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Malaysia Travel Guide

Delving into Sarawak’s Magnificent Caves

It takes a lot of geological ducks to line up neatly in a row and stay there for a few million years to create a cave. All over Sarawak, home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world, those ducks have lined up numerous times as many of the most spectacular caves in the world were discovered and continue to be discovered right here.

Many of those already discovered are now ready for you to explore. But a word of warning, not all of these breathtaking, stunning subterranean caverns are easily accessible, but that just makes the most beautiful caves in the world all the more alluring.

Source: STB Photo Gallery

Sarawak is a big state and the tropical weather can make travel to certain parts of the state challenging and exciting. And with so many outstanding caves, it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit first and in which order.

So, while each cave has its own unique beauty and each is incomparable to another, this post will help you appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature’s masterpieces in Sarawak while visiting at least some of them while you are in Kuching or Miri.

1. Sireh Cave, Serian

Located about 70km South of Kuching, Sireh Cave or Gua Sireh is a true hidden gem with its stunning rock paintings believed to be about 20,000 years old, large chambers and caved parts with clean underground water.

Gua Sireh. Source: Sarawak Tourism

A trip to Gua Sireh can be made within a day. However, it isn’t an easy hike as there are some wooden steps and narrow passageways that one needs to get through. It is recommended to take a tour from Kuching where you can arrange to be picked up at your hotel. You can book tours to Gua Sireh here.

Upon arriving at Bantang Village, your journey continues on foot up a flight of wooden stairs that lead you up to the cave entrance. This is where you will be greeted with cave paintings estimated to be 20 millennia old and peculiar cave residents such as Cave Racer Snake, bats, insects and catfish.

Gua Sireh’s ancient charcoal paintings. Source: Sarawak Tourism

The interior of the cave has some unique yet stunning shapes that are warm-toned swirls and curves decorated for effect. Believed to be one of the earliest human settlements, archaeological materials such as pottery shreds, animal bones and food debris from the Stone Age, New Stone Age, and the Iron Age, have also been recovered inside Gua Sireh.

Caves - Gua Sireh

Inside Gua Sireh. Source: Klook.com

It takes approximately 4 hours to tour the cave and remember to bring a change of gear when visiting Gua Sireh as the tour takes you through to the neighbouring Broken Jar Cave that requires you to walk through a pool of water.

2. Deer Cave, Gunung Mulu National Park

The magnificent Deer Cave. Source: National Geographic

This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to millions of bats. It is said that between 2 to 3 million of them reside in here! The Deer Cave, which is probably Sarawak’s most famous cave, is located at Gunung Mulu National Park, about 90 minutes flying time from Kuching, or a 30-minute flight from Miri.

Deer Cave was only discovered in 1979 by British caver Andy Eavis whilst helping Malaysia better understand and appreciate the potential of the newly established Gunung Mulu National Park.

Deer Cave is the largest cave passage in the world. The entrance is so enormous-nearly 500 feet high- that the sun reaches deep inside and fresh air flows through the caves, allowing a peculiar, awe-inspiring habitat to exist.

As you walk through the cave, you’ll see millions of dark patches on the walls. Those are bats resting so try not to disturb them!

Source: STB Photo Gallery

As the day ends and after you’ve explored Deer Cave, stick around for one of the most spectacular phenomena you’ll ever see.

The Deer Cave bat exodus happens every day at dusk. Millions of bats leave the cave to search for food. It’s an awe-inspiring event.

Nestled in the lush wilderness of Borneo, Gunung Mulu National Park is accessible by river and road but we recommend light plane. MasWings, a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, provides direct flights to Gunung Mulu National Park from Miri, Kuching, and Kota Kinabalu.

Upon arrival at Mulu Airport, book guided tours here or here. Most of the tours are all-inclusive and provide airport transfers. Accommodation is varied so do your research!

One other point, local communities who have lived off the land for thousands of years and respect and appreciate what it has provided them, have been trained as tour guides and will escort you throughout your visit to the caves. Make sure you pick their brains about the caves and ask about their beliefs!

The Bat Exodus. Bats fly in a spiral manner to avoid predators like hawks. Source: STB Photo Gallery

3. Clearwater Cave, Gunung Mulu National Park

When you visit Gunung Mulu National Park, you will find a unique environment that stimulates all the senses. One of the many gems of this Park is the Clearwater Cave that is the 8th longest cave in the world at 227 km and the largest interconnected cave system in the world. No wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage site!

Source: Pinterest

The Clearwater Cave system contains an underground river and a plethora of unique rock formations. The amazing thing about these caves is that their true size is still unknown and even now, is still being explored.

Caves - Clearwater Cave

Source: STB Photo Gallery

Visiting Clearwater Cave in Sarawak is a real adventure that begins with the journey. There are two ways of getting to Clearwater cave.

From the park HQ, you can either trek the gentle 4km nature trail that takes approximately one and a half hours, or you can experience a long boat along the Melinau River with a stop at Wind Cave.

The Melinau River at Mulu National Park. Source: STB Photo Gallery

The Wind Cave features ancient, undisturbed stalactites and stalagmites that have, over hundreds of thousands of years, reached each other to create long structures known as pillars or columns. Once you’ve explored the Wind Cave, you can walk to Clearwater Cave in about 5 minutes.

When booking your tour for Gunung Mulu National Park, a visit to the Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave should be included as it is one of the must-visit sites at the park. If it isn’t, ask your agent to include it.

4. Sarawak Chamber, Gunung Mulu National Park

If you are into adventure caving, you must check out the Sarawak Chamber, one of the planet’s largest enclosed areas, natural or manmade. It is so huge, that it has enough space to house 8 jumbo jets in a row!

caves - Sarawak Chamber

Spot the person in the picture! Source: MuluPark.com

Getting to the Sarawak Chamber from the park HQ requires a full day of challenging adventure caving but some say that it is truly a once in a lifetime experience. The whole circuit takes about 10-15 hours which entails a 3-hour hike to Good Luck cave and then an 800m hike through a river channel to the Sarawak Chamber.

Source: MuluCaves.org

There are guided tours available to this magnificent chamber and you can find more information on the tours both here and here.

Before we move on from the Mulu Caves complex, if you seek even more adventure, you can attempt to hike the pinnacles of Mount Mulu. The hike is reportedly the most challenging hike in Malaysia (yes, even tougher than Mt. Kinabalu!) and requires a high level of fitness so make sure you train before you get here!

5. Niah Caves, Niah National Park

Located a mere 90kms south of Miri, the Niah caves are home to 65,000-year-old artefacts and cave paintings. It’s no wonder they are on track to be the next UNESCO World Heritage site. If that happens as expected, there will be a massive increase in visitors so you might want to get there soon, before the crowds!

Caves - Painted Cave

The ancient cave paintings at Niah. Source: TravelBlog.org

The site is also home to the oldest human remains found in Southeast Asia which indicate the caves were inhabited at least 65 millennia ago. You can check out fascinating artefacts including prehistoric utensils and turtle shells that will be on display at the Niah Archaeological Museum from January 2020.

Most importantly, the park is a major source of income to the local tribes people who also earn a living collecting edible birds nests built by Swiftlets high in the cave walls. The sustainably collected birds’ nests are prized by Chinese gourmets around the world and are exported under a supervised environment.

caves - Entrance of Niah Cave

Source: STB Photo Gallery

Getting to Niah Caves is easier than Mulu National Park as it is accessible by road. The journey by bus from either Miri or Bintulu takes approximately 2 hours so you can easily make a day trip out of it.

If you’d rather join a tour, there are guided tours from both Miri and Bintulu and you can get more information on these tours from here and here.

Source: STB Photo Gallery

No visit to Sarawak is complete without visiting her outstanding natural caverns. Whether you are a hardcore spelunker, an open-minded adventurer or an inquisitive visitor, Sarawak’s caves will provide memories and stories forever.

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Malaysia Travel Guide

RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FEST PROMOTIONAL VIDEO WINS GOLDEN CITY GATE AWARD

RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FEST PROMOTIONAL VIDEO WINS GOLDEN CITY GATE AWARD

The Rainforest World Music Festival’s (RWMF) promotional video wins the Golden City Gate 2019 five-star Award at the ITB Berlin 2019, a leading international annual tourism trade event.

The video, “Rainforest World Music Festival” produced by a local production house, Asa Esa won in the 19th International Tourism Film and Multimedia category with a five star for an outstanding contribution.

On hand to receive the award from the President of Golden City Gate, Wolfgang Jo Huschert was the Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at a ceremony held at the Malaysian Pavilion at the Messe Berlin here yesterday.

Present at the presentation ceremony were the Assistant Minister for Tourism, Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Chairman of STB, Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab Aziz and the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Hii Chang Kee.

Held for the 19th time the award’s jury session was held on February 12, 2019 with more than 100 entries from 21 countries received for the competition.

The elated STB’s Chief Executive Officer, Sharazede Datu Haji Salleh Askor said it was a big honour to be bestowed the prestigious award.

“We will be celebrating the festival’s 22nd edition in 2019 and we hope that the award will be an inspiration for us to move on to make the festival bigger and better this year” she added.

The making of the two-minute promotional video “Awakening of the Rainforest” was inspired Mother Nature’s bountiful gift.

The Award was initiated in 2001 by the filmmaker Wolfgang Jo Huschert and started – back then – with five touristic films from three countries in the former ITB-Cinema.

Picture shows Datuk Karim (second from right) with the award citation which he received from Jo Huschert and Mrs. Huschert (right). Also seen from left is Sharzede and Datuk Lee and partly hidden, Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab. Also seen at right is Hii Chang Kee.

 

 

8 March 2019

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Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

RAINFOREST MUSIC FEST PROMOTIONAL VIDEO WINS GOLDEN CITY GATE AWARD

RAINFOREST MUSIC FEST PROMOTIONAL VIDEO WINS GOLDEN CITY GATE AWARD

The Rainforest Music Festival’s (RWMF) promotional video wins the Golden City Gate 2019 five-star Award at the ITB Berlin 2019, a leading international annual tourism trade event.

The video, “Rainforest World Music Festival” produced by a local production house, Asa Esa won in the 19th International Tourism Film and Multimedia category with a five star for an outstanding contribution.

On hand to receive the award from the President of Golden City Gate, Wolfgang Jo Huschert was the Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah at a ceremony held at the Malaysian Pavilion at the Messe Berlin here yesterday.

Present at the presentation ceremony were the Assistant Minister for Tourism, Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Chairman of STB, Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab Aziz and the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Hii Chang Kee.

Held for the 19th time the award’s jury session was held on February 12, 2019 with more than 100 entries from 21 countries received for the competition.

The elated STB’s Chief Executive Officer, Sharazede Datu Haji Salleh Askor said it was a big honour to be bestowed the prestigious award.

“We will be celebrating the festival’s 22nd edition in 2019 and we hope that the award will be an inspiration for us to move on to make the festival bigger and better this year” she added.

The making of the two-minute promotional video “Awakening of the Rainforest” was inspired Mother Nature’s bountiful gift.

The Award was initiated in 2001 by the filmmaker Wolfgang Jo Huschert and started – back then – with five touristic films from three countries in the former ITB-Cinema.

Picture shows Datuk Karim (second from right) with the award citation which he received from Jo Huschert and Mrs. Huschert (right). Also seen from left is Sharzede and Datuk Lee and partly hidden, Datuk Haji Abdul Wahab. Also seen at right is Hii Chang Kee.

 

 

8 March 2019

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Tourism Malaysia

HIGH NOTES IN OCTOBER 2018

Love music? The month of October will bring many crowd-pulling acts to Malaysia. Here is a list of the most anticipated performances happening this month, from pop to classic to breezy island tunes!

Jacky Cheung A Classic Tour in Malaysia 2018

Proudly presented by Allianz Malaysia Berhad, organised by Star Planet, legendary “God of Song” Jacky Cheung will return to Kuala Lumpur for a 3-night performance on 5, 6 7 October 2018 at 8 pm.

The show, which will be staged at the Axiata Arena Bukit Jalil, created attention-grabbing headlines when the news was first announced, leaving many eager fans waiting to buy tickets.

Jacky Cheung “A Classic Tour” was first brought into Malaysia in last January with ticket demand far exceeding supply. And this upcoming “Encore” tour is anticipated to be another sellout concert!

Following the KL gig in January, the tour reached the shore of the United States, Australia and major cities in China, making headlines across international media platforms. In April, Jacky broke his own Guinness World Records by hosting his 147th show at Shao Xing, China, where his last world tour “1/2 Century” wrapped up with a total of 146 dates. The current tour is expected to hit 200 dates.

IL Divo Presents TIMELESS Live in Genting

 

Date: 7 Oct 2018

Venue: Arena Of Stars, Resorts World Genting, Genting Highlands

Il Divo will bring their Timeless Tour to Malaysia this October. The classical crossover vocal group had recently released their new record, Timeless. Il Divo rose to international stardom after they became the first classical crossover band in history to reach the top of the US Billboard 200 list (2005). The sensational singing group was also crowned Artist of the Decade at the 2011 Classic Brit Awards.

A multinational quartet comprising Urs Bühler (Switzerland), Carlos Marín (Spain), David Miller (USA), and Sébastien Izambard (France), the band has released nine highly successful albums including Il Divo (2004), Ancora (2005), Siempre (2006), The Promise (2008), Wicked Game (2011), A Musical Affair (2013) and Amor Pasión (2015).

For more information, please go to https://www.rwgenting.com/entertainment/shows/IL-Divo

Richie Jen Live in Genting 2018

 

Date: 19 – 20 Oct 2018

Venue: Arena Of Stars, Resorts World Genting, Genting Highlands

Richie Jen first found fame with his debut album, the Mandarin-language Ask Again in 1990, along with his role in the 1991 Taiwanese comedy film Cops Robbers. Signing with Rock Records in 1996, Jen’s star began to shine brighter with the release of his breakthrough album Too Softhearted, which became a massive success, selling over two million copies across Asia and the title track becoming his signature song. Additional success followed with the release of 1998’s Love Like The Pacific Ocean, featuring the hit song The Sad Pacific, which helped the album sell more than a million copies in Taiwan alone. Musical success continued through the 2000s, all the way to the release of his last studio album, 2011’s Daredevil Spirit and another one of his signature songs, Fold.

In addition to his musical successes, Jen has also found great fame in front of the camera. With over 40 movie roles under his belt, his roles range from comedies like Summer Holiday, romantic fantasies like Fly Me To Polaris and historical epics like Legendary Amazons. He also made his debut as a screenwriter and director in the recent All You Need Is Love. Beyond the cinema, Jen has also been a regular fixture on the small screen, acting in series such as 1998’s The Return Of Condor Heroes and 2011’s The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung. Jen also served as presenter on Top Gear China and has been a part of the Chinese Idol judging panel since 2013.

For more information, please go to https://www.rwgenting.com/entertainment/shows/Richie-Jen

Mariah Carey Live In Concert Kuala Lumpur 2018

Date: 16 Oct 2018

Venue: Plenary Hall, KLCC

The Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum selling songstress Mariah Carey is coming back to Kuala Lumpur. Proudly sponsored by Qi Group of Companies, the exclusive one-night only concert will take place at the Plenary Hall, KL Convention Centre on October 16th. The pop Diva is set to perform her much loved number one hits, bringing a brand new show to her Malaysian fans.

Mariah Carey is the best-selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold to date and 18 Billboard Hot 100 #1 singles (17 self-penned), more than any solo artist in history. Mariah is a singer/ songwriter/producer recognized with multiple Grammy Awards, 21 American Music Awards, Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade” Award, the World Music Award for “World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium,” and BMI’s “Icon Award” for her outstanding achievements in songwriting, to name a few – with her distinct five-octave vocal range, prolific songwriting, and producing talent, Mariah is truly the template of the modern pop performance.

For more information, please visit https://www.ticket2u.com.my

Island Music Festival

Date: 12 – 14 October 2018

Venue: Long Beach, Redang Island in Terengganu

Now, if you are looking for different tunes and music crowd, head up to the east coast and let yourself loose in music and monsoon.

Island Music Festival is a 3 days and 2 nights celebration of Rhythm Nature that has been going on yearly at Long Beach, Redang Island since 2013. It’s a rain or shine festival on the beach so leave your raincoats at home. Expect to discover new music, make new friends, have new experiences and a new appreciation for Mother Nature while having a great time!

This package-based festival is pre-sold and the package is inclusive of accommodation, ferry transfer and all Island Music Festival activities and entertainment.

Featuring an eclectic mix of local and international performers, the Island Music Festival is a place where island-style hospitality meets the party scene with great music vibes. Presenting the very best in live music, the local flavours of the festival include sexy DJ sisters Leng Yein and Leng Sean, DJ Skeletor from Malaysia’s number one hit station Hitz.FM, soulful RB band Back2Basixx, hippie pop trio Jumero, sensual songbird Talitha Tan, and many more!

Meanwhile, coming all the way from Paris, Fabrice Morvan who was half of the pop duo Milli Vanilli will be performing in Malaysia for the first time.

Apart from the performances, the festival will also present a catwalk runway featuring the latest beach line of the renowned celebrity designer from LA, M the Movement.

There will also be some great island activities and workshops lined up such as beach volleyball, crossfit, jungle trekking, DJ workshop, limbo rock, yoga, and more.

For more information, please visit https://theislandmusicfestival.com.

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Tourism Malaysia

Merrily down the Merbok River

Mention the word “Kedah,” and the first picture that comes to mind would be its green paddy fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. And normally when talking about its tourist attractions, people would just recommend the popular island resort of Langkawi. Aside from beautiful Langkawi, Kedah has many other gorgeous gems to be discovered. If you’re a nature lover, it is time to explore something further afield — the Merbok River Mangrove Forest Reserve — and opens up your eyes and minds to the abundance of nature!

The Merbok River basin is an exciting upcoming destination with several sites of worldwide importance, not least among which is the greater Lembah Bujang area known for its historic and archeological value. We hear that it will soon stake its claim as a UNESCO-recognised site of cultural and natural heritage!

So before you go merrily on your way down the Merbok River, here’s a quick guide to getting a day’s worth of explorations down this important river:

  1. River Cruise 

Spanning over 4,000 hectares, the mangrove forest reserve that flanks the Merbok River is a rich habitat for a myriad of flora and fauna. From the Semeling Jetty, you can take a river cruise along the Merbok River and discover its winding estuaries and dense mangrove forest.

Bring along a high-powered pair of binoculars so you can catch sight of monitor lizards, little herons, Brahminy kites, sea eagles, and kingfishers a little more closely.

Historically, Merbok River was an important trading route for the early spice, goods and clothes merchants during the 1st to 14th century. As your boat meanders up the river surrounded on both sides by dense mangrove swamps, you can easily imagine how busy this piece of the waterway was and even re-live the exciting days of yore!

  1. Mangrove-Planting

The mangrove forest plays an important ecological role to our environment. It protects shorelines from rough waters and winds, helps to prevent erosion with their tangled root systems, acts as a filtration system to keep the area clean, and is a protective habitat for numerous species of marine life.

To drive this point home even further, visitors to Merbok River can do your bit for the environment by arranging a mangrove tree-planting session during your river cruise.

Bring along some mangroves tree seedlings for planting purposes at low tide. It won’t be an easy task wading through the sticky and muddy riverbank, but you can take heart that your effort will help Mother Nature do her work better!

  1. Oyster Farming and Tasting

In this traditional land of noodles in fish broth, curries, and rice, who would have imagined seeing oysters on the menu! But, yes, one can feast on these aphrodisiac delicacies harvested straight from the Merbok River.

The European way may be to take it raw and undressed (the oyster, not the diner), but here, it’s garnished with lemon, shallots and sambal, the Malaysian version of a hot sauce.

Aside from sampling the oysters, you’ll also learn about how the mangrove area provides the ideal environment for oyster farming as well as for aquaculture in general. The oysters are cultivated with great care and consideration for the environment. Visitors to the farm can learn in great detail about the farming process and even help to gently agitate the cages (to prevent the shells from fusing).

  1. Excavation Adventure

Fancy being an archeologist for a day? Well, at the Sungai Batu Archeological Complex, you can pick up some tools and start digging!

Sungai Batu or Batu River, which flows nearby into Merbok River has an on-going archeology project where visitors can gain hands-on experience about the field of archeology while learning about the history that’s literally being unearthed there.

The Sungai Batu Archeological Complex, claimed to be Southeast Asia’s oldest civilization (older even than Borobudur and Angkor Wat), is said to be the lost world of Kedah Tua (Ancient Kedah), a kingdom complete with iron ore mines, smelting factory, a port, palace, burial sites and a thriving city!

Volunteers can work on some of the excavated sites, of which there are nearly 100, digging, cleaning, and reconstructing pottery, and even take part in brick making and iron smelting just like in the old days.

  1. Soap and Toothpaste Making

Another fun activity to engage in at Sungai Merbok is the natural soap and toothpaste making a session. The villagers conduct hands-on workshops on how to turn natural ingredients like coconut oil and charcoal into cleansing products to be used on a daily basis. The final results yield soaps that are natural, chemical-free, and safe for both the skin and environment, as well as black charcoal toothpaste that’s a healthier version to those available at supermarkets!

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