Tourism Malaysia

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone!

It is such a refreshing experience, coming into 2011! New travel destinations, or undiscovered previously have always been on top of travel destinations throughout the world.

Maybe this year, we’ll discover more of Malaysia’s unique experiences and travel hideaways. Who knows?

If you have any travel suggestions, do drop us a line. We’ll try and write about the place, and share our experiences (the ups or downs).

Till then, have a wonderful year and hope you have many wonderful travel tales in Malaysia!

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Tourism Malaysia

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Kuala Lumpur

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, Kuala Lumpur

Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve

A rich variety of flora can be found within the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve

The bustling city of Kuala Lumpur has many tall buildings and modern structures. However, many people are not aware that in the heart of the city, a patch of greenery still exists.

In fact, one of Malaysia’s most prominent landmarks, the Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower), is built on top of one of the oldest forest reserves in Malaysia, the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve.

Gazetted in 1906, Bukit Nanas serves as a green lung of Kuala Lumpur and is home to an abundance of flora and fauna unique to the Malaysian tropical rainforest.

Bukit Nanas can be categorised as a heritage for two reasons. Firstly, it is the only remaining patch of tropical rainforest that still stands in the middle of the city.  Secondly, it is one of the oldest permanent forest reserves in the country (it celebrated its Centennial Anniversary in 2006).

The 10.5 hectare forest reserve was also gazetted as a Wildlife Reserve and Bird Sanctuary in 1934 and in 1950 respectively, with a section of about five hectares dedicated as a Virgin Jungle Reserve.

When paying a visit to KL Tower, visitors should include a trip to Bukit Nanas in their itinerary, as it lies just beside the entrance to the tower and requires no admission fee. It offers nature lovers a good opportunity to learn more about the ecology of the local forest. It is also perfect for shutterbugs and photography enthusiasts.

Nature guides are available to explain about the various types of flora and fauna in the jungle reserve. The daily guided tour runs at 11am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 4:30pm.

“This jungle helps to cleanse the air within its surrounding environment, and the visitors here are very supportive of preserving the natural ecology,” explained Anthony Paleng, one of the nature guides, whilst guiding a group of visitors to Bukit Nanas.

According to him, a rich variety of flora can be found within the forest reserve, which includes rare herbs, creepers, ferns, climbers and giant bamboo grasses. Huge tropical tree species also occupy the jungle namely meranti, keruing, chengal and pulai.

“All of the trees here have a unique way of surviving in the wild, a bio defense mechanism specific to each species,” he explained further.

Along the trail, there are traces of broken branches, indicating the presence of local monkeys. If you are lucky, you might see the two local species of monkeys that exist in the park, namely the Silvered Langur and the Long-tailed Macaque. Other varieties of fauna include squirrels, snakes and birds.

A camp site is available for nature lovers who wish to pitch a tent and enjoy the lush greenery of the jungle, free of charge.

People who love jogging can also enjoy running through the forest trail, and there is an outdoor obstacle course for those who want to do a little stretching and body lifting.

Visitors to the forest reserve need to take certain precautionary measures during their visit as there are some slopes that are quite steep along the forest trails. It is advisable for visitors to dress casually, ideally sports wear which includes running shoes, as there is a ladder section that could be tricky to navigate.

For more information, please contact:

Anthony Paleng (Nature Guide)                                   Mobile: 6012-207 1562
Department of Forestry Peninsular Malaysia               Tel: 603-2230 6342
Site Office                                                                   Fax: 603-2292 5667
Lot 240, Bukit Nanas                                                     Web:
Jalan Raja Chulan
50250 Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Tower (KL Tower)

The Kuala Lumpur Tower project was completed in 1995, and is used for communication purposes. It features an antenna that reaches 421 m (1,381 ft), which currently makes it the 18th tallest freestanding tower in the world. There are various activities that can be enjoyed by visitors here, which include a scenic view of the city through the observation deck, shopping, visiting the mini zoo, and also enjoying a pony ride. The Kuala Lumpur Tower also organises large-scale events annually such as the KL Tower International Jump Malaysia. KL Tower and Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve are on the KL Hop-on Hop-off city tour route. The KL Hop-on Hop-off city tour covers approximately more than 40 attractions where passengers can hop-on or hop-off the tour bus at any of the 22 designated stops in KL. The bus runs on a 15- to 30-minute interval between 8.30 am until 8.30 pm. For ticket prices and information on the KL Hop-on Hop-off city tour, visit

Fast Facts

Getting There: The forest reserve is located in front of Jalan Raja Chulan and not far from the Telekom Museum. By car, drive up the hill at KL Tower and pay for the entrance fee and car park; admission to the forest reserve is free. Alternatively, take the Kelana Jaya Line LRT and stop at the Dang Wangi Station, or take the KL monorail and disembark at the Bukit Nanas station. Those who use the Ampang Line LRT need to disembark at the Masjid Jamek LRT station.

Main attractions: The forest trail or “Jejak Rimba” activity on the tropical rainforest can be soothing, as a walk through the sanctuary can be a refreshing change to the fast pace of urban lifestyle.

Other attractions: A large field for camping, a bird watching area, a jogging trail, and a mini herbal park.

Entrance fee: Free of charge

Visiting hours: 7.00am to 6.00pm including weekends and public holidays.

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Tourism Malaysia

A Taste of Survivor Island

A Taste of Survivor Island


I was tempted to dive right in to the awesomely inviting turquoise waters as we arrived at the dock. The tranquil natural surroundings were reminiscent of an idyllic setting for a summer romance. The bright blue sunny sky, though scorching, was welcomed with much pleasure. We had in fact prepared for the worst after being informed that the past few days were cloudy with torrential rain. Sheer tranquillity, along with sun-drenched pristine beaches, is of the essence on an island escapade. Pulau Tiga, it seemed, had already fulfilled my simple desires.

The feeling of weariness I had earlier slowly dissipated. Somehow, the sound of crashing waves always has the miraculous ability to calm my senses. Any complaint suddenly became trivial. Now, I wasn’t exactly being grouchy but seriously, travelling over five hours in three modes of transportation in a hot and humid day can somewhat sap one’s strength, not to mention enthusiasm.

Upon touching down at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, we were whisked away by a van for a two-hour ride to Kuala Penyu, followed by a twenty-minute speedboat ride.

Though it took place a decade ago, avid fans of Survivor would probably still remember how corporate trainer Richard Hatch outlasted fifteen of his fellow Americans to become a millionaire after being marooned on Pulau Tiga for 39 days. Being the site of the very first season of not only Survivor US but also the UK version had generated wide publicity for Pulau Tiga and Malaysia as millions of viewers tuned in weekly to find out who was being eliminated.

Our arrivals were greeted by a large signboard that read “Survivor Island”, naturally. Some of the props used during the filming of the reality show were also visible.

Our excursion to Snake Island was eagerly anticipated. Though not entirely without fear and anxiety. The infamous rocky volcanic outcrop, also known as Pulau Kalampunian Damit to the locals, is inhabited by hundreds of the Yellow-Lipped Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina). The 20-minute speedboat ride to the island was probably too short a time for some of us who started to contemplate whether it was a good idea to set foot on the island at all.

To be apprehensive is understandable. Though I had posed almost cheek to cheek with a huge python for a shot, I reckoned that the highly venomous Yellow-Lipped wouldn’t be as docile. Twice as poisonous as the King Cobra, a single bite from this sea krait would be enough to send someone to eternal slumber in no time. To paint a clearer picture, once bitten, one wouldn’t even be able to make it back to Pulau Tiga alive.

It wasn’t a surprise then that once we set foot on its shore, I was totally vigilant. Like a hawk, I observed every boulder, tree root and tree trunk, making sure nothing lurked beneath the rocks. Too engrossed in watching every step I took, I didn’t realise that our guide Nell and the rest had already gone far ahead of me searching for a specimen.

So, if Snake Island sounds dangerous, why are visitors still flocking to this place, you might ask?

Honestly, the snakes are actually quite harmless as they are rather inactive and lethargic during the day due to the heat. They will not attack humans unless stepped on or mishandled. They prefer to coil up among the rocks, tree roots and crevices in tree trunks and will only hunt for food in the sea at night.

Unlike true sea snakes that spend their entire life in the sea, the Yellow-Lipped come ashore to rest, digest their food, slough their skins, mate and lay eggs. They are hunted by the white-bellied sea eagles that circle low over the island. Hence, they head for the sea when it’s high tide to minimise the risk of being caught by the eagles.

A few minutes later, Nell found a pearly-blue snake with black bands resting among some rocks oblivious of curious intruders. Swiftly but gently he held the snakes for us to take a few close-up shots.  Needless to say, as soon as we got what we headed there for, we made a dash to our boat knowing very well that it isn’t a place for sightseeing.

On the way to Snake Island and on our way back, our boat passed by another island namely Pulau Kalampunian Besar or Sand Spit. It has been reduced to a strip of sand bar as a result of wave erosion. Some land and sea-based challenges during Survivor were held there.

Both Pulau Kalampunian Besar and Pulau Kalampunian Damit, together with the main island, Pulau Tiga (meaning “Island of Three”) form the Pulau Tiga National Park. They were designated as forest reserve back in 1933 and finally gazetted as a park in 1978. It was only in 1998 that the Sipadan Dive Center signed an agreement with the park to develop the Pulau Tiga Resort which was completed in 2000.

If Pulau Kalampunian Besar and the creepy Pulau Kalampunian Damit are nothing to shout about, the same cannot be said about Pulau Tiga. It was apparently formed sometime on 21 September 1897 when a huge earthquake at Mindanao Island in the Philippines triggered a volcanic eruption at the northern part of Borneo. An island measuring 66 feet wide was formed as a result. The subsequent eruptions of the same volcano over the next 40 years and the eruptions of two adjacent mud volcanoes that expanded and coalesced formed the present Pulau Tiga.

The last eruption took place more than 60 years ago. Nevertheless, warm mud still oozes from these geothermal vents of the island. Pulau Tiga is currently about 4.5km long, 1.5km wide and covers an area of 20.7 sq km. Except for the resort and the Park Headquarters that occupy a small part of the island, majority of Pulau Tiga is still untouched vegetation.

Although nature and recreational attractions are aplenty on the island, no trip to Pulau Tiga is complete without a dip in the mud volcanoes, not the eruptive kind but merely bubbling mud pool. The mud bath is said to have therapeutic effect, capable of curing rashes, for example.

The prospect of getting a free natural spa treatment got all of us excited. We had to hike up the 1,100-metre scenic Pagong-Pagong Trail that leads to the Mud Volcano. The downpour last night made the trail extra slippery. After hiking for about half an hour, we were greeted by basically a large pool of mud.

The muddy pond looked rather diluted, probably due to the rain. Not everyone would find the idea of coating themselves with natural mud appealing unless it’s done in a spa. Some people are hesitant about jumping into the muddy pond. Perhaps, they are afraid that they might get sucked in, quicksand-style.

To prove that it’s totally safe, Nell immediately stripped to his boxers and splashed into the pond, encouraging us to follow suit. Those who were convinced joined him to test the therapeutic effects of the mud, while others were satisfied to just observe from a nearby hut, built for visitors to leave their clothes and belongings. The surprisingly cool mud was pleasant to soak in. Bubbles of thermal gas that rose to the surface every few minutes made ‘gloop’ sounds.

As the mud in the pond was quite watery, any attempt to splatter it all over our body for a more realistic group photo was futile. All hope was not lost when Nell informed us that there is another small mud volcano with thicker mud which is specifically meant for “touching-up”. If you want the mud to work its magic, don’t wash it off before it is completely dry. Just lie on the sandy beach for a while before taking a dip in the sea to cleanse yourself.

Besides having props from Survivor scattered here and there on the island, names of the tribes were also being used. Hence, the beach on the northeast side of the island is called Pagong while the one on the southeast side is Tagi. Also, check out the Tribal Council.

Those who go jungle trekking at the various trails can see monitor lizards, macaque and proboscis monkeys, hornbills, sea eagles, and other flora and fauna. If you’re lucky, you will find the Megapodes (Megapodius Freycinet), a ground dwelling bird that looks like a chicken but can meow like a cat!

Pulau Tiga also offers a number of dive sites including West End, Tiga’s Trail, Dunlop Corner, Coleman Shoal, Midreef, Asmarqa Point, Larai Point, and House Reef. Non-divers can enjoy snorkelling at a designated area near the resort, or try kayaking and fishing.

Bidding farewell wasn’t easy. As I reminisced on my adventure at these islands, my mind was filled with colourful images and vivid exotic memories of my stay there.

Often called the ‘Land Below the Wind’ as it lies below the typhoon belt, Sabah occupies the eastern part of North Borneo and is East Malaysia’s second largest state with an area of 74,500sq. km. Sabah has the South China Sea on the west and the Sulu and Celebes seas on the east and a coastline of some 1,440km. Sabah is mountainous with lush tropical rainforests and its population of nearly two million is made up of more than 30 ethnic communities, speaking over 80 local dialects.
Lot No. A1103, 11th Floor, Wisma Merdeka (Mail Box No. A236),
Jalan Tun Razak, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Tel: +6 088-240 584
Fax: +6 088-240 415
Email     :
Website :
1) Tourism Malaysia Sabah Office
Lot 1-0-7, Tingkat Bawah, Blok 1 Lorong Api-Api 1,
Api-Api Centre 88000, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: +6 088-248 698 / 211 732 / 447075
Fax: +6 088-241 764

2) Sabah Tourism Board
51 Gaya Street, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +6 088-212121
Fax: +6 088-212075, 219311, 222666

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Dinos Alive!

Dinos Alive!

Apatosaurus (pronounced ah-PAT-uh-SAWR-us).

This long –necked quadrupedal dinosaur, which lived during the late Jurassic period, is one of many dinosaurs now roaming the Pusat Sains Negara, located at Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur. An exhibition highlighting these amazing creatures, titled ‘Dinos Alive’ is currently on display until 31 May, 2011.

It’s extremely long neck, and long whip-like tail may measure up to 22 meters and can weigh up to roughly the weight of four elephants.

Widely known as a brontosaurus, the Apotasaurus is joined by the likes of the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex, whose real-life skeleton is also on display and will definitely delight those who wish to view up close the ancient and extinct species. The T-Rex was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs that ever roamed earth.

Since watching the popular Jurassic Park film in 1993, depicting the lost world of dinosaurs, the fascination with dinosaurs has always captured the imagination.

To live and breathe on the same land as the dinosaurs, who once roamed the earth before their sudden demise, is surely surreal.

What did their life look like? How did dinosaurs really look like, back then?

Pusat Sains Negara has been turned into an interactive display and an extremely interesting educational experience for children and adults.

Visitors to the exhibition can view two main galleries depicting the various types of dinosaurs, the carnivore-typed dinosaurs as well as the herbivore-typed dinosaurs. Each dinosaur comes with a brief history of its life, habitat and eating habits.

Other dinosaurs on display include the triceratops, brachiosaurus, stegosaurus and megalosurus. They are animatronic dinosaurs providing an educational and fun learning experience to children and adults, alike. Besides this, there is also the pit for the ‘fossil dig’, where children can try their skills at finding buried fossils.

If you are tired from walking around the exhibits, try taking a ride on the Dino train that passes the exhibits. There is also the Dino Explorer, a vehicle simulating the world of dinosaurs.

Those wishing to visit Pusat Sains Negara, the visiting hours are from 9 am to 5 pm daily (including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). There is a nominal fee to enter the exhibition.

For further information, check out the site’s website: or call Pusat Sains Negara at 03-2089 3400 (office) and 03- 2089 3401 (fax).

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Sam’s Kitchen and Sam’s on First

Sam’s Kitchen and Sam’s on First

Piping hot rice is gently scooped onto freshly cut banana leaves, with savoury rasam, spicy chicken curry and crispy papadom.

Eating as the locals do, with their hands, is a messy but delicious experience. The banana leaf rice is eaten with several choices of condiments such as vegetables, pickles, moru, chutney, rice crackers, sweets and chips for a delightful meal.

Top it all off with aromatic masala tea or local teh tarik for a hearty fare at Sam’s Kitchen.

This quaint restaurant, tucked in a corner of Taman Maluri in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur serves traditional Southern Indian cuisine. Dishes here are specially prepared with the flavours of Karaikudi, by professional chefs with over 50 years of combined food service experience.

Other items on the menu include dishes such as Dum Briyani, Onion Uthappam, Pal Appam, Tairu Vada and Indian Kotthu Parrotha, Kal Dosa and other popular dishes.  These are made using the freshest and best ingredients, handpicked daily by the chefs.

The restaurant is open daily from 7.00 am – 12.00 am.

For more on the restaurant, contact :

Sam’s Kitchen

No.234, Jalan Mahkota, Taman Maluri,

55100 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur

Telephone: 03 9281 8839


Sam’s on First

A floor above Sam’s Kitchen, is Sam’s on First restaurant. It offers diners a choice of Northern Indian cuisine in a stylish yet casual setting.

It’s warm and cosy interiors; provide the backdrop to a rich sample of cooking using fine Indian produce prepared using traditional cooking methods.

Some of the restaurant’s cuisine specialties are Rangoli Chicken Sheekh Kebab, Dil Wala Jinggha, Murgh Tikka, Machli Ajwain, Mirchi Ka Saalan and Dhal Palak. Others are Tawa Fish, Baigan Ka Bhartha and Dum Ka Gohst Briyani.

Sam’s on First is open for dining from Tuesdays to Sundays between 12.00 noon to 3.00 pm and 7.00 pm until 11.00 pm.


No. 234-1, Jalan Mahkota, Taman Maluri, 55100 Cheras, Kuala Lumpur.; Telephone: 03 9281 8839

* Both restaurants are pork free

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