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Peninsular Malaysia

5 reasons to visit Pangkor Island

By Aura Farrando Image: Pulau Pangkor and its many islands

By Aura Farrando
Image: Pulau Pangkor and its many islands

Searching for that perfect weekend getaway? Perhaps something a little quieter than tourist hotspots like Langkawi and Perhentians? Look no further than Pangkor Island, located off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia in the state of Perak, just 90km from Ipoh. It has everything you want for an island escape — and so much more — with sleepy fishing villages, relaxed atmosphere and amazing views. Here’s our Top 5 for Pangkor Island.

 

  1. Perfect Location

Unlike other beach destinations in Malaysia, Pangkor Island is quite easy to get to. You can drive or catch a bus from Kuala Lumpur to the ferry port at Lumut. The ferry from Lumut to Pangkor take 35 minutes and operates 7am to 8.30pm daily. Pangkor also has an airport, with Berjaya Air flying there three times a week. Once on the island, the best mode of transport is by scooter. Renting a scooter is relatively cheap, and will allow to you to cover most within 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can hail one of the island’s famed pink taxis.

Image: Pangkor’s famous pink taxis. — http://www.pangkorislandhomestay.com

Image: Pangkor’s famous pink taxis. — http://www.pangkorislandhomestay.com

2. Beaches and water sports

 Pangkor is just 8 square kilometres, but you’ll be surprised how much you can do, and what you can see. Of course, sun baking on the beach is the most popular pastime for visitors, with Nipah and Coral beach often dotted with holiday makers. There are also two small islands nearby — Giam and Mentagor — that are perfect for snorkelling with an array of coral, sea cucumbers and other sea life to be found. If you’re more adventurous, grab a kayak and circumnavigate the islands. Pasir Bogak is another famous beach, just 2km from Pangkor Town and it is the best place for jet skiing and parasailing.

Image: Snorkelling in Pangkor

Image: Snorkelling in Pangkor

  1. Food

With a thriving local fishing scene, it’s no coincidence that the choice of seafood is amazing. The main catch is cuttlefish and anchovies. Selling dried fish is still an important part of the economy, with locals often transporting large bags of dried anchovies from the port, to the mainland and to the markets. You’ll most likely experience a taste of these anchovies at breakfast with your nasi lemak. At evening, head to the many beachside restaurants and order ikan bakar or grilled fish. What more could you want to end your day. Oh, and it’s cheap, too.

 

  1. Explore by foot

If, for some reason, you are allergic to the ocean, there’s also plenty to do on land. There’s an uphill trek across the island with great vantage points of the local wildlife, particularly the hornbill. You can even feed these gracious birds every day at 6.30pm at Sunset View Chalet. Its owner Nordin Bakar has been feeding the island’s population of hornbills for the past 12 years. For nature lovers and hikers, also check out the jungle trails at Teluk Segadas Hill and Titi Ganung.

 

Pangkor Island has some must-see historical landmarks, too. The island has always been a trading enclave in the state of Perak. The vestiges of history can be traced in the Dutch Fort built in the 17th century. The reason behind its construction was to monopolise the tin trade in Perak and protect the Perak Chieftan.

Image: Hornbills rule the island

Image: Hornbills rule the island

  1. Relax and indulge

Pangkor Laut provides the ultimate luxurious experience. This private island is next to the bigger and busier Pangkor Island. The resort includes 140 villas and suites and has 300 acres of rainforest as a playground. If you feel like splurging, you can stay in the huge Pavarotti Suite. The tenor sang at the launch of the resort in 1994 and said the island was “paradise”. Other celebrities who have stayed here include Michael Schumacher, Eric Cantona and Michelle Yeoh. The resort will also organise your transport to and from the island. More information: http://www.pangkorlautresort.com/

Image: Paradise, Pangkor Laut Resort

Image: Paradise, Pangkor Laut Resort

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

Why volunteering in Malaysia is a must?

Want to check out Malaysia in a fun, cheap and rewarding way. Why not volunteer? There are plenty of programmes and non-profit organisations offering once in a lifetime experiences where you’ll truly feel Malaysian. Here are some of the perks:

Integration into culture!
If you volunteer in Malaysia, there is no doubt you will gain a better understanding of the local culture than compared to if rush your way through the country. Little by little, you will be much more integrated into the environment and will have the chance to see, do and experience things that most people don’t. If you work as a teach, your experience with local children will open your eyes to another world and give you exposure to family life. It’s also possible to volunteer at animal sanctuaries where you will be impressed by the treasures of nature and the stunning fauna and flora of Malaysia.

animal-volunteer

Help this guy and his friends live for a thousand more years

Meeting amazing people
When you travel you meet lots of travellers, when you work you meet lots of workers. But when you volunteer you get to know many different people, especially locals. For example, if you teach English you will get to know all your students and their families. They will probably open the doors of their houses for you and invite you to eat with them. You will get to know all the members of the community and try delicious meals and participate in local traditions and customs. Most NGO’s in Malaysia also work with international volunteers providing a great platform to meet people from all over the world. The fact that you are working together for a cause will make it easy to connect with each other. You will build memories and friendships for life!

enjoy-malaysia

Take in the best of Malaysia with new friends

Discover remote and beautiful places
Another beautiful thing about volunteering in Malaysia is all the wonderful places you will discover. You may be stuck in the city teaching during the week, but Malaysia’s proximity to wonderful destinations both local and foreign makes it so easy to explore the region. If you are volunteering in a rural or remote area, you will feel like a local — particularly if you love being off the beaten track, exploring the dense bush land and pristine beaches. You will also meet locals or other long-term volunteers who can give you travel advice on secret spots of Malaysia. Throw away your travel guide for a moment and discover the unexpected secrets of Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.

explore-malaysia

Explore the hidden gems of Malaysia

 

Malaysia on a budget
One of the perks of volunteering instead of travelling or being on a holiday is it’s relatively cheap. If you are volunteering in Malaysia, most likely you will receive free accommodation and food. You will also probably live far from tourist hotspots which will help in cutting down costs. This will also help you become accustom to identifying the cheapest forms of transport and where to find a bargain.

ringgit-business-times

Malaysia currency the ringgit • Image Source

 Challenge yourself
Being a tourist is easy and working in a big company is convenient. Volunteering is a whole different story, full of challenges and surprises. If you are a teacher in an Orang Asli community or if you are working with animals in the rainforest, your days will not be the same. You will improve yourself and become a better person, capable of overcoming the unforeseen. Instead of coming home with some postcards you will be enriched with adventures, lessons and experiences for life.

challenge-yourself

No better place to explore your horizons than Malaysia

Your help matters
There are countless benefits of volunteering in Malaysia but the most important is your aid. Sure, you will live an extraordinary life, meet people and have lots of fun, but it’s the chance to improve someone’s life that you will treasure the most. Whether it’s teaching English in the jungle communities or working with turtles in Borneo, you will have a hands on impact in Malaysia and that counts more than anything!

help-malaysia

Malaysia is waiting for you to spread the love

 

Cover photo from yourvolunteers.com

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

A budget guide to travelling Malaysia

By Lloyd Green

Okay, if you’re coming to Malaysia to spend two weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands, you’re probably not going to do it on the cheap. But there’s also plenty of people who pass through Malaysia on their way north from Singapore en route to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

For these people, every dime is important and in a city like KL where extravagance is flashed in your face on every corner, finding things suited to your budget can be difficult. This also applies to travelling across Malaysia, with knowledge of how and when to travel, important to your attempts at saving money.

So let’s start with your arrival.

If, like most people, you arrive in Malaysia by air at either KLIA or KLIA2 terminals and have booked accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, you will have a few options of varying cost and duration to reach your destination. Often backpackers fly blind during this process and can waste money without even knowing it. The KLIA Express train is the fastest way to and from the KLIA airports from KL Sentral, but it is not the cheapest.

shutterstock_209459323 (Picture by Sorbis / Shutterstock.com)

The cheapest route to Kuala Lumpur is by bus with a one-way ticket for adults from KLIA or KLIA2 terminals to KL Sentral priced at 10 Ringgit. Peak hour traffic in Kuala Lumpur can cause lengthy delays, so if you are on a tight schedule and want to get to the city as soon as possible, KLIA Express train is the best option. It takes 28 minutes and is RM55. If you want to save five Ringgit make sure you pay with your credit card at the kiosk and not at the counter. It will be RM50.

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(Picture by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com)

In terms of accommodation, there are two main places to stay for backpackers; Changkat in Bukit Bintang and Chinatown not far from Pasar Seni LRT station. There’s a host of backpacker accommodation in both areas with single rooms as cheap as RM40-50 and dorms beds priced at around 20 Ringgit. Of course, the quality of your hostel will vary with price. Changkat is closer to KL’s nightlife, KLCC and the Petronas Twin Towers, but Chinatown is more conveniently located near the city’s main transportation hub — KL Sentral. Many coaches to Malacca, Johor Bahru, Penang and Ipoh now leave from TBS bus station, which is approximately 20 minutes from KL Sentral.

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Jalan Alor off Changkat is foodie-central with Chinese seafood restaurants and hawker stalls selling an array of local delicacies and international cuisines until the wee hours of the morning. Petaling Street in Chinatown is also famous for food with its night market chock-full of shops and stalls selling goods and street food. Be aware, both of these areas are aimed at tourists and as such prices can be inflated.

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(Picture by Calvin Chan / Shutterstock.com)

Most of KL’s main attractions are aimed at families, couples and those who are dazzled by the bright lights, so if you prefer a bit of adventure but want to stay within in the perimeters of the city I suggest you check out Petaling Jaya and in particular areas such as Subang where an urban youth culture has evolved. If you are able to make friends with locals, that’s even better and ask them to take you out of KL City. The food in areas such as Klang, Petaling Jaya, Ampang and Cheras is just as good (and cheaper) and is where most of the locals eat. Also keep an eye out for local night markets known as Pasar Malam. They offer amazing delicacies and fresh produce and are more authentic than the ones in the city. If you want a quiet night at the cinema, Wednesday is the cheapest evening with tickets as cheap as 10 to 12 Ringgit.

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Just a stones throw away from KL are a places such as Chilling Falls and Broga Hill. These are quite popular amongst locals and provide a nice respite from the concrete jungle of the city. They are free and relatively easy to get to by car. Check out the best places for hiking, camping and waterfalls in and around Kuala Lumpur here.

Budget guide 3(Picture by Travelblog.com)

The bus and train are the cheapest options for making your way around Peninsular Malaysia. For Ipoh, catch the rain as Ipoh Railway Station is located in the centre of town, whereas the coach terminal is some 15 minutes away. You will only save five Ringgit if you catch the bus. The bus from KL to Penang is the best option as it takes you directly to the island and within five minutes of George Town. If you want relax on Malaysia’s famed beaches like Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands, the bus and ferry is the way to go.

shutterstock_115589299For those interested in checking out Borneo’s wildlife, make sure you book your flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in advance as flights to East Malaysia can be expensive.

Strangely, food prices also vary between Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia with Indian food slightly more pricier in Borneo. Popular music festivals such the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak and the Penang Jazz Festival on the mainland are relatively cheap compared to other international events, but again book in advance to save yourself some cash.

A great, inexpensive way to see Malaysia is to volunteer. Malaysia offers volunteering opportunities for every taste and interest: from wildlife projects in the untamed jungle of Borneo to teaching English to children in urban and rural environments. Most places provide free accommodation and sometimes food and you’ll have access to remote communities you probably never knew existed. Read more here.

When exiting Malaysia, consider the bus trip north to Hat Yai in Thailand. It is less than 60 Ringgit and you can split the journey up by stopping over in Penang for the night. Cheap flights from KL to popular tourist destinations in Asia such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines can be found via Air Asia, but any additional items such as luggage over 20 kilograms can increase the price.

In summary, Malaysia is a wonderful place to explore and the more adventurous you are, the better your experience will be. Doing it on the cheap is possible but having a friend to show you around or give you advice definitely helps with your budget.

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

My Malaysia

By Lloyd Green

I sit here on the plane leaving Malaysia after eight months. An experience quite unlike any I have ever encountered. Malaysia is a country where the more you invest, the more you get out of it. You could be forgiven for thinking Malaysia is embodied by KL’s global reputation — its bright lights, shopping malls, bustling nightlife and iconic Petronas Twin Towers showcasing an opulence craved by many tourists — as well as pristine island getaways such as Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands.

But if you have ever had the chance to peer beyond its veneer, you will find a land of great beauty and a population eager to share it with you. This is where the real Malaysia lies and a world in which I’ve had the privilege to step into. You’ll enter one world and exit another taking with you snippets of many cultures that will not only shape your memories but also your relationships.

My Msia 1

The view from one of the more secluded areas at Genting Highlands

Much of my adventure here is owed to the great local friends I have made. They have afforded me an authentic experience not often chronicled in your local tour guides: Guest at an Indian wedding in Klang; life as a local at Orang Asli kampungs in the jungle near Gua Musang and Raub; a road trip to Pangkor; KL’s burgeoning comedy scene; a guided tour of the famed Kacang Putih industry in Ipoh; hiking around the intriguing Genting Highlands; celebrating Deepavali with Indian families in Klang; KL’s underground punk rock scene; teaching English in remote and rural communities; celebrating Christmas in the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca; adventures to Peninsular Malaysia’s most stunning waterfalls and hikes including Chilling Falls and Gunang Tahan; picking rambutans and bananas at plantations in the jungle; witnessing Iban tribal ceremonies in Sarawak; staying on a boat house in the Royal Belum National Park as well as tasting local delicacies such as the best fish noodle soup in Petaling Jaya and homemade Indian curries in Brickfields and Klang.

My Msia 2

You can hire a boat house and enjoy the tranquil Royal Belum National Park
(Pic http://belum.com.my/tour/2d-1n-houseboat-lake-temenggor/)

That’s not to say Malaysia’s main attractions are unworthy of your presence — the tourist trail in Malaysia is reliable and growing stronger all the time. In the economic hub of Kuala Lumpur, flavours and colour of India, China and Malay locals float inconspicuously, adding great contrast and history to this modern megacity with landmarks such as Batu Caves, Bukit Bintang and KLCC ensuring thousands continue to flock there.

Venture north to George Town in Penang and Ipoh for a romantic cocktail of art, architecture and colonial influences with night markets, Chinese hawker stalls in Batu Ferringhi, the original Old Town White Coffee in Ipoh and the emergence of urban street art in both places giving reason for tourism to thrive.

The chance to live and look after Orangutans as well as the quest of climbing Malaysia’s highest peak — Mount Kinabalu — will always ensure people go to Sabah and the magic of the Rainforest World Music Festival is a beacon for Sarawak tourism each year. And of course if island hopping and diving is your thing, then you’ll fall in love with places such as Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, Layang Layang and Lankayan.

Malaysia has no doubt won a special place in my heart and I urge other travellers, tourists and expatriates to immerse yourself in the culture and let Malaysia sweep you off your feet. You will never regret it.

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Island hopping in Malaysia

Island hopping in Malaysia

Malaysia has some of a many pleasing beaches in a universe that are eminent for their scenic beauty, surrounding pleasant greenery, internal villages and of march scuba diving and snorkeling. So if white sands, blue waters and good food is your scene, here are 5 islands that will take your exhale away.

Langkawi is a cluster of 99 islands in a Andaman Sea that are breathtakingly pleasing and captivate visitors from all over a universe to their white silt beaches and transparent waters. Some of a renouned beaches are Cenang, Tengah and Kok. Langkawi was also announced a World Geopark by UNESCO in 2007 interjection to a tolerable development. The categorical island is good grown and populated with good atmosphere connectors to Kuala Lumpur.

Langkawi competence be a beach end yet there’s also copiousness to do. The famed wire automobile float is roughly an essential partial of an channel and has a many implausible views of rainforest, a Seven Wells Waterfall (Telaga Tujuh) and a island swelling out below. Another renouned day outing is to sinecure a vessel and try a circuitously islands. Boat rides also offer eagle viewing, cavern explorations and snorkeling during Pulau Payar Marine Park. Both oppulance and bill accommodation is accessible on Langkawi creation it suitable for everyone. The other drawcard for visitors is a avocation giveaway shopping.

Beautiful Langkawi beaches. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Beautiful Langkawi beaches. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Sipadan Island on a easterly seashore of Sabah, Borneo is a diver’s paradise, yet as we are usually authorised on a island during a day many people find themselves praying a vessel will mangle down so they can spend some-more time on a pleasing island. If we have not left diving before this is a place to see for yourself what a fascinating universe is there next a sea! Chances are all else will dark in comparison thereafter though.

The series of dives authorised per day is singular to strengthen a coral reefs. Sightings of turtles, sharks and other colorful tiny fish are common including a jester fish finished renouned by a film Finding Nemo. The corals are pronounced to be a best in a universe and opposite diving sites including “Drop Off” that gives we a demeanour during an abyss in a sea floor. Sipadan is connected by vessel from Semporna (fly to Tawau afterwards train to Semporna).

Tioman Island is located in Pahang on a easterly cost of Peninsular Malaysia and once listed in Time Magazine as one of a world’s many pleasing islands – many would contend it is still true. Today people go to Pahang especially to do nothing, nonetheless there is indeed copiousness to do if we feel motivated.

There many hotels and chalets situated right off a beach mouth-watering a caller to kibbutz with inlet by sitting with a book, going for a travel or usually shower in a atmosphere. There’s also wildlife to suffer such as guard lizards that are ordinarily sighted on a island. You can also scuba dive, suffer a jungles and rainforests or revisit some of a many extraordinary beaches – Juara is deliberate a best beach and if we wish to see for yourself we can get there by renting a vessel or holding a  4WD. Tioman Island, like Langkawi, is also avocation free. The island can be reached by atmosphere or we can get a packet from Mersing on a mainland.

Panuba Bay, Tioman Island. Pic: Ferrazo, Wikimedia Commons.

Panuba Bay, Tioman Island. Pic: Ferrazo, Wikimedia Commons.

The Perhentian Islands are located in Terengganu and embody Perhentian Besar and Perhentian Kecil that exaggerate white silt beaches filled with palm trees and blue waters. Scuba diving and snorkeling options are on palm and really renouned among visitors. Snorkeling is intensely pleasing and can be finished right off a beach interjection to a contentment of transparent transparent waters. There are jungle walks by a timberland joining a beaches, or we can take a H2O cab to pierce around. One can get to Perhentian Islands by vessel usually (fly to Khota Bharu).

Perhentian Islands. By Joanne Lane.

Perhentian Islands. By Joanne Lane.

Pulau Pangkor is an island tighten to Perek in north-west Peninsular Malaysia. Pangkor is famous for a white silt beaches and dual of a many renouned are Teluk Nipah and Coral Bay. Other than a beaches here there is a Dutch Fort value a revisit and dual temples on a island. Pangkor is renouned with a locals so it is good place to take a mangle from a unchanging traveller circuit. Pangkor Laut is an upscale review on this island during a scenic location, so if we are looking for oppulance this could be one option. You can strech Pangkor by atmosphere (to Ipoh) and ferry.

And if we suspicion this was all, there are many some-more islands like Penang, Layang-Layang, Redang, Rawa and many some-more watchful to be explored with their cold waters mouth-watering we to take a dip.

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