When the takbir is heard echoing from far, we can immediately see smiles on the faces of everybody. That marks the end of one month of fasting during Ramadan, and Syawal is knocking on the door, ready to be celebrated. Eid Day, or commonly known as Hari Raya comes once per year and is a day where families and friends get together and celebrate with various types of traditional delicacies after a full month of fasting in Ramadhan.

For first-timers to Malaysia, you might be wondering what to do on Eid Day. Well, read on to know how Malaysians celebrate the day and the iconic things not to miss during Hari Raya.

It’s a common thing for fellow Malaysians to invite friends, neighbours, even strangers to their houses to celebrate together, especially on the first day – this is in the spirit of the Malaysian Open House. It’s a great way to try out the typical Hari Raya dishes and join in the fun. Keep an eye out for Open House invitations by some popular local personalities, Government agencies, and even the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Rendang, Ketupat and satay are the signature dishes of Hari Raya. It would not be Hari Raya without these dishes. Rendang is a spicy meat dish made from meat, coconut milk, chili, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, turmeric and onion (shallot). Each state will have a slightly different version of the recipe (and claim theirs to be the best!). For example, chicken Rendang from Negeri Sembilan would look and taste differently from chicken Rendang made in Kedah.

Ketupat is a type of dumpling made out of rice packed inside a diamond-shaped pouch of woven palm leaves eaten with a thick and spicy roasted peanut gravy. You can also eat ketupat with rendang.

Another type of ketupat is made with starchy glutinous rice wrapped in daun palas into a triangle shape. These are usually found in the northern region of Malaysia.

Satay is a seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with Kuah Kacang. It is eaten on sticks and served hot right after being grilled, garnished with ketupat, cucumbers and onions.

Every household celebrating Hari Raya will definitely have some Kuih Raya to serve the guests. There are a variety of Kuih Raya and snacks, but all are bite-sized sweet delights. Our favourites are the pineapple tarts and London almonds!

Cakes are also served on this day to sweeten the celebration. There are a few signature Hari Raya cakes that are so special, they only make an appearance on the day of celebration.

Kek Lapis or Layered Cake is also typically served during Hari Raya. It is especially popular in Sarawak where a whole table is often dedicated to displaying all the different and colourful varieties.

Also famous in Sarawak is the black-as-soot steamed Hati Parek cake made of black raisins, caramelised brown sugar and lots of eggs.

It’s habitual for Malaysians to celebrate Hari Raya with one of the most compulsory things: fireworks. Don’t be surprised to hear fireworks going off or see them in the sky, it’s a sign that Hari Raya will be tomorrow. As for kids, you will see them lighting up sparklers, ground spinners, rocket-style Thunderclaps and others to welcome the celebration.

What is celebrating Hari Raya without wearing new clothes? For Malays, we have our own traditional clothing worn during Hari Raya, which is Baju Melayu (for men) and Baju Kurung (for women). You can find these two traditional clothings in many different colours and designs. Visit shopping malls during the month before Hari Raya and you will see all the trendy designs. If you wait right till the last day of Ramadan to shop for your clothes, you may even get them at deep discounts.

Hari Raya is a great time to head down to the nearest shopping centre and witness the most amazing mall decorations. Shining lights, decorative walls and attractive scenery will get you in the festive mood! In fact, the malls in Malaysia will often try to out-do each other with their mall decorations and festive activities so shopping in Malaysia is definitely not dull!

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We braved the tropical jungle, creepy crawlies, and the wilds to bring you our top picks for a fantastic “safari” in Malaysia. While a few of our choices will lead you deep into rainforest territory, some are located in urban centers, and all are perfect for the entire family. So the next time you plan on visiting Malaysia, why not make it an educational one and get to know some of our “wilder” residents here!

Elephants at the Doorstep

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah (

Deep in rainforest territory, some seven hours’ drive or an hour’s flight from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, is Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Roaming the 300,000 acres of lowland dipterocarp forest are three of the largest mammals of Sabah, namely the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau. Though there is no guarantee that you will see them, there have been sightings of elephants very near the reserve’s on-site resort! Also calling this place home are the 300 species of birds, orangutans, civet cats, frogs and a multitude of insects!

Exploring the area is easy and one mustn’t miss the chance to visit the Lipad Waterfalls for a nice, cold dip, or the Lipad mud volcanoes (known as an RR for wildlife seeking their mineral intake). In the evening, take a dusk drive to look out for more nocturnal wildlife and birds coming out to look for food during this time of the day. After dinner, go for a night walk along the trail nearby the resort in search of sleeping birds, frogs, and nocturnal wildlife. Cozy jungle lodges are available to make your stay more comfortable, and we do recommend at least a three-night stay to really explore all that this amazing reserve has to offer.

elephants in the mud

Wings of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park (

Nestled in lush green surroundings on top of a small hill lies the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. So well does this man-made bird park blend with nature, that one easily forgets that it is located right in the heart of a bustling city. Convenience aside, this park really shines as the perfect place to spend a weekend morning with the children.

The bird park covers an area of more than 20 acres, with a landscape reminiscent of a tropical rainforest. It lays claim as the biggest bird park in Malaysia with the largest walk-in free-flight aviary in the world. At last count, there were some 3,000 birds of more than 200 species calling the park home. Among them are brahminy kites, rhinoceros hornbill (the largest hornbill species in the world), southern cassowary, channel-billed toucan, the rare Pesquet’s parrot (found only in Papua New Guinea) and the Moluccan cockatoo.

Here, birds are free to fly, glide or parade (as in the case of the peacock beauties) as they please. One of the amazing things to witness is the morning feeding session where birds of all colours and sizes suddenly swoop down from all sides in their rush to be the first at the feeding station.

Lucky visitors will get to witness the courtship display of the Indian Blue Peacock with its magnificent, colourful, five-foot train, or the yellow-billed stork build nests from fallen twigs. Also, don’t forget to say hello to the cheeky Indian Ring-necked parakeet, crowned pigeon (the largest of its species with a body the size of a turkey), the huge pelican, and the egrets, ibises, and flamingoes in the neighborhood!

Dancing with Butterflies

Entopia, Penang (

Have a fear of insects? Perhaps you can overcome it with close encounters of some of the world’s beautiful insects at Entopia. Situated at Teluk Bahang, Penang, it is a facility to learn all about insects and especially butterflies in a safe and fun environment.

Various species of butterflies “dance” freely in the so-called “The Natureland” outdoor ecological park. Those interested in entomology can walk among flying birdwing, autumn leaf, blue glassy tiger, and orange tip butterflies, among others. Certainly, one of the stars at Entopia is the beautiful Rajah Brooke Birdwing butterfly, one of the biggest diurnal butterflies in the world.

Apart from butterflies, other insects, invertebrates and small reptiles are also available at the park for study. These include the rhinoceros beetles, dragonhead cricket, dragonfly, firefly, leaf cutter ants, nephila spider, Malaysian giant scorpions, centipede, great angle head lizard, water monitor lizard, cat gecko, and many more. You can even see amphibians like tree frogs and poison dart frogs here. Learn more about them by signing up for the bug exploration sessions.

An Urban Farm

Farm in the City, Selangor (

Spread across an expansive 7 acres, Farm in the City is an animal-petting park where visitors wander around a Malaysian-style kampong or village while learning about more than 100 species of farm and unique animals from around the world.

Imagine strolling around the farm and encountering a rooster passing by, a tortoise grazing on a piece of vegetable, or an alpaca being led away! Well, that’s exactly what it’s like at this farm where many of the animals roam free.

Visitors can pet, stroke and feed animals such as fish, birds, hamsters, giant tortoise, rabbits and raccoons at selected times and under staff supervision. There is a popular section called “Longkang Fishing” where the young ones seem to have a whale of a time catching (and releasing) small fish in the ditch.

Besides the close interaction with animals, there are “briefing” sessions conducted by trained staff where you can learn more about each animal species, too. Get to know better the blue-tongued lizards, giant tortoises, star turtles, Javan deer, cute alpacas, rare white crows, Himalayan striped squirrels, meerkats, the Feenex fox, and more.

This outdoor park is dotted with various fruit trees and even has a spice and herb garden to explore. Nature guides are available and information signboard are full of information for young learners to know more about these animals and plants.

Hanging Out with Orangutans

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Sarawak (

Looking for friends to “hang out” within Sarawak? Take a 40-minute drive out from Kuching to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, an award-winning rehabilitation center for orangutans in Malaysia. Here’s a chance to meet semi-wild orangutans, ranging from tiny infants and boisterous adolescents to dignified mature adults, all of whom are enjoying life in a secure natural habitat.

The orangutans here have been rescued from captivity and rehabilitated so that they are able to survive in the wild on their own again. So successful is the programme that today, the surrounding forest thrives with a healthy population of orangutans who are now even breeding in the wild.

They spend most of their time roaming the forest but frequently come back to the center for a free meal. If it is the fruiting season in the forest, some or even all of them may not come to feed at the center. This in itself is a good sign and another step on the way to full rehabilitation.

We recommend that you visit during the morning or afternoon feeding sessions – this is when these gentle creatures emerge from the surrounding forest to take their meals.

But, if in the event the orangutans shy away, Semenggoh is still a great place for birdwatching. Species like Yellow-rumped flowerpecker, Bornean black-magpie, long-billed partridge, red-bearded bee-eater and much more are there for you to find.


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Jalinan Kerjasama Budaya Melaka dan Sarawak


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Tourism Melaka Short Visit To Kuching

Tourism Melaka Short Visit To Kuching

KUCHING, Tuesday – 27 officials from Tourism Melaka led by General Manager Norena Jaafar was in Kuching on January 13 for a three-day study visit.

The Melaka delegation including their dancers visited the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) to learn traditional Sarawak dances which they will perform in Melaka.

Norena said the delegation were particularly impressed with the new Darul Hana Bridge over Sungai Sarawak and its lighting at night.

They were also eager to emulate some of the Kuching Waterfront product experiences and activities.

The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) hosted dinner for the delegation on Saturday night.

“We are excited to have Tourism Melaka coming to Sarawak to learn and experience the destination and this is the beginning of our working relationship which we hope to continue to work in promoting the domestic tourism,” says STB Chairman, Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab Aziz when welcoming the delegation.

According to Norena, they will plan another visit to Kuching during the Rainforest World Music Festival this coming July.

Melaka tourism

Second from left Norena Jaafar gives delegation t-shirt to STB Chairman, Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab Aziz.

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


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Taking a River Cruise At A Traditional Melanau Village in Sibu

Taking a River Cruise At A Traditional Melanau Village in Sibu


Sibu is one of the main gateways for the central region of Sarawak, attracting locals from the surrounding areas. While he city serves as a massive trading ground for the surrounding interiors of Sarawak, I was actually quite amazed on how much culture Is found around here.

The city of Sibu is connected by flights and also using the traditional waterways using boats. In an experience I never thought I would do, I managed to catch a ferry from Kuching to Sibu, seeing how the coastal and river life still operates as if modernization ceased to exist.

sibu-telianCruising down the Telian River towards Mukah

From Kuching city, I boarded the ferry which takes almost five hours, stopping at various villages and towns along the way. This is also a common mode of transport for locals, and just to share with you that it also takes about the same time if you take a bus, only here you can relax and absorb the beautiful views.

Once in Sibu, I was introduced to a very laid back way of life in Sarawak, and visiting iconic places like the Sibu Heritage Center, Sibu Night Market and of course, the largest wet market in Malaysia, the Sibu Market. Soon after, I was on route to Lamin Dana, a traditional Melanau boutique guest house in the heartland of the Melanau people.


A lone Melanau boatman going to work on his boat

Melanau People of the Telian River

It was here that I was exposed to the centuries old ways of the Melanau people. Lamin Dana is located by the Telian River or Tellian as some spell it, which is on the outskirts of Mukah, a coastal town in Sarawak.

The main Telian river runs from inland towards Mukah, and along the way, Melanau villages are built by the river here. Nearer to the coast, you will see more Melanau fishing villages and as you go upriver, you see a different type of Melanau village.


Raw Sago trees cut into chunks floating in the Telian River

As I cruise down the river in a traditional Melanau wooden boat, complete with a small engine, I am captivated with how rich the river life is. Meaning that local Melanau people still use the river as a main source for everything. From cooking to washing and even Sago processing.

Sago is one of the main homegrown processes here, and along the Telian River, I saw two main Sago producers, and made a stop to see how the process was done. From the Sago tree, it is cut into chunks and processed by one family using old ways.

sibu-telianProcessing the raw Sago into little balls and baking them on a traditional fire stove

From there, the raw sago is sent to another home where it is then processed into little Sago balls and then baked with firewood. This process was done by skilled Melanau women who painstakingly do this on a daily basis. The younger generation is not seen anywhere, and asking, I was told that the parents have made sure that education was the priority and hence at school.

For me, this was truly an eye opener as I had always assumed that the the Melanau people were seafaring farmers. And little did I know that the Melanau were also found inland and by the main rivers. Asking my guide, I was told that the Telian Village is one of the few remaining traditional Melanau villages in Sarawak.


The Melanau village by the Telian River known as Kampung Telian

Having experienced this, I would strongly recommend those wanting to see a different side of Sarawak to visit Sibu. Also, I would recommend taking the boat or ferry there from Kuching as it will show you a very unique and different side of Sarawak.

When you are here, do ask them about the walking tours around Kampung Telian as you will see how close the homes are, and how life is at here. My journey here was truly a fascinating and enchanting experience, and I believe it should be explored by other travelers.

Photos by David Hogan Jr


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