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....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Homestay is an excellent way to make friends, learn about Malaysia’s multi – racial culture, and have a taste of the kampung or village lifestyle. It is fun, safe, and an affordable way to stay in Malaysia and you can interact and experience village-style living first-hand as well as the Malaysian culture. Live with the locals and eat with them; be a part of their family in a traditional village is perhaps one of the fastest and easiest ways to get to know the real Malaysia.
Situated away from the busy and hectic life of the city, you will be experience the unique yet peace-of-mind traditional lifestyle of Malaysia. For those who relish the quiet calm of the rustic life, this is possibly as good as it gets.
The rural living areas in Malaysia are called "kampungs". In these kampungs, majority of the houses are built on stilts and amenities offer basic comfort, many have very huge and wide windows which make the houses airy and cool. Electricity and running water are available and the kampungs are well connected to big cities via modern highways and public transport.

You will get to experience the full spectrum of village life which includes:
  • Home-cooking lessons – Learn what makes Malaysia food so special!
  • Harvest local fruits that are in season.
  • Spend time with the children after they return from school.
  • Indulge in traditional games, such as kite flying, top-spinning, and congkak.
  • Enjoy cultural dances, musical performances and even a mock-wedding

For a cultural experience like no other, the time is now, the place is Malaysia.


While the eponymous Pulau Langkawi is the largest and most densely populated, Langkawi consists of no less than 99 islands (or 104 at low tide), each with exquisite beaches which must be seen to be believed.

Beaches like Tanjung Rhu have gained reputations as some of the most picturesque in the world. Kept free from waves and wind by a bay, Tanjung Rhu is an oasis of calm. Boating trips to some of Langkawi's smaller islands can be made from Tanjung Rhu, or you can even walk across the snow white sand to some of them at low tide!

For a more lively escape, Pantai Cenang is the beach for you. With a wide range of resort hotels and shopping destinations, Pantai Cenang is the liveliest spot in all of Langkawi. Play on the beaches by day (all manner of water and beach sports are always on the go), and experience the best in Malaysian nightlife by evening.If it's peace and quiet you're after, then Langkawi has the ideal secluded paradise in Pantai Kok. Nestled beneath a forested mountain range and miles away from the cares and hubbub of the city, the soothing sands of Pantai Kok are ideal for a romantic getaway or just a break from the hassles of life.

Or, for the best of both worlds, visit Pantai Tengah. With a pleasant mix of the activity of Pantai Cenang and the serenity of Pantai Kok, Pantai Tengah has become quite popular with families looking for a vacation spot with something for everyone. Take in live music at one of the beach front bars, or sample local cuisine at the many restaurants, such as the Lighthouse, which offers weekly Malay cooking classes designed for tourists.

No trip to Langkawi would be complete without a brief trip away from the beaches, and up the mountain of Gunung Mat Chincang to take in the majestic Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells) waterfalls. Take a cable car ride to the top of the mountain, catching a majestic birds-eye view of the beaches of Pulau Langkawi along the way. Then, watch as seven freshwater pools flow into a single, breathtaking torrent of water down a rock face. Other waterfalls, like Temerun, Durian Perangin and Lubuk Sembiland can also be found in the lush jungles of Palau Langkawi's mountains.Langkawi is one of Malaysia's most popular destinations. Make sure to book your accommodation well in advance to avoid finding everything booked.

Langkawi, surrounded by sandy white beaches and bright green waters, has been attracting tourists for years. But with budget airlines flying to this destination, more and more foreign tourists have been traveling to this duty free haven in recent years, with its attractive imported and local goods.Local goods are mainly souvenirs: batik, pewter, silk, handicraft, sea food, snacks and lots of other local delicacies. Lots of souvenirs shops can be found all over the island. Many souvenirs are made of local wood, coconuts and marble, well crafted and refined in detail, and good value for money.

Langkawi’s Duty Free Port status makes shopping here very attractive, and picking up good bargains has almost become a popular sport.If you come by ferry to Langkawi, then your Duty Free shopping spree can start the moment you step onto the island. Just outside of Kuah, the main town on Pulau Langkawi, Jetty Point Duty Free Complex offers a wide range of products including alcohol, cigarettes, chocolates, ladies and men’s apparel.The modern and air-conditioned Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall offers over 100 shops across two floors. Samudra Duty Free Department Store offers a wide spread of duty free products: cosmetics, fragrances, leather, liquor, cigarettes and sports apparel and gear.

There are more duty free outlets in and around Kuah, like Saga Shopping Center and Langkawi Duty Free, where international branded clothes and confectionery, luggage and household appliances can be found. Just outside of Kuah the Teow Soon Huat Departmental Store in Pokok Assam is another great place to spend an afternoon shopping.The Langkawi Craft Complex to the North of the island is a magic place to shop for souvenirs to bring home. Items found here will thrill you and make your visit to Langkawi unforgettable. Items from the Langkawi Crafts Complex hang on walls or stand in living rooms all around the world.

At Pantai Cenang (one of the most popular beaches) the Shopping Paradise Duty Free Centre is located in the same building as Langkawi Underwater World. Among many other items you will find watches, fashion, jewellery and batik made cloth and fashion.

Duty free rules
After staying at least 48 hours on the island, visitors are allowed to bring one bottle of liquor and one carton of cigarettes back to the mainland. When you fly out of Langkawi, local regulations of your destination airport apply.

A few things to think about when you buy delicate goods in Langkawi: some goods might be illegal in the country of arrival, among those could be decorative ornaments made of seashells, and any item made of crocodile leather. Buying such goods also helps the trade in these items, and the world benefits when animals and seashells are left where they belong, in their own habitat. Most international credit cards are accepted in all shopping complexes. World wide delivery can be arranged by most art and souvenir shops, if items are to bulky to fit in your suitcase.Langkawi is a true duty free paradise and you will enjoy the many shopping options offered.Shop around first, before you buy, as bargains are always around the corner in this shopper's haven.

Pulau Langkawi is home to many ancient old cooking styles, spices and recipes. Many of these dishes have influenced the modern culinary delicacies found on the island today. Eating in Langkawi is a true experience, whether you are looking for classy gourmet or road stall fare, Langkawi offers the best of both worlds and everything in between.

Various Langkawi styles originate from Indonesia, India, China, Africa and Portugal and can be traced back to these countries, still influencing contemporary Langkawi cuisine. Many of the local dishes are a bit more spicy than in other places around Malaysia - it’s the influence of neighboring Thailand that brings this twist. Local cuisine is based around chicken and fish, tropical fruits, vegetables and rice.
One drink has its origins wholly in Langkawi: Gamat. Air Gamat (gamat water) is made of sea cucumber or sea slug found in the local waters. For more than 300 years it's been believed to have strong healing powers for the whole body, and build a strong resistance and immune system against any disease. Many forms of gamat are found: pills, powders, concentrated bottled drinks, but the drink Air Gamat is delicious and a real local treat.
Other local Malaysian dishes can be found everywhere: Roti Canai, Nasi Lemak, Char Kouy Teow, Chicken Rice, Nasi Goreng, Rojak, and Laksa.

Of course being surrounded waters full of rich marine life, fish can be found on any menu on the island. Fruits of the sea are a real delicacy here, as all produce is fresh, and brought in by the local fishermen every single day. Many dishes include a good selection of vegetables, which are grown all over the island. Langkawi is also know for its abundant herb culture - many herbs and spices are grown on the island itself.

Enjoying food on an island like Langkawi is a pleasure, everyone is in a relaxed mood, the romantic atmosphere is in the air, and the setting of some of the restaurants is stunning. Around the beaches most restaurants have a special sunset arrangement, where one can sit with his or her feet in the sand, enjoying the freshness of the catch on the island while seeing the sun sink behind the horizon.

At the other end of the scale we find road stall food, served by local hawkers. Hawkers are normally work in the evening hours, and can be found on street corners and various food courts along the beach areas and various locations in Kuah. As a new visitor to Langkawi you should try the hawker foods, as they are delicious and inexpensive.

Restaurants here are a little more expensive than on the main land, but the quality is definitely there. Most resorts have one or two restaurants which might be open to the general public.Fast food can be found in Kuah, the local shopping centers and at Jetty Point.Pulau Langkawi is an island that will put your taste buds to the test from early morning to late at night, but we ensure you that you will love the local cuisine for its rich and plentiful culture.

Langkawi is an idyllic dot of green forested landscape on the edge of the Andaman Sea, surrounded by a mosaic of tiny islands. Langkawi is a true vacationer's paradise. The warm tranquil waters of the Straits bring a wide array of water sports, events and beaching opportunities for any visitor young or old. This pristine island also belongs to the first Asian UNESCO Geopark, which offers spectacular views, challenging hikes and wander routes. In short, Langkawi has it all.

Getting to any island leaves the visitor with more options than one, and can sometimes present challenges. However Langkawi has its public transport and road system well organized.

Arriving by air
Most foreign holiday makers fly into Langkawi. The modern Langkawi International Airport offers a pleasant atmosphere and welcomes hundreds of thousands of guests every year. Daily direct flights arrive from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Penang and many capitals in the South East Asia region. Malaysia Airlines Systems (MAS) and budget carriers Air Asia, Tiger Airways and Silk Air are the main operators to Langkawi. Twice a week direct flights from London are received by Langkawi International Airport, connecting Europe directly to this sunbathed island paradise.

Arriving by boat
Ferries from Kuala Kedah, Penang, Kuala Perlis and Satun, Thailand arrive at Jetty Point Complex all day long. The ferry Terminal Jetty Point is located just outside of the Kuah town center. The express ferry from Kuala Kedah on the Malaysian Peninsula runs every day at 7:00 am until 7:00 pm and takes around one and half hours to reach Langkawi. Both the ferries to Kuala Perlis and Satun take around 45 minutes to one hour depending on sea conditions. Penang is almost three hours away. The cost of your ferry crossing is very inexpensive.Star Cruises, one of the luxury cruise lines in this part of the world use Langkawi as one of their favourite stops on their long sea journeys. The cruise terminal is at the Awana resort on the southernmost tip of the island.

Arriving by road
The main West Coast highway towards Thailand, the E1, offers a very pleasant drive towards the north of Malaysia. From Kuala Lumpur the journey to Kuala Kedah takes about six hours and to Kuala Perlis about 7 hours. These two ports will serve you with a regular Ferry crossing, seven days per week. Getting close to Kedah, the terminals are sign posted as "Alor Setar Selatan" and "Langkawi". Once arrived at Kuala Kedah or Kuala Perlis you can park your car at a private car park. You might be greeted by vendors on motorbikes offering you the parking service. Parking fees are around RM10 per day.It is possible to bring your own vehicle to Langkawi, but it takes an overnight cargo crossing. For a short stay it’s less expensive and more convenient to rent a car in Langkawi.

Buses from Singapore, Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur come and go at the busy ferry terminals or the main bus stations in Alor Setar and Kota Perlis. You need an extra transfer by city liner to the mainland ferry terminal, but these are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Taxis are everywhere.

Arriving by rail
KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) offers a rail service from as South as Singapore, with an interchange at the main train station in Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar (Alor Star). You need a taxi from Alor Setar station to the ferry terminal in Kuala Kedah. The KTM offers a very relaxed and economical way to see and travel through Malaysia.

Getting around the island
Unfortunately there are no public buses in Langkawi. The easiest way to move the island would be to hire your own transport, either car, mini van, bicycle or motor bike. You will find the roads in Langkawi are well kept and well maintained. Many travel agents and resorts in Langkawi offer various transport options. Rates can vary from place to place and might vary even from season to season, shopping around makes sense.

Taxi rides are governed by government regulations. Every taxi driver with a taxi license in Langkawi operates from a book with all destinations and prices are exact and correct, and always the same. Taxis are in good condition and the drivers are friendly and can offer lots of additional tourist information.
Langkawi offers a perfect infrastructure for any traveler; you will enjoy traversing and cruising this fantastic enchanting Jewel of the North.Langkawi isn't terribly famous for its nightlife, and that’s not totally strange because as a tourist you'll need to search a bit for the real nightlife. Langkawi is not a party destination as such, however good night spots can be found.

An evening in Langkawi starts with the sun setting behind the glistening of its azure blue waters, when the night air starts to tremble and the orange of the sun disappears and changes the blue skies in a star sparkled sheet covering the island. A true sunset is best experienced at the beach, where the sand cools down your feet, and a glass of chilled wine or other drink enhances the spectacle.

Dining at sunset is an absolute once in a lifetime experience in Langkawi. And many hotels, resorts and restaurants will cater to the opportunity. Just before sunset is also the moment when all the locals will flood the beaches, as they tend to avoid the blistering sun during the day.

Once the darkness falls the evening can start, and in and around the beach areas, like Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, people will find a place to sit and relax, have a drink and search for dinner, walking from restaurant to restaurant. Exploring their menus can be great fun, and surrounded by vibrant sounds and delicious smells you know your evening has started.

For the party animals the evening can start in some of the beach bars, which all have their own style, from reggae and blues to lounge music, and some even have live music by local musicians, mainly playing international requests. If you are lucky and the mood is right, the speakers move from inside to the outside of the bars, and you can find groups of people dancing at the beach. It's an awesome experience to dance the night away with the sea roaring in the background.

Large scale discotheques are not found in Langkawi, but some addresses we could recommend are Black Henry Pub and Disco and Chime at the Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort, and Coco Jam Fun Pub & Disco at the Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa. Both locations offer live entertainment on a regular basis. Other great nightlife spots include Dallas Karaoke, Burau Beat Pub, The Beergarden, Breeze Lounge, Little Lylia’s Chill Out Café, Yellow Cafe and The Bistro. Nightlife is enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, making for great ways to meet new friends, hear great stories about Langkawi and venture for new ideas and sites to discover.

Music in many of the night spots is not geared towards one genre in particular, but caters to a large and international crowd. The deejays and live bands will play the latest hits as well as popular music from the seventies and eighties. Whether you enjoy R&B, pop, rock or disco the bars and discos will cater to your needs.Pulau Langkawi is an island surrounded by 98 smaller isles, drifting in the emerald green Andaman Sea. No matter what you like to do during your holiday, whether it's reading a book at the swimming pool or trekking a jungle trail, yachting on a speedy sail boat or just wandering along one of the many white sandy beaches, Langkawi will entrance you throughout your stay at this unspoiled charming island of peace.

All around the 99 islands, secluded beaches can be found and day trips can be made to many of the smaller islands. The two world famous beaches of Langkawi are Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah, which are located in the South of the island close to the airport. Popular with the tourists, many sorts of accommodations can be found here, from the bare essentials to the top luxuries. An abundance of water sports are offered here, and the warm waters of the sea will pull you closer. Pantai Kok is a great location to get away from the crowds, and to the North are more secluded and nicely tucked away beaches like Pantai Pasir Tengorak, Pebble Beach and Datai Bay Beach. At the Datai, the Northern coast offers even more smaller beaches which attract lesser crowds, but are a must see for nature and beach lovers: Pantai Pasir Hitam (Black Sand Beach) and the beach of Air Hangat and Tanjung Rhu Resort.

In Langkawi the color green is everywhere: this ancient rainforest-covered patch of land in the middle of the Andaman Sea offers a wide variety of options for those who want to discover the natural wonders. The Mangrove Forest in the North Eastern part of the island presents various options to explore this extraordinary estuary. Bird watching is popular in the low marsh lands close to the shores, the large wet acres of reclaimed land offer fantastic photo and spotting opportunities for bird enthusiasts. The large jungle offers great trekking options all over the island. The Langkawi Cable Car in the West part of the island can bring you one of the highest peaks on Langkawi, Gunung Machinung, where on a clear day Indonesia and Thailand can be seen from this mountain top. Breath-taking views, soaring eagles, and the feeling of freedom can be experienced across 360 degrees.

Telaga Tuju, in the North West corner of Pulau Langkawi, is a waterfall cascading over 7 pools, an absolute marvel of Mother Nature and a great place for a relaxing picnic. There are many more forests, waterfall, caves and lakes to be discovered.

Water sports
Langkawi offers a wide variety of water sports. There are ample marinas to be found in various parts of the island. The Royal Langkawi Yacht Club close to Kuah, Rebak Island Marina and Telaga Harbour Marina in the West all offer sailing, boat charters, berthing and rental facilities. Jet skiing and parasailing is offered at Pantai Cenang and Pantai Tengah. Langkawi is also a great place to learn to scuba dive as the waters are calm year around. The new scuba diver will have the experience of a lifetime.

Golf enthusiasts can eat their heart out in Pulau Langkawi, which offers beautiful beachfront courses where you can tee off with a cooling summer breeze in your hair. The three main golf courses are Langkawi Golf Club, Golf Club Datai Bay at The Datai and Gunung Raya Golf Resort - all offer fantastic high class facilities.

Other activities
Langkawi Underwater World, Galeria Perdana, Ibrahim Hussein Art Museum Langkawi, Rice Museum, Islamic Museum, Royal Museum and Heritage Museum, Lagenda Park, Kedah Traditional House, Craft Cultural Complex, Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi Wildlife Park, Snake Sanctuary, Crocodile Farm and Oriental Village are among the many activities offered in Langkawi.

Our best tip would be to take at least one day to tour the island, explore and discover its inner secrets.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Sipadan Island is the only oceanic island in Malaysia. It is well-known for its international diving fraternity as one of the world’s five best dive sites. Rising 600 meters from the seabed, Sipadan Island is located in the Celebes Sea east of the major town of Tawau and off the coast of East Malaysia on the Island of Borneo. This beautiful oceanic island was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop.Sipadan Island is located in the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world, the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin. In this ecosystem, over 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species have been classified.In the waters around Sipadan, rare diving scenes are frequently seen such as schools of green and hawksbill turtles nesting and mating, schools of barracuda and big-eye trevally in tornado-like formations, pelagic species such as manta rays, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks. Therefore, Sipadan is popular with its unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles which gather there to mate and nest. And it is not really rare for a diver to see more than seventy turtles on each dive.Besides that, there is a mysterious turtle tomb lies underneath the column of the Sipadan Island. The turtle tomb was formed by an underwater limestone cave with a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that contain many skeletal remains of turtles that have become lost and drown before finding the surface.Currently, this beautiful island is in the care of Wildlife Department. The Wildlife Department has stationed several park rangers to oversee the state of nature of the island. In order to protect the world’s unique flora and fauna on the island as well as the underwater world, the Malaysian Government has made a decision that from the year 2005, no more overnight facilities shall be on the Sipadan Island itself. This implies that all dive operators on the Sipadan Island have to move and diving at Sipadan will be conducted from other destinations likes Mabul and Kapalai.p/s -Its really nice and amazing place to visit!


Here’s information on KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and LCCT KLIA (Low Cost Carrier Terminal), and how to use the Express Rail Link, taxis, airport buses to get into the Kuala Lumpur. If you are taking a express bus from Singapore, you will most probably find yourself in Puduraya Bus Sation.There’s so much to see and do in KL, lots of good hotels and good food, fascinating bazaars and shops.Once you’ve settled into your hotel (It is ,however, important that the hotel is situated in the Golden Triangle of the city. Then you’re close to the shopping centres of Sungei Wang, Bukit Bintang, Lot 10 and Low Yat Plaza. And you’re within walking distance of the famous Petronas Towers with its shopping centre Suria. KL nightlife is unbelivable diversify, so join the locals to party and drink, especially on weekends.You can see Kuala Lumpur’s top sights in a rush on an overnight stay, but you’ll need at least two days to do them justice, and three or four days to really get a sense of the city. In a week, you can get a good look at most of what Kuala Lumpur has to offer, do some shopping and enjoy an excursion to Selangor as well – the Batu Caves is not to be missed.

Kuala Lumpur is adept at reconciling the old with the new. How the city excels at striking this balance is clearly observed in how the colonial façade and structure of the Sultan Abdul Samad building blends intimately with the tall, freestanding wonder of The Petronas Twin Towers. Naturally, there’s more to the face and feature of Kuala Lumpur than these two world famous landmarks. The old railway station is one. The Masjid Jamek is another. And then, there’s the new headquarters of Telekom Malaysia that curves skyward in its design and daring. One thing you’ll discover in Kuala Lumpur is the many priceless moments you get to sit back and reflect. Amidst the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city, lies a calming yet serious appreciation of culture and the crafts. Take a look. Take a walk. You will be inspired.


One of the largest and the most beautiful of the east-coast islands, Pulau Redang has, inevitably, been targeted by big developers, and there are few options for the independent traveler; nearly all visitors come on all-inclusive package deals.Reef is teeming with fish, turtles, live corals and other spineless creaturesPulau Redang is one of nine islands that form a protected marine park, and it offers excellent diving and snorkeling. Of most interest to travelers are the beautiful bays on the eastern side of the island, including Teluk Dalam, Teluk Kalong and Pasir Panjang. Most resorts are located around the sandy beaches at Teluk Kalong and Pasir Panjang. Berjaya Beach Resort is located at Teluk Dalam, a bay that is so sheltered that it is hardly affected by the northeast monsoon.There is so much to do on and around Pulau Redang, one can return year after year and still find new places to explore. The reef is teeming with fish, turtles, live corals and other spineless creatures. There’s snorkeling, diving, windsurfing and kayaking available at most resorts. Berjaya Resort offers a golf course in an idyllic setting if you are on a Malaysia golf vacation.The Redang Archipelago is truly a gift sent from the heavens. The water surrounding these islands is teeming with marine life. About 500 species of living, breathing soft and hard corals create a wondrous seascape just below the white caps. And in turn these reef-building variety of corals shelter a host of inhabitants – a myriad species of bivalves and fishes. It forms part of Indo-Pacific Ocean’s breeding ground and nursery for many species of fish and other marine life. Sponges, algae and plankton provide a rich soup of nutrient for the thriving community. Green and hawksbill turtles drag themselves onto the white, sandy beaches to deposit their fertilised eggs into deep holes excavated under cover of night. Flying foxes, pythons, birds, mousedeers, monkeys and iguanas take refuge under the canopy of the forest. And in the late evenings when all human activities have quieten down, listen closely for you will here the heartbeat of the land, the whispers of the wind and the secrets of life – at Redang


Lying off Perak on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, this tranquil island with its white sandy beaches and charming fishing villages will enthrall you.The name Pangkor may have originated from the Thai word Pang Ko meaning “Beautiful Island”. However others believe it may have been a memorial to Pang Kui, a legendary Chinese adventurer said to have lent his skills in seamanship to the bands of pirates this island once sheltered.Pangkor’s main attractions are undoubtedly the wonderful offerings of its pristine beaches on the western coastline. Name after a legendary lovelorn princess, Golden Sands Beach or Pantai Puteri Dewi is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Located on the northwest of Pangkor, this 1.2 km stretch boats warm turquoise waters fringed with tall swayinf coconut palms. The beach here is ideal for sunbathing and recreational activities such as bird watching. Look out for hornbills said to roam the area.Pasir Bogak Beach, a snorkeling site with an extensive reed and shallow waters, faces the channel between Pangkor and Pagkor Laut. Located nearby Pangkor town, this popular destination is a favourite haunt for picnickers due to its shady trees. Here, visitor can enjoy a kayak run or the simple pleasure of beachcombing.Teluk Nipah is where tourists can enjoy both solitude and excitement by the beach. Take in the soothing lush greenery or browse the open-air stalls by the beach. A walkl across to Giam Island at low tide will reward you with a treasure trove of marine life.Head to the Pulau Sembilan group of islands, 27 km south of Pangkor for a superb diving experience. The nine islands (sembilan means ‘nine’ in Malay) are uninhabited with an abundance of colourful marine life.Eating out in Pangkor is a delight as there are restaurants serving both local and international cuisine. Alternatively, head to Pangkor town to enjoy fresh seafood.Pangkor LautPangkor Laut is a world-renowned tropical island destination. A 20-minute boat ride from Pangkor, it boasts one of the finest beaches in the Straits of Malacca. Sunset cruises can be specifically arranged upon request. Couples can choose to have dinner by Emerald Bay which affords scenic views for a truly romantic experience.Pangkor Laut houses an exclusive resort named after the island. The Pangkor Laut Resort was rated as the ‘best among the best’ by Conde Nast Traveller in 2003. Actress Joan Collins and renowned tenor Luciano Pavarotti have graced the resort. For those seeking complete rejuvenation, pamper yourself at the luxurious Spa Village.LumutLumut is the staging point to Pangkor if arriving by road or rail. Located 83 km from Ipoh, the state capital, it is home to the country’s principal naval base and a port which serves the hinterland. Teluk Batik, south of Lumut is popular for camping, boating and windsurfing. Nearby is Teluk Rubiah, another fine beach with a golf course. The Lumut International Yacht is a stopover while sailing the Straits of Malacca.Lumut is 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur via North-South Highway. It can be reached by taxi or bus from Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur or Butterworth.Getting ThereBy SeaPangkor is a 15 minute ferry ride from Lumut. Departures every half hour.By AirBerjaya Air operates direct flights from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport nearby Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor