Categories
Tourism Malaysia

CHASING WILDLIFE IN SABAH

They say travel broadens the mind, and I totally agree with that statement. However, the more I travel, the more I begin to appreciate all things back home, be it food, culture, nature or even our wildlife. I mean we saved enough money to go all the way to Africa for example, so that we can see the lions or cheetahs running wild in their own habitat but did it ever cross our mind to do the same thing in our own country. Do we even know what kind of species of wildlife that are unique to our country or native to the Asian region?

I wonder whether we care enough about our wildlife to do at least the simplest thing or take the smallest step to conserve and protect our animals whether they are endangered or not.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Lahad Datu

My quest to learn more about our wildlife had taken me all the way to the east coast of Sabah, Lahad Datu, to be exact. It is where Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the largest of its kind in Malaysia is located. Mind you, it took me about 3 hours and 20 minutes to reach the wildlife reserve from the airport in Tawau. I chose to stay at the river lodge owned by Tabin Wildlife Resort, which was located within the wildlife reserve.

The mummified remains of Puntung

While waiting for
the sun to go down so that I could go for the night safari, I took the
opportunity to visit its Visitor Centre to learn more about the wildlife
reserve. This was where I met Puntung, well, the mummified remains of her, that
is. Puntung was one of the last trio of the Sumatran Rhinos that lived in
captivity at the Tabin Wildlife Reserve after the species was declared extinct
by the Government of Malaysia in 2015. I could hardly hold back my tears when the
guide told me the story of Puntung’s life. When they found her in the wild in
2011, she was missing a front left foot, believed to be caught in a poacher’s
snare when she was a baby and yet she survived for so many years in isolation.
However, Puntung had to be euthanized in 2017 because she was suffering from
cancer.

Last May, we also lost the only male rhino we had, Tam, who died of old age. Right now, Iman is the nation’s sole remaining member of its species in Malaysia but she is also suffering from cancer. The Borneo Rhino Alliance or BORA, a non-profit company, had tried so hard to keep the Sumatran Rhinos from going extinct but it wasn’t meant to be. The heartbreaking story of our Sumatran rhinos made me feel helpless but at the same time just made me more determined to go and see our native animals in the wild as many as I can before they disappeared.

Finally, the time had come for me to take a ride on the makeshift truck to hunt for the nocturnal animals in the wild, and instead of a rifle, I was equipped with camera and handphones. I was hoping to see some magnificent creatures along the way, but unfortunately I wasn’t lucky enough. However, I did get to see the pygmy elephants’ droppings and footprints though. I suspected my guide was one of those nocturnal creatures himself because his eyesight was so sharp, he could spot a small flying squirrel on top of the trees in the dark of the night. For the first time ever, I got to see a flying squirrel glided through the air between trees in the blink of an eye, thanks to my guide.

Searching hard for the nocturnal creatures

We spotted a Buffy Fish Owl trying to capture its victim at the lake, hornbills, a family of civets climbing up the trees probably looking for a new home, a couple of Bornean wild cats roaming between the tall grass looking for rats and that’s about it. It’s probably not much but the experience was exhilarating and it was such a great feeling to know that our wildlife can roam free at this wildlife reserve and I could just imagine the orangutans making their nests to sleep at night deep in the forest, and somewhere out there the pygmy elephants (the world’s smallest elephant) were having the time of their lives. And also, during the whole journey, don’t forget to look up because you will get to see all the beautiful twinkling stars with your own naked eyes, something that you can’t experience in the big cities.

Having fun at the Lipad mud volcano
A hornbill is spotted perching on top of the tree

The next morning, I went for a short hike to check out the well-known Lipad mud volcano and I was so glad to see an eagle, one of the eight species of hornbill, a monitor lizard and the macaques along the way. The active Lipad Mud Volcano is an elevated muddy hill with warm, salty mud bubbling from below the surface almost continuously; occasionally, the mud volcanoes have mild eruptions that add to their height and scatter small stones around. It is an area frequented by wildlife and birds for much-needed minerals and nourishment – and the evidence is in the foot/paw prints left behind on the grey mud. I saw a few footprints of the pygmy elephants at the mud volcano. While there, I came across a couple of tourists returning from the mud volcano and was informed that they camped all night at the observation tower at the mud volcano to spy on the animals that visited the place at night. Oh my, why didn’t I think of that?

Kinabatangan River, Bilit Village

My plan to chase the wildlife of Borneo did not end at Tabin Wildlife Reserve. This lowland part of Sabah has plenty of spots for wildlife sightings. I took another one hour and a 22-minute journey to the Lahad Datu airport to fly to Sandakan for another wildlife adventure. After the half an hour flight, I arrived at the Sandakan airport and went straight to Bilit in Kinabatangan, which took me about 2 hours and 9 minutes to reach the place. I chose to stay at the Mynes Resort, which was situated on the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Upon arriving at the resort, my guide brought me straight to the jetty for a river cruise. My aim was to take a closer look at Sabah’s most famous primates – the proboscis monkeys or also known as the “dutch monkeys”, as well as the orangutans.

Baby proboscis

The cruise took about 45-minutes and at first all I saw were the macaques and gibbons until the boatman suddenly steered the boat closer to the river bank, and that was when I saw a male proboscis monkey with its harem munching on leaves while sitting on the branches on the top of the trees. Oh, what a beautiful sight! Endemic to Borneo, these endangered monkeys are easily recognisable because of their comical appearance e.g. big noses and protruding bellies. Compared to other exotic creatures in Sabah, the proboscis monkey is the most likely to be spotted in the wild, due to their proximity to the rivers. I was a bit disappointed about not being able to spot orangutans, pygmy elephants or even Irrawaddy dolphins, but sunset at the Kinabatangan River was simply breathtaking, that I can guarantee.

The next morning I took another chance on the river cruise because I wanted to see more of the wildlife there. Lo and behold, I got more than I bargained for because my guide spotted a huge female crocodile on the river bank patiently waiting for its prey while a baby crocodile was playing near the water. I was, you can say, entranced by the size and beauty of the crocodile. This was my first time seeing wild crocodiles in their natural element. It was exhilarating but also a bit scary. I could just imagine their massive jaws crushing down on their victim before drowning it. But that was the highlight of my morning cruise though. On the way back, I spotted a troop of silver leaf monkeys, and pig-tailed macaques. Not bad for an early morning cruise but I was a happy camper, after all I was dealing with nature, and they didn’t follow our rules, we followed theirs. So I left Bilit with beautiful memories and headed back towards the city of Sandakan for another 2-hour plus journey.

Sandakan

I know that orangutans live a solitary existence so it is almost impossible to see them in their natural habitat, which was why I made the decision to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, located about 25km north of Sandakan. This internationally well-known centre helps rehabilitate the orphaned, injured and displaced orangutans before returning them to the wild. I arrived early to secure the best spot at the feeding platform so that I could get a closer look at our beloved orangutans. I started to get excited when I saw two rangers arriving with fruits and sugar canes and placing them on the feeding platform, approximately 60 feet from the viewing platform. It was just my luck I guess, no orangutans turned up to eat the fruits that day. So many international visitors were there waiting patiently for the orangutans to appear but we all left with disappointment.

The youngsters eating and playing in
outdoor nursery

However, fret not because there was an outdoor nursery, which was just a short walk from the feeding platform where you can watch orphaned youngsters at play. I spent almost half an hour observing the youngsters eating and playing behind the glass window. When the youngsters were moved to the outdoor nursery, it meant that they had become more independent and were less emotionally dependent to their care-takers, and for that I am thankful for the hard work done by the staff at the rehabilitation centre.

I ended my quest to see as many wildlife as I can in the lowland of Sabah by visiting one of my favourite animals, the cute sun bears at the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSCC), just next to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The BSCC is the only sun bear conservation centre in the world.  I must tell you that sun bear is listed as vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. So, I suggest that you add seeing sun bear before they disappear in your bucket list. The sun bear is the smallest and the second rarest bear species, after the giant panda. Wouldn’t you feel proud to have such rare bears in your own backyard? Once I met them, it was love at first sight. They were just so adorable, thus making you feel like wanting to protect them from any threat. All 43 of them at the centre were rescued sun bears.

Mary, the lovable sun bear

If you plan to visit
the centre, look up for the lovable Mary, the cutest little sun bear I have
ever seen and she’s very friendly towards us, human despite her sad upbringing.
She was captured by poachers and kept as a house pet in Ranau district (West
coast part of Sabah). Due to her unbalanced diet, she showed symptoms of
calcium deficiency like walking in an abnormal way and shorter body structure.
Now that Mary’s physical condition has improved, she can climb around like
other bears. And if you are lucky, you will get to meet the founder of the
centre, the Penang-born wildlife biologist Dr. Wong Siew Te who was once hailed
as a CNN Hero. (CNN Heroes is created by the American Cable News Network to
honour individuals who make extraordinary contributions to humanitarian aid and
make a difference in their communities).

It is my hope that this article can help evoke the interest among Malaysians to visit the east coast of Sabah to see the wildlife that is endemic to Borneo. Many of them are either extinct, endangered or vulnerable, so it is not too late for us to explore those places and the most important thing is the proceeds will go to protecting more habitats and conservation activities. It means that playing tourist can actually help save, protect and conserve our wildlife.

Tabin Wildlife Resort:
Location: KM 49, Jalan Tungku, Lahad Datu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +6 088 267266
E-mail:[email protected]
GPS Location: 5° 11′ 15.35″ N 118° 30′ 8.47″ E
Website: http://www.tabinwildlife.com.my
FB: https://www.facebook.com/Tabin-Wildlife-Holidays-Borneo–111441605544390/

Myne Resort:
Location: Kampung Bilit, Kinabatangan, Sabah
Tel: +6089 278288 / 278291
E-mail: [email protected][email protected]
Facebook: Myne Travel Resort

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Location: Batu 14, Jalan Labuk Sandakan , Sabah WDT200, 9009 Sandakan, Sabah.
Tel: +60 89 633 587
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.wildlife.sabah.gov.my/?q=en/content/sepilok-orangutan-rehabilitation-centre

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSCC)
Location: BSBCC, PPM 219, Elopura, 90000 Sandakan, Sabah
Tel: ​+60 89-534491
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: https://www.bsbcc.org.my/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/sunbear.bsbcc
 

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

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

A Home Away From Home in Malaysia’s Far North

Roots – that is why there is always that need for us Malaysians to return to our hometowns, which we affectionately call “kampung”. We want to show our children where and how we grew up, we want to instill in them a sense of belonging and at the same time give them their identity. And of course, it is essentially a reunion of loved ones.

So if you want to learn more about Malaysian culture and tradition, go to their roots. I suggest that you stay at a homestay in a traditional “kampung” and you will find out why Malaysians are known for their warmth and friendliness, as well as what makes them tick. I hope it will become one of your most beautiful memories in Malaysia. And in the process, you’ll gain a new family too.

Under the Malaysian Government’s Homestay Experience programme, tourists can easily get a dose of life in the village. The programme registers a few hundred villages that have expressed interest in hosting tourists in their private homes to provide them a glimpse of life in Malaysia’s beautiful countryside.

Besides that, you’ll get to spend a majority of the time with your host family doing activities that will help you immerse yourself in the local culture.

If one day you’ll find yourself heading towards the northern region of Malaysia, check out these homestays:

1. Kampung Ujung Bukit, Perlis

At Kampung Ujung Bukit, the homestay is built near the rice fields with the limestone hills as the backdrop, offering picturesque and peaceful surroundings. Some of the houses are built on wooden stilts, while others sit on rock formations.

Each house bears the name of a hill, like Bukit Bintang, Bukit Keteri, Bukit Jernih, Bukit Emas, Bukit Nyattuh, Bukit Lagi, Bukit Padang, Bukit Kecil and Bukit Chuping.

At Kampung Ujung Bukit, let yourself attune to the local customs and try to fit in as best you can. As you are going to eat what your host family eat, so challenge yourself to try some of the local delight such as bamboo shoots and clear pumpkin soup, ikan termenong and ulam pokok kedondong.

Take part in activities such as tarik upih pinang (pulling the betel nut fronds), cycling and making emping (crackers). Famed for the succulent Harumanis mango, you might find yourself busy plucking ripe mangoes from the trees at the mango plantations nearby.

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Perlis Equestrian Training Centre for an unforgettable adventure with horses, as well as Bukit Ayer Recreational forest for some eco-adventures.

Homestay Kampung Ujung Bukit
Jalan Kurong Batang,
01000 Kangar, Perlis
Contact person: En. Ed (012-448 6305) / Puan Faezah (017-5986504)
FB: https://www.facebook.com/UjungBukitPerlis/

2. Homestay Relau, Bandar Baru Kulim, Kedah

Strategically located right along the border between Penang and Perak, Homestay Relau is a small traditional Malay rural township in the Southern-most part of Kedah Darul Aman, and it is surrounded by lush green hills with unspoilt natural beauty giving the town an extra edge over other rural locations in Kedah. Most of the host family are farmers, many of whom still practice traditional agricultural and farming methods.

By staying here, you will get a glimpse of the life of a rubber-tapper and a paddy-field farmer. Why don’t you try your hands at rubber tapping or paddy planting /harvesting (seasonal)? These experiences will open your eyes to the daily realities of your host family’s world.

Most of the houses in Homestay Relau are fringed by tropical fruit trees and as the “adopted son or daughter”, you will have the privileged to eat just about any fruits you want and as much as you want. Just imagine all those delicious tropical fruits like durian, mango, rambutan, and mangosteen, you name it and they’ve got it.

One of the most favourite activities at Homestay Relau is the traditional batik painting, where you will get to learn some basic points on batik, and another one is learning how to dance the traditional dances. The basic steps are relatively easy to learn. With a little practice, you will soon find yourself swaying to the music!

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Sungai Sedim Recreational Forest and Junjong Waterfall, to name a few.

Homestay Relau
Persatuan Homestay Relau,
Lot 1064, Sri Impian, Relau, Kedah .
Contact person: En. Helmi (+6012 – 488 3620)
FB : https://www.facebook.com/Homestay-Relau-Kedah

3. Homestay Mengkuang Titi, Penang

Located about 25km from Butterworth and 32km from George Town, Homestay Mengkuang Titi is a comprehensive village that still retains its rustic traditional charm and culture. The traditional homes of the villagers here exude a cozy ambience for visitors as they are beautifully crafted with wooden structure and intricate architecture. At Mengkuang Titi, you’ll enjoy a wide spectrum of vibrant culture and exciting art activities. Indulge in the natural wonders of its agriculture, cottage industry and traditional games today.

There are always lots of things to do in a homestay and Homestay Mengkuang Titi is no exception. Try your hand at rubber tapping and watch how latex is processed into rubber sheets, or join the villagers in plucking coconuts from trees and savour its delightful water, or learn how to weave mengkuang mats.


Grab the opportunity to learn to make kuih bahulu, a traditional and scrumptious Malay cake. Kuih bahulu is also a popular snack during festive seasons.

Take part in traditional dances or musical performances such as Boria, a musical performance that is unique to Penang. Boria, the traditional parody theatre that was first originated from the ancient ta’ziyeh culture of Persia is known for their medley of traditional music and chorus singing.
Test your skill in traditional Malay games such as top spinning, or gasing, and sepak raga, played by the men and congkak by the women.

Visiting Mengkuang Dam is a must because it is the largest water storage in Penang with a capacity of 23,639 million litres of water. This dam also features a well-landscaped garden with rubber and pine trees as well as wildlife.

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Penang War Museum at Bukit Maung, which was built by the British military in 1930s to protect the island.

Homestay Mengkuang Titi
Mo. 679, Mk. 19, Mengkuang Titi, 14000 Bkt. Mertajam, Sbg. Perai
Contact person: Rohaizat Bin Hj. Othman (+6019 – 412 7095)
Email: [email protected]
FB: https://www.facebook.com/homestaymengkuangtiti15/

4. Homestay Kampung Beng, Lenggong, Perak

Homestay Kampung Beng is an achingly beautiful village on the edge of Lake Chenderoh. It is located about 23km from Lenggong town and 45 minute drive from Kuala Kangsar.

Homestay Kampung Beng is made of six smaller villages comprise of Kg Durian Lubuk, Kg Beng Dalam, Kg Dusun, Kg Sekolah, Kg Durau and Kg Batu Ring. The main mode of transport is by boat or sampan.

The villages are surrounded by scenic views of lush green forest, lakes, waterfalls and mountains. The breathtaking view is one of the reason Kg. Beng is often the preferred filming location to renown film makers both locally and internationally.  Among the films shot in Kg. Beng was Anna and The King and Penanggal, as well as the popular “Petronas Raya” advertisement directed  by the late Yasmin Ahmad.

Residents here in Homestay Kampung Beng still conserves their traditional kampung way of life. Their warm hospitality, laid back activities and rich cultural heritage will guarantee a truly nostalgic kampung life experience.

Most of the villagers are rubber tappers, so most likely you will get the opportunity to tap a rubber tree. You can also visit their deer farm located in the kampung itself and see for yourself how they manage the farm.

Kampung Beng isn’t called mini-amazon for nothing as its river is filled with many species of freshwater fish such as tengalan (carp), kelah (river carp), kerai (carp), sebarau (carp), baung (catfish), lampam jawa (Javanese carp) and patin (river catfish); thus its most popular activity is fishing at the nearby Tasik Raban and Sungai Perak.

Be brave and try out your host family’s traditional cuisines, which include ikan pekasam (fish preserved in salt brine), gulai tempoyak (gravy made from fermented durian), sambal ayam serai (chicken with lemongrass sauce), kerabu umbut (salad made from young palm tree shoots), and many others.

Other activities you can do at the homestay are trekking the nearby hilly jungle to get to a glorious waterfall known as the Lata Gelongsor, as well as visiting the King of Pattani’s shipwreck site. Tok Beng, the founder of the village was believed to be a Prince of Pattani.

Beyond the village area, let your host family take you to the various tourist attractions nearby such as the Kota Tampan Archaeological Museum (the museum displays a diversity of archaeological finds from the local area) and the limestone caves in Lenggong Valley.

Homestay Kampung Beng
33400 Lenggong, Perak
Contact person: Mr. Akmal (019 – 574 7160)
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pg/homestaykampungBENG

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

The Hidden Jewel of Borneo

The little-known Orou Sapulot, hidden away in the interiors of Sabah, has now become a new landmark in the naturalist map of Borneo, if not in Malaysia. This place is a majestic natural wonder that has inspired many travellers with its beautiful landscapes and the culture of the surrounding region.  It is fast becoming a must-see destination on every adventure traveller’s itinerary.

Situated off Keningau in Sabah, “Orou” means “Sun” in the native language of the Murut, the third largest indigenous ethnic group of Sabah, whose lives intricately revolve around the forest and natural surroundings. Vast tracts of greenery and unique flora and fauna are found in this territory, while some zones are considered sacred to the Muruts, but are now ready to be visited. An experienced guide will lead you to this largely uncharted world of wonders.

From Kota Kinabalu, one can take transportation to the town of Keningau and direct to Orou Sapulot, a journey that lasts between two and three hours all together. Upon arrival in Labang, access Pungiton Eco Camp by boat, or choose to stay at the wooden huts of Kabulungou Waterfall or Romol Wooden Longhouse, either which will give you the experience of being immersed in nature.

Due to the diverse geological landscape of the area, there are opportunities to explore caving in the sacred Pungiton Cave, jungle trekking to inspect the exotic plants and wildlife, rock climbing to Batu Punggul, and rapid shooting down the river.

A visit to the local village will open up your eyes to the culture of the region with its unique food, rituals and celebrations. Don’t forget to sample the intoxicating local rice wine.

The 3-day 2-night Orou Sapulot adventure by Sticky Rice Travel was recently awarded a Malaysia Tourism Award for Most Innovative “off-the-beaten-track” tour package.

If you want to have jungle trekking with a cultural touch, Orou Sapulot is the place to be. “Pristine, history-rich, challenging and mysterious” are a few of the words that can describe the place if you have yet to go, but “memorable” is the word to use if you have been there!

WEB:                   www.orousapulot.com
EMAIL:                [email protected]
FB:                       www.fb.com/orousapulot
TEL:                     +6019 2277 077

*Community Eco Tourism Project for the Murut tribe in North Borneo

 

STICKY RICE TRAVEL

ADRRESS:         134 Jalan Gaya, 3rd Floor, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
WEB:                   http://www.stickyricetravel.com/
EMAIL:                [email protected]
TEL:                     +6088 250177 / +6088 250588 / +6019 982 9005

* winner of Malaysia Tourism Award 2016/17

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

Categories
All Malaysia Info

Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine Restaurant in Penang Malaysia

Penang, more commonly known as the food capital of Malaysia, is a very famous tourist spot which has tons of interesting things in store for visitors and tourists. The city is loaded with fancy shopping plazas and malls, beaches and soothing islands, and is no less than any of the Malaysian regions when you speak about food. The city is filled with Chinese people and so you won’t be amazed by the wide array of Chinese Restaurants in Penang. Along with the locals, visitors must also try out some delicious Chinese cuisine.

Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine

Chin’s Stylist Chinese Cuisine has stood the test of time for being a well-known dining place in Penang. The restaurant was first initiated in 1987 in London and now stands as a holder of many prestigious awards. Chin’s Stylish Chinese Cuisine is a luxurious, fine dining spot and the chefs over here are extremely dedicated and passionate about cooking. They simply love their profession and whatever they’re doing.

What do they serve?

Chin’s Chinese has hired world-class chefs who are reputed for serving premium quality authentic Chinese delicacies made out of the most exquisite ingredients. Each dish is prepared in wholesome proportions combined with the greatest culinary experience. Less salt and oil is utilized by the chefs, and together after blending spices from across the globe, the food and its texture are enhanced to a whole new level. The restaurant’s menu comprises of authentic Sichuan and Hunan recipes.

The ambiance

The restaurant has a pleasant environment and the interior is dark yet lively and colourful – a traditional Chinese enthused interior. The fixtures and fittings of this place are unique and the entire place has opulent and modern art décor. It gets complicated at times, whether you should concentrate on the food or the presentation of it, both of which are equally tempting. If there are four of you then don’t miss out on booking a table in this top-notch restaurant of Penang, which will cost you about RM40 to RM120.

Location and Contact Information

The address of the Chin’s Chinese is a Tanjung City Marine, Pier, 8A at Pangkalan Weld, 10300, Church Street in George Town in Malaysia. For further information and booking you can call at +60 4-261 2611.

Photo Credit: chin’s stylish chinese cuisine FB

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice

Chicken Rice is one of a many renouned dishes in a Malaysian Chinese culture. From a famous Hainan Chicken Rice to steamed to roasted to barbequed chicken. Chicken Rice in Malaysia is not usually accessible in many Chinese coffee shops or restaurants or travel hawker stalls, though also sequence restaurants and speciallised FB outlets. Most of a Chicken Rice is served with sliced cucumber, routinely served with homemade chili salsa and battered ginger or garlic and dim soy sauce, There are opposite variants of rice as well, including a savoury and juicy Hainanese yellow ‘oily rice’. Chicken rice can be accompanied with a play of soup and additional duck intestines, gizzards, livers and so on.

Chicken Rice is served as rice balls in Malacca, famous as Chicken Rice Balls. Instead of regulating a play of rice, a rice is made into a golf ball-sized rice balls and steamed chicken, In Ipoh, a Cantonese chronicle steamed Chicken Rice are served with boiled bean thrive and normal white rice.

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