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KK Bro

ALL ABOUT KK

Let us start off by saying there are so many places to cover when you visit Sabah, that we couldn’t even fit all of them in on our Taming Borneo adventure. It can get a little bit frustrating to plan your trip. Like really frustrating. We know what’s on your mind now; should we go explore Kinabalu Park? What is there to do in Kundasang Town? The fish spa in Ranau looks interesting, but is the Sandakan Crocodile Farm really worth the trip? As mentioned before, so many things to do in Sabah, but let’s start with things you can do at the heart of it all, Kota Kinabalu. On it’s own, Kota Kinabalu already has tons of places you should go and visit. But to make it easier for you, we’re going to split it into 3 sections; the city, the woods and the mountains.

IN THE BIG CITY

Being the centre of it all, Kota Kinabalu is your gateway to all things Sabah. It’s main airport, where all international flights land, is located approximately 10 minutes from the main town. Also, strategically located jetties, bus terminals and other forms of transportation is in close vicinity so we had no problem getting around.

Like the quirky charms of Sarawak’s Kuching , we got the same vibrant multicultural vibe from walking through the city. Some of the main attractions to ease your stay in the city in Kota Kinabalu are places like Gaya Street or the KK Waterfront where you can find your typical shopping malls, restaurants, bars and markets.
If you’re up for a bit of an adventure to find the best panoramic view of the city, we recommend the trek up to Signal Hill Observation Point in town, especially during the evening, because that’s the only thing that is between you and one of the best spots to view sunsets in the world.

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*Hamanahamanahama* Kundasang, Sabah

INTO THE WOODS 

One of the first places we checked out in Sabah was Kinabalu Park. Located about two hours from the city, this is the place for you to experience the beauty of the land. The park covers an area of 754 square feet surrounding Mount Kinabalu. Besides enjoying the surreal beauty that’s surrounding you, there are many attractions like mountain biking, golfing, bird watching, farm tours, hot springs, canopy walks and of course the place itself is a perfect ‘studio’ to practice your photography!

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Will model for food! Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, Sabah/Kampung Morolli Fish Spa

Mainly in Kinabalu Park, you can explore the many short trails which are marked with its distances. You could also trek all the way to the Timpohon Gate to catch a view of the majestic Mount Kinabalu for photos at the park centre.

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Cows are the new cats! Kundasang, Sabah

UP THE MISTY MOUNTAIN

Last time, we took our hiking gear to Bako National Park, but this time around, we trekked Kinabalu National Park to get to the highly praised mountain view of Sabah. We’ve heard that this is one of the best places in the world to catch the best sunset views. And we’ve got to say, this was where our Taming Borneo adventure peaked. Literally!

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“I can do this, I can do this”

Some backstory for this part of Sabah; formed about 10 to 35 million years ago, Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world, and it’s still growing!

But of course, the main attraction of the park is obviously climbing the majestic Mount Kinabalu itself, standing at 4095.2 meters tall, which makes it, you guessed right, the highest mountain in South East Asia! Other than that, there are also activities like alpine rock climbing and paragliding that would satisfy your inner adrenaline junkie.

Quick note, anyone who wishes to climb this awe-inspiring mountain is advised to make reservations 6 months prior, as the number of climbers is limited to 135 pax daily. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Also do follow along our adventure on our social media platforms:

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo

Catch up with our Taming Borneo episodes:

Sabah : EP16

Sabah : EP16

Sabah : EP17

Sabah : EP17

Sabah : EP18

Sabah : EP18

 

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

The land below the wind

THE LAND THAT INSPIRED THE MOUSE

If there is one thing we’ve learned from our Taming Borneo adventure in Sarawak, it’s that when in Borneo, always expect the unexpected!
Talking about what’s unexpected, we’ve come to learn that Sabah’s rainforest is in fact the prime inspiration for the environment setting of Disney’s 2016 live remake of The Jungle Book? True story.
So the story is that one of the main VFX artist (Visual effects, fyi) for the movie, Helen Brownell, went on a 10-week expedition trip in Sabah 10 years ago.
10 years later, Helen was instantly transported back into the heart of the Sabahan jungle upon hearing her involvement with The Jungle Book remake. She said;
“I can still vividly remember the sounds, colours and the textures of the Borneo jungle. The gibbon’s constant calls, the constant humming of insects and birds” #tbt
It’s wonderful to think that Helen’s short stint in the Sabahan jungle 10 years ago, could still immensely inspire her when she brought the jungles in The Jungle Book to life. In her words;
“Nothing can compare to the real experience of being in the jungle. But having the challenge of re-creating such an amazing environment in CGI was a real joy. So many things during the project would spark up memories of my Borneo adventure. I was excited to re-create some of the beautiful and unique environments from my trip, and let my adventure influence a lot of the work I did towards the jungle in the film.”
It’s pretty cool that Sabah had contributed its magic of the jungle to the magic of the house of mouse.
So, coming to Sabah, the bar was pretty much set high and we couldn’t wait to see what it was installed for us.

THE ONE WHERE WE MADE IT TO SABAH

Let us start by saying Sabah is home to some of Borneo’s best attractions. Like Sarawak, it’s one of the best places in the world to immerse yourself in the wild and see rare primates like Orangutans, both in vast forest sanctuaries and out in the wild. But Sabah offers so much more than that to keen adventurers like us. So this time, in our blog and video series, we are going to tell you the best of the best that Sabah has to offer.
Situated at the northern tip of Borneo, Sabah is also fondly nicknamed The Land Below the Wind for its relative distance from the typhoon belt. First, let us tell you the 3 initial attractions that gravitated us towards this part of paradise;

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*speechless*. Kinabalu Park, Sabah

THE CULTURE

Like Sarawak, the state itself has an impressive diversity of culture, 32 officially recognized indigenous tribes. But comprising of two groups with 40 sub-groups, Kadazan-Dusun is the largest indigenous group in Sabah. Here we got to see the beautiful handicrafts made at the Rungus Longhouse, learn how they harvest honey in Kampung Gombizau and the handcrafted gongs at Kampung Sumangkap. Seriously, if you want to know more about the traditional arts and culture of Borneo, Sabah is your destination.

If you’re following our video series, you’d also be excited to know that Sabah is also home to the Bajau Laut people, some might recognize them as “Sea Gypsies” or “Sea Nomads”, popular for their seaborne lifestyle.

THE BEAUTY

With its national parks, wildlife reserves, and pristine untamed Bornean jungle, Sabah is truly the place to be if you want to root yourself back to mother nature (Besides Bako National Park). Pun intended. There is more than one way to enjoy the tropical beauty of the land. As for us went for a trek on Gunung Kinabalu to see the breathtaking mountain view of the land, but others who might want to have a more laid back trip can go for a gentle cruise on the Kinabatangan river. Other than that, one of the main star attraction here is Canopy Walk at Danum Valley which stretches across the tree canopies where we enveloped ourselves yet again in a sea of green, this time with the view of the jungle wildlife below. Whichever how you choose to view the land, Sabah’s natural beauty will leave you in awe the same.

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End of the world? Tip of Borneo, Kudat, Sabah

THE WILDLIFE­­

For all birdwatching enthusiasts, Sabah’s Danum Valley is also home to half of the bird species in all of Borneo. That’s approximately find 290 bird species including 8 species of rare Hornbills. But other wildlife lovers would also be satisfied with its 92,400 hectares of virgin forest, that habituates rare and some even endangered animals like Sumatran Rhino, Sun Bear, Benteng and Pygmy Elephants, primates such as Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Leaf Monkey, Tarsier, Slow Loris and Macaque, highly secretive cats such as the Sunda Clouded Leopard, Bay Cat and Leopard Cat.

On a last note, we’d really say that Sabah is a haven for all eco and thrill seeking tourists out there so we definitely urge you to plan your trip a head of time to make sure your itinerary is in check and is booked ahead of time. Just so your trip would go as smooth as possible. Trust us, with everything they have here, you’re going to want to turn yourself into a scheduling freak so you’d get the most out of your time here. Cause if you do plan your trip well, it’s going to be an adventure of lifetime!

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Not worried about piranhas! Sepagaya Reserve Forest, Sabah

If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Also do follow along our adventure on our social media platforms:

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo

Catch up with the latest episodes of Taming Borneo by clicking on the thumbnails below:

thumbnail-ep-13-150x150

Sabah: EP13

Sabah: EP14

Sabah: EP14

Sabah: EP15

Sabah: EP15

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

50 Shades of green

BACK TO BASICS

We’ve had a pretty busy schedule exploring Sarawak, attending the highly anticipated annual #RWMF and hunting on a kitty trail in Kuching. Next, we wanted to do what we initially came to Borneo for, immerse ourselves in the beauty of the Bornean Jungle. What better way to do that than to actually get in bed with the wild?

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When was the last time you camped? Lambir Hills, Sarawak

We decided to pitch our tent in another enchanting forest of Sarawak, Lambir Hills National Park. Like the other national parks here, Lambir has one of the most complex ecosystems in the world, providing a cozy home for more than 237 species of tropical birds, flying squirrels, gibbons, monkey and other exotic Bornean creatures.

Spending a night or two there means we got to trek some 12 trekking trails in the park; which lead us to some amazing sights, magnificent waterfalls and bathing pools scattered throughout the Bornean rainforest. But we’ve got to say, the sound of the jungle comes to life at night as we slept under the stars!

If it sounds tiring to you, it really isn’t. It was a very relaxing trip and really sets different chilled pace from the rat-race city life. Remember when we told you about our Wanderlust Fever? This experience probably helped cure 30% of it on its own.

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Just what the doctor ordered! Lambir Hills, Sarawak

But really, you have to watch our video series to try to catch a feel of our nights at Lambir.

BASIC CAMPING GEAR FOR DUMMIES

Let’s be real, assuming most of you reading this was born in the 90s, camping is probably a rare activity we do every now and then. Truth be told, we were a bit out of touch with the gear we were supposed to bring. Us urbanites could’ve been more prepared for our camping trip.

We’ve compiled a list, of 10 things you need to have in your camping bag when you go camping in the Rainforest, just so you don’t repeat the same mistakes we did.

A torch light/ A head torch

These are useful especially if you wish to go caving in the area. But in general, you’re in the jungle, it’s mostly going to be almost pitch-black at night under the stars, so these are also handy when you want to do late night toilet runs. don’t forget to bring extra bulbs and batteries.

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Blacker than black! Niah Caves

A small backpack

For your hiking trips, you’re not going to be needing to carry all your camping gear on the trail, so a small backpack that would fit all your important personal items, trekking essentials and snacks of course, is recommended.

A water bottle

You’d be surprise how many people (including us) forgets to bring a water bottle when going camping. Especially useful when you go on long hiking trails. We’d recommend a size for a bottle, but that really depends on how much weight you’re willing to carry.

Zip Lock bags

You’re in the tropical rainforest, so expect it to rain unexpectedly at times. Ziplock bags are your technology’s best friend in the jungle, especially on boat trips.

Solar charger/Powerbank
It’s important to have at least one fully charged spare phone on standby for your camping trip. In the jungle, accidents happen and you wouldn’t want your phone to run out of battery. Also, we know most us rely on our smartphone to catch pictures, enough said.

*Sidenote: When in the jungle, we recommend to forget all your social media and live off the grid for a few days.

Drybag

To keep your clothes dry (most importantly, your socks and underwear)

Salves, creams and powder

We have to admit, we were foolish not to bring adequate insect repellent on our trip and had to franticly search for one there. Trust us, you’re going to need them a lot, there’s a gajillion mosquitoes there. We also recommend taking along some prickly heat powder. This cooling powder can help with the sweat and heat rashes.

Sunscreen

The tropical sun isn’t too forgiving on the skin. Returning home with a bad sunburn is the last thing we’d want to happen, so we’d recommend applying sunscreen at all times.

Essentials kit

Pack a basic first aid kit, some matches or a lighter, and perhaps heat packs if it’s going to get cold at night.

Small knife/Army knife

This last essential always comes in handy wherever you are, let alone in the middle of the Bornean Jungle.

If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Follow our adventure on our social media platforms: 

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo

Catch up with the latest episodes over on My Tourism Channel or by clicking on the thumbnails below:

Sarawak: EP10

Sarawak: EP10

Sarawak: EP11

Sarawak: EP11

Sarawak: EP12

Sarawak: EP12

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

The purr-fect town

We’ve reached Kuching! Finishi­­­ng off with the amazing #RWMF last week, and learning about the wonders of Sarawak the week prior, we finally got to rest our tired feet in Sarawak’s capital city; Kuching.

Balanced with a combination of historical buildings and modern infrastructures, it is no wonder Kuching has been listed numerous times as one of the most attractive cities in Southeast Asia.

Better than we imagined! Waterfront, Kuching, Sarawak

Better than we imagined! Waterfront, Kuching, Sarawak

There are multiple versions of how Kuching got its name, but the two most popular theories are;– The name Kuching is derived from the Chinese word kochin, meaning “harbour”, which makes sense because the town is erected by the Sarawak River.
– Kuching, being a literal translation of Cats in Bahasa Malaysia, also mata kucing which literally translates to Cats Eye, a fruit which grows in abundance around the area.

No matter how this charming town got its quirky name, Kuching is very much well preserved and we love it all the same!

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Old but Gold. Fort Margherita, Kuching, Sarawak

Rich in its culture, while travelling through town we saw plenty of eye-catching sights like oriental styled Chinese temples, grand golden domed mosques and colonial-styled buildings. It truly highlights the harmony of the multiracial country of Malaysia.

We must say, right of the bat, Kuching managed to warm us with its quirky charms and cat statues that’s scattered around town.

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We hit a goldmine! Waterfront, Kuching, Sarawak

Cat statues? You read right. True to its name, you’ll be happy to note that walking around the city, we found so much happiness at the sight of wonderful statues of cats being erected everywhere in the city. But! The best part was definitely the dedicated cat museum! It is the purr-fect city for cat lovers all around!

FOLLOWING A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRAIL

Being the centre of Sarawak, Kuching is a melting pot for all the cultures of the land. You know what that means? They have all sorts of different kinds of scrumptious local delicacies from the 27 ethnic groups in Sarawak. So it’s no surprise when we say we went there to get a taste of Sarawak. Pun intended, we went on a food trail!

We tried prized local dishes like Sarawak Laksa, Kolo mee and a vast array of seafood (which is very cheap in these parts of Malaysia), you can see what we ate in our Taming Borneo episodes.

You might be enticed to go on your own food trail during your adventure, but what food should you be looking out for? Well, through our travels, here are 5 dishes you absolutely need to try:

  1. Sarawak Laksa

The Sarawak Laksa is a staple dish of the state, vermicelli noodles cooked in a shrimp-based broth that is thickened with coconut milk.  This dish is served with a generous handful of crunchy bean sprouts, boiled prawns and garnished with shredded chicken and slivers of egg omelet.  If you can handle some spice, a thick sambal (chili) paste is usually served on the side and to complement it, a slice of lime to add some tang to your palette.

  1. Kolo Mee

A bowl of piping hot Kolo Mee (Kolok Mee) is just the thing to kick start your day. This dish of light yellow egg noodles consists of lard, char siew (barbecued pork) sauce and black vinegar.  A common enough dish found in Sarawak, Kolo Mee is available for breakfast, lunch and even supper!  (Note: Halal version is also available at Malay stalls)

  1. Kek Lapis Sarawak

Sarawak Kek Lapis is considered one of the ‘art-food’ introduced by the old generations of Sarawak. It is not only delicious, but also pleasant to look at with intricate multi-coloured cake layers. Domestic travellers usually buy these as souvenirs to give to family members so as to bring home a piece of their travels.

  1. Umai – Umai (Umei)

This would be the Malaysian equivalent of Ceviche. Umai is traditionally a standard lunch dish for the Melanau fishermen.  Usually served cold, it incorporates thin slivers of raw fresh fish, thinly sliced onions, chili, salt and juice from sour fruits like lime or Assam. A bowl of toasted sago pearls usually complements this dish and is sure to tickle your taste buds.

  1. Ayam Pansuh

Also commonly known as Manok Pansoh, this is a unique Iban dish cooked in a bamboo shoot. Ingredients like cut chicken, lemongrass, and tapioca leaves are stuffed into bamboo shoots before it is cooked over an open fire, for a smoky flavour. Besides that, this method would also ensure that all the flavours are sealed in the bamboo shoot and would result in juicy and tender chicken with gravy perfumed by the lemongrass and bamboo shoot.


GOING AROUND, HOPPING TOWNS

While we only visited Kuching during our Taming Borneo trip, there are also other great towns around Sarawak worth noting down when planning your own Taming Borneo adventure.

MIRI

Miri is a coastal city next to Kuching and is the second largest city in Sarawak. It is the birthplace of the petroleum industry in Malaysia.

Miri is a popular shopping destination for both Malaysians and neighbouring Bruneians alike for its modern shopping malls, food haven and traditional handicraft centre at the Miri Handicraft Market. The annual Miri International Jazz Festival is also a huge attraction for music lovers.

Lastly, one of the major attractions for nature lovers travelling to Miri is the Niah Caves. Dating back to 40,000 years, the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia can also be found here.  Here you can also visit the Painted Cave, named after the prehistoric paintings on the cave walls.

SIBU

Sibu town is mainly populated by the Foochow settlers originally from the Fujian Province in China. Sibu’s seven storey pagoda is one of the historical Chinese buildings that symbolizes the Foochow influence in its unique design.

In Sibu, the hand painted Sarawak fine pottery make very popular souvenirs with tourists. At the Lembangan Market, don’t miss the unique opportunity to go shopping at around 700 stalls in the area. Vendors sell some pretty fascinating items, ranging from jungle produce, including flying foxes, squirrels, snakes, turtles, snails, edible jungle fruits and ferns. Not only that, vendors also sell a variety of garments, toys, electrical goods and foodstuff at a price everyone can afford. At night, the atmosphere is thick with a carnival-like feeling.

If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Also do follow along our adventure on our social media platforms:

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo

Catch up on the latest episodes by clicking on the thumbnails below!

Sarawak: EP7

Sarawak: EP7

Sarawak: EP8

Sarawak: EP8

Sarawak: EP9

Sarawak: EP9

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

Lets go, Borneo!

THE CURIOUS CASE OF WANDERLUST FEVER

Looking back now, waiting to board our plane back home, we still can’t believe that we actually did it!

The journey has been unbelievable to us, after months of planning and restless anticipation, we finally got to pack our travel gear, cameras a really really good powerbank (we’re millennials after all) and headed off for an adventure of a lifetime in Borneo!

For a month, we travelled across the South China Sea, to the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah; to experience the best they have to offer. We sought out the best experiences, to learn new interesting cultures eat tantalizing local cuisines. But, our main purpose was to really immerse ourselves in the adventure that awaited us.

Like you probably are now, we were tired and bored of our 9-5 working lives. Day in and day out of the office, which one of us hasn’t felt like living zombies before? We needed a break from the rat-race, away from the overbearing ambiance of the city. Living in metropolis had exhausted our senses.  A short respite from the never ending sights of cold glass skyscrapers and the screeching sounds of the passing traffic was all that we needed.

Crashing waves, chirping birds, cool sea breezes and warm sandy beaches; what do they all have in common?

Answer: They are all constant in our lunchbreak fantasies. If you won’t admit it, we will!

Bitten by the travel bug, we were your definite stereotypical Wanderlusters.

At first, we were skeptical of curing our wanderlust fever in Sabah and Sarawak. Even as local Malaysians, the two states were still a mystery to us as everything we’ve ever known about them were from school textbooks or local papers. But after reading great reviews online and hearing personal experiences from family members alike, we decided not to skip this one out.

Now that we’ve experienced it, we can say they are truly the hidden gems of Malaysian tourism.

INTO THE WILDS OF BORNEO

IMAGINE THIS.

You are now standing in the middle a 130-million-year old tropical rainforest, while your cityscape fades to the recesses of your mind, let it stay there. It is truly a breathtaking sight; you are surrounded by towering ancient trees while rays of sunlight warm your face through the rustling greens of the canopies. Said to not only have one of the most biodiverse rainforests, it is also one of the most culturally diverse places on the planet. There is so much to be discovered here in Borneo!

Sunset straight out of a dream! Miri, Sarawak

Sunset straight out of a dream! Miri, Sarawak

On our journey, we’ve passed through the enchanting forests of Bako National Park, had a little dance battle in the center of a drum circle at the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak, swam in the clear waters of Semporna and trekked the Mountain View in Kinabalu Park, Sabah. Being the beach bums we are, we also hung out at some of the most pristine secluded beaches in Malaysia. That’s just us touching the surface of the water.

All things fresh and rare at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

All things fresh and rare at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

No picture in the world can do justice to Mount Kinabalu, Sabah

No picture in the world can do justice to Mount Kinabalu, Sabah

We saw rare Proboscis Monkeys in the lush greeneries of Danum Valley, and not to mention majestic Hornbills taking flight right in front of our eyes! We even saw the legendary Orangutan at the Matang Wildlife Centre and visited endangered Sunbears at The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. It’s literally the wildest we’ve ever been!

One thing we’ve learned from the trip is that the world has so much more to offer; if you show your interest in it. If there is anything we hope to accomplish with our Taming Borneo series, it is to encourage others to follow in our footsteps, and explore the world beyond the comfort of your front door.

Take action. Plan your trip, and cure that wanderlust fever!

If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!

Also do follow along our adventure on our social media platforms:

Instagram: @MyTourismChannel or #tamingborneo         

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