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GARDENS OF EDEN

Malaysia is naturally blessed with 8,000 species of flowering plants, 3,000 species of trees, 1,000 species of orchids, 300 species of palms and 60 species of bamboos in our evergreen tropical landscape. It’s certainly a great “palette of colours” to have in designing a unique brand of Malaysian gardens and parks.

Although there is no exact record of the history of gardens in Malaysia, its existence and beauty have been described in many classic Malay literature from the 18th and 19th centuries. In them, gardens that surrounded the Malacca palace in the 15th century were described in great detail. Among the earliest mention of gardens in Malaysia was by a Buddhist pilgrim who came across the royal garden of an old Malay kingdom in 609 A.D. However, the first public garden in the country was introduced by the British in 1890 and is known till today as the Lake Gardens. Today, various beautifully-designed gardens can be found all over Malaysia.

Here, let me help you to explore some our beautiful gardens, just follow the smell of the blooming flowers and fresh cut grass.

 

Perdana Botanical Garden, Kuala Lumpur

The name Alfred Venning may not ring a bell to Malaysians compared to the Federate Malay States British Resident, Frank Swettenham. That Mr. Swettenham was a very, very popular gentleman during the British colonization in Malaya. However, it was Mr. Venning who was responsible for creating one of Malaysia’s first public recreational parks which he named the Lake Gardens in 1880. His original intention was actually to create a botanical garden but somehow it never made its mark as a botanical garden, not until 123 years later, that is.

In 1975, Venning’s Lake Gardens was officially renamed and opened as Taman Tasik Perdana or Perdana Lake Garden by the second Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdul Razak. Fast forward to 2010, Alfred Venning’s vision of turning the once swamp valley of the Sungai Brass Brass into a botanical garden had finally become a reality when Kuala Lumpur City Hall embarked on a mega project to upgrade the park into a Botanical Garden.  It was officially launched as the Perdana Botanical Garden on 28 June 2011.

Now that the public recreational park has been transformed into a botanical garden, you don’t have to be an arborist or horticulturist to notice and appreciate the various collections of unique trees be it local or foreign trees that are scattered throughout the 101.12-hectare garden. Be sure to pick up a map when you enter so you don’t miss anything; your visit will be much more interesting if you have a knowledgeable guide to walk through with you as an informative tour will help inspire you to look at plants and trees differently.

 

CHECK OUT THESE COOL PLANTS

 

  1. Kesinai Tree

Well-known as an expensive bonsai plant, Kesinai tree or Streblus Asper was chosen as an official symbol for the Perdana Botanical Garden by the former Kuala Lumpur Mayor, Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail for its unique characters. The cute collection of bonsai Kesinai can be found at the Topiary Collection section of the garden.

  1. Baobab or Adansonia Digitata

Exploring the garden will remind us of the simple beauty that nature offers every day no matter where we are in this world and which we always take for granted. Take Laman Perdana for example, it is an area where one will find majestic trees such as Baobab or Adansonia digitata, the Africa’s iconic ‘upside-down’ tree.

  1. Herbaceous Collections

Don’t forget to explore the beautiful landscape of the Conservatory where most of the herbaceous collections of the garden were originally kept in the conservatory, which dates back to the beginning of the Lake Gardens in 1889. You will be mesmerised by the beautiful collections of geraniums, aroids, and other foliage plants planted there.

  1. Brownea Trees

Make your way to the Brownea Street which is named after the rows of Brownea trees planted along the newly upgraded pathway. Seeing the tree up close, you will realise that Brownea macrophylla flowers grow on the main trunk of the tree. Fascinating, don’t you think so?

COOL ACTIVITIES AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

  1. EXERCISE

One of the best places to jog or walk or jump. With a 2.3-km running loop, the park also has a variety of exciting terrains – a mix of stairs, hills, flats, twists, and turns.

  1. BOAT RIDE

According to its website, the boats will be available soon for rental for those who would like to have a leisurely cruise on the lake.

  1. MALAYSIA CARTOON AND COMIC HOUSE

This gallery currently contains over 500 selected works (representing a mere 10% of the gallery’s archive!) dating from 1936-1990. Many of the works on show have been loaned from private collectors and cannot be viewed anywhere else in Malaysia.

  1. THE AMPHITHEATRE

On certain days and months, the public will be able to catch free performances by local artists. The information can be obtained from its website. The amphitheatre was built in the late 1960s. It was famous for providing free entertainment to the general public. Today, the refurbishment of the amphitheatre has been completed with roofs attached to provide shelter to visitors.

LOCATION
The Perdana Botanical Garden is situated within the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park, which covers an area of more than 170 acres located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

AMENITIES
Apart from the café, restrooms, prayer room and parking area, the Perdana Botanical Garden also provides other amenities such as:-

Garden Trams
Trams are available for visitors to go around the grounds and stop at the sections they wish to explore.

Heritage Park Shuttle Trams
Shuttle trams are available daily to take visitors to all the attractions within the Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park. Tickets are valid throughout the day from 9 am to 6 pm. Ticket Fees: RM2 for adults and RM1 for children.

Bicycle Rental
For those who want to explore the garden on their own, bicycles are available for rental. Rates: RM3 each for 30 minutes.

GUIDED WALK
Guided walks are provided free of charge on Sundays, 8 am to 10 am. Visitors will be taken on an interesting walk around the garden by an experienced guide. For other times, private tours can be arranged for a fee.

Book a Guide:
Recreation Unit
Perdana Botanical Garden
Telephone: +603 2021 0812
(10am to 5pm) 

GETTING THERE
With the Lake Gardens’ central location in the capital, access is quite easy for visitors. Buses B115, B112, and B101 all stop within a 5-minute walk of the Perdana Lake Gardens.  Another option is to take the KTM Komuter train to the Old Kuala Lumpur station.

 

Putrajaya Botanical Garden – “Mother of All Gardens”

The biggest botanical garden in Malaysia, the Putrajaya Botanical Garden covers an area over 92 hectares. The park is divided into three sections – flowers, ornamental plants and preservation/research purposes.

The garden currently has more than 700 species of flowering plants, local plants as well as plants from the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions.

CHECK OUT THIS COOL PLANTS

  1. CYCAS / JAPANESE SAGO PALM

Cycas is an ancient plant that has been in existence since 230 over million years ago. During that time, this plant was a food source for herbivorous dinosaurs. This plant can be found at the Sun Garden.

  1. GAPING DUTCHMANS PIPE / ARISTOLOCHIA RINGENS

Gaping Dutchman’s Pipe (Aristolochia ringens), is a perennial climbing plant from South America and can grow up to 6 m high. The flower tube ascends obliquely from the sack, dividing into two very long lips. The two lips give an impression of a gaping mouth.

  1. BODHI TREE

The bodhi tree is one of the fig tree species planted in Ficus Shade at the botanical garden. This tree is deemed sacred by Hindu and Buddha devotees as it was believed that Siddharta Buddha had meditated and received enlightenment under the tree.

COOL ACTIVITIES AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

  1. CANOPY BRIDGE

Enjoy the scenic tropical rainforest canopy. This 170-metres long bridge runs across a valley cultivated with various species of rainforest trees.

  1. SUN GARDEN

Visit the Sun Garden to learn how to tell time with the sundial. It is one of the oldest ways used by humans to tell time.

  1. The Lakeside – The Lake Boardwalk and Wetland

Enjoy taking a small walk on this walkway, where you get to see the dam that separates the Putrajaya Lake from the wetland

  1. MOROCCAN PAVILION

Visit the Moroccan Pavilion, with its unique Moorish-style architecture. The gallery located at this Moroccan Pavilion houses a collection of items and architecture from the famous royal cities of Fez, Maknes, Marrakech, and Rabat in Morroco.

  1. GIFT SHOP

Take home some interesting collections from its quaint gift shop offering environmentally friendly souvenirs.

Getting Here
ByCar/ Taxi/ Bus or ERL
This area is 25 km from Kuala Lumpur and 20 km north of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). One can use the Express Railway (ERL), car, taxi or bus to destinations in Putrajaya.

Who to Contact
Putrajaya Botanical Garden
Tel                   :           +603-8887 7770
Email               :           [email protected]
Website          :           www.ppj.gov.my

Penang Botanic Garden

The Penang Botanic Gardens, more popularly known as the “Waterfall Gardens”, was established by the British way back in 1884 from an old quarry site. The Gardens were founded by Charles Curtis from the Gardens and Forests Departments Straits Settlements. As the first Curator, Curtis was a devoted plant lover who tirelessly transformed the granite quarry into a garden, and greatly contributed to the botanical and horticulture development of the Gardens.

CHECK OUT THIS COOL PLANTS

  1. The Rain Tree

The magnificent rain tree at the main entrance of Penang Botanic Gardens had greeted many visitor since 1800’s. This fast growing shade-tree can grow up until 35 meter in height. Locals call it the “Pokok Pukul Lima” or the “5 o’clock Tree” because the compound exhibit “sleep motion”, that is they close just before sunset and open just after sunrise.

  1. The Canon Ball Tree / Couroupita Guaneensis

A beautiful fast growing tree which reaches 25m in height. The leaves have a life span of approximately 6 months after which they are shed rapidly so that the crown is usually bare for a day or two. A remarkable flowering tree bearing large pinkish red, fragrant waxy flowers borne on the tree trunk along woody twigs. Later, large reddish brown globular fruits emerge, each attaining the size of a human head and containing a mass of sour smelling pulp.

COOL ACTIVITIES AT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN

  1. EXERCISE

It is a great natural place to do exercise like jogging and cycling. It offers the best jogging track with beautiful garden scenery.

  1. HIKING

You can also do some hiking either through the forest or the main road from the botanical garden all the way to the Penang Hill.

  1. WATERFALL
    The waterfall on-site is privately owned although you can visit upon approval from the Penang Water Authority. Another way of visiting the waterfall is through organised monthly visits by ‘The Friends of the Penang Botanic Gardens’, a non-governmental organisation.

Getting Here

By Road or Car
The Garden is about 8 km from the town centre. Parking is available at several car parks just outside the Garden entrance.

By Bus
Bus 10 from Georgetown takes you all the way to the Gardens. It stops in the large car park just outside the entrance.

Who to Contact
Penang Botanic Gardens Department
Address           :           Jalan Kebun Bunga, 10350 Penang, Malaysia
Tel                   :           +604-227 0428
Fax                  :           +604-228 6075
Email               :           [email protected]
Website          :           http://botanicalgardens.penang.gov.my

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A Spontaneous Road Trip to Pantai Klebang

An Afternoon at Klebang Beach

As part of the Unesco Heritage Sites, the ‘Historic Cities of the Straits of Melaka’ needs no introduction. Many Malaysians are repeat visitors to this fascinating site. But today my friends and I decided to explore the area outside of the historic perimeter, to be precise, its coastal area.

Over the last couple of years, Klebang Beach (or Pantai Klebang, to the locals), a 15-minute drive out of Melaka City, has become viral because of these two things – food and sand dunes. These were the main reasons we made the two-and-a-half-hour drive to Pantai Klebang all the way from Kuala Lumpur, one fine afternoon. (Note: from Kuala Lumpur, drive southwards on the North-South Highway before taking the Ayer Keroh toll exit at which you can expect to pay RM12.90).

Upon hitting Melaka, we then decided to have our lunch at this newly-opened three-star hotel called MITC Hotel in Ayer Keroh because we had heard their claypot fish head curry was to-die-for. The curry was definitely delicious coupled with ulam (local salads) and stir fried spicy clams, making for a very satisfying lunch.

With our stomachs full, we headed straight to Pantai Klebang for a little bit of exploration and to shed the calories we had just consumed. Our first stop, the Submarine Museum.

Submarine Museum

The Quessant Agosta 70 FS, with a carrying capacity of 41 passengers, was previously used to train Malaysia’s submarine crew from 2005 to 2009 following the acquisition of two submarines by the Ministry of Defence, Malaysia. Today, it has been turned into a museum, allowing visitors to go on board to experience what life is like in a sub.

I already had an idea that the inside of a submarine would be small but I didn’t realise just how narrow or cramped it would be, making me feel almost claustrophobic. The strong smell of diesel still lingered in the air at the front of the submarine where four tornadoes used to be.

My respect towards the training crew peaked after I saw how tiny the captain’s quarters was, not to mention the alley, the galley (kitchen) and the bathroom. To think that they had to spend 9,000 training hours — the equivalent of four years — underwater inside that vessel, was just beyond my belief.

My advise is to visit this museum during weekdays or at low-season. Due to the confined space within the submarine, it will be a little difficult to maneuver yourself in a crowd.

If the guide is not available, you can read about the history of FS Quessant at the information gallery provided by the museum within the compound.

The Submarine Museum is located at Dataran 1Malaysia, Klebang, Malacca. Its GPS coordinate is N 2.213988, E 102.198461 and it is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Visitors pay an entrance fee of RM5.00 while children below 12 are charged RM3.00.

For more information on the submarine museum,
please contact Perbadanan Muzium Melaka at +606 – 282 6526,
or visit the website at www.perzim.gov.my or facebook page at https://ms-my.facebook.com/MelakaMuseum.

Malaysian Desserts

There are three local desserts that have gone viral over the last couple of years and all of them are located at Pantai Klebang. After the visit to the museum, we drove around the Limbongan and Klebang Kecil area to search for them.

Kuih Keria Antarabangsa Hj. Jalil

Kuih keria is a Malaysian-style glazed sugar doughnut that is made from sweet potatoes. The shop that sells this kuih keria is so famous that people do not mind the long queues to get a taste of the sweet and fluffy snack, which is perfect for an afternoon tea, or any time of the day, actually.

The owner, Mr. Jalil Tompang, 74, says he uses around 150 kg of sweet potatoes per day to make about 1,000 pieces of his super delicious kuih keria. He personally prepares the ingredients and fries the doughnuts himself. Our verdict? We just couldn’t get enough of his kuih keria. Bear in mind that it is best eaten hot. One kuih keria will cost you 50 cents and the maximum you can buy is 20 pieces.

Putu Piring Generasi Ketiga

The putu piring is a traditional dessert made of ground rice flour filled at the centre with gula melaka or palm sugar, and then gently steamed in metal conical moulds. The stall selling this famous putu piring by the roadside at Kompleks Niaga Limbongan is manned by Hajah Zalika Lajis, 65, and assisted by her daughter Fazilah Mohamad, 36. According to Hajah Zalika, her mother started the business in 1969 at almost the exact same spot. The only difference is that there used to be a beach where a row of shophouses now stands behind her stall.

Now that her daughter is also involved in the business, she has named the stall as “Putu Piring Generasi Ketiga” or The Third Generation Putu Piring. What is so special about their putu piring is that the rice flour is homemade and not store-bought in packets. Yes, I can see why these pillowy puffs have such a following. At first bite, the putu piring tastes soft and moist, while the melted palm sugar oozing out tastes caramelly delicious.

The putu piring here comes in original, durian and chocolate flavours. Each is presented with a sprinkling of freshly grated coconut tinged with some salt on the side, served on a square of banana leaf, which naturally fragrances the dessert. The original flavour is priced at RM3 for five pieces while the other two flavours are priced at RM4 for five pieces.

Klebang Original Coconut Shakes

We must thank Mr. Shafie Ahmad, 55, from Klebang Kecil because, if not for his ingenuity, we would never have guessed that coconuts and vanilla ice cream go really well together! He created this coconut shake about 10 years ago by blending the white coconut flesh with sugar syrup, ice cubes and vanilla ice cream and topped it off with another scoop of vanilla ice cream. The coconut shake has now become a must-try whenever one makes a visit to Melaka.

It was late afternoon when we reached his restaurant and from the crowd gathering there, it looked like Mr. Shafie’s coconut shakes were very popular among locals and tourists alike. Various food and traditional kuih (desserts) at the restaurant are provided by the locals as he only sells coconut shakes. The restaurant operates from 11 am until 6.30 pm every day. He still maintains his old stall by the roadside for those wanting to buy a take-away coconut shake. Our verdict was the coconut shakes tasted yummy and creamy, perfect for such a hot and humid weather. Expect to pay RM3.50 per shake.

Pantai Klebang Beachfront

We decided to enjoy our desserts at the beach while waiting for the sun to set. By evening, Pantai Klebang is full of activity, filled with people playing kites, kids blowing and chasing bubbles, as well as horses carrying people back and forth. There were many food stalls there, too. Unlike other beaches, it is not advisable to swim at Pantai Klebang, but it was still an ideal place for a family picnic, though.

Pantai Klebang Sand Dunes

Here was the tricky part of the trip. The sand dunes at Pantai Klebang had gone viral for several years now but it was one of those off-the-beaten path attractions that required some navigational skills to find. Still, it attracts photographers, be it amateur or professional, who claim that this place is perfect for outdoor wedding and high fashion photography shoots.

Be prepared to walk several kilometres in or about 20 minutes on sandy terrain to reach the sand dunes. The scenery is worth every difficult step, though, especially when the sun started going down into the horizon, painting the sky with a myriad of colours from yellow to orange to red and purple before going totally dark. The changing colours of the sky also transformed the colours of the sand dunes making it look like we were on another planet. This place is definitely Instagram-worthy and has potential as a film location for movies. It has also become an increasingly popular destination for sandboarding, which is another type of high adrenaline sport.

In reality, the hills of sands which was a result of a land reclamation project in the Klebang area was a perfect mimic of the desert. It is located between Pantai Klebang Melaka and the Submarine Museum. However, there is no signboard and you have to enter at your own risk.

While you are in Pantai Klebang, why don’t you give it a try. I promise that it is one of the best places to see the sun set. And I’ll bet that it is also the best place to do a little stargazing, but only if you dare to stay at the place after dark.

After that long walk and all the climbing that we did at the sand dunes, it was time to get back the energy by having an authentic Peranakan (Nyonya) dish at the Seafarer Restaurant nearby. The food here is a fusion of seafood and Nonya-style cooking, with a hint of Chinese and Malay culinary influences. We had a nyonya-style asam pedas fish (fish cooked in a gravy of chillies and tamarind broth, thus it is both spicy and sour), sambal beancurds and hot plate tofu with white rice for dinner. Everything was delicious and combined with the restaurant’s ambience, it was a must-try restaurant. We actually took our dinner al-fresco by the beach, which was why this restaurant was so cool. It was lively and gave you that “live by the beach” vibe.

All in all, it was a well-spent day with friends at Pantai Klebang.

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Lingering at Lang Tengah Island

By Anis Rozalina Ramli

On the 45-minute boat journey from Merang, Terengganu, it was evident which of the many islands on the horizon belonged to Pulau Lang Tengah. It was the only one circled by a lone eagle, or lang, in flight.

The island’s geographical location, sandwiched between Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang, explains the other part of its name.

Like the middle child in a family, Pulau Lang Tengah does suffer somewhat from the middle child syndrome. It is often overlooked in favor of Pulau Redang’s famous marine park and Pulau Perhentian’s Long Beach – both having earned a following among tourists and backpackers from foreign countries.

When it comes to Pulau Lang Tengah, even the locals in Terengganu could only offer a blank stare as to its location.

Beautiful Rock formation on Pulau Lang Tengah

Well, perhaps, this disregard is not such a bad thing because, in the end, it puts Pulau Lang Tengah where it should be – left for the quiet enjoyment of those who truly appreciate the peaceful nature of this secluded gem in the South China Sea. Because unlike its siblings, Pulau Lang Tengah is best enjoyed unhurriedly, like that slow sip of fine champagne or the melting of a truly fine piece of chocolate on the tongue.

Without the crowd of lounging backpackers, swaggering divers, and tired-looking families, you get the sense that the island is all yours. There is no one around to block the sun while you sunbathe, no one to elbow at the buffet counter, no one to fight with over the last deck chair. With only a handful of resort operators spaced out on separate beaches on the island, there really is space for you to breathe and relax, whether on land or in the water.

Of course, when in the water, you might have to jostle about with the schools of fish, but again, that’s not a bad thing. Not when you have colorful parrot fish, silver needlefish, and sergeant fish coming up close to inspect their new swimming partner.

With just a mask, fins and, for safety, a life jacket, one can already enjoy what Pulau Lang Tengah serves up best – abundant marine life in its beautiful blue waters. Most resort operators here offer full-board package deals that already include a few snorkeling trips around the island.

Snorkeling off the beach easily offers encounters with colourful fish and corals. With a boat, snorkelers can explore the underwater world at other parts around the island like Batu Bulan, Karang Nibong and Blue Coral where the best snorkeling sites are Fry fish, silvery pompano, red-breasted Maori wrasse, snapper and masked rabbitfish are among the common underwater denizens. The various types of coral here include a table, boulder, brain, cabbage and staghorn corals.

There have been sightings of blacktip sharks around the rocky outcrops in the sea by snorkelers. Harmless, the guys at the dive shop say. Still, a close encounter with this shark may stir memories of another dorsal fin that struck fear in many. Besides spotting a shark or two, the other highlight would be to see turtles coming up to lay eggs on the beach at Turtle Bay. It happens but is a rare occasion. Guests can check with the resort operator for details.

For an even closer look at the underwater world, there is diving to be done. Most of the resorts on the island have their own dive shop with PADI-certified dive guides. The ten or so dive sites around the island are colourful feasts for the eyes.

So yes, despite being the hidden gem that it is, Pulau Lang Tengah has plenty to keep its guests occupied. But then, who cares about all that when you’ve come to escape from it all.

 

 

 

 

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PARADISE FOR FAMILIES

HEAVEN FOR FAMILIES, HAVEN FOR NATURE

By Anis Rozalina Ramli

The Andaman, Luxury Collection Resort in Langkawi is a special place where families and nature relax blissfully in each other’s company.

image credit to @edrwright from The Andaman Instagram page.

Tucked away in a million-year-old tropical rainforest, The Andaman has the warm, clear waters of the Datai Bay at its doorstep and the Mat Cincang mountain range as its backyard. Located on one of the 99 islands collectively known as Langkawi, the entire resort is blanketed in the green jungles of Malaysia so dense that nothing of this paradise resort is visible from the sea.

With the miracles of nature right at its doorstep — along with majestic sunsets, flying lemurs, giant squirrels, colourful corals and their resident marine friends — it’s not difficult to remember who’s boss here at this resort. It’s a daily reminder of how small we are in the grand scheme of things! Definitely no airs here even though the facilities and service standards reflect the property’s Starwood Luxury Collection branding.

Family Friendly

Despite its luxury positioning, it’s heartening to know that The Andaman welcomes kids with open arms. There’s nothing as humbling as catering to the needs of the most discerning of guests — the under 12s! They are tough to please but The Andaman certainly tries very hard and they’ve got the formula down pat. Kids menu, check. Wading pool, check. Babysitter, check. Kids playroom, check. Only, they’ve gone one step further with the SPG Kids Pass which allows children 12 and under to have three meals a day for just RM60 per day, per child. All the typically popular kid-approved favourites are on the menu – fish and chips, pizza and pasta – but there are a few adult-inspired creations as well such as cheese-and-fruit skewers, a caprese salad-type sandwich, and Asian vegetable rolls. Parents with kids will definitely appreciate this one-price convenience at meal times.

kids playroom at The Andaman

flying lemurs right at your doorstop

Holidays with Purpose

But, of all the facilities available at The Andaman, it is the coral nursery programme that’s a welcome distraction – both with young and old. Believed to be the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, the coral nursery is a rehab centre, private snorkelling area and education centre all rolled into one. Tucked away at one end of The Andaman beach, the nursery is nothing more than a huge saltwater pool filled with thriving coral and marine life but its environmental purpose is one that resonates with many modern travellers who are more conscious of their travel footprint.

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, a 6,000-year-old coral reef fronting the resort was badly damaged. That was the impetus for the resort’s coral conservation project encompassing coral clearing activities and taking guests on educational coral walks to learn about the fragile marine ecosystem. At first, it was just the resort staff clearing the dead corals that were rolling over and damaging live coral in the sea – all part of the day’s work. Interested guests, both children and adults, soon joined them in their bit to help the environment and it naturally took off as a regular resort activity for guests.

During spring tides when sea levels pull back to reveal a 6,000-year-old reef, the resort offers guided walks along the stretch of coral garden where abundant marine life-forms make their home. Guests who are lucky enough to be at the resort during this time get to learn about this fragile ecosystem from the resort’s resident marine biologist, Dr. Gerry Goeden. Others purposefully check with the resort to make sure their visit coincides with the spring tide dates for this experience alone.

One of the highlights of the coral nursery is the opportunity to snorkel within its natural environment under the expert guidance of the charismatic Dr. Goeden. The coral pool, thriving with all manner of colourful tropical marine fish and the rainbow-hued corals, offers a still environment and great visibility for even first-time snorkelers to appreciate the blooming beauty of the underwater marine world. Without choppy waves in the open sea to sway you, it’s easy to manoeuvre around the pool with Dr. Goeden firmly by your side narrating the aspects of the coral environment. His deep knowledge of conservation and extensive experience with the Great Barrier Reef in Australia brings a more meaningful appreciation for the ecosystem. Expect to swim among friendly razor, clown and parrot fish as well as groupers, lobsters, sea urchins and starfish. Brain coral, and other hard and soft coral flourish here, showing of their full beauty.

With 80% of coral reefs damaged due to dynamite fishing, net fishing and overfishing, the resort aims to educate children about the importance of a coral reef ecosystem.  The nursery’s programmes such as Ocean in a Bucket, Young Marine Biologist and the Artificial Reef Modules (ARMs programme) all give important insights into the environment with opportunities for old and young guests to participate in marine conservation efforts at the resort. Guests can make mini versions of the ARM out of concrete and plant live coral on it, which will be nurtured and eventually released into the sea as homes for marine life! Meanhile, the Young Marine Biologist programme for 8 to 10 year olds aspiring to work in the marine environment gives a hands-on training in managing a marine environment at the nursery which includes cleaning the pool, feeding the fish and collecting dead corals.

Adult Fun

With kids contented, the adults can rest easy, too, and enjoy the range of resort services such as spa, beach-front bars, sun-deck dining and golfing.

The Andaman has great dining facilities at its six dining areas: Tepian Laut, Beach Bar, The Restaurant, The Japanese Restaurant, Jentayu Lounge and Jala.

Dining at Jala Restaurant, with beautiful sunset views and therapeutic sand floor (go barefoot in a little black dress for best effect), is great for the fresh seafood sourced from the local community. Its exciting menu respectfully blends aspects of the east and west in palate-enticing concoctions. Fresh seafood is available daily for selection and meal preparation according to diners’ preference.

The Japanese Restaurant is said to bring authentic Japanese menu to the shores of Langkawi each evening. For sashimi with a difference, try the cuts from local fish.

The Beach Bar, meanwhile, is a fun place to hang out in the day or at sunset. Day-time temperatures determine the discounts offered on drinks during Happy Hour, so soaring temperatures in the summer mean deeper cuts in price! The bar prides itself on such signature drinks as the Radiant Maiden, a curious blend of aged rum, kaffir lime, agave nectar, lime juice and chili pepper. Or try the Perfect Balance mocktail, a refreshing combination of kiwi, rambutan and lime suitable for guests of all ages.

Fusion of Fun and Healthy

Image credit to @TheAndaman Instagram page. Watermelon salad is a perfect cooling salad on a hot day by the beach

A healthy cuisine menu has also been carefully designed by the chefs at the resort to incorporate healthy ingredients with delicious results, enticingly presented to tease the taste buds. The menu has been curated carefully to include raw desserts and  gluten-free and vegan offerings with fresh and organic ingredients that are free of pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and insecticides, with herbs and micro-greens harvested from the resort’s own herb garden. As the dishes arrive at the table, one truly feels the inspiration behind the creations that celebrate and honour sustainability, fair trade and local farms, and which are prepared with love and consciousness.

Another adult activity worth indulging while at the resort is golfing at the new Els Club Datai, designed by former number one golfing legend Ernie Els also known as The Big Easy. The 18-hole par 72 bunkerless championship course meanders its way through a 10 million year old rainforest, cascading down to the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

Those looking for some “me” time will appreciate the resort’s V Botanical Spa village. Located at the far north of the resort, V Botanical Spa is the first spa in Southeast Asia to offer 100-percent certified organic food grade products. Perched high on a verdant hillside are four treatment villas hidden away in the rainforest. While the range of spa treatments are relaxing and therapeutic, the beautiful view of the crescent-shaped bay and the lulling sounds of the ocean are what make this special place a heaven for tired minds and knotted muscles.

The Andaman oozes of traditional Malay architecture yet fulfils all modern expectations and is further made special with its magical location near sun, sea, sand, jungle and mountain. As a family-friendly resort, it has earned its stars among families with children, but what’s most heartening is that its heart is at one with nature.

 

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Article source: http://blog.tourism.gov.my/feed/

Kuching VIC Relocating

Kuching VIC Relocating

KUCHING, Thursday: The Sarawak Tourism Board’s (STB) Kuching Visitor Information Centre (VIC) has been relocated to the Sarawak Tourism Complex, or the Old Court House.

“The relocation of the VIC is necessary in our efforts to better accommodate our visitors’ needs, by strategically stationing our tourist coordinators where they are easily accessible to provide tourism information and guidance,” said STB Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mary Wan Mering.

The new location is located between the entrances to India Street and Carpenter Street as well as the Kuching Waterfront, making it easily found by visitors seeking information.

The VIC is also scenically located in a significant heritage site, with the Complex’s main building, the Old Court House, dating back to 1871 when it was the seat of Sarawak government.

The building still retains its original belian (ironwood) roofs, colonial Clock Tower and Charles Brooke Memorial.

The VIC’s operating hours are 9.00am to 6.00pm daily, except on public holidays, and can be contacted via email at [email protected].

VIC Kuching

Photo shows Tourist Coordinators at the new Kuching Visitor Information Centre, located at the Sarawak Tourism Complex or Old Court House.

 

Issued by:

Communications Unit
SARAWAK TOURISM BOARD
T: +6 082-423600  F: +6 082-416700
E: [email protected]

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Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/