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Tourism Malaysia

IN CHOCOLATE HEAVEN

A long, long time ago, the Mayans were believed to have first discovered cocoa, which they considered as a sacred treat. Nowadays, chocolates are still considered precious delights. They certainly make wonderful treats during festive seasons and who would ever say no to a chocolate souvenir! Yup, chocolates are some of the popular things tourists buy as souvenirs to bring home. Malaysia certainly has its own home-grown chocolate brands, but besides that, while you are here in Malaysia, why not indulge in something more chocolate-y? Perhaps a tea-time treat at a chocolate café…or a tour of a chocolate factory?

Malaysian chocolate flavours

Typically, you can always count on the standard flavours of chocolates such as white, milk and dark (with various percentages of cocoa). The chocolate experience is a bit novel in Malaysia, though, as Malaysian chocolatiers have taken chocolate-making a step further by infusing local flavours into their creations.

For instance, you find many chocolate brands in local shops, with unique flavours that you cannot find elsewhere. Try mango chocolates…or for those who love the King of Fruits, there are many durian chocolate selections…these are popular flavours among tourists. How about Gula Melaka chocolates and Teh Tarik chocolates? Well, we leave it to you to taste!

Here are some Malaysia-brand chocolates you may wish to bring home as souvenirs, which can be easily found in most supermarkets and shopping malls: Beryl’s, Camior, Daiana, Fidani, Hoko, Vochelle and many more.

Chocolate Cafés

Chocolate cafes are booming fast, almost overtaking those trendy cafes and their coffees! Well, it’s a blessing for all chocolate lovers, then. If you want to really savour your chocolate indulgence, make a visit to MyTown Shopping Centre in Cheras, where you will find chocolate decadence at The Dark Gallery (https://thedarkgallery.com). Reading the menu list itself will make you drool, but if you are overwhelmed by the choices, it’s wise to go with the tasting platter that combines their best chocolate pastries, ice creams and hot chocolates.

The pretty décor of Nayuta Chocolatasia (http://www.nayuta.com.my), meanwhile, will remind you very much of the Far East. The café, located within Isetan Japan Store in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, prides itself in the high quality of cacao beans cultivated right here in the Southeast Asian region, namely Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and of course, Malaysia. They call themselves the “chocolate label produced by Asian people to suit the Asian taste palate” for milky, caramel-infused and soft textured chocolate. Spend an afternoon here to sample their delicate 8g bonbons with typical Asian ganache such as lime, pineapple and yuzu, or delight in a huge bar of chocolate with cashew nuts, dried mango and caramelised coconuts. With all that sweetness in your mouth and the artful décor, you will want to daintily sip that cup of hot chocolate!

Chocolate Museum

Looking for more? Apart from the trendy cafes, some established chocolate manufacturers have also introduced a specialty concept-store known as the chocolate museum.

One of these chocolate museums that the public can visit for free is the Chocolate Museum by Fidani (www.chocolatemuseum.my)   at Kota Damansara. Apart from the boutique shop selling more than 100 chocolate brands, the premise is well-equipped with a large gallery full of informative facts and displays about the art and science of chocolate-making. Learn about the history of cacao beans, the farming process and how it is transformed from bean to bar. They also have a live-kitchen demo by a chef on the makings of chocolates.

Another worth-visiting museum is the Beryl’s Chocolate Museum (www.berylschocolate.com.my), about 20 kilometres from the city centre. The museum is well-laid out with informative chocolate displays on history, chocolate facts and more. You’ll also be able to purchase all sorts of chocolate flavours from the Beryl’s brand.

Chocolate Cupid

For the serious chocolate lover, head over to the heart of Bangsar, where the Chocolate Concierge (www.chocconcierge.com) will be most happy to match you with the right chocolate that you’ve been craving for, selected from their large selection of chocolate flavours and recipes. And if your chocolate urge is still not satisfied, they’ll even custom-make the chocolate for you, of course, with a low minimum order. With passion-driven care for chocolates and bean origin, Chocolate Concierge is mighty serious about their bean-to-bar process, and it’s no surprise that they’ve been featured in the Michelin food guide as a rising chocolatier. Try the soft filling chocolate morsels with hints of cappuccino, strawberry, or wasabi, and their hand piped truffles. Or for something truly local, go for the freshly-made Pahang Origin Dark chocolate with cocoa nibs.

 

 

 

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

10 REASONS WHY TERMINAL KLIA2 IS A TRAVELLER’S DREAM

If you are flying into or out of Terminal klia2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2), you’d be forgiven for thinking that you have landed in a shopping mall rather than an airport. That’s because Terminal klia2, currently the world’s largest terminal serving low-cost carriers, has an airport-within-a-mall concept. Everything about it caters to savvy travellers who are looking for that single-stop facility to get all their needs met upon departure or arrival.

To get your bearings right, note that Terminal klia2 is located about 50 minutes by car from downtown Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. If traveling via the KLIA Ekspress, it is just 33 minutes.  It is situated about 2 km away (or between 4 and 10 minutes away depending on mode of transport) from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

Terminal klia2 consists of [email protected] Mall, the shopping mall; the Main Terminal building on the landside where the arrival and departure halls are located, along with the check-in counters and security and immigrations; and the airside of the terminal where the departure and arrival gates are located.

Overwhelmed? Don’t be…read on to see our favourite picks of outlets and services within Terminal klia2 that will make your trip here smooth and breezy.

 

NAPPING ZONES

Maybe you are in transit in Malaysia, or your flight back home got delayed. For whatever reasons that you need a place to rest, there are more than a couple of options in the vicinity.

Within [email protected] Mall, Aerotel (myaerotel.com) offers 78 cozy wood-panelled guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms for the solo traveller, the couple or the family, with flexible check-in times. Rooms are between 20 and 34 square metres and start from RM280. Don’t rush it, the airport check-in counters are just 5 minutes’ walk away!

Aerotel: Level 2M, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

Capsule Transit (capsuletransit.com), also within [email protected] Mall, is similar to a backpacker’s hostel where you get to make friends with neighbouring guests. Minimalist in nature, it offers a bed, a shower and luggage storage, too, with “pod” rentals in chunks of 3-, 6- or 12-hour stays, starting at RM89. For solo female travellers, there is a females-only zone for extra privacy.

Capsule Transit: Level 1, Lot 1-5, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

On a layover between flights? Then, Sama-sama Express (samasamaexpress.com) at Terminal klia2’s Satellite Building is the perfect solution. Hotel guests do not need to clear Malaysian Customs and Immigrations if they are on a layover between flights. Comfortable rooms — some with spectacular views of the airport runway – between 17 and 48 sq metres are available for a minimum of 6-hour stays. As a plus, this hotel has been acknowledged as a Green Building for its environmentally-friendly practices!

Sama Sama Express klia2: Level 3, Satellite Building, Terminal klia2

Just want a place to relax and refresh while waiting for your flight home? Escape the buzz of the airport by checking into Wellness Spa (plazapremiumlounge.com) to pamper your body, from head to toe. Their menu of spa services includes massages (for neck, shoulder, back or foot), manicures and pedicures, and hair treatments, along with light refreshments and power showers. The lounge offers private resting areas where you can also catch up on the latest news on TV or some light reading. Weary travelers will find this quiet place a haven to relax while you freshen up and recharge your body.

Wellness Spa: Level 3, International Departure, Terminal klia2

CONNECTED IN MALAYSIA

If you have just arrived into Malaysia and are looking to explore the country with uninterrupted Internet connection, then WIYO (wiyo.my) and Samurai Wifi (samuraiwifi.com.my) are a blessing to you with their pocket wifi rental service. So, if you think international data roaming is expensive, local prepaid cards are troublesome and public wifi is insecure, try out this service by making a booking online at their websites a few days before your arrival into Malaysia then pick-up the device upon arrival at their outlets in Terminal klia2. Promotion rates are available, so check out their websites frequently.

WIYO: Level 2, L2-13, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

Samurai Wifi: Level 2, Lot S2-2-211, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

HEALTHY EATS

When traveling, the last thing you want is to have tummy troubles. Why not go for healthy options to avoid any possible problems?

Eat smart, eat fresh and eat healthy at The Green Market over at the Departure Level, a modern dining setting with Japanese, Korean and Malaysian offerings. Expect ramens, udons, Malaysian noodles, kimchi soups, bibimbap, donburi bowls and bento boxes to savour within an open-plan kitchen where you can see the chefs in action. Complete your meal with fresh, slow-pressed juices to set you up for the rest of the day. Oh, and you will love the charging stations, flight information boards and free wifi provided, too!

The Green Market: Departure Level (Level 3), Public Concourse, Main Terminal Building, Terminal klia2

If you think vegetarian food is boring, you probably haven’t tried the selection at BMS Organics. They’ve established themselves as a café serving healthy, organic vegetarian food since 2007, and currently have more than 20 organic cafes around Malaysia and in China. Their KLIA2 café has about 40 healthy meal options including rice meals, soup noodles, and smoothie bowls. Favourites are the Curry Laksa made with soy milk broth; light and refreshing quinoa salad; and brown rice nasi lemak. The café is located at a quieter part of the terminal where you can eat in peace.

BMS Organics Grab ‘n Go: Level 3, L3-22A, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

LOCAL TASTES

Flying home and can’t get enough of Malaysian food and drinks? There’s plenty of local bites to feast on at Terminal klia2, but check out these local flavours which are popular favourites.

Nyonya Colours offers bite-sized local kuih or sweet treats made from tapioca, yam, sweet potato, mung beans, rice flour, sticky rice, coconut milk, brown sugar, desiccated coconut, and local ingredients that result in rich, sticky treats worth remembering.

Nyonya Colours: Level 3, Lot 34 37, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

At Kluang Station Cafe, you can cherish the nostalgia of olden day train stations while savouring the fusion of Chinese culture and tradition in its Hainanese takes on laksa noodle soup, fried Mee Siam noodles, and nasi lemak, all washed down with a strong cup of Kluang coffee.

Kluang Station Cafe: Level 2, L2-23, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

Crazy about coffee and want something with a local twist? Kofi Kraze2 uses their own Maxtract process, a gradient-diffused method to optimize the smoothness, aroma and intensity of their premium Cold Brew coffee with unique tropical flavours. Try out coffee in durian, yam, chili, jackfruit or pandan flavours – all typically reminiscent of Malaysia!

Kofi Kraze2 Premium Cold Brew Coffee: Level 3, L3-23, [email protected] Mall, Terminal klia2

 

BOREDOM BUSTER

The next time you are stuck at the airport, head over to World Game Museum to pit your skills against friend or foe in a gaming play-off. There’s a good range of more than 100 games available here from classic games using the Atari console, or lose yourself in modern Virtual Reality dimensions. Family favourite card games for kids of all ages such as Old Maid and Snap, and famous board games like Ticket to Ride, offer an awesome collection for everyone. Overall, a great place to hang out if you’re not into shopping!

World Game Museum: Level 3A, Departure Hall, Main Terminal Building Terminal klia2

SOUVENIRS GALORE

Looking for quality Malaysian souvenirs to bring home? There’s plenty to choose from at Terminal klia2, from chocholates to biscuits, from traditional batik to unique arts and crafts, but let’s give you some cool ideas here…

You will never go wrong with chocolates and over at Fidani Factory (fidani.cc), there are some amazing Malaysian-made chocolates under the brands of Fidani, Danson and Farell’s. Look out for popular local flavours such as Musang King durian chocolates, which is guaranteed to be a huge hit!

Fidani Factory: Level 3, L3-17, [email protected] Mall

Royal Selangor (myroyalselangor.com) pewter products also make great take-home gifts due to their quality and legacy in Malaysian history. The Malaysian Landmarks collection will remind visitors of their holiday in Malaysia and include the Petronas Twin Towers pocket lighter, Sarawak-motif coasters, key chains, photo frames and tankards.

Royal Selangor: S2-3-L18, Departure Hall, Main Terminal Building, Terminal klia2

How about doing a good deed while you shop and support a special group of artists with disabilities? These super talented artists have put their skills to use by producing handpainted shoes and bags. Their handiwork can be seen at Amaze Creative in quirky and colourful designs for sneakers, flats, children’s shoes, ladies’ shoes and handbags. Totally unique and one-of-a-kind gifts!

Amaze Creative: Level 2, L2-77, [email protected], Terminal klia2

EXPLORING MALAYSIA

From Terminal klia2, the rest of Malaysia is easily accessible in a variety of transport modes. The Level 1 of [email protected] Mall is dedicated as the Transportation Hub for Terminal klia2, providing access to public transportation services like taxi, bus, rail and car rental. The Express Rail Link (ERL) Train Services is a high-speed train that connects airline passengers to Kuala Lumpur in 33 minutes.

The ticketing counters for buses and taxis are available at this level. The buses transport passengers to KL Sentral, Bandar Tasik Selatan, One Utama shopping mall, Nilai and Seremban, and to other states like Johor, Melaka and Perak.

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Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Exploring Sarawak, Borneo: Kuching, Mulu caves & Bako National Park

If you want to explore Sarawak, you’ll typically fly into Kuching, which is easily accessible from elsewhere in Borneo, cities in peninsula Malaysia and also Singapore. We always recommend staying a night or two in Kuching to experience this small city before you head further inland and discover Sarawak.

I stayed in 5-star accommodation throughout this trip, so I have experienced some fantastic hotels which we can offer you if you visit Sarawak. We made Kuching our base and did most of our exploring as day trips out of the city.

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Malaysia Travel Guide

Museums and Galleries in Kuching

Museums and Galleries in Kuching

1) Sarawak Museum

The museum houses an exceptional ethnographic collection, some good natural history displays and a section on the oil industry in Sarawak.

2) Urang Sarawak Gallery

With displays ranging from art to artifacts, this gallery covers the different aspects of life of the Sarawak people, including religion, cosmology and cultural arts.

3) Chinese Museum

The Chinese History Museum is situated on the Waterfront opposite the Tua Pek Kong temple and traces the history of the Chinese community in Sarawak.

4) Tun Jugah Pua Kumbu Museum

A gallery for those interested in everything that goes into the production of the traditional Iban fabric called Pua Kumbu, as well as other Iban traditional arts.

5) Textile Museum

The Textile Museum showcases authentic textiles made by the main ethnic communities of Sarawak.

6) Treasures from Nusantara Gallery

30 Bornean historic artifacts are currently on display in the “Treasures from Nusantara” Exhibition, located in the Textile Museum building.

7) Islamic Heritage Museum

The Islamic Heritage Museum presents a clear picture of the rich historical heritage and special culture of the Muslim community in Sarawak and throughout the Malay-Indonesian archipelago.

8) Cat Museum, Kuching

Cat lovers will find a range of exhibits, photos, feline art and cat souvenirs; over 4,000 of them!

9) Ranee Museum

This museum centres on the life, legend and legacy of Margaret de Windt, wife of the second Rajah Brooke, Queen of Sarawak.

10) Brooke Gallery

The Brooke Gallery houses irreplaceable historical artefacts from the age of Sarawak’s White Rajahs, the Brookes.

11) Timber Museum (Petra Jaya)

Anyone with an interest in forestry, traditional wooden crafts, forest products and the development of the timber industry of Sarawak, should head to this museum.

12) Sarawak Women’s Museum

Sarawak Women Museum focus on the contributions and achievements of women since 1963 when Sarawak with the Federation of Malaya to form Malaysia.

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Malaysia Travel Guide

Meeting Borneo’s Majestic Orangutans

Meeting Borneo’s Majestic Orangutans

Borneo’s Batang Ai region is a haven for wild orangutans, thanks to an age-old tribal taboo that has protected the apes for as long as anyone can remember.    

“The orangutan was trying to tell us something,” says Andah anak Lembang, shaking his head mournfully. “We should have seen his visit as a message and been prepared.”

 

Read more at DestinAsian.

 

Updated July 12, 2017 by  Mark Eveleigh.

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