Categories
Tourism Malaysia

20 Activities to Thrill you in Malaysia

Some
people are thrill-seekers by nature, and are always on the hunt for that
adrenaline rush, no matter where it brings them!

Speed,
excitement, bumps and bruises, even a scar or two makes it all worth it, body
aches and all!

If that is what you crave for, and thrilling spills are your game, then this is a list for you!

  1. ATV Ride, KL

ATVs, or All-Terrain Vehicles,  allows you to ride across rough terrains and lush greenery, going off-road in chase of that adventure just within and beyond the Malaysian forests. As with any outdoor activity, just be sure to bring water and an extra change of clothes. Rain is almost always expected, even though not anticipated!

Picture from http://www.atvadventurepark.com

2. Bungee Jumping

Bungee jumping is most definitely NOT for the faint-hearted. However, if thrills is what you’re looking for, then it is just the extreme activity for you! For those adrenaline junkies just waiting to leap through thin air, one of the places one can do this is at the Extreme Park of Sunway Lagoon.

Picture from www.makemytrip.com

3. Flyboarding in Putrajaya

Flyboarding, another exciting extreme water sport, is one that will
literally take you to greater heights!

This unique sporting experience is achieved by attaching a PWC (Personal Water Craft), which propels the Flyboard into the air, with the use of air and water. At the moment, this sport is only available at Marina Putrajaya.

Picture courtesy of Pamela Arissa Teow

4. Paragliding

Tandem paragliding is available not too far out of Kuala Lumpur, and is available year-round, subject to weather conditions. Currently, two main venues for this activity is in Selangor and Sabah.

Picture from www.paragliding.my

5. Hiking Trekking

While
some might argue on the ‘extremeness’ of these activities, try a 3-day 2-night
trekking trip to the Mulu Pinnacles!

For some laidback, family-friendly activity, this most basic back-to-nature activity suits almost all age groups, with varying levels of strength and stamina. Most of the hiking trails here will lead you to a waterfall or river, and you will most definitely be rewarded with a cool dip after all the hard work.

6. White Water Rafting

From beginner to hardcore level, white water rafting is available in many parts of Malaysia; in Sg Gopeng, Slim River in Perak and Sungai Singor, which lies on the border of Perak and Kelantan.

7. Diving

Perhaps
the ‘mildest’ of extreme sports, diving will transport you to a whole new
colourful and exciting world!

This activity is offered almost throughout Malaysia, from Kedah to Johor; from Perak all the way to Sabah. The islands of Langkawi, Pangkor, Sibu, Perhentian, Tioman, all the way to the world-famour Sipadan, all waiting to mesmerize you with all that they have to offer. 

8. Wreck Diving

What differentiates wreck diving with open water diving is that wreck diving is the exploration of the wreckage of ships, aircraft and other artificial structures. However, most wreck dive sites are at shipwrecks. To be able to participate in wreck diving, one must be the minimum age of 18 years, must be certified as an Advanced open water diver, show proof of at least fifty logged dives, and must also be certified as Basic Wreck or Cavern or equivalent.

Picture from https://asiavacations.biz

9. Ziplining

Ziplining, or more commonly referred to as flying fox, is an activity consisting of a pulley suspended on a cable, usually made of stainless steel, mounted on a slope. It is to enable one to travel via natural gravity, from the highest point to the bottom of the inclined cable, while being attached to a free-moving pulley.

There are many places now which offers such activity, including extreme parks and nature-themed activity parks, including in Sabah and Langkawi.

Picture from https://naturallylangkawi.my

10. Parasailing

Parasailing is a recreational kiting activity where a person is towed behind a vehicle while attached to a specially designed canopy wing that resembles a parachute, known as a parasail wing. The manned kite’s moving anchor may be a car, truck, or boat.

Picture from www.getmyboat.com

11. Via Ferrata, Mount Kinabalu

A Via Ferrata (or ‘iron road’ in Italian, plural via ferrate) is a protected mountain pathway consisting of a series of rungs, rails, cables and bridges embracing the rock face. It allows access to scenic sections of the mountains that are typically available only to rock climbers and mountaineers (ref: www.mountkinabalu.com).

There are some minimum requirements for those who would like to engage in this activity, but rest assured the use of modest equipment, a good head for heights and basic technique, walking the Via Ferrata is very safe, led by an experienced guide.

Mountain Torq is the World’s highest via ferrata and Asia’s first via ferrata is located at Mt Kinabalu’s Panalaban rock face. Starting at 3,200 metres and ends at 3,776 metres above sea level at Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

The minimum requirements needed for the first time via ferrate climber are:

  • Average fitness level (Able to hike up to 3,200m in 6 hrs)
  • Ages 10 and above for Walk the Torq
  • Ages 17 and above for Low’s Peak Circuit
  • A minimum height of 1.3 metres
  • Free of restricting physical disabilities, be fit, healthy, and without fear of heights to fully participate and safely enjoy the activity
  • No prior mountaineering experience required
  • A maximum of 6 climbers per group is allowed to do Via Ferrata at a time (ref: www.mountkinabalu.com).
Picture from www.amazingborneo.com

12. Microlight

Microlight is a 1- or 2-seater fixed-wing aircraft which is mostly simulated by the hang-gliding movement. It is relatively new in Malaysia.

Picture from www.onedaypilot.com

13. BASE Jumping

BASE Jumping is the sport of jumping off non-moving structures or hills or mountains, and one MUST be a qualified skydiver before attempting BASE jumping. Annually, KL Tower hosts the KL Tower International BASE Jump (www.menarakl.com.my) bringing international BASE Jumpers for a series of jumps organised around Malaysia.

Picture from runawaybella.com

14. Skydiving

Skydiving, undeniably, will give you an adrenaline rush like so other! Leaping out of a moving aeroplane, and feeling the wind hitti g your face is not an easy thrill t0 forget, and definitely NOT for everybody!

Picture from discoverkl.com

If jumping out of planes are not your thing, then perhaps you can tiptoe into the sport by first trying it indoors? Yes, INDOORS! Head to 1-Utama Shopping Mall in Petaling Jaya where Airrider is located.

15. Shark Diving

Fancy a swim among the hammerheads?

Picture from jomdiving.com

Diving
offers one the unique experience of discovering life underwater. The colours
and variety of marine life is incomparable to any on land. If you enjoy the
green lush rainforests, then you will be mesmerized by the darting micro life
and gentle giants of the ocean.

Shark
diving offers you a thrill like no other, and if you feel a bit apprehensive,
beginners may try the indoor, controlled environment offered by Aquaria KLCC.

16. Caving

There are hundreds of caves in Malaysia and cave enthusiasts will be spoilt for choice, ranging  from the massive remote caves of Mulu National Park to popular tourists spots just within the city limits like Batu Caves.

Merapoh Caves Pahang

Some
caves like Gua Tempurung in Perak is quite accessible as the entrance are close
to main roads, similar to Batu Caves, while some are accessible only via
trekking or even by boat.

17. Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding, very simply, is skateboarding on water. You simply surf across the surface of the water behind a speeding motorboat.

The sport is rather new in Malaysia, but steadily garnering a following amongst thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies alike!

Currently, there are two places you can try and indulge this this wet and wild water sport, and they are at The Mines (Philea Mines Beach Resort) and Marina Putrajaya.

Picture from www.getmyboat.com

18. Kayaking within the Langkawi Geopark

Kayaking is rather easy, and most people would have tried it at least once in their life time. Kayaking in the Langkawi Geopark however, is an experience that is not available elsewhere!

Maneuvering the winding turns of the mangroves of Langkawi provides a taste of adventure and some exercise while enjoying being surrounded by nature. The trip will also offer the chance for a good close up to the ecology of the mangroves especially the wildlife such as monkeys, pit vipers, eagles, otters, some endemic birds and the common monitor lizard.

Picture from www.jomjalan.com

19. Waterfall Abseiling

Stepping off the edge of rocks into a fast-cascading waterfall. Sounds exciting and most challenging!

Abseiling is the sport of repelling down a set of lines along waterfalls which can reach any height you dare to try, depending on your level of expertise. Like any other extreme sport, safety first!

Picture from https://riverbug.asia

20. Rock Climbing

Rock climbing requires a certain skill set and strength, and definitely not for the faint-hearted!

The most popular site will have to be Batu Caves in Selangor, and has about 170 routes available. With that many routes, the site offers a challenge for all levels of climbers.  

Malaysia being a tropical country, the weather can rather unpredictable, but do not fret! We do have the largest indoor rock climbing facility in Asia, Camp 5, located on the 5th floor of 1 Utama Shopping Centre. It is the largest climbing gym, standing at 24m high and is fully air-conditioned. The gym also offers a 270-degree panoramic view of the city, a café and a climbing workshop. 400 boulders, lead routes and top ropes, suited for all, ranging from beginners to advanced is available here. Routes are altered and changed every 3 – 6 months, keeping things fresh and challenging.

Picture from www.tourismselangor.my

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Categories
Tourism Malaysia

Battling the Waves in Malaysia

People like us are most likely to stay far, far away from the beaches during the monsoon, which usually occur from October to March if we are talking about the east coast in Peninsular Malaysia. But like a secret world, when the monsoon season comes and the islands close their doors to the public; that is when the surfers come out to play. To the uninitiated, monsoon means persistent rain, angry winds and ferocious waves, but to the surfers, it’s just a good day to surf. Indeed, surfing is not my scene at all and it’s not until words got around that a Malaysian surfer won third place at the 2019 REnextop Asian Surfing Tour that prompted me to check out our surfing scenes. Malaysia is no Hawaii or Bali but our surfing spots have start making waves among surfers around the world, no pun intended. Let’s check out Malaysia’s top surfing spot.

Cherating, Pahang

Photo: Cheratingpoint

Cherating, a small beach town about 45km north of Kuantan has been a surfing spot since the 80’s; but since surfing is not part of our culture, it has never been a sport enjoyed by the mass. Nowadays, we can see that the surfing community in Malaysia has grown bigger and stronger. There are even many surfing schools in Cherating.

Photo: Didaqt Surf FB

I don’t speak the surfer’s language but from what I gather the waves in Cherating are consistent and are suitable for beginners, intermediate, advanced and longboard surfers. It’s a good place for beginners to learn surfing, while the more experienced surfers can enjoy a swell that goes up to five foot. For a “hodad” like us (a term surfer uses for a person who hangs around the beach and does not surf), there are also other activities to try your hands at such as turtle-watching, kayaking, kitesurfing and windsurfing.

How to get there:
By Bus
From Kuala Lumpur international airport (KLIA), take a train (KLIA Transit) to the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) Bus Terminal – Check here : http://www.tbsbts.com.my. From TBS, please take a bus to Kemaman Town.
Kuala Lumpur (TBS) – Kuantan – Cherating – Kemaman Town – Kuala Terengganu – Kota Bahru . This is the normal route to east coast.
*note: Let the bus driver know that to drop you at Kampung Cherating Lama (Old Cherating Village).

By car
From Kuala Lumpur , just follow the east bound highway towards Kuantan and Kemaman. Normally, it takes about 3 hours to reach Cherating.

Pantai Batu Burok, Terengganu

Photo: Terengganu SURF Community

The strong waves of the South China Sea makes the beaches and idyllic islands of Terengganu ideal for surfing. To the local and international surfers, Pantai Batu Burok is well-known for its beach breaks surfing. Over the last 10 years, various international surfing competitions have been held in Pantai Burok regularly, thus helping this beautiful sandy beaches with casuarina trees lining up the shore, to gain international recognition. In Terengganu, there are at least 15 other surf spots to be explored along the coast from Kemaman to Besut. Merang in Setiu, for example, is suited for point breaks, while Pulau Kapas is ideal for reef break surfing.

Photo: Terengganu SURF Community

How to get there:
Batu Buruk and the surrounding beaches are easily reached from Kuala Terengganu by bus (Marang / Dungun), mini bus (No.14 / 13), trishaw and taxi or even on foot if you like walking (about 20 minutes from the city center). (www.backpackingmalaysia.com).

Desaru, Johor

Located in Kota Tinggi, Johor, Desaru has a few surfing spots that are worth mentioning. Among them are Pantai Desaru, Pantai Tanjung Balau, Pantai Sedili and Pantai Wild Boar.

Pantai Desaru is a great spot for beginners to learn to surf. The best time to surf here is in the early morning when the waves are in best condition with a less crowded beach.

Pantai Tanjung Balau is only 13-minute drive from Pantai Desaru and is home to a strong local surf community and even hosts its own international surfing competitions. Sandy breaks and three-foot-high waves make it an excellent spot to learn to surf.

Every surfing season, Pantai Sedili, a hidden beach located along the road of Sedili is always crowded with surfers especially during “good waves” day as the surfers called it. As the beach is quite isolated, you must bring your own food and drinks because there is no public facilities there.

Photo: Big Foot Industries

Wild Boar Beach is the most secluded surfing spot compared to the other three beaches in Desaru. Aptly named after the local animal that resides in the area, the beach is so secluded that you need a local guide to show you the spot. Surfers have to bring their own food and water supply because the beach has zero facility but these inconvenience means nothing to them as long as they get to have a long uninterrupted ride on sandy breaks.

How to get there:
A one hour drive from Johor town, along with the way to Desaru, palm oil plantation can be seen and a bridge will be connecting the route to Desaru through the Senai Desaru expressway. Driving is recommended to get to Desaru because it is faster and convenient.

For public transportation to Desaru, there are direct Mara Liner coach services four times a day from Johor Bahru’s Larkin Bus Terminal to Bandar Penawar via Kota Tinggi. Besides that, there’s an option of taking a non-express bus from Larkin Bus Terminal (Maju 227 or Causeway Link 66) or from downtown Johor Bahru’s Jalan Wong Ah Fook (Transit Link 41, Maju 227, Causeway Link 6B; the bus stop is opposite City Square) to Kota Tinggi’s bus terminal (duration about 1h; Maju 227 one-way fare from City Square RM4.80; average frequency of Maju 227 is 15 min), and then take another bus from Kota Tinggi to Bandar Penawar (duration max. 1h, one-way fare RM4.50, frequency every 90 min). (Travelistaclub)

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat, Sabah

Photo: www.borneo360.com

Kudat in Sabah has long been a favourite surfing spots among Malaysian and Bruneian surfers. Located at the Tip of Borneo in Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, the Kalampunian Beach has waves that can reach up to 6 feet high with 50 to 100 meters ride. The type of break here is beach breaks and pointbreaks. It is an ideal spot for those with advanced surf skill set. But for the non-surfers, Kudat’ sandy beaches and crystal clear water is reason enough to hang around the beach; or maybe, just maybe you will be entertained by the tricks and twists of the surfers while chilling by the beach.

Photo: Bahzi Damit

How to get there:
The Tip of Borneo is about 215 KM north of Kota Kinabalu. You need to drive about 2.5 to 3 hours on a paved road (with a few small sections of gravel road) to reach there (via Kota Kinabalu → Tuaran → Kota Belud main road). Or you can charter a taxi (can take 3 or 4 passengers) for a return trip for about RM240. (mysabah.com)

Tidal Bore of Sarawak

Photo: abadiphotography

I wonder whether those experienced surfers dare to fight a tidal bore in Sri Aman’s Batang Lupar River, which is famed for its crocodile-infested waters. The tidal bore in Sri Aman, which is located 170km from Kuching is rated among the best bores in the world. A tidal bore may take on various forms, ranging from a single breaking wave front with a roller, somewhat like a hydraulic jump to undular bores, comprising a smooth wave front followed by a train of secondary wave (whelps). The tidal bore is a high wave caused by the meeting of two tides or by a tide rushing up the narrow river estuary. Its height depends on the time of the year, weather and phase of the moon. Sri Aman hosts the annual Tidal Bore festival known as ‘Pesta Benak’, normally held in the month of May.

How to get there:
To get to the town, board a bus at Kuching Sentral Transportation hub. The hub is a 5-minute drive from the Kuching International Airport and 20 minutes from Kuching City Centre. On average, it takes about four hours to travel by road from Kuching. Usually, bus will stop at the bazaar town of Lachau for toilet break.

Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Beach, Selangor

Photo: Sunway Lagoon

Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Beach is a man made wonder right here in the city where holiday makers all around the world come for a fun filled day in the sun. You can either laze in the beach or for the thrill seekers you can enjoy surfing or body boarding and beach volleyball. You can also show off your surfing skills on Malaysia’s only Surf Simulator or ‘FlowRider’*.

Stretching over 13,000 square meters, the Surf Beach is capable of churning out perfectly shaped waves up to the maximum height of eight-feet. The ability to condition the waves according to the needs of the surfers in terms of height, time and wave patterns make Surf Beach @ Sunway Lagoon a surfer’s paradise for both professional and aspiring surfers.

How to get there:
By Car
Sunway Lagoon is located in the bustling township of Sunway City, within the district of Petaling Jaya in the state of Selangor. It is a mere 15-minutes drive from Kuala Lumpur in smooth traffic conditions and is accessible via a network of expressways including the Federal Highway, Damansara-Puchong Expressway, New Pantai Expressway and KESAS Highway.

Surf Wall, Adventure Waterpark, Desaru Coast, Johor

Photo: Adventure Waterparks Desaru Coast

A safe and high-energy surf simulator where surfing beginners or enthusiasts can catch and ride a radical artificial wave. The Surf Wall can accommodate up to five boogie boarders or two stand-up surfers at one time.

How to get there:

By Car
4 hours from Kuala Lumpur via the North-South Expressway.

By Air
1 hour from Kuala Lumpur to Senai International Airport with additional 1 hour for shuttle to Desaru Coast.

Suddenly I feel the urge to join the monsoon mayhem and pick up the surfboard myself. Paddle,paddle, paddle, and stand up… bruddah!

Featured image is courtesy of andiaceh/ombok

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/

Categories
Malaysia Travel Guide

MasterChef Ping Coombes Finds Inspiration for her Malaysian Recipes

sarawak local and ethnic food for masterchef

WHEN Malaysian-born Ping Coombes came out with a cookery book, Malaysia, after winning MasterChef UK in 2014, a fan remarked that she should include East Malaysian cuisines of Sabah and Sarawak to complete her repertoire of Malaysian recipes.

Point taken, she makes it her mission to embark on a culinary adventure to Sabah and Sarawak.

Read more at Borneo Post Online

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

Categories
Tourism Malaysia

20 Destinations in Malaysia for the Eco-Traveler

Eco-Traveler.

Who, and what exactly. is the
Eco-traveller?

According to the International Ecotourism
Society, eco-travel  is
“responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment,
sustains the well-beings and involves interpretation and education”

It basically begs the question of how we can travel greener? Yes, be that
person who is conscious of their natural surroundings, and strive to minimize the
impact of their presence to the environment.

How can we be ‘greener’?

First of all, educate yourself. Learn about the natural resources and attractions of the area. See how you can create as minimal an impact as possible, keeping the destination or attraction as pure as possible for future visitors.

Canopy Walk in Taman Negara

One very good way to learn is by volunteering. There are many
ways a person can participate in volunteerism,
and this way, the benefits are two-thronged – both parties gain a little from
the experience.

Another way is by incorporating good, ‘green’ habits in your
daily life – reduce use of plastic (drinking straws, disposable
containers),  recycle and reuse as much
as possible, and aim for zero-waste, especially food.

Lush green rainforests cover a large area of West Malaysia and regions in Malaysia Borneo, and Malaysia too is home to an impressive diverse marine life. Love the beach? We have that too, in abundance! All of these places welcome visitors. Responsible visitors, more so! Read on!!

Fancy the Jungle?

Some wildlife within the National Park
  1. Sg
    Yu Forest Reserve, Pahang

Located on the edge of Taman Negara Pahang, Sg Yu Forest reserve is a large forest reserve under the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) of Peninsular Malaysia that is a mixture of secondary and primary forest. The area is home to a number of wildlife, including elephants, tapir, a few species of deer, as well as a variety of hornbills.

If you feel up to it, you could also opt for a guide to visit some ‘Orang Asli’ Settlement which can be found along the river throughout the Park.

2. Royal Belum State Park, Perak

The huge Royal Belum State Park is located in the northern parts of Peninsular Malaysia, and is part of the much larger Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex which is shared with Thailand. Together with Taman Negara Pahang, they form the oldest rainforest in the world at over 130 million years old! Belum has the huge potential of becoming one of Malaysia’s premier eco-tourism destination choice.

The tree tops of the rainforests

There’s much to see and do around Belum State Park. As many of the attractions are located along Lake Temenggor, exploring by boat would be the best option. There are trails to hike, falls and ponds to dip in and cool off, and wildlife to look out for. Boars, tapirs, the white-handed gibbon and the Malaysian sunbear roam free in these jungles, as well as the elusive Malayan tiger. If you’re in luck, you may even stumble across a rafflesia. And don’t forget to look up, in search of the various hornbills within the area.

The small rapids and gushing falls… hard to resist!

3. Kilim Geopark, Langkawi

Part of the UNESCO network of global geoparks, the Langkawi Geopark Forest is first of its kind in the South East Asia Region. It covers 100 square kilometres of nature reserve and countless nature wonders, including flora and fauna.

The beautiful diverse natural geological, biological and cultural resources makes Kilim unique, especially the co-existence of coastal karst and mangrove ecosystems. One recommended way to surround yourself, and embrace the spectrum of geological and natural heritage, is by taking a kayak tour, with an experienced guide of course!

Kilim Geopark – Kayak Adventure

Apart from the rich mangrove flora and geological wonders, look out also for the Pit Viper, whose natural habitat lays within this mangrove.

4. Mulu National Park, Sarawak

If you refer to Gunung Mulu National
Park’s official website, you will learn that “to qualify for world heritage status a property must meet
one of the four following criteria:”

  • Be an
    outstanding example of the world’ geological history (Caves and cave deposits)
  • Be and
    outstanding representative example of on-going evolutionary processes (current research
    programmes)
  • Be of
    exceptional beauty!
  • Contain
    significant natural habitat for in-situ conservation of biological diversity
    and the protection of threatened species (wide range of cave and forest
    habitats).

And amazingly, Mulu meets all four criteria!

The Pinnacles, Mulu National Park

Needless to say, you will be enthralled with all that Mulu National Park has to offer!

5. Penang National Park, Teluk Bahang Penang

While
you can hike to the National Park, it is advisable to take a boat so that you
can cover more area, and experience the different nature attractions within the
Park. Within the park is a rare meromictic lake, a lake of two separate layers
of salt and fresh water do not mix. Pick the time and season you visit very
carefully because the wrong timing will see the lake rather dry!

Further along the beach, you will find the Penang Turtle Sanctuary. Here, Green Turtles and Olive Ridley Turtles are the two most common species that come to lay their eggs.

Turtle Hatcheries

Perhaps experience a jungle within a
city?

If you are in a rush, and can only squeeze in a quick visit, and yet still wish enjoy a bit of nature, then consider the following in-the-city rendezvous places.

6. National Botanical Park, Shah Alam Selangor

The National Botanical Park in Shah Alam covers and impressive 72 hectares, and is among the favourite destinations for locals to experience a bit of nature and provide some fun education for their kids. There are farm animals, an aviary, and some other common small mammals for the kids to enjoy and interact with.

The National Botanical Park

7. FRIM, Selangor

FRIM, or the Forest Research Institute Malaysia, is one of the leading institutions in tropical forestry research. An introduction in its official website states that 545-ha site “was gazetted as a Natural Heritage Site on 10 February 2009 under the National Heritage Act 2005, and officially declared as a National Heritage on 10 May 2012. FRIM is working towards attaining the recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

Visitors are welcome to picnic, trek or even camp within their grounds, limited to the visitor guidelines issued by the Institute. Bird watching is another encouraged activity within FRIM’s grounds.

8. Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Kuala Lumpur

Recently renamed KL Forest Eco-Park, the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is a small patch of rainforest located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, at the base of the KL Tower, one of the tallest telecommunications structures in the world. This small patch of greenery within the bustling city preserves many species and features of the original rainforest that covered Kuala Lumpur a long time ago.

Nature Vs Technology

There are several trails that run through the reserve, but are mainly to one side of the hill. The main entrance is located near Jalan Raja Chulan but it is most convenient to take the KL LRT and proceed on foot from the Dang Wangi LRT Station.

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Kuala Lumpur

Fancy a bit of diving? Or just snorkeling?

Sandy beaches, clear waters

9. Pulau Perhentian, Terengganu

Located just off the edge of Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian, which means ‘stopover island’, should not be missed. The island consists of two islands, Pulau Perhentian Besar (literally Big Island) and Pulau Perhentian Kecil (Small Island). Of the two, the Small Island is preferred due to less development and the absence of huge resorts.

Covered largely by unspoilt jungle, gentle swaying palms, sparkling white powdery beaches and the enticing sapphire gleaming waters, Pulau Perhentian is a sanctuary for fishermen, migratory birds and of course, the discerning holiday-makers. The excellent seascape offers endless opportunity for diving and snorkeling, with gentle turtles and fleeting fishes surrounding you.

10. Pulau Lang Tengah, Terengganu

Located between Redang and Perhentian Islands, Lang Tengah is a precious gem, very low key and not as heavily visited. The clear tropical waters surrounding the island, which is also a designated marine park, are teeming with corals and sea life which occasionally include sharks and rays. Green turtles commonly come to nest during the season which starts from April to October, and the hawksbill turtle makes an occasional appearance as well. The island is also covered with primary forest, and has a wide variety of birds, lizards, frogs and insects.

11. Pulau Tiga, Sabah

Gained ‘popularity’, thanks to the Survivor Series, Pulau Tiga is surrounded by the pristine South China Sea. Once there, you can opt to hike in the jungle, visit the nearby Snake Island to spot some wildlife, or choose to camp in the wilderness. Mud pools are also available for that beauty therapy you’ve been wanting to get!

Leave nothing but footprints!

12. Lankayan Island, Sabah

Slightly differing from all the above, Lankayan is a private luxury island, but would still be much appreciated by the discerning eco-traveller who wouldn’t mind splurging once in a while. They offer luxurious beachfront, as well as over-the-water chalets, for that unique holiday experience.

One of the many islands off Sabah waters

There are 4 dive wrecks to choose from if you fancy a bit of underwater activity, and located along what is known as the ‘Sea Turtle Corridor’ you will not be disappointed!

13. Talang Satang National Marine Park, Sarawak

The Talang Satang National Park is a national
park in Kuching Division, Sarawak, Malaysia. It is Sarawak’s first marine
protected area, and covers the four islands Pulau Talang-Talang Besar, Pulau
Talang-Talang Kecil, Pulau Satang Besar and Pulau Satang Kecil and surrounding
coral reefs.

The Park is mainly set up as a turtle sanctuary,
of which three of the islands are known as Sarawak’s “Turtle Islands”.

Or maybe wildlife are more your thing?

14. Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, Pahang

The Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary,
which lies within the Krau Wildlife Reserve, is the only one of its kind in
Malaysia. The centre’s main objective is to relocate elephants which natural habitats
have been encroached for development, to a safer, more suitable, permanent area
such as the Taman Negara. Orphaned elephants are also raised and given shelter
here.

The centre welcomes visitors, and is open throughout the year, and conducts various public awareness activities. There is no entrance fees, but donations are welcome. For those interested, there are also volunteer programs available.

15. Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Set up in 1964, its main purpose was to
rehabilitate orphaned and displaced orangutans before sending them back into
the forest.

Today, the centre also provides medical care and shelter for other species of wildlife as well, including sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and occasionally, elephants.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Visitors are treated to witnessing the feeding of the orangutans twice a day, from a designated platform and viewing gallery which is accessible via a boardwalk through the forest. Here, visitors aren’t allowed any physical contact with the orangutans to help and keep diseases at bay. Sepilok also had a volunteer program, as well as ‘adopt an orangutan’ program for those who are interested.

16. Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is considered the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia, comprising an area of approximately 300,000 acres! Tabin was declared a Wildlife Reserve mainly due to the large number of animals inhabiting the forests, some of which are highly endangered. Three of Sabah’s largest mammals are found in Tabin, and they are the Sumatran Rhino, Pygmy Elephant and Tembadau, and many other species of wildlife that are protected.

17. Turtle Island, Sabah

Selingan Island, or more commonly referred to as Turtle Island, is
the second largest of the three islands with an area of 8 hectares and is also
the first turtle hatchery in Malaysia.

The number of visitors who can stay overnight on the island is restricted, and you will need to apply for permits to visit the island. Basic accommodation is available, as the best time to see the turtles lay eggs are after dusk, and there is also a visitor centre where you can learn more about the conservation efforts carried out by the centre all these years.

A turtle laying eggs; leave her tracks behind; park rangers place the eggs in hatcheries

Both Green and Hawksbill Turtles come to shore throughout the year to lay their eggs. However, the peak season for the Greens turtles is between July to October while the peak season for the Hawksbill turtles is between February to April.

18. Semenggoh Nature Reserve, Sarawak

Situated
just a short distance away from the city of Kuching in Sarawak, The Semenggoh Nature
Reserve serves as a mostly-temporary home the gentle Orangutans.  Established in 1975, it initially became a
centre for injured and captured orangutans, and has now developed into a place
where visitors can learn about other rare and endemic species as well. The
orangutans are trained to get back to the centre during their feeding times,
but when it is fruiting season and they can forage for food themselves, they
sometimes do not appear.

Rare
flora and fauna can also be found here, and you will appreciate the sounds of
the jungle when you drop by for a visit.

You may also opt for the cooler highlands…

19. Cameron Highlands, Pahang

Cameron
Highlands is easily the most popular highland retreats in Malaysia, offering a
moderate climate ranging between18 to 25 degrees Celcius.

However, this moderate weather also serves as a ‘curse’ to the destination as the environment makes it an ideal location for growing various produce, both for local consumption as well as for export.

Tea Plantation

During
the Colonial era, the British grew tea on the fertile mountain slopes, and
these plantations exist till today. More suited as a family getaway, places
like Cameron Highlands can offer a pleasant surprise to the discerning eco-tourist.
 

Hiking trails and breathtaking views await you!

20. Fraser’s Hill, Pahang

Fraser’s Hill is one of the
oldest, but less popular, highland resort destination located among the mountains
of Pahang. Only 2 hours away from Kuala Lumpur, this cooling retreat offers
nature activities which include jungle trekking

The iconic Fraser’s Hill clock tower sits in the middle of the quaint village town, always a popular photo spot.

Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower

Fraser’s Hill is also hosts the International Bird Race, which has
been  an annual event since 1988. The
main objectives of the bird race is to encourage the preservation of nature,
considering there are over 250 species of birds within the area, as well as to
promote Fraser’s Hill as a bird sanctuary.

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