Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Medicinal plants you can try in Sarawak!

Sarawakians and the jungles of Borneo have lived in harmony for centuries. And one way we stay healthy is by incorporating the medicinal plants found around us into our diets or using them as a cure when we are sick or injured.

We’ve come to deeply respect and appreciate the delicate ecosystem of the jungle and all that live inside it. We believe that by taking care of nature, nature will take care of us!

Credit: Nigel Dickinson

These medicinal plants hold valuable healing attributes. They’ve been utilised for centuries by our people to keep them in good health and provide relief to a myriad of ailments. Now, these plants are making their way into alternative medicine.

Sarawakian concoctions of traditional medicine are used to treat skin diseases, fevers, headaches and even detox after childbirth.

So while you may recognise many of these plants and even eat them or use them for cooking, you’ll probably be surprised to know they have excellent healing benefits. Allow us to open your eyes to Sarawak’s world of medicinal plants! Who knows, the information you learn might be useful to you too one day. *wink*

Turmeric

Source: Swanson Vitamins

In the West, turmeric was first embraced as a fabric dye. However, in Asian communities, it is known for being the spice that will stain your hands yellow! It also makes a great addition to a lot of dishes, but Sarawakians have used this plant for more than just making great tasting food. It is also used for its many health benefits.

In fact, recent clinical trials have confirmed the ways turmeric can improve health, which shows the wisdom of our people! Turmeric has been discovered to be a powerful antioxidant, and it has anti-inflammatory qualities, plus it makes an effective pain reliever.

Source: Eden Project

The indigenous Iban tribe in Sarawak use turmeric to treat skin diseases by pounding the roots into a poultice which is then applied to the affected area. They also add turmeric in food or herbal drinks as nourishment for women after childbirth. Meanwhile another indigenous tribe, the Melanau, consume turmeric to relieve headaches.

Curcumin, an active substance found in the turmeric plant, is said to improve memory and mood swings. It also helps in alleviating depression. Not only that, but curcumin also promotes digestion, lactation and diminishes stretch marks while adding a glow to the skin. It is even being researched for use in cancer prevention and treatment!

Guava

Source: Healthline

We’re pretty sure you’ve walked into a convenience store and seen guava juice on the shelves and it’s also a delicious fresh, pink fruit but did you know that Guava has multiple health benefits?

Guava is most commonly cultivated in villages and even in urban homes. Its leaf extract improves blood sugar content, which is beneficial to diabetic people or those at risk of contracting diabetes. Consuming the plant’s young leaves raw reduces diarrhoea and constipation, which is why Sarawakian indigenous communities, like the Iban and Kayan, eat the leaves when they have a case of upset tummy!

Source: Gardening Know How

Traditionally, the leaves of the guava plant are pounded into a paste and spread onto skin as a treatment for skin diseases, such as rashes or ringworm. The Iban apply sap from the leaves directly onto open wounds to heal them. The Kenyah and Kelabit do the same, except that instead of using sap, they use a poultice of the young leaves.

The fruit itself is naturally healthy as it is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, and it contains natural folic acid, which is essential for pregnant women!

Galangal

Source: One Green Planet

Many people confuse galangal with ginger because they both look eerily similar! However, they have very different tastes. While ginger is known for being pungently spicy, galangal has a sharp citrusy flavour. They do, however, belong to the same family.

Galangal can be used fresh, dried, powdered, as an oil, or even as a juice, and is a staple ingredient in many curry dishes. It’s widely cultivated in villages or grown near villages. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and small doses can help to prevent various types of nausea, especially morning sickness. The Kelabit even prepare galangal tea for mothers after childbirth to help regain their energy and for revitalisation!

Source: Sunshine Coast Daily

The Bidayuh reduce the effects of fever by crushing the leaves and stems of the galangal plant, boiling them and then using the water to bathe in.

Although galangal is considered a spice by many communities, the Iban turn it into a remedy by pounding and mixing it with a pinch of salt. By applying this mixture onto skin, it can reduce itchiness caused by accidentally rubbing against plants similar to Poison Ivy or Hogweed.

Tapioca

Source: The Spruce Eats

If you are lucky enough to get invited into a Malaysian home at tea time, you might get to try ubi kayu with sambal tumis (fried chilli paste)! The young leaves of tapioca plants are traditionally eaten as vegetables. They are also served as a local salad alongside sambal belacan (chilli shrimp paste).

However, unknown to many, rubbing the latex onto the skin is said to relieve swelling while drinking fresh juice squeezed from tapioca leaves may stop the vomiting of blood. Furthermore, regular intake of tapioca leaf tea offers protection against colon cancer.

Source: Gardening Know How

The tapioca can be turned into a poultice that is used to mitigate headaches, as practised by the Sarawak’s indigenous tribes like the Bidayuh, Selakoh, and Melanau. Drinking a concoction of its leaf juices and honey is also said to alleviate constipation. The latex from the plant can relieve swelling on the skin, and some indigenous communities use that as an antidote against the sap of the rengas tree that can cause an adverse reaction if touched.

Chinese Motherwort

Source: Crimson Sage Nursery

This herb, better known as kacangma by Sarawakians, is also listed as one of the 50 most fundamental herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is mostly used by mothers after childbirth. Its Chinese name is even yi mu cao, which means “beneficial herb for mothers”.

Chinese motherwort is a herb not commonly sold in other parts of the world, or even in Malaysia! You can only get it at Chinese herbalist stores in Sarawak, or by growing your own. However, a word of caution! The leaves of this plant look like marijuana leaves, so you might need to do a bit of explaining if the authorities catch you with it!

Source: HashtagEn

Technically, the Chinese motherwort on its own, is not widely used in Sarawak. However, we think it deserves a mention as this herb is used to cook “motherwort chicken”, which is a uniquely Sarawakian dish prepared by the Hakka Chinese community. It is a common (and tasty!) confinement dish for women after childbirth. In fact, tastes so good, that people eat it even if they’re not new mothers!

Honourable mention

Source: Langit Collective

Pepper is probably the most famous spice in the world, enjoyed by everyone everywhere!

Many people might know that Malaysia is one of the top 5 pepper-producing nations in the world. But did you know that Sarawak produces 95% of Malaysia’s pepper?

In fact, our pepper is said by aficionados to be the best in the world. You can believe us because our pepper has even been awarded the Protected Geographical Indication* status (PGI). This is why we believe it deserves an honourable mention!

*Geographical Indications (GIs) are goods with special characteristics or with a certain prestige due to their geographical origin.

Source: Serious Eats

Pepper is not only a tasty addition to any food. In fact, it is one of the main ingredients in our famous Sarawak laksa! Pepper is also a powerful antioxidant that helps expel wind from the body and improves blood circulation. It also can prevent tooth decay and helps to cool down the body by inducing sweating!

If you’ve ever seen people spreading pepper on meat, that’s because its antibacterial qualities make it a good preservative. It also stimulates the appetite and has been used to treat people with eating disorders. It’s been said that strong black pepper and mint tea will help bring up unwanted mucus and phlegm, clearing the chest! Nice!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to some of the medicinal plants in our jungles. If you do visit Sarawak and go foraging for any of the above, we recommend to take a guide with you and please remember the jungle has a unique and very delicate ecosystem that must be respected. If you take care of nature, she’ll take care of you!

Share
The Natural History of Sarawak and Alfred Russel WallaceThe Natural History of Sarawak and Alfred Russel Wallace

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

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

Why Kuching should be on the radar of every digital nomad

As a digital nomad in Southeast Asia, there’s a good chance you’re used to doing things the unconventional way. If that’s the case, you ought to read on and learn about the place dubbed the next Chiang Mai.

We’re talking about Kuching, Sarawak. 

Source: appc2019.ifm.org.my

Located in the Malaysian part of Borneo, Kuching is the capital city of Sarawak, a founding partner in the nation of Malaysia. Modern yet laid back, Kuching has outstanding infrastructure yet remains very much in touch with nature. 

Modern Kuching can be traced back to 1841, when James Brooke, the son of an English judge in the East India Company who happened to be sailing the Malay Archipelago, helped the King of Brunei crush a rebellion in southern Borneo.

Source: Culture Trip

As a reward, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin II of Brunei gave him Sarawak, a swampy and mostly jungle-covered land inhabited by notorious and very dangerous headhunting indigenous tribes.

And that’s how James Brooke became the first White Rajah and the Kingdom of Sarawak was born. With the exception of the second world war period from 1941 – 1945 when it was occupied by the Japanese, Sarawak was a standalone kingdom under the White Rajahs until 1946.

At the end of the occupation of Sarawak, on 11 September 1945, the British military took over Sarawak for 7 months before handing it back to Rajah Charles Vyner Brooke. 

Seeing the damage done by the Japanese, Rajah Brooke realised he no longer had the resources to develop Sarawak. He hoped that with the cession of Sarawak as a British crown colony, the British would be able to rebuild Sarawak’s infrastructure and develop its postwar economy.

So Sarawak became a British colony from 1946-1963 before becoming equal partners along with Peninsular Malaya, Sabah and Singapore to form Malaysia. (Singapore later withdrew itself and became an independent nation in 1965).

Source: blogspot.com

The White Rajahs played an important role in uniting the multiple races in Sarawak. With multiple ethnicities such as Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Chinese and Indians residing harmoniously, Kuching has become a true melting pot of cultures and is seen by many as a role model for cultural and religious harmony. 

Kuching is called ‘The City of Cats’. You will find cat murals and statues everywhere in the town centre. The city’s obsession really stems from its name. The word ‘Kucing’ means cat in the Malay language. 

How Kuching got its name is a mystery. Some say that when the first Rajah of Sarawak, James Brooke, arrived around 1839, he pointed to the settlement and asked a local what it was called. The local, mistakenly thought he was pointing at a passing cat and said ‘Kucing’ (pronounced Coo-ching). 

A descendant of the passing cat that James Brooke mistakenly pointed at. Or so we like to think. 😉 Source: Aish Mann

Others claim the city was named after trees that once grew throughout the area, bearing small fruit called mata kucing, or ‘cat’s eye fruit’, which is similar to lychee. The last theory is that the name was chosen when residents discovered short-tailed cats living along the banks of the mighty Sarawak River which flows through the city.   

As you walk around the streets of Kuching, you’ll feel the soul of the city in its historic buildings, vibrant street art, and warm, friendly people. 

‘The Early Mercers’ at India Street. Source: Aish Mann

With lush rainforests and the South China Sea in close proximity, a chilled authentic vibe with all the luxuries of a modern city, Kuching is the perfect haven for digital nomads who want an idyllic environment in which to work.

So, why should digital nomads base themselves in Kuching?

We asked a few who have made the move to Kuching and here’s what one said: 

After visiting a lot of tourist places, I found a peaceful and quiet place in Kuching to focus on my work. iCube is very comfortable and convenient. I can find everything I need in the nearby mall Icom Square with lots of food places and a gym. People here are very calm, kind and respectful. Everyone speaks English, so it’s easy to connect with locals. It’s not the case everywhere in Asia and this is a very appreciable point for me.” –Virginie Sarachman, France.

The sky puts on a spectacular show almost every day at Waterfront, Kuching. 

We also spoke to Melvin Liew the ‘go to’ guy for digital nomads in Kuching. Here’s what he had to say about the gradually growing digital nomad community in Kuching. 

We saw the trend (of digital nomad arrivals) increasing when the tourism sector in Sarawak started to grow. It is essential to have a solid community and the constant improvement of infrastructure for Digital Nomads in Sarawak.” – Melvin Liew, Director, iCube Innovation

Another reason for digital nomads to live in Kuching 

If you’re from Europe or North America, you get a 90-day visa on arrival, compared to a 30-day visa for Indonesia and a 2-week visa for Thailand.

Source: tour-borneo-malaysia.com

That means you have plenty of time to get settled in and every time you leave the country, you get a 3-month visa on your return.

Now, it may seem like Kuching is in some faraway, inaccessible land, but the truth is, you could be sipping a cold beer in the hustle and bustle of Orchard Road, Singapore in a mere 3 hours. 

Singapore too sterile for you? Then you can be in downtown Kuala Lumpur in 3 hours too. The beautiful beaches of Kota Kinabalu are just 2 hours away.

Fancy something laidback? Then the city of Bandar Seri Begawan would be up your alley with direct flights from Kuching that will get you there in less than 2 hours. And the cherry on the cake is that flights to all these destinations start from just US$20! 

Now, where should you stay in Kuching?

Kuching has accommodation for all budgets. Airbnb works pretty well here and you have an array of apartments/condominiums to choose from. 

James from locationindependent.co.uk suggests placing yourself as close to the Waterfront area as possible. He says there really isn’t an expat neighborhood but Waterfront is the most central part of Kuching and almost all the main spots are walkable from there. 

Another main area is Padungan Street. It’s a bit further away from the town centre but it is a lively street with some of the best food options. 

If you prefer a short-term rental, we suggest you come and stay in a hotel to personally view places before renting, just to be on the safe side. 

How do you move around town?

Kuching is the most pedestrian-friendly city in Malaysia, especially if you live around the town centre.

Carpenter Street. 

Car or motorbike rentals are available but we recommend Grab (equivalent of Uber) and Maxim. Both apps work flawlessly around Kuching and each ride costs between US$2 – 4 if you’re in the town area.

Where to stuff your face 

Now that you’re mobile, it’s time to get some delicious food into that hungry tummy!

Lucky for you, Kuching is full of gastronomical marvels. 

With numerous influences from indigenous tribes as well as Chinese, Malay and Indian cultures, you’ll never run out of new things to appease your hunger. 

One of the most famous dishes you absolutely have to try is Sarawak Laksa. This typical Sarawakian breakfast dish is made of a special prawn-based broth thickened with coconut milk.

A perfect, mouth-watering bowl of Sarawak laksa. 

Served with a generous portion of omelette strips, crunchy bean sprouts, chicken shreds, and plump prawns as well as a squeeze of calamansi lime for extra zest and thick sambal paste on the side. 

The late Anthony Bourdain called Sarawak Laksa, ‘The breakfast of the Gods’. 

#Laksa #Kuching Breakfast of the Gods

A post shared by anthonybourdain (@anthonybourdain) on May 28, 2015 at 6:57pm PDT

 

One of the best places to find a fiiine bowl of Laksa is at Chong Choon Cafe. Remember, Sarawak laksa is a breakfast dish, so it sells out by around 10 am.

Other must-try dishes in Kuching include Kolo Mee at Annie Kolo Mee or Oriental Park Cafe and authentic Sarawakian tribal food at Tribal Stove the Dyak

A beautiful bowl of Kolo Mee. 

One meal with a drink in a traditional Kuching restaurant or coffee shop should cost you no more than US$2-5. Here’s a more comprehensive food guide with tips on where to find cheap eats in Kuching.

How do you pay for stuff?

You can’t use US dollars to pay like in Cambodia. The currency used in Kuching is Ringgit Malaysia (RM). Although some places only accept cash, most places accept credit cards or E-Wallets. 

Some of the E-Wallets you can use are GrabPay, SarawakPay, FavePay, and Boost E-wallet

What’s the internet like?

Ah yes, internet: the lifeline of a digital nomad. 

Connectivity issues can be quite scary if your livelihood depends on the internet. And the Bornean rainforest doesn’t exactly sound like the kind of place you can do seamless Video calls. Buut…

Don’t worry, Kuching has all-around 4G coverage and you can find wifi at almost every cafe. 

The 3 main service providers in Sarawak with solid coverage are Celcom, Maxis and Digi. 

You can pick up a sim card at the airport for as low as US$8 and this will last you a whole month with constant coverage!

Here’s a price comparison between the service providers. 

Where the magic happens… 

Now that you’re settled in and well connected, it’s time to look for a place to work. 

There are a number of co-working spaces available but the main curator of the digital nomad community is iCube Innovation

Source: coworker.imgix.net

They have the most up-to-date facilities if all you want to do is put your head down and get some work done. 

Their packages start from as low as US$36 per month for a hot desk which is substantially lower than co-working spaces in Bali and Chiang Mai where average monthly packages cost US$100 and US$120. 

Other than iCube, other interesting co-working spaces are MaGIC Sarawak and The 381 Hub

If you’d rather work from a new location every day, we’ve got you covered! There are plenty of cafes around town where you can set up shop. Here’s a list of some of the most aesthetically pleasing and work-friendly cafes in and around the city centre: 

  1. Tease by Jase’s Tea House
  2. Commons at The Old Courthouse
  3. The Coffee Clinic
  4. Kai Joo Cafe 
  5. Coffee Obsession

After-work shenanigans

We’re going to give it to you straight. If you’re a party animal, Kuching isn’t for you. [Pro tip: You can always head to Kuala Lumpur and paint the town red there!] 

Drinks and Art. What better way to relax after a long day of work? Source: Aish Mann

However, if you like to unwind and chill with a cold beer and good ambiance, there are a number of places you can try. Note, a bucket of four beers in Kuching usually costs around US$8. 

  1. Bear Garden
  2. Drunk Monkey Old Street Bar
  3. The Wayang
  4. Monkee Bar Bistro
  5. Borneo Rednecks  

A stay in Sarawak isn’t complete without Tuak. Tuak is a Sarawakian rice wine. You can usually find it at bars around Kuching. Try it, but be careful…

What else is there to do?

After working diligently and finishing a few months’ work in a few days, you’re bound to want to do some touring. 

Other than a promising, laid back, and focused environment, there are plenty of activities to help you get close to nature. 

When you’re looking to get out of the city, you can head to sites around Kuching. Check out our articles on the magnificent caves and peculiar wildlife found in Sarawak. You can be soaking in a natural hot spring or exploring millennia-old caves in a matter of hours!

Miri is an interesting destination, more lively than Kuching, it also has the best dive sites in Malaysia. Subscribe to our newsletter to get content like this sent straight into your inbox! 

All in all, Kuching is a perfect destination for digital nomads because of how gentle it is. If you’re a digital nomad looking for an affordable, tranquil place to get some work done, Kuching should definitely be on your radar. 

 

Share
10 Things To Do in Kuching10 Things To Do in KuchingExploring Kuching, Sarawak’s culturally cosmopolitan capitalExploring Kuching, Sarawak’s culturally cosmopolitan capitalNational Geographic Orion expedition cruise ship in SarawakNational Geographic Orion expedition cruise ship in SarawakInternational Dragon Boat regatta part of Sarawak Regatta 2014International Dragon Boat regatta part of Sarawak Regatta 2014

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

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Food Hunt along MRT Line

Many people might find it a bit tiresome of driving and waiting for a carpark in order to get a good place to fill up empty tummy.

With the Sungai Buloh – Kajang Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line in operation, both locals and tourists alike can have opportunity to spend less time for going on a food adventure.

Here’s a list of food gems that you can find along the MRT line; think Nasi Kandar, Dim Sum, Satay and more.

Along the 51km journey with a total of 31 stations, selected special dishes will be covered for this food hunting trip! Just take it as exercise if you need to walk to reach your desired locations.

Apart from food hunting, some of the routes covered include tourist spots, historical and cultural hubs, shopping paradise. It is time for you to plan ahead and spend your free time with like-minded friends or family members.

Surian Station

Hameediyah

After serving nasi kandar in Penang for more than a century, the legendary Hameediyah has now set its foot in Sunway Nexis, Kota Damansara, which is just a short walk away from the Surian MRT Station.

Operating since 1907, this famous nasi kandar is run by its 6th and 7th generation now, with all the recipes coming from their ancestors, bringing the herbs and spices over from Penang.

Highly recommended dishes include chicken kapitan, chicken curry, mutton curries, beef rendang, fish and sotong curry, all guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds. Top them with some vegetables and eggs as well.

Unit A-GF-01, Sunway Nexis
Jalan PJU 5/8, Kota Damansara
Tel: 03-6151 7766
Business hours: Mon (10am – 10pm), Tue – Sun (11am – 10pm)

Tips: Surian MRT Station is located in Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara. Dataran Sunway is developing township located in Kota Damansara, Selangor. Notable landmarks located within the area are Sunway Giza Shopping Mall.

Phileo Damansara Station

Skippy Pizza (Non-halal)

Chicken or beef pizza is easily found anywhere. However, “Skippy Pizza” offers pork dishes where it serves a wide variety of pork pizzas and more.

“Skipping Kangaroo” is the theme for the restaurant, with Australian influence on its pizza recipes.

*Disclaimer: This eatery not halal-certified

Phileo Damansara I, 107 Block D, Jalan 16/11, Seksyen 16, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10pm (Monday to Sunday)
Contact: 0192509347
http://www.skippyspizza.com/

Tips: Phileo Damansara MRT Station, located at Section 16 near to Eastin Hotel Phileo Damansara, a modern township nestled within PJ and Kuala Lumpur.

Muzium Negara Station

Commuters can get access to NU Sentral shopping centre via the linkway connecting to the MRT station and dine at one of the most famous halal Chinese restaurants called Dolly Dim Sum.

Dolly Dim Sum is a modern interpretation of a classic Chinese tea house, specialising in modern authentic dim sum. Top picks include Siew Mai Dumpling, Roasted BBQ Bun, Glutinous Rice Parcel “Loh Mai Gai”, Spicy Szechuan Dumpling, Egg Custard Bun, BBQ Chicken Cheong Fun, Chewy Meat Croquette, to name a few.

You will be surprised by the unique dining experience encompassing quality of ingredients, heartfelt service and an impeccable dining ambiance.

Address: LG.43, NU Sentral, No. 201 Jalan Tun Sambathan, 50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Monday to Sunday)
Contact: 012-301 8161
http://dollydimsum.com/

Tips: Muzium Negara MRT Station, underground station located near to National Museum and connected to KL Sentral Main Terminal by a covered pedestrian walkway. KL Sentral is a main public transport hub for Kuala Lumpur. NU Sentral is linked with KL Sentral Main Terminal.

Pasar Seni Station

Cafe Old Market Square

Formerly known as Sin Seng Nam Kopitiam, it takes about a 10-minute walk from Pasar Seni Station to dine in this newly restored cafe, which has transformed to what it is today since it was taken over by its new owner in 2014.

Located at an incredibly well-preserved heritage building, Cafe Old Market Square will definitely bring old memories back to life as it did 80 years ago. Artwork and old photos of Kuala Lumpur adorn the walls of the cafe with the top floor of the building being turned into a gallery space that showcases old Kuala Lumpur.

Among the signature dishes are Hainanese coffee, half-boiled eggs, toasted bread with kaya and margarine. You still can see the dishes are served in old fashioned kopitiam cups and saucers.

Address: 2, Medan Pasar, City Centre, 50050 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 7am – 6pm (Monday to Saturday), Closed on Sunday
Contact: +60 16-964 9509
https://www.cafeoldmarketsquare.com/

Merchant’s Lane

When it comes to Instagrammable cafes in KL, no doubt Merchant’s Lane is on top of our list. What’s the best way to explain East Meets West? Merchant’s Lane. Tucked in off Chinatown, Merchant’s Lane has a strong Asian vibe with rattan chairs and rustic walls. Every corner screams picture-perfect. The entrance is a bit discreet so have fun hunting down Merchant’s Lane.

Address: No, 150 Jalan Petaling. Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10.30pm, Closed on Wednesday
Contact: +603-2022 1736
https://www.facebook.com/merchantslane

Tips: Pasar Seni MRT Station situated in Pasar Seni (Central Market), a few minutes away from Petaling Street (Chinatown). Central Market is now a landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage.

Merdeka Station

VCR Cafe

It takes about a 11-minute walk from Merdeka station to VCR cafe, which is located just next to Swiss Garden Residence along Jalan Galloway. VCR cafe is easily recognised for its all-black exterior, where old architecture meets the modern twist.

It is well-frequented by coffee drinkers and brunch lovers for its perfectly brewed coffee. VCR is an ideal place for breakfast, lunch, brunch or even dinner! Guests can also complement their choice of caffeine with delicious homemade cakes and pastries.

Some of the other must-try food include French toash, consisting of berries compote, mocha sauce, chocolate biscuit crumble, pumpkin seed, and a scoop of espresso ice cream while the fluffy potato waffle is a savoury delight of mushrooms, chervil, and perfectly poached eggs. Other favourate menu include soft shell crab burger and Scandinavian breakfast.

Address: 2, Jalan Galloway, Bukit Bintang, 50150 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 8.30am – 11pm (Monday – Sunday)
Contact: +603-2110 2330
https://vcr.my/

Tips: Merdeka MRT Station situated in proposed Merdeka PNB 118, the tallest building in Malaysia, to build next to Stadium Merdeka in Jalan Hang Jebat, Kuala Lumpur.

Bukit Bintang Station

Feeka Coffee Roasters

It is housed in an old heritage shop lot in Changkat Bukit Bintang while bearing some contemporary elements. Feeka is inspired by the Swedish social philosophy, “fika”, which means to take a break.

Apart from serving specialty coffee, Feeka is a charming little café that offers a wide range of food choices such as Sweedish Meatballs, Spicy Ragu Pasta, Roasted Vege Burger, Chinken Banh Mi and etc. It is the perfect spot for you to spend your time with your loved ones or close friends.

Address: 19, Jalan Mesui, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opening Hours: 8am – 11pm (Monday – Sunday)
Contact: +603-2110 4599
www.facebook.com/feekacoffeeroasters

Restaurant Wong Ah Wah, Jalan Alor

One of the most famous spots for food is Jalan Alor, just a 15-minute walk from the station.

Jalan Alor is famous for its wide variety of street food and many foreigners or travelers will flock into this area for food hunting, especially dining night time.

The street is packed with different types of stir fried dishes ranging from seafood, Thai food, Vietnamese food and Chinese variety. One of the highly recommended restaurants is Restaurant Wong Ah Wah. Some of the popular dishes include fried oyster egg, chicken wings and roast pork dark noodles.

*Disclaimer: This eatery not halal-certified/Muslim-owned but halal ingredients are used.

Address: 16, Jalan Alor, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur.
Opening Hours: 5.30pm to 12am
Contact: +603-2144 2463

Tips: The station is named after Bukit Bintang district, a shopping hub in Kuala Lumpur. The area has long been Kuala Lumpur’s most prominent retail belt that is home to many landmark shopping centres, al-fresco cafés, swanky bars, night markets, as well as hawker-type eateries. This area is popular among tourists and locals, especially among the youths. Some of the famous shopping malls include Pavillion shopping mall, Berjaya Times Squares, Fahrenheit 88 and Lot 10 shopping mall.

Cochrane Station

Peel Road Nasi Lemak

Have you ever tried mixed-rice style nasi lemak? With choices like sotong, lucheon meat, chicken rendang and a number of stir fried vegetables, it allows you to scoop your own dishes and be as creative as you wish.

This stall is located right at Peel Road and it is within walking distance from Cochrane station. With the development of the MyTown Shopping Mall and IKEA, this area has gone through massive transformation in recent years. The stall is open for dinner daily and you can see huge crowd from 6pm onwards.

*Disclaimer: This eatery not halal-certified

Address: 96, Jalan Peel, 50400 Kuala Lumpur.
Opening Hours: 4pm – 8pm daily

Tips: The IKEA furniture store and MyTown Shopping Mall are in its vicinity. Sunway Velocity is connected with this station as well.

Taman Connaught Station

Night Market Taman Connaught

With the construction of new Taman Connaught MRT, you can now get to your favourite Taman Connaught night market easily. The night market is around 2km long, and opens every Wednesday. with over 700 stalls selling everything from street food and flowers to cuddly toys, books and clothes. Some of the famous snacks here are fried chicken, smelly tofu, pancakes, dim sum, sausage, to name a few. Just remember to bring some tissue!

Tips: Taman Connaught MRT Station located right in front of Cheras Sentral, a retail outlet that offers a huge variety of products and services.

Stadium Kajang Station

Medan Satay Kajang

Kajang is known as the ‘Satay Town’ since the 1960s and is famous among tourists and locals alike. Medan Satay Kajang is located within close distance to the Stadium Kajang MRT.

Sate Kajang Haji Samurai said to be one of the best. You can spend your time eating a variety of satay as supper while chatting with friends. Some of the favourite satay meat including rabbit, tripe, fish apart from classic choices like beef and chicken. Don’t forget to combine it with heavenly thick peanut sauce (kuah kacang) and nasi impit! This is one satay-eating experience you wouldn’t want to miss!

Address: Medan Sate Kajang, Gerai No. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 7 Jalan Kelab, 43000 Kajang, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Opening Hours: 10.30am – 12:30am (Monday to Thursday), 4pm – 1am (Friday), 10.30am – 1am (Saturday Sunday)
Contact: +6013-330 3269
https://satekajang.com.my/

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

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

20 Boutique Hotels – Stay with A Style!

If you need some cosy time all by yourself, and looking for somewhere unique to stay for a night or more, boutique hotels in Malaysia offer you more than an accommodation. You will get extra nice decoration, extra services plus extra experience.

Today, boutique hotels – normally a cosy-signature accommodation with less than 100 rooms – are mushrooming with variable themes and decors. For our 20 SPECIAL picks this month, we give you some of the popular choices from many states of Malaysia.

1. AMBONG-AMBONG, Langkawi (www.ambong-ambong.com) The Travellers’ Choice 2019 Winner outshines the most in the mystical island of Langkawi. Ambong-Ambong Rainforest Retreat is rainforest accommodation of boutique resort perched on a slope, overlooking the sea and islands of Langkawi offers great Japanese restaurant and highly rated massage services.

The Ritz Carlton Langkawi

2. THE RITZ CARLTON, Langkawi (www.ritzcarlton.com/Langkawi‎) With unique traditional architecture and services, The Ritz Carlton Langkawi has it all – 90 luxurious guest rooms and suites and 29 pool villas, three swimming pools, a locally inspired spa, three dining outlets, two ocean front bars and lounges, and both indoor and outdoor wedding venues.

3. MAJESTIC, Melaka (www.majesticmalacca.com) The heart of the hotel is a restored 1920s Straits Settlement mansion complete with its original porcelain tile flooring and teakwood fittings. It has been extended to house the guest rooms and suites as well as an award-winning spa that is a reflection of that era, melding luxury, modernity and tradition. (source www.ytlhotels.com)

4. ESTADIA, Melaka (www.estadiahotel.com) Estadia By Hatten is perhaps the best Baba Nyonya-themed hotel in Melaka. It is located in the center of Melaka City and the interior of the hotel is tastefully done up based on Baba Nyonya style. There are a Nyonya restaurant a pub located beside the hotel lobby the Nyonya foods are fantastic (review in tripadvisor.com).

Seven Terraces, Georgetown

5. SEVEN TERRACES, Penang (https://www.georgetownheritage.com/seven-terraces-hotel) Winner of the 2007 UNESCO Award of Distinction for heritage conservation and regular Conde Naste Hot List nominees, It successfully captures and celebrates the spirit of this world heritage town and its unique peranakan culture. Pure beauty!

Cheong Fatt Tze, Georgetown

6. CHEONG FATT TZE, Penang (www.cheongfatttzemansion.com) The majestic boutique hotel rooms are tucked within the tranquil tropical courtyards of The Blue Mansion. Each of the 18 personalized boutique rooms are uniquely adorned and intricately furnished, taking you back into Penang’s glorious history in the exclusive rooms, invigorating jacuzzi and authentic furniture of the 19th century.

Yeng Keng Hotel, Georgetown

7. YENG KENG HOTEL, Penang (www.yengkenghotel.com) Yeng Keng Hotel is a restored 19th century building, with only 20 rooms that is located in George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Penang. It offers an outdoor pool, a restaurant and free Wi-Fi with splendid decor.

8. MARRIOT MULU, Miri, Sarawak (www.marriot.com) Nestled amongst the natural and lush greenery of the rainforests near the border between Malaysia and Brunei, Mulu Marriott Resort is located on Melinau Paku River in Miri. With well-designed rooms and suites, the resort offers guests with beautiful views of the tropical rainforest and river.

9. RANEE B SUITE, Kuching, Sarawak (www. theranee.com). The Ranee Boutique Suites is located in the heart of Kuching, a 1-minute walk from Kuching Waterfront and China Street. This stylish boutique hotel provides free WiFi throughout the building.

Villa Molek

10. VILLA MOLEK, Langkawi (www.villamolek.com). As you step into Villa Molek you are greeted by 12 charming and beautifully designed private villa studios, each resembles a complete home. Its superb location and quiet elegance makes it a favourite among travellers looking for total relaxation, writes www.tripadvisor.com

Panji-Panji, Langkawi

11. PANJI-PANJI TROPICAL WOODEN HOME, Langkawi (www.panjipanji.com). Enjoy the comforts of a sea frontage tropical wooden Malay house. A home situated next to the Cenang river and the local fishermen’s pier, and is only minutes away from the famous Cenang Beach. A perfect place to enjoy the sunset and relax (from booking.com).

12. VIVANTA by TAJ-REBAK MARINA, Langkawi (www.vivantahotels-com) Staying at Rebak Island is akin to being on a private island surrounded on all sides by the turquoise Andaman Sea. Secluded beaches, vibrant jungles, and beautiful rock formations that spread across 390 acres, make Rebak Island a tropical paradise. (source www.tajhotels.co.uk)

Tanjung Jara Resort, Terengganu

13. TANJUNG JARA, Terengganu (www.tanjongjararesort.com) Offering accommodation inspired by the majestic 17th century Malay palaces, Tanjong Jara boasts 2 outdoor pools and an award-winning spa. It features 3 dining options with South China Sea views.

14. VILLA SAMADHI, Kuala Lumpur (www.villasamadhi.com.my) A garden resort within Kuala Lumpur City, the 5-star Villa Samadhi Kuala Lumpur – By Samadhi provides luxurious Asian-inspired rooms with free WiFi and thatched roofs. An outdoor lagoon pool weaves through the resort and connects all rooms.

Rosa, Melaka

15. ROSA, Melaka (www.rosa.com.my) This hotel screams nothing but an industrial-concept marvel. Bare bricks, cement walls, and wooden floor panels make up most of the hotel’s interior which is further complimented with tonnes of fun and timeless deco. Such a photo haven for Instagram addicts! (from www.rojakdaily.com)

Timez, Melaka

16. TIMEZ, Melaka (www.timezhotel.com) The hotel is literally a melting pot of culture as it incorporates five cultures in its design – Chinese, Peranakan, Dutch, Portuguese, and British but with a modern twist.

Toojou, Kota Kinabalu

17. TOOJOU, Kota Kinabalu (www.toojou.com) Chic and trendy, Toojou is a new breed of hotel, and  a melting pot for ‘nomads, wanderlusters, and socialites. From affordable cosy rooms to ergonomic work spaces to a funky rooftop bar, there is something for everyone here… This is where travel meets social.’ (photo by agoda.com)

18. BLISS BOUTIQUE, Johor Bharu (www.blissboutiquehotel.com) Not all boutique hotels charge exorbitant rates, some are value-for-money and offer high rated services. Bliss Boutique Hotel falls into this category, adorned with artistic and flamboyant touches. This Art Deco hotel is totally colourful and chic!

M Boutique Hotel, Ipoh

19. M BOUTIQUE HOTEL, Ipoh (https://ipoh.mboutiquehotels.com) Featuring stark contrasting monochromatic furnishings, this unique hotel takes its inspiration from jazz bars of the past. Black chandeliers, monkey cages, and rustic grey furniture adorn the rooms and communal areas, lending it a stark yet classy vibe (source www.smartlocal.com)

20. JAPAMALA RESORT, Tioman(www.japamalaresorts.com) JapaMala is Tioman Island’s only boutique resort, and one-of-a-kind in Malaysia. This small and exclusive resort of 13 rooms is hidden amidst 11 acres of lush tropical rainforest. A one-village-one-resort property, JapaMala has its own private and quiet beach. Rated highly in www.tripadvisor.com.my

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

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/