Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

STB holds business networking session for tourism players

STB holds business networking session for tourism players

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) on Monday conducted a business networking session for travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers and tourist attraction owners at a hotel here.

A press release said the session was attended by 15 Matta Johor travel agents and 20 Sarawak-based tourism-related players in conjunction with a familiarisation tour by the travel agents to Kuching and Sibu from Oct 8 to 11 soon after the business session wrapped up.

Read more at Borneo Post.

Updated October 10, 2018.

Share

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

LIFE LESSONS IN RURAL MALAYSIA

As city dwellers, we are used to demanding for things to be done “yesterday.” We are so used to listening to the scripted customer service dialogue at fast-food counters that we’ve learned to tune it out. We are used to the mass-produced “nutrition” in polystyrene boxes. And no matter how much we “communicate” on our hi-technology gadgets, truthfully, we are actually distancing ourselves socially from more meaningful inter-personal connections.

Seriously, city life has become the bane of our existence. And I, too, have become a sad part of it! But at least I have learned to recognize it and done something about it.

My pill for life – which I pop whenever I feel I’ve become too stressed out, too deep in work, too “out of the loop,” irritated at the world – is a quick getaway. By that, I mean “get-away-as-far-from-the-city-as-possible-and-do-it-fast!”And it’s not just to any fancy resort of a certain star-rating. These places I go to are hardly rated at all. In fact, they’re not made of glitzy perfection; they don’t have turn-down service, butlers lurking at every corner nor room service.

But that hasn’t stopped them from offering the warmest and most welcoming hospitality I know. I’m talking about the more than 3,000 kind families scattered around Malaysia’s kampungs who have graciously opened up their homes to total strangers like me looking for a genuine Malaysian experience. They call it the Malaysian homestay programme. I call it first-class hospitality.

In my escape of the clutches of city-life, I have ventured to several Malaysian kampungs that have taken part in this national tourism venture, meant to give the rural population a piece of the tourism pie. The programme has actually been well-received and today, 15 years after it was first introduced in Pahang, there are more than 200 villages listed under the programme.

They have all been pleasant experiences to remind me that a satisfying life is more about being in the present moment rather than in the pursuit of the next promotion, the next big gadget, the next sleek car.

I felt this most when I was making my way to Kampung Pantai Suri in Kelantan. We had to abandon our car for a more eco-friendly transportation. From the Kok Majid jetty, we glided slowly down the Sungai Kelantan estuary on a long boat (it was the only way to get to the village). Along the way, we passed sandbanks, wooden bridges, and the sight of young boys diving off a tree into the river in wild abandon. The splashes, their gleeful laughter, the friendly teases exchanged among them reminded me of a life less cluttered.

But it’s not just the children who know how to enjoy life. Even the elder folks have a deep sense of appreciation for the present. They know that they’ve worked hard, and they know that their bodies deserve a good respite. Despite the urban dwellers high-flying life in the cities, it is these folks in these older parts of Malaysia who lead much more enriching and full lives.

At the end of my stay at Kampung Pantai Suri, I was rushing off to board the boat home. On the way, I passed by a group of elders joking and laughing away under the shade of a huge mango tree. It was high noon and the heat was searing but the shade beneath the tree was a cool place to relax. These folks were sitting around hacking away the tops of coconuts to get to the juice and fleshy insides.

They saw me in my rush and called me to slow down and join them. Not wanting to miss my boat, I hesitated, but finally, their jovial demeanour and cheery calls won me over. “If you miss this one, you can take the next boat,” they said. So I sat with them as they selected a coconut for me to drink. It dawned on me that we sometimes lead our lives with clock-work precision that we forget to stop and drink the coconuts, so to speak.

This was as natural as it gets. The wind to cool me off, instead of the air-conditioning; a leafy, shady tree overhead, instead of a zinc roof; and fresh coconut juice in my hands, instead of those mocktail glasses with the little umbrellas stuck in them.

The kampung folk’s hospitality is legendary in Malaysia. When you check in at one of the homestay kampungs, you’ll notice that it’s like coming home to your grandparent’s home for Hari Raya. Some people may find the idea of staying at a stranger’s home rather awkward, but whatever they say about Malaysian hospitality being genuine and warm is true – in fact, they could possibly put public relations agencies to shame! It doesn’t take long to bond and you’ll immediately feel like part of the family. Many “host families” and their guests have parted ways in tears at the end of their homestay duration. I know I have…!

Another thing in abundance here in these traditional villages is time. Things around here move at a slightly slower pace than in the city. An entire morning can be dedicated to the preparation of lunch. On one occasion, the womenfolk who were neighbours with each other congregated at their friend’s kitchen and commenced their preparation of the day’s meal. Amid their twittering gossips, teasing banter, the peeling, cutting and slicing of a variety of herbs, leaves and spices, and the steaming pots of what-not from the stove, lunch slowly took on the form of a feast! Just another example of teamwork at its best!

Despite being in a kampung, you’d be surprised at the variety of things to do. Each kampung is unique, has its own traditions and cuisine heritage (depending on its location in Malaysia) and lifestyle. Some of the villages are set near jungle, others may be by the sea or river. Some may be surrounded by paddy fields or fruit orchards.

A host family at Kampung Haji Dorani has their own paddy field and during the harvesting season, I had a chance to help them out in gathering the crop. I considered it as my little contribution to alleviating world hunger, and took great pride in it! They also happened to have a small fruit orchard and many an evening was spent on the patio of the house peeling away the skin of the mangoes to reveal the juicy, golden flesh beneath. There’s just something so satisfying about picking your own fruit, harvesting your own rice and catching your own fish for the night’s dinner. This is exactly what they’ve been saying about the farm-to-table concept, and there I was living the life!

The afternoons are usually my favourite time because that’s when I get to spend time with the village kids. At Kampung Batu Laut near Banting, Selangor, the children would rush down to the beach after school and practice their sailing skills. These kids are being groomed to be the next sailors and sea captains and some of them have excelled so well as to compete in sailing competitions worldwide!

Despite the age difference, there’s a whole lot to be learned from these kids — about creativity (fashioning kites from bamboo) and teamwork (building a raft made of old tires). It was way better than those corporate training sessions in hotel meeting rooms!

The Malaysian homestay experience may have some similarities with the bed and breakfast concept in Europe, but I dare say that we’ve perfected it. It’s not only a retreat for those wanting to escape the city, it’s a lesson in life about humanity, patience, and for us, Malaysians, our heritage and traditions.

So if you find yourself stuck in life, corporate meetings, a 4×4 cubicle, traffic jams, or whatnot, perhaps it’s time to take a little drive back to our kampungs and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of life again.

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

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

CRAZY RICH ASIANS: 5 SET LOCATIONS YOU CAN VISIT IN MALAYSIA

Crazy Rich Asians is the current big hit in movie theatres right now. If you don’t already know, it is a rom-com movie about a guy, Nick Young, who brings home his Asian-American girlfriend to be introduced to his family in Singapore. Only then does the girlfriend, Rachel, realise that her boyfriend is a “crazy rich Asian” and has to keep up with all the glitz and glamour, contend with weird relatives and gossip among envious socialites while trying to win over the heart of his domineering mother.

The movie, adapted from Kevin Kwan’s book by the same title, is directed by Jon M. Chu, and has an all-Asian cast, including Malaysian darlings Henry Golding as Nick Young and Michelle Yeoh as his mother, Eleanor Young.

We’re super proud of the fame and glory shining on Golding and Yeoh, but we’re equally excited that Malaysia was prominently featured in many of the movie scenes. That’s right, most of the movie was shot right here in Malaysia, and if you want to live it up like a crazy rich Asian, here’s where to go!

Carcosa Seri Negara

In the movie, Carcosa Seri Negara is the ancestral estate of Eleanor Young at Tyersall Park, but in reality, the twin buildings have an iconic role in Malaysia’s journey to independence. Historically, it was home to Malaya’s first British resident, Frank Swettenham, and later was made into a luxury hotel where Queen Elizabeth II once stayed, and socialites gathered for their popular afternoon high teas.

The Kuala Lumpur mansion, located on a hill near the Perdana Botanical Gardens, is currently being transformed into the Asian Heritage Museum. The museum will see a staggering collection of artefacts from China, the Malay Archipelago, and the larger region, including salvaged treasure from sunken ships, drums, keris and swords, etc.

It currently has an on-going exhibition called “Jalan Merdeka” which is open free to the public, chronicling Malaysia’s road to independence.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

In the movie, there is a courtyard mahjong scene between Eleanor and Rachel. This was filmed at the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion in Penang, affectionately called the Blue Mansion.

This building was once owned by a notable Chinese merchant who lavished his wealth on its construction. He envisioned his home to have exacting feng shui elements and it soon became a showcase for his wealth through imported finishings such as Scottish cast iron columns, English art-nouveau stained glass windows, and Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles.

Abandoned for years thereafter, the building was then restored and earned the prestigious UNESCO Heritage 2000 Award and the ASEANTA Conservation Award 2004.

Today, the mansion has become a living museum cum boutique hotel located within the George Town UNESCO Heritage site. Many cultural and heritage attractions, as well as some of the best Malaysian street food, are located within the area. Penang is only an hour away by flight from Kuala Lumpur.

Langkawi Island

Apparently, shots of Colin Khoo’s bachelor party in the movie were filmed on Langkawi Island, referred to as “Rawa Island” in the movie. Langkawi is actually a cluster of 99 glorious islands with beautiful emerald waters, stretches of white sandy beaches and geological formations that are said to be more than half a billion years old.

It has been endorsed as a UNESCO Global Geopark, the first in Southeast Asia, thanks to the island’s stunning landscapes, karsts, caves, sea arches, stacks, and other geological formations.

This beautiful island is a natural paradise that will charm all those looking for an idyllic island holiday, surrounded by thick rainforests, the sun and the sea!

Four Seasons Resort Langkawi

If you’re planning a bachelorette party ala Araminta Lee in Crazy Rich Asians, there’s no need to dream anymore. The scene was filmed at the super luxurious Four Seasons Resort Langkawi and you could easily have yours there as well!

Parties aside, the classy resort also caters to those looking for peace and quiet amid natural landscapes and mile-long white sandy beaches. Tucked away within the Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark, the resort is a cluster of Malay-style pavilions and villas that offer quiet, romantic havens for guests.

A Geo Spa pampers adults with wellness treatments based on local traditions, while children are made to feel special with the Kids For All Seasons programme. With Langkawi’s rich natural environment conveniently at its doorstep, be prepared to explore the outdoors with a resident naturalist, or on your own at the Geopark Discovery Centre where Langkawi’s diverse ecosystems and natural attributes are showcased. Or, simply pull up a deck chair and lounge lazily on the 1.5 km stretch of white, sandy beach.

With daily flights to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur on a variety of local airlines, paradise is only one hour’s flight away!

Astor Bar, St. Regis Kuala Lumpur

Not many recognize The Astor Bar at St Regis Kuala Lumpur in the movie due to its transformation into a jewellery boutique, but apparently, it made the scene where we are first introduced to Astrid Teo aka The Goddess.

The bar, with its old-world charm and modern elegance of rich leather, black-and-gold marble and brass accents, is located within the recently-opened St. Regis Kuala Lumpur.

Those wanting to re-live the Crazy Rich Asian moment may visit the bar and enjoy an extensive offering of champagne, spirits and fine vintage wines while smoking on choice cigars and sampling their signature dishes such as the royal king crab served the highly-prized Oscietra caviar and truffle cream…all this under a breathtaking domed ceiling clad in handmade Italian gold tiles.

And, for a limited time only, Astor Bar has concocted a special cocktail, “The Astrid,” to celebrate its appearance in the film. The drink, a mixture of Jose Cuervo silver tequila, pomegranate juice, lemon bitters and elderflower foam, taken in the gilded setting of The Astor, is the perfect way to fantasise about being a crazy rich Asian!

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

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

DISCOVER SCUBA DIVING & SUNSET CRUISE

DISCOVER SCUBA DIVING SUNSET CRUISE

A gateway to the interior of Sarawak, Miri is also known as a coastal city that has interesting diving spots and offers diving opportunities for the complete newbies! Certain dive spots do not require a licence or certification, only some training. Everything from the training to the actual dive happens in one day. 

 

The Anemone Gardens

Located just 20 minutes by boat from the Marina bay jetty, this dive spot has a depth ranging from 10-16 metres. Common sightings at these dive spots are hard soft corals, anemones and their symbolic clown fishes, bubble corals, anchor corals, colorful dendronepthya soft corals, feather stars, giant clams, nudibranches and schooling yellowtails.



The product experience team prepared for the dive with the dive masters, went to the anemone gardens, then experienced a sunset cruise along the coast of Miri.

 

PERTINENT INFORMATION BEFORE DIVING:

While not a scuba certification course, Discover Scuba Diving is a quick and easy introduction to what it takes to explore the underwater world. To sign up for a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience, you must be at least 10 years old.

No prior experience with scuba diving is necessary, but you need to be in reasonable physical health*.

You learn the basic safety guidelines and skills needed to dive under the direct supervision of a PADI Professional.

If you make an open water dive, you’ll practice a few more skills in shallow water to prepare for your adventure.

Source: www.divemiri.com

*Those with respiratory issues or pre-existing heart conditions will not be allowed to dive without a recent letter of consent from a physician.

Sea sickness may also be a deterrent, as those who are nauseated should not be diving, therefore if you are prone to seasickness, bring your appropriate medication.

 

Diving Training

This all begins with training at the Miri Gymkhana Club. The team gathers to register and listen to a briefing on the training they are about to undergo and lastly the swim they’ll be enjoying at the Anemone Gardens.






First they train above water, getting used to wearing the attire and the oxygen tanks on their back.




Next, they try their hand at underwater pool training, learning the most vital part of diving: how to breathe properly from their tanks.




 

Off to the Anemone Gardens

Once the team had a grasp on all the basics, they departed from the pool area to Marina Bay jetty, next to Coco Cabana. Before leaving, had time to kick around and have lunch at Coco Cabana and admire the view at the jetty.




Coco Cabana

 





Marina Bay Jetty

 

Finally, the team prepares to dive among the anemone in the Anemone Gardens. The excitement is palpable, but the team has been well trained and they enjoy a good swim through the clear waters before heading back to the boat.






 

After wrapping up the dive, the team settled down for a relaxing Sunset Cruise along the coast of Miri’s coast.






 

The day’s tour package cost as follows:

Diving: RM398 per person.

Package includes: 1 boat dive, 1 packed lunch refreshment, hotel/jetty transfer, PADI DSD certificate, weights full equipment, on board PADI dive master.

Sunset Cruise: RM68 per person

Package includes: Refreshments on board.

 

This trip was arranged by Minda Travel, formerly known as Tropical Dives.

Minda Nusantara Tours Travel Agencies Sdn Bhd

A: Shoplot No.1338, 2nd Floor, Jln Sri Dagang, Waterfront

T: 6085 414 433 / 424 433      F: 6085 424455

E: [email protected]

Share

Article source: http://sarawaktourism.com/blog/feed/

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

THE HAVEN: LUXURY AND NATURE COMBINED

Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Ipoh, the capital city of the state of Perak, The Haven (thehavenresorts.com) is not an ordinary place where you sit, sleep and relax. This 5-star award-winning accommodation is more than a mere hotel, going above and beyond to deliver a luxurious experience to those looking for quiet rest in the arms of nature.

Located within a prehistoric valley dating back some 200 million years old and against a backdrop of stunning limestone outcrops, The Haven is, quite simply, a serene resort that exudes a chill and relaxed vibe. Stepping into its grounds, one can heave a big sigh of relief as though a huge burden has been lifted off one’s shoulders.

Perhaps it is the primary forest that surrounds the area, a green lung that supplies an abundance of oxygen, so you can breathe easy. Perhaps it is the calm natural lake at the heart of the resort which beckons you to release all worries. Or perhaps it is the air of tranquillity that seems to envelop the entire space.

For nature lovers, the place exceeds all expectations. The resort blends itself well with nature. In fact, not a single tree was cut or a hill blasted during its development. The gigantic 14-storey high 280-million-year-old limestone rainforest outcrop amidst the pristine lake was preserved and is now a major landmark of the resort.

Meanwhile, the landscaping in the area creates a garden ambience that even attracts birds, butterflies and other insects. Trees, shrubs, creepers and flowering plants have been cleverly used to define areas, provide shade, improve air quality, conceal security fences, create a smooth flow of passage, and provide a habitat for natural wildlife; several species of tropical plants were incorporated into the garden as natural mosquito and insect repellent, too.

Set against this lush flora and fauna is a 600-metre jogging track that loops around the lake, a restaurant, badminton, squash and tennis courts, a gym, a clubhouse, a 60-metre sea-horse shaped swimming pool, full conference facilities, a spa, and more.

Its garden setting is a choice wedding venue, especially for those who prefer an outdoor party with a difference.

The Haven takes pride in its 100 renewable energy practices from composting to rain-harvesting, from usage of LED lights with sensors to architecture that enhances the natural flow of wind, air and light – and aims for a cleaner and greener earth.

Just a 15-minute drive from Ipoh, the capital of Perak, The Haven offers 150 units of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom suites. Each comes with a spacious living hall, dining area and balcony.

With all facilities and amenities in place to cater to any traveller, this Malaysia Tourism Award-winning resort is the ideal place to unwind or chill with family members – or all by yourself!

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