Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Wat Chayamang Kalaram, PenangMalaysia has a wide range of tourist attractions. The sheer diversity of tourism destinations is astounding. These include the high-tech city of Kuala Lumpur, tropical island of Langkawi, colonial hill stations of Genting and Cameron Highlands, numerous pristine beaches, National Parks, and the world's oldest tropical rainforests. Malaysia has the potential of catering to tourist of every hue and it truly lives up to its tag line of Malaysia Truly Asia.

Kuala Lumpur
To describe Kuala Lumpur is like opening a book that has various exciting chapters. Yes, this only global city of Malaysia appears blessed with colors of modernism along with rich heritage. Though formally KL spans over an area of 244 sq kms, its plush precincts virtually get bigger to embrace the entire world. Kuala Lumpur is situated at the confluence of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Klang, and probably, that's how it got its name, which literally means 'muddy confluence' in Malay language.

Kelantan-literally meaning "Land of Lightning"-is an agrarian state with lush paddy fields, rustic fishing villages and casuarina-lined beaches. Located in the northeast corner of the peninsula, the charms of Kelantan are found in the vitality of its culture and its remote, unsullied beauty. Kelantan offers plenty of opportunities for tourists such as river cruises, river rafting, bird watching and jungle trekking.

Malacca is a quiet seaside city located on the West Coast of Peninsular Malaysia facing the Straits of Malacca, about 147 km from Kuala Lumpur. Malacca is a wonderful repository of its cultural heritage. Its colonial past is evident in its Portuguese architecture, where as on the streets, Chinese influence is most visible. Most of the businessmen here are Chinese. Over the centuries, the Chinese and local Malay cultures in Malacca intertwined, eventually producing a completely unique society-a mosaic of different cultures.

Negeri Sembilian
Malaysia Sembilian, Negeri SembilianNegeri Sembilian literally means "Nine States". It is so called because it comprises a federation of nine states. Located on the southwest corner of Peninsular Malaysia, Negeri Sembilan encompasses an area of 6,645 sq km and a 48 km long coastline.

Penang, literally meaning Island of Betel Nut, is famous for its natural scenic beauty. Also known as the 'Pearl of Orient', Penang entices visitors with its warm seas, golden beaches, lush greenery and delicious cuisine.

Perlis is the smallest state in Malaysia. The state is famous for its serene unspoilt beauty, rustic rural scenes and verdant paddy fields. The expanse of verdant paddy fields makes the landscape appear like a huge canvas of brilliant green or gold, depending on the season.

Sabah is a tropical paradise located at the northeast corner of Borneo. In ancient times it was known as the "Land Below the Wind" because it lies below the typhoon belt. Sabah attracts visitors with its scenic beauty, rugged landscape and cultural diversity.

Sarawak-the largest state of Malaysia-is better known as the land of fabled White Rajahs, the hornbill and the orangutan. Located on the northwestern shore of the island of Borneo, Sarawak is a preferred tourist destination for those seeking culture, nature and adventure tourism. The rainforests of Sarawak are home to the richest and most diverse ecosystem of the world.

Terengganu is one of the three east coast states on Peninsular Malaysia. Terengganu is the repository of Malaysia's cultural heritage and is home to the lilting Gamelan and the mesmerizing "Ulek Mayang" dance. It is a serene state, with numerous small villages, quiet roads, and secluded islands and beaches.

Monday, June 6, 2011

St. Paul’s Hill (A Famosa)

As you may know, the Portuguese came to Malacca in 1511 and ruled the place till 1641.  When they arrived at the shores of Melaka, the first thing they did was build a fort overlooking the river.  They named it A Famosa.  The A Famosa is one of the oldest European Architecture present in Southeast Asia.

A Famosa Malacca
A Famosa Malacca
Throughout the Portuguese rule, the fort was critical to their foothold of the island because the town was constantly under threats from other foreign bigwigs (i.e. the British and Dutch).  It was not only important for Melaka; the fort was also instrumental in maintaining the Portuguese stronghold across the Far East.  The fort consists of housing and food stores, a castle, a meeting room for the Portuguese Council and five churches.
In the late 17th century, Malacca came under attack by the Dutch and was significantly damaged, leaving only the entrance fa├žade and the structure of a church at the top of the hill.  In the early 19th century, the fortress was taken over by the British who decided to destroy it.  This destruction came about in the year 1806; all was demolished expect for a small part, what is found today, the last bit of the once active and important fortress.
Tips for Travelers
You can take a stroll up St. Paul’s Hill on a cool late afternoon and walk around the huge trees and whatever is left of the great fort.  Wandering around the place, you can well imagine the glorious days of the lives the Portuguese led right here centuries ago.  It is better if you head up after 3 pm when the sun is less hot and the sea breeze begins.
How should visitors get to St Paul’s Hill (A Famosa)?
Preferably by taxi if you are in Melaka for a short trip.  The taxi will cost you no more than RM 15.
If you have plenty of time then do look for a city bus.  You can get off near bus stop No. 7 or 8.  St. Paul’s Hill is within walking distance from both of the bus stops.
Approximate Touring Time
The approximate touring time for the St. Paul’s Hill is about an hour.  There are a couple of attractions nearby so you might want to spend more time or plan your itinerary accordingly.
Nearby Attractions
There are plenty of attractions near St. Paul’s Hill.  A few of them are:
There are also a couple of attractions within walking distance (about 15 – 20 minutes):
Visiting Hours
The place is open for the public 24 hours a day.  The recommended time to visit is early morning or late afternoon.
Admission Charges

Thursday, June 2, 2011



The fiesta is back. Pesta Sungai Melaka 2011 or the Melaka River Festival 2011 will be held from 1st June to 30th June 2011. Easy to say the whole month of June is Melaka River Festival. There will be a lucky draw everyday in the River Festival month. Among the prizes are hotel vouchers, electrical items and many more. An expo / stall will be open through the month of June at Taman Rempah and Dataran Sungai Melaka. The official opening will be on the 5th of June at 7.30pm and there also will be Decorative Boat competition. Other interesting activities are :

*Dragon Boat, Melaka Parade and Lion dance at a pontoon
*Fun Sport at the River like catching the duck, pillow hitting, climbing a slippery post, sling shot a balloon, cross Melaka River

Will update the full activities shortly….

For more info please contact:perbadanan sungai dan pantai,ppspm
Perbadanan Sungai dan Pantai Melaka,
Tingkat 9, Bangunan Graha Maju,
75300 Melaka,
Tel: 06-2814322/23
Fax: 06-2814325

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Introducing Cameron Highlands

Malaysia’s most extensive hill station, about 60km off the main KL–Ipoh–Butterworth road at Tapah, is at an altitude of 1300m to 1829m. The Cameron Highlands is a vast area of rolling green hills, tea plantations and forests stretching along the road from the town of Ringlet, then through the main towns of Tanah Rata, Brinchang and beyond. The Highlands are inside the state borders of Pahang, but easiest access is via Tapah in Perak.

The Cameron Highlands takes its name from William Cameron, the surveyor who mapped the area in 1885. He was soon followed by tea planters, Chinese vegetable farmers and wealthy colonialists seeking a cool escape from the heat of the lowlands.

The temperature in the Highlands rarely drops below 10°C or climbs above 21°C, and in this fertile area vegetables grow in profusion, flowers are cultivated for sale nationwide and wild flowers bloom everywhere. It’s also the centre of Malaysian tea production.

There’s a network of jungle trails, waterfalls and mountains, and less-taxing points of interest, including colourful temples, rose gardens and tea plantations where visitors are welcome to try the local brew.

In recent years, development of the Cameron Highlands has increased, and the construction of hulking apartment blocks has changed the old-fashioned English atmosphere. Tragically, massive, indiscriminate and often illegal land clearance has caused severe damage to the environment; hills have been levelled and streams filled in to make way for farmland, causing landslips and floods. Erosion had caused Ringlet Lake to become 75% silted up by 2005, when the lengthy (and messy) dredging operation began, but this is likely to be an ongoing problem. The federal government has introduced tough legislation against water pollution, which has become another worry. So far, the Pahang state government has done little other than impose nominal fines on landowners. After many years of construction, the ‘new road’ running from Ipoh to Brinchang and Tanah Rata is now open, offering a much easier and speedier route to the Highlands. This new ease of access is likely to spur on yet more development.

Despite all the changes, the regular rain, dampness and visiting hordes, the Cameron Highlands is still a relaxing destination and one of Malaysia’s most rewarding stopovers.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Malaysia is a multicultural society. While Malays and other indigenous minorities make up a 69% majority, there are also 21% Chinese (especially visible in the cities), 8% Indian and a miscellaneous grouping of 10% "others", many of them tribes from the jungles of East Malaysia. There is hence also a profusion of faiths and religions, with Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Sikhism and even shamanism on the map.

Some Malaysians can be very extroverted and might talk to you uninvited but most Malaysians are shy at heart and are careful not to offend others, especially tourists. However, Malaysians are very friendly when approached and will usually go out of their way to help tourists find their way around if possible.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


The 88-storey PETRONAS Twin Towers is located at the North-west corner of the 100-acre development, the Towers standing majestically at 452 metres have been acknowledged by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as the tallest buildings in the world.
The design, created by renowned architect, Cesar Pelli & Associates of the USA was selected through an international design competition held in 1991.
The floor plate of the Towers is based on geometric patterns common in architecture of Islamic heritage. It is composed of two rotated and super imposed squares with small circular infill around the edges. The exterior of the PETRONAS Twin Towers is organised in horizontal ribbons of vision glass and stainless steel which glint and shimmer in the sun. The design of the buildings also incorporates set-back at level 60, 73, 82, 84 and 88. Attached to each Tower is the 44-storey side tower or annexe, which provides an architectural balance to the slender profile of the main Tower. These coreless annexes also provide additional office space.

The Like the exterior design, the interior design patterns and materials used also reflect the national identity of Malaysia. The Towers' entrance lobbies are showcase of the country's cultural heritage, incorporating contemporary Malaysian motifs adapted from traditional handicrafts such as 'songket' and timber carvings while the floor design has been laid in a popular 'mengkuang' weave mat design.
A 58.4 metre sky bridge at levels 41 and 42 links the Twin Towers. The unique double-deck sky bridge stands 170 metres above street level with its arch support forming a symbolic gateway to the city centre.

The sky bridge is opened to visitors between 8.30am - 7.00pm every Tuesday to Sunday

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Sarawak - Land of the Hornbills

Sarawak, the largest state in Malaysia, is located on the southwestern corner of Borneo. It is a land of vast primeval rainforests, majestic mountains, caves, unique flora and fauna and diverse ethnic communities.Sarawak's history is one of heroic adventure and romance, piracy and rebellion. The state came under the rule of the White Rajahs when the Sultan of Brunei made James Brooke, an English adventurer, the ruler of Sarawak in 1841 for his help in quelling a rebellion.
Administratively, Sarawak is divided into nine divisions. Kuching, the state capital which incidentally is also located in Kuching division sits on the banks of the Sarawak River, 32 km from the sea. The influence of the British is reflected in the architecture of some of its public buildings. A fine example is the Sarawak Museum, one of Asia's best, housing a fascinating collection of Borneon ethnological and archaelogical artefacts. The Cat Museum, Islamic Museum, Chinese Museum, Timber Museum and Police Museum also offer interesting insights into Sarawak. Other notable attractions in the city include the Fort Margherita, named after the wife of Charles Brooke, the second White Rajah and the Astana, presently, the residence of the Governor of Sarawak. The Sunday Market or Pasar Minggu, where local produce is sold, is the best place to mingle with the local folk. The Sarawak Cultural Village at the foothills of the legendary Mt. Santubong, 35 km from Kuching, is a major tourist attraction. Popularly known as the living Museum, the village is a showcase of the state's rich cultural diversity. Sarawak's magnificent caves is truly one of nature's greatest gifts. The Niah National Park is an area of major archeological significance as the oldest human remains in Southeast Asia, dating back 40,000 years, were found in its world renowned Niah Caves. The caves is home to millions of bats and swiftlets and witnessing the collection of guano for use as fertiliser and the hazardous task of harvesting birds' nests can be an absorbing experience.

Equally awe-inspiring are the Mulu Caves located in the Mulu National Park. These enormous caverns contain Southeast Asia's largest cave system and other major caves which can only be described in superlatives. The spectacular Sarawak Chamber, the largest cave in the world is claimed to be able to accommodate 40 Boeing-747 aircraft. The Clear Water Cave and the Deer Cave are no less intriguing for cave explorers.

Another highlight of a holiday in Sarawak is to go on a safari up its mighty rivers like the Skrang, Lemanak and Batang Ai. Make it a point too to experience life in a longhouse, once the home of notorious headhunters. Sarawak's traditional cottage industries and agricultural activities possess a charm of their own and their products make memorable souvenirs. The handicrafts of fine craftsmanship include woodcarvings, beadworks, 'pua kumbu' (handwoven Iban textile), the 'ajat' baskets and sleeping mats of the Penans and sunhats of some communities. Sarawak's fine art of pottery-making has today flourished into a popular indigenous industry especially in Kuching, Miri and Sibu. Pepper growing is also a significant economic activity in Sarawak which is noted for its high-grade black and white pepper.

Monday, August 16, 2010


From a tourist map, the island of Penang looks somewhat like a mink's pelt. Georgetown, its capital, sits roughly on the right arm of the skin, while the Muka Head Lighthouse would be on the left arm. Somewhere near the head lies a cluster of good beaches that have helped Penang develop a reputation as a resort destination. Penang Hill sits at the center, or heart, while the figurative legs are hosts to the international airport and the Batu Maung Fishing Village . Across the straits, Seberang Perai (formerly Province Wellesley), the other territorial half of the State of Penang, is linked to Georgetown by ferry and the Fort Cornwallis marks the spot where Captain Francis Light first set foot on Penang on July 16, 1786. The hastily built wooden fort was later reinforced by convict labor. At the time no one predicted that a history gallery and a souvenir shop within the fort would become as well known as the Seri Rambai Cannon that was once salvaged from the sea. Echos of colonialism are found in the Town Hall and City Hall . The Padang Kota Lama , where many important local events are held, was once training grounds for British imperial soldiers. The eccentric Clock Tower along Lebuh Light at Lebuh Pantai was constructed in honor of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee by a Straits Chinese British subject. The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion marks the legacy of another wealthy Chinese resident of Penang, but one of a very different nature. A masterpiece of architecture and eccentricity is on display at the Malayan Railway Building , which hosts no nearby railway.


Lebuh Pantai—Central Business District
More colonial legacies line one of Penang's oldest streets, Lebuh Pantai. It is the center of a modern business district congested with a milieu traders and travelers. Along the waterfront is the Frank Swettenham Pier , terminus for the bright yellow ferries that connect Georgetown with Butterworth. Nearby Kampung Ayer , a neighborhood on stilts, was convincingly employed for the filming of Anna and the King as the setting of a 19th century dock in Siam. Wandering further into Weld Quay with its pre-crane docking warehouses and colorful waterfront may have you feeling like you stepped back in time.

Chinatown and KOMTAR When viewed from the top of KOMTAR , Chinatown looks like a colorful fabric of russet roofs and crusted stuccos. Godowns, ancient looking warehouses along the waterfront, and two-story shutter-fronted shophouses, are ubiquitous through Chinatown and an important part of Penang's architectural makeup. Here you will find as many community establishments as you will shops, and some that serve as both, such as Eu Yan Sang traditional Chinese medicine shop. The Carpenters' Guild acted as a newcomer association for Chinese carpenters and the Khoo Kongsi and Har Yang Sit Teik Tong Yeoh Kongsi a re just two examples of clan associations where members of the Chinese community could find support and society. Traditional temples also make their home in Chinatown, from Hainan Temple , dedicated to the protector of seafarers, to the Chung Keng Kooi Temple , whose origins are in the darker side of Hakka secret societies. If Penang is a destination for gourmands, Chinatown is one reason why. Institutions such as Goh Thow Chick Cafe have brought the art of serving Malay chicken rice to the level of art.

Pitt Street—Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling Within the borders of Georgetown lie several notable religious monuments of diverse faiths. Pitt Street may have been renamed Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, but the town p lanners' idea of a "street of harmony" remains. For more than a century, through good and bad times, the Taoist Goddess of Mercy Temple , the Hindu Maha Mariamman Temple , the Muslim Kapitan Keling Mosque and the Acheen Street Mosque have been close neighbors.

Little India, Gurney Drive and the Suburbs
Indian and Chetty moneychangers, Singhalese silverware and lace vendors, and the "Bombay merchants" make up an interesting corner of town. They present an experience of sights, smells and sounds straddling a few streets around Lebuh Pasar, commonly called Little India , w here saris, garlands, trinkets, sculptures, Indian music and curries abound.

West of Jalan Penang hides an enclave of stylish mansions — Millionaire's Row . Gurney Drive used to be a great place to swim, but is now the product of land reclamation, condominium development and cafes. In the evening it is also the setting for clandestine bike racing. Jalan Burma in Pulau Tikus hosts a lively wine-and-dine scene including destinations such as Club Mixx .

History and culture rule everywhere you turn in Penang. St George's Anglican Church , the Penang Museum and the Heritage Centre at Syed Alatas Mansion offer reminders of the past. The active Penang Heritage Trust has done a commendable job of preserving the details of Penang's history and spreads the wealth of its information through its heritage walk and special talks.

Northern Beaches and Batu Ferringhi Batu Ferringhi's three-kilometer (1.9 mile) beachfront is packed cheek-in-jowl with world-class hotels and eateries along with a nocturnal clutch of trinket stalls, tailors, street hawkers and rowdy bars. Several other beaches of the North Coast such as Teluk Bahang Beach , Teluk Duyung, Monkey Beach, Pantai Kerachut and Pantai Mas prove progressively less crowded and more pristine as you head west.

Penang Hill and Air Itam--Precious Patches of Green
A series of hills rise up towards the island's centre and the highest of these, Penang Hill , is 821 meters (2700 feet) above sea level. In its foothills lie the Botanical Gardens and the Air Itam Dam. The Kek Lok Si Temple provides an imposing spectacle when approaching the Air Itam district from downtown, befitting its name "Million Buddhas Precious Pagoda".

Seberang Perai—Rapid Urbanisation
Across the Penang Straits lies, Penang Bird Park , Snow Land , and the Bukit Mertajam Recreational Forest . These areas house several mega shopping malls and rumbling industrial parks.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary, Pahang is a rare and fantastic opportunity to get up close to endemic Malaysian elephants.This truly unique Elephant Orphanage  of Kuala Gandah in Pahang will give you a very rare opportunity to learn about these displaced gentle giants.
Get the chance to ride them through the jungle, with the help of an elephant guide, or mahout.For the brave and  adventurous, there are opportunities to take the elephants down to the river and help give them a bath! There really is no better opportunity than this to get in touch with these grey giants.

It is estimated that there are only 1,200 wild Asian Elephants, also known as Elephus Maximus, left in Malaysia and this is the only conservation centre set up to relocate these displaced pachyderms. The elephants here have been rescued from all over Peninsula Malaysia, providing them a safe sanctuary in the wild.

Key Tips
Open daily (8.00 am to 4.30 pm) Activities are held from 2.00 pm to 3.45 pm. Also, wear long pants, for the elephants have surprisingly rough skin.
How to get there
By Road
From Kuala Lumpur, take the Karak Highway heading towards Lancang District, passing the Karak Village along the way. Once in Lancang, you should be able to see a BP gas station by the side of the road. Turn left into the road before the gas station, then follow the ample road signs along the way and head towards Bolok. You will pass an Orang Asli settlement and at the end of that road, you will reach the Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage Sanctuary. The journey takes between 2 to 2 1/2 hours and is 160km from Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Beth, an adventurous young American traveller finds out that climbing one of South East Asia’s highest mountains is a challenging but rewarding experience. In the process she discovers muscles she didn’t know existed in her body and obtains a certificate for climbing to the summit of Mount Kinabalu in the East Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. She learns from her local Kadazan guide that the mountain is one of the most important homes for plants and animals with some flora being only found here in the park and nowhere else on the planet. This helps her understand why UNESCO has classified Kinabalu National Park as a World Heritage Site.

At the end of my descent from the 4,101metre high Mount Kinabalu I could barely stand and my legs felt like jelly but that doesn’t mean that every step of the climb up Mount Kinabalu wasn’t worth it. Upon reflection and a soothing and relaxing rest in the heated pools of the nearby Poring Hot Springs, I would suggest that climbing this awesome mountain towering above the rainforests of Borneo should be attempted by those who are fit enough and have done some pre-visit training. However, many of us who climbed had done no pre-climb training and made it the whole way up and back.

Climbing the mist-covered Mount Kinabalu is one of the great adventures of South East Asia and tens of thousands of climbers are attracted each year from all around the world.Climbing the mist-covered Mount Kinabalu is one of the great adventures of South East Asia and tens of thousands of climbers are attracted each year from all around the world. The walk is very well organised and each group is accompanied by a guide from the local Kadazan people. As I was by myself I joined another group so travelling solo proved to be easy.

We were bussed up to the start of the climb and from here on, it was me, the path and the mountain. There didn’t seem to be any pressure to keep up with the more macho types and the guide stayed at the back offering encouragement along the way. For someone like me who only works out occasionally it was demanding but I soon learned to stop regularly, smell the flowers and walk at my own pace.

In doing this I also reflected a little more upon my surroundings and took in the ever-changing vegetation, the small birds flitting from flower to flower, pitcher plants luring insects to their demise and the sheer magnificence of the peak that lay before me. The other thing that impressed me was the silence and that I really felt connected to nature as I walked my way to Laban Rata Resthouse half way up the mountain.

While crazy speedsters run to the top during the annual climbathon, mere mortals like me had to spend two days making the ascent and descent. Nothing ever looked so appealing than the sight of the resthouse in the early afternoon light. I literally fell into a chair in the restaurant and spent all afternoon re-charging my batteries with cups of hot chocolate and plates of mee goreng (fried noodles). Although tired, there was a great sense of camaraderie amongst my fellow climbers.

To be continued....