Categories
Tourism Malaysia

WHAT LIES “BEHIND THE ISLAND”?

On the southwest of Penang, there is a sleepy town called Balik Pulau, literally meaning “behind the island,” that offers a glimpse of yesteryear. I salute the person who gave this town its name; there’s no need to give the town a fancy name, just a simple Balik Pulau would do.

But there’s nothing simple about Balik Pulau. What lies “behind the island” are beautiful sceneries, fresh air, quaint villages, street art, hospitable people, delicious food, empty beaches and peace and quiet. Let me show you what lies “behind the island”.

Balik Pulau Street Art

George Town has long been known as one of the street art capitals of the world. A prominent Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevi was commissioned to paint eight murals depicting the cultural and heritage of the island, which sparked the street art craze in not just Penang but the whole of Malaysia.

But street art in Balik Pulau depicts real people. Julia Volchkova who hails from Russia, paints the people she has met around the villages. Her murals on the pre-war buildings around Balik Pulau portray a rubber tapper, a fisherman, an Indian lady, a Hakka lady, as well as a martial artist in a pose.

Image via Julia Volchkova

Half the fun of the street art is hunting for the paintings, so what are you waiting for? Just head southwest of Penang and start your search for Volchkova’s murals and other drawings from various unknown artists.

Pasir Panjang Beach

I have a secret to share – did you know that Balik Pulau has a beach that is empty of tourists? That’s right, the beach at Pasir Panjang Beach is your own private playground. Here, you won’t have to fight for a space to set up your picnic spread. Just enjoy the empty beach to yourself, collecting beautiful seashells, chasing little crabs, angling, or simply enjoying the beautiful sunset. I must tell you, though, that swimming is not advisable here – the 2004 tsunami had eroded the beach and there may be steep parts and strong undercurrents in the sea not immediately visible to the eye.

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm

Did you know that the Royal Society recently reported that goats are much more attracted to people with big smiles plastered across their faces? Well, if you want to test it out, go visit Saanen Dairy Goat Farm in Permatang Pasir, Balik Pulau and find out for yourself.

Oh, for your information, Saanen goats are a white or cream colored breed of goats, named after the Saanen valley in Switzerland. So, please smile widely while you are feeding them the Rose and Napiar grasses. Entrance to the farm and feeding activities are free of charge. At the farm, you will get to learn the daily operations of a dairy goat farm from milking until the distribution process. Don’t forget to check out their ice cream, yogurt, feta, goat’s cheese and pudding made from fresh milk.

Address:

298 Mukim 1 Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang
Tel: 019-5163017
Messenger: m.me/SaanenDairyGoatFarm

Countryside Stables Penang

Nestled in the midst of the Sungai Burung agriculture area in Balik Pulau is the privately-owned Countryside Stables that offers its visitor all kind of riding activities.

To date, it is home to 35 horses of various breed including miniatures horses, Shetlands ponies, pure bred Arabian horses, Polo pony, Thai, Myanmar and Malaysian ponies, Percheron, and other animals such as donkeys and deer.


Upon entering Countryside Stables, an entry free of RM10 (adults) RM5 (children) will be charged. Some of the activities include joy rides and guided rides for children and adults, animal petting and feeding, as well as horse carriage rides.

Address:
Lot 10050 Jalan Sungai Burung, Kampong Jalan Baru, Balik Pulau
Tel: 012-408 0678
Messenger: m.me/countrysidestablespenang

Kuala Sungai Pinang

Kuala Sungai Pinang is a traditional fishing village that looks like it is frozen in time. It is worth a visit if you have never been to a fishing village and curious about the daily life of a fisherman. At the village, you get to see fishermen tending their nets while their old-school boats sway gently at the dock, or just enjoy the view of the villagers hustling for the catch of the day. It is simply nostalgic. Besides that, some of the friendly fishermen offer boat rides until the mangrove area and the nearby surroundings. Kuala Sungai Pinang may just be the place for poetic inspiration.

 

Titi Kerawang Waterfall

A cascading waterfall and natural pool await visitors at a scenic road between Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang, on the western side of the island. Since there are few waterfalls in Penang, a visit to this waterfall, which the locals call Titi Kerawang, is a must. The cool environment and dense greenery make the waterfall an ideal picnic spot. Local people normally come here in droves during the weekends and public holidays for recreation.

Stepping Stone Centre

The centre showcases a variety of high quality crafts which can be purchased. These include hand woven scarves, tie and dye bags in vibrant colours, home-made soaps, candles, etc. All products are made by members with special needs who have channeled their skills and abilities into a viable career. Stepping Stone is a support centre for community living run by an NGO, the Asia Community Service.

Address

53, Jalan Bharu, Bukit Satu, MK 1 Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau

Contact Number
+604 866 5349

Bao Sheng Durian Farm

Your visit to Balik Pulau is not complete if you did not go to a durian farm. In fact, every year between May and August, durian is the only fruit that draws visitors from near and far to Balik Pulau. There is this farm in Balik Pulau called Bao Sheng, which offers its visitors a compelling durian tasting experience. Savor the distinctive taste of Malaysia’s king of fruits in their tasting sessions as you learn about various types of durians and how to pick the best ones.

Address:
150 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6012-411 0600 / +6012-401 0800
E-mail: bsfarm@durian.com.my
Website: http://www.durian.com.my

Matahari Cycle Tours, Balik Pulau

One of the best ways to explore Balik Pulau is on two wheels as you can easily meander through the villages and go off-the-beaten path to really get to know the locals. Matahari Cycle Tours is one of the prominent tour agencies that promotes the area. Cycling through Balik Pulau will allow you plenty of opportunities to get a perfect photo of the traditional villages, plantations, paddy fields and the farms.

Matahari Cycle Tours Travel Sdn. Bhd.
Contact No: +6019-4480440 (Mr Syed and Ms Princillia)
E-mail: mataharicycle@gmail.com
Website: http://www.cyclematahari.com

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

WHAT LIES “BEHIND THE ISLAND”?

On the southwest of Penang, there is a sleepy town called Balik Pulau, literally meaning “behind the island,” that offers a glimpse of yesteryear. I salute the person who gave this town its name; there’s no need to give the town a fancy name, just a simple Balik Pulau would do.

But there’s nothing simple about Balik Pulau. What lies “behind the island” are beautiful sceneries, fresh air, quaint villages, street art, hospitable people, delicious food, empty beaches and peace and quiet. Let me show you what lies “behind the island”.

Balik Pulau Street Art

George Town has long been known as one of the street art capitals of the world. A prominent Lithuanian artist, Ernest Zacharevi was commissioned to paint eight murals depicting the cultural and heritage of the island, which sparked the street art craze in not just Penang but the whole of Malaysia.

But street art in Balik Pulau depicts real people. Julia Volchkova who hails from Russia, paints the people she has met around the villages. Her murals on the pre-war buildings around Balik Pulau portray a rubber tapper, a fisherman, an Indian lady, a Hakka lady, as well as a martial artist in a pose.

Image via Julia Volchkova

Half the fun of the street art is hunting for the paintings, so what are you waiting for? Just head southwest of Penang and start your search for Volchkova’s murals and other drawings from various unknown artists.

Pasir Panjang Beach

I have a secret to share – did you know that Balik Pulau has a beach that is empty of tourists? That’s right, the beach at Pasir Panjang Beach is your own private playground. Here, you won’t have to fight for a space to set up your picnic spread. Just enjoy the empty beach to yourself, collecting beautiful seashells, chasing little crabs, angling, or simply enjoying the beautiful sunset. I must tell you, though, that swimming is not advisable here – the 2004 tsunami had eroded the beach and there may be steep parts and strong undercurrents in the sea not immediately visible to the eye.

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm

Did you know that the Royal Society recently reported that goats are much more attracted to people with big smiles plastered across their faces? Well, if you want to test it out, go visit Saanen Dairy Goat Farm in Permatang Pasir, Balik Pulau and find out for yourself.

Oh, for your information, Saanen goats are a white or cream colored breed of goats, named after the Saanen valley in Switzerland. So, please smile widely while you are feeding them the Rose and Napiar grasses. Entrance to the farm and feeding activities are free of charge. At the farm, you will get to learn the daily operations of a dairy goat farm from milking until the distribution process. Don’t forget to check out their ice cream, yogurt, feta, goat’s cheese and pudding made from fresh milk.

Address:

298 Mukim 1 Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang
Tel: 019-5163017
Messenger: m.me/SaanenDairyGoatFarm

Countryside Stables Penang

Nestled in the midst of the Sungai Burung agriculture area in Balik Pulau is the privately-owned Countryside Stables that offers its visitor all kind of riding activities.

To date, it is home to 35 horses of various breed including miniatures horses, Shetlands ponies, pure bred Arabian horses, Polo pony, Thai, Myanmar and Malaysian ponies, Percheron, and other animals such as donkeys and deer.


Upon entering Countryside Stables, an entry free of RM10 (adults) RM5 (children) will be charged. Some of the activities include joy rides and guided rides for children and adults, animal petting and feeding, as well as horse carriage rides.

Address:
Lot 10050 Jalan Sungai Burung, Kampong Jalan Baru, Balik Pulau
Tel: 012-408 0678
Messenger: m.me/countrysidestablespenang

Kuala Sungai Pinang

Kuala Sungai Pinang is a traditional fishing village that looks like it is frozen in time. It is worth a visit if you have never been to a fishing village and curious about the daily life of a fisherman. At the village, you get to see fishermen tending their nets while their old-school boats sway gently at the dock, or just enjoy the view of the villagers hustling for the catch of the day. It is simply nostalgic. Besides that, some of the friendly fishermen offer boat rides until the mangrove area and the nearby surroundings. Kuala Sungai Pinang may just be the place for poetic inspiration.

 

Titi Kerawang Waterfall

A cascading waterfall and natural pool await visitors at a scenic road between Balik Pulau and Teluk Bahang, on the western side of the island. Since there are few waterfalls in Penang, a visit to this waterfall, which the locals call Titi Kerawang, is a must. The cool environment and dense greenery make the waterfall an ideal picnic spot. Local people normally come here in droves during the weekends and public holidays for recreation.

Stepping Stone Centre

The centre showcases a variety of high quality crafts which can be purchased. These include hand woven scarves, tie and dye bags in vibrant colours, home-made soaps, candles, etc. All products are made by members with special needs who have channeled their skills and abilities into a viable career. Stepping Stone is a support centre for community living run by an NGO, the Asia Community Service.

Address

53, Jalan Bharu, Bukit Satu, MK 1 Pulau Betong, Balik Pulau

Contact Number
+604 866 5349

Bao Sheng Durian Farm

Your visit to Balik Pulau is not complete if you did not go to a durian farm. In fact, every year between May and August, durian is the only fruit that draws visitors from near and far to Balik Pulau. There is this farm in Balik Pulau called Bao Sheng, which offers its visitors a compelling durian tasting experience. Savor the distinctive taste of Malaysia’s king of fruits in their tasting sessions as you learn about various types of durians and how to pick the best ones.

Address:
150 Mukim 2, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6012-411 0600 / +6012-401 0800
E-mail: bsfarm@durian.com.my
Website: http://www.durian.com.my

Matahari Cycle Tours, Balik Pulau

One of the best ways to explore Balik Pulau is on two wheels as you can easily meander through the villages and go off-the-beaten path to really get to know the locals. Matahari Cycle Tours is one of the prominent tour agencies that promotes the area. Cycling through Balik Pulau will allow you plenty of opportunities to get a perfect photo of the traditional villages, plantations, paddy fields and the farms.

Matahari Cycle Tours Travel Sdn. Bhd.
Contact No: +6019-4480440 (Mr Syed and Ms Princillia)
E-mail: mataharicycle@gmail.com
Website: http://www.cyclematahari.com

Categories
Cuisine in Melaka

MELAKA WANTS MORE SINGAPOREAN TOURISTS

02 November 2012 | last updated at 01:20PM

Melaka to draw more Singaporean tourists

SINGAPORE: The Melaka government is set to attract more tourists from Singapore to the Unesco World Heritage City of Melaka through collaboration with the main industry players in the city state, said Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.

“We are really looking forward to establishing networking and cooperation with the main industry players here in order to attract more tourists from Singapore,” he said at a Melaka tourism product update event here on Thursday.

Mohd Ali said that to sustain Melaka City’s position as a must-visit destination, the state government was promoting it based on 12 sub-sector tourism products, namely history, culture, recreation, sports, shopping,convention, health, education, agro-tourism, food, Melaka My 2nd Home and youth tourism.

Also present at the event were Tourism Malaysia Director for Singapore Zalizam Zakaria; Melaka State Secretary Datuk Wira Omar Kaseh; Melaka Tourism, Culture and Heritage Committee Chairman Datuk Wira Latiff Tamby Chik; General Manager of the Tourism Promotion Division in the Melaka Chief Minister’s Department, Abd Kadir Md Idris, and local tourism industry players.

Mohd Ali said: “Last year, we received a total of 12.2 million tourist arrivals compared to 10.3 million in 2010, an increase of 17.5 per cent, with the length of stay at 2.15 nights. Tourist expenditure increased to about RM7.5 billion compared to RM5 billion previously.”

In terms of foreign markets, he said, China continued to be the market leader, with a share of 21 per cent, followed by Singapore (18.9 per cent),Indonesia (11.3 per cent), Taiwan (six per cent) and Myanmar (5.5 per cent).
“Singapore continues to be the second major market for foreign touristarrivals in Melaka,” he said.

The chief minister said various efforts and strategies had been developed toattract 12.5 million tourist arrivals to Melaka this year, and added that this mission was supported by the theme of “Visit Historic Melaka Means Visit Malaysia”.

He also said that Melaka was being introduced to tourists as a state that was clean, beautiful, colourful and bright, as well as a shopping paradise which also had delicious and tasty food.

“I hope this visit will mark the beginning of a steady flow of tourists from Singapore to Melaka. In conjunction with the ‘Melaka 750 Years’ celebration,should you visit Malaysia, and specially Melaka, this year, you would be able to experience more than 120 events, including 20 mega events and festivities, that have been planned throughout the year,” he said.

— BERNAMA

Categories
Wonderful Malaysia

Overall growth of tourist arrivals Malaysia

Malaysia recorded an overall growth of +1.2% tourist arrivals with 9,438,592 tourists for the first five months of 2012 as compared to 9,323,827 for the same period last year, according to the Tourism Minister, Dato’ Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen. ASEAN region still contributed the largest number of tourists to Malaysia with 73.4% of the total arrivals. The positive growth come from Indonesia (+19.3%), Philippines (+41.7%), Vietnam (+35.2%), Myanmar (+6.9%) and Laos (+19.9%). Other notable progressive medium and long haul markets include Saudi Arabia (+50.7%), China (+34.1%), Japan (30.6%), Russia (25.8%), Kazakhstan (25.2%), Denmark (14.4%) and India (+7.8%).

Total receipts by tourists from January to May 2012 rose by +1.9%, generating RM21.8 billion to the country’s revenue as compared to RM21.4 billion in 2011. The tourists’ per capita expenditure for that period is estimated at RM 2,309 an increase of 0.7% as compared to RM 2,294 in 2011.

The minister added that in line with the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan 2020 towards achieving 36 million tourist and 168billion in receipts by 2020, it is important for Malaysia to shift its focus on growing yield per tourist rather than to rely heavily on growth in tourist arrivals. “To attract the higher yield segment, we will need to enhance connectivity to key priority markets.” For a start, Tourism Malaysia works to increase flight frequencies to 6 priority countries namely China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and Taiwan besides developing an air-rights allocation framework to facilitate efficient development of these key routes and others.

One of the most successful programs that have been identified by the Ministry to develop rural based tourism is the Homestay Program. The tourism program recorded a significant increase with 38.4% of occupancy rate compared to 24.9% for the same period last year. A total of 133,689 tourists visited our homestay from January to May 2012 of which 110,322 were domestic tourists and the rest 23,367 were foreigners. This is a 70.7% increase compared to the same period last year where we only received 78,333 tourists. Tourist receipts from homestay program for the first five months of 2012 also proliferated to RM 7,376,446.50 (+53.1%) compared to RM4, 817,158.30 in January to May 2011. Increased spending by these tourists has stimulated the rural economy. The homestay tourism program has encouraged local communities to be a part of rural based tourism whilst maintaining their traditions and identities.

Recognized as one of the National Key Economic Areas, the tourism industry remains as one of the major contributor to Gross National Income, foreign exchange earnings and employment. In 2011, tourism ranked seventh (7th) largest contributor with a GNI total of USD12.3billion and the third (3rd) largest foreign exchange earner after manufacturing and palm oil. The Malaysian tourism industry in 2010 provided 1.8 million jobs (15.9%, share of employment in tourism to total employment). Amongst the 12 Entry Point Projects are duty free shopping, luxury tourism, designating KLCC–Bukit Bintang area as a vibrant shopping precinct, improving business tourism and increasing the supply of 4 5 star hotel rooms, etc.

The percentage on tourist shopping recorded from January to May 2012 shows 32.3% (RM7.04 billion) of the total tourist receipts. This is an increase compared to 30% last year. The covered walkway connecting Bukit Bintang and KLCC completed early this year to facilitate shopping has shown a positive impact.

To attract high yield tourists, we need quality four five star hotel rooms. Currently there are 59,804 four five star hotel rooms available in Malaysia. By 2020, 37,000 additional four five star hotel rooms are required. The Ministry of Tourism targets to increase 3000 four five star hotel rooms in Malaysia as at end 2012. Currently 71% of the target is achieved with 2,123 rooms completed. The government’s liberalization policies and lucrative tax incentives have resulted in domestic and foreign investments on hospitality assets across Malaysia.

Malaysia has premised itself as a world class destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE). The Malaysia Convention Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) successfully secured 33 major events throughout January to May 2012, attracting total delegates of 50,770 and generating an estimated economic impact of RM499.9 mil. The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Rankings 2011 ranked Kuala Lumpur number 21 in the world and number 5 in Asia Pacific. Malaysia ranked number 29 in the world and number 7 in Asia Pacific.

Domestic tourism is also another important part of Malaysia’s tourism industry. The number of domestic tourists in 2011 increased 15.7% (45,731,000 as compared with 39,539,000 in 2010). In 2011, the spending by domestic tourists was RM27.0 billion, registering a 13.9% increase as against RM23.7 billion spent in 2010. This is the success of the “Cuti Cuti 1Malaysia” Campaign.

In order to grow the tourism industry, efforts have been intensified towards enhancing existing tourism products and developing new, creative and innovative tourism products. This included the “1Malaysia International Shoe Festival 2012?, “1Malaysia International Tourism Exchange 2012?, “1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism 2012? and the recently concluded “1Malaysia International Tourism Night Floral Parade 2012?.

The Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Malaysia: Truly Asia’ branding is recognized worldwide and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has ranked Malaysia the ninth most traveled to destination in the world.

Share
More related articles

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Life Sdn Bhd 7: Refugees

October 23, 2011 at 2:00 pm

How does it feel like to not be able to see your family or friends ever again? To be evicted from your own country even though no crime was committed? This is what it means to be a refugee. As defined by the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (UNCHR) of 1951, a refugee is defined as a person who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country‘. Some refugees live a normal and comfortable life in their new homes, others do not fare so well. One common thing that all refugees share is their love for their own country.

Life Sdn Bhd 7: Refugees

In collaboration with UNCHR, The Actors Studio presents Life Sdn Bhd 7: REFUGEES, the seventh Life Sdn Bhd series that has been receiving great response from the public. This series will feature seven courageous men and women from Myanmar, Somalia and Sri Lanka, who will share their honest and compelling stories of their lives as refugees in Malaysia. Though they may have lost everything, these refugees, like the other many refugees seeking shelter in Malaysia, show an incredible courage and perseverance to remain steadfast and positive in their will to survive.

Joining the refugees on stage is Deborah Henry, who is a refugee rights advocate, and Susheela Balasundaram of UNCHR, together with singer-songwriters Ariff Akhir and Ian Chow. The Life Sdn Bhd 7: REFUGEES series will be held from 26th till 29th October at 8.30 pm AND 30th October at 3.00 pm. Tickets are priced at RM 33 for adults and RM 23 for students and TAS card holders. Viewers attending the preview night on 26th October will be charged a flat rate of RM 23 per entry. For more information, call The Actors Studio at 03 2142 2009 / 2143 2009 or log on to the website here.

Tags: , , , ,