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Tourism Malaysia

A Home Away From Home in Malaysia’s Far North

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

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

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

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

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

1. Kampung Ujung Bukit, Perlis

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Homestay Relau, Bandar Baru Kulim, Kedah

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Homestay Mengkuang Titi, Penang

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

4. Homestay Kampung Beng, Lenggong, Perak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tourism Malaysia

The Red Envelope

Chinese New Year, which will fall on 16 February 2018, is celebrated by the Chinese all over the world. It is also known as the Lunar New Year as it is based on the lunar calendar as opposed to the Gregorian calendar in Western countries. In Malaysia, the first two days of the Chinese New Year celebration are public holidays.

2018 is the year of man’s best friend, or the Year of the Dog, according to Chinese astrology. The celebration starts with the new moon on the first day of the Lunar New Year and ends on the full moon, 15 days later. The 15th day of Chinese New Year (or Chap Goh Mei) is observed with a lantern parade in Chinese communities.

The origin of this celebration dates back to early Chinese civilisation 5,000 years ago. The word Nian, which means “year” in Chinese, was originally the name of a ferocious beast that preyed on people on the eve of New Year. To scare Nian away, the people pasted red paper decorations on windows and doors, and set off firecrackers, as Nian was afraid of the colour red, the light of fire and loud noises. Therefore, at the beginning of every year, they repeat these rituals which have been passed down from generation to generation.

Legend also has it that the ancient Chinese asked a lion for help. The lion wounded Nian, but it returned a year later. This time, the lion couldn’t help as it was guarding the emperor’s gate. So, the people used bamboo and cloth to fashion an image of the lion. Two men crawled inside, pranced and roared, and frightened Nian away. This explains the Lion Dance, one of the most impressive sights during Chinese New Year.

The phrase Guo Nian, which may means, “survive the Nian”, is used to mean “Celebrate the (New) Year”. The word Guo in Chinese means “to pass”.  Today, red paper decorations and firecrackers still signify the cheerful Chinese New Year period.


CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION IN MALAYSIA

The New Year season starts early in the twelfth month of the previous year and lasts until the middle of the first month of the New Year.

In Malaysia, Chinese New Year preparations begin a month before the actual celebration, when the Chinese shop for decorations, food, drinks, new clothing, groceries and titbits. Chinese New Year songs are heard in shopping complexes which attract customers with many seasonal sales and promotions. Chinatown at Petaling Street is an ideal place to experience the excitement of the pre-festive celebration.

It is customary to spring clean the house and symbolically sweep away any trace of bad luck to make way for good luck and fortune. Some families even renovate their houses or give them a new coat of paint. After that, the houses are decorated with paper scrolls bearing verse couplets inscribed with blessings and auspicious words like happiness, longevity, and wealth.

Long before the eve of Chinese New Year, people living far away from their families make their journey home. Traffic jams build up on highways while airports, bus terminals, and train stations are normally packed.

No matter how tiring the journey may be, family members are expected to gather around the table for their Chinese New Year eve reunion dinner, the most important meal of the year. After dinner, they spend the night playing cards, watch TV programmes dedicated to the celebration, or just have a good time catching up with each other.

On the first day of Chinese New Year, ritual homage is offered to ancestors and reverence paid to the gods. New clothes are worn and younger family members greet their elders saying Kong Xi Fatt Chai (Mandarin) or Kong Hei Fatt Choi (Cantonese), meaning “congratulations and prosperity”. The ang pow, a red envelope with cash, is given by married couples to children and unmarried adults.

The seventh day of Chinese New Year is known as “everybody’s birthday”. On this day, the Chinese eat yee sang, a combination of raw fish, pickled ginger, shredded vegetables, lime and various sauces. This meal is supposed to bring prosperity and good fortune to those who eat it.

On the eighth day, the Hokkien-speaking community pray to Tee Kong, the God of Heaven at midnight. On the ninth day, numerous offerings are set out in the forecourt or central courtyard of temples to celebrate the birthday of the Jade Emperor. The 15th day is Chap Goh Mei which marks the official end of Chinese New Year.

During the Chinese New Year period, many Chinese families often receive visitors at home. Relatives and friends, regardless of their race and religion call on one another, exchanging good wishes and gifts like tangerines (called Kam in Cantonese, meaning “Gold”) and other traditional New Year delicacies.

The Chinese New Year open house, like other major celebrations in the country, is also held on a national level to enable all Malaysians and tourists to enjoy the cultural event. The Malaysian open house concept bears testimony to the fact that tolerance and mutual respect prevail in this multi-racial country.
Through the customs and traditions of Chinese New Year, the spirit of peace, good health, happiness and prosperity is engendered and spread among people.

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

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

CHINESE NEW YEAR

Chinese New Year is a time for jubilee and merrymaking. Family reunion feasts and open houses are a common underline and children accept ang pows or small red income packets from a elders. Dont skip a sparkling lion and dragon dance performances during selling malls and homes

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