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ELECTRIC BUSES TO PLY MELAKA IN AUGUST 2015

Electric buses to hit the road in Malacca in August 2015

Bernama
State Transport and Project Rehabilitation Committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong says a fully-charged electric bus can travel as far as 180km. — Pic credit http://www.skyscrapercity.com/
MALACCA, July 3, 2015:

Two electric buses are expected to start operating around the Unesco world heritage site in Banda Hilir here in early August.

State Transport and Project Rehabilitation Committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong said the “hop-on hop-off” bus service would be operating with a one-price ticket system.

“The buses will be the first electric buses to be used in Malaysia on public roads and we believe it will help reduce traffic congestion, air and noise pollution.

“For a start, these buses will operate around the Unesco world heritage site and passengers will be using a one-day ticket at a certain price,” he told a press conference here today.

Also present was Panorama Melaka Sdn Bhd general manager Mohd Saleh Jusman.

The electric bus service will operate under the state government’s subsidiary company.

Lim said the two buses were among 40 electric buses expected to be fully operational in the state by the end of next year.

“We will receive in stages another 38 electric buses from Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation in China from early next year.”

Lim said a fully-charged bus could travel as far as 180km and the battery would take 100 minutes to recharge. It can travel at a maximum speed of 76kph.

The 33-seater bus has one seat for the disabled and is also equipped with nine CCTV cameras.
Lim said a charging station had been built at the Melaka Sentral Bus Terminal for the electric buses.

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VATICAN IMPRESSED WITH MALACCA MODERATION POLICY

Vatican is impressed with Malacca’s moderation policy: Archbishop

MALACCA – The Vatican is impressed with Malacca’s policy of promoting moderation and harmonious living among its various ethnic groups.

The Vatican’s Apostolic Nuncio to Malaysia Archbishop Joseph Marino said the Holy See had a high regard for such approaches.

“This is an exemplary state. We admire Malacca for ensuring racial unity with minimal issues on race relations,” he said after calling on State Secretary Datuk Wira Nain Abu Bakar at Seri Negeri here yesterday.

Marino, who was posted as the Vatican’s first resident Apostolic Nuncio here in 2013, visited the Portuguese Settlement here where he witnessed the Festa San Juan (feast of St John the Baptist) which is celebrated with much religious fervour and reverence.

About 14 Roman Catholic priests gathered there to welcome the Vatican’s representative.

Joseph Sta Maria, who is the representative of minority ethnic communities under social service unit Pembela, described Archbishop Marino’s visit to the historical city as most significant to the Roman Catholic community here.

“He was brought to various historical sites. The prayers at the Portuguese Settlement meant a lot to all of us,” he said.

Sta Maria said the Archbishop also visited the 466-year-old ruins of the ancient Rosary Chapel (Ermida de Rosario) at Jalan Bunga Raya Pantai along Sungai Malacca.

Malaysia established diplomatic relations with the Vatican following a meeting between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Pope Benedict XVI in July 2011.

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/malaysia/vatican-impressed-malaccas-moderation-policy-archbishop#sthash.MgOjjmIy.dpuf

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MALACCA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT SEEKS AIRLINES TO LAND IN MELAKA

Malacca airport seeks flights to Guangzhou and Ho Chi Minh City
Thursday, 2 July 2015

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First time: A file picture shows a Malindo Air plane landing at the Malacca International Airport for the first time on Nov 5 last year. It flies to Kota Baru, Penang and Pekan Baru, Indonesia.
First time: A file picture shows a Malindo Air plane landing at the Malacca International Airport for the first time on Nov 5 last year. It flies to Kota Baru, Penang and Pekan Baru, Indonesia.

MALACCA: Malacca International Airport (LTAM) is discussing with the airline companies to use the airport to fly to Guangzhou, China and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

State Transport and Project Rehabilitation Committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong, said LTAM was also eyeing Medan, Palembang and Surabaya in Indonesia.

“So far the discussions are positive,” he told a media briefing here yesterday.

Currently, Malindo Air flies from LTAM to Kota Baru, Penang and Pekan Baru, Indonesia.

Lim said that LTAM recorded 24,616 passenger departures and 28,275 arrivals since the commencement of Malindo Air’s operations on Nov 5, 2014 until May 15 this year.

Lim said that the state government planned to launch flights to various Unesco sites.

He said among them were ngkor Wat in Cambodia, Borobudur in Indonesia and Luang Prabang in Laos.

He said that the proposal was also in line with Malaysia taking over chairmanship of Asean.

In addition to this, Lim said that Malacca, an Unesco heritage site, was working to promote ties with other sites.

“This will allow tourists to LTAM as the gateway to other Unesco heritage sites in other Asean member countries,” he said. – Bernama

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Belum Rainforest Resort, Royal Belum State Park

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On the northern edge of the Peninsula Malaysia lies the magnificent nature park Belum. The Royal Belum State Park is a virtually unknown touristic attraction within Malaysia, but it has all the ingredients to grow into a very popular nature reserve in time, drawing many tourists each year. For now you will have the place almost to yourself, and you can take pleasant day tours exploring the jungle; by road or boat.

Accommodation in Belum

At the moment, there are not many places to stay available near the nature reserve. The Belum Rainforest Resort has the most visitors, and it is the most luxury resort in the area. Belum Rainforest Resort lies along the main road (going roughly from Penang/Ipoh in the west to Kota Bharu in the east), on the island Banding inside the Temenggor lake system.

About the resort

The resort is located on a hill, with an astonishing view of the lake and the jungle in the distance. The resort consists of a few levels. Below the hill is the lobby, with an adjoining restaurant and lounge bar. From the restaurant, a path goes up the hill, and the splendid swimming pool is the first stop. A little higher up the hill are the cottages, villas, and apartments. At the top, there is the big restaurant (where also breakfast is served) and another complex with separate rooms. Here you will find a viewing platform with a breathtaking view of the surroundings. The resort is a true nature resort; not much to do around the resort itself as the jungle activities are key. Usually, everybody retreat to their rooms after dinner.

Rooms

The standard rooms are beautiful, but simply furnished. For a stay in the jungle, however, you could say the rooms are very luxurious. There is an A/C, a small refrigerator, a safe and a few sockets. Most rooms have Wi-Fi, but in the ones that lie further away the signal is not very strong. Most rooms are spacious, and the shower is large.

Gorgeous swimming pool

The swimming pool is luxurious and of the infinity type; with an edge directly overlooking the magnificent lake. There are several sun beds along the pool, and a small space to change. After a day full of jungle adventure, it is nice to relax in the pool.

Mosquitoes

As the resort lies in the middle of the jungle, it is necessary to take some measures. The whole area is mosquito infested. It will itch terribly but that’s all it will do, we recommend you use mosquito repellent every day (at night they are most active). Within the rooms you will not have any nuisance of mosquitoes.

Restaurant

The restaurant is only open for breakfast and dinner (from 7pm onwards) and has a small menu, with several delicious dishes. We had read some disappointing reviews about the food, but we loved it. The choice is somewhat limited, so if you are staying there for a longer period, it could get a bit boring. Beside local dishes, they also serve some western dishes. The desserts are very good. Prices are affordable, especially if you consider being a long way from civilization. Do not expect hawker food prices. The second restaurant (near the lobby) has a simple lunch menu offering some western dishes and some snacks.

Easily accessible

The resort is easily accessible, as it is clearly visible along the main road nr4 (Lebuhraya Timur-Barat). Signs indicate the resort and at the exit there is a parking lot where you can park your rental car. Pay attention: herds of elephants often walk along the main road nr 4. They cross the road regularly. There are warning signs along the road, take caution.

Our final verdict

Belum Rainforest Resort is a gorgeous resort in the middle of the jungle. From the resort, you can take various fantastic tours, such as a day tour to the Royal Belum State Park (apply timely for a permit to enter the nature reserve). The atmosphere in the resort is pleasant, and the staff is very friendly. Because the resort is not located in a tourist area, it is often not very crowded. Rooms are pleasant, and breakfast and dinner are of a good quality. You can regularly find a good deal on Agoda.com. Many travel organizations offer a stay at the Belum Rainforest Resort as part of a visit to the Royal Belum State Park and the Temenggor lake area.

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French Hotel, Ipoh

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Ipoh has become an enormous tourist attraction in the last few years. The city mainly attracts local tourists because of the delicious food and many attractions. More and more foreign tourists pay a visit to this magnificent city. Ipoh is definitely a high potential tourist destination in the making. There are several hotels, from 5-star hotels to simple lodges for backpackers. One of the better hotels in Ipoh is the French Hotel.

About the hotel

People often rate the French Hotel as the best hotel in Ipoh. It is an affordable 3-star hotel, with some features you would normally only find in luxury 5-star hotels. The hotel is centrally located, and the rooms are beautifully furnished and also very spacious. The hotel lies along Jalan Dato Onn Jafaar; one of the popular downtown streets in the city. Within walking distance is the historical centre, several restaurants, the Thieves market (Sunday morning), the night market, and the popular shopping mall Ipoh Parade.

Checking in is efficient and pleasant. The staff at reception have good tips and even a map with all attractions (the best hawkers included). After checking in, you can take the elevator to your room. On the first floor is the nice lunchroom Jose Deli Eatery and next to the hotel is a 7/11 supermarket.

Rooms

All 48 rooms are magnificent. Not often do you see a hotel with such beautifully decorated rooms for these prices. They are big and are fully equipped. A double room has a large king-size mattress, or two queen size mattresses that are very comfortable. There is a desk/TV stand. The shower is spacious and nicely decorated. The room has a TV, A/C, Wi-Fi, a safe, a minibar and a wardrobe.

Breakfast

Ipoh is known for its delicious food. There is no breakfast included in a stay at the French Hotel. However, you can add it when you arrive for RM10. The breakfast is served at Jose Deli Eatery (opens early in the morning). Alternatively, you can go to one of the many popular dim sum restaurants. Some of the best there are to be found in Ipoh, such as Restoran Foh San and Ming Court, are a mere 5 minutes’ walk away.

Local attractions

In the immediate surroundings of the hotel are several attractions. No more than 5 minutes away is an alley where several local artists made gorgeous murals. Coming from the French Hotel, you will find it just after the Jalan Datuk Onn Jafaar and Jalan Sultan Iskander intersection.

No more than a 15 minutes’ walk away lies Ipoh’s historical centre. Located here is the magnificent train station, various cute coffee bars and several beautiful murals by the artist Ernest Zacharevic (check the locations of his artwork here).

A few minutes away lies Gerbang Malam Ipoh; Ipoh’s night market. Here you can buy souvenirs, and try the various local snacks.

Every Sunday morning the Thieves Market is held next to and directly behind the hotel. Locals come here to sell their goods, from food to snacks to secondhand junk. It is an enjoyable market, but beware of pickpockets!

Free Parking

The hotel is easy to find, thanks to the many one-way roads. Guests of the hotel can park their car for free in the guarded parking lot close to the hotel. At night and in the weekend you can also park your car right in front of the hotel. If you arrive during the week, you will have to buy a parking ticket at one of the many tobacconists. Like on the island of Penang, you buy a ticket for a certain amount, then you have to scratch off some boxes to show the right time and day. By placing the ticket in sight, you have proven you have paid for your parking.

Our final verdict

The French Hotel in Ipoh is a magnificent, central hotel in this upcoming touristic hotspot. It looks quite simple on the outside, but the rooms are spacious and nicely decorated. The price/quality ratio is high. On walking distance there are several highlights; the historical centre is one of them. Delicious food in Ipoh plays a big part, and you can get it at several places near the hotel. At the time of our stay there, on TripAdvisor the hotel was judged one of the best hotels in Ipoh.

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Museum Hotel, Penang

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Penang has countless beautiful hotels. Especially in the capital Georgetown are a number of magnificent accommodations to enjoy a wonderful stay. The supply varies from luxury hotels to dirt cheap accommodations for backpackers, from affordable middle class hotels to splendid boutique hotels. Museum Hotel is located in the center of Georgetown, the capital of the island Penang. It is an affordable boutique hotel with a great location as it lies within walking distance of many attractions within the historical centre of the city.

A museum of a kind

The Museum Hotel is located in the centre of Georgetown, on walking distance from several popular spots. It lies hidden behind bigger streets like Jalan Hutton and Jalan Transfer, in a small alley – Jalan A.S. Mansor – going round in a circle. The hotel is a combination of a boutique hotel and a colonial hotel. The word museum in Museum Hotel applies to the hotel’s decoration; the lobby and the adjoining spaces have been decorated as a museum. The owner collects arts of the Baba-Nonya history that are being used as decorations. Guest can take a tour by the owner by appointment; he loves to tell about his greatest passion and how the hotel came into existence.

The staff at the reception are very friendly. They can give you tips and know all the popular restaurants and food courts nearby. At reception is a map available with all the attractions and restaurants. Checking in and out is efficient and quick.

Rooms

The rooms are nicely decorated, again with furniture from the Baba-Nonya time. The beds are comfortable thanks to the deluxe mattresses. There is a separate shower area with a generous shower. The rooms have A/C, a safe, minibar, and a desk. There is Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. The hallways on every floor are filled with art works and the walls are covered with stunning paintings.

There are also various single rooms available (great for single travelers). The rooms are affordable (from RM130) and like the bigger rooms, they come with a comfortable bed.

Breakfast

At the reception, you can indicate your choice for the next day. You can choose from a small menu. Breakfast is served in a beautifully decorated foyer; the hotel is not very big so it is not that crowded during breakfast. Breakfast itself was very good and so was the coffee.

Local attractions

The Museum Hotel lies on the edge of the heritage centre of Georgetown. It makes exploring the historical centre on foot easy. The following attractions are on walking distance from the Museum Hotel: Blue Mansion (5 minutes), Red Garden food court (5 minutes), Peranakan Museum (15 minutes), Penang Time Tunnel (15 minutes), New World food court (10 minutes), Jalan Nagor (with several restaurants and the cozy coffee shop Sitigun, 10 minutes), Komtar (10 minutes), Chinatown Little India (15 minutes), Goddess of Mercy temple (10 minutes), Clan Jetties (15 minutes).

Free parking at the door

Next to the hotel is a guarded parking lot (of the hotel) where travelers can park their rental car. You can park your car in front of the hotel but during weekdays you will need a parking ticket (during the day).

Our final verdict

We liked the Museum Hotel very much. The atmosphere was excellent and it has its name for a reason as it is a beautiful museum and hotel in one. The hotel has many elements of a boutique hotel. The staff are very friendly and keen to help, the room was splendid and the breakfast of good quality. The location is perfect and the affordable nightly rates make this a good choice when you want to stay in Georgetown. The fact that they have affordable single rooms make the hotel a great choice for single travelers. Several popular attractions can be reached on foot. A tip: take the elevator to the second floor and you will find yourself on the roof of the building from where you have a nice view on Georgetown.

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WOLO Bukit Bintang Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

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If you are staying in the beautiful city Kuala Lumpur for a few days, it is convenient to search for a hotel in the centre of town. You will be among all the city’s attractions, sites and other highlights. Bukit Bintang is the most popular area to stay, there are dozens of shopping malls, innumerable restaurants, food streets and several enjoyable attractions. If you are staying in a hotel in this area, all of these are within walking distance.

Perfect location

We had passed WOLO Bukit Bintang Hotel several times before we eventually stayed there. Each time we walked by, we thought it was the perfect location in the center of town. In the past, we stayed at Capitol Hotel several times for the exact same reason; this hotel is located across the street from the shopping mall Plaza Low Yat also at a great location and for an affordable price.

WOLO Bukit Bintang lies directly opposite Lot10, one of the most popular malls in KL. Within 5 minutes you have walked to other popular shopping malls like Pavilion KL, Fahrenheit88 and Starhill. Directly opposite the hotel is a GOKL bus departure point, an easy way to go to Suria KLCC or Chinatown. Also opposite the hotel is the monorail station Bukit Bintang, an easy way to KL Sentral (and shopping mall Nu Sentral). Then there is the Hop-on, Hop-off bus departure point across the street from the hotel. This luxury touring bus takes you on a drive to all attractions Kuala Lumpur has to offer, at a fixed rate.

Boutique Hotel

At the end of 2014, we stayed at WOLO Bukit Bintang for one night. When arriving at the hotel, you immediately take the elevator to the lobby. This is a magnificent space; beautifully decorated and offering a view from the balcony on Jalan Bukit Bintang en Jalan Sultan Ismail (intersection), and Lot10 opposite. Looking down, you will see the bread rolls from Tous Les Jours bakery, located below the hotel. Checking in is quick and efficient. It will not take more than a minute before you find yourself in front of your ‘Boutique room’ holding the key. A lot of hotels use the name ‘Boutique Hotel’ wrongly and it kind of applies to The Wolo hotel too. I would rather call it a mix of modern, artsy and boutique. The atmosphere is very pleasant and everything is beautifully decorated (from the lobby, the elevator, the hallways to the rooms).

Rooms

The rooms are not very big but very practically and efficiently decorated. Some big mirrors have been used making the rooms look much bigger. They are fully equipped (A/C, TV, safe, empty minibar, Wi-Fi). The bed is on the floor, making getting in unpractical (low). However, the mattress was very comfortable. Noise wise, the room was pleasant to stay in. You could hear the other guests walking in the hallway better than you could hear the busy city traffic below. We stayed on a lower floor (5th) and we did not hear much noise pollution there either (an often heard criticism when staying in the heart of a major metropolis). The shower was spacious and pleasant. The room had a small desk to work at. Rooms on the street side have a nice view on one of the busiest crossroads of KL, very nice to look at the ongoing traffic. You can also see the shoppers at Bukit Bintang.

Bakery

Directly below the hotel (where you would expect the lobby) is the popular bakery Tous Les Jours. It is a small bakery chain with several franchises in Kuala Lumpur. Prices are low and the bread rolls and snacks are very tasty. We have not come across such fresh and delicious croissants in town before. Then, they have a small menu for a lovely lunch (or breakfast). You can book a stay at WOLO Bukit Bintang without breakfast, in that case, you can always go to Tous Les Jours for your breakfast. If you do reserve your stay including breakfast, you will be having it in Tous Les Jours, before the store opens to other visitors.

Cigar lounge

WOLO Bukit Bintang has a cigar lounge, a beautiful and stylish place to smoke cigars while enjoying a lovely glass of wine or whisky. Enthusiastics will absolutely love it.

Our final verdict

WOLO Bukit Bintang Hotel is an absolute must-visit. An overnight stay can be booked from €45 onwards, which is very cheap for a good centrally located hotel. From the hotel you can walk to all attractions within the Bukit Bintang area. The monorail or GOKL bus stops right in front of the hotel, or you walk five minutes to the underpass heading for Suria KLCC (Petronas Twin Towers). The atmosphere is pleasant and the bread rolls at Tous Les Jours are yummie. Rooms are nicely decorated and have everything you need. Free Wi-Fi is a welcome amenity. As far as we are concerned, WOLO Bukit Bintang is our favorite downtown KL hotel from now on.

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