is quiet, the guide will bring you to the second location. At the locations, makeshift benches are available which are organically made.The Red Lory is quite a common bird to spot in Raja AmpatYour guide will ask you to be extremely quiet when you are near the area. Even walking, you should try not to break any twigs. Hand signals are used, or he will approach you and whisper to your ear.At the first location, I sat for a good 10 minutes with no moment. But it was at the second location where I spotted two Red Bird of Paradise, which was pretty amazing, though I did not get a good photo.What I managed to photograph of the Red Bird of Paradise which was spottedLuck was no one my side as time was crucial, by the time I spotted the Red Bird of Paradise, I could barely see them as they were plucking the top canopy leafs, and of course, blocked by the canopy.I could get glimpses of them with my 600mm lens and also my Omicron Binoculars, however I needed to wait for the right moment to photograph them, which of course was quite frustrating.And soon, I needed to be back at the dive resort to go for my 8.30 AM dive, and it was already 7.30 AM when I spotted the birds. I took what ever photos I could, but I saw them through my binoculars and they were indeed beautiful birds. Looking at the time, I had to abandon my mission and head back one hour to the resort to get ready for my dive. Well, at least I managed to spot the Red Bird of Paradise and this gave me motivation to plan another trip back here.Some of the common Willie Wagtails spotted hanging around the resortStar Birds or Raja AmpatWithout fail, one bird comes to mind and that is the Bird of Paradise, which is endemic to Papua. However, I learned that there are 33 species for the Bird of Paradise found all over Papua, which was a shock to me.The good news is that there are four main Bird of Paradise that people look for in West Papua. From what I know, most serious bird watchers will have these four on their checklist. Here is a list of star birds of Raja Ampat that birders want to spot - Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Western Crowned Pigeon, Western Parotia and Northern Cassowary just to name a few of the amazing birds here.A raptor seen in the skies near Piaynemo, can't really tell if this is a Honey-BuzzardRandom Bird Photos Taken in Raja AmpatA Hooded Butcherbird spotted high on the canopy near the resortPacific Reef Egret spotted at sea just before my diveA Helmeted or New Guinea Frairbird spotted on a branchBird Watching Tours in Raja AmpatFrom what I know, bird watchers usually book a 10-day or 30-day bird watching tour around West Papua and this is to make sure that they get to spot the best of the best on this trip.Well, to be perfectly honest, it is not cheap to get here, and once you plan your trip, you got to make the best of it in all possible ways. I would advise against booking a one day tour, unless you are here specifically for a business trip or a quick honeymoon or even a dive trip, then maybe you can book this bird tour for a day.In my case, that was how I did my bird watching here, with limited time, but adamant to do it. In the end, it was an eye opener for me. A Grey-backed Tern flies near my dive boatPrice for Bird Watching Tours in Raja Ampat Please note that the Raja Ampat bird watching tour prices below are based on actual figures from various operators. Some of the bird tours may offer cheaper or more expensive packages and it is up to you to see what is being offered in each of the packages. Raja Ampat Bird Watching Prices 2018 1/2 Day Raja Ampat Birding Tour - IDR 450,000 / US$33.00 (RM140.00)1 Day Raja Ampat Birding Tour (2 Locations) - IDR 600,000 / US$45.00 (RM187.00)5 Day West Papua Birding Tour - IDR 8,041,425 / US$ 595.00 (RM2,512)12 Day West Papua Birding Tour - IDR 79,130,325 / US$ 5855.00 (RM24,728)30 Day West Papua Birding Tour - IDR 121,071,000 / US$ 8958 (RM 37,835)*Prices are based on per person and minimum two or four to go. You need to double check with the operator on this. Prices are also without flights and for the longer days, accommodations, food and transport is included. A Spice Imperial Pigeon spotted on one of the trees on my trek backHow to go to Raja AmpatGenerally, there are flights that connect from Makassar in Sulawesi, directly to Sorong, the capital of West Papua. Once you arrive in Sorong, you need to take another flight or take the Bahari Ferry to Waisai harbor. From Waisai harbor or airport, your bird watching guide will pick you up and send you to your resort. In simple layman terms, you need one full day just for traveling from Bali or Jakarta.However, if you are flying in from elsewhere, be prepared to spend two days just for traveling to Raja Ampat one way. Usually, if you book tours, it only includes the pick up from the port of entry. You can also read my other article on getting to Raja Ampat, which explains everything in detail. Hopefully that can give you a better idea on the travels to this part of the world. Conclusion to Bird Watching in Raja AmpatHonestly, if you are an avid bird watcher, or want to see some of the most beautiful birds in the world, Raja Ampat is your next destination. For me, it was my first time setting foot on this exotic and mysterious land, and how could I not even try a little birding here. For my bird count, I spotted at least 45 species of birds during my five days in Raja Ampat. This includes the many sea birds, raptors and the lowland birds. On my bird watching morning trip, I counted the number to be around 25 species of birds spotted in a total of four hours.An Asian Glossy Starling seen on Arborek Island, Raja AmpatI would easily pack my bags again to visit Raja Ampat in West Papua to do some serious bird watching, probably for a week. Well, not everyone has the luxury of doing a 30-day birding tour.But I know of some birders who are all out to get the world bird count numbers out and they would engage on tours like that. The good thing about birding here is that most of the guides are professional and know what they are doing. They are well knowledgeable about the local birds and know the best times and spots to locate them.Piaynemo in Raja Ampat, one of the iconic places in West PapuaThey understand the difference between a bird watcher and bird photographer too. And the best part is that they communicate in English which makes bird watching here in Raja Ampat easy. You can also read about my other bird watching articles from Malaysia, Borneo and other places as I always make it a point to do this whenever I visit a new destination.For anyone planning to do some bird watching in Raja Ampat, make sure you are well prepared and ready to spent at least five to seven days at minimum.
Monday 12th of February 2018 03:30:00 AM
- Sarang Burung Bukit Matanoi in Keningau
Finally, someone in Sabah has created the famous man-made birds nest for Instagram and social media photos. The name Sarang Burung actually translates as Bird's Nest in English, and it is commonly called by the local Malay name here. This man-made bird's nest was created by the Matanoi Hill Crew of Keningau as a new tourist attraction, in conjunction with the Visit Keningau Year 2018, which is also part of the rural tourism plan of Sabah.Getting photographed during the sunset at the Sarang Burung in KeningauSarang Burung Bukit MatanoiThis Sarang Burung in Keningau Hill was created and completed in early January 2018, and is still considered a very new tourism product. To date, there have been hundreds of locals that have visited this place.What is so special about these man-made overly large bird's nest? Well, bird's nest attractions have been very famous throughout Indonesia due to to sharing of social media postings, namely on Instagram and Facebook. How visitors dress up at the Indonesian 'Sarang Burung' for photographyA number of places around Indonesia have been doing this since a couple of years ago, with some of them amazingly beautiful. Locals take the initiative to bring even costumes for their photography.Apart from the common bird's nest, some even create special themed platforms to beautify the overall photograph. One example is the themed sunflower platform where the person sits in the middle, while it overlooks a river and ravine.Different types of Sarang Burung found all over Indonesia which are very uniqueA Sunflower Deck, that is hugely popular in Indonesia for photographyWith the popularity of these gaining in Indonesia, it was a matter of time before this caught on in Malaysia. This then resulted in bringing the 'Sarang Burung' concept into Sabah Borneo, as there is a number of beautiful hills with lush scenery available. One place that took full advantage of this is the village of Matanoi Apin-Apin, in the district of Keningau. They already had a beautiful hill that locals used to hike up for sunsets, and turned this into one of Sabah's latest rural tourism attractions.Matanoi Hill viewpoint made entirely out of natural bambooAt Matanoi Hill, there are also other tourism products available, not just the bird's nest. There is a man-made look out point which is built entirely with bamboo. This structure is solid, but a limited number of people are allowed at any one time. At the foot of Bukit Matanoi, there is a visitor registration booth where data is collected and all visitors must register before proceeding inside.A series of other man-made items are found around Bukit MatanoiThis is the initiative of the Bukit Matanoi people, who are working together with the local tourism council. A mini rabbit farm is also found here where this is mainly for the children and families.Currently, an new Sarang Burung was added on 18th January 2018, bringing the total of two bird's nest available here. Both nests are built on the ground level.The 1st Sarang Burung at Matanoi Hill in KeningauThe second Sarang Burung at Matanoi Hill in Keningau, Sabah1st Sarang Burung Bukit Matanoi HillThis is the first bird's nest that was built and is the larger unit. This Sarang Burung can easily seat two adults in the nest and overlooks the hillside of Matanoi. This has one of the best views as you can get and overall view of the hillside and even the sunset here.2nd Sarang Burung Bukit Matanoi HillThe second bird's nest was built on 18th January 2018, and is a smaller unit that can only seat one adult. It overlooks the opposite of the first bird's nest here.*Note - Please exercise caution when getting in around here as they are built on a slope. Especially if you are with kids, be careful as you do not want to slip and roll down.The entrance by the main road from Matanoi VillageHow to get to Matanoi Hill in Keningau?Matanoi Hill is located about 3.6 kilometers from Apin Apin Town. It is also about 23.6 kilometers from the city of Keningau in Sabah. Usually, locals will self drive all the way here and park by the road where they will trek or hike up. There are three main gates, which are A,B and C. During the rainy season, only Gate A and B are open due to safety reasons for the third gate. Address for Bukit Matanoi HillOff Jalan Apin-Apin Bundu Kg. Tiga,Apin-Apin, Keningau, Sabah.Bukit Matanoi Hill GPS Coordinates: 5°29'34"N 116°14'46"EPhoto Credits goes to;1. Bukit Matanoi Facebook Page2. Discover Keningau Facebook PageA local is seen posing in the man-made bird's nest at Matanoi HillThe best time to visit Bukit Matanoi is during the weekdays, as it can get really crowded on weekends and public holidays. If you do go there during this time, expect a crowd here. This means, you may need to wait your turn to get your photographs. This district also celebrates the Visit Keningau Year 2018 this year and there are many other sights and attractions found in this district. They range from adventure, nature, food and to culture and history. This Sarang Burung at Bukit Matanoi is the first of its kind in Malaysia and hopefully there will also be other places that will take advantage of this tourism trend. More importantly, to cater to the current social media lifestyle of the younger generation tourist and travelers.
Friday 9th of February 2018 11:25:00 AM
- Michelle Yeoh Visits Sepilok in Sabah Borneo
Hollywood superstar Michelle Yeoh, who is also popular in the Sci-Fi world as Captain Philippa Georgiou from Star Trek Discovery, recently visited the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center in Sandakan, Sabah. Her visit here on Saturday, 3rd February 2018 also marks her 10th year of volunteering and shooting the popular National Geographic documentary called Among Great Apes with Michelle Yeoh. During Michelle's visit to Sepilok, she was escorted by Dr Diana Ramirez, Acting Manager of Sabah Wildlife Department?s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) and Sylvia Alsisto, Officer in Charge of Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.Michelle Yeoh Visits SepilokMichelle feeds the baby pygmy elephants at Sepilok, SabahMichelle was also briefed about the current ongoing conservation for wildlife here. And currently, there was also the Human Elephant Conflict situation in Sabah, which has brought five rescued orphan elephants under 24 hours care by the wildlife rescue unit's vets and rangers.Michelle Yeoh braved the rain and visited multiple places here in Sepilok. After her briefing, she visited the orangutan viewing platform during the non-visitor hour. From there, the star moved on to the recently opened orangutan outdoor nursery complex. Finally after a full tour of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Michelle then visited the one and only Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center, where she was greeted by the founder and CEO, Dr. Wong Siew Te. She was also briefed on the ongoing efforts of the sun bear conservation here. Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh pats one of the pygmy elephants at SepilokMichelle Yeoh had this to say;?After nearly 10 year of volunteering while shooting the documentary here in Sepilok, I am so delighted to see so many changes here in Sabah in terms of Wildlife conservation. Sabah Wildlife Department?s Wildlife Rescue Unit and the gravely important work they do in rescuing and passionately taking care of Sabah?s endangered wildlife is an awe-inspiring experience that Malaysia should be proud of??The establishment of the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre here in Sepilok is also a new conservation initiative that need to be applauded and supported as it gives chance for captive sun bears to be rehabilitated and released back into the wilds of Borneo"? I sincerely cant wait to be back and hopefully work closely with the Wildlife Rescue Unit and showcase the wonderful work they do, to the world at large? With her final statement, most Malaysians and me hope that Michelle will come back to do more conservation work, and perhaps another documentary to highlight the conservation here. Below are photos of Michelle Yeoh visiting Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Sabah.Michelle poses with Sabah's Wildlife Rescue Unit Team at SepilokClose up of Michelle Yeoh and the pygmy elephantMichelle takes a moment at Sepilok, SabahBorn in Ipoh, Perak Malaysia, Tan Sri Dato' Sri Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng is an actress that has been in numerous Hollywood movies like Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and many other movies. She has also been nominated for many awards and won some local awards. Currently, she is well known as her role on the new Star Trek Discovery TV series as Captain Philippa Georgiou. She has also contributed to getting Malaysia on the world map and inspires many Malaysians with her work and also conservation efforts.
Sunday 4th of February 2018 11:23:00 AM
- Why Alor Island Should Be Your Next Scuba Diving Destination
If you are wondering why Alor Island should be your next scuba diving destination, I will share with you the information based on my recent trip there in September 2017.First of all, Alor Island is located in the east of Nusa Tenggara, just after the island of Flores in Indonesia. And second, Alor is one of those places that not many people have explored, making this one of truly raw destinations in the world for scuba diving. Alor Island is part of the Alor Archipelago and has only one main town called Kalabahi where the main airport is located at. In total, Alor Island is home to around 200,000 people which are mostly found in the remote villages around here. The main industries of Alor Island are mostly homegrown small industries like farming and cultivating. With a slow development, there is not much infrastructure here, but there are roads connecting the island. Incredible clear waters of Alor IslandWhy Alor Island Should Be Your Next Scuba Diving DestinationAs tourism is one of the up and coming industries in Alor Island, it is mainly due to scuba diving and snorkeling at the incredibly clear waters and rich marine life. However, there is only one main hotel found in Kalabahi which is the two star Pulo Alor Island. That is it, and I am not kidding. The other accommodations are a few local operated beach lodges and homestays. Usually divers that visit here will opt for the live on board boats for scuba diving. There are no proper restaurants, cafes or modern retail shops and everything is still raw and untouched here. So why you should make Alor your next scuba diving destination? Simply because of the non commercialization, this places takes you to a place never before experienced. People are not spoiled by modernization and this is one of the best factors to visit here.Some of the accommodations seen at the smaller islands of AlorDiving at Alor IslandRight now, there are probably only five dive operators on the entire island, where they are all located in the town of Kalabahi. One of the reputable operators here is no other than Donovan of Dive Alor Dive, who has 25 years of experience diving these waters and its surroundings.Great news is that there are over 63 dive sites at Alor Island, suited for experienced divers and those with the advanced open water certification. Each of the sites provide unique experiences, and the main highlight is the incredible clarity or visibility at all these sites.One of the Alor Island dive sites with incredible visibilityThe main reason for this is that the place is not commercialized. This means, at any dive site you visit, it will be only your group. This is not like diving at Komodo Island where it has become a major tourist attraction.Alor Island is still considered as one of the undiscovered dive destinations of Indonesia, and is a very raw place. Things are still as they were 50 years ago as development here is one of the slowest. Honestly, I really like this place because of this.For anyone planning to dive in Alor, I would suggest you come in a small group as the costs are cheaper when combined together. Read about my Alor Dive trip report from my visit here in September 2017.Dive Operators in Alor Island1. Dive Alor Dive2. Alor Divers3. Alor Diving Kepa4. Alami Dive Alor5. Air Dive AlorBandar Udara Mali-Alor, the main airport on Alor IslandHow to get to Alor Island?Generally, I would recommended you fly in from Kupang in Flores which is a one hour flight and this is the best and fastest way to get here. For my visit here, I took the local flights from Kupang to Alor.Alternatively, there are ferries that operate from Kupang and other smaller ports around East Nusa Tenggara, but this can be tricky or take a longer time. There are private boats that operate from Kupang to Alor, but the journey can take hours.If you are going backpacking style, then you really need to do your homework as not many people speak English. I would strongly recommend you make arrangements with your dive operator, so they can have everything pre-arranged for you when you arrive.The Abui tribe of Takpala Village on Alor IslandWhat Else Can You Do In Alor Island? While diving is the main itinerary here, there are in face a number of things that you can do in Alor Island which is quite general. In most cases, you will either be staying at a homestay, Pulo Alor Hotel or on the live on board boats.I would personally recommend visiting the local town and markets, with a guide of course, and sample some of the local Alornese food. One of them to try is the betel nut chewing which is absolutely out of this world.Pulo Alor Hotel, the best and only hotel on Alor IslandOn the island, you should also make it a point to explore the Takpala Village, which is a traditional Alornese ethnic village. This place is open for tourism and usually the trips here are arranged by your travel or dive operator.For seasoned scuba divers, if you are planning to visit Komodo to dive, I would recommend you consider adding in Alor Island as your next scuba diving destination. This is because you have already made your way to this part of Indonesia and Alor is just the next island on the east of Flores.
Monday 15th of January 2018 03:00:00 AM
- Japan Travel Fair 2018
It is just early January and the Japan Travel Fair 2018 is the first travel fair in Malaysia to take place this year. Held from 11-14 January and at The Starling Mall in Petaling Jaya, this mini fair is all out to promote the various destinations in Japan. The objective of the Japan travel fair is purely to get more awareness to the consumers, namely those living in the suburban areas of Petaling Jaya and its surroundings. This time around, JNTO or the Japan National Tourism Organization, has selected the venue at one of the new shopping malls in Damansara Utama.Travel agents at the Japan Travel Fair in Starling MallWhat Promotions Are Available At Japan Travel Fair 2018? You can find all things Japan at the fair, meaning, all sorts of information about destinations around Japan. In total, there are 20 booths with various Japanese vendors from all over Japan and also some of the local Malaysian tour companies. For first timers visiting here, you should know that commercial places in Japan is not being promoted here at the fair. This means destinations like Kyoto, Osaka, Tokyo and Hokkaido information booths are not available.Instead, you will see more unique destinations that are not too far from the usual popular places. Train travel is one of the main highlights as they are the best method to move from city to city in Japan.The JNTO Booth at the Starling Mall in Damansara UamaYou can get travel brochures for these interesting places from the main JNTO booth at the travel fair. The main mission is to introduce other regions from around Japan to Malaysians. If you should already know, most Malaysians have been to Japan, and to the main commercial cities. At this years Japan Travel Fair, there is a main stage area just next to the JNTO main information booth. This is where contest and performances are conducted. A beautiful photo booth is also located next to the JNTO booth.Japanese Yukata photo sessions at the travel fairThis photo booth is where you can wear the Japanese Yukata to take photos against the famous Japanese bamboo wall, which is quite nice. In another section, there are about 10 booths from various Japanese and Malaysian travel agents that specialize in Japan tours. This is where you can get information on the many types of packages being offered. Some of the Japanese travel agentsTravel Agents at Japan Travel Fair 2018H.I.S Travel MalaysiaJapan Travel BureauParlo ToursApple JapanJ-HorizonsHello HolidaysRoystar TravelPearl Holiday TravelMHTTSome of the Japanese prefectures and businesses participating Japanese Travel Companies at Japan Travel Fair 2018 Also invited to participate are selected Japanese prefectures, hotels & resorts and train operators from all over Japan. These vendors are where you can get first hand information about the destinations, in regards to logistics, accommodations, food and places of interest.You would also be in for a surprise as there are not one, not two but three different train companies from Japan participating at the Japan Travel Fair. There are also some tourism prefectures taking part and they are;Okinawa TourismTokyo Disney ResortChi Hotel & ResortIshikawa PrefectureShizuoka PrefectureJR East HotelsJR WestTokyo MetroAsakusa-Ueno VisiondataVisitors on the first day of the Japan Travel Fair 2018Fun activities at the fairThe event itinerary for Japan Travel Fair 2018Visitors to the travel fair can get valuable information from the above companies, and if you still need more information, you can jut visit the main JNTO booth or any of the travel agents there.There are numerous brochures available on various parts of Japan for you to take home and read. They have destinations, food, adventure, Muslim travel and more, and if you have questions, you can always ask the JNTO Malaysia staff.A section of the travel fair at the Starling Mall in PJThe Tokyo Metro booth seem to be one of the popular vendors as there is a lot of information for anyone planning to visit Tokyo. Namely travelling around this metropolis where the daily train passes are the most important item one needs.And if you fill up their questionnaire, you can get a special gift from them which is quite interesting. Even I filled up a form for that unique souvenir from Tokyo Metro.Watch the Japan Travel Fair 2018 VideoAs for fun and games, visitors can have the opportunity to meet a real live Pokemon at the Japan Travel Fair 2018. This is only on the selected hours. But there is a cute Pokemon game where anyone can play to win some cute Pokemon sticker sheets.You can also find out the previous Japan travel fair in Malaysia as I had visited the event to see what was being promoted. The last event was held at One Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya.Overall, the Japan Travel Fair is catered to the people of Petaling Jaya and also from around the other parts of the Klang Valley. If you are not doing anything this weekend, bring your family, friends or loved ones here as there is much to discover about the other interesting places in Japan.
Friday 12th of January 2018 12:05:00 PM
- Scuba Diving Expos in Malaysia
Over the years, there has only been the Malaysia International Dive Exhibition or MIDE which is held mid year in Kuala Lumpur. This was the only Malaysian scuba diving expo to be held for years, and as of 2018, another international player has emerged to bring the popular Dive Resort Travel Expo to Malaysia. This of course has widened the branding and awareness for scuba diving as a recreational sport, which in turn will assist to enhance tourism in Malaysia and the region. Consumers and scuba divers now have more options with two world class scuba diving expos being held here in Malaysia.At one of the Malaysian dive expos in Kuala LumpurMalaysia Scuba Diving ExhibitionsWith the announcement of DRT Malaysia taking place in early February 2018, many scuba divers are excited to attend this event as all this while, there was only one event happening in Malaysia. When choices are offered, it tends to keep the game up for the exhibition organizers, and many are waiting to see what DRT has to offer. While MIDE happens around mid year, DRT was creative in order to capture the market in the earlier part of the year. This is also seen as a positive move as many diver tend to plan their dive trips early in order to save on expensive flight tickets, better promotions and so on. The Chinese New Year 2018 celebrations also take place on the 16th February, which is roughly two weeks after the dive expo. Dive expo's like the below also attract a number of business to business (B2B) sessions, and at the last expo in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board or MTPB hosted a group of international buyers for the B2B sessions. DRT Show in Malaysia1. Dive Resort Travel Expo Malaysia (DRT Malaysia)As DRT is a strong presence around Asia, namely in China, the dive expo is also found in other countries around the region. DRT is also supported by diving training agencies such as National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), Diving Instructor World Association (DIWA), and the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers (IANTD).Originally, the first show was held in Hong Kong in 2010, 18 years ago and since then, it has been to the Philippines, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, and Singapore. It is now the largest dive, resort and travel show in Asia which hosts seven expo's a year. Almost 1000 exhibitors take part from 50 countries around the world, and each show accommodates around 1300 booths. DRT also has a database of almost 100,000 registered members from around the region. As this is the first time that the event will take place in Malaysia, many are curious on to what is being offered here. There should be different exhibitors coming in from other countries around Asia, making this something to look forward to. Some of the key elements that take place at the DRT Show in Malaysia are;Save Our Ocean ProjectLive Judging for Asia Pacific Underwater Photo Challenge (UWPC)100 Star Underwater Photo GalleryScuba Diving SeminarFreediving SeminarUnderwater Photography SeminarUnderwater Videography SeminarDive Destination SeminarMarine Conservation SeminarLucky DrawKids ZoneWhen is DRT Expo Malaysia 2018Date: 2-4 February 2018Venue: PWTC (Putra World Trade Center), Kuala LumpurTime: Fri/Sat: 11.00 AM to 8.00 PM, Sun: 11.00 AM to 6.00 PMWebsite: http://www.malaysiadiveexpo.com/Tickets: RM 10.00 (Normal Entry)Promotion: RM 5.00 (Sign up our WeChat to become our fan and get RM 5 voucher when you visit the show)What MIDE Malaysia looks like2. MIDE 2018 The Malaysia International Dive Expo will take place in early May, slightly earlier this year due to the Hari Raya holidays which falls on 14th June 2018. A month before that, Muslims will observe the fasting period which starts on the 13th May, hence the dive expo is in the first week of May. MIDE is the pioneer scuba diving expo that has been running for `12 years, and 2018 will be the 13th year for this dive expo here in Malaysia. I would safely say that most scuba divers in Malaysia have visited MIDE at least once before. This dive expo provides all the latest news in the diving industry, hosts seminars and talks by various diving industry professionals, underwater photography contest and gallery, retail diving equipment promotions and more. At MIDE 2017, a total of 12,166 visitors attended throughout the three days. Out of that number, there were 1,777 non-divers who were present at the expo. Part of this was also in conjunction with the 'Be A Diver' program, where non-divers were invited to try scuba diving at a mobile pool. There was also a total revenue of RM8.2 million generated throughout the three day dive expo, which is a very healthy number considering that scuba diving is a niche hobby and sport. When is MIDE 2018Date: 4-6 May 2018Venue: PWTC (Putra World Trade Center), Kuala LumpurTime: 10.00 AM to 7.00 PMWebsite: https://mide.com.my/Tickets: RM 5.00Dive expos in Malaysia attract many foreign dive operators to participateWhy scuba divers visit dive expo's in Malaysia? There are a number of reasons why Malaysians visit these dive expos and they are listed below in no order.Information - The main reason is to get updated on the latest trends, news and products for scuba diving. It does not matter if you are a beginner, experienced or even a technical diver. There is a lot of information available for all levels of divers. During these die expo's, one of the highlights are the many seminars conducted by various dive experts. This is one way of sharing information about products, destinations and even marine conservation. At any expo, there would be at least 10 to 20 speakers conducting this over the three days. Tourism - As this underwater sport has grown tremendously in Malaysia and around the region, more people are getting into scuba diving as a leisure hobby. This allows people to visit destinations that cater to diving, as there are many beautiful places in Asia for this. With tourism being one of the biggest travel factor, a number of tourism boards from around Asia will take part at the dive expo's in Malaysia. You can expect to see tourism boards from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia taking part, providing diving information for their countries. So, if you have been planning to make that epic dive trip to Raja Ampat, you should attend these expos as you can get first hand information about the destinations. Scuba Diving Products - Without fail, dive expo's have created a consumer myth that diving equipment is at its cheapest during this time, and many will hold back from buying any equipment until the expo. At some point, this has become a fact, that retailers and suppliers would offer massive savings, promotions and discount for diving equipment, dive packages and even courses for photography or other levels of diving. A lot of consumers will hold back from buying any equipment, and wait for the dive expo's to see if there are new products or promotions being offered. Underwater Photography - For the underwater photography category, this is also the best time for consumers to browse the many different brands and accessories. Reputable distributors and brands are prominent here and accessories are explained in detailed, providing tips and tricks. This is also the best time for the brands to showcase their new products and accessories for the consumers, and if you are lucky, you could walk away with some items at discounted prices. Some of the brands that participate at the dive exposFor any scuba diver out there, these are the two largest diving expos held in Malaysia and it is recommended to visit. There may have been smaller ones organised by state tourism boards around Malaysia, but those are state specific and cater to the local industries there. DRT Malaysia will be the talk of scuba diving for the beginning of 2018 as it is the first time this expo is happening in Malaysia. As a diver myself, I would highly recommend visiting this expo due to it having a very positive response from other countries in Asia. About the WriterMy scuba diving has taken me around the world, and also to some of the most beautiful dive sites in Malaysia. As a Malaysian, I am proud to say that we do have some world class dive sites which should not be missed by anyone. My last dive was also in the far East of Indonesia in September 2017, where I explored the remote Alor Island on the far east of Flores. You can read about my Alor Island dive trip report if you are interested to venture to this part of Indonesia.That is me diving at Alor Island, East Nusa TenggaraDuring my two week expedition, I also went on the Komodo Island live on board to dive at some of the best spots here. This was truly an experience that is recommended for any diver. My final stop was no other than Raja Ampat in West Papua where I had the opportunity to spend five day there. I ended up seeing the beautiful landscapes, doing some bird watching and of course, the main even which was diving at one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you want to explore other parts of Asia for diving, I would say that any of the dive expos in Malaysia are worth a visit. It is here that you will find all the information you will need for your trip and as for me, I will definitely be there so see you at the next Malaysia dive expo.
Monday 8th of January 2018 02:30:00 AM
- Mutiara Taman Negara Resort Review
This is a review of the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort in Taman Negara National Park. First thing you should know is that in the national park, there is no other resort but this one. All other hotels or guest houses are located opposite the park at Kuala Tahan. To get to Taman Negara National Park, everyone will have to access it through Kuala Tahan, a small river town by the Tembeling River. Once you reach Kuala Tahan, you head to the jetty area and take a river taxi across to Taman Negara National Park. The price is RM1.00 one way per person. The entrance to the national park is also the main entrance of the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort, which is where the park headquarters is located at. All park activities start from here, therefore I hope this provides you with the valuable information. Review of Mutiara Taman Negara ResortThe main lobby area of the resortI visited Taman Negara in April 2017 as part of my tourism product update and stayed two nights at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. The third night, I spent in Kuala Tahan at one of the local guest houses, which was quite decent. The Mutiara Resort has been around for more than two decades, named as the most luxurious resort in the national park. Prices are premium, where you can expect to pay around RM200.00 to RM500.00 per night, depending on the type of room, chalet, bungalow or villa. One of the chalets at the Taman Negara ResortBefore you continue reading, you may have already seen photos of this resort on other websites and so on. Let me just share with you about photography and its tricks.Most of the photos are enhanced with HDR or photoshopped by professional photographers. In this article, my photos are all taken by me and edited very little, to show you the real deal. For those of you who plan to stay longer than two days, the resort offers various room promotions with minor discounts. This would work well if you are traveling as a couple or family wanting to have a lovely nature experience. For single travelers, there is also an air-conditioned dorm available and for larger families, there are bungalows with multiple rooms. And if you are a company looking for a retreat or team building trip, Mutiara Taman Negara Resort is one of the recommended places away from the city. The resort also offers meeting and banquet rooms that can accommodate up to 250 people. In total, there are three function rooms within the park grounds, and for that additional surprise, an outdoor barbecue can also be arranged.Deluxe chalet units at the resortChalet Room at Taman NegaraI checked into a chalet suit, which is a single storey semi-detached unit that came with a king sized bed. There is a living room with access to your own private balcony and a mini kitchen area.The unit is done in a rustic wood ambiance which blends in with the rainforest surrounding and perfect for any nature lover.The bedroom at the suiteThe suit chalet also comes with two air conditions, and the attached bathroom is pretty modern which I believe was recently upgraded. Overall, rusting and Eco-friendly and a modern contemporary bathroom, which is a perfect mix. The chalet units are lined along the main walk way, which is about five minutes walk from the main reception area. If you have problems walking, I recommend you book a room that is nearer to the reception area and restaurant.The common area or living hall in the suiteBathrooms are modern contemporaryFor meals, there is only one restaurant called Seri Mutiara, which serves buffet or ala-carte meals that is Halal, and catering to all walks of life. Choices include Asian cuisine and also Continental cuisine.The menu is quite diverse as pizzas, pastas and burgers are also offered. For the non-Muslims, beer is offered by the can or wine is served by the glass or bottle.If you are spending a much longer time staying here, do take the boat taxi across to Kuala Tahan and try some of the local restaurants there. Some of them are pretty interesting, serving Malaysian style local and western food.Seri Mutiara Restaurant at Taman NegaraMutiara Taman Negara FacilitiesIn the main reception area and park head quarters office, there is a souvenir and mini mart combined that sells snacks, ice cream, drinks and even daily necessities. You can also get your insect repellents here. On my free time, I pretty much self trekked around the resort trails which are very safe. Recommended to do this in the mornings. One of the trails lead all the way to the canopy walk too, so if you are not up to sitting on a boat and heading there, you can trek there. One thing you should know is that one weekends, the park entrance can get a little crowded, or even extremely crowded. This is usually because many companies tend to have their retreats here, or even schools having their day trips. If you dislike crowds, I highly recommend you book your stay for a weekday, as it will almost guarantee a peaceful time with you and nature. I have read and head so many complaints about the noisy kids and crowds in the main entrance area. As mentioned, the reason for this is because anyone entering Taman Negara National Park will have to go through here to get to the park headquarters. This is for the park permit and other park activities.The Mutiara Taman Negara Resort JettyActivities at Mutiara Taman Negara ResortWhen you stay here, there are quite a bit of outdoor, nature and adventure activities for guests to choose from. This is suitable for both couples and families, including kids.While I was here, I did the most common things, which were walking the longest canopy walk in the world, rapid shooting up the Tembeling River, visiting the local ethnic village, a night walk and of course bird watching.Some of the deer I spotted while doing the nocturnal walk at Taman Negara National ParkHowever, for visitors here, you can choose what you like and the resort can arrange it for you. Alternatively, you can go to the park headquarters and book your own activities. Below is the list of activities being offered;Night Jungle WalkJungle Trekking at Bukit Teresek and Canopy WalkwayBoat Cruise to Lata BerkohCave ExplorationShooting the RapidsFishingOrang Asli SettlementsWildlife observation hide (Jungle hide)Mountain climbingFour Steps WaterfallOne of the chalets at nightMutiara Taman Negara ResortLocation: Inside Taman Negara National Park, Kuala TahanPhone: +609-266 2200Website: http://www.mutiaratamannegara.com/Book Mutiara Taman Negara ResortBook from Ivy Holidays in Kuala LumpurTel: +60109008699 Whatsapp/Line/WeChatOverall, Taman Negara National Park can be visited on a day trip, but I strongly suggest you spend at least two to three nights to fully experience Malaysia's oldest national park. There are many companies that sell tour packages for Taman Negara, but I recommend one of the reputable tour agents who is Ivy Holidays, and is based in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur. They have been selling packages for a while and also operate daily shuttle services to and from Taman Negara. The Taman Negara daily shuttle service is catered to those who only need the transport to get to Taman Negara. Most of these guests have already booked a stay at the resort, hotel or guest house around here and there is not actual bus service to the national park.River cruising on the Tembeling River to JerantutIvy Holidays also provides very attractive Taman Negara packages at reasonable prices that suit the visitors budgets. So if you are on a tight budget, they can arrange for a cheaper alternative, while if you want a proper stay at Taman Negara, they can give you the best deal. Birders are also one of many people who come here, especially on weekdays as bird watching in Taman Negara is one of the top places in Malaysia with over 200 species of birds to be spotted. Overall, my conclusion is that for anyone wanting to have a proper experience here, you should consider staying at the Mutiara Taman Negara Resort. Though it is old, and may look a little run down, it is the only resort or hotel located in the national park.
Monday 1st of January 2018 06:06:00 AM
- Bird Watching Places Near Kuala Lumpur
For those who need to do quick birding, here is a list of bird watching spots near Kuala Lumpur which you can do in half a day or one full day without having to travel too far.Most of these places are selected based on the easy accessibility for the bird watcher and nature lover. However, you should know that the best way to go to these places are by hiring a private car, taxi or tour company service. These bird watching places near Kuala Lumpur are also divided into different habitats, for example, there are wetland birds, lowland birds, mangrove birds and sub-montane birds.Overall there are almost 800 species of birds found in Malaysia, and you can easily spot them and even some endemics at some of these easy bird watching spots around Kuala Lumpur. Bird watchers at Fraser's HillBird Watching Locations Near Kuala Lumpur1. Fraser's HillThis is probably the best place to get a good number of birds in one location. From lowland to sub-montane birds, Fraser's Hill is well known as one of the best bird watching spots in Malaysia.There are bird watching events that take place here, namely the Fraser's Hill Bird Race 2017 which takes place from the 25-26 Feb. So if you are visiting KL and want to explore this even on the weekend, it would be a perfect opportunity to participate and get to know the local birders. Fraser's Hill is located about 2.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and you can rent a car to make your way here. There is accommodation for those wanting to spend the night in this highland small town. In total, there are also over 260 bird species found here, so almost every local Malaysian bird watcher has been here.This former British Hill Station is the best kept Mock Tudor town in Malaysia and offers numerous trails for birding and trekking. The cool climate at Fraser's Hill is also perfect for bird watching around here.Birds to spot: Trogons, Barbets, Laughingthrush, Minivets, Sibia, Mesia, Eagle, Sunbirds, Spiderhunters, Warblers, Babblers, Bulbuls and Niltavas.Fraser's HillDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 100 kmDriving time one way: 2.5 hoursA migratory Tiger Shrike spotted at Awana Genting2. Awana Genting IBAAnother great morning bird watching spot is at Awana Genting Highlands, which is only an hours drive from the city of KL. Awana is also well known among the locals as this spot is part of the bird watching event called Wings of KKB which takes place from 21-23 April 2017. The event has also taken a new branding called the Selangor International Bird Race 2017.For the serious birders, Awana is also one of the Important Birding Areas (IBA) of Malaysia and launched in 2010. There is an area dedicated to this for bird watchers and a total of 200 native and migratory birds have been spotted in this area. A road leads into this part where you can park your car and walk along the small road here.Birds to spot: Trogon, Black-thighed Falconet, Black-browed Barbet, Mountain Bulbul, Banded Kingfisher, Grey-chinned Minivet, Long-tailed Sibia, Verditer Flyctcher.Awana GentingDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 50 kmDriving time one way: 1.1 hoursA flock of Lesser Adjutant birds nestling in Tanjung Tuan. Photo by http://urchinsundertakings.blogspot.my3. Port Dickson - Tanjung Tuan National Park90 minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur and you are at Malaysia's coastline in Negeri Sembilan. Port Dickson is a popular place for beach goers and exploring 10 minutes away from the main area will allow you to do some coastal birding at the Tanjung Tuan National Park.The strange thing is that Tanjung Tuan is actually in Melaka, but the entrance is from Port Dickson. Anyway, over here, there are a total of 94 species of birds recorded. Two of the species are globally threatened.The best time to come is is also from February to April when it is the Raptor Season. The yearly Raptor Watch also takes place here during that time. I would recommend you spend the night around here and do an early morning bird watching session.Birds to spot: Raffles Malkoha, Black-bellied Malkoha (Threatened), Osprey, Black-winged Kite, Greater Spotted Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Blue-rumped Parakeet, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker.Tanjung TuanDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 103 kmDriving time one way: 2 hoursAn Orange-backed Woodpecker spotted in FRIM. Photo by https://ron-nature-adventure.blogspot.my4. FRIM at Kuala Lumpur Known as the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, this forest is located 30 minutes drive from the center of Kuala Lumpur city. In total, there are about 182 species of birds found at this forest reserve and one of the best places is near the pond area.The best times are also in the early mornings or late afternoons. FRIM is well know as a quick nature getaway from Kuala Lumpur city, and at times, there can be a large crowd here. There is a canopy walkway here but it has been closed for renovations and may reopen in 2020.The operation hours are also from 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM and best to get more information from the official FRIM website. Best places to spot birds are at the wetlands, Kepong botanical garden, fruits arboretum, non-dipterocarps arboretum and the trails.Birds to spot: Drongo, Kingfisher, Cuckoo, Flycatcher, Waterhens, Iora, Bulbul, Barbet, Babbler, Tailor Bird, Leafbird.FRIMDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 20 kmDriving time one way: 30-40 MinutesA Golden-whiskered Barbet photographed in Templers Park. Photo by https://ron-nature-adventure.blogspot.my5. Templer ParkLocated about 30 minute drive from Kuala Lumpur city center, Templer Park is one of the old nature reserves which can provide some bird watching. Though the place may be a little run down or not well kept, birders will find some gems here.The popular spots are the forest trails here where one of them leads to the waterfall. Avoid the weekends as there could be a lot of people around here. In total, there are over 50 species of birds to spot here, depending on the time of day too.Birds to spot: Trogon, Bulbul, Treeswift, Hawk-eagle, Babbler, Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Kingfisher, Sunbird, Yuhinas, Red-throated Sunbird, Malkoha and others.Templer ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 24 kmDriving time one way: 30-40 minutesBirds spotted at the Putrajaya Wetlands Park. Photo by http://siti-ctazpics.blogspot.my6. Putrajaya Wetlands Park (Payah Indah Wetlands)One of the better places is to do bird watching at the Putrajaya Wetlands area. The drive from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya can take anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. The beauty about this place is that you will find lots of migratory birds, marshland birds and also water birds in this 2000 hectare wetland area.In general, over 200 species of birds make the wetlands their home, so for birders, this is one of the good places to explore. The bird migratory season is from September to December.The best place to spot birds in Putrajaya is at Upper Bisa 1 in Precinct 16. You can park at the Putra Square parking lot and walk about 2 km along the lake until you reach the islands. Make sure you bring some water with you.Birds to spot: A few species of Heron's, Egrets, Bittern, Flycatcher, Swiftlet, Warbler and Ospray.Putrajaya Wetland ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 36 kmDriving time one way: 1 hourA Brahminy kite photographed at Sepang Gold Coast. Photo by http://www.wildbirdclub.my/7. Sepang Gold CoastBird watching at Sepang Gold Coast is the closest place to KLIA airport. For birders who are on a stopover, you can do some quick birding as it takes around 50-60 minutes drive from both KLIA and KLIA2 airport.From Kuala Lumpur, it takes about 120 minutes drive to get here. One prominent area is the Sungai Sepang Besar River as it has a healthy mangrove area by the river mouth. Another area in Sepang is near the Taman Murni Sepang Town Jetty.The best is to hire a local guide to bring you to some of these places. If you are doing it to pass time, then stay around the Taman Murni Sepang Town Jetty. Make sure you tell your taxi driver to wait or pick you up at a agreed time.Birds to spot: Kingfishers, Raptors, Magpies, Mynas, Accipiter, Sea Eagles, Kite, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Tit, Warblers, and some others. Sepang Gold CoastDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 85 kmDriving time one way: 2 hoursThe boardwalk area at Kuala Selangor Nature Park. Photo by http://rnjmedia.com/8. Kuala Selangor Nature ParkOne of the popular places for a good bird watching trip is at the Kuala Selangor Nature Park or KSNP where a total of 160 species of birds have been recorded here. At any one time, you can spot more than 30 species of birds.The Kuala Selangor Nature Park is a great bird watching site for coastal, mangrove and open field birds and for those wanting to tick off their checklist, this is the place to visit. However, you need a bird watching guide service to see the best of this place.The best season to spot migratory birds is between middle of September until late April. And if you are a fan of fireflies, Kuala Selangor is famous for them.Birds to spot: Jambu Fruit Dove, Chestnut-bellied Malkoha (Threatened), Asian Emerald Cuckoo, Mangrove Pitta, Masked Finfoot, Milky Stork, Curlew Sandpiper, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Black-naped Oriole, Black Drongo.Kuala Selangor Nature ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 70 kmDriving time one way: 2.1 hoursA White-throated Kingfisher at Taman Botani Shah Alam. Photo by Edward Chen9. Taman Botani Shah Alam (Shah Alam Botanical Park)The Taman Botani Shah Alam is located in the Selangor side and is only about an hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. This places used to be called Bukit Chaya and still is by the locals. Over here, if you are in luck, you can spot the Pitta among the many birds found here.There is a RM3.00 entry fee to enter the park and all you need to do is explore the park. Get here as early as you can to avoid the highway traffic. There are bicycle rentals available and avoid weekends as many people will come here. Visit the official Taman Botani Shah Alam website for more information.Birds to spot: Kingfishers, Hooded Pitta, Drongo, Minivets, Woodpeckers, Barbets, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Pink-necked Pigeon, Asian Glossy Starling.Taman Botani Shah AlamDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 34 kmDriving time one way: 1 hourOne of the trails at Sungai Tekala for bird watching. Photo by ww.xplorasidestinasi.com10. Sungai Tekala Recreational ForestThis is one of the lesser visited places and is close to the Semenyih Dam in the Hulu Langat district of Selangor. Here, there are a few trails to walk and spot the birds, but you nee to come early for this. If you book a taxi or Grab, make sure you get their number so that when you want to return, you can easily contact them.There is little infrastructure here, but there are public toilets, a couple of stalls selling food and drinks. The place is a little run down, but just enough to get your bird watching fix if you are nearby.Birds to spot: Red-naped, Diard's and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, Blue-banded and Rufous-collared Kingfishers, and many other common lowland birds.Sungai Tekala Recreational ForestDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 37 kmDriving time one way: 1 hoursOperational Hour: Daily from 7.00 am ? 6.00 pmAnd If Everything Else Fails...The KL Bird Park is a sure bet to see birds if everything else fails11. Kuala Lumpur Bird ParkThis is your last resort to spot some birds, but at the KL Bird Park which is in the city area. Here, you pay a small fee to get in and you can spot all kinds of tropical birds from Malaysia and around the world.There are quite a large number of birds to see here, including foreign birds. However, one of the star birds to spot is the Rhinoceros Hornbill, native to Malaysia, and is easily spotted at the KL Bird Park Cafe area.Overall, this is an awesome place to bring your family, to introduce them to the bird life. Plus you can also take a photo with some of the unique birds here. The place is huge, therefore it is recommended to go early in the mornings.Kuala Lumpur Bird ParkDistance from Kuala Lumpur: 1 kmDriving time one way: 0.1 hoursThe Kuala Lumpur Kale Gardens is a great place to relax an spot birds while in KL city12. Kuala Lumpur Lake GardensThe most beautiful lake gardens in Kuala Lumpur called Taman Tasik Perdana, this place is just a 20 minute walk from Dataran Merdeka. In the mornings, there are a lot of common birds spotted around here, and walking to and around this place, you can easily spot the smaller birds.The KL Lake Gardens is also close to the KL Bird Park and many other parks, so if all things fail, and you want an easy bird watching place in Kuala Lumpur, this is the place to head to. Be prepared to spend a few hours here as the entire place is quite huge.Along your walk, there are spots where small cafes are found and also public toilets. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring along some drinking water.Kuala Lumpur Lake GardensWalking Distance from Kuala Lumpur: 1.5 kmA Large Niltava photographed at Awana GentingThe above places for bird watching near Kuala Lumpur is created for the convenience of those who want somewhere easy to do this hobby. Most of the places are easily accessible and you can either use Grab or UBER to get to them. One thing you must remember is to make sure that your driver will pick you up or wait for you. Overall, you just need about 2-4 hours for bird watching and travel time is around two to three hours both ways.For those who plane to do more serious birding, and plan to travel around the country, you can also refer to my other article on the best bird watching places in Malaysia. That list narrows down some of the top places worth visiting.For locals, you may or may not have been to these places, but they are quite decent as I have personally been to a number of these places. If you know of any other good bird watching spots near Kuala Lumpur, do share them with me in the comment form below and I will update this list.
Friday 29th of December 2017 07:14:00 AM
- Ultimate Nature Retreat Getaway Guide From Kuala Lumpur
Are you looking for a nature retreat for a weekend getaway in Malaysia? You came to the right place as I have compiled a master list of the best retreats out of Kuala Lumpur. This list caters to everyone, especially locals who have little time but need an escape from the city life to somewhere near. If you are a traveler or tourist that has a couple of free days in Malaysia and want to have an experience for a rainforest retreat, this list will provide you with some valuable information. Overall, some these nature retreats are located near Kuala Lumpur or just a short drive or flight from here.The retreats listed here are also based on price, for entire villas or bungalows or by persons therefore you need to double check when booking. Weekends and public holidays are always priced higher than weekdays. Ultimate Nature Retreat Getaway Guide From Kuala LumpurBelow is a list of 18 rainforest and nature retreats that are built in the lush tropical rainforest of Malaysia. The list is also for Peninsular Malaysia only, as it is not easy to find resorts or retreats in this genre for this part of Malaysia. They are also in no order and varies from state to state around here. The Thai style Malihom Private Estate Resort in Penang. (Photo by http://grauboat.jalbum.net)1. Malihom PenangOne of the much talked about rainforest resorts is the Malihom Private Estate in Penang. This is a luxurious retreat set in the lush rainforest of Balik Pulau on the island of Penang (Pulau Pinang). Malihom is made up of eight Thai style rice-barns which are converted to modern day resort living.Malihom feels more like a private estate resort with a 16-acre hilltop property that has an infinity pool overlooking the lush scenery. For those seeking something different, can expect quality over quantity when you stay here.Slightly on the pricier side, but well worth it for anyone wanting a bit of luxury away from the mainstream tourist places of Penang, but still in reach. Malihom PenangAddress: Kiri N/T 168, Bukit Penara, Mukim 6 Balik Pulau, 11000 Penang, MalaysiaPrice: From RM520+ per nightWebsite: http://malihom.com/Booking: Book MalihomLuxury in the Rainforest at Sekeping Serendah (Photo by https://www.sekeping.com/serendah/)2. Sekeping SerendahA very popular weekend escape from Kuala Lumpur is no other than Sekeping Serendah just outside the Rawang area of Selangor. This Eco retreat has been the talk of social media for many years and attracts all walks of life, namely millennials, hipsters and the occasional corporate group or family. Surrounded by five acres of rainforest, Sekeping Serendah brands itself as a luxurious escape with a strong minimalist design that plays with glass and rustic designs. The seclusion is nature perfect with a lot of greens everywhere.There are a total of 10 units available and a lot of companies use this place for group retreats or events. Avoid long holiday periods here as it can get crowded or booked up fast. Sekeping SerendahAddress: N3.368050 E101.631150, MalaysiaPrice: From RM300+ per nightWebsite: https://www.sekeping.com/serendah/The beautiful natural scenery at Awanmulan. (Photo by http://www.goasiaplus.com03. AwanmulanIn neighboring Selangor, you can find Awanmulan which is one of the nature escapes that provide a peaceful and quiet experience. This rainforest escape is located in Negeri Sembilan and provides eight individual homes with unique names to them. Six of the units cater to four or six people while the remaining two villas are for couples only. The highlight of Awanmulan apart from the beautiful lush scenery are the two salted swimming pools, a jungle pool and a sky pool, that provides an ultimate relaxation in the rainforest. Nothing beats lounging by the pool with cocktail in hand and nature surrounding you.Nature activities like hiking is available for those who want to explore the area and there is transport options available for those needing it to get here. AwalmulanAddress: Kampung Baru Pantai, Jalan Jelebu, Jelebu, Negeri Sembilan, MalaysiaPrice: From RM774 - RM2,445 per nightWebsite: http://www.awanmulan.com/Penang's Fig Tree Hill Resort (Photo by http://www.figtreehill-resort.com/)4. Fig Tree Hill Resort PenangThe Fig Tree Hill Resort in Penang is another luxurious nature escape which is located in the Sungai Ara area, far from the main tourist and commercial areas. This beautiful rustic property offers six beautiful wooden villas which is suitable for couples or families. Each of the villas come with their own names and are themed accordingly, with a spacious living room, a dining area and a private balcony area. The size of each villas are around 150 to 200 square meters in size, with king sized beds, LCD television, complete bathroom and coffee amenities.The showers are quite cool as they provide open aired bathrooms with outdoor showers. Only breakfast is provided, so you need to get your other meals arranged. The property can also be rented for private events or photography, but avoid booking during the rainy season. Fig Tree Hill ResortAddress: Jalan Kenari, mkm 10, Sungai Ara, Balik Pulau, 11900 Penang, MalaysiaPrice: From RM500+ per nightWebsite: http://www.figtreehill-resort.com/Green Acres is a luxury orchard stay in Penang (Photo by http://greenacrespenang.com/)5. Green Acres PenangOne of the more unique and interesting weekend escapes is Green Acres in Penang. This getaway is located in a Durian orchard, so if you are a durian lover, this can be considered heaven for you. Green Acres is an organic farm which has over 500 fruit trees with a selection of unique spice plants and perfect for the green traveler. Created with an organic and Eco theme, the resort sits on a 16 acre farm property which has been around for the last 50 years. The villas are styled towards a very Malaysian 'Kampung' home, and is 250 meters above sea level.Green Acres is suitable for groups, families or even couples and the property is nestled away from commercialization. Oh, and if you love durians or local fruits, this is your mecca and very highly recommended. Green Acres PenangAddress: Batu Itam, Balik Pulau, PenangPrice: From RM500 per nightWebsite: http://greenacrespenang.com/Back to basics at Terra's Treehouse in Cameron Highlands6. Terra?s Treehouse Cameron HighlandsThis natural experience is well suited for the adventurous traveler or family where you need to take a 4WD into the lush rainforest of Cameron Highlands in Pahang. After reaching your stop, you continue to trek 400 meters to Terra's Treehouse. An experience suited for the the serious outdoor and nature lover, this tree house accommodation is not your luxury escape, but more of an experiential tourism getaway. Terra's Treehouse is located in the cool climate of Brinchang in Cameron Highlands, and you can expect the best of nature here.A total of six tree houses are available with a common kitchen and an activity hall. Electricity is powered by a generator from 6.30 AM to 10.00 PM. Here, you can expect temperatures from around 14-25 degrees Celsius in a natural and organic kind of retreat. If you are looking for something totally different and back to basic, then this is it. Terra's Treehouse Cameron HighlandsAddress: Address: Jalan Sungai Mansion, Brinchang, Pahang, Cameron Highlands, Malaysia 39010Price: From RM160+ per personWebsite: http://www.terrafarm.com.my/2013/02/tree-house.htmlGunung Pulai's Rainforest Treehouse Accommodation (Photo by https://www.facebook.com/rainforest.treehouse.johor/)7. Rainforest Treehouse Gunung Pulai JohorOne of the raw-styled nature retreats in Johor is the Rainforest Treehouse at Gunung Pulai. Just like Terra's Treehouse, there are six treehouses available for nature and outdoor lovers. Four of the tree houses cater to six people while two of them can accommodate up to 12 people. Very natural but a little modern, there are electrical outlets, proper bedding, mosquito nets, common bathroom and activity area. All of this was built by the owner who was filled with passion and determination. He worked with the locals in the area to crate this amazing place which uses all natural resources. Again, this is not your luxury escape, but more of an experience in the rainforest of Johor. Please do not bring your wheeled luggage as you need to trek up to the tree houses. Rainforest Treehouse Gunung PulaiAddress: Gunung Pulai, 81000 Kulai, JohorPrice: RM250+ per person including foodWebsite: https://www.facebook.com/rainforest.treehouse.johor/Bali Villa at Dusuntara Jungle Retreat in Batang Kali. (Photo by http://dusuntarajungleretreat.com/)8. Dusuntara Jungle RetreatIn Batang Kali, you can find the Dusuntara Jungle Retreat which is only about an hours drive from the city of Kuala Lumpur. This retreat is more of a modern resort with wood, brick and mortar villas, salt water swimming pool, Jacuzzi and facilities. Camping is available, provided you bring your own tents and for activities, there is trekking, fishing, bird watching and anything outdoors. Otherwise, its swimming and just taking a break from the fast city life.Getting into the resort takes you off-road, and Kamal the owner can arrange the 4WD drive if needed. In total, there are three acres of land here for you to explore the wilderness. I would recommend coming here on a weekday due to the place being popular on weekends for groups and team building activities. Dusuntara Jungle RetreatAddress: No.1, Dusun Drive, Batang Kali Estate | Kg. Sungei Kamin, Batang Kali 48300Price: RM180+ per personWebsite: http://dusuntarajungleretreat.com/Luxury in the rainforest at The Dusun in Seremban (Photo by http://thedusun.com.my/)9. The DusunOne of the old timers in the rainforest retreats of Malaysia is The Dusun, which has been around since 1984 and turned into an Eco retreat in 2009. In total, the resort sits in a 12 acre orchard which is 800 meters above sea level in the Berembun Forest Resort here. There are six different bungalows which cater to families, groups or couples. Operated by Helen and David, they have been living here since the beginning and sharing this beautiful retreat with passionate people who believe in responsible tourism. Activities include trekking, bird watching, waterfall visits and even a cooking workshop. Due to the higher pricing, you can expect quality service and accommodations here, and also privacy without mass tourism. From Kuala Lumpur, it is only an hour and a half to get here and this would be one of the closer weekend retreats from KL. The Dusun Negeri SembilanAddress: 3437, Kampung Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai, 71770 Seremban, Negeri SembilanPrice: From RM400 - RM900Website: http://thedusun.com.my/Two of the beautiful villas at The Shorea in Seremban10. The ShoreaAround the Berembun Forest Reserve, you can find The Shorea Resort, which is one of the new players for the weekend getaway category. They are branded as a boutique Eco resort with eight bungalows and a total of 15 rooms. The Shorea is divided into two sections which is the Shorea Estate and the Shorea Resort, which is built in line with the rustic and Eco theme surrounded by the lush rainforest. Swimming pools face the beautiful landscaped forest where sunsets can be enjoyed. A full facility resort, The Shorea provides fine dining, Asian dining and private dining hence this is an excellent choice for a romantic getaway for couples. Activities around here include trekking, water fall visits and good old nature walks. Need a family retreat? Book a villa of your own at The Shorea, an architectural wonder built within the tropical forest reserves of Berembun. Set on natural terrains, there are meandering paths leading down to a jungle stream, and even a waterfall. The resort is also constructed using recycled timber, so you know it?s a real Eco retreat.The ShoreaAddress: Village Kolam Air, Mukim Pantai,, Jalan Jelebu, 71770 Seremban, Negeri SembilanPrice: RM530+ per nightWebsite: http://www.theshorea.com/Farrah Soraya villas by Tanah Aina in Raub, Pahang. (Photo by http://www.tanahaina.com/farrah-soraya/)11. Tanah Aina - Farrah Soraya Eco Tourism ResortLocated in the Raub area, one hour away from Kuala Lumpur is the Farrah Soraya Resort which is under the Tanah Aina brand of retreats. Yes, the name sounds confusing as many people seem to think it is Tanah Aina Resort, which is actually the group name. This multiple resort concept is created by Puan Sri Sharifah Sabrina Syed Akil, who is passionate about protecting and conserving Malaysia?s rainforests and natural environment. She has also branded this as an exclusive Eco resort which sits 1,700 meters above sea level. This equals a cooling and private getaway in the rainforest of Pahang. Activities are abundant with nature related experiences as they boast of three private waterfalls, trekking and a flying fox through the lush tropical rainforest here. For accommodations, there is villas and camping available. Based on reviews, Farrah Soraya Resort gets really busy on weekends and long holidays, hence I recommend visiting this place on a weekday. Tanah Aina Resort (Tanah Aina Farrah Soraya)Address: 8, Jalan Tras, 27600 Raub, Pahang, MalaysiaPrice: RM100+ per night per personWebsite: http://www.tanahaina.com/farrah-soraya/The stunning pool at the Templer Park Rainforest Retreat (Photo by https://www.pinterest.com)12. Templer Park Rainforest RetreatThe closest rainforest retreat in Kuala Lumpur is the all new Templer Park Rainforest Retreat which is only about 40 minutes drive from the city. This urban rainforest escape sprawls over three acres on a hilltop of the Kanching Rainforest Reserve here. There are only two houses located at this weekend escape, making this one of the most private retreats out of Kuala Lumpur. One unit is a luxurious villa while the other is a container style unit and both a far apart. Activities include trekking and hiking to the Kanching Waterfalls and its surroundings. Generally, this place is suitable for large families or groups who want to do private gatherings, events, parties or jut a massive escape from the hustle and bustle of the fast city life. After all, if you desire to book the entire place for a romantic escape, that would work, but you need to pay the entire fees. Templer Park Rainforest RetreatAddress: 22, Jalan 3/2, Templer Heights, Templer Park, 48000 Rawang, SelangorPrice: RM1,000 weekdays, RM1,500 weekends for 6 pax. Website: https://www.tprr.net/The incredible views at Casabrina Villa (Photo by http://www.casabrina.net/)13. Casabrina Vacation VillasAnother luxurious rainforest retreat is Casabrina Villas, which is located in the hills of Raub, Pahang and about an hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. There are only two villas here with four suites hence you can expect privacy at its best. The theme is tropical-rustic, and fine details are not missed. The owners have invested quite a bit to ensure this falls into the luxury category in a rainforest. Casabrina is perfect for small families or groups that seek a hidden and private property away from it all. As for activities, there are quite a bit to do around here, meaning trips out of the main resort area to to popular tourist places around Raub, Lancang and Karak. I would just recommend staying here and absorbing nature by the pool. Casabrina VillasAddress: Lot 1460, Jalan Tras, Mukim Tras, 27600 Raub PahangPrice: RM800+ per nightWebsite: http://www.casabrina.net/Natural landscapes surrounding Tanah Larwina (Photo by http://www.tanahlarwina.com/)14. Tanah Larwina Retreat A nature retreat in an orchard and animal farm in Hulu Langat, Selangor? Introducing Tanah Larwina Retreat which is a single unit getaway for families or friends who want to experience design in a rainforest. Overall this is a one unit resort with four queen sized beds in an open room concept that lets you be one with nature. The unit sits just by a river while there is a special campfire site outside the unit. There is also a barbecue and cooking area and for larger groups, there is a campsite available.The owner is currently in the midst of adding two pods which caters to couples wanting privacy. They are to be opened in early 2018. Extension plans are in the process for an additional villa in 2018 as well.Tanah Larwina RetreatAddress: Lot 4075, Kg Paya Lebar, Batu 23, Jalan Sg Lui, Hulu Langat, SelangorPrice: RM1,679 per night for 8 guestsWebsite: http://www.tanahlarwina.com/Kampung style villa at Selepas Hujan (Phot by http://selepashujan.com/wp/)15. Selepas Hujan Deep in the Berembun Rainforest of Negeri Sembilan lies a retreat perfect for couples, very small families or groups. There are only two bungalows or villas available here which is traditionally built in wood combined with modern designs and fittings.Selepas Hujan means after the rain, and it is here that you will find one of the best private escapes to nature. Consider this place as one of the premium luxury escapes in a pristine forest reserve near Kuala Lumpur as it only takes about one hours drive here.Activities include trekking, bird watching and simply doing nothing but relaxing. One of the villas is actually a honeymoon villa, which is perfect for the newlyweds with little time to travel.Selepas Hujan Address: 43A (Lot 3154) Pantai Hill Orchard Resort, Jalan Kampung Pantai, 71770 Pantai Negeri SembilanPrice: RM700 to RM1,500+ per nightTel: +6012-931 5147Website: http://selepashujan.com/wp/The beautiful Enderong Resort in Janda Baik (Photo by https://enderong.wixsite.com/enderongresort)16. Enderong ResortLocated 2000 feet above sea level is a retreat called Enderong Resort, which is in the Janda Baik area of Pahang. This means it only takes you no more than an hour to get here from Kuala Lumpur using the Karak Highway.The Enderong Resort consist of one villa with eight rooms, a cottage with four rooms, an Annexe with 18 rooms, and a multipurpose function hall. All of this combined and you get the perfect venue for small gatherings, retreats, weddings and anything else that says 'Out of KL, but near KL'.The location is pretty close to Bukit Tinggi and Genting Highlands, making this one of the logistically perfect retreat for just about anyone. The key factor is that it is only 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. Tends to get crowded on long weekends and holidays, therefore for privacy, book on a weekday.Enderong ResortAddress: Lot C21, Persiaran Enderong, Jalan Tanarimba Pine, Tanarimba, Janda Baik, Bukit Tinggi, 28750 Bentong, PahangPrice: RM370 to RM4,200 per nightTel: +609 2330533Website: https://enderong.wixsite.com/enderongresortOne of the villas at the Waterway Villas in Bukit Tinggi (Photo by http://www.thewaterwayvilla.com/)17. The Waterway VillaAnother rainforest retreat near Kuala Lumpur is The Waterway Villa, which is also located in the Bukit Tinggi area of Pahang. This part of Bukit Tinggi is home to numerous retreats and resorts that cater to weekend escapes.Waterway Villa consist of five different types of villas where each of them represent a different type of materials. Choose from Balinese, Timber, Stone, Glass and Bamboo design villas as each one provides a different staying experience. The resort also comes with a common swimming pool.The catch is that you either visit on a weekday when the retreat is less crowded, or just book the entire place for your own function or event. Otherwise, you will be sharing the place with other visitors. Waterway VillaAddress: PT 21564,Bt. 7,Jalan Kuala Lumpur Lama, Bukit Tinggi, Bentong PahangPrice: RM400 to RM1,920 per nightTel: +60 3 3343 3888Website: http://www.thewaterwayvilla.com/Stand alone Plasid Villa in Seremban. (Photo by http://gan-lifewalker.blogspot.my)18. Plassid VillaLocated in the Pantai area of Seremban is the Plassid bungalow or villa, which is perfect for very small groups or travelers. This villa which is owned by Patrick, and is a stand alone unit that sits on a hill overlooking the beautiful natural landscapes.The villa is designed after a traditional 'Kampung House' that is also modern contemporary and simple. For accommodations, the villa comes with two bedrooms, eight beds and two baths with standard amenities.Privately owned, the owner takes the initiative to complete the villa with almost anything you can think off in terms of snacks or drinks. Locals from Kuala Lumpur take a quick weekend break here with friends or family to escape the busy city life. Plassid VillaAddress: Lot 3173 Pantai Hill Resort, Jalan Pantai Batu 8, Kg Orang Asli, Negeri SembilanPrice: RM1,200 per nightWebsite: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/3399685This is what some of the villa retreats look like inside. (Photo by http://www.casabrina.net/)What To Bring For Your Retreat or Getaway?Depending on which retreat you book, some of them only provide basic amenities while other will provide full service. You need to double check when booking. Most of them provide breakfast only and you can buy your own food to cook there or barbecue.Some retreats also provide fridges, complete kitchen utensils and storage spaces. As for snacks, it is always best to bring them as at nights, there are no places for you to buy them, so stock up if needed.As for mosquito's, these places are located in the rainforest and some places may have mosquito's so best to bring insect repellent. And if you plan to swim or go trekking or hiking, please bring the necessary attire for them.And finally, because these are purely nature retreats, please, I repeat, please do not throw your rubbish everywhere. Especially smokers, please use an ashtray or a makeshift one. We all know this reminds you of a hotel, where you can leave the place in a mess, but please practice good ethics at these places.Trekking to a waterfall at The Dusun (Photo by http://thedusun.com.my/)To be very honest, this list was specially created from reader request as many people want to know where they can find some nature resorts or retreats for a family getaway over the weekend from Kuala Lumpur. Personally, I am yet to visit any of these resorts to date. However, I have been to some of the most beautiful rainforest resorts of Malaysia since 2010 for my work, also for bird watching and wildlife watching activities. For the serious outdoor and nature lover, I would recommend Sabah as one of the best places for this kind of activity. And if you are looking for something totally different, read about my experiences visiting some of the most beautiful private island resorts in Malaysia, which I have stayed at. And you should know that there are also many different types of resorts found all over Malaysia. Hopefully soon, I will have the opportunity to visit some of the nature retreats, resorts or villas listed here to fully review them. Also if you know of any other weekend getaways that are rainforest or Eco related, do share them in the comment form below. I will look into them and list them here as long as they meet the criteria.
Wednesday 27th of December 2017 07:37:00 AM
- 10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia for 2018
For anyone planning to travel to this part of the world in 2018, here is a list of 10 places to visit in Southeast Asia, catered for all types of travelers. This part of the world has been one of the must-visit destinations for many years and this list highlights some of the best places for travelers. The countries in Southeast Asia consist of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and these places are seeing a huge increase in tourism in recent years.As I am a Malaysian, I personally have traveled to many of these countries for work and leisure and have found each of these places to offer their own uniqueness and identity. Therefore, I have decided to share some of these amazing places for anyone wanting to explore Southeast Asia. 10 Places to Visit in Southeast AsiaOne of the Tri-Color Lakes at Mount Kelimutu, Flores1. Indonesia - Flores, East Nusa Tenggara. Forget Bali and Lombok as Flores is one of the new Indonesian destinations that is raw and amazingly beautiful. Imagine an island that is just developing for tourism, that is what travellers seek nowadays, versus over-commercialized destinations. Even getting to Flores is an exciting journey, imagine what else is there for you. Most people that have visited Flores in the past generally headed to Komodo Island to see the majestic Komodo Dragons. But exploring further in Flores is a whole new world all together.More information can be seen at Indonesia Tourism or read my previous article on Things To Do in Flores which highlights some of the best places here.The incredible Sky Walk at Ulu Temburong in Brunei2. Brunei - Ulu Temburong National Park The Kingdom of Brunei offers Eco lovers one of the best national parks to explore which is the Ulu Temburong National Park. Located some two hours from Bandar Seri Begawan or BSB as the locals call it, the journey to the national park is a unique adventure where you need to travel by boat, van, long boat and then trek. There is only one nature resort called Ulu Ulu Resort (www.uluuluresort.com) in the park and the main highlight is no other than the Ulu Temburong Canopy Walk which stands at 50 meters tall and about 350 meters long.Nature lovers, jungle trekkers and bird watchers are the main clientele here. Explore pristine rainforest, jungle treks, boat rides and an escape from modernization here.View of the Bario Highlands in Sarawak 3. Malaysia - Bario Highlands, SarawakForget Penang Island, Kuala Lumpur or any other commercial destination in Malaysia if you want to experience something truly original and different in Malaysia. The Bario Highlands in Sarawak is my recommendation for places to visit in Malaysia in 2018.The main reason is that this remote highland village located some 1000 meters high is home to the ethnic highland people of Sarawak Borneo. There are no modern developments like convenient stores, banks, hotels, pharmacies or anything seen in most places. Everything here is as it was from back in the day. The journey here is also another adventure where you have to fly a small turbo propeller plane to get here and once here, you are back to basic. Explore traditional highland longhouses, do jungle trekking, visit paddy fields, take long picturesque walks and mingle with the local highland people are your main itineraries here. Bario is most definitely off Malaysia's beaten path and is highly recommended for pure travelers. You can also read about my journey to the Bario Highlands.The vibrant colors of Haji Lane in Singapore. Photo by www.clxreese.wordpress.com4. Singapore - Haji LaneThis is probably the most interesting lifestyle and hipster place in Singapore. More younger generation travelers are visiting this place than any other popular tourist destination on the island, mainly to take photographs and chill out here. This place is also one of the most Instagrammable places due to the vivid colors found along Haji Lane.There are numerous hipster and lifestyle cafes, trendy boutiques and a lot of opportunities to just chill out and relax while you are in Singapore. Haji Lane is also located in Kampung Glam, which caters to a lot of younger generation social media travelers.Ombak Sunset Sea Swings in Gili Trawangan5. Indonesia - Gili Trawangan IslandIf there is one island you should visit besides Bali, Gili Trawangan is the place to go to. Known as a backpackers paradise once, the chain if islands east of Lombok is now the flavor of the Millennial traveler.Social media is to blame as Gili Trawangan was one of the popular places where visitors came here to line up and take photos of the famous sea swings of Ombak Sunset. Yes, the Ombak Sunset sea swings are the original with many other beach resorts following and creating their own sea swings.Gili Trawangan is part of the Gili Islands with Gili Air and Gili Meno also being popular choices. On all three islands, there are no vehicles or motorbikes except for horse carriages and bicycle rentals. You can now imagine how beautiful this island and to get here, you need to travel from Lombok via boat or ferry only. Find out what else you can do in Gili Trawangan from my earlier article.Koh Lipe's pristine beaches6. Thailand - Koh Lipe IslandWith so many interesting places found all over Thailand, I am recommending Koh Lipe Island as a must-visit destination in Southern Thailand. The main reason behind this is purely because there are no vehicles allowed on the island and everyone simply walks all around.The island is part of the Tarutao National Park and is one of the perfect beach escapes. Other smaller island provide trekking, hiking, snorkeling and just exploring. Lipe is the main island where everyone stays at and the Lipe Walking street is the star of the island.Koh Lipe is only accessible via boats from either Pak Barra town or Langkawi Island. There are many basic accommodations to luxury boutique resorts found all over the island. In general, you can walk from one end to the other end in just 30 minutes. Learn how to go to Koh Lipe from my previous article.The incredible Bayon Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia7. Cambodia - Bayon, Siem ReapWell, Cambodia has always been on the radar of every traveler, it is Siem Reap that attracts the bulk of visitors. Many who visit the majestic Angkor Wat which is located just outside the city of Siem Reap, will know that this world-class tourist attraction is the epitome of temples.But beyond Angkor, lies the unique Bayon, the ultra rich Khmer temple where extra large heads of smiling faces dominate the temple grounds. For those who are into temples, Buddhism and historical cultures, Bayon and its surroundings are definitely a must-visit.And if you are a first time traveler, Siem Reap is hands down one of the places in Southeast Asia to visit in 2018. The trick to visiting Siem Reap is by doing it on a weekday and try to avoid weekends as it can really get over crowded with all kinds of tourist.One of the beautiful temples in Luang Prabang, Laos. Photo by https://www.zicasso.com/8. Laos - Luang PrabangThere is no doubt that Luang Prabang is the best place to visit in Laos as this UNESCO World Heritage Site has amazed the world since 2008. Until this very day, things are still as they were with no modern development and if you love all things monks, alms giving and traditional Lao culture, this is the place to visit in Laos for 2018. Tourism in Luang Prabang caters to all walks of life and some of the tours are quite Eco friendly where you visit traditional Lao villages, caves, river trips and even elephant riding. Just being around the main town area, you will have an amazing time exploring the many Buddhist temples and stupas.A must-visit is the Luang Prabang Night Market where local Hmong people gather on a nightly basis selling unique traditional craft, fabrics, art and silverware. For culture hunters, Luang Prabang is one of those must visit places, especially if you love non-commercialized tourism destinations.Hanoi's amazing Old Quarter. Photo by http://www.vietnam-guide.com9. Vietnam - HanoiMost travelers would recommend Sa Pa, Hoi An, Danang and Da Lat as places to visit, but this time around for 2018, I am recommending first timers to Vietnam to visit Hanoi. Over-rated? Perhaps, but for a first timer, Hanoi which is 1007 years old, holds a very rich historical, traditional and culinary experience that will impress any kind of traveler.Explore off-the-beaten-path places, streets, lanes around Hanoi and savor some of the unique Vietnamese foods from local hawkers and restaurants. Plus, the Hanoi Coffee is something that coffee aficionados or coffee travelers would love, especially tasting that world famous Weasel Coffee in Hanoi. The Hanoi Old Quarter should not be missed as it is here that you can explore freely to see the traditional businesses and also experience Hanoi old town area. A must-do for any traveler is to experience the Hanoi Beer Corner where you sit outside a corner shop on six inch stools and drink beer.For shoppers, Hanoi is pretty diverse with fashion and bags where they are sold mostly around the main city areas. And for something world class, take a overnight trip to the world famous Halong Bay.Magnificent Bagan in Myanmar. Photo by https://asiatourist.co10. Myanmar - BaganSince opening up to tourism not too long ago, Myanmar has been on many travelers wishlist and apart from the capital, Bagan is the place to visit in Myanmar due to the amazing scenic beauty that will mesmerize anyone who loves traditional cultures and landscapes.When you see photos of Myanmar, most of the time it is pictures of Bagan that is featured hence this is the best place to explore when you visit this part of Indochina.This is one place that I am yet to visit but I have put it down based on travelers recommendations and also a schoolmate of mine who is currently working in Myanmar. Hopefully in 2018, I will find the opportunity to explore Myanmar or Burma. The unique Manggarai people of FloresThe above list of 10 places to visit in Southeast Asia was compiled purely by me and the opinions and recommendations are my own and not endorsed by anyone or any tourism board. I have personally been to most of these places in my field of travel work and have experienced these places therefore, they are written based on a general approach towards all kinds of travelers.To see more photos of my travels, you can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter under the name Malaysia Asia. With social travel growing tremendously, more people are embracing these platforms to learn and share travel information. If you have any questions, feedback or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you. Of all the places listed above, I have one last bucket list which is to visit Bagan in Myanmar to complete my 10 Places to Visit in Southeast Asia for 2018.
Wednesday 20th of December 2017 03:47:00 AM
- Zouk Genting Opening in 2018
News travels fast when it comes to entertainment tourism in Kuala Lumpur, and the hottest news in town is about the new Zouk Genting opening in 2018. The top entertainment club in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore is now opening in Genting Highlands, Pahang. Zouk Genting will be the highest club in Malaysia as Genting Highlands is located at a height of 1,865 meters or 6,118 feet above sea level. This mountain entertainment resort is also home to the only casino in Malaysia, a series of three to five star hotels, an entertainment hub and a soon to come world class theme park.In the last few years, news of the first 20th Century Fox Theme Park in Malaysia is to open in Genting Highlands by 2018. With Zouk Genting combined together, this will definitely make Genting the place to visit in Malaysia. When is Zouk Genting Opening? Clubbers at Zouk Singapore. (Photo by Zouk Singapore)No official date has been announced, but from other lifestyle sources, it is stated that Zouk Genting will open in mid year around June of 2018. Again, this is not official and as of 15th December 2017, there has been no official news on this. While Genting Highlands is touted to be one of the top entertainment destinations for tourism and leisure in 2018, the opening of Zouk Genting is definitely adding strong credibility to this highland resort destination. Zouk is a household name in the youth circle, namely for bringing in world renown DJ's to perform and for some of their incredible events. With the opening of Zouk Genting, you can be sure that they will be bringing in some of the Top 10 DJ's in the world for the grand opening. Stay tuned for official announcements of this as when I get the information, I will share it here. One thing is for sure, you can expect Zouk to bring the 'Dare to be different' concept to Genting. What is Zouk Genting?Zouk is a well known brand when it comes to nightlife and entertainment in Singapore and Malaysia. In 2015, Genting Hong Kong bought over the Zouk brand in a tactical move to incorporate the brand into their lifestyle and entertainment business. Zouk Genting is slated to be one of the classiest clubs created, offering a 4-in-1 concept for clubbers, with a special day club area that has a swimming pool facing the 20th Century Fox theme park. For sound and lighting, you can expect the best in the world as Genting has brought in the top sound architects and lighting specialist people from Las Vegas. In a bid to strengthen themselves with the opening of the first 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia and the world, Zouk Genting will be one of the highlights targeted toward the millennial traveler visiting here. Announcement by RedTail GentingRed Tail Bar GentingAnother supporting concept by Zouk is also the Red Tail Bar, which is a unique gaming concept bar that is scheduled to open on 19th January 2018 here at Genting Highlands. Red Tail Bar in Genting will provide not only drinks by a series of entertainment games such as beer pong, X-Box consoles, arcade games, pool, Jenga, electronic darts and live sport with occasional live music. This concept bar is targeted towards the lifestyle consumers that head up the highlands. Red Tail Genting is sized around 4,300 square feet and can accommodate around 150 people. It will also be located just next to the Zouk Day Club Pool. Zouk at Sea, on Genting Dream Cruise Ship (Photo by Genting High Life Magazine)Genting Owns Zouk Yes, if you did not already know, Genting Hong Kong bought over Zouk in late 2015 in a very interesting acquisition. With that, they have incorporated the Zouk brand into some of their businesses. Zouk at Sea is one of them, which is on their latest cruise ship called Genting Dream. They have incorporated Zouk into the 18 deck, 3,352 passenger ship that promises a cruise to remember. Imagine going on a cruise with some of the top DJ's in the world. One word - Epic! Zouk Genting LocationLower Ground, Sky AvenueResorts World GentingGenting Highlands,Pahang, MalaysiaA scene inside Zouk. Photo by ZoukTo find out more about what is happening in Resort Worlds Genting, you can check out the High Life Magazine by Genting. They have a digital version on what is happening in terms of entertainment and lifestyle. Zouk is also set to venture into international countries with more outlets to open. One of the much talked about is Zouk Las Vegas, while the other being Zouk at Sea, which is operated by Genting Dream.Till then, we can all wait for the Zouk Genting opening in 2018 which is scheduled for somewhere in June. For lifestyle and partying tourist to Malaysia, this will be one of the must not miss places to visit.
Friday 15th of December 2017 09:21:00 AM
- 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia Opening
While the news in December 2017 is all about Disney buying over 21st Century Fox, this does not impact the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia opening in any way. Construction is still on going and the big question is when will the nee Genting theme park open? In previous press releases earlier this year, the group has stated that the new 20th Century Fox World Theme Park in Malaysia will open somewhere in early 2018. According to visitors who have recently been there, construction is around 60% and far from being ready. The main image above is from Rookie Drone who beautifully captured Genting Highlands from a drone photograph. 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia OpeningWith this comes a lot of speculation on the actual opening date of the new 20th Century Fox World theme park here in Malaysia. There has been no official press statements done in a very long time by the developers and owners. The last big hype was stated by mainstream news portals and papers in Malaysia where it was mentioned that the official opening in 2017 was pushed to early 2018. Many were hoping that the new theme park would open before or during the 2018 Chinese New Year period.One of the watchdogs that have been keeping updates through their forums is ThemeParx who has been posting latest of photos from people who recently visited Genting Highlands. However, even they do not have any solid answers on the opening. A photo of the 20th Century Fox World theme park construction taken in October 2017 by Danny YapWhen is the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia Opening? Since there has been no official announcement made, I am also joining in the speculation race that it will be late in 2018 or perhaps even in early 2019. Judging from the construction seen in recent photos for December 2017, the site looks like it is only 60% completed. There is still a lot of work needed to be done, which looks like it will not be ready for the early 2018 opening. The overall construction is massive as you can see from the main photo above. Those visiting Genting Highlands using the new Awana Skyway gondola cable car will have the opportunity to see the ongoing construction. This can be seen just before reaching the end. One news portal ran a statement by the Genting Berhad Group which quoted;Resorts World Genting casino resort ? also known as Genting Highlands ? is currently undergoing an extensive revamp.The project ? dubbed the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP) ? was launched in December 2013. It is a multi-phase initiative described as a 10-year, MYR10-billion (US$2.45-billion) master plan. The Malaysian property has already opened several new facilities and attractions. There will also be progressive openings for new mall and for new casino areas. Genting Malaysia said last month it was ?looking forward to the roll out? of a 20th Century Fox World Theme Park at Resorts World Genting, as well as to the opening of a new indoor theme park in 2018, as part of the GITP.Disney Buys 21st Century Fox in December 2017The hottest business news in December 2017 is that the Disney Group has bought 21st Century Fox for a whopping USD$52.4 billion. This however, does not directly affect the 20th Century Fox Theme Parks and no, it is not going to be renamed to Disney Malaysia Theme Park.You should also know that there are some Malaysian bloggers who may toy around with this idea, just to get people to click on their links. Some bloggers even go to the extent in copying or re-writing articles that I cover on tourism news, which is quite sad. Construction of Ice Age World at Genting. (Photo by unknown Instragram user)ConclusionAs mentioned, there is no official statement being released and everything now is just plain speculation. One contributor stated that the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park will only open its doors to the public once 80%-90% is confirmed completed.The most common question being asked by general consumers is when is the Genting new theme park opening? Seems like no one can answer this question for now until Genting Berhad makes an official announcement. As for the developers and owners, it is a smart move that they have not made any official announcement previously as it would have been a hot in the food and bad publicity. Especially if they kept on postponing the opening.For the lifestyle travelers, you should also take note that Southeast Asia's top club Zouk is opening in Genting Highlands at the Sky Avenue Mall in 2018. This will be the highest club in Malaysia at 6000 feet above sea level. While all this is happening, we can patiently wait for news on the 20th Century Fox World Theme Park Malaysia opening. Till then, you can also look forward to the new Desaru Coast project which is scheduled to open somewhere in 2018.
Friday 15th of December 2017 04:39:00 AM
- Kuching New Darul Hana Bridge
In November 2017, the New Darul Hana Bridge was officially opened to the people and tourist in Kuching, Sarawak. This is a new tourism product and will be one of the main highlights of the Waterfront in Kuching city.The new Kuching bridge links the Waterfront area to the former State Legislative Assembly building. It also passes the Botanic Gardens and Orchid Garden to the iconic Fort Margherita and the present State Legislative Assembly Complex across the river.The new Darul Hana Bridge in Kuching at the WaterfrontDarul Hana Bridge in KuchingCosting around RM35 Million, the S-shaped bridge is a total of 335 meters long and contains elements of ethnic traditional Sarawakian designs and motifs. One of the prominent features is that the bridge looks like a futuristic Bidayuh bamboo bridge. There are two towers that support the bridge with steel cables, where the towers resemble a Hornbill tower. There is also a meaning to the new bridge which is "Home to Peace and Tranquillity".The name Darul Hana also comes from the states old history, where the Sultan Tengah had given the state and official name of Sarawak Darul Hana.Previously, if anyone wanted to cross over the other side of the river, they needed to use the local river taxi or 'penambang' boat. This has been a normal daily thing for the locals who cross daily to get to work and back.A view of Kuching's new bridge across the Sarawak RiverWhen Did The Darul Hana Bridge Open? The new bridge was officially opened on 11th November 2017 by Sarawak Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud. A massive display of fireworks was part of the opening ceremony for the people of Sarawak.This project was started in August 2013 where the objective was also to connect the northern part of Kuching with the southern part. The bridge will also add on as part of the Kuching Waterfront. The bridge is also designed and constructed by local company PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd.Now, the Darul Hana Bridge will become a new icon for Kuching and Sarawak, as it stands majestically over the Sarawak River. It is also being promoted as a tourist product, where heritage trails can be conducted using the bridge to get across.The new Kuching bridge is located at the end of Jalan Main Bazaar, where the Sarawak Handicraft Center is located. From there, you can just walk across to the other side and see some of the historical monuments and buildings of old Sarawak.
Monday 11th of December 2017 01:40:00 PM
- Best Places for Day Trips Out of Kuala Lumpur
If you are wondering what are the best places for day trips out of Kuala Lumpur, I have compiled a list for you here. This is perfect for those who want to venture out of Kuala Lumpur or KL city, especially when you have extra days to spend here.This list is also great for those on a business trip to KL as you can even consider seeing some of the beautiful places out of Kuala Lumpur which are closer. With today's technology, most of the popular places are easily found using applications like Waze or Google Maps. If you are self driving, you can simply get a local Sim Card in Kuala Lumpur and use your smartphone to guide you to these places. Best Places For Day Trips Out Of Kuala LumpurBelow are a list of places that you can take a day trip out of Kuala Lumpur and be back in the evening. Most of the trips below can be either booked through a tour company or by renting a car and self driving to the places.Batu Caves is one of the most popular destinations just out of Kuala LumpurBatu Caves Day TripThis is probably the most easiest and popular place for a day trip out of Kuala Lumpur. Located about 20-30 minutes drive from KL is one of the most fascinating cave temples in the world where you get to visit an amazing place and workout at the same time.272 steps lead uphill towards a Hindu cave temple while at the foot, one of the largest Hindu statues in the world awaits you.You can take public transport here using the KL Commuter Train from KL Sentral, self drive here or take a Batu Caves Tour Package from the many travel companies in KL city. Best to go in the mornings as the weather is good.If you have the opportunity, do try the local Malaysian Indian restaurants there. Tip - Watch out for the stray monkeys as they tend to grab food if you are holding it.Travel Time: About 20-30 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 2-4 HoursWhat to See: Hindu Cave Temple, Lord Murugan Gold Statue, Art Cave and Hanuman Statue.Genting Highlands currently being renovated for the all new 20th Century Fox World Theme ParkGenting Highlands Day TripA popular day trip destination from Kuala Lumpur is no other than Genting Highlands as it is only about 60 minutes drive up, before you take the Awana Skyway cable car to the peak. Genting Highlands has also re-branded itself as Resorts World Genting in the last few years and is one of the top entertainment tourism spots in Malaysia.The much talked about 20th Century Fox World Genting theme park, which is the first in the world will also be opened in early 2018 and currently, the existing theme park is closed. The main attraction of Genting is the cool mountain climate accompanied with an entertainment city that houses Malaysia's only casino and largest hotel in the world. There are public buses, taxis and tour companies that provide transport to Genting Highlands.Travel Time: About 60 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 4-10 HoursWhat to See: Resorts World, Indoor Theme Park, Casino, Gardens.Berjaya Hills is also known as Bukit Tinggi and is a popular place for a day tripBerjaya Hills Day TripAnother highlands after Genting is Berjaya Hills, which is less crowded and about 750 meters high. Formerly known as Bukit Tinggi, this hill has one main resort and a very unique French themed town which replicates a traditional French village.This place is great for families who love outdoors and nature as there is much to explore here in terms of simple walking and trekking. A recommended place is to visit the Japanese Garden here.There are some tour companies that offer packages to Berjaya Hills but this place is best visited on your own, meaning you should rent a car and self drive up here. However, if your expectations are high, then it is best to visit Genting Highlands. Berjaya Hills is a very mellow place compared to Genting.Travel Time: About 80 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 5-8 HoursWhat to See: Colmar Tropicale French Town, Japanese Garden, Rabbit Farm, Trekking.Malaysia's most famous Canopy Walk at Taman Negara National ParkTaman Negara Day TripWho would have thought you could do a day trip to Taman Negara? Yes, you can do so by leaving at 8.30am and returning back to KL city by 9pm. Generally, it is a full day activity if you do this on a day trip.Malaysia's oldest national park is accessible and for day trippers, you can experience the rainforest canopy walk, river cruise, visit the orang asli village and experience the beautiful rainforest here. Taman Negara is Malaysia's premier national park and highly recommended for anyone who loves the rainforest and nature.The best way to travel to Taman Negara is also by using the day tours offered from Kuala Lumpur. Alternatively, you can also op for some of the many tour packages for Taman Negara, depending on how long you want to stay here.One of the recommended travel companies is Ivy Holidays who operates a tour counter in Kompleks Selangor in Petaling Street. They run daily transfers to Taman Negara at 8.30 AM.Travel Time: About 4-5 hours one wayTotal Time to Spend: 12-14 HoursWhat to See: Canopy Walk, River Cruise, Native Village, 130 Million Old Rainforest.Sekinchan is well known for their Paddy fields and beautiful landscapesSekinchan Day TripA more unique landscape and photography destination is the area of Sekinchan in Selangor where a majority of millennial travelers are heading too as a lifestyle destination. Generally, Sekinchan offers vast rice fields or Paddy Fields for photography and an old town filled with character and charm.From what I know, there are mainly homegrown attractions here like local seafood, restaurants temples and there are no official tours being sold, therefore you need to arrange this by self driving there or booking a private tour here. Travel Time: About 120 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 6-8 HoursWhat to See: Paddy Fields, Old Malaysian Chinese towns, great food.The Old Town of Ipoh is best explored on foot. Photo by www.lonelyplanet.comIpoh Day TripOne of the less visited cities is Ipoh, in the bordering state of Perak and just north of Kuala Lumpur. Ipoh was one a thriving city as it was known as a tin miners town, rich with cultural and historical influences.There are quite a number of places to visit in Ipoh and one full day would just make half of the list. Ipoh was listed in Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 places to visit in Asia for 2017. For those travelling with kids, there is the Ipoh Lost World theme park and possibly to be opened in mid to late 2017, the new Movie Animation Park Studios or MAPS Ipoh. Those seeking a unique wellness getaway, check out The Banjaran Hot Springs Resort.Other well known attractions include Kong Heng Square, Sam Po Tong Cave Temple, the main Ipoh Old Town area and the amazing Ipoh food. Tour to Ipoh are sold by some companies or you can self drive or even take the ETS Train service to Ipoh from Kuala Lumpur. Travel Time: About 120 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 6-10 HoursWhat to See: Heritage Buildings, Ipoh Old Town, Railway Stations, Cave Temples, Ipoh Night Bazaar.Melaka's Red Square is the epicenter of tourismMelaka Day TripOne of the most popular day trips out of Kuala Lumpur is no other than a visit to historical Melaka city. Located about 90 minutes from KL, you can easily spend a full day in Melaka as there is much to see and do here.From popular Jonker Street which is lined with interesting shops, to centuries old historical sites, there is a little of everything for any traveler visiting here. One of the fun things to do in Melaka is also taking the river cruise and also going up the Tamingsari Tower.Melaka is also well known for its Peranakan Culture and a must try is the popular Melaka food which can be found at many places. Travel Time: About 90 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 5-8 HoursWhat to See: Too much. Lots of history, attractions and great food here.Kuala Selangor boasts of historical tourism which dates back hundreds of yearsKuala Selangor Day TripA must for anyone who wants to see the famous Kuala Selangor Fireflies. This old area of Selangor also provides a good cultural and heritage experience, especially at Bukit Malawati where the old lighthouse is located on a hill by a fort.Other things to do include visiting the fishing town of Kuala Selangor where you can see the locals going about their daily chores. End the day with a Malaysian seafood dinner at any of the local restaurants here. As the firefly tours start about 7.00 PM, it is recommended you head to Bukit Malawati in the morning and then explore the local fishing villages before going for the firefly tour, and then end the night with a seafood dinner. There are daily Firefly Tours in Kuala Selangor sold around Kuala Lumpur city or you can even self drive here with a rented car. Travel Time: About 120-140 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 6-10 HoursWhat to See: Fireflies, Lighthouse, Fishing Villages, Temples, Seafood RestaurantsPort Dickson is developing at a rapid rate to cater to tourismPort Dickson Day TripMalaysia's oldest beach destination which is still being frequented by locals, Port Dickson offers a super long stretch of beaches for around 12 miles. Attractions here include Avani Gold Coast, a resort in the shape of a palm tree (Like the Dubai Palm), Lexis Hibiscus, a new resort in the shape of a hibiscus flower over water, lots of beaches and a few interesting tourism spots. Some tour companies offer daily tours to Port Dickson or you can self drive here from Kuala Lumpur. Travel Time: About 90 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 5-8 HoursWhat to See: Beaches, Lighthouse, Lexis Hibiscus, Avani Gold Coast, Old Port Dickson Town.The man made Putrajaya administrative capital of Malaysia, just 45 minutes from Kuala LumpurPutrajaya Day TripA visit to Malaysia's administrative capital is a must for anyone who wants to see the best modern governmental architecture. Putrajaya is also an easy drive as many highways lead here and road signs are good.Apart from administrative buildings, there is the Putrajaya Wetlands, botanical garden, lakeside and many other interesting places. Many tour companies sell Putrajaya day tours and if you are adventurous enough, rent a car and self drive here. Travel Time: About 40-60 minutes one wayTotal Time to Spend: 3-6 HoursWhat to See: Putrajaya Mosque, Wetlands, Boulevard, Bridges.Sometimes, tourist just want to get out of the cityIf there are any other places that deserves to be mentioned in this list, please do let me know. Generally, the best way to explore outside of Kuala Lumpur would be to take a professional tour companies service as you will save much time, but at times, tour companies want to make a fast buck, which in return, provides average services.Therefore, many travelers nowadays prefer to explore on their own by taking public transport, renting a car or even relying on services like Uber and Grab to move around and search for the best places for day trips out of Kuala Lumpur.
Thursday 7th of December 2017 04:00:00 AM
- Matta Travel Fair 2018 Promotions
Malaysians are now well traveled and this Matta Travel Fair 2018 promotions article is for those who are planning to travel locally or around the world. The Matta Fair is also Malaysia's largest travel fair that is held twice a year on a massive scale here at the Putra World Trade Centre or PWTC in Kuala Lumpur. So, what is the Matta Travel Fair 2018 promotions all about? Well, at the upcoming travel fair this 17-19 March, consumers will be coming here to get the best and cheapest travel packages being offered by hundreds of travel agents from around Malaysia.The beauty about the Matta Fair is that you can get incredible bargains to almost anywhere in Malaysia or around the world. The catch? You just need to do a lot of walking around and asking questions during the fair. Travel agents giving out Matta promotionsMatta Travel Fair 2018 Promotions and DiscountsA very Malaysian thing, where consumers are always on the lookout for discounts and promotions for just about anything, even travelling has entered this game.People flock to the travel fair in KL just to browse and shop for travel packages that are being offered on huge discounts. Well, not every destination is cheap, but common tourist destinations are usually on promotions. Over 100,000 people will attend this fair which is spread over three days and at any one time, there are thousands of people walking around and enquiring with travel agents and tourism boards. This has been a phenomena for the last decade and has changed how Malaysians travel.Gone are the good old days of walking into a travel agent to book your tours. Nowadays, people just book them online or wait for the Matta Fair.Local travel package deals from Sabah Tourism Board booth at Matta FairMatta Fair Promotions are usually offered for popular destinations where there is a huge volume of visitors to that place. In return, tourism operators there can offer better deals in terms of tours, packages and even hotel accommodations.This is then translated into travel packages with massive discounts that are sold during the Matta Fairs. Well, this is just one of the promo factors and there are many more. The types of promotions also come in various forms of travel, which are;Full Board Packages - Everything from flight, transport, food, rooms and attraction are included. Half Board Packages - Almost everything is included.Ground Packages - Only the hotel room or transfers is provided.Series Group - Fixed schedule departures. The dates are locked and you travel on those dates.Cruise Packages - Local and International Cruise PackagesCheap Travel Promotions at Matta Fair 2018Most consumers tend to go for cheap travel packages at Matta Fair 2018, but the reality is that sometimes, cheap does not mean good quality.Depending on the type of travel a person or family chooses, it can range from short vacations to long holidays. However, the majority or mass would be going for the mid range or three to five days. While prices are sometimes unbelievable, you need to double check with the tour agents about what is offered in the package. You should also read this article about the Matta Fair Tips and Tricks as it highlights almost everything you need to know. From the travel codes to what kind of packages are sold.Matta Fair Hall LayoutSo, depending on where you want to visit, the options are many. You just need to know which section on the Matta Fair you need to be at. In total, there are four main halls and one mezzanine floor above hall one, and each of these halls cater to different regions. They are;The main International Hall at Matta FairHall One - International Hall (Worldwide)This is where you will find all the international travel packages and tour agents that sell worldwide tour packages. You will also find the major tourism boards like Japan Tourism who will be focusing heavily on visiting Tokyo.The Tokyo Booth at Matta Fair will be offering much information about one of the most sought after destinations. So, if you plan to visit Japan, Korea, Europe or other international destinations, this would be a good place to start. Hall One - Mezzanine Floor (Upstairs)Here, you will find the main stage for the Matta Fair 2017, where all the activities and shows take place. Also, the food and beverage area is located up here too. There are toilets, a nursing room and a surau for prayers.In one area, you will also find travel agents that are selling the Muslim Umrah Packages or Haj Packages. You can use the escalator to go up on one end of the hall or use the stairs at the food and beverage area.Entrance to the International Hall 2 at Matta FairHall Two - International Hall (Worldwide and Smaller Hall)Hall 2 also provides tour agents that sell worldwide tours, but the hall is a little smaller than the main hall one. Generally, Hall 2 offers only travel agents. Most of the reputable and larger companies occupy this hall. Hall Three - ASEAN HallThis hall provides all the travel agents that sell ASEAN country tours. You will also find the ASEAN Tourism Boards in this hall and among them are Indonesia Tourism, Nepal, Cambodia and the Philippines. Indonesia Tourism will be the largest booth with a lot being offered. You will find other companies like Star Cruises, Royal Caribbean and some local hotel operators.Entrance to the domestic hall or Malaysia Hall at Matta FairHall Four - Malaysian Domestic HallFor any local travel in Malaysia, this is the main hall where you will find all the local travel packages and local tourism boards like Sabah Tourism, Sarawak Tourism, Langkawi Tourism and Terengganu Tourism.Malaysian theme park operators are also found here, like Legoland Malaysia, Sunway Lost World, Angry Birds Activity Park and some other hotels as well. Please note, if you visit the Malaysia Hall, you will not be able to buy any ASEAN travel packages or International travel packages. The halls are divided into sections for this therefore, you need to go to the hall that sells the packages you want. Meaning, if you want to buy a Tokyo Travel Package at Matta Fair, you need to go to Hall 1 & 2. Some of the halls attract plenty of visitors due to cheap travel promotionsMost Popular Tour Packages at Matta Fair You may be wondering what are the most popular tour packages at the Matta Fair? Over the years, Malaysians have been travelling all over the world and a huge thanks goes to the budget airlines that have changed travel.Players like AirAsia, AirAsia X, Malindo and FireFly have been aggressively promoting cheap airline tickets at Matta Fair where consumers will buy the flight tickets from the airline, and then buy the ground only package from the travel agent. This goes to say, where ever the airline runs a promotion, that is where the consumer will decide on going. So, places like Bali, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Taiwan, Korea and Japan have been very popular destinations.Matta Fair is held for three days and offers all kinds of travel promotionsUsually, the airlines will run special promotions in conjunction with the Matta Fair and offer discounts to various destinations. Japan is one of the top performing destinations due to many Malaysians wanting to visit this fascinating country. Most of the popular Japan travel packages include Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido as AirAsia X flies to these three destinations. Recent news in February about AirAsia X flights to Hawaii in the USA has also gained much interest from many Malaysians as this would be the cheapest airline to offer flights to the US.This opens up a whole new destination as Hawaii has always been one of the top island destinations in the world. From Hawaii, you can easily connect to west coast USA, to places like Los Angeles and San Francisco.Airline tickets are always on promotion at the Matta FairMatta Fair March 2018Date: 9-11 MarchVenue: PWTC, Kuala LumpurTime: 10.00 AM to 9.00 PMTickets: RM4.00 per entryFinally, if you still need more information, read Matta Fair Malaysia - 10 Questions Answered, which could be of much help for first timers to this massive travel fair here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Other than that, you need to go to the fair and see for yourself on what Matta Travel Fair 2018 promotions are being offered.
Tuesday 5th of December 2017 05:48:00 AM
- Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 Winners
A total of 35 awards were given out for this years Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 Winners. The prestigious tourism appreciation event was held on the 2nd December at the Sutera Harbor in Kota Kinabalu. The Sabah Tourism Awards are also a tribute to individuals and organizations that have excelled and contributed to the development of tourism and hospitality in Sabah for 2015/2016. These industry awards are also held once every two years. The awards night was officiated by Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, who took the opportunity to mention that the ministry had recorded almost 3 million tourist arrivals up to November 2017.Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun also mentioned that beginning Dec 20, a new airline, Batik Air Indonesia will commence direct flights between Jakarta and Kota Kinabalu. Sabah will also see direct flights from Chengdu, Changsha and Tianjin starting 2018 while the ministry will be focusing on Rural Tourism in Sabah for the same year. The Sabah Tourism Awards - A Tribute to ExcellenceSabah Tourism Awards 2017 WinnersWith over 50+ nominations from 13 categories, winners were selected from a panel of judges that took a couple of months of intense judging. Below is the list of this years winners. Best Tourism Attraction-Nature in SabahWinner: Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Best Tourism Attraction-Non- Nature/Man-made in SabahWinner: Mari Mari Cultural Village Dr. Wong Siew Te accepting the Best Tourism Attraction for NatureBest 5 Star Hotel in SabahWinner: Shangri-La?s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa Best 3-4 Star Hotel in SabahWinner: Ming Garden Hotel & ResidencesBest 2 Star and below Hotel in SabahWinner: Hotel Sixty3 Best Nature Lodge in SabahWinner: Borneo Nature LodgeBest Homestay in SabahWinner: Koposizon Homestay PaparBest Dive Resort in SabahWinner: Sipadan Mabul Resort Water BungalowSabah's Most Improved Wholesaler AwardBest Tour Operator in SabahBest Inbound (Malaysia/Sabah) Tour OperatorWinner: Amazing Borneo Tours & Events Sdn BhdBest Overseas Tour OperatorChina: Century Holiday International Travel Service Co. LtdTaiwan: Comfort Travel Services Co. Ltd/ Cola TourKorea: Modetour Network Inc.Japan: H.I.S. Co. Japan Most Improved WholesalerWinner: GuangDong China Women International Travel Services Co. Ltd (China)Best Inbound Tour PackageWinner: 3D2N Bird Watching Tour at Kinabatangan (Kinabatangan Jungle Camp)Best MICE ContributorWinner: Sounds Tech Production Sdn Bhd Best Tour Guide in SabahWinner: Napoleon Bin Dimus (Borneo Rainforest Lodge)Most Promising Tour Guide in SabahWinner: Mohd. Shirou R. Lerado (S.I Tours)Carol West receiving the award for Best Tourism ArticleBest Tourism Article Published in MalaysiaWinner: Heart of Conservation by Ryan Goh (New Straits Times)Best Tourism Article Published OverseasWinner: Reefs, Wrecks & Barracudas by Carol West (Silkwinds)Best TV Programme on Sabah Produced in MalaysiaNo Winner: Submissions did not meet criteriaBest TV Programme on Sabah Produced OverseasNo Winner: Submissions did not meet criteriaBest Online Media for this years STA17Best Online Media for SabahWinner: Once in a Life Time: Conquer Mt. Kinabalu Summit by Potchara KreangkredBest Restaurant ? Hotel/ResortWinner: Naan-Flavours of India, Shangri-La?s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa Best Restaurant ? Stand AloneWinner: Hokkaido Sakagura RestaurantBest Shopping Complex in Sabah Winner: IMAGO Shopping MallBest Night Spot Experience in SabahWinner: Shamrock Irish Bar, Waterfront Best Spa in Sabah - Stand AloneWinner: Helen Beauty ReflexologyBest Spa in Sabah - Hotel/ResortWinner: CHI, The Spa, Shangri-La?s Tanjung Aru Resort & SpaAirAsia receives the Best Partner Airline for MalaysiaBest Partner Airlines for SabahForeign Based Winners1. China Southern Airlines (China) 2. Eastar Jet (Korea)3. Spring Airlines (China)Malaysia Based WinnersWinner: AirAsia Robert Lo receives the Minister Special AwardsBest Community Based Tourism Initiative for Rural Winner: Padas Farmstay, TenomBest Golfing Experience in SabahWinner: Dalit Bay Golf and Country ClubMinister Special AwardsRecipient : Kadamaian Tourism AssociationRecipient : Robert LoWinners from the previous Sabah Tourism Awards under the media categoryThis years Sabah Tourism Awards theme was masquerade and the awards was a black tie and evening dress with sit down dinner. In between the awards, special performances by local artist entertained guests. 2017 is also Malaysia's awards year where the Sarawak Hornbill Awards and Tourism Malaysia Awards are being held for the previous years work. Once again, I would like to congratulate all the Sabah Tourism Awards 2017 Winners. For the full list of winners and nominees, head over to the Sabah Tourism Awards website. And if you have not visited Sabah, I highly recommend you do so.
Sunday 3rd of December 2017 10:14:00 AM
- What to do in Alor Island
For anyone heading to this part of Indonesia, I have come up with a list of what to do in Alor Island based purely on my experience here in September 2017. Well, Alor Island is not your regular tourism destination, so the information is quite crucial for anyone heading here. Alor Island is actually well known for scuba diving but after my visit here, I managed to compile a list of things to do in Alor Island for just about any other traveler. You must know that there is only one main town on the island called Kalabahi and probably 90% of the people here do not speak English.There are no modern buildings, cafes, malls, Starbucks or what you usually find at popular tourism destinations. This is the real kind of Indonesia that some travelers want to experience.One of the iconic structures at Alor Island, East Nusa TenggaraWhat to do in Alor Island?I will be very honest as during my four days on Alor Island in East Nusa Tenggara, I managed to do some other things besides scuba diving. I wish I had more time to explore this beautiful island too.For those who love to explore the unexplored, Alor Island is a great place for this, considering this is one of the least visited places around this region. I have compiled a list of things to do in Alor Island is in no order below.Takpala Village, one of the highlights of Alor Island1. Visit Takpala VillageTakpala Village is a traditional Alornese tribe that lives on a hill. They are probably the only tourist friendly attraction on the island where you can visit with a tour. You most definitely need a tour guide as no one in the village speaks any English, hence the translation is needed. To visit Takpala Village, it is about 30 minutes drive from Kalabahi and arrangements need to be made by the tour company. Here, you will witness the traditional lifestyle of the Abui tribe of Alor Island.The beautiful clear waters for scuba diving in Alor Island2. Scuba Diving at Alor IslandMost of you will be visiting Alor for scuba diving as it is probably the main and only attraction here. Scuba diving at Alor Island will allow you to see one of Indonesia's best dive spots.The underwater landscape is rich with marine life and comes with crystal clear visibility. For macro and leisure divers, you will be in for a treat of your life when you dive here at Alor.A photo taken with a GoPro during one of my dives at Alor IslandDiving at Alor can be done by staying on land or with a live on board. However, for my trip, we used a live on board boat for our daily diving, but stayed at the only hotel on the island which is Pulo Alor Hotel. You can find out about the dive sites in Alor Island for those interested.For those of you who want to experience cold water diving and with crystal clear visibility, I highly recommend this place. I have a Alor Island scuba diving trip report based on the few days of diving here. It has photos taken underwater and an overall review of the place.The local Bubu Fishermen of Alor Island with their huge bamboo fish traps3. See the Alor 'Bubu' FishermenOne of the uniqueness of the Alor fishermen is the fact that they can dive deep underwater with only their handmade wooden goggles. These are called the Bubu Fishermen of Alor, where Bubu means bamboo fish trap.These Bubu fish traps are massive, ranging around one to two meters in length. They are brought down underwater by the diving fishermen and placed there to catch whatever goes in. The fish caught are consumed by the locals and not commercially sold.Seeing the Bubu Fishermen of Alor in action is one of the highlights when you go scuba diving around here. If you are lucky, chances are that you may come across them at one of the dive sites of Alor.A sea bird with its catch spotted at Alor Island4. Bird Watching in Alor IslandThis is for those who are into bird watching as Alor is home to quite a number of island birds, sea birds and land birds. As an amateur bird watcher, I must have spotted at least 20-30 species of birds during my trip here.I think there are probably no bird guides available on Alor Island, therefore you need to engage one from Labuan Bajo or Kupang. Birding here is relatively new, as there are no proper guide books on this. I use the general Indonesia birds guide book.The Cantik Homestay at Alor Island5. Experience an Alornese HomestayFor the culture lover, you can book a homestay on the island in Kalabahi and there are a few of them around. This will allow you to get to know the local Alornese people, their cultures and eat local food.Most of the homestays in Alor cater to tourist and also local travelers, and they speak decent English. The rooms are basic and decent while the local home cooked meals are worth the experience. I had the pleasure of visiting a homestay and having dinner there, twice too.Locals at Pasar Kadelang Market in Alor Island6. Explore the Local Alor MarketThis wet and dry market in Kalabahi known as Pasar Kadelang (Kadelang Market) is pretty raw and original. Therefore, if you are the type that enjoys a proper market, give this a miss. At the local 'Pasar Kalabahi' or Kalabahi market, you will see how daily life revolves among the Alornese people.The market sells a variety of local home grown produce, dry goods, fish and meats and some of the local Alor snacks and cakes. These are the ones to try, especially the local Alor pop corn. People are friendly and smile when you smile at them here.Mike, Nick and Olly try betel nut chewing at the Pasar Kadelang market in Alor Island7. Try Chewing Betel Nut in Alor IslandOne thing that is on your must-try list at Pasar Kadelang is the Betel Nut or Areca Nut, which is a popular habit among the locals. The Betel Nut is chewed with the leaf and is one of the very unique strange food or customs in this part of the world.The taste can be exhilarating and out of this world, but it is an experience of a lifetime. If you are a food lover, this is hands down a mist-try thing. To do this, you need to engage a local guide to bring you around here.Inside the Museum Seribu Moko in Kalabahi. Photo by https://backpackerjakarta.com8. Visit the Museum 1000 MokoI wanted to see this place but time did not permit me, hence I will still list it down here. Located in Kalabahi, this Alor Island museum showcases the diverse culture of the Alor people and their old traditions.The museum is also called Museum Seribu Moko or 1000 Moko Museum and gets its name from the Moko jar which represents an important Alornese cultural object. Among the items on display, you will find traditional looms, woven fabrics, pottery, fishing equipment on display here.The museum is pretty informative and you can easily spend an hour here. It is open from Monday to Friday only and from 8.00 AM till 2.00 PM, and till 3.00 PM on Fridays.Sarah from Girls That Scuba spots some dolphins9. Go Dolphin WatchingThe fact that the waters around here are untouched almost guarantees you that you can spot dolphins easily. On my trip in September, I was an entire school of dolphins, numbering into the hundreds which included a pilot whale.This can be arranged by the dive operators as they would know where the best places to spot dolphins in Alor Island. You should know that to charter the boat, it is best done in groups, as there are no dolphin tours here at the moment.10. Learn an Alor LanguageWith so many different tribes found in Alor Island, the languages are said to be from Papuan or non-Austronesian descend. However, from one village to another, the locals do not communicate in their mother tongue but in Bahasa Indonesia, which is widely spoken throughout Indonesia.For the linguistic traveler, you could probably learn a language from the Abui, Adang, Hamap, Kabola, Kafoa, Woisika, Kelo, and Kui tribes here. Unfortunately, I tried to learn a few words but it was quite hard.One of the amazing beaches at Alor Island. Photo by https://www.pesonaindo.com11. Explore the Alor BeachesThere are quite a few beautiful beaches found all over Alor Island, and some of them in pristine condition. This means, it is generally untouched and only by the locals here. You can only imagine what you will discover on some of the wonderful beaches at Alor Island.Ling'al Beach - Found on the south west of Alor Island and is known as probably the most beautiful beach on the island. Traveling from Kalabahi overland will take around five hours, while there are boat charters that take around three to four hours. The closest village to the beach is called Halerman Village.A beautiful photo of Ling'al Beach by https://travel.tempo.coDola Koya Koya Beach - This beautiful spot is found on the eastern part of Alor Island and is known for their scenic views. People come here to take beautiful postcard perfect photos. Imagine no crowds or people in your photos.Batu Putih Beach - Known in English as White Stone Beach, it is in the north of Alor Island. This beach gets its name from the white corals that dominate the beach here. The turquoise tone waters and white beach make this a perfect place to just relax.Sakura Kalabahi Beach - Found on the north west of Alor Island, Sakura Kalabahi Beach is a popular beach among the locals. No actual Japanese Sakura trees are found here, but you can find the local cherry blossom species grown along the main road of the beach here.Sakura Kalabahi beach is quite popular among the locals, especially during sunset hour, where you can get some beautiful photos of the Alor sunset here.The Sakura Kalabahi Beach in Alor Island. Photo from https://aroundguides.comWhat else to do in Alor Island? Generally, the above kind of sums it up. Alor is considered a very new destination to many, and still in the infancy stage for tourism. A lot needs to be done in order to cater for mass tourism, but I honestly hope it stays the way it is.Indonesia already has many places that cater to mass tourism, with places like Bali, Lombok, Gili Trawangan and now Komodo Island. However, for those wanting to see the natural side of Indonesia, then Alor Island is the place to visit.The Alor Island Airport known as Bandar Udara Mali AlorHow to get to Alor Island? The best way to get to Alor Island is via flight, if you want to save time. There is only one flight that lands at the Alor Island airport which is via Kupang in Flores. There are no direct flights from Bali or Jakarta, so please note that you have to connect from the larger cities.Even if you are in Labuan Bajo or Komodo, you still need to connect via Kupang. Flights that code share and connect to Alor Island are Garuda Airlines, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, TransNusa Airlines and Wings Abadi Airlines. Only TransNusa and Wings Abadi fly in from Kupang.The Wings Abadi Airline plane which I took from Kupang to Alor IslandThe other way to get here is via ferry, and there are a few companies that operate the Alor island service. You should know that ferries take long and timings are quite tricky. You have the option to take the Pelni Ferry from Kupang to Kalabahi, Alor Island.Another good choice is to check Indonesia Ferry for the timings and schedules, and you can also book your ferry tickets there. There is a car ferry that runs daily from Kupang to Kalabahi which takes about 12 hours journey.Me and the women of the Takpala VillageFor those planning to visit Alor Island, I recommend you do your research well before heading here. Your choice of stay would either be one of the homestays, local resort or at the Pulo Alor Hotel. You need a proper registered tour company and also a local guide.If you book an Alor Island dive package, all of your arrangements will be provided by the dive operator there. Only your flights or ferry service will be done by you. Additional tours are optional, therefore you need to inform your operator if you want to explore Alor Island.This guide on what to do in Alor Island is written based on my trip here in September 2017. It was a campaign with the Ministry of Tourism Indonesia to promote scuba diving and adventure for this part of Indonesia. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below.
Saturday 2nd of December 2017 09:24:00 AM
- Raja Ampat Dive Resort Review
This Raja Ampat Dive Resort review is based on my dive trip here in September 2017. As it was my first time visiting Raja Ampat in West Papua Indonesia, I never did any research about this place as I wanted to surprise myself. A surprise it was indeed as the Raja Ampat Dive Resort is really impressive. Imagine, an eco style rustic lodge, made entirely out of natural wood and carefully within the natural landscape of Waisai Island. As a dive resort, it is also one of the best that I have visited in a very long time. They have been around for years and is also noted as one of the best dive resorts of Raja Ampat. As the resort sits just by the beach, they have a private stretch of beach that is home to two beautiful jetties.Just look at the pristine foliage at the Raja Ampat Dive Resort Review of Raja Ampat Dive ResortThe place actually looks more like a private resort, mainly due to the modern contemporary design and architecture. But a bonus was the friendly faces of the resort, which were all locals who knew their jobs. My group had been travelling from Alor Island to Komodo Island, then to Labuan Bajo before finally stopping here in Raja Ampat. Just to clarify, it is not easy to get here as it involves two flights, van transfer and a boat trip to get here. In general, you will spend probably half a day travelling.The main reception area of the resortBut after a long and tiring journey, the Raja Ampat Dive Resort was a pleasant surprise, especially when seeing the beautiful and cozy room units. In total, they have 12 units of villas, where 10 villas are double units and two of them being family villas. They come with full amenities, air conditioning, hot showers, mosquito nets, comfortable beds and standard toiletries.Inside one of the rooms at the resortMy rustic room was the Dolphin units, which is around 32 square meters large, and it is really spacious. It was located closest to the dive center, and is built on higher ground. The other villas were sea facing and just meters from the private beach. Spacing between the rooms are wide, providing privacy from other blocks.Each block comprises of two units side by side. So if you are traveling in a group of four, you can get rooms next to each other. And each unit comes with space for an extra bed.The dive center at the resortDive Center at Raja Ampat Dive Resort My main objective was to go scuba diving at Raja Ampat, therefore this was the most crucial part of the resort. The dive center at Raja Ampat Dive Resort was the first thing anyone would see when they arrived here. Most dive centers tend to overdo their outlet, but here, it was slightly different. They have a complete dive center, but they do not over exaggerate the center. IT is functional and provided what scuba divers need.Some of the diving gear being prepped up before the 1st dive in the morningMore importantly is the dive master or dive guides, which are well experienced and fluent in English. They have years of experience and are locals who know the waters around Raja Ampat. For each of the dives, the morning briefing was done in front of the dive center and the dive master made sure everyone was listening to the brief. It is crucial that you listen well as they go into details about descends, ascends, currents and so on.Heading out for some serious diving from the resortThe Raja Ampat Dive Resort dive center is complete with all the standard leisure diving equipment needed. This means you can just come here empty handed and rent all the necessary equipment you need. They also have three dive boats which can take different groups to the many dive sites around Raja Ampat. The dive boats are pretty standard fibreglass boats so do not expect the luxury type of dive boats. Bird Watching at Raja Ampat Dive Resort As I am an avid bird watcher, but not the dead serious type, I was pleased to know that the resort also offers bird watching tours. This is done via the local village bird watching guide and the price is really reasonable. I had some free time before diving and one of the early mornings, I woke up around 4.00 AM to go bird watching in the area. My objective was to spot the endemic Bird of Paradise, and about 40 minutes from the resort was one of the sites. My local village guide and me took a stroll through the village roads and then into the pristine rainforest to see this beautiful bird. To cut a long story short, on that Raja Ampat bird watching trip, I did see the Red Bird of Paradise and about 25 other bird species in that three hours.The main leisure jetty at the Raja Ampat Dive ResortRaja Ampat Dive Resort RestaurantThe resort has only one main restaurant and common area where all meals are served. There is no rooms service, but you can specially order from the restaurant and they can send the meals to your room. I have to say that the Raja Ampat Dive Resort restaurant is pleasantly welcoming and the food served is of international standards. A choice of local and continental cuisine is available, but on a daily basis, buffet meals are served as it is part of your Raja Ampat Dive Resort package. For anyone planning to make a booking for Raja Ampat Dive Resort, note that the packages come in full board which includes boat transfer from Waisai Harbor. This will make your stay easy and convenient for those who do not want to worry too much.Photos of Raja Ampat Dive ResortBelow are some random photos taken in and around the resort. Just take a look at the day and sunset photo taken from the same angle. I have to admit, the place is perfect for any kind of travel, may it be leisure, honeymoon, wedding, exploring or scuba diving.Photo taken in the day at the resortPhoto taken during sunset at the resortGeneral view of Raja AmpatThe activity board at the dive resortThe headline on the notice board is 'Spot-On'A room photo from one of the other rooms at the resortA sea swing for those wanting to get some epic photosConclusion Having only been here for the first time in my life, I probably have to re-visit Raja Ampat to experience other dive resorts here. But on a first timers experience to Raja Ampat, my conclusion to staying here is that it was a wonderful experience. I honestly could no find any mistakes or problems staying here as everything was clockwork. The staff knew what they were doing and most importantly, they knew their roll in this industry. Food was excellent and choices were rather interesting. The tea breaks saw local cakes and also western desserts being served,which was carefully thought of.Me when I just arrived at the Raja Ampat Dive ResortHow to get to the Raja Ampat Dive Resort Generally, it takes a couple of flights, bus ride and a boat ride to get here. To know more, I wrote an article on how to go to Raja Ampat for anyone interested. Again, you need to allocate one day to get here and one day to get back. From Sorong in West Papua, you can also take Bahari Express ferry to Raja Ampat as this is the most reputable boat service here. The experience is well worth it as it only takes a few hours from Sorong city. I hope this Raja Ampat Dive Resort review will come in handy for anyone planning to visit here for scuba diving, bird watching or just to experience this beautiful place. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below and thank you.
Thursday 30th of November 2017 11:54:00 AM
- Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016
The Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 was held on 24th November 2017, at the Imperial Hotel in Kuching Sarawak. This is the states most prestigious tourism industry awards held every two years.For this years 7th Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards, a total of 28 winners were selected after a tedious judging process. There was 6 Special Recognition category awards that were give out to industry players this year. The Sarawak Hornbill Awards was introduced in 2003 to recognize individuals or organisations whose contribute towards the development of the tourism sector in Sarawak, Malaysia Borneo.As I have been an active contributor to Sarawak over the years, I was invited as one of the finalist under the Best Tourism Article Online for Sarawak. Find out who won below. One of the category winners bring announced at the SHTASarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 WinnersThis year saw some of the previous categories being removed and a special recognition category being awarded to some of the industry players. The winners for this years Hornbill Awards are as follows; Category A : Outstanding Media Contribution To The Tourism IndustryBest Tourism Online Article Published on SarawakWinner: ?Ba Kelalan Sarawak? by David Hogan Jr, Malaysia AsiaBest Tourism Printed Article Published on SarawakWinner: ?Pesta Nukenen Bario? by Hoo Choon Ping (Sin Chew Daily, Selangor)Best Tourism PhotographyWinner: ?Selangor Meets Sarawak: Semenggoh Wildlife Centre? by Ramble and Wander Best Tourism Related Videos on SarawakWinner: No WinnerCategory B : Outstanding Cottage Industry Contribution To The Tourism Industry Best Handicraft Product Winner: Senia Anak Jugi - Bemban HandbagBest Handicraft OutletWinner: Ranee Gift GalleryCategory C : Outstanding Food OutletsBest RestaurantWinner: Steak House, KuchingBest Café/BistroWinner: The Gold Mines Gastropub, BintuluBest KopitiamWinner: Yoyo Café, BintuluBest Hawker CenterWinner: Top Spot Foodcourt, KuchingCategory D : Outstanding Tourist GuideBest Regional Specific Tourists Guide (RSTG)Winner: Teddy Bunga Nangoi Anak Robert DaisBest Park GuideWinner: Jenny MalangCategory E : Outstanding Tourism Attraction And EventsBest Natural AttractionsWinner: Gunung Mulu National ParkBest Man-Made AttractionsWinner: Sarawak Cultural VillageBest Events & FestivalsWinner: Borneo International Kite Festival Category F : Outstanding Destination Management Company (DMC)Best And Creative Tourism PackageWinner: Ecogreen Holidays Sdn. Bhd.Most Outstanding DMC (Domestic)Borneo Exploration Tours & Travel Sdn. Bhd.Most Outstanding DMC (International)*Under Special RecognitionEmerging DMC*Under Special RecognitionCategory G : Outstanding Hotel And Accommodation ProviderBest 5 Star Hotel/ResortWinner: Mulu Marriott Resort and SpaBest 4 Star Hotel/ResortWinner: Grand Margherita Hotel Kuching Best 3 Star Hotel/ResortWinner: New World Suites BintuluBest 2 Star and Below HotelWinner: Inn86 BintuluBest HomestayWinner: Homestay Rh Benjaming AngkiSPECIAL RECOGNITION CATEGORYInternational Destination Management Company - DMC Asia MarketSee Mark Travel Services, TaipeiInternational Destination Management Company - DMC Australia MarketFlight Centre Group International Destination Management Company - DMC Europe MarketAudley TravelAirline OperatorAir Asia BerhadMost Outstanding DMC (International)CPH Travel Agencies SarawakEmerging DMCOne Wayang Tours SDN.BHD.Scene at the SHTA 2017, held at the Imperial Hotel in KuchingPanoramic view of the Sarawak Hornbill Awards in KuchingThe Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards was attended by the Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin; Datu Ik Pahon Joyik ? permanent secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports; and Sarawak Tourism Federation president Philip Yong. Guest of honor was no other than the chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Abang Haji Openg, who was also once the Sarawak Tourism Minister. In his opening speech, the chief minister talked about the new tourism products that were launched, and also mentioned that the tourism industry players need to start accepting the digital age and embrace it. This was also in line with the Sarawak Pay, a cashless digital payment system, which was launched recently. Posing with YBhg Datu Ik Pahon JoyikCurrent Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was not present as he was currently in Europe to negotiate the return of some Sarawak artifacts in the Netherlands and also in the British Museum.The prestigious black tie event came to a close at around 11.00 PM after the Chief Minister made his exit. Winners of the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 were seen taking photos, posing with their trophies against the photo wall at the Imperial Hotel in Kuching. The Hornbill Award for Best Tourism Online Article on Sarawak which I wonMe with my Best Tourism Online Award for SarawakAs for me the writer, I was ecstatic that I had won the Best Tourism Online Article for Sarawak as I have been actively contributing to Sarawak over the last five to six years.I would like to thank the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, the Sarawak Tourism Board, friends and acquaintances I have met over the years of my travels to Sarawak.You can read about my winning article titled Ba'Kelalan which was written 2016. I have also other articles on Sarawak if you would like to know more. Thank you again to the Sarawak Hornbill Tourism Awards 2015/2016 and I hope to see, explore and write more about Sarawak in the future.
Monday 27th of November 2017 01:00:00 AM
- Visit Miri Year 2018
If you have already been to Kuching, then you should consider your next destination to be Miri as the Visit Miri Year 2018 will be quite interesting for anyone visiting Sarawak. Miri is located in the north west of Sarawak bordering the kingdom of Brunei, which is only two hours drive and also one of the main gateways to the Mulu National Park. Miri is also home to the international Borneo Jazz Festival and country music festival. This article will provide you with general information on what to expect for the Visit Miri Year 2018 which is quite exciting for not only foreigners, but also local travelers.Miri Resort CityVisit Miri Year 2018For the entire year of 2018, a total of 30 events have been proposed throughout the year for Visit Miri Year 2018. The largest of the events being no other than the Miri Mat Fest which takes place n the month of May. The official launching of the Visit Miri Year 2018 (VMY 2018) will also take place at the Miri Central Park on new year's eve, which is the perfect opportunity to brand VMY 2018 to the many people that will be here. The re-opening of the Miri Handicraft Center is also scheduled for VMY 2018. This is a new building that is revamped to showcase the traditional cultures of the Miri people and its surrounding ethnic quarters.Borneo Jazz Festival held in Miri, SarawakProposed and Existing Events for Visit Miri Year 2018Below is a list of existing events that take place in Miri and also those proposed for VMY 2018.Opening Ceremony of Mir Handicraft CenterSarawak Native FestivalMiss Grand Miri PageantMiri Pet ExpoMiri Mural Art ExhibitionMalaysia Dragon Temple Krokop 5 - 40th AnniversaryInternational Conference on Sustainable Building Asia (SBE2018)Southeast Asia Poet Convention Borneo Jazz Festival 2018Miri Color Rush Run 2018Afro Latin ConferenceInternational Deep Sea Fishing Tournament11th Miri City DayMiri International MarathonMiri Country Music FestivalThe Seahorse Lighthouse, one of the icons on MiriVMY 2018 - Local OpinionsAccording to news reports, locals voiced out to the organisers that other events from outside of the Miri district should be also highlighted and promoted, not only those in Miri. There are events from areas of Sibuti, Marudi and the nearby national parks of Niah, Lambir and Loagan Bunut. They want this to be a successful event due to the fact that Miri was selected at the place to visit for 2018. Miri is also a fast developing resort city that offers quite a lot of tourism, only that the place is not promoted heavily at the moment.Niah Caves, just two hours from MiriGrand Old Lady of MiriI have been an avid fan of Miri, having visit this resort city on a yearly basis since 2010 and have seen he changes since back then. There are international world class hotels and resorts, modern shopping malls, rich local heritage and culture and beautiful places to explore. I have also done an article on what to do in Miri, for anyone heading here. The coastal city is unlike your normal city, where things are a little more laid back and peaceful.E-Mart in Miri is one of the very popular shopping spotsSunset at Luak Esplanade in MiriJust so you know, scuba diving in Miri is also one of the untouched tourism activities. Usually, adventure lovers tend to come here due to the three national parks in the area. For food lovers, Miri also offers some of the best local and ethnic foods in Sarawak, which is located in the main city area. Walking around Miri old and new town is highly recommended for first time visitors here.Authentic Kelabit food in MiriMiri's Tamu Khas or Special Ethnic Market in the cityYou can find services like Grab and Uber in Miri as taxi's are not easy to get. Most visitors tend to book day tours from the various travel companies in Miri as traveling around requires a knowledgeable guide. If you plan to visit here during the Visit Miri Year 2018, I recommend you wait for the official Miri calendar of events to be released, then you would know when is the best time to visit. If you have questions, please do ask them below.
Friday 24th of November 2017 06:30:00 AM
- Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort
Raja Ampat is becoming a more and more popular travel destination, with travelers looking to get away from the crowds of the cities and towns and other beach holiday locations. Those that are truly looking for a remote untouched tropical paradise turn to a Resort in Raja Ampat.Raja Ampat is located off the Northwest tip of the Bird?s Head Peninsula off of the Island of New Guinea and the region known as Papua. Raja Ampat means the ?Four Kings? and the 4 main Islands are Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo; it is an archipelago that comprises of over 1500 Islands, Islets and cays. The Raja Ampat Archipelago is part of the Coral Triangle which spans between Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia. The coral triangle holds the largest diversity of coral species compared to other coral reefs in tropical locations.The Biodiversity Eco Resort in Raja AmpatRaja Ampat Biodiversity Eco ResortRaja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort is nestled in a remote location on the Island of Gam neighboring the Island of Waigeo which houses the main town of the regency; Waisai. Biodiversity Eco Resort has so much to offer the more adventurous traveler. The resort offers comfortable accommodation in Raja Ampat, in traditional Papuan style huts right on the beach front. With a selection of three different cottages to choose from there is a cottage to suit most budgets.Biodiversity Eco Resort offers more comfort than the local alternative home stays and a more affordable budget than the other resorts in Raja Ampat. Biodiversity Eco Resort offers the best and most flexible all round packages and full board accommodation for staying in a resort whilst visiting the area. Aerial view of Piaynemo in Raja AmpatUnlike many of the other resorts in the area we have no fixed check in or check out days, allowing guests to arrive at the time that suits them the best. All the cottages are on the beach front and provide either a double or twin room in comfort, with plenty of areas in the cottage, or outside the cottage on the deck with a bean bag or hammock, or on the beach with a sun bed or pergola or even the sofas on the jetty to relax in.Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort offers the opportunity to connect with Mother Nature both on land and under the water with daily dives being offered to certified divers. Underwater landscape at Raja AmpatIt offers the opportunity to try scuba diving for the first time and even complete the full open water diver training for those that aren?t certified. Diving in Indonesia is a unique experience for divers that are looking for unique biodiversity in the world.With dive boats heading out to different dive sites everyday to explore the wondrous marine life that Raja Ampat has to offer there is 2 to 4 dive trips available every day and the opportunity for snorkelers to join the boat and see the different reefs here in Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat is ranked in the top 10 dive destinations but it?s still the world record holder for the highest count of different fish species counted in a single dive on Cape Kri, just a 20min boat ride from the resort.The famous Wobbegong or Carpet Shark in Raja AmpatFor that time not spent under water there are opportunities to join treks into the jungle to see the rare Birds of Paradise, walks along the beach and join a boat to the local villages to see the true native Papuan lifestyle.There is even the chance to rent a Kayak and explore the winding waterways between Gam and Waigeo and venture into secluded bays and beaches uninhabited by man.Biodiversity Eco resort has been established with a family feel at its core, welcoming all travelers, be it couples, Families or Single travelers. The diversity of the travelers to the resorts reflects the diversity of the area and offers this special and amazing experience for all to enjoy.
Thursday 23rd of November 2017 09:14:00 AM
Malaysia Asia Stats
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