Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our invaluable site visitors, customers, partners and families a very Happy New Year with hopes of good health and prosperity for 2010!

In a blink of an eye, we will be ushering in the second decade of the new millenium. In a blink of an eye, e-borneo.com will be online for the 12th year and 9th year offering travel services. Our sincere appreciation and thanks for all your support throughout the years. We will not be here today without you.

2009 had been an eventful year for e-borneo.com. Firstly, we have established a new travel company to further extend our brand name reach. The company aptly called E-BORNEO.COM TOURS & TRAVEL SDN BHD (company registration No. 862652-M) was formed in July 2009, and by October 2009, we have moved into our new premises at Lot No. 7, 2nd Floor, Block C, Lintas Jaya Uptownship, Penampang, about 10 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu city centre. The spacious office is well decorated to provide you with a splendid comfort when you pay us a visit to talk about tour options.

2010 still holds the mystery of future endeavours, but we will strive to being the travel planner leader in Borneo tourism, and to continue establishing a reputation and brand name for quality service and reliability. We are optimistic that we can serve each and everyone of you more efficient and more effective in 2010.

To achieve this, your support is greatly appreciated once again for an excellent year ahead! Through your support, feedback and constructive criticism, we can improve our service to serve you even better next year and beyond. So, make a date to visit Sabah and Borneo in 2010 and let us assist you to discover the ultimate nature, wildlife and adventure vacation destination.

Lastly, Peace in your HEART, Health in your BODY, Wealth in your LIFE, Joy in your HOME. May you aways be blessed with these priceless treasures. Happy New Year 2010!

Warmest Regards,

Management and Staff
E-BORNEO.COM TOURS & TRAVEL SDN BHD (862652-M)

Lot No. 7, 2nd Floor, Block C
Lintas Jaya Uptownship
88200 Penampang
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Malaysia
Tel/Fax: +6-088-722606
URL: http://www.e-borneo.com/


P.S. Do take note that our office will be closed on Thursday, 31 December 2009 to Sunday, 03 January 2010. For travel and related requests, do note that all your e-mails enquiries may be replied during this holiday period (depending on priority and/or importance) but earliest confirmation can only be processed on Monday, 04 January 2010.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting close to nature at Hot Springs Poring Park

The open bath tub at Hot Springs Poring Park

Ladies enjoying the Poring Hot Springs Pool

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Sahama and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd


By Sahama

Ranau is a state that can attract more visitors from within and outside the country every day with its beauty of nature in addition to visiting several locations in the resort such as 'Kinabalu Park', 'Warian Dunia Park' and 'Hot Springs Poring Park and Pool'.

The Poring Hot Springs Pool area is surrounded by a collection of bamboo trees, fruit trees and rattan. Even the name Poring itself comes from the local Kadazan Dusun language, which means bamboo trees.

Poring Hot Springs Park formed naturally from inactive volcanic activity that gives out steam heat when water rose to the surface of the earth. Hot water contains carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and other minerals that may be able to treat most skin diseases, relieve pain in joints and tiredness for those who climb Mount Kinabalu.

The visitors who came in the state are charged an entrance fee of RM5 for locals and foreigners are charged RM15 per head.

Before they reach their destination, tourists also have the opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the flowing river along the suspension bridge, which is 157.8m long and 41m high above the trees.

The swimming pool has more than 30 reservoirs of hot water bath-style Jacuzzis. Uniquely, each swimming pool also provides hot and cold water pipes to enable visitors to obtain the appropriate bath temperature.

Visitors who wish to rent an indoor swimming Poring Hot Springs [in special room] will be charged RM15 per hour.

For those who prefer to explore the beauty of flora and fauna in the forest, there is also an opportunity to experience wildlife such as monkeys, birds, etc.

For fans of insects, you certainly do not want to miss the opportunity to see the famous ' Rajah Brooke Butterfly' up close, as well as the biggest and most beautiful species called 'Papilionidae'. It is estimated that there are 44 species of butterflies in the island of Borneo and half of them can be found at Poring.

Before leaving the Poring Hot Water Garden, visitors have the opportunity to shop at souvenir stalls in the area.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Usher in the New Year at Hilton Kuching

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, Hilton Kuching Hotel is prepared to cater to all your whims and fancies.

Usher in the New Year and treat your family to a mouthwatering feast. The kitchen crew of the Waterfront Café will be cooking up a storm for the season’s specials in The Premium Dinner Buffet on New Year’s Eve. Priced at RM120++ per person, guests will be served with a complimentary glass of draft beer. The lavish buffet features king salmon, wagyu beef, lobsters, mussels, oysters, foie gras and much more. In addition, diners can expect to enjoy dinner with live entertainment.

For oriental food lovers, Toh Yuen will be serving its famous Chinese Dinner Buffet. A sumptuous menu of Chinese cuisine awaits, with all-time Toh Yuen favourites such as Shark Fin’s Soup with Crabmeat, Peking Duck, Fresh Water Prawn in Vietnamese Sauce, Steamed Pompfret and Green Mussels. Also, a Chinese orchestra has been specially invited to entertain guests. The Chinese buffet is priced at RM120++ per person with a complimentary glass of draft beer while a private room is available with a minimum spend of RM2010.

Wine and dine that special loved one at the Steakhouse with an exquisite 4 course menu and a luscious dessert room. The sumptuous dinner includes Foie gras with Truffle Oil and Caviar, Double Boil Chicken Consommé, Seafood Scallop and Tiger Prawn Risotto, Grand Fed Ribeye, and Black Codfish. The dinner is priced at RM145++ per person with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine, while tables of 10 persons will be presented with a complimentary bottle of premium spirit.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Usher in the New Year at Hilton Kuching
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Kota Belud's tourism and petroleum potential

THE State Government will look into the possibility of setting up a petroleum and gas industry in the district, like in Labuan, besides developing the long and beautiful beach as a new tourism destination.

CM Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who agreed to the requests by Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, said the petroleum and gas industry can be developed in Kuala Abai where Yayasan Sabah's wholly-owned Petrosab Logistik Sdn Bhd recently took over Mamut Copper Mining Sdn Bhd's Usukan port.

He also agreed to develop the long shoreline of Kota Belud, which he described as very beautiful and having great tourism potential.

"I will invite investors to work together with the locals in developing the district's beach as the new tourism destination.

"People in Kota Belud will greatly benefit from these apart from the ongoing rice bowl development where the Government has been allocating millions of ringgit," he said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Kota Belud's tourism and petroleum potential
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Smooth sailing for Brunei-Sabah ferry service

By Azlan Othman

Several government officials from Brunei Darussalam boarded the 'MV Shuttle Hope' vessel for a trial run of the Serasa-Menumbok ferry service yesterday to ensure that everything was in order ahead of its December 30, 2009 maiden voyage.

According to a representative of PKL Jaya Sdn Bhd, the local company that owns the vessel, there will be a half-price promotion from December 30 and December 31, 2009.

The normal rate for each vehicle (including the driver) is $70 per trip i.e. from Serasa to Menumbok or vice-versa. A $25-fee will be incurred for each passenger in the vehicle. Children below the ages of 13 will be charged half price.

The eight-million-dollar ferry can carry 200 passengers and 45 saloon vehicles, including 4WDs, at a cruising speed of 15 knots.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Research on turtle conservation in Sabah

SANDAKAN: A study to determine the turtle population in feeding ground areas has been conducted at the Tun Sakaran Marine Park and Sipadan Islands in Semporna from Sept 29 until Oct 12 this year.

The study, the first in the country, was conducted by a group of researchers from the Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU), Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, led by Dr Juanita Joseph.

Dr Juanita said blood samples of 69 Green turtles and nine Hawksbill turtles were taken for the study, adding that the turtles were marked before they were released.

"The marking of the turtles was done in the feeding ground for long-term observation and monitoring," she said here.

Continue reading at: Research on turtle conservation in Sabah
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National Christmas open house in Sabah on 29 Dec

KOTA KINABALU: Christmas may have passed but the excitement has yet to die, as Sabahans look forward to the next big event — the National Christmas Open House at Padang Merdeka, here on Tuesday.At least 5,000 people are expected to throng the venue, where Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah and wife Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah Awang Japar will be guests-of-honour.

Christmas is an occasion popularly celebrated in Sabah, known for its ethnic diversity, with 32 groups, besides its large Christian population.

“I’ve never attended such a public open house as the time was always not convenient, but I’m keen to go this time,” said Helena Lajuni, 24, who is in her final year for a bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management at Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Such an event, she said, could help foster the 1Malaysia concept among Sabahans, citing her own siblings who have spouses of different races and religions “but we all learn to respect each other’s customs and join in whatever festive celebration”.

Project management consultant, engineer Raja Lachmanan, 44, who is married to a Kadazandusun, said having an open house like this for the people would help spread the joyful spirit of Christmas.

Continue reading at: National Christmas open house in Sabah on 29 Dec
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Water taxi may bring uniqueness to Sarawak tourism

KUCHING: People in the city, especially tourists, will soon enjoy the uniqueness of Sarawak’s tourism when the water taxi begins its operations.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said plans for the water taxi operations had almost reached its implementation stage.

Johari said the water taxi, to be operated by a private company, would become a reality faster than many had expected.

“If all goes well, I believe we will see a new product for tourism in Sarawak called the ‘water taxi’ soon,” he told reporters here yesterday.

According to Johari, the water taxi will begin at Kubah Ria near the Satok Bridge, and from there it will travel along the Sarawak River until the Borneo Convention Centre located at Jalan Bako.

Johari assured that the water taxi operation would not affect ‘perahu tambang’, the traditional transportation across the Sarawak River.

Continue reading at: Water taxi may bring uniqueness to Sarawak tourism
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Inaugural Eastar Jet direct flight arrives in Kuching

KUCHING: The inaugural Eastar Jet direct flight from Seoul, South Korea to Kuching arrived at the Kuching International Airport (KIA) at 1.10am on Christmas Day.

On hand to welcome the 114 passengers were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chief executive officer Datuk Rashid Khan, Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng, and Eastar Jet president Yang Hae-Gu.

Dr Chan, who is also Tourism and Heritage Minister, told a press conference before the flight landed that the chartered flight was a good start to the working relationship between the state and South Korea.

He explained that this was the first time Kuching had an international direct flight from the country.

“As I know, this is the first international route of Eastar Jet, the Seoul-based low cost airline. It is our honour that Kuching is the first international destination of the airline,” he said.

He added that the direct service would also help to strengthen the relationship between Malaysia and Korea.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Inaugural Eastar Jet direct flight arrives in Kuching
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Sarawak Cultural Village all decked out for Xmas

KUCHING - The Sarawak Cultural Village in Santubong near here is all spruced up with festive decorations for the Christmas celebrations, The Star reported.

Big Christmas trees have been put up at the village lobby and theatre where cultural dances are staged.

The village's assistant public relations officer, Nizerley Beki, said the village was also offering special discount rates for entrance tickets until Sunday.

She said local and foreign visitors would have to pay only RM20 and RM45, respectively, compared with the normal rates of RM25 and RM60.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sarawak Cultural Village all decked out for Xmas
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009 Christmas greetings from e-borneo.com


A Blessed Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2010 from all staff at e-borneo.com and our recently established travel company, E-BORNEO.COM TOURS & TRAVEL SDN BHD (862652-M) to all our Christian visitors.

Please take note that our office will be closed on the following days:
  • Thursday, 24 December 2009 (afternoon) - Sunday, 27 December 2009
  • Wednesday, 30 December 2009 - Sunday, 03 January 2010
For travel and related requests, do note that all your e-mails enquiries may be replied during this holiday period (depending on priority and/or importance) but earliest confirmation can only be processed on the first working day after re-opening (i.e., 28 December 2009 and 04 January 2010).

Christmas is a time of peace, love and giving, and the Christmas spirit overshadowed all negativity including jealousy, hatred and enmity, and blessed one's heart with feelings of goodwill for others regardless of race, religion or creed.

As we enjoy the festivity, the abundance of good food and entertainment, let us forget not those who are less fortunate and those who are suffering this Christmas

May your festive holidays be a memorable and safe one this year.

Wishing you a tropical Christmas from Sabah Malaysian Borneo, and a fruitful New Year ahead.

Looking forward to serve you better in 2010!

Best regards,

Management and Staff

E-BORNEO.COM TOURS & TRAVEL SDN BHD (862652-M)
[ Travel Company of
e-borneo.com ]
Lot No. 7, 2nd Floor, Block C
Lintas Jaya Uptownship 88200 Penampang
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Malaysia
Tel/Fax: +6-088-722606

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

20 years left to save orang utan from extinction

KOTA KINABALU: The world has less than 20 years left to save the orang utan, according to conservationists who predict the charismatic red ape will become extinct if no action is taken to protect its jungle habitat.

There are thought to be some 60,000 orang utan still living in the wild in Malaysia and Indonesia but deforestation and the expansion of palm oil plantations have taken a heavy toll.

“The orang utan habitat is fragmented and isolated by plantations, they can’t migrate, they can’t find mates to produce babies,” said Tsubouchi Toshinori from the Borneo Conservation Trust.

Environmentalists are calling for the creation of wildlife “corridors” in Malaysia to link the scraps of jungle where the orang utan has become trapped by decades of encroachment by loggers and oil palm companies.

Tsubouchi said that although studies had predicted that the orang utan would disappear within 50 years if their habitat continues to vanish, action needed to be taken within the next two decades to stall that process.

Continue reading at: 20 years left to save orang utan from extinction
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Homestay at Kota Klias next year

Beaufort: Kg Kota Klias will become a hive of activity next year when enterprising residents start a homestay service in the village.

It was the Minister of Community Development and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun, who motivated the people to venture into the tourism industry.

She said this is a good opportunity for the village folks to raise their families' income.

"After all, Kota Klias is famous for its proboscis monkey and fireflies.

With homestay facilities, more tourists will be drawn to this village to live here and enjoy our local products such as food and traditional instruments.

"You need to think outside the box if you wish to succeed in life. Trying out homestay business is a chance to get out of the shackles of poverty," she told the community when officiating at the People-Friendly Programme here, recently.

On the same day, Azizah, who is Klias Assemblywoman, also launched the People-Friendly Programme and Family Well-being Education Class (PKK) at Kg Pintas Kubu.

The people were urged to revive their agricultural activity, especially orange cultivation.

Continue reading at: Homestay at Kota Klias next year
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lahad Datu nicknamed 'Palm City'

LAHAD DATU: Lahad Datu has been given the nickname of ‘Palm City’ as it is the largest oil palm producer in Sabah.

The town’s rebranding was launched by the Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur who is also the Lahad Datu assemblyman.

“The rebranding of Lahad Datu is relevant as the city is fast developing from revenue earned through the oil palm industry in the area.

“If possible we will gazette it (the nickname). We will study the relevant regulation before further action is taken,” he told reporters after the rebranding ceremony.

In line with its nickname, he asked the local authority to plant more trees from the palm species apart from oil palm trees around Lahad Datu to beautify the city and to attract more tourists.

Lahad Datu was derived from Bajau words meaning the state of Datu. It was believed that the phrase emerged after the migration of the Datu Royalty from Sulu Islands in the south of the Philippines to the Sabahan Gulf (now known as Darvel Gulf) at the end of the 18th century.

Continue reading at: Lahad Datu nicknamed 'Palm City'
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Monday, December 21, 2009

‘Lost World’ has potential

KOTA KINABALU: An intensive effort is underway to assess to see if Sabah’s “Lost World” has what it takes to be a World Heritage Site.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun has directed officers to do a thorough study on the world renowned Maliau Basin, rich in bio-diversity and popularly dubbed as “The Lost World” of Sabah.

“I hope to get this done in three months before bringing it up as a proposal to the Cabinet,” Masidi said yesterday.

The 390 sq km basin forms part of Yayasan Sabah’s timber concession area but was designated as a conservation area in 1981 for the purposes of rainforest education, research and training.

It remains Borneo Island’s untouched rainforest that is rich in flora and fauna, including over 1,800 species of pitcher plants and at least 80 kinds of orchids.

“Maliau Basin is not only unique but is famous worldwide as a centre for research,” said Masidi.

Continue reading at: ‘Lost World’ has potential
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Proposal for Maliau to be Heritage Site

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah will stand to gain if Maliau Basin, also known as "The Lost World," near Tawau gets to become the second World Heritage Site in the State.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, said he will bring up the idea to the State Cabinet or Yayasan Sabah Group, which is currently responsible for this area, to get their response.

"It is a suggestion worth taking into consideration. It is because of the uniqueness of Maliau Basin as well as Danum Valley, which has become a world famous centre for research and where many scholars have benefited from," he said.

"Ultimately Maliau Basin is still under a concession area belonging to Yayasan Sabah and gazetted as a protected area," he told reporters after he officiated at the official opening of Mai Yai Thai Orchid Restaurant at the Water Front, here, Saturday.

"Of course it will be a good thing for Sabah if Maliau Basin can become a World Heritage Site," he said.

Mount Kinabalu in Kundasang, Ranau, which was declared a World Heritage Site, is also the first in the country.

"We will liaise with Yayasan Sabah and at the same time would like to know what are the qualifications for forests to be eligible for consideration as a World Heritage Site. It is not as simple as that because there are qualifications which need to be satisfied," he said.

Continue reading at: Proposal for Maliau to be Heritage Site
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Another good spot for leisure, fish spa in Kimanis

KIMANIS: A Tagal system at Kg Kinolosodon here has huge potential to be another tourist destination for leisure and fish spa activities, said Bongawan Assemblyman Datuk Karim Bujang.

He said the Tagal spot has a suitable natural surrounding for visitors to enjoy fish-massage like the one at Kg Luanti, Ranau as well as for picnicking.

"I was made to understand by a senior officer of the Sabah Fisheries Department that the natural surrounding at the Tagal system of Kg Kinolosodon is more interesting and attractive compared to those in Kg Luanti.

"The river has big boulders and deep waters which make the area very suitable to be turned into a recreational spot for locals and tourists.

"In fact, the river water looks clear, serene and unpolluted, which can attract people to swim and enjoy the green scenery," he said.

Karim said this to Daily Express when attending the first harvest of the Tagal system at Kg Kinolosodon situated along the Kimanis-Keningau route, near here, Saturday.

About 12 villages situated near the Kimanis River are benefiting from the harvest. Among the fish they harvested were Pelian, Serawi and Lomi.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Another good spot for leisure, fish spa in Kimanis
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sabah's pygmy seahorse under threat

KOTA KINABALU: A unique species of seahorse in Sabah’s east coast islands are under threat because of the actions of over-enthusiastic divers.

The pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti and H. denise) was discovered at coral reefs at diving havens such as Pulau Sipadan, Mabul, Bohay Dulang and Bodgaya barely five years ago.

Since then, some dive operators have been bringing divers to known sites of these creatures that can blend with sea fans to serve as their habitat.

Enthusiasm to view these creatures has also seen as many as 100 divers congregate on their habitat and use the flash to take their picture which could harm them.

Some divers have also been known to break off the sea fans and move them just to get a better angle for their pictures.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sabah's pygmy seahorse under threat
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New airport for Mukah

KUCHING: Mukah will get a RM600mil airport to cater to its rapid growth as the Sarawak Corri-dor of Renewable Energy’s (Score) central administrative centre.

Mukah Division Resident Saudi Narani said the proposed airport was being designed, adding that the site survey work for the project was underway.

“The new airport will cater for B737-800W aircraft and larger passenger capacity.

“Half the funds approved for the project is already available,” he told about 100 participants at a seminar organised by Angkatan Zaman Mansang Sarawak (Azam) to provide updates on Score.

Saudi, who presented a paper on Score: Current developments and challenges in Mukah, said the existing airport in Mukah could only accommodate 18-seater Twin-Otter aircraft.

Presently, MasWing operates flights between Mukah and Kuching and the Mukah-Miri sector.

Continue reading at: New airport for Mukah
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sabah stopover for national food carnival

Kota Kinabalu: The Fabulous Food 1Malaysia carnival, a national agenda to promote tourism in the country, will make its maiden Sabah stopover at the Lido Square, near here, on Dec 26.

With the State round to be organised by the Lido Hawkers Association, the event will showcase local delicacies such as nasi lemak, satay and curry laksa, among others, sold by more than 30 hawkers and food sellers here.

The Ministry of Tourism launched the food carnival, which would be an annual programme, recently to bolster the nation's tourism industry by promoting Malaysia's local cuisine to locals and tourists.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Ng Yen Yen had said that her Ministry would dedicate the last three months of the year for food promotion, with December designated to promote Malaysian restaurants and street or hawker food.

Association Secretary Andrew Yong, who is also the event organising chairman, said the carnival will start at 4pm, with Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun, expected to launch the event at 5.30pm.

"We thank the (Federal) Ministry of Tourism and Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry for their support," he told a media conference here, Wednesday.

Continue reading at: Sabah stopover for national food carnival
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mt. Kinabalu Via Ferrata - Sabah's first and only Guinness record

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah earned its first spot in the Guinness World Records through the via ferrata ('iron road' in Italian) built on Mt Kinabalu at 3,776 metres above sea level, which has been certified as the world's highest via ferrata.

The achievement, made by the via ferrata developer, Mountain Torq Sdn Bhd, is also Malaysia's 38th Guinness World Records certification.

A copy of the certification was officially presented by Mountain Torq's founder and executive director, Wilfred Tok, to Sabah Parks Deputy Director, Dr Jamili Nair, witnessed by Sabah Tourism Chairman, Tengku Datuk Dr Zainal Adlin, in a ceremony at the @atmosphere restaurant, Tuesday.

Mountain Torq's via ferrata is a route built using a series of steel rungs, rails and cables embedded into Mt Kinabalu's Panar Laban rock face.

This via ferrata was established in 2007 for climbers and hikers to experience a route that had previously been accessible only to veteran rock climbers and mountaineers with specialised equipment.

The via ferrata, which starts at 3,411 metres above sea level and reaches the highest point of 3,776 metres above sea level, enables climbers and non-climbers to experience the thrill of mountain climbing in complete safety, while taking in the spectacular mountain surroundings and summit views offered by Mt Kinabalu.

"This is an honour and privilege to be recognised by the global authority on world records. Since the inception of Mountain Torq, our team has been working hard to create a way for people to experience adventure differently on the beautiful and mysterious Mt Kinabalu," says Tok.

"Our via ferrata and mountaineering activities are based on internationally recognised service standards. We are also deeply appreciative to Sabah Tourism Board for their kind support and active promotional drive across Asia," he said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Mt. Kinabalu Via Ferrata - Sabah's first and only Guinness record
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sabah Tourism Awards 2009 Winners

The Sabah Tourism Awards 2009 was recently held in appreciation of outstanding tourism and hospitality industry players. The winners represent the crème de la crème that contribute to the state and national tourism development and symbolises distinction, innovation and the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

BEST SHOPPING COMPLEX
Wisma Merdeka

In the heart of Kota Kinabalu’s business, shopping and entertainment hub lays Wisma Merdeka, a landmark shopping centre which offers modern comforts and a dazzling choice of 300 stores selling everything from international branded goods to locally made products. Unlike most other shopping malls, the humble Wisma Merdeka is dominated by independent outlets and not large retail chains; creating a unique and personalised ambiance. Scout for irresistible bargains throughout the year especially for latest fads from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan. Facilities include a parking area which can accommodate up to 700 vehicles, a car wash, a newly refurbished food court and taxi stand. Business hours are from 10.00am to 10.00pm daily.


BEST NIGHT SPOT EXPERIENCE
Stand-alone
Cock and Bull Bistro

Set along the vibrant K.K. Waterfront strip is the Cock and Bull Bistro, a friendly watering hole that is chock-full almost every other night with both locals and tourists alike. There are no avant-garde creations prepared here, just balanced renditions of the classics, served in a perfectly unpretentious laidback atmosphere. With live performances, a pool table and two large eight-foot television screens, this midtown clock-puncher is ideal for music lovers, sports enthusiasts and everyone in between. The business hours are from 4.00pm to 1.00am on weekdays and 4.00pm to 2.00am on weekends and on the eve of public holidays.


BEST NIGHT SPOT EXPERIENCE
Hotel/Resort
Shenanigan's Fun Pub, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

This Irish-style tavern with a cosy neighbourhood feel is famous for being the Best Fun Pub in Borneo. The international live entertainment, specialty cocktails and appetizing snacks, paired with efficient service and friendly staffs makes it ideal for amusing flush times. Enjoy a thirst quenching concoction, break into spontaneous dance moves while people-watching at the same time. The regular denizens of the established boite include a mix of the young and the beautiful and graceful old-timers. Ladies can enjoy special privileges on Wednesdays and Happy Hour takes place from 5.00pm to 9.00pm on Mondays to Saturdays and stretches all night long on Sundays.


BEST FOOD OUTLET
Best Restaurant
Tepi Laut Makan Street, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

The nostalgic setting of Malaysia's heritage of simple food stalls, plus the generous variety of tempting fusion cuisine is the focal attraction at the Tepi Laut Makan Street. Disguised as a Pool Bar serving finger food and refreshing drinks during the day, this beachfront restaurant offers a cook's tour of Southeast Asia during the nighttime. Using locally grown vegetables and natural fresh produce, the specialties consist of everything from Malay curries to Indian breads, Chinese noodles and wok-tossed favourites to signature dishes from neighbouring Indonesia and Thailand. Toothsome sweet endings include the Ice Kacang, Bubur Kacang Hijau and an array of traditional Malay cakes. The Pool Bar is opened from 9.00am to 5.30pm and dinner is served from 6.30pm to 10.30pm daily.


BEST FOOD OUTLET
Best Kopi Tiam
"Kak Nong!" Restaurant

Located at Wisma WTT along the busy Jalan Bundusan is a casual eatery with distinctive kopitiam atmosphere. Featuring simple offerings and memorable Baba Nonya dishes, Kak Nong Restaurant is an old-time favourite amongst the locals. Dominating the minimal interior is a long counter displaying strikingly colorful traditional sweet and savoury cakes. Specialties include the gulai (stewed) fish head, chicken rice, lamb curry, soto (a Javanese-style noodle soup), gado-gado (salad dressed with peanut sauce) and rojak (noodles served with sliced meat, eggs, cucumbers and fried tofu puffs drenched in peanut sauce). The Restaurant is a halal establishment that also provides catering services. Opening hours are from 8.00am to 10.00pm daily, except on the third Monday of every month.


BEST TOURISM ATTRACTION
Nature
The Canopy Walkway, Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley

Spanning across 438 square kilometers of virgin lowland rainforest is the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Recognised as one of the world's most complex ecosystems, this sanctuary plays house to rare and endangered flora and fauna including the Sumatran rhino, Asian elephant, banteng, clouded leopard, orang utan and proboscis monkey. Bird aficionados will appreciate the canopy walkway, a 260-meter long steel platform suspended 40 meters high above the forest floor. Take a three-dimensional peak into the lives of the feathered species, 340 of which reside within the vicinity including the Great Angus Pheasant, Borneo Birstlehead, Blue-headed Pitta, Scarlet-rumped Trogons, Chestnut-necklaced Partridge, Bushy-crested Hornbill and Bornean Flycatcher.


BEST TOURISM ATTRACTION
Non-Nature
K.K. Waterfront

Snuggled along Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens is the K.K. Waterfront esplanade, an untroubled retreat where city goers and tourists retire after a long day of hectic activities. The picturesque site overlooking the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is best viewed during sunset, when the sky is painted in gradients of red, orange and gold. Indulge in a massage under an open-air canopy or experiment with local and fusion cuisine at one of the many stalls and restaurants such as the ever-popular Port View Seafood Village, Kohinoor North Indian Restaurant or Toscani's Italian and Spanish Fusion. Beers nerds seeking a dizzying good time can pay a visit to the Loft, Cock & Bull Bistro and Bar, Shamrock Irish Bar or BED.


EXCELLENCE IN HOTEL SERVICES
5-Star
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

The Shangri-la's Rasa Ria Resort is set on a secluded 400-acre land beside the exquisite Pantai Dalit Beach. With a Nature Reserve, Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and a superbly sculptured 18-hole course at the Dalit Bay Golf Club & Spa, it is no surprise why this luxury accommodation is considered one of the best in Sabah. The Resort comprises of 420 well-appointed guestrooms which feature lavishly furnished interiors and a host of amenities. Guests can experience a wide range of water sports such as parasailing, windsurfing and jet skiing, play a round of tennis, mahjong or petanque, hire a bicycle, ride a horse, hit the Health Club or enrol the little ones in fun-filled activities at the Kids Club.


EXCELLENCE IN HOTEL SERVICES
2-Star and Below
Grace Hotel

Before embarking on an adventurous sojourn to the Danum Valley Conservation Area, Tabin Wildlife Reserve or Madai Caves, travellers can choose to layover at Grace Hotel located in the heart of Lahad Datu. This affordable accommodation adjoined to the Centre Point Complex encompasses 58 furnished rooms including six executive and family suites. Facilities include a business centre, two multi-purpose rooms that can accommodate meetings and private gatherings of 12 up to 200 persons and a restaurant that serves hearty a la carte and buffet meals ranging from local to western. The Hotel also provides 24 hour reception, laundry and valet services, plus other standard amenities.


EXCELLENCE IN HOTEL SERVICES
Nature Lodge
Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley

Nestled in a magnificent setting in the largest protected Lowland Rainforest in Sabah is the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, a rustic structure initially built in 1994 to house researchers visiting the scientific field study center in Danum Valley. Constructed alongside the Danum River, this quiet retreat consists of 31 individual chalets which can accommodate up to 60 guests on any one day. The adequate facilities with basic comforts make it possible for guests to explore the incredible diversity and complexity of the lush surroundings while learning about the present conservation realities of the primeval rainforest. Lodge activities include jungle walks, bird watching with resident nature guides and night safaris.


EXCELLENCE IN HOTEL SERVICES
Homestay
Miso Walai Homestay

One of the great lures to Sabah is the fascinating Lower Kinabatangan region where the five distinct habitats found support some of the most diverse concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Located along the banks of the Kinabatangan is the Miso Walai (loosely translated as "One House") Homestay, which consist of four participating villages namely Kampung Batu Puteh, Kampung Mengaris, Kampung Perpaduan and Kampung Paris. Twenty-two homes are registered under this Homestay where the residents are predominantly framers and fishermen of the Orang Sungei tribe. Guests will have insight and firsthand experience on the local way of life that is governed by religious and traditional beliefs. Learn the acceptable etiquette, while participating in daily chores such as collecting garden-fresh vegetables, setting up fish traps and learning how to cook local dishes. Take the opportunity to also bird watch around the jungle fringe and ride the longest river in Sabah for the chance to spot wildlife such as the proboscis monkey and orang utan. This Homestay programme is ideal for educational groups, special interest travelers, naturalists, culture vultures, bird watchers and wildlife photographers alike.


BEST SPA EXPERIENCE
Stand-alone
Ka'andaman Traditional Healing Garden

Nourish the body, reawaken the mind and soothe the soul at a traditional healing garden which practices ancient relaxation techniques using herbal healing properties such as coconut, ginger and lime. Aptly named Ka'andaman, meaning memory or remembrance in the Kadazan language, this established spa in Kota Kinabalu is famed for its mandi susu (milk bath), Borneo facial, traditional massage, foot reflexology and aroma clay mask. Request for the Tambunan Ginger Treatment known to improve the blood circulate or ask for the signature massage oils such as Land Below the Wind (a relaxing blend of mandarin, patchouli, true lavender and chamomile), Kinabalu Spirit (a refreshing concoction of lemon, rosemary, sage, geranium and peppermint) or Borneo Moonlight (a romantic mix of ylang-ylang, sandalwood and other exotic ingredients that will surely help set the mood for love). Opening hours are from 9am to 11pm daily.


BEST SPA EXPERIENCE
Hotel/Resort
The Spa at Dalit Bay, Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

The Spa at Dalit Bay draws its healing philosophy from the stunning landscapes and the colourful traditions of Sabah. Begin an indulging therapeutic journey with a purifying foot ritual, before invigorating the mind, body and soul with the lavish Heaven and Earth traditional full body massage. Brides-to-be will delight in the Traditional Inspiration which consist of a body scrub of herbs and grains enriched with lime and egg white and a reviving facial; while lovebirds cherish a Romance Journey comprising a sensuous body scrub, fresh rose petal bath and rose or green tea butter body massage. After a long and adventurous day of activities, guests can choose to rejuvenate with the After Sun Restorative treatment or Golfer's Reviver therapy. The Spa is located at the clubhouse of the Dalit Bay Golf Club and operates from 9am to 11pm daily.


Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism
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Monday, December 14, 2009

More than 180 take part in 12th Kiulu 4M Challenge

TUARAN: Adventure seekers had fun at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu in the 12th edition of the Kiulu 4M Challenge on a recent weekend.

More than 180 thrill seekers, including tourists, tried their skills at navigating rafts through Sungai Kiulu’s rapids, running, swimming and walking on bamboo stilts at the annual extreme sports event in the hills tucked around Kiulu near here.

The event held to promote tourism is dubbed 4M in reference to the Kadazandusun words manangkus (running), mamangkar (bamboo rafting), manampatau (swimming with a bamboo pole) and mamarampanau (walking on bamboo stilts).

Participants can take part in seven categories including the X-Treme Men’s Open where seasoned sportsmen have to complete a 16km run, paddle 16km on a bamboo raft and swim 1.3km before completing the race by walking 200m on bamboo stilts.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: More than 180 take part in 12th Kiulu 4M Challenge
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Districts in Sabah urged to explore unique tourism potentials

BEAUFORT: All districts in the State are urged to explore tourism potentials particularly in culture and local craft-making.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman, when making this call yesterday, said that this is in line with the government’s intention to boost the tourism industry as highlighted in the State Budget 2010.

But to accomplish this he said the industry must be prepared to go as far as to market their products and services abroad other than adding value to them.

He said this when launching the Bagandang Festival and Beaufort Trade Expo at the tamu ground here yesterday.

Continue reading at: Districts in Sabah urged to explore unique tourism potentials
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jerudong Park: Send In The Clowns and Crowd!

Famed Jerudong Park icon

A man enjoying a water ride with his son

A clown blowing bubbles at the entrance of the park

A performer juggling balls to entertain visitors

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Jason Leong and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Azaraimy HH

Jerudong Park Playground yesterday scrapped its ticketing system in the bid to reclaim its former glory.

When it opened in 1994, the US$644 million playground was coined the largest amusement park in Southeast Asia, featuring lavish rides and free admission.

Fifteen years on, the number of rides has dwindled down to 11, according to officials, with some of the famous rides closed - it seems - for eternity.

Many believe the park's downfall began with the introduction of a ticketing system, though the entrance fee was only at B$1 per person or B$10 per eight rides.

The public had gotten so used to the free-for-all policy that when the park began to charge, they deserted the park.

The result was chronic. No new rides were introduced since; instead, some of them were reportedly sold off to other countries.

Jerudong Park, however, continued to maintain the venue, though no major refurbishments thereafter. With the revisiting of free-admission policy, Jerudong Park Playground management hopes to draw visitors back to the once magical venue in the country.

Admission to the park is now free, and B$8 family ticket for five rides or B$10 family ticket for eight rides.

Its operating hours are 4 pm to 10.30 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays and 2 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Now, presto! What remains to be seen are the big crowds of yesteryear.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday
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Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Gaya Christmas Celebration 2009


Date: 15 - 17 December 2009

Christmas is a time for peace, love and goodwill, but also a time for exciting fun! Come join in the merriment at the Gaya Street Carnival held at Gaya Street and Lintasan Deasoka (beside the Kota Kinabalu City Hall) on the 15th to 17th December from 7.00pm to 10.30pm.

The celebration will be launched on the first night by Datuk Seri Panglima Joseph Pairin Kitingan, the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, followed by a colourful fireworks presentation.

Don’t forget to catch Christmas carol performances by various churches and organisations, and special appearances by local artists. Over 170 charity and hawker stalls will be selling a myriad of items from festive decorations, food, handicrafts, and everything else in between. Children, remember to keep your eyes out for members of the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade as they will be distributing free limited edition goodies!

For the full itinerary, call Basel Central at 088 427900, e-mail gcc2009@bcc.org.my or visit http://www.gcc2009.bccm.org.my.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) on FaceBook to promote state

KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is on FaceBook (FB) now.Its CEO Datuk Rashid Khan yesterday said STB launched its FB on Dec 2 and to date they have more than 2,000 fans.

He said FB was one of the strategies STB is using to promote Sarawak to the world by utilising the high technology.

“FB is a way that we can leverage information by using technology. It is now used by many businesses. We do not need to pay. We just use the application to pull in information from content owners,” he said, adding that the board had pulled in 40 links on the FB.

He told reporters this after the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between UCSI University, Sarawak Campus and Travelport at the university at Jalan Tun Jugah here.

Continue reading at: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) on FaceBook to promote state
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Friday, December 11, 2009

History of Kuching City

KUCHING: Do you know that Kuching City may not be named after a cat after all? And do you know that Kuching is the fourth capital of Sarawak? Do you know where the first three capitals of Sarawak were?

To know more about Kuching City, you should get hold of a history book written by Dr Chang Pat Foh, a renowned history researcher and writer.

The book, now available at major bookstores in the city, is the eighth to be written by Chang. Like in his previous books, he has surprisingly revealed many historical details based on documented records or first-hand information as told by elders who have sound knowledge on the matter.

This is supposed to be the first book ever written and compiled on Kuching City. It is brief and precise,yet comprehensive enough to cover the major events and development of Kuching City from the 11th Century A.D to the present day.

The book begins with a brief early history of Sarawak from the time of barter trading around Santubong in the 11th Century, with the Buddhist influence of Srivijaya centred at Sumatra and the Hindu Javanese Majapahit influence in the Sarawak River delta.

The informative book has 20 chapters. The first chapter relates the history of old Sarawak while the second, third and fourth chapters tell the history of Kuching under the rule of the three White Rajahs.

The fifth chapter is about Kuching under the Japanese Occupation and Australian Military Administration while the sixth chapter is about Kuching under the British Rule.

Continue reading at: History of Kuching City
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Bagandang Fest


Date: 11 - 13 December 2009

Come away to Beaufort this December to witness the Bagandang Fest and Buy Malaysian Products Trade Expo 2009.

This three-day event will take place on 11th to the 13th of December, 2009 at the Tamu Ground and Beaufort District Field. Among the event highlights not to be missed are the Domestic Trade Expo, which will be held on 11th - 12th December from 8.30am to 10.30pm; as well as the Traditional Wedding Ceremony of the native Bisaya, Lundayeh, Murut and Brunei people on 13th December from 2pm to 5pm.

Other interesting activities to check out are the Bagandang performance, children colouring contest, native sports, kebaya fashion show, and the Bintang Bagandang singing competition. Visitor will also be entertained with performances by local artistes such as Stacy and Lotter of Akademi Fantasia fame. See you there!

For the full itinerary, call Mr. Mohd Sidik Hj. Abd Jubar at +6087 201208 , e-mail bfi.kplb@sabah.gov.my or visit here.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Metrojaya opens store at Suria Sabah Mall in KK

KOTA KINABALU: Retail giant Metrojaya has spread its wings to Sabah with the opening of an outlet in Suria Sabah Mall recently.

Metrojaya Bhd chairman Datuk Ahmad Khairummuzammil said the store in Sabah, the chain’s seventh, reflected the company’s confidence in the state.

“Metrojaya’s entry into Sabah in the current challenging economic environment is an indication of our confidence in the Sabah retail market,” he said.

Kota Kinabalu mayor Datuk Illiyas Ibrahim was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony.

Ahmad said the 11,612 sq metre store spread out on four floors was the culmination of the company’s decision to venture into the state two years ago.

Continue reading at: Metrojaya opens store at Suria Sabah Mall in KK
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A Rungus 1Malaysia homestay

Kota Kinabalu: Some 30 families in Sugut, Beluran, have initiated their own homestay programme by building a Rungus longhouse in line with the Government's call for people in rural areas to venture into tourism.

Led by the village's chairman of planning and implementation, Jakiy Tayan, they built the longhouse, believed to be first in Beluran, using their own resources.

Taking cue from the 1Malaysia concept, they named the village Kampung Malaysian. It was officially launched on Nov. 28 by Sugut Assemblyman Datuk Surady Kayong who was represented by PKR Rahman Atang.

Jakiy said as a cost-saving measure, they used materials obtained from the jungle to build the longhouse as authentic as possible. Stretching on a 30-acre site, he said, woven Nipah leaves were used as roofing and round timber for its structure.

However, due to the difficulty in obtaining Nibung timber, they had to use planks bought from the local hardware store for the middle "tingkang" floor. The "raised" floor on the each side of the longhouse were built using bamboo.

"It is 80 per cent completed and we are in the midst of constructing the rooms," he said. For a start, they would be building 15 rooms and is in the process of adding another 10 spaces.

The former Village Security and Development Committee (JKKK) Chairman said he sponsored nails and diesel to ease the participants' burden.

"The villagers were so enthusiastic about the homestay programme that they pooled their resources to send a young man from the village to study English at the Advanced Management College (AMC) in Karamunsing," he said.

Continue reading at: A Rungus 1Malaysia homestay
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Kinabalu Cycling Challenge 2009 this Sunday

Kota Kinabalu: RM30,000 worth of cash and prizes are up for grabs during the 'Kinabalu Cycling Challenge 2009' which will be held on December 13 this year.

According to the organiser of the event, Mustapha Ibrahim, currently 100 people from the Peninsular, Sarawak, as well as international competitors have confirmed participation in the competition.

"The event has been given recognition by the Sabah Cycling Association to be included in their 2010 calendar and become a yearly event," he said.

He said the event will hopefully act as a starting point in spreading the interest of cycling among the public in the effort to find new talents for the State and country.

Four race categories will be held this year, namely Road Bike Open (which will cover a distance of 120 kilometres), MTB Men Open, MTB Men Junior and MTB Women Open, which will cover a distance of 85 kilometres each.

Continue reading at: Kinabalu Cycling Challenge 2009 this Sunday
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sabah national treasures - Michelle Yeoh's documentary

YOU may be familiar with seeing Datuk Michelle Yeoh on the silver screen in many guises, from a Bond girl to a martial arts expert to a geisha. The Ipoh-born actress’ next starring role, however, will be something much more personal and poignant – a documentary where she returns home to Malaysia and journeys to Sabah to discover what is being done to save our orang utans from extinction.

Right off the bat, Yeoh was determined to be as involved as possible.

“During my first meeting (with the producers), I told them I didn’t just want to be dolled up on screen and function as a bookend to the show,” Yeoh said during a recent phone interview from Songjiang, China, where she is currently filming a movie. “You learn so much when you’re involved in projects like this. You’re not just a tourist who’s there for half a day, rather, you’re really out there seeing how it really is. I wanted to be up close and personal with the orang utans. Think Dian Fossey, think Gorillas In The Mist!”

True to her words, the documentary, Among The Great Apes With Michelle Yeoh, sees her doing everything from feeding and caring for orang utans, to rescuing an orphaned orang utan, to trekking through the forests to collect seeds. Filmed in high-definition, the production was made by National Geographic in partnership with the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) under the Malaysia To The World 2 initiative. Yeoh began her two-and-a-half-week journey at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, a facility for orphaned and injured orang utans in Sandakan, Sabah.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sabah national treasures - Michelle Yeoh's documentary
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Sarawak to work with Sabah on tourism

KUCHING: The new Sarawak Tourism and Heritage Ministry wants to collaborate with its Sabah counterpart to focus on regional tourism, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan recently.

He said this included tapping the Singaporean, Taiwanese and Chinese markets.

Dr Chan, who took over the portfolio following a recent state Cabinet reshuffle, said that Sarawak wanted to emulate the success of Sabah tourism authorities and industry players.

“I am excited about my new job and hope I can tell you a bit more once I have briefings to get some ideas,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after launching the Sarawak gourmet recipe book Oo ... ha, Favourites of Sarawak produced by Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) in collaboration with singer Vinc Huong here.

Continue reading at: Sarawak to work with Sabah on tourism
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Street foods as tourism product

Authentic local street food that remains popular among the people in this country will be promoted as tourism products to attract tourists looking for gastronomical adventure, said Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Yen Yen added that selected street food would be featured during the Malaysia Fabulous Food – Malaysia Street Food carnival slated for the first Sunday of December next year.

“Every state is famous for its own specialty and flavour like Laksa Penang, Laksa Johor and Laksa Sarawak and we will promote it in the festival which is part of our Fabulous Food 1Malaysia – A World of Culinary Delights programme launched in October,” she told reporters after launching the Malaysia Fabulous Food – Malaysia Street Food at Taman Seri Tebrau Hawkers Center here Sunday night.

In the programme, the ministry would work closely with various hawkers associations to select the type of food, venues and participants to be promoted during the festival.

Hawkers associations would come up with the list of suggestions on the 10 “Best” or “Must Try” outlets and submit it to the ministry by end of January next year, she said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Street foods as tourism product
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Tour operators lauded proposed alternative route to Ranau

KOTA KINABALU: Tour operators or travel agents in Sabah always undertake contingencies when it comes to transporting tourists along landslide prone highways – giving advanced notice for them to expect the unexpected.

In a random survey carried out by New Sabah Times, some inbound and outbound tour operators agreed that occurrence of landslides in landslide prone areas, especially at popular tourist spots like the National Park and Poring Hot Spring have somehow been minimized as compared to the past.

However, most of the agents lauded the government’s proposal to construct an alternative route from Telipok near here via Kiulu, Randagong and Ranau under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

“Since the proposed route is expected to be completed in four years time, we will maintain our contingency plans as from now, always trying our best to brief our guests in advance to avoid them or us having to fork out extra cash when it comes to flight cancellation fees if they are stranded due to landslides or other incidents that are beyond our control,” said, Welter Lainor, Sales Manager of Discovery Tours (Sab) Sdn Bhd.

Regarding the recent landslide on Dec 1 at KM65 along the Kota Kinabalu-Ranau Highway, where thousands including tour buses carrying tourists were held up for hours, he commended the Public Works Department’s prompt action to ease traffic flow by opening-up an alternative route.

Continue reading at: Tour operators lauded proposed alternative route to Ranau
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Time to review syllabus for tourist guides: Sarawak Tourist Body

MIRI: Sarawak Tourist Guide Association (STGA) feels it is time for the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage to review the syllabus for tourist guides, which is mostly based on products and places in the peninsula and therefore not applicable to Sarawak.

Its chairman Abang Azahari Abang Zaidan told reporters this at the closing of the Localised Nature Guide course held at Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort in Lambir here.

According to Azahari, Sarawak Tourist Guide Association has written to the ministry with the proposal for review of the syllabus.

“Although the licence (City Guide Certificate) enables one to conduct guiding service throughout the country, we feel there is a need for Sarawak to be included in the syllabus as most products featured are in Langkawi and Johore among others,” he said.

“As for Sarawak, most of our products are mainly around the culture, adventure and nature (CAN) concept as most of them are in remote and rural areas. With this in mind, we feel it is time for Ministry of Tourism and Heritage to review the syllabus,” he said, adding that it will also be in line with 1Malaysia concept.

Continue reading at: Time to review syllabus for tourist guides: Sarawak Tourist Body
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Promoting Siniawan Bazaar as tourist destination

SINIAWAN: The Siniawan Heritage Conservation Committee is taking an innovative approach in promoting Siniawan Bazaar as a tourist destination by getting children involved.

Some 30 local students, aged between 11 and 19, are being trained with the help of the Sarawak Heritage Society and Talent and Art Performing Group to become “little tourist guides” for their town.

Yesterday, the children stepped out from the classrooms and practised to be guides for the first time.

They were reacquainted with the old shop lots and the Swee Guk Kung Temple which they have grown up with.

Committee chief Bong Say Chiung said yesterday the idea to train local students to be tour guides was inspired by the successful example in Penang.

He said the younger generation were the future of an old community like Siniawan and they could play an important role to conserve the town.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Promoting Siniawan Bazaar as tourist destination
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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Quest to find Sumatran rhino in Sarawak

KUCHING: A 50-man expedition will set off for the Pulong Tau National Park in northern Sarawak on Monday to survey whether the rare Sumatran rhinoceros still roam the area.

State Forest Department director Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the Sumatran rhinoceros, a species under Sarawak’s Wildlife Protection Ordinance, was last reported to have been seen in the upper Limbang area such as Sungai Adang, Long Seridan and Batu Lawi in the 1950s.

However, he said a grainy image captured by a camera trap near Batu Lawi recently, seemed to be that of the rhinoceros.“It will be like searching for a needle in a haystack,” said Len Talif.

“Ten cameras have been set up in the area to try to capture images of the rhinoceros and we will be going to verify its presence,” he said when launching the expedition at the Samajaya Park in Stutong here yesterday.

The 10-day expedition, organised by the Forest Department, will comprise members from the department, WWF Malaysia and timber company Samling.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Quest to find Sumatran rhino in Sarawak
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Friday, December 04, 2009

Bird watching will boost Sabah's tourism

Kota Kinabalu: Bird-watching has the potential to be a money making activity as well as a major tourist attraction in Sabah, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun here on Thursday.

He said bird watching has been a popular activity in the West where the turnover from this field alone reaches US$2 billion a year.

"Over there (in the US) this activity is considered an industry. People would flock and stand in line for hours, just to get a glimpse of birds which actually are a common specie over here in Sabah," he said.

He said that currently there are 850,000 members of a bird watching group in the UK, making it among the most profitable business there, where a bird lovers guide earns a steady income of US$100 per day.

Resorts and other tourism operators in the State should seriously look into bird watching as Sabah is one of the few places that is rich with diverse species of birds that are not found anywhere else in the world, he said.

Approximately, 300 species of birds have been documented within the Kinabalu National Park, which is more than half the total bird species in Sabah (514) and roughly half the entire number of bird species present in the island of Borneo, he said.

"Operators should take this opportunity as it doesn't involve a high budget to run a bird watching activity. All you need is a few tents and a guide who knows a lot about birds," he said.

Apart from giving more profit to the operators, the bird watching business would also boost tourism in the State, as well as in Malaysia as a whole, said Masidi.

He was speaking at the closing of a 'Hotel Management, Hotel Operation and Internet Marketing' course organised by the Malaysian Budget Hotel Association (MBHA) here.

He urged the operators of budget hotels, which are rated as 2 star and below, to buff up on certain aspects of their services and facilities.

Masidi said the number one complaint of foreign guests who stayed at budget hotels here in Sabah is that the toilets and bathrooms are filthy.

"Foreigners are very particular about toilets. Unlike the locals, foreigners prefer to have a sitting toilet and dry washing area. That is why the operators should identify which type of guests they have the most and build facilities that suit their majority guests.

Continue reading at: Bird watching will boost Sabah's tourism
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Beaufort wants to be a Sabah tourism hub

KOTA KINABALU: Beaufort hopes to become one of the State’s tourism hubs.

Community Development and Consumer Affairs minister, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun said to reporters yesterday that Beaufort is already known as a destination for adventurers thirsting to try out Sabah’s white water rafting (Padas River) as well as the centre for visitors to watch proboscis monkeys in the wild.

Tourists keen on sighting the monkeys could do so during river cruise at the Klias or Garama Rivers, both of which are in the district.

“Sometimes, you can see just a few groups, but other times, you may see hundreds of them at the sides of the river,” she said.

The proboscis monkey population in Beaufort is said to exceed those anywhere else in Sabah, including the Kinabatangan.

However, Azizah also said that they would try to regulate boat operators using the river so that they do not scare off the monkeys.

“Boats with high horsepower are often noisy and this scare off the monkeys,” she said.

Continue reading at: Beaufort wants to be a Sabah tourism hub
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