Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sarawak’s rich history, culture a tourism draw


ONE of the factors drawing tourists to Sarawak is the state’s rich history, heritage and culture.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the construction of the new Sarawak Museum Campus would once against put Sarawak museum back on the world map as among the best in the region in terms of collections such as ethnographic, archaeological, zoological and historical specimens.

“The construction of the new museum building is expected to be completed in 2018 and will be opened to visitors by 2020 once its displays and exhibits are put in place,” he said during his ministerial winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday.

Abang Johari said conservation and upgrading works on old forts throughout Sarawak would be carried out under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020).

“Five forts will be conserved and upgraded into regional museums. Work on three of the forts will start in early 2017 and the remaining two will commence in 2018.”

He stated that the construction of the Santubong Archaeological Park which would incorporate the Wallace Centre would start in 2017, adding that this new product development would enhance the tourism attraction in and around Santubong Peninsular.

“To uplift the cultural aura of Kuching as the City of Unity and to provide a permanent venue incorporating the latest state of the arts facilities, and technology, the Old State Legislative Assembly (DUN) building will be converted into a performing arts centre.

“This will act as a centre for arts, music and dance enthusiasts to congregate and showcase their skills and talents. Consultancy work to upgrade the old DUN building will commence in 2017.”

Moving out from the city area, Abang Johari said the homestay programme which was becoming more popular, would be further enhanced in terms of capacity building and product diversification in line with the Community Based Eco-Tourism Stategy (CBET).

“The number of homestay operators has increased from year to year – 35 homestays and 515 operators have so far registered under this programme and a few more have undergone training and awareness programmes.

“As of September 2016, a total of 23,292 tourists visited the homestays bringing in an estimated revenue of RM3 million to the local community.”

He said events and festivals continued to lure both domestic and foreign tourists and at the same time providing business opportunities to the locals.

Abang Johari said the 19th edition of the Rainforest World Music Festival, which was held at Sarawak Cultural Village from August 5 to 6, was attended by a ratio of 63 per cent Malaysians to 37 per cent non-Malaysians with the highest percentage from UK, US, Australia and Singapore.

The spin-off to the economy was estimated at RM35 million, he added.

For the first time this year, he said Sarawak Tourism Board collaborated with Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) and Malaysia Shopping Malls Association to create activities for two months prior to the festival, which ensured that festivities were not centred around the Damai area only.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Sarawak’s rich history, culture a tourism draw
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Sarawak targets 5 million visitors next year


SARAWAK is targeting five million visitor arrivals and RM10.68 billion in tourism receipt next year.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state received 3,785,175 (3.79 million) visitors from January to October this year, an increase of 1.02 per cent from 3,746,933 (3.75 million) in the same period last year.

“It has generated an estimated tourism receipt of RM7.5 billion,” he said in his ministerial winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.

Abang Johari stated that based on past trend of average arrivals for the month of November to December, his Ministry was anticipating 4.7 million visitor arrivals into Sarawak in 2016, an increase of 4.4 per cent from 4.5 million in 2015.

He said the Sarawak tourism sector was expected to generate tourism receipt of RM10.18 billion or a 3.1 per cent increase, contributing about 10 per cent to the state gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016.

Abang Johari said on the national front, Malaysia was experiencing its first recovery in tourist arrivals from January to September this year.

“Malaysia received 17,611,563 (17.6 million) tourists from January to September 2016, an increase of 3.8 per cent from 16,965,885 (16.97 million) in the same period of 2015.

“Tourism receipt increased by 10.7 per cent in the first half of this year, contributing RM37.4 billion to the country’s revenue against RM33.8 billion in 2015.

For this year, Malaysia was expecting to receive 30.5 million tourists, bringing in RM103 billion in tourism receipts.

“Tourism Malaysia is targeting 31.8 million tourist arrivals and RM118 billion in tourism receipts in 2017.”

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Sarawak in need of a brand to attract more visitors


THERE is a need to shape and create a brand identity for Sarawak not only as a tourist destination but also as a business event, trade and investment destination.

Minister of Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said based on the feedback his ministry received from foreigners during their numerous trade and travel shows abroad, Sarawak was not as well known overseas compared to Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Penang or Malacca.

“The approach and strategy need to be holistic and cover as many sectors as possible,” Abang Johari said in his ministerial winding-up speech yesterday.

This was among the immediate initiatives and strategies taken by his ministry in line with the State Transformation Plan and in their effort to transform the tourism landscape of Sarawak.

He stated that in as far as tourism was concerned, his ministry would continue to position Sarawak as a culture, adventure and nature (CAN) destination.

Hence, Abang Johari said the intervention action plans and budget allocation for 2017 would focus on CAN-related infrastructure, facilities, events, festival and products development and enhancement.

In terms of product development and enhancement, he said the national parks would continue to be the most preferred destinations for nature and adventure both among local and international visitors.

Abang Johari noted that from January to September this year, the total visitor arrivals to the state’s national parks were 423,333, an increase of 9.27 per cent with total revenue amounting to RM4.53 million, a 13 per cent increase.

“Of the figure, 80 per cent were domestic while 20 per cent were international visitors. Mulu National Park, Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Bako National Park, Kuching Wetland, Niah National Park and Matang Wildlife Centre are the most visited by tourists because of their unique geo-system and wildlife conservation.”

He said the state’s Orang Utan conservation effort at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre had also produced positive results with the birth of two baby Orang Utans this year, hence increasing the Orang Utan population which would be an added attraction for visitors.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Promenade Hotel Bintulu - Green-hotel that is authentically local


BINTULU: Promenade Hotel Bintulu is promoting itself as an accommodation of choice that offers not just high-quality hospitality but also cuisine that is authentically east Malaysian.

This landmark in Bintulu town opened for business two years ago.

It has since developed into an environment-friendly entity.

It has also became a place where one can enjoy authentic local food from both Sarawak and Sabah.

The hotel is strategically located at the bustling Bintulu Sentral Commercial Centre along the Pan-Borneo Highway, not far from the old Bintulu town centre.

The attractive features about Promenade Bintulu is not just the location and the facilities but the fact that the management had put in place numerous measures and policies to ensure it is “green” and society-friendly.

The hotel employs staff from many ethnic groups and races and has a workforce of 100 Malaysians.

Many initiatives have been put in place for this hotel to be at the top of the pack in terms of quality and service, said Promenade Group director of sales and marketing Anita Chung.

Promenade Bintulu has always placed top priority on our hotels being friendly to the natural environment and to the community that we work in.

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A Bite of Borneo by Bike - Food-tasting tours unveiled


KUCHING: The Urban Adventures is now in Kuching, thanks to a joint collaboration between local travel agency Paradesa Borneo and global brand Urban Adventures.

The newly launched Urban Adventures Kuching offers food-tasting tours called “A Bite of Borneo by Bike”.

The food tour explores Kuching’s historical quarters by foot, the neighbouring villages on bicycles as well as crossing rivers aboard traditional boats to discover the sight, sound and taste of Borneo.

Sarawak is a multiracial state with 27 ethnic groups, each offering a unique traditional cuisine.

Assistant Tourism Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said it would be a great benefit to Sarawak if the local cuisines could be fully promoted for tourism.

“Food is a very important component; therefore it is a timely initiative by Urban Adventures Kuching to launch the first food tour in Sarawak.

“I am pleased to see that this event covers a whole range of famous Sarawak streetfood such as Sarawak laksa, kolo mee, tebaloi and kek lapis,” he said at the launch of Urban Adventures Kuching at Paradesa Borneo.

For RM168 per person, the day tour lasts four hours starting from Wayang Street with eight stops including coffee shops, hawker centre, street vendors, village cafes and traditional bakeries.

As the first food tour in Kuching, Urban Adventures plans to expand further into Sarawak by setting up operations in Miri and Sibu.

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Search for Sabah’s first tourism theme song


KOTA KINABALU: The search for Sabah’s first tourism theme song is on with the Sabah Tourism Song Composition Competition.

Organized by the Jesselton Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO), the contest is commissioned by the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry and calls for song writers as well as composers to combine their rendition of Sabah’s natural beauty and charm into a song.

The first leg of the competition will unearth a winner among musicians in Sabah only through the Melody & Lyrics Category. Submissions are open up to December 30, 2016 and the winner will be announced through the Sabah Tourism website at www.sabahtourism.com on January 7, 2017.

Upon the announcement, a nationwide search will start for musicians in Malaysia to orchestrate the winning Melody & Lyrics, which will be made available for entrants on the Sabah Tourism website. The closing date for submissions is on February 25, next year and notification of the winner will be announced in the Sabah Tourism website on March 4.

Lyrics must be in Bahasa Malaysia, English or Chinese, or a combination of the languages and the winning song will debut at Sabah Fest 2017 in May in conjunction with JPO’s 10th anniversary.

Registration forms are available on the Sabah Tourism website, Sabah Tourism Board building at Gaya Street and Sri Pelancongan Sabah office counters.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

The Hike Life: Scuba Diving in Sipadan, Malaysian Borneo


Getting to Sabah from Langkawi is a process, but one that ran very smoothly. Malaysia is probably one of, if not the most competent countries I’ve been to in terms of transport. Let’s face it, spending a full day travelling is its own unique misery but when it goes smoothly and you’re on your way to paradise, it’s a lot easier.

My itinerary was Melbourne > KL > Langkawi > KL > Tawau > Mabul > Tawau > KL > Melbourne and I didn’t have a single delay, not a single “surprise” fare, and everyone turned up when they said they would. No bookings were lost, nobody tried to charge me for “extras” like storing my bag (unlike in India where literally everyone tried to charge you extra for everything).

As an aside, I did not get harassed as a women alone once the whole time I was in Malaysia. In Langkawi, everyone who worked on the beach was friendly and respectful. I didn’t get followed, groped, or gawked at once. I never once felt unsafe, which is more than I can say for walking to my car after dinner in Brunswick on a Friday night. The local men will talk to you and flirt, but it’s usually so you’ll hire a jetski or visit their friend’s restaurant, none of them made any moves on me and it was really nice to get to know some of them – so often when travelling alone you have your guard up the whole time. KL airport is a bit hectic, and I’d recommend covering up there, but otherwise it was smooth sailing.

To dive Sipadan you need to stay on one of the nearby islands – we chose Mabul, and stayed with Borneo Divers. They had solid reviews and are a well established and respected resort and training centre. There are cheaper options, but for my first time diving I didn’t want to compromise on safety. The resort itself is clean and comfortable. The rooms are air conditioned and the food was fantastic, but make sure you get to the buffet early because once that food is gone, it aint coming back. Once that dinner gong rings it’s like watching seagulls after your chips.

The whole island runs on generators, which you can hear running at night, and the power and wifi can be patchy. This didn’t bother me but I can imagine it would some. The showers are salt water and the open style that you see all over Asia so the whole bathroom gets a soaking. In short, don’t expect Noosa style luxury and you’ll be grand. The bar opens at 5 and the staff started to anticipate our arrival, which was both comforting and embarrassing.

My training started as soon as I got there (around lunchtime) and by the end of the first day we were in the pool to practice.

Breathing underwater is something else. It’s unnatural, and scary, and it tests your self control. My natural reaction was to bolt for the surface, but slowly it became easier, and by day two we were training off the jetty in real life conditions. It helped that the water was incredibly warm and clear. On the third day, we were out on the boat for our first boat dive and to have our skills tested. I saw my first turtle, which got me all emotional, and at one stage we were attacked by a very angry, large, and territorial fish who decided to chase and bite my dive master Steven, who fended it off admirably.

The next day was more muck diving around Mabul, more assessments, and then an early night before Sipadan the next day!

Before I go on, I should point out that Sipadan isn’t really a beginner dive spot. There are some pretty strong currents and very deep drop offs. Visibility can be bad after rain. I talked it through with my Dive Master and he gave me his blessing to go with an experienced group, but there were other beginners there who got told they weren’t allowed, and that they were only allowed to snorkel.

And to be honest, when we got dropped in for the first dive at South Point, I was pretty terrified. The current was strong, and there were sharks everywhere. It took all my newly learnt skill to breath properly, adjust my buoyancy, and just settle into the rhythm. Our dive masters were very calm and patient, and it helped I had Rebecca by my side as she was experienced and kept eye contact with me when I was feeling nervous. She also took these photos of me, which I am very grateful for.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Jipp's World: The Salt Trail - Into The Depths of Crocker Range


The Salt Trail – I grew up listening to my mother talking about it. Her story of how she as a child had to tag along behind her parents and a group of others to walk for days from her remote village in the far corner of Tambunan all the way to Tamparuli on the West coast of Sabah just to buy salt. It never failed to fascinate me every time.

She told me how she would usually be assigned to carry some of the food supply. She’d cry because it felt so heavy on her back and sometimes she’d get bitten by ants and all kind of insects along the way. They had to walk across mountains and hills and deep valleys through thick and dense forest. They’d stop whenever they felt like stopping usually when it was too dark to continue walking. They’d set up their temporary tents, usually by stacking banana leaves on tree branches under which they would take a nap before continuing walking the next day. I never get bored of listening to her stories about the Salt Trail as it is now known.

The idea of doing the salt trail had always been in my wish list for such a long time but it only got materialized when my application for 2-weeks Christmas and New Year holidays was surprisingly approved by my management. I hastily contacted my friend Frankie to ask if he could get a few more others to join. The rest as they say – is history. Heh.

We started our trek from the starting point in Tikolod on the Tambunan side, and walked all the way to a place called Kionob on the Penampang side where we stayed overnight before trekking on to a village called Terian – but not before crossing through a beautiful village called Buayan – to spend another night before continuing on to our last stop at Inobong Sub-station.

The trek between Tikolod and Kionob was quite a tough one for us especially for the fact that we didn’t hire any porter so we had to carry ourselves all the necessities to survive through 2 nights in the deep forest.  The forest really is so beautiful. It is so lush and green and mystical and mysterious that it quickly made me realize how blessed this land called Sabah is and that most of its beauty lies deep in its pristine forests. After all the forest that we trekked across is part of the Crocker Range which is a declared National Park.

I like to believe that it is a secondary forest though – a leftover of extensive logging activities in the past, just like most other forests in Sabah so it was a no surprise then that we didn’t even come across any wild animals. The only wildlife that we came across was a snake – probably a cobra, a very poisonous one according to the guide – and I almost freaked out when I spotted it because it was so close to being stepped on by one of my trekking buddies. Seriously, it could have been fatal. Phew.

But of course, the very first challenge that we came upon was the existence of so many leeches along the way. They’d crawl all over and they were almost impossible to avoid. We’d stop every now and then to take them out because who knows how much of our blood would be sucked out of our system if we let them suck for too long. The thing is, they tend to be very itchy and they’d bleed so profusely, leaving my skin with ugly scars that would stay there for weeks if not months (I’ve still got them now!).

One of my favorite things while trekking the Salt Trail was the food. I mean, we all know that food is tastier in a jungle but even more so if it is the right food that you eat. My trekking buddy Din really looked into that by bringing those kinds of food that really boost the appetite when eaten in the deep forest. The likes of fried salted fish, grilled wild boar meat, those foods that really really open the gate of appetite especially when eating in a jungle.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sabah conservation area will be four times Penang island size


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is piecing together a conservation area that will eventually become a key biodiversity zone about four times the size of Penang island.

State Forestry Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the Kuamut Forest Reserve would be expanded by 14,000ha as part of efforts to realise this massive conservation area that was an important habitat for orang utan and other wildlife.

“It is like piecing together the parts of a jigsaw puzzle. It will eventually be assembled,” he said yesterday.

On Thursday, the Sabah state assembly passed an amendment to the Forests (Constitution of Forest Reserves and Amendment) Enactment 1984.

The amendment, tabled by Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Ellron Angin, will see Class 1 totally protected forest reserves being increased from 1.26 million hectares to 1.35 million hectares.

The area for Class VI virgin jungle reserves has also been increased from over 106,000ha to more than 107,000ha as well as wildlife forest reserves from nearly 138,000ha to over 139,000ha.

However, the amendment will also provide for the removal of over 19,400ha of land from the existing forest reserves.

The department, said Mannan, was assembling a complex of protected areas comprising Kuamut, Ulu Segama, Dermakot and Segaliud Lokan forest reserves as well as the existing Maliau Basin and Danum Valley conservation zones.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Pulau Mabul turtle hatchery releases 5,000th batch of hatchlings


KOTA KINABALU: A turtle hatchery at Pulau Mabul near the diving haven of Sipadan is celebrating a milestone with the release of the 5,000th batch of hatchlings recently.

The eggs were collected from 66 turtle nests and brought to the hatchery run by dive operator Scuba Junkie and the Sabah Wildlife Department.

Wildlife Department officer Mohd Soffian Abu Bakar said the hatchery’s milestone was remarkable, given the declining numbers of sea turtles worldwide.

“Pulau Mabul is known for the abundance of turtles seen by divers and snorkellers, even though green turtles are listed as endangered and hawksbill turtles as critically endangered on the IUCN (International Union on Conservation of Nature) Redlist.

“The fact that so many hatchlings have been released from this one hatchery is a great boost for turtle conservation and illustrates how important this area is for sea turtles,” Mohd Soffian added.

He said the hatchery programme was an example of government, business and local communities working together to safeguard the Semporna sea turtle populations.

Scuba Junkie currently has three honorary wildlife wardens (HWWs) trained by the department to safeguard endangered species such as sea turtles.

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Double the fun as Miri Country Music Fest doubles its days


MIRI: The Miri Country Music Fest (MCMF2017) is back with two days and nights of packed honky-tonk fun for the whole family.

“Mark your calendar for Feb 25 and 26 now as the fourth edition of MCMF2017 promises you an experience of country and western music to remember,” said festival advisor Gracie Geikie in a press conference here recently.

“We are targeting 3,000 audience members for the next edition – an increase of around 20 per cent from last year’s festival where we recorded a total of 2,740 people. Last year, we received a lot of requests and suggestions from the audience, particularly foreigners, for the festival to be extended to two days instead of just one day,” said Gracie.

An outdoor stage will be set up by the coast along Brighton Beach inside ParkCity Everly Hotel Miri–the official hotel of the festival–for the festival which has three international acts lined up to perform: Shane Smith & The Saints (Austin, Texas, USA), James Thomson & The Strange Pilgrims (Newcastle, Australia) and The Casual Ceilidh Band (Brunei).

Smith has been performing around the world and recently released an album titled ‘The Mountain’ while Casual Ceilidh–the only ceilidh band in Borneo and whose members are European expatriates based in Brunei–will offer its unique take on Celtic and country music.

Ceilidhs are traditional Irish/Scottish social events in which audience members dance together in groups or couples to traditional Celtic music.

Local favourite five-piece band Country Road from Miri will also be entertaining the audience during the festival.

“They will be at the upcoming festival roadshow at Level 3 of Boulevard Shopping Complex here on Saturday, Nov 26. The band is set to take the stage from 5pm-7pm,” Gracie revealed.

Also from Miri is The Mountain Wind Band who will be making a comeback at the festival. They are also a five-piece band with members from various towns around Miri.

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

RM5.3 billion tourism revenue for Sabah in first nine months


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah registered 2,486,387 tourist arrivals in the first nine months of this year – generating RM5.309 billion in revenue.

The tourism sector generated RM4.940 billion during the corresponding period last year.

“Tourism is a dynamic and growing industry,” Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said when winding up his ministry’s speech at the penultimate State Assembly sitting here on Wednesday.

Masidi said his ministry was working very hard to market Sabah as a world nature-tourism destination and to improve customer services.

“There has been a surge in domestic arrivals. A total of 1,636,962 from the 2,486,387 tourists who visited Sabah between January and September were Malaysians,” he said, adding that the figure represented a 1.1 per cent increase.

He also said 849,425 foreign tourists visited Sabah – an increase of 14.2 per cent as compared to the corresponding period last year.

“We are confident of meeting the targets set for this year,” he said, adding that tourism generated revenue of RM6.607 billion in 2015.

Responding to Datuk Nasir Tun Sakaran (BN-Senallang), who asked whether the number of tourists who visited a district was recorded, Masidi said this could be determined based on the visits to the various tourist spots. He suggested that the District Tourism Action Committee which is chaired by the district officer to initiate the setting up of a database on tourists visiting Semporna.

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Create attractive tour packages to promote Mulu National Park


CREATING attractive and appealing tour packages should be the way to promote Mulu National Park as a tourist destination in the state.

This would let tourists experience a life time journey that begins from Miri City en-route to Lambir National Park and various small towns like Long Lama and Beluru Bazaar and a few Orang Ulu villages while enjoying the greeneries and eventually a short boat ride from Long Iman to Mulu National Park, suggested Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau.

He said the opening of Mulu National Park had brought positive changes to the life of many people in the area.

“I am of the opinion that this natural beauty will continue to provide source of income to the people and state,” he said in his speech to support State Budget 2017 in the State Legislative Assembly here yesterday.

“Every effort should be taken to ensure more locals continue benefiting from this natural beauty – God’s gift and an asset to the state and nation,” he added.

He further said Mulu National Park is world famous and definitely a gold mine “if we can take care of it and make use of its true potential”.

“The beauty and attraction of this park could be used to expand our local communities’ participation in tourism industry. But as of now, local participation is limited due to the current access to the Park which is mostly by air,” he pointed out.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

National Geographic Traveller: Meet the Iban of Batang Ai


Get to know the real Borneo in Batang Ai National Park, where the Iban tribe live among the boughs and branches of the jungle

Kuching sheds its skin awfully quickly. The capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak has all the noise, clamour and clutter — motorbikes scuttling, cars growling, shops spilling onto the street — that comes with any sizeable city in the Far East.

But as the car passes through the outskirts, the jumbled homes start to press the road with less urgency and the jungle steps in instead: deep, green, all-encompassing.

Once upon a time, Borneo was like this in its entirety; all 287,000 square miles of it, one vast stretch of 140-million-year-old rainforest.

But some things don’t change. Batang Ai National Park, 150 miles south-east of Kuching, is one of them.

And here, amid the dense growth, my journey into the real Borneo is gaining pace.

I’m seeking the Dayak, the indigenous people of the island, who have long lived a simpler, less intrusive life among the boughs and branches.

Specifically, I’m looking for the Iban, the Dayak tribe who eke out their existence in the backwoods of Sarawak and Sabah, their homes seamlessly slotted into the jungle, rather than overpowering it.

Batang Ai Reservoir fades behind me, the Delong River pulling me east in a wooden boat — more an extended canoe than a ferry — so low to the brown-green water that it seems likely to be swallowed by it at any second.

The motor snorts and coughs every time the pilot has to swerve us around a floating log or shallow section or through a patch of rocky rapids.

There are shrill calls and rhythmic beats from the canopy, hornbills and woodpeckers at work.

And the trees seem to crowd ever closer with each mile, as if the jungle wants to pluck me from my damp seat and hold me close.

t will have its way. After 90 minutes, we pull ashore at what seems the smallest of gaps in the foliage. And there it is in a clearing: the Nanga Sumpa Longhouse.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sarawak Tourism Ministry allocated RM44m for next year


THE Sarawak Tourism Ministry has been allocated RM44 million under the 2017 state budget to boost the state’s tourism industry.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Openg disclosed this when met by reporters yesterday.

He said parts of the allocation would be used as incentives for direct charter flights into Sarawak, which he hoped would be turned into scheduled flights.

“The market has responded and we need certain incentives to be given to them,” said Abang Johari who is also Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister.

The allocation would also be used for upgrading tourism infrastructure, particularly national parks.

Abang Johari, who has been tasked to lead one of the three cabinet committees – the Performance and Service Delivery Transformation Committee – said the Housing and Urbanisation Ministry would be coming out with an Urban Renewal Master Plan.

“We are doing a master plan for us to redevelop or renew our urban centres.  As you know, there are certain areas that we need to redevelop,” said Abang Johari, who is also Housing and Urbanisation Minister.

Citing Kampung Darul Hana and Main Bazaar of Kuching as the examples, he said while the ministry was redeveloping city centres, it would also strive to preserve the villages or areas that had historical value.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Do more to promote pristine Tusan beach, Miri


MIRI: Tusan beach – a beautiful stretch of white sand with cliff and rock formations located about an hour’s drive from here – is a popular getaway spot for outdoor picnics and family outings during the weekend.

Local and foreign visitors and beachgoers from as far away as Kuching and Brunei drive out all the way there to witness the beautiful rock formations and watch the evening sunset.

According to a foreign visitor, Roselyn Asentista Galeon, the beach is very beautiful, attracting not only local tourists but also foreigners who like to see the natural beauty of the sand, rocks, sunset and blue seascape.

She said the government should do more promotions to highlight Tusan beach to tourists in Europe, Japan, South Korea and the Middle East, such as offering various hotel packages to encourage them to visit.

“The Tusan beach is beautiful even at night and more promotions should be done to lure more tourists to come here,” she opined.

Expressing the same view, Siti Nekmah from Brunei said street lighting should be installed to light up the cliff area and the road leading to the beach at night.

She noted that the presence of a local music band performing at the beach on Sundays was an additional incentive for visitors to go there.

She suggested that the local council should set up more permanent stalls as well as amenities such as piped water for the public to use or  take baths with after swimming in the  sea.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Do more to promote pristine Tusan beach, Miri
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Rafflesia Tuan Mudae blooms at Gunung Gading National Park, attracts hundreds of visitors


LUNDU: The Gunung Gading National Park here was swarmed by nearly 200 visitors since Friday when its main attraction, the Rafflesia flower from the Rafflesia tuan mudae species, blooms.

The world’s largest flower started to bloom on Thursday (the first day of blooming process which normally takes up to six days) and is expected to continue until Tuesday (Nov 22).

Visitors have to walk about 300 metres or 20 minutes from the park’s office before getting to the location of the flower.

The officer in charge at the national park, Edmund Gering, 27, said the Rafflesia takes almost nine months to flower.

“This time the 70cm diametre flower has six petals, where Rafflesia normally produces five petals only. Each year  about 20 Rafflesia flowers will bloom in the park,” he said when met here yesterday.

Visitors who want to see the Rafflesia must register with the national park management and be accompanied by a guide before being allowed to visit the Rafflesia location.

Edmund said there are about 23 locations of Rafflesia flowers opened for visitors as they are easily accessible and had been marked by the national park.

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bitten By The Travel Bug: An Island Day Trip Close to Kota Kinabalu - Sepanggar Island


Fishermen walked past me, tourists with large bags and brightly coloured bathers wandered past me and boats at Jesselton Point began to fill; all heading to different islands in search of sun, snorkelling or sleep (yes, there are hotels on some of the islands just off Kota Kinabalu!). I was people watching, picking up freshly baked Malaysian delights and a fresh coconut on the way.

Sabahan’s are known for being relaxed and easy-going. After a few weeks travelling through Indonesia, it was nice to be told that the only thing I had to do was “relax and enjoy life“. I was off in search of some quality island time at Mari Mari Sepanggar Island.

Welcome to Mari Mari Sepanggar Island

Set a 15-minute boat ride from Jesselton Point, you’ll be docking at Sepanggar Island. This private island has recently been opened to the public who come through local business, Mari Mari who also run lodging on Sepanggar Island and nearby Mantanani Island.

Each day, just a few dozen people are allowed to visit the island. When I visited, there was eight of us, including one family and a couple who had stayed overnight on the island, plus the staff, on this island paradise.

For a half day trip, it’s great! Escape from the bustle of downtown Kota Kinabalu to the white sandy beaches, fishing, snorkelling and diving opportunities, and a jungle walk. Hammocks strung between trees  call to you to come nap, beach volleyball and a few other games to play, but trust me – you’ll be distracted by the bright aquamarine coloured waters.

Should you want to stay overnight, the island offers basic rooms at a very reasonable price. There are a sprinkling of hill chalets and one spacious beach chalet. All of them have views of the beach and cityscape beyond.

One of the main appeals of Sepanggar Island is the opportunity to go snorkelling to see some of Sabah’s brightly coloured fish!

The coral at Sepanggar Island is little worse for wear near the island due to the proximity of the city, local villages and boat use in the area. If snorkelling if important to you, I’ve been told that the waters at Mantanani Island is a little further away (around 45 minutes by boat) but offers much better diving opportunities with visibility of around 30 – 40 metres!

Meeting the locals

Sepanggar Island is home to a mix of animals and (temporary!) humans. Many of the staff who run day-to-day operations are locals from the nearby village and the guides often spend nights there. Then there are the animals.

As I sat on the deck to dry myself off before lunch, I couldn’t help myself and patiently waited for the cats to approach. One was so busy cleaning herself that she looked up in surprise mid-lick.

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Sarawak Regatta ideal platform to showcase Sarawak to the world


KUCHING: The Sarawak Regatta is an ideal platform to showcase Sarawak as a progressive, developed and peaceful tourism destination.

According to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, side events of the boat race, such as the food and handicraft bazaars and the Dragon Boat Race had over the years managed to lure visitors and tourists by the thousands to the state capital.

“The success of Sarawak Regatta, the 144th edition this year, is another manifestation of close collaboration between various government and private agencies related to the tourism industry with their federal counterparts.

“We have successfully roped in corporations to help with Petronas as the main sponsor for this year’s regatta,’ said Adenan.

He said this in a message contained in the Sarawak Regatta 2016 booklet distributed to members of the press yesterday.

Adenan, who was represented by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg at the opening ceremony, added that the regatta had to attract more international participants in future to gain more international attention.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said the regatta, held to unite the different races through a boat race dubbed as ‘The Great Peace Making’ in Marudi 144 years ago, had evolved into a huge event which was now included in the state tourism calender.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thousands to converge on Kuching Waterfront for Sarawak Regatta


KUCHING: Thousands are expected to converge on the Kuching Waterfront today to witness one of the state’s oldest sporting events, the Sarawak Regatta, which first started in 1872 during the Brooke rule.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem will declare open the event which carries the theme ‘Race for Harmony’ before noon.

Yesterday, around 800 paddlers entered the heat for 16 categories of the race being contested to determine their position for the finals on Sunday.

Among the categories are: Balok seven-paddler (men, local), Bidar 20-paddler (men, international), Bidar 10-paddler (men, local), Bidar 30-paddler (men, international) and the Mix International Kenyalang (15 men and five women).

Also to be held from 3.15pm Sunday will be the finals of the Bidar 30-paddler (men, international) category. The winner will be crowned Raja Sungai (River King), which is the climax of the Sarawak Regatta.

Meanwhile, the whole 1.3km stretch of the Kuching Waterfront has been bustling since a week ago with the launch of the handicraft bazaar and the two-day International Dragon Boat race over the weekend.

With lots of activities and attractions in place, locals and tourists alike are seen strolling and immersing themselves in this unique Sarawakian event.

Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is expected to officiate at the closing ceremony.

Meanwhile, Kuching Resident Shukarmin Chasemon, told reporters on Thursday, that response to the boat race was very overwhelming.

Apart from local Malaysians, participants from Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and United Kingdom are also competing in this year’s regatta.

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Higher participation in Sarawak Regatta 2016 — thanks to haze-free weather


KUCHING: The haze-free weather is the likeliest factor that contributes to the increase of participants in this year’s annual Sarawak Regatta.

Opar assemblyman Ranum Mina recalled that the state capital was badly affected by terrible hazy conditions last year, resulting in many participants to pull out from the event due to health concerns.

“This year, we are blessed with a fine weather; which is why we can see around 800 participants taking part in 46 events in this year’s regatta. Last year, the number of participants was well below 800,” he told The Borneo Post at Kuching Waterfront yesterday.

Ranum also said the organisers were more prepared this time around, noting that they kept improving year after year.

Notably, he also mentioned about the shift in the running of the regatta to November, beginning this year. Prior to this, the event was usually held in September.

Ranum, who witnessed the inaugural Batang Kayan Regatta in Lundu in October, said there was a possibility that the Sarawak Regatta might add more categories into its lineup of races as a way to attract more international teams.

This, he opined, would make the annual event grow exponentially as one of the state’s premier tourism products.

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Malaysia Airlines maiden Kota Kinabalu-Penang flight


KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) celebrated its inaugural Kota Kinabalu-Penang and Penang-Kuching flights with a welcome and send-off event at both Kota Kinabalu and Kuching airport yesterday.

Sabah Tourism Board together with Malaysia Airlines’ and MASwings representatives led by Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer, Capt Izham Ismail welcomed MH2732 from Penang by handing out goodies to passengers at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA). The return flight, MH2733, was also given a special send-off token.

“We have received tremendous support from passengers flying on our Penang-Kuching and Penang–Kota Kinabalu routes. We are looking at very encouraging advanced book loads of 70-80%, with our passengers mostly traveling over the holidays and upcoming festive seasons,” said Malaysia Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, Arved von Zur Muehlen.

“We are confident that this connectivity will lead to greater domestic tourism for Malaysia’s largest secondary cities,” he added.

“Domestic arrivals is our main market source. We see continued growth of +3.6% on single-month comparison between the month of August this year and last year. In total, domestic arrivals registered +0.3% growth or 1.440 million up to the first eight months of this year. This brings a total nett of 2.089 million or +5.7% (2015: 1.976 million) arrivals into Sabah,” Sabah Tourism Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai reported.

“We are expecting higher growth in the coming months especially after a successful partnership with Malaysia Airlines during a familiarization trip by Malaysia’s top social media influencers and bloggers to Sandakan recently,” Joniston added.

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Malaysia Airlines opens Penang-Kuching direct flight route


KUCHING: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) celebrated its inaugural Penang-Kuching direct flight service with a festive ceremony at Kuching International Airport (KIA) yesterday.

Flight MH2724 was welcomed with cultural performances upon its maiden arrival from Penang.

A similar celebration also took place at Kota Kinabalu Airport for the inaugural Penang-Kota Kinabalu direct flight service.

Permanent secretary to the Ministry of Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture, Datu Ik Pahon Joyik pointed out that this long-awaited direct flight was a relief to the state’s air connectivity dilemma.

“As such, on behalf of the minister (Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg) and the government, we want to thank Malaysia Airlines and other industry players for their efforts in positioning Sarawak as a tourism destination,” he told reporters here.

Other than Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) which is the main hub, Ik Pahon hoped that Malaysia Airlines would also look into connecting towns and cities across Sarawak to other key cities in Peninsular Malaysia like Johor Baharu.

“We will work closely with Malaysia Airlines to ensure sustainability of the Penang-Kuching route, of which the initial planning was for seasonal flights to take advantage of the festive seasons and school holidays.

“But prior to discussion with Nicholas (Malaysia Airlines – Malaysia Commercial Division regional sales manager Nicholas Kong), we hope they could look beyond that and see how we could sustain and maintain this route,” he suggested.

“Penang is a very important hub,” Ik Pahon emphasised, adding: “It is the second busiest in Peninsular Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, with a lot of international flights.

“So we want to leverage Penang as another hub where passengers can take direct flights to Kuching or other major hubs in Sarawak.”

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Friday, November 18, 2016

MMEA vessel sunk for tourism attraction near Manukan Island


KOTA KINABALU: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) created history when it sank one of its vessel as a tourism and artificial coral reef attraction near Manukan Island, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park yesterday.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said the purpose of decommissioning the 52-year-old KM Kuraman vessel into the ocean was for ecosystem, namely in coral reef growth and marine life.

With the new ‘asset’ in the sea, Masidi said it would indirectly attract tourists, especially shipwreck diving or ‘Wreck Dive’ in the country.

“KM Kuraman was decommissioned and sunk into the seabed at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park to serve as a new tourism attraction and ecosystem for coral reef and shipwreck diving activities.

“With this new ecosystem, we believe it will diversify the existing biodiversity in this park,” he said after officiating at the sinking of KM Kuraman at Manukan Island, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park yesterday.

Also present were MMEAFirst Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som and Sabah Park director Dr Jamili Nais.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sabah east coast to have charter flights from China next year


KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism is planning to launch charter flight services from China to the east coast towns early next year.

Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Pang Yuk Ming disclosed that they are planning to mount direct flight services from Guangzhou and Chengdu to Sandakan.

And both the flights will return home via Tawau, he said.

“So tourists will visit Sandakan first before travelling to Tawau to continue their holidays and then return home,” said Pang when met recently during the farewell party for Hangzhou Municipal People’s Congress Standing Committee chairman Wang Jincai and his entourage at a hotel here.

During the visit here, Wang signed a memorandum of understanding with City Hall Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai to foster stronger ties and collaboration in trade, investment and tourism between Hangzhou and Kota Kinabalu. “The Guangzhou side has agreed with the proposal and now we are waiting for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to give us the schedules. Maybe in the next few weeks we can finalise the agreements,” said Pang, adding that they are eyeing to fly during the Chinese New Year season.

Besides that, he said the Sabah Tourism also strived to help promote Labuan to the China market.

“I understand that Labuan has been promoting their tourism sector aggressively since the oil and gas industry declined in the island.

“The business is suffering and I heard many of their hotels are empty although they have ambitiously mounted a few chartered flights from China.

“But to me, I think it is difficult to attract visitors if we only promote Labuan alone because there is not many products the island can offer to holidaymakers,” noted Pang.

“Maybe it works in a short span of time but it will be difficult to maintain it in a long run,” he said. To make the sojourn to Labuan unique, Pang suggested that the package to Labuan should include a visit to Kota Kinabalu too.

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Kuala Baram Wetland to be turned into a bird sanctuary


MIRI: Sarawak Forest Department wants to make Kuala Baram Wetland a bird conservation area for this city.

Its director Sapuan Ahmad said this is because the wetland is home to migratory birds from the northern atmosphere.

Speaking at a press conference here after chairing a meeting on the Kuala Baram Wetland at Mega Hotel yesterday, Sapuan said to-date, a total of 132 migratory bird species have been sighted and recorded by a team of bird watchers from Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) Miri branch at the site including the world’s very rare bird species – Chinese Tern – which could hardly be found in other areas in the world.

“The idea to turn the Kuala Baram Wetland into a bird conservation area was mooted by Assistant Minister of Land and Air Transportation and Safety Datuk Lee Kim Shin two years ago.

“After knowing the said area has been alienated to private individuals, it is not an easy task for us to get back the land because we have to pay for the land cost. However, under the concept of bird conservation, there is no necessity to gazette the area as the land can still belong to the people but we have to work together for a win-win situation.”

He further said there were two villages in the area; namely Kampung Muhibbah and Kampung Masjid, and there were some squatters living along Sungai Sembilan, Kuala Baram.

“MNS Miri has identified some 600 hectares as potential areas for the bird conservation. Thus, we will treat this area like what we did in Bako where the lands still belong to the people and we engage them in the bird conservation efforts, which is good for tourism too.”

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Borneo Surf Festival on Dec 17


Kota Kinabalu: The third edition of the Borneo Surf Festival organised by Sabah Surfing Association (SSA) will be held from Dec 17-18 at the Nexus Resort and Spa Karambunai in Sepanggar, near here.

In the official launch of the event's poster on Wednesday, SSA President Ivan Tan said the two-day event is sponsored by Rip Curl, Happy Plugs and supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia as well as Sabah Tourism Board.

"We are extremely excited to partner Rip Curl again as well as getting strong support from tourism agencies like Motac, Tourism Malaysia and Sabah Tourism Board, and also to have Happy Plugs to be part of Borneo Fest."

He added that the event this year will again see the demonstration by Rip Curl's Pro Surfers from Bali, Indonesia on surfing technique and skills on Sabah water.

He called the public to come and support the event which apart from the competition, will also have many fun and family oriented activities such as the Tamu Pantai Bazaar, featuring locally-made handicrafts and products, as well as a stage to showcase local performers throughout the day.

Continue reading (Incl. Pic) at: Borneo Surf Festival on Dec 17
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

That Time I Went There: That Time I went to Borneo


In July of 2016 I went to Borneo.

If you don’t know where that is it’s hanging out being the 3rd largest island in the world, located right in Malaysia.

It’s a magical land of orangutans, elephants, birds for days, trees that never end, bio-luminescent mushrooms, a large dusting of mysterious invertebrates, and the most passionate people I have ever met.

Those are the ingredients for the perfect cake of a world.

In the end, it half tasted like the best thing I ever ate and the other half was the sad last piece that nobody wanted.

So how fast until you call me ungrateful?

I just went half way around the world (P.S. I live in the United States), witnessed multiple baby orangutans bond with their mother, planted trees, listened to gibbons as I woke up, got kissed in the face by moths, and did a dance in front of an entire village and I still don’t know what it meant.

I also watched a kid who couldn’t have been more than 12 using a scythe to get an oil palm bushel down from the top of a tree while basic human safety was being violated.

10 days before we left the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus) was moved from “endangered” to “critically endangered” on the IUCN red list.

I looked at miles and miles of deforestation, and did not swim in the Kinabatangan river that was clear in the 1960’s but now doesn’t have an inch of visibility due to pollution and run-off.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: That Time I Went There: That Time I went to Borneo
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Enjoy a family-themed buffet over the weekend at Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites, Kuching


Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites’ all day dining restaurant, Aurora Court is offering the Family Weekend Buffet every Saturday!

Guests are welcome to experience more than 100 menu items ranging from appetisers to desserts.

As you step into the dining area, you will be greeted by Aurora Court’s friendly staff before laying your eyes upon the carving station.

The attraction at the carving station is none other than the BBQ Smoked Lamb Shoulder and Chinese Roasted Duck.

Even when you think you are done, the natural, smoky, aromatic flavours along with the tenderness of the meat will make you come back for more.

Aurora Court also offers other highlighted dishes for instant Sharwarma, Mini Burgers, Laksa and Nasi Bukhari.

The mini burgers are small enough to savour their flavours without making you feeling full.

Adding to the variety, there are also sambal belacan, cencaluk, rojak, acar and kerabu dishes.

Guests can also find a good collection of hot dishes such as Gulai Lemak Ayam Sri Menanti and BBQ Beef with pineapple.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Curios Traveller: Dinner @ Spice Island, Sutera Harbour Marina and Country Club, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah


“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”-Dorothy Day

It’s one of the 3 signature award-winning restaurants in Sutera Harbour Resort that have been awarded Malaysia Best Restaurant 2016 by Malaysia Tatler. Welcome to Spice Island @ Sutera Harbour Marina & Country Club, a restaurant that focuses on elevated, fusion traditional Malay and Indian cuisines. We both are on the same page with Malaysia Tatler, this particular restaurant is indeed one of the Best Restaurant in Malaysia. The products and services exceeded our expectation, both went beyond our imagination, delivering the best to its clientele. We went here for dinner and never we expected that we will be consuming some amazing food. Is this the best Malay & Indian restaurant in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah?

About Spice Island

Spice Island which is located on level 3 of Sutera Harbour Marina & Country Club, one of the Resort’s signature and award-winning restaurants, offers a unique fusion of traditional Malay and Indian dishes. The restaurant has hosted royalties and dignitaries, designed to replicate ethnic Malay houses and lavishly decorated with traditional artifacts. Open only for dinners, it is advisable to make an advanced reservation as the restaurant is popular among Club members, their guests and hotel guests. It’s important for us to repeatedly mention that though this restaurant is located in a private club. it is open to the public.

Opening Hours: 6.30 pm – 11.00 pm daily
Cuisine: Asian (Malay & Indian)

The Exterior

“The outside architecture and interiors need to speak the same message, so the curb appeal, signage color and layouts of outdoor and indoor seating, and flow needs to be cohesive.”-Carter Elkin-Paris

Upon reaching the main entrance of Spice Island, we were amazed with the exterior of the restaurant. There are many Malay and Indian characteristics being displayed through the spectacular decorations. There are 2 Trishaws (Rickshaw/pedicab/trisikad) or Beca on both side of the main entrance. Beca was an important type of transportation mostly for the common in Malay society long time ago.

There is also 2 Rebana or Tambourine(s) being displayed next to each Beca. Rebana is a Malay tambourine that is used in Islamic devotional music in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. The sound of Rebana often accompanies Islamic ritual such as the zikir. The name Rebana came from the Arabic word Robbana meaning “our Lord”.

Then there are 2 big vases on the right and left hand side of the main entrance. Centuries ago, Vases are important for both Malay and Indian community as it’s used to store water and food. Though less significant nowadays as vases are mostly regarded as decorations, it still ably to remind us how the item played an important role for the Malays and Indians. Seeing all these important elements as decorations outside Spice Island restaurant made us sensed that we’re about to see and eat food of Malay and India origins.

The Interior

“Ambiance can affect everything from perceptions on responsiveness and reliability, how much and how fast customers eat, how much they spend, how long they stay in the restaurant, if they decide to return and more.”-Carter Elkin-Paris

We’re on the same page with Carter Elkin-Paris. Ambiance plays an important role in customers decision. Amazing ambiance will make customers stay longer thus consuming more food and beverages. The ambiance and overall environment in Spice Island is definitely awesome. Again, Malay and Indian characteristics/elements are seen here and there. Orange is the main color in this restaurant followed by some earth colors. There are some Malay Traditional pattern carved on woods as seen in the image above. Bicycle was an important type of transportation for both Malay and Indians.

A replica of Malay Traditional Oil Lamp is on display on the ceiling. Though it is just a replica and not being the real one, it is an important indication of the type of food being served at Spice Island. Traditional Music Instruments of the Malays are on display too such as the Gong and Kulintangan.

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Kaohsiung City wants to stay connected with Kuching via direct flights


KUCHING: The Kaohsiung City government hopes to establish the Kaohsiung-Kuching direct flights to introduce this ‘beautiful Cat City’ to the people of Southern Taiwan.

According to Kaohsiung City Economic Development Bureau deputy director-general Jason Cheng, Kuching is such a beautiful city that he believes Southern Taiwanese would love to visit.

“It is too bad that there is presently no direct (flight) route between Kaohsiung and Kuching because Kuching city is so beautiful. I am very impressed as not only is the city clean, but its people are also friendly,” he said during a courtesy call on Kuching South Mayor Datuk James Chan at Kuching South City Council (MBKS) yesterday.

Cheng said he would deliberate the matter with tourism industry players as well as the authorities in Kaohsiung.

“First and foremost, we will have to persuade an airline or two to look into the feasibility of having the proposed direct route. Taiwanese would love to visit Kuching because I have a sense of familiarity after going around this city.

“Furthermore, there is no communication barrier as many people speak Mandarin in Kuching. I cannot help but feel comfortable.”

Asked on what impressed him the most, Cheng said the city was ‘full of green’ and the blue sky was ‘something some parts of the world couldn’t dream of’.

“(It’s) not just the greenery and the blue sky – I feel safe when walking around the Kuching Waterfront. Mind you, we did a walkabout at the waterfront an hour to midnight.”

Apart from looking forward to materialising the Kaohsiung-Kuching direct flight route, Cheng said the Kaohsiung City government also hoped that MBKS would attend the ‘Global Harbour Cities Forum 2018’.

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