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Royal Brunei Airlines revisits Kuching in December

Royal Brunei Airlines revisits Kuching in December

Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) will recommence its flight to Kuching in December, realising the growing tourism demand between Brunei and East Malaysia.

RB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Karam Chand said that the national airline is very proud to be connecting Kuching to the rest of its network and providing the missing link to Brunei.

“The direct flights will allow the marketing of destination packages in all the cities we serve for the benefit of our tourism stakeholders in Brunei and Sarawak,” he said.

Kuching was one of RB’s first destinations in 1975 before its last flight suspended on July 28, 2011.

Read more of the article at The Bruneian…

Updated October 30, 2018.

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Tourism Malaysia

MALAYSIA’S 8 BEST KEPT SECRETS FOR BIRD LOVERS!

If you’ve watched animation movie Rio (2011) or The Big Year (2011) played by Steve Martin and Owen Wilson, you might have changed your perception about the winged animals prominently featured in these films. Yes, birds are actually one interesting type of reptile, attracting the attention of ornithologists and the casual nature lover alike.

These creatures – some of them rare, nomadic, mysterious, and beautiful – occupy a variety of habitats. They nest in urban parks, while some others hide away in forests. There have been stories of people venturing deep into the jungles of continents for a single satisfying glimpse of these feathered friends.

We may observe them, but they remain “untouchable.” Perhaps that is what makes them such fascinating creatures to us all, and the reason why birdwatching is a passionate pursuit for many, especially among the hipster generation now.

Malaysia, blessed with its tropical nature and greenery, is certainly one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world, with many species easily observable.

 

Let’s see why Malaysia should be your next birdwatching destination!

  1. After South America, Asia has the second largest concentration of birds in the world, and Malaysia boasts a total of 790 species nationwide in both Peninsular and East Malaysia, plus over 100 species of migratory birds.
  2. Malaysia has 55 Important Birds Area (IBA) covering a total of 5.1 million hectares of mangroves land, forests and parks (www.birdinginmalaysia.com). There are 63 species of endemic birds in Malaysia (nowhere else in the world can you find them but here) along with other rare and endangered species such as Silvery Pigeons, Christmas Frigatebirds, Spoon-billed Sandpipes and Helmeted Hornbills.
  3. The migration season for birds coming from Siberia, Manchuria and China to Malaysia starts around September annually, up until early April when it’s time to return to the north. This is the perfect time to observe the arrival of Oriental Honey buzzard, Siberian Thrush and Yellow-rumped Flycatcher after a long flight from home.
  4. The well-known birding sites in Peninsular Malaysia are Fraser’s Hill and Taman Negara which are easily accessible over a 2 or 3 hours’ drive respectively from the nation’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, over in Sabah, Kinabalu Park, Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley are well known birding destinations. In Sarawak, there are 20 IBAs which are home to 500 species of birds, especially in Bako National Park. Good transport infrastructure allows quick and easy travel between the different birding sites. 

  5. There are several interesting birding routes in Malaysia that each offer different experiences and allow birdwatchers to observe different species of birds. In Peninsular Malaysia there are the Central Route, Central Route Plus and the captivating Northern (Hornbill) Route. These routes cover the crowd–favourite venues such as Taman Negara, home to 350 bird species including Hornbills, Trogons, Barbets and Great Argus. Migratory birds also can be viewed in Langkawi, Kedah and Tg. Tuan, Melaka.
  6. Up north in the state of Perak and just a 2-hour drive from Penang is The Royal Belum Park. The Royal Belum Park is home to an impressive 10 species of hornbills. Some even call it the Hornbill Capital of the World! There is no other place on the planet relative to the size of the area where tourists can find that many number of species of hornbills.
  7. Meanwhile, in East Malaysia there are two well-known routes, namely Borneo (Sabah) Route and Borneo (Sarawak) Route – that covers lowland forest to montane and lower montane which promise many species – such as Malaysian Treepies, Ashy Drongos, Mountain Leaf Warblers or bulbuls.
  8. In the care of skilled and experienced Malaysian birdwatching guides, your chances of seeing your target birds are greatly enhanced. With the right equipment such as potable blinds (camouflage tents), the guide can bring you up close to view the beautiful and vulnerable Malayan Peacock Pheasant and – when the timing is right – even to witness its behaviour during the courtship season!  A well organised birdwatching tour, lasting approximately 14 days, may result in an impressive 200 to 230 species of birds!

 

Contacts:

Tour Agency: Natural History Tours (bird-malaysia.com or junglewalla.com)
Address:        1C, Lot 1392 Jalan Tanjung Rhu, 07000 Langkawi
Website:        www.jungewalla.com
Email:             [email protected] or [email protected]
Contact:         + 6019 5902 300 or + 6012 4870 600

Tour Agency: Ecotourism Conservation Society (ECOMY)

Address:        28, Jalan Spektrum U16/21, Taman Bukit Subang, 40160 Shah Alam, Selangor
Website:        www.ecomy.org
Email:             [email protected]
Contact:         +6019 3745246

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Tourism Malaysia

Luxury beach holidays in Malaysia

Imagine staring at the ocean, lying on a deck chair or sitting by the infinity pool while sipping on your fresh juice? If this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. Malaysia offers great options for a wonderful luxury holiday by the sea.

 

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Pangkor Laut Resort, Pangkor Island 
Pangkor Laut presents the perfect weekend getaway, far from the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur. This private island is next to the bigger and busier Pangkor Island, just three hours from the capital. The luxurious 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.

More information: Website • Image source

 

westin-langkawi

Westin Langkawi Resort Spa
Tucked away from the duty-free shops and tourist areas of down town Langkawi, Westin is an oasis of high living. For a relaxed stay, take a stroll along the private beach or just lay on a chaise lounge by one of the swimming pools. The more adventurous can go on an excursion around the Langkawi geopark. The waterfalls and dense vegetation will delight nature lovers. At the water sport centre, you can try your hand at kayaking or windsurfing on the Andaman Sea. Families will also love the kids club, with daily activities for children.

More information: Website • Image source

 

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Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu
From the morning coffee to the evening dinner, indulge yourself with striking views of the ocean. This sumptuous complex on the coast of Sabah in East Malaysia is a luxurious dreamy village. You can dive in the South China Sea or discover the National Park of Mount Kinabalu, before relaxing at the spa and wellness centre. Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort also has its own golf club, which has been moulded to match its beautiful surrounds.

More information: Website • Image source

 

sea-home-boutique-penang

Sea Home Boutique, Penang
Staying at Sea Home Boutique is like travelling back in time. The furniture and antiques are a blend of Victorian and Peranakan styles, a reminder of the rich history of this place. Sea Home is in Tanjung Bungah, a former fishing village on Penang Island. It is the base of the Penang Water Sports Centre and close to Batu Ferringhi, a popular beach destination with one of the most iconic night markets in Malaysia. The capital George Town is just 20 minutes away.

More information: Website • Image source

 

batu-batu

Batu Batu – Johor Bahru
This luxury resort is on the private island of Tengah on the east coast of Peninsula Malaysia. Nestled within the rainforest and surrounded by pristine waters, the resort is the only development on the island. They have a turtle conservation camp plus a dive centre. They also programme activities for kids. After diving, you can enjoy a meal with your family and watch the sunset by the ocean or spoil yourself at the spa. Batu Batu is great for a family getaway. It’s also ideal for those across the border in Singapore.

More information: Website • Image source

 

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Tourism Malaysia

13 Things You May Or May Not Know About Malaysia’s Independence

Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1957

August 31 is Hari Merdeka or Malaysia’s Independence Day. Here’s a brief look at Merdeka Day celebrations over the last 59 years and other events that have shaped the nation.

1. Malaysia gained her independence from Great Britain in 1957. Over 20,000 people gathered in Merdeka Square to mark the occasion, including the Duke of Gloucester, the King and Queen of Thailand and the Prime Minister of India. The first prime minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, chanted some of the most iconic words in Malaysian history, “Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka”.

2. From 1957 onwards, Merdeka celebrations have been held every year in all its grandeur. Dignitaries wear traditional uniforms and costumes, fighter jets fly overhead in a blaze of smoke and military personnel and Kadazan tribal people march through the streets.

3. Inaugural celebrations featured dancing formations that depicted the emblem of the ruling party, Barisan Nasional — or the National Front Coalition Party. Barisan Nasional has ruled Malaysia since 1957, making it one of the longest ruling, democratically installed governments in the world.

4. Up until September 16, 1963, Malaysia was still known as the Federation of Malaya. Two years after Singapore left the federation in 1961, the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak merged with Peninsula Malaya to form the new Malaysia.

5. Merdeka Day celebrations in 1963 were nothing short of extravagant with traditional dancers from East Malaysia appearing for the first time in full ceremonial regalia, armed with spears and other tribal items.

6. Malaysia Day, not to be confused with Merdeka Day, is held every September 16 to mark the formation of Malaysia.

7. In 1967, Merdeka celebrations saw perhaps the biggest crowd in Malaysian history. An estimated 50,000 people attended the ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of Malaysia’s independence. Thousands of law enforcement and military personnel marched through Merdeka Square.

Merdeka 3Military procession passes dignitaries at inaugural Merdeka celebration in 1957

8. Merdeka Football Festival has run concurrently with Merdeka celebrations from 1957. The festival is the oldest football event in Asia and has seen teams from all over the world compete for the prestigious trophy. Hong Kong were the inaugural winners in 1957.

9. Malacca City hosted the first Merdeka celebration outside of Stadium Merdeka and Dataran Merdeka in 1985. The decision was the brainchild of Malaysia’s “Father of Development” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad. The Malacca Club was turned into a Merdeka memorial called the Merdeka Declaration Memorial to archive all past and future Merdeka celebrations.

10. In the same year, one of Malaysia’s most iconic acts, the Alleycats, released their chart-topping album Suara Kekasih. Founded in 1978, the Alleycats went on to have a profound impact on Malaysian people and the Malaysian music industry.

AlleycatsMusic icons the Alleycats

11. Following 1963, there was a push for Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines to form a confederation called Maphilindo. However, there were too many controversies and disputes over territory with then Indonesian president Sukarno putting an end to discussions.

12. Shortly after, Indonesia provided Malaysia with the greatest threat to her independence. They declared war on the Kalimantan-East Malaysia border, laying claims to territories north of Kalimantan. Indonesia only came to officially acknowledge the formation of Malaysia three years later in 1966.

13. Malaysia and her states have been ruled by many invaders over the years from Srivijayan Buddhists and Majapahit Hindus to Portuguese, Dutch and British settlers as well as the Japanese in World War II. Many of these cultures are still present in current day Merdeka celebrations.

 

Merdeka 150th anniversary Merdeka celebrations in 2007

So, if you are keen to observe a bit of Malaysian history, be sure to join in the fun this August 31. There will be festivities across the nation with performances, parades and fireworks in most cities. Head to Tourism Malaysia Official Site for more information.

 

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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.

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