Tuesday, September 30, 2008

AirAsia urged to add more KK-Sibu flights


KOTA KINABALU: AirAsia has been urged to extend its direct flight services to Sibu from here soon.

Kota Kinabalu Foochow Association chairman Lee Su Kwong, in making the call yesterday, said that the existing direct flights by another carrier (Malaysia Airlines) were too expensive for many people.

“We would like to suggest to AirAsia to stop in Sibu en route to Kuching. There is already a KK-Kuching direct flight.

“The association has received many calls from Sarawakians and those from Sibu that the other carrier is charging RM500 plus for a return ticket, many find it too expensive,” said Lee, adding that their only suggestion was to find an alternative.

Continue reading at: AirAsia urged to add more KK-Sibu flights

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Borneo: A trip that changed a life


A solo trip to Borneo sealed the deal on a dream job for John Trybus. Not too shabby for a few weeks away.

After college, John, 22, was searching for a full-time job. He didn't get the one he expected to. But rather than feel sorry for himself, he took it as a sign. And an opportunity to travel for awhile.

He learned of a "trip of a lifetime" to Borneo, and signed up to go orangutan trekking with Dr. Birute Galdikas. She's the world's leading expert on orangutans. She has spent more than three decades living with and studying them at a reserve called Tanjung Puting Reserve.

John's trip to Borneo, sponsored by the Orangutan Foundation International, was not out of the blue. He had worked at National Geographic and had always been fascinated by the culture of Asia. And he's been interested in primates and their natural world since he was a child. Ever since seeing "Gorillas in the Mist," the movie about Dian Fossey.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Borneo: A trip that changed a life

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Gayana Eco Resort puts visitors in touch with ecology


KOTA KINABALU: Responding to the growing threat to marine life, and the push for businesses to be more environment-friendly, an island resort has set up a research centre and a programme to rehabilitate corals and fish injured by trawler nets.

The Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC) at the Gayana Eco Resort also teaches its guests about the island's ecosystems and the need to conserve them.

This is part of the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) blueprint, as the state moves to boost its economy through tourism.

MERC director Alvin Wong said a key programme was the breeding of giant clams, which in the past had ended up on the tables of seafood restaurants and displayed as ornamental pieces.

He said seven of the eight species of giant clams in the world were being monitored and bred at the centre, including two which had been classified as locally extinct.

"Giant clams are important in the ecosystem as they take in harmful waste nutrients and expel clean water into the environment.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Gayana Eco Resort puts visitors in touch with ecology

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MAS re-times flights into and out of Taipei, Kaohsiung


Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia Airlines has re-timed its flights into and out of the Taiwanese cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung for Sunday (Sept 28) due to the prevailing adverse weather conditions around the island.

The departure of flight MH94 from KLIA scheduled for 3.15pm today has been revised Monday (Sept 29).

Flights MH86 and MH68 from Kota Kinabalu to Kaohsiung and Taipei, originally scheduled to depart at 3.25pm and 6.25pm Sunday, have both been rescheduled to depart at 6.05am Monday.

Flight MH95 from Los Angeles, scheduled for departure from Los Angeles to Taipei and Kuala Lumpur at 1.40am Sunday has now been re-timed to depart the US city at 12.15pm.

Continue reading at: MAS re-times flights into and out of Taipei, Kaohsiung

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kundasang in Pictures


From Life in Borneo blog:

Sabah is known for her treasures of the natural world, and one of them is the highland village of Kundasang which lies at the shadow of the granite-clad Mount Kinabalu. Located in the Kundasang valley at an altitude of more than 1,000 metres above sea level, it is one of the highest highland village on the Crocker Range and has one of the highest concentration of farming community in Sabah - quite possibly the whole of Borneo.

Sabah’s original Green Town

The climate of Kundasang makes it ideal for the local farming communities to plant temperate vegetables, and this is evident with the abundance of green edibles that are sold here daily. The most popular export of Kundasang are cabbages, but other vegetables are also planted here such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. These produce will eventually wind up in markets all over Sabah, especially in the west coast.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Kundasang in Pictures

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Develop new tourism products: Sabah Tourism Minister


Kota Kinabalu: The State's tourism image and branding must stay at the cutting edge of the tourism market as market conditions evolve and new tourism trends emerge, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

"We must continue to remain focused that both the Government and the private sector in the tourism industry continue to strategise, align and synergise our marketing strategies together," he said.

He urged the private sector to seriously look into developing new tourism products which, among others, include the health and wellness tourism and geo-tourism, both new niche markets that the Government is keen to develop.

Masidi said this during the closing of the seminar on Developing Sabah's Tourism Products and Brand, organised by Borneo Eco-tourism Solutions and Technologies and Universiti Malaysia Sabah's School of Business and Economics', Tourism Management Programme, here, Saturday.

Continue reading at: Develop new tourism products: Sabah Tourism Minister

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Mulu too expensive for most Malaysians


MIRI: Most Malaysians would find it is still far more expensive to travel to Mulu than to other regional destinations.

“The cost of going to Mulu, when compared to other destinations in the region such as Thailand and Indonesia is considered expensive for Malaysians, particularly those from Peninsular Malaysia,” said local guide and ground handler Michael Veno.

He said the cost was what discouraged those from the Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah, as well as from Sarawak, to visit Mulu.

Speaking to The Borneo Post when met in Mulu recently, Michael said this was the feedback he received from most tourists as well as those in the tourism and service industry.

Continue reading at: Mulu too expensive for most Malaysians

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Sabah, Sarawak To Celebrate Malaysia Day On Oct 18

KUALA LUMPUR -- The Malaysia Day celebration in Sabah and Sarawak that was to be held on Sept 16 but was postponed because the Ramadan month, will now be celebrated on Oct 18.

Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said as such, the closing of the 51st anniversary of Malaysia's independence celebrations would also be held on Oct 18.

"Normally, the closing of the independence celebration is held on Malaysia Day on Sept 16," he told reporters at the breaking of fast with the media at the National Museum here Thursday night.

Continue reading at: Sabah, Sarawak To Celebrate Malaysia Day On Oct 18

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Padawan River Safari welcomes participants


KUCHING: This year’s Padawan River Safari is expected to be as colourful and exciting as the one held last year which saw participation from as far as Canada, Australia and England.

More than a hundred teams are expected to participate in this annual international rafting and kayaking event which will be held on October 26. It will be a true test of strength and endurance because participants will have to row over a punishing distance of 26 kilometres from Kampung Git to Kampung Dannu. To get to the finishing line, they have to get past the tricky Giam rapids first.

“This safari is an exciting activity which offers adventure and fun,” said Rangen Jamang, a member of the organising committee for the event. “It is ideal for those who love nature and water sports. Of course, I expect some participants to compete solely for the prize money.”

There will be three categories in the rafting event, namely Men’s Open, Ladies’ Open, and Tourism/government department. Each team can only have a maximum of four individuals.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Padawan River Safari welcomes participants

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Bus services from Brunei to Pontianak and KK launched


By Ben Ng

Commercial bus services ferrying passengers in and out of Brunei Darussalam to neighbouring states have been established and start operation on September 29, 2008, with the first phase including popular destinations such as Kota Kinabalu and Miri.

The first phase, under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in late 2007 between transport ministers from the BIMP-EAGA nations (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines), stated that the first commercial routes will start in Borneo, which includes Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak, Malaysia, and parts of Western Kalimantan.

The official launching of the new service took place yesterday at the Land Transport Department with the Minister of Communications, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Awang Hj Abu Bakar Hj Apong, officiating the ceremony.

Also present were officials from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, along with several representatives from private companies that provide transport services.

In his opening remarks, the minister said that the establishment of the new service would ultimately reduce the amount of illegal activities such as "taxi sapu", while also providing the public with a choice between taking the bus, a plane, a ferry, and their cars.

Apart from providing commercial routes to popular destinations, the minister said that the new service would also "stimulate" activity in the transport sector, while also stimulating economic growth between the BIMP-EAGA nations.

A set of "Standard Operating Procedures" formalised by BIMP-EAGA's Land Transport Group has also been set up to allow commercial vehicles to pass through each neighbouring state, reinforced under "Protocol 1" under the "Asean Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Goods in Transit".

The agreement is in line with the Ministry of Communication's vision of preparing Brunei as a "competitive transport and communications hub" with an important role in the region.

The four local companies that were selected to provide the new service received their "offer letters" yesterday. They are ADBS Sdn Bhd, PHLS Sdn Bhd, Binatanaga Sdn Bhd, and Tenaga Travel Agency Sdn Bhd.

Currently, planned routes are:

- Bandar Seri Begawan to Sarawak, onto Pontianak and back to Bandar.

- Brunei to Lawas and back.

- Brunei to Miri and back.

- Brunei to Kota Kinabalu and back.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Second waterfront will be a tourist attraction

By Johnson Kadam

KUCHING: The waterfront on the other side of Sarawak River will provide additional attraction to tourists in five to six months’ time when the proposed open food court materialise.

Speaking to reporters after launching the Giant Pelita (lamp) at Kampung Boyan in Petra Jaya on Saturday night, Housing Minister, Dato Sri Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg, said the construction of the modern food court should begin in two months’ time.

“The construction is expected to take three to four months to complete,” he said, adding that the completion of the project would mean that the waterfront would be among the many important tourist sites in the city.

Continue reading at: Second waterfront will be a tourist attraction

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Archaeologists discover Neolithic-era skeletons

By K. KASTURI DEWI

GEORGE TOWN: Archaeologists have stumbled upon eight human skeletal remains, believed to be from the Neolithic period between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago, at an ancient burial site at Gua Kain Hitam near the Niah Caves, Sarawak.

The research team, comprising members from Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia headed by Prof Madya Dr Stephen Chia, and the Sarawak Museum Department headed by its deputy director Ipoi Datan, uncovered the remains.

They were buried together with artefacts such as pottery, beaded ornaments and food remains such as shells and animal bones.

Continue reading at: Archaeologists discover Neolithic-era skeletons

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Airline's 'new friend'

KUCHING: MASwings on Friday introduced the new ART72 into its fleet of aircraft, launching the "New Friend In The Sky" for the public in Sabah and Sarawak.

The first ATR72 aircraft was received by Chief Minister of Sarawak Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud at the Kuching International Airport.

Taib said the new aircraft will help promote eco-tourism, especially in the rural areas in Sabah and Sarawak.

Continue reading at: Airline's 'new friend'

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Batik painting contest to uncover new talent in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: With more than 30 ethnic indigenous groups, each with its own identity and unique culture, Sabah should be an inspiration for batik artists.

But Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun can't understand why the state is nowhere near making a mark for beautiful batik creations, given the myriad of inspiration possibilities.

"With all this God-given heritage at our disposal, there is no reason why Sabah should not be able to produce great batik.

Continue reading at: Batik painting contest to uncover new talent in Sabah

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Exotic Vacation in Borneo


If you are interested in visiting exotic destinations, the island of Borneo could be a place for you. If you would like a soft adventure while indulging in a luxury and comfortable surrounding, then Sabah, the state in Malaysia Borneo may just be your next exotic vacation destination.

Sabah, being located at the northeast corner of Borneo, is well positioned to offer a unique exotic vacation flavour with a difference. In fact..., with a very big difference.

There is more to Sabah than sunny tropical weather, beautiful white sandy beaches, clear crystal waters and rich ocean life.

Unlike most tropical vacation destinations in the world, Sabah offers an array of activities from adventure and nature to wildlife on top of a world class exotic beach vacation.

You would have a wonderful opportunity to get close to the natural rainforest environment, bio-diversified floras and wildlife while being pampered by international standard tourist facilities such as first class spa hotels and beach resorts, or if you are more adventurous, there are also jungle or mountain resorts for you to choose.

Whether it is an exotic vacation for adventure, nature, family, scuba diving, wildlife, romantic or honeymoon, Sabah can offer all of these and more.

And the best thing is that you don't have to travel far and wide to savour the best attractions in Sabah, saving you invaluable time and money to stay put in just one exotic vacation destination.

The only danger is that you may not be able to enjoy all the attractions of Sabah. so, if possible, plan a longer vacation so that you can truly enjoy most of the great things that Sabah has to offer - pristine beaches, natural biodiversity, good night life, and an exotic and rich cultural heritage.

But what's the rush? To get the most out of a memorable tropical vacation here, you will need at least a week. To experience the "Best of Borneo" in Sabah, a month stay may not be enough.

More Reading at Borneo Tropical Vacation

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Exploring Borneo Tropical Rainforest


From TravelSphere Blog:

The Tropical Rainforest is earth's most complex biome in terms of both structure and species diversity. It occurs under optimal growing conditions: abundant precipitation and year round warmth. There is no annual rhythm to the forest; rather each species has evolved its own flowering and fruiting seasons. Sunlight is a major limiting factor. A variety of strategies have been successful in the struggle to reach light or to adapt to the low intensity of light beneath the canopy.

The Tropical Rainforest has always been one of the most mysterious and adventurous place to visit. Throughout the whole world, only a few tropical countries are lucky to have tropical rainforest with them, these are Amazon tropical rainforest, Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia.

When travelling in the tropical rainforest, it's adventurous and mysterious; we definitely want to think about our own safety. Amazon and Africa Tropical rainforest system are similar to the one in Malaysia and Indonesia, but for safety reasons, we always encourage visitors or tourists to visit the 3rd largest island in the world - Borneo.


Continue reading at: Exploring Borneo Tropical Rainforest

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Proboscis Monkey


From MySabah.com Blog:

I had seen proboscis monkeys in Klias Wetland, Kinabatangan and Lokkawi Wildlife Park. The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary in Sandakan is one of the best spots to see them. During the feeding time at 11:30am and 4:30pm, you can a few families (about 30) of them come for the food.

BTW, you also can see many Silver Leaf Monkeys around that area. The people here also call them “Beckham” monkey (probably Beckham looks like them). Proboscis Monkey has nicknames such as “Long-Nosed Monkey” and the “Dutch Man.” The male has bigger nose than the female, and they use their big and long noses as a sex tool to… to… to attract the female. I wonder how do they kiss huh.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Proboscis Monkey

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Sipadan rulez!


From Misak's Travel Blog:

Hello my dears. Time is flying and I'm back in Malaysia again. But this time in Sabah province in northern part of Borneo Island. And last three days I spent in diving paradise.

After Australia (where everything is special and best - and afterwards you're disappointed because it's a crap) I didn't expect too much, but it was absolutely outstanding.

First day I dove on tropical island Mantabuan and it was really good - definitely better than Great Barrier Reef.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sipadan rulez!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Research on social life of Sabah’s Borneo elephants


SANDAKAN: A conservationist is now studying the social structure of Sabah’s Borneo elephants after past research had focused on genetics.

“We do not yet understand their actual family structures and group dynamics,” said Nurzhafarina Othman, a biologist at Danau Girang Field Centre.

Nurzhafarina, whose reasearch would be based on actual observations, would be working with the Elephant Conservation Unit (co-founded by French non-governmental organisation Hutan and the Sabah Wildlife Depart-ment).

DNA information would also be collected via the faeces of the elephants.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Research on social life of Sabah’s Borneo elephants

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Coral reefs at Sandakan Turtle Park checked to ensure survival


SANDAKAN: When waters that surround Selingaan, Gulisaan and Bakkungan Kechil islands were turned into a marine park and named Taman Pulau Pulau Penyu in 1977, it was done for a reason.

It was not only to protect turtles that land on the islands, but also to conserve coral reefs that thrive in these waters as a major component of the ecosystem.

Apart from being a source of food for turtles, the coral reefs are the habitat of other marine life.

Aware of this important aspect, Sabah Parks launched an annual programme to monitor coral reefs at the marine park.

According to park manager Fazrullah Rizally Abdul Razak, the programme’s objective was to ensure the existence of the marine habitat despite the focus being on turtles.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Coral reefs at Sandakan Turtle Park checked to ensure survival

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sandakan Crocodile Farm churns out skin for leather goods

SANDAKAN: Sandakan which is well known as the gateway to Sabah’s eco-tourism has many places of interests and one of them is the Sandakan Crocodile Farm, the country’s largest with over 3,000 reptiles.

Located at Mile 7 1⁄2 Jalan Labuk, it takes about 30 minutes’ drive to get there from town centre. The original stock at the farm was from wild crocodiles found along the longest river in Sabah, the Kinabatangan River.

Apart from getting an up close look at Sabah’s biggest reptiles, visitors can also view several other attractions hosted by the farm including crocodile and snake shows. The Sandakan Crocodile Farm also features a mini zoo and a children’s park.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sandakan Crocodile Farm churns out skin for leather goods

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

MASwings boost to Sarawak’s economy


KUCHING: Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said he was confident that the bold move by MASwings, Malaysia’s first commuter airline, in serving the rural areas would boost Sarawak’s economy.

Taib said rural air services (RAS) would not only become a way of life, but would also spur eco-tourism and help connect the state’s rural areas to the world.

He was confident that RAS would prove to be a profitable venture for MASwings.

Taib nevertheless pointed out that RAS depended very much on connecting services from Kuching and Miri in Sarawak, and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah.

“RAS is on the way to becoming a way of life. MASwings has taken a bold step by giving priority to it (RAS) in Sabah and Sarawak.

Continue reading at: MASwings boost to Sarawak’s economy

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Places of Interest in Sabah: 1Borneo Rainforest


The first and largest lifestyle hypermall in Malaysian Borneo is offering visitors the unique experience of journeying backwards through time. Now, you can teleport yourself out of the modern world and into the ancient Borneo civilization at the 1Borneo Rainforest.

Explore the world of atavistic Borneo with your five senses by taking a stroll upon a replica of Sabah’s illustrious Tamparuli Hanging Bridge in a lush rainforest setting. Seize the opportunity to experience traditional ‘kampung’ (village) lifestyle and join in the fun with the world-famed indigenous dance as well as traditional rituals, such as the Magunatip (warrior dance).

Got adventurous tastebuds? Delight them with an array of Sabah’s authentic traditional gastronomies. If you like hands-on activities, be sure to try your hands on batik painting, jewelry beading, and rattan basket making.

At the end of your visit, check out the souvenir displays ranging from Sabah’s finest to other range of souvenirs from South East Asia. No trip to Sabah will be consummate without precious mementos to bring home.

1Borneo Rainforest is open daily from 10am to 10pm.

Tariffs

Entrance fee is RM10, applies for both local and international visitors.

Getting There

1Borneo is located 7 kilometers northwards from Kota Kinabalu city centre. It is easily accessible via 1Borneo’s shuttle buses and the City bus- sector 3 (stop at 1Borneo Hypermall). Guests staying in the four nearby hotels can simply walk to the 1Borneo Rainforest at their convenience.

Further Information

Tel: 008-484955 ; Fax: 088-484977 ; Email: cornelia@1borneo.com

Source: Sabah Tourism

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Tambunan Forest


From MySabah.com blog:

Sigh… no rafflesia blooming at Tambunan Rafflesia Center, after driving 1 hour to get there. Rafflesia is a weird flower. It does not bloom regularly, and its flower can last only 1 week. Actually I was supposed to call them to check first, but their phone number was not working. No luck… probably next time then.

Since I was there, it was a lost not to walk in their forest. The conservation fee is RM50 (about USD15) per group, so you better go in group to share the fee. I waited and joined a group of students, so I paid only RM10.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Tambunan Forest

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarawak plans traditional stay for tourists during fests


KUCHING: Sarawak plans to promote the Gawai and Hari Raya festivals by offering tourists the opportunity to stay at a longhouse or village during the celebrations beginning next year.

Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said he had directed his staff to identify longhouses and villages with suitable facilities to accommodate visitors.

“We will then get the village or longhouse committee to come up with packages for the festive season, with the help of tour operators.

“This will allow tourists to experience the culture and way of life of our people during festivals,” he told reporters yesterday after launching the sale of mooncakes for charity at India Street here.

Continue reading at: Sarawak plans traditional stay for tourists during fests

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Sabah moves to conserve turtles, marine habitat


SANDAKAN: When the waters that surround Selingaan, Gulisaan and Bakkungan Kechil islands, were turned into a marine park and named Taman Pulau-Pulau Penyu in 1977, it was done for a certain intention.

The move was not only to protect the turtles that land on the three islands but also to conserve the coral reefs that thrive in these waters as they were a major component of the marine parks ecosystem.

Apart from being the source of food for the turtles, the coral reefs are also the habitat of other marine life in the park.

Aware of this important aspect, the Sabah Parks authorities have launched a programme to monitor the situation of coral reefs in this marine park.

According to the marine parks manager, Fazrullah Rizally Abdul Razak, the objective of the annual programme is to ensure the continuous existence of the marine habitat there, despite the focus being on the turtles.

Continue reading at: Sabah moves to conserve turtles, marine habitat

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Mooncake Festival has huge tourism potential


KUCHING: The annual Mooncake Festival has good tourism potential if it is promoted well.

Minister of Urban Development and Tourism Datuk Michael Manyin said the festival might not appear to have any attraction to the local people but to foreign tourists, it could be special.

“We have for a long time a unique tourism product in the Mooncake Festival and it can be a good tourist draw if it is really promoted and marketed,” he said at the launch of Sarawak’s Longest Charity Mooncake at India Street mall yesterday.

He said Sarawak had many tourism resources, and for it to be successful in the industry, everyone had roles to play.

“When I was in France last week, I said that we are not competing with Europe in the tourism trade. We have our own products and they (Europeans) were surprised to hear that we have so many indigenous groups, each having its own culture, living in this country,” he said.

Continue reading at: Mooncake Festival has huge tourism potential

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Region to be made ‘Single Ecotourism Destination’

9th October, 2008

KOTA KINABALU: Governments within the BIMP-EAGA region have set the goal of developing the region as a “Single Ecotourism Destination”.

In an exclusive interview with the New Sabah Times yesterday, the organizing chairman of the upcoming BIMP-EAGA “Community-based Ecotourism Conference”, Bernadino Moningka Vega said that all these while, local governments within the BIMP-EAGA region have promoted their ecotourism destinations on their own and that it was high time for these governments to work together to promote the BIMP-EAGA region as one big region, adding that if successful, it would be a win-win situation for all its member countries.

He further added that the BIMP-EAGA region would be an attractive destination for ecotourism as it is the only place in the world where one would be able to experience lush tropical rainforest (in Borneo) and rich coral reefs (at the Sulu-Sulawesi’s Coral Triangle) under one roof.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Region to be made ‘Single Ecotourism Destination’

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Holidays for do-gooders - Go to Sarawak


For a ‘feel good’ vacation, head for Sarawak where you can holiday and help make the world a better place.

THERE comes a time in your life (perhaps after you turn 30 or even earlier) when the idea of getting burned by the pool or haggling yourself hoarse for souvenir T-shirts at the market on a vacation suddenly loses its appeal.

You start to re-evaluate the meaning of life, or try to, and then realise that again, perhaps all you want out of the vacation is a little something different.

Something to write about to the folks back home... that, while the sun and sea are great, you’ve found a better way to spend your money on than souvenirs.

The good news is, you’re not alone. More and more vacationers are discovering that combining volunteer work with their holidays, or “voluntourism”, gives a more meaningful aspect to their holiday, apart from new experiences that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Such getaways are aplenty. One just needs to search the Web and be wowed by the number of displays for the opportunity, from both non-profit organisations and travel companies that organise volunteer vacations.

From collecting field data on turtles to building homes for the unfortunate, the fact remains that volunteer vacations let you feel good, learn and give back all at the same time.

WOX With Orang Utan

Consider the orang utan project run by Sarawak Forestry and the Way Out Experience (Wox) at the Matang Wildlife Centre. Volunteers get to participate in conservation work specifically on orang utan that not only helps to promote awareness of the endangered species, but also lets them be involved with the locals.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Holidays for do-gooders - Go to Sarawak

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Sarawak's Hornbill Skyways to expand its fleet of aircraft


KUCHING: Hornbill Skyways will continue to expand its fleet of aircraft to meet increasing demand especially with the implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), said Hornbill Skyways Executive Chairman Aidan Wing.

“With the implementation of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE), we will consider purchasing additional aircraft to beef up our strength in the very near future,” Aidan told Eastern Times prior for a test flight on board the Hawker 400XP jet at Hornbill Skyway hangar here yesterday.

Hawker 400XP jet is manufactured by Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC), based in Wichita, Kansas, the United States of America.

He said Hornbill Skyways had purchased an aircraft from the same manufacturer, the Beechcraft King Air B200GT early this year for USD5.3 milion (RM17.9 million) (*1USD=RM3.38*).

“The aircraft is now undergoing camera fixing in Australia and will be ready for use by the end of the year. The aircraft will provide extra services for aerial survey as well as for private and government charter,” he said.

Hornbill Skyways has two fixed-wing aircraft and nine helicopters.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sarawak's Hornbill Skyways to expand its fleet of aircraft

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Ramadan Bazaar

01-30 September 2008

While the month of Ramadan is the fasting month for the Moslems the world over, it also the time when food stalls start to emerge, selling tantalizing food for breaking fast. But the bazaar is not just for those taking part in the fasting month. Mention the Ramadan Bazaar and food lovers will perk up with excitement.

A huge variety of food and drinks will be sold for takeaway. Look out for food items like chicken rice, soto (noodle soup), kebabs and an array of colourful cakes. Try out extraordinary looking drinks such as cincau (grass jelly drink), chendol (green jelly drink) or air bandung (a pink drink made out of milk and rose syrup).

Visit these bazaars in the fasting month of September:

Location: Sembulan; Asia City Market; Lintasan Deasoka, Gaya Street; Wawasan Plaza; Sinsuran Night Market; Inanam Traditional Tamu; and Indah Permai (near the Giant Hypermarket)

Time: 1.30pm to 6.30pm

For further information, contact Elizabeth Borubui of the Kota Kinabalu Municipal Hall at 088 521800, fax 088 316137.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Mahua Waterfalls continue to awe visitors


KOTA KINABALU: Mahua Waterfalls nestled in pristine jungle and gushing with crystal clear waters is fast gaining popularity as a tourism attraction since it opened to the public in June 2003.

At 20 metres high, it is situated along the Crocker Range and only 26km from Tambunan town.

Despite the lack of infrastructure, Mahua Waterfalls continues to draw visitors and perhaps one main attraction other than the pure and natural surroundings is the cool and temperate climate.

During the day the temperature hovers around 23 degrees Celsius and can plunge to 15 degrees Celsius at night.

The area is managed by the Sabah Parks and according to Ranger James Soibi, there were 5,022 visitors to Mahua last year from as far as Canada, USA, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Norway and Australia as well as Brunei.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mahua Waterfalls continue to awe visitors

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AirAsia X unfazed by high fuel costs, airline failures


KUALA LUMPUR: Long-haul budget airline AirAsia X said it will not hit the wall like other low-cost carriers, with ticket sales strong despite faltering economies and high fuel costs.

AirAsia X chief executive officer, Azran Osman-Rani, said that while there was an overall “dampening in consumer demand for travel,” the carrier’s low fares meant it was unscathed by the downturn.

He said the carrier’s operating costs are low compared to other airlines, and that it would not meet the fate of UK-Canadian carrier Zoom and Hong Kong-based Oasis, which have gone under in recent months.

“We are a low-fare carrier. There is a big demand for travel at the prices we offer,” he told AFP in a recent interview.

Aviation experts have expressed cautious optimism over the business model of AirAsia X, which has fares generally half those offered by full-service carriers.

Continue reading at: AirAsia X unfazed by high fuel costs, airline failures

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

AirAsia launches KK-Labuan route


LABUAN: The soon-to-be launched new domestic route, Kota Kinabalu-Labuan, by AirAsia Bhd will help to boost economic activities on the island.

Consumer Association of Sabah and Labuan (CASH) president Datuk Patrick Sindu said the consumers, especially those with businesses, had been facing difficulties travelling between Kota Kinabalu and Labuan due to limited flights by national carrier Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

“The move by the airline company should have been implemented long ago. Travellers have to use the ferry to travel between Labuan and Kota Kinabalu which takes about three hours,” he said yesterday.

Continue reading at: AirAsia launches KK-Labuan route

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Common fabrics of Brunei Darussalam


By Johan Suhaimi

There are a variety of fabrics in Brunei Darussalam. The expensive ones are the Taung (fine silk), Satin Kina (Chinese silk satin), Kain Karang (line patterned fabric), Kain Kalang (chequered fabric), Kain Garimut (a kind of brocade from India) and so much more.

However these fabrics are imported and very expensive. The local ones are the woven fabrics of gold or silver, which are out of the reach of the common public.

The alternative are locally made fabrics which use techniques that have been tried and tested in the Brunei culture. In the past, the common colours were black, blue, brown, white and grey.

The fabrics for the mass public were coarse and stiff. But the barter trade infused with creativity, local technologies and the desire to own opulent fabric made it possible to own fabulous fabrics.

By the early 1950s, the opulence of Brunei Darussalam's economy permitted the public to afford fabrics of quality, which reduced creativity, and made as unnecessary need of making one's own fabrics. This marked the end of fabric colouring and the secret techniques designing the old styles.

The barter trade among Brunei's ethnic groups living along the river and the upland folks encouraged education, including obtaining colours from natural resources.

To obtain the latex, the beating of the banana stem produced rust red and deep brown colours. The ketapang tree bark produces a greenish colour. Turmeric gives the brightest to the faintest yellow colour. In experimentations, colours are mixed to obtain shades that are often uncategorised.

The local culture describes the orange colour as Pacah Talur (the broken egg yolk). The lighter shade is Kuning Muda (lighter yellow). Kuning tua means a darker yellow. These terms are applicable to all colours common in Brunei Darussalam.

The "Kain Pelangi" is a fabric decorated by stitched threads and then tied up. At times, a filling is inserted, forming a bulge inside the stitched fabric that produces an interesting, decorative effect. Banana leaves, mango leaves and fabric shreds produced different characters once the stitch is unraveled.

The hues used for this technique are in a variety of shades like the rainbow, thus the name Pelangi. The Pelangi fabric is usually cotton until the upper class saw it as something fine, thus creating the fabric from silk. The Pelangi fabrics are made in stages. Dipping the fabric in the colour vats takes a few days' work and effort before completing it into a wearable art.

The other way of decorating a plain fabric is by dipping it in a vat of yellow or red. This type of colouring is called Ubar (dipping).

The fabric using this technique was dampened before immersing it into the colour vat. This ensured an

even shade of colour all around the fabric. This fabric is dipped several times to get the lighter to the darker shades required.

The decoration of incorporated designs and patterns uses two materials to produce the Kain Cuai (carelessly decorated fabric). The fabric to be decorated is stretched on a frame that lay close to the floor. Usually this is done outside or under a porch. The creator would choose either clay or sago starch for decoration. The clay is taken from a termite's nest.

The patterns would be drawn using a "Kuas" (brush) made from plants. The design are usually big and stiff because mud or sago do not flow well. This is left to dry for a day. Then the colours are applied using a Churung (funnel). Colours would be absorbed more by the patterns made by the clay or sago and create a darker shade. The colours are applied in layers as required by the creator. The fabric is left to dry for a few days. The clay or sago would be scraped from the fabric.

The Kain Buruk-Buruk is one design not seen often in the Brunei Malay culture lately. This type of fabric decorating requires patience as the process is tedious and is only one done before weaving it. The threads to be made into the fabric are tied and dipped in dye. Unlike other type of weaving, pre-patterning is done on the threads before they go into the loom.

Both the horizontal and vertical fabrics are dyed this way. This type of fabric is known as Ikat Ganda or Ikat Dua. To beautify, metallic or coloured threads are laced between the designs of the fabric during weaving.

These types of fabric decorating are not restricted to small fabrics but are also applied to Tempisong Dastar (fabric for head gear), Sinjang (wrap round), Kain Sarung (tubular skirt), Selindang (Shawl), Arat (cummerbund), and even clothing.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Exciting packages for MICE events from Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa


The Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa is offering MICE (meeting incentive conference exhibition) organisers various packages to hold their events with exciting themes to choose from. These packages provide MICE participants with fun and excitement while catering to attendees’ needs with unmatched quality of service.

The packages include:

ON THE GREEN (4 days 3 nights package for groups below 30 persons): A unique swing-and-meet package designed for corporate golfing enthusiasts. Hold your conference and at the same time tackle Sabah’s most challenging golf courses.

FIND YOUR ELEMENT (4 days 3 nights package for groups below 30 persons): A holistic journey to discover the harmonious balance of Ying and Yang provided with soothing treatments at CHI, The Spa. Practise yoga at sunrise at the yoga pavilion. Set your mind free and enter the meeting bare footed and let the world of serenity inspire new directions and ideas.

CAST YOUR NET (3 days 2 nights package for groups between 30 to 300 persons): A colourful entourage welcomes participants in traditional Malay custom, complete with kompang beats and pandan drinks. Participants get to embrace the rustic lifestyle of the Malaysian fishing village.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Exciting packages for MICE events from Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

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MASwings ATRs to take over Fokker routes


MIRI: The proposed ATR 72-500 flights by MASwings, starting this month, is expected to change the aviation landscape by eventually taking over the national air routes within Sabah and Sarawak from the Fokker 50 aircrafts, which will be phased out.

It is to be launched in Kuching by Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud on Sept 12.

This was revealed by a flight administrative executive of MASwings.

More of the new aircraft, the first for MASwings, a wholly owned company of MAS, have been ordered to replace the ageing Fokker aircraft.

It was also revealed that this fleet of aircraft would eventually take over all Fokker routes under the Rural Air Services (RAS) in East Malaysia including Kuching, Sibu, Bintulu, Miri, Limbang, Mulu and in Lawas when the proposed new airport project is completed.

Industry sources said the first ATR 72-500 aircraft for MASwings is expected to serve the increasingly busy KK-Mulu route as tourist traffic to this world natural heritage site had increased recently.

Continue reading at: MASwings ATRs to take over Fokker routes

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Underwater Photography near Gaya Island


From MySabah blog:

I completed and passed my PADI Open Water Diver course in early April. I didn’t blog about it coz I didn’t have any photos. The one-time-use water-proof camera works only up to 15 Metres deep, but our dive could go up to 18M and I also wanted to keep my hand free during the training.

Sabah has some of the most beautiful underwater spots in the world. Being a Sabahan, it is such a sin not to appreciate and photograph it. Besides, there are less people doing underwater photography in KK. Underwater Photography is extremely challenging. After I took the Digital Underwater Photography specialty course last month, I agree that the underwater photographers really deserve a few thousands dollars for a good photo, it is not as easy as you think.

My Underwater Photography training took only 1 day near Gaya Island base station. In the morning, we were doing shore diving, taking photos in shallower water. Below is the photo of clown fishes, which are the cousin species of Nemo. The coral looked like white noodles being surrounded by “Ikan Bilis”, yummy… There is one female clown fish in each group. If it dies, the biggest male clown fish in the group will “turn into” female and take over her place. Amazing huh?

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Underwater Photography near Gaya Island

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarawak's Tourism better served if RM3.3 bln can address logistics


KUCHING: The problems of logistics will continue to be the bane of Sarawak’s tourism sector if the RM3.3 billion set aside for basic amenities and infrastructure by Budget 2009 is not used to link potential tourism sites in the state, said Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Gracie Geikie.

She said that having roads built to link places like Kapit to the rest of the state would facilitate tour packages as the roads would cut down travel time and in turn, cost.

“Although we’d like to term it as exotic to indulge in travelling the rugged way, time and cost are still two important factors,” she told The Borneo Post in an interview at her office here yesterday.

In fact, Gracie said, she had even brought this up to MASwings for a possibility of reactivating the Sibu-Kapit route or the Kuching-Kapit route.

She pointed out that Kapit had products that were simple yet very cultural and nature-based and this, combined with Pelagus area, could just prove to be the next best thing for tourists.

Besides the longhouse excursions, Kapit was also rich in its history boasting stories from the Rajah Brooke’s time and also the confrontations with insurgence, she added.

Continue reading at: Sarawak's Tourism better served if RM3.3 bln can address logistics

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AirAsia offers fare as low as RM10 at Matta Fair


KUALA LUMPUR: AirAsia says it will be making amazing offers with fares as low as from RM10 and holiday packages as low as RM165 during the Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents (MATTA) Fair which will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre here from Sept 5-7.

In partnership with Tourism Queensland, Gold Coast Tourism and Western Australia Tourism, the airline would demonstrate the many attractions Australia has to offer alongside AirAsia’s extensive network providing low-cost options for travel throughout Asia Pacific.

In a statement yesteday, the low-cost carrier said during the fair, a special show featuring cartoon characters will be performed by artistes specially flown in from Queensland, Australia.

Continue reading at: AirAsia offers fare as low as RM10 at Matta Fair

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Belaga Regatta - Long boats get on with the show


THE Belaga Regatta in Sarawak is a unique event featuring the perahu temuai, a longboat with up to 100 paddlers, in one of its races.

Other regattas in Sarawak do not have such a long boat in their races.

The team from Uma Kahei longhouse won the race, followed by the teams from Uma Aging and Sekapan Piit longhouses.

Other races in the regatta involved the 15-, 30- and 40-horsepower perahu bangkut (a type of speedboat) and the water scooter.

The regatta is an annual event for people living on the upper reaches of Rajang River, mostly from Orang Ulu communities such as the Kayan, Kenyah, Lahanan, Sihan and Kejaman Neh.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Belaga Regatta - Long boats get on with the show

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