Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: 9th Kota Kinabalu City Day Celebration


Date: 2 February
Kota Kinabalu enters its 9th year as a city this February. Join the city folk as they celebrate at Padang Merdeka on the eve of City Day. Witness a symbolic flag-raising ceremony, poetry recital and a grand fireworks display. Various activities and competitions will be held throughout the week in conjunction with the City Day celebration.s Contact the City Hall for more details on these events.

For more information, please contact Faradillah Abdul Rani at tel. no 088-521800 or fax 088-233815. E-mail faradillah@dbkk.sabah.gov.my

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism
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Friday, January 30, 2009

MAS to offer greater value for Brunei-Kuala Lumpur flights


By Sonia K

Starting today, Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) operated flights on the Brunei-Kuala Lumpur and Brunei-Kota Kinabalu routes will be offering greater value and choices on travels at lower prices.

According to MAS' press release, it will be rolling out its MH Value Fares offering passengers up to 70 per cent ticket discount - with fare options - MHlow, MHbasic, MHsmart and MHflex - for economy class travel.

At the same time, the airline is also set to remove fuel surcharge on its Brunei flights.

According to MAS Senior General Manager of Network Revenue Management, Dr Amin Khan, the decision to remove fuel surcharge was made after taking into account the decline in fuel prices, competitive pressures and the need to boost air travel during this period of economic slowdown.

The four fare choices differ in ticket discounts, purchase requirements and benefits with MHlow fares offering up to 70 per cent ticket discount with at least 21 days advance purchase. In the website, the MHlow fares will be indicated in red.

MHbasic offers up to 50 per cent ticket discount and requires 14 days advance purchase.

For those who require more flexibility and added conveniences, MHsmart offers 75 per cent Enrich Miles and baggage allowance up to 25 kg, the press release stated. Tickets can be bought four days before departure.

Mhflex, on the converse, offers the most benefits and flexibility as the tickets can be purchased anytime, bookings can be changed at no extra cost and customers enjoy 125 per cent Enrich miles accrual.

MH Value Fares is one of the many initiatives MAS has launched this year, which demonstrates the national carrier's commitment to provide customers with value and choices.

The release said customers will also continue to enjoy all the five-star services that MAS has always offered as an award-winning airline, including refreshments on board, convenient schedules, on time departures, minimum 20kg baggage allowance and many other benefits.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brunei cultural treat for visiting Chinese tourists

Tourists enjoying the lion dance performance

A young tourist trying out the gulingtangan with the help of one of the musicians

Performers in a colourful traditional dance

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Syafiq Affendy

The first batch of around 200 tourists from China are in the country for two days, signalling the positive outcome of the nation's efforts in becoming one of the best tourist destinations in Southeast Asia.

BonAsia Holiday Management Services, the travel agency that brought in these tourists, have arranged several colourful and exciting activities for the tourists during their stay in the country.

The group of tourists were entertained to a cultural show at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom, The Empire Hotel and Country Club on Tuesday night.

The Brunei Tourism Board supported the event by providing the cultural shows of traditional dances and gulingtangan group at the event, which attracted much attention from the tourists.

According to BonAsia Holiday, the tourists were also brought around the capital for a city tour, visiting popular tourist attractions like the Royal Regalia and the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque.

The second batch of tourists arrived in the country last night.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu Flights Likely


KOTA KINABALU -- The Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAir) now flies the Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu route twice a week, promising a more upbeat outlook in tourism in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

A statement issued by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) said the Philippines domestic carrier, which made its inaugural Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu flight in November last year with a 32-seater Dornier 328 aircraft, will have flights from Puerto Princesa to Kota Kinabalu every Tuesday and Friday, from the initial once-a-week schedule.

Puerto Princesa City Tourism Council (CTC) president Felisa Torres said the route should be promoted intensively and marketed competitively for it to be sustained.

Torres had earlier said in an article this is a welcome development that will help boost the local economy.

SEAir president Avelino Zapanta had said in an article the airline will look into increasing flight frequency on the route to twice weekly in January depending on the response.

Meanwhile, their tourism counterpart in Sabah also showed the same enthusiasm, citing a slight tourist increase from the Philippines to Sabah during the first semester last year.

Continue reading at: More Puerto Princesa-Kota Kinabalu Flights Likely
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year 2009 from e-borneo.com


In conjunction with the Chinese New Year Celebration public holidays nationwide, our office will be closed for two consecutive days on 26th and 27th January 2009.

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 Wednesday, 28 January 2009 (working hours +0800 GMT MYT).

Any inconvenience caused is very much regretted.

For those who are celebrating the Chinese New Year festival, all of us at e-borneo.com as well as Colourful Frontiers Travel Sdn. Bhd. would like to wish you 'Gong Xi Fa Cai' and may you have a healthy and prosperous year of the Ox ahead.

Best wishes,

The e-borneo.com Team, &
Colourful Frontiers Travel Sdn. Bhd.
(Travel Company of e-borneo.com - 639704A KPL/LN 4605)

1st Flr., Lot 12, Block B
Damai Plaza Phase II
Lorong Pokok Manis Satu, Jalan Damai
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: +6-088-249177
Fax: +6-088-234703
Email: travel@e-borneo.com

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Proboscis Monkeys in Borneo - A visit to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary


By HERMAN SCHOLZ, The Flying Dusun

It was not a planned visit and so much more was I astonished at what awaited us: I recently went to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary near Sandakan and it was a great surprise and wonderful experience amidst plantations and mangroves alike, a true sanctuary for not only Proboscis monkeys (endemic to Borneo) but also other plant and animal species in Borneo.

The sanctuary is an exemplary illustration of how humans and animals can live alongside each other, with but a small sacrifice from our part: while embarking on oil palm plantation development some 400 acres of mangrove forest, initially also bought for commercial development, were set aside as a unique sanctuary for the equally unique Proboscis monkey and other animals and plants. The conservation project started spontaneously when the owner of the land learned more about the monkeys and their predicament – struggle for survival in the wild where natural habitats are under heavy pressure and disappear at an alarmingly fast rate.

Few people in their quest for commercial gain pay much attention to the plight of monkeys and other animals on their land, but this plantation owner made a well thought decision and refrained from bulldozing the mangroves for more plantations. What started out as a simple project is now a recognised effort and also a tourist sanctuary where one can spend a night (or better two!) amongst mangroves and their irreplaceable eco system.


Mangroves play a vital role in coastal environments, not only preventing erosion and flooding but also providing spawning grounds and protection for many fish species, alongside with birds and crabs, crocodiles and monkeys, healing plants and traditional building materials and much more. Through their filtering action they also prevent coral reefs off the shore from being suffocated by silt rivers inevitably carry with them; they act as a natural barrier between the sea and the land – in short, mangroves are extremely important areas but unfortunately that is only slowly being recognised and for many mangroves throughout the world it is too late. They have been developed and the price humans pay is heavy.

Few places in Sabah now offer such great opportunities to watch Proboscis monkeys (and others) so close, and offer an opportunity to learn more about their predicament in general and what is being done for conservation of their species and natural habitat.

A visit to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is at a time a learning experience and an insight how one can, on private initiative, do something for the conservation of our environment. Contact the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary for more details on accommodation and how to get there through their website Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, or contact their general manager Mr Sean Lee Vui Vun.


To observe these unique monkeys, called Monyet Belanda in the Malay language – meaning Dutchman – it is best to visit their natural sleepover places along rivers in Borneo (read: Sabah). The monkeys settle usually around 5 pm in trees along the banks. Until everybody finds their branches there is a lot of awesome “monkeyacrobatics” to be observed! In Sabah we recommend the following sites:

* Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (day tour; overnight facilities available and highly recommended);
* Sukau Forest Reserve (overnight tours; highly recommended); Klias Wetlands (day tour; great river safaris).

In Sarawak you will have to go to the Bako National Park, easily reachable from Kuching within some 45 minutes. Tour operators offer days tours but there are also overnight facilities available. The Bako National Park is amongst Sarawak’s oldest and most intriguing, offering various habitats and many types of vegetation that can be explored on well maintained treks but the sighting of Proboscis monkeys, especially on a day tour cannot be guaranteed.

Courtesy of: New Sabah Times 'In' Sites
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sarawak's Kolok Mee resembles wantan mee, but with an oomph to it


EVER heard of Kolok Mee? I had first encountered this noodle dish 10 years ago when I was on assignment in Sarawak. This particular meal resembles our wantan mee in Peninsular Malaysia but differs in the type of noodles used and the garnishing.

And, if you observe carefully, the helping of noodles does not come with wantan. Instead, there is minced pork together with slices of char siew.

Since Sarawak has a sizeable Chinese population descended from settlers from Foochow, kolok mee is part of the food culture there.

You can find it literally everywhere around the large state, and what intrigued me was the price. Contrary to popular belief that food is more expensive in Sabah and Sarawak, the kolok mee proved very reasonably priced.

I savoured it for a mere RM3.50 and during a recent follow-up visit to the Land of the Hornbill, I found the prices still very much the same.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sarawak's Kolok Mee resembles wantan mee, but with an oomph to it
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Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival 2009 at Padang Merdeka, Sabah


From Life in Borneo blog:

The Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival 2009 was held at Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu last Saturday, 17th January 2009. More than a dozen dance troupes from schools, clubs and associations from all around Sabah took part in this grand event which was held in celebration of the coming Chinese New Year.

The festival was officiated by Deputy Chief Minister Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Yahya Hussin, who represented the Chief Minister of Sabah, Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman. There were a host of other dignitaries that attended the event, including Datuk Raymond Tan, Datuk Yee Moh Chai and the Mayor of Kota Kinabalu, Datuk Illyas Ibrahim.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival 2009 at Padang Merdeka, Sabah
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3.2 million visitors to Sarawak target achievable


KUCHING: Minister of Urban Development and Tourism Datuk Michael Manyin yesterday voiced his confidence that the 3.2 million tourist arrivals targetted by his ministry was achievable.

He said even though the increased number of flights to the state could not guarantee a corresponding increase in tourist arrivals, the target of 3.2 million was within reach.

His said his optimism was based on the many efforts to promote the state as a choice destination.

According to him, five airlines - AirAsia, Silk Air, Tiger Airways, Batavia Air and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) - are landing at Kuching International Airport (KIA).

Continue reading at: 3.2 million visitors to Sarawak target achievable
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Kota Kinabalu International Airport poised to become hub for shoppers


KOTA KINABALU: The Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is poised to become a hub for shoppers with its wide range of duty free products and excellent service standards, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

He said travellers could enjoy these privileges within a conducive and comfortable environment.

Commending the shopping campaign initiated by Malaysia Airports and launched here yesterday, he said it was an admirable effort as it was an excellent way of welcoming both local and foreign visitors.

Musa said the Sabah government viewed this as a positive development to boost the tourism industry in the state.

“This campaign is an innovative way to promote the new international airport in Sabah’s capital as a lifestyle centre. In fact, Sabah is a state that is rich with natural wonder and beauty as well as cultural heritage.

“These are some of the reasons travellers from around the world are drawn to Sabah and even Malaysians from other parts of the country are starting to make Sabah their destination of choice,” he said in his speech at the launch of KKIA Spend and Win Shopping Campaign here yesterday.

Continue reading at: Kota Kinabalu International Airport poised to become hub for shoppers
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Time to visit Sarawak


KUCHING: Tourist arrivals from Singapore to Sarawak are expected to double this year following improved air connectivity between the state capital and the island republic.

State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said 41,000 tourists from Singapore visited Sarawak last year when Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and SilkAir were the only airlines flying the Kuching-Singapore route for much of the year.

“This year, we are going to have a total of five airlines flying into Kuching from Singapore, so we expect no fewer than 100,000 tourist arrivals from Singapore,” he said when launching the state’s 2009 tourism calendar of events here yesterday.

Low-cost carriers AirAsia and Tiger Airways began flying the Kuching-Singapore route last November while Jetstar Asia will begin its flights on March 1.

Continue reading at: Time to visit Sarawak
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More flights for Ba Kelalan


MIRI: Ba Kelalan needs MASwings to increase its number of flights to meet regular, tourism, and other needs.

Currently, the rural airport is served by two Twin Otter flights from Miri and Lawas on Wednesday and Saturday, respectively, which is hardly sufficient to get more tourists to the cool highlands.

The road journey between Ba Kelalan and the nearest town, Lawas, could take between six and 12 hours and cost more than airfares as the owners of the 4WD-vehicles that ply them need to cover the heavy maintenance costs due to the bad condition of the road.

A flight would take only 30 minutes.

Many tourists have been heard saying that daily flights or at least four to five flights weekly, would enable them to come by road from Kota Kinabalu or fly in via Miri and Lawas and then return to their respective destinations without any fuss.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: More flights for Ba Kelalan
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New packages to draw tourists to Sarawak


KUCHING: New tourism packages for Sarawak will be introduced soon to offset the impact of the global economic recession which could affect the arrival of foreign tourists here.

Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng said that although the new year was only into its second week, key players in the state tourism industry were already feeling the pinch of the global economic recession with the percentage of bookings secured by the various tourism operators in the same period “less than last year” and the viable solution was to come up with unique tourism packages

“We are looking into promotional packages which will be made available right after the Chinese New Year celebration,” he said.

One of the packages was for the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (Mice) market in conjunction with the grand opening of the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

Continue reading at: New packages to draw tourists to Sarawak
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AirAsia launches Kota Kinabalu-Sibu flight


KUCHING: AirAsia, the leading and largest low-cost carrier in Asia, yesterday launched a new daily domestic route — Kota Kinabalu-Sibu.

The airline also reinstated the Kuching-Macau, Kota Kinabalu-Macau route and the fourth daily flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau.

The flights will commence on Mar 1 this year.

The launching ceremony was held at Merdeka Palace and Suites and was officiated by Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin. AirAsia manager for East Malaysia and Brunei Shanmugamnathan Suppiah was present at the function.

Continue reading at: AirAsia launches Kota Kinabalu-Sibu flight
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Sarawak to lure regional tourists


KUCHING: Sarawak will focus on regional tourists instead of trying to lure people from other parts of the world in its tourism promotion strategy this year.

State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said in view of the current economic downturn the change in strategy was necessary, as it was felt that fewer tourists would go on long-haul holidays when times were bad.

“Previously, when the economy was booming, the tourism industry tried to go global and attract visitors from all over the world.

“But with the economic crisis, we believe people won’t go for long-distance trips,” he told reporters after announcing that AirAsia would reinstate Kuching-Macau and Kota Kinabalu-Macau routes yesterday.

Continue reading at: Sarawak to lure regional tourists
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Borneo: Fiona Bruce is wild about Sabah


It was only when I reached Borneo that I realised it's not actually a country but an island in the South China Sea, belonging to three countries: Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. I knew I should have paid more attention in geography lessons. I was heading with family in tow to Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states in Borneo. It's about the size of Ireland and has tropical jungles, caves, beaches and former headhunting tribes – we were in search of adventure.

You'll probably have to stop en route at Singapore airport as there's no direct flight. Despite the excitement of flying on Singapore Airlines' new A380 (seats like sofas) we came down to earth in both senses of the phrase at Changi airport at 1am our time. After an 11-hour flight we now faced a six-hour wait until the next flight to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah. But Changi is an airport like no other, and as well as an open-air swimming pool and a cinema, it also has hotel rooms in the terminal for people in transit. After four hours of sleep in a clean, air-conditioned room, we were ready for the next leg. Forty Singapore dollars excellently spent.

Once we touched down in Kota Kinabalu our hotel was about 40 minutes' drive away. The Shangri-La is situated on a wide sweep of beach with a jungle and nature reserve at one end, home to some orphaned orang-utans. Our suite faced the sea with a huge bath on the balcony. Every night, the staff would come and fill it with various fragrant potions, flower petals – even rubber ducks if requested. And every night all four of us piled in and watched the sun go down from our scented tub. Even the room could be given its own fragrance from an aromatherapy menu – we worked our way through the lot, though I'm not sure I could tell the difference.

It's a huge hotel, though the Ocean wing, where we were staying, feels small and intimate. It has its own pool where you can have various massages on your sun lounger and although it's the smarter part of the hotel, it wasn't snooty where children were concerned. There was a lifeguard in attendance and the children could splash and make as much noise as they liked. The staff got to know our names after a few days, and by the end of a fortnight we felt as if we'd stayed in a small family-run hotel but with amazing service and amenities.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Borneo: Fiona Bruce is wild about Sabah
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Cambridge Rainforest Appeal boosts hope for Borneo’s orangutans


Marshall of Cambridge has spearheaded the inspirational Cambridge Rainforest Appeal that has raised £200,000 to enable conservation charity, the World Land Trust to fund the purchase of a key wildlife corridor in Borneo. The land purchase is expected to secure the future of 604 Orang-utans, a critically endangered species.

The World Land Trust launched the Borneo project last August when Marshall of Cambridge funded a feasibility study that enabled WLT to deploy their Projects Manager to the Malaysian island. The WLT soon discovered that a project needed to be established urgently to protect a vital corridor of forest between two separated areas of the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. By protecting the corridor and forming a continuous reserve area it would be possible to ensure the survival of a large population of Orang-utans which would otherwise be threatened with extinction.

It was apparent that WLT had identified a golden opportunity to help save the much loved Orang-utan, but it was an opportunity with an expiry date. It was imperative that £343,364 was raised by January 2009.

Following the feasibility study and the recommendation Marshall of Cambridge rose to the challenge of raising significant funding from among the Cambridge business community. They formed the Cambridge Rainforest Appeal to engage local support and generously hosted a fundraising evening at their Cambridge Airport Headquarters. Despite the credit crunch the response has been overwhelming with £200,000 being donated to their appeal before the January deadline which has therefore made the land purchase possible.

Continue reading at: Cambridge Rainforest Appeal boosts hope for Borneo’s orangutans
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

1Borneo - The First and Largest Lifestyle Hypermall in East Malaysia


1BORNEO is a mixed development project strategically located on 23.3 acres of prime land along Jalan Sulaman Highway, adjacent to University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) with close proximity to the state and federal administrative centres as well as mega townships and housing estates.

Located within Kota Kinabalu, 7 km northwards along the Jalan Sulaman Highway surrounded by lush greenery overlooking the majestic Mount Kinabalu and the Crocker Range, 1Borneo is set to be the ultimate shopping experience for locals and foreign tourists alike.

The largest component of the project is the shopping podium with a gross area of 1.5m sq ft. The 4.8m sq ft of the overall integrated component consists of 4 international & regional chain Hotels, Condominiums, Auto city, Oceanarium & Discovery centre, Handicraft & Cultural Centre, Spa & Fitness Centre, Amusement Centre, Bowling Centre, Cineplex, Gourmet Lane.

The Gross Development Value for the project is at RM1.2billion. Completed within a period of less than 3 years it uses state of the art digi control and wireless access system for the centre courts. The project also prioritised the minimization of impact on the environment by investing close to RM42m for a TRANE Thermal Energy Storage System.

Strict control on interior design and visual merchandising requirement where Parker Carroll Design Sdn Bhd (synonymous with KLCC) and our in-house Interior Designer Team, Alto Design oversees every aspect.

Anchor Tenants - 1 stop hypermall with cluster of concept/flagship stores with 21 mini and main anchor tenants, luxury watch boutiques, high end jewellery shops, leading international and regional fashion boutiques of over 100 brands totalling 300 tenants. Over 70% of the total lettable space (including those owned by developer and leaseback lots from buyers) is achieved to maintain optimum control and performance with excellent trade mix and anchor tenants for every floor. Fashion outlets ranges from Rolex, Cortina, Montblanc, Habib, MO (Melium Outlet) created by the doyenne of fashion, Datuk Farah Khan, luxury fabric house Euro Moda; to the flagship “Tunestore” is in collaboration with Tune Ventures (founded by YBhg Dato’ Tony Fernandes), Roxy, Quiksilver, Esprit, CK Jeans, Nine West, Yen By Arthur, Edmundser, Celia Loe, Urban & Co to name a few. The Gourmet Lane boasts f&b outlets such as Dome, Starbucks, New York New York, Hong Kong Xin Wang Café, Basil Leaf, Hong Kong Recipe, Bintang Lagenda to such staples as McDonald, KFC, Pizza Hut, Yogurberry.

International and regional chain hotel groups - 4 hotels positioned at 1Borneo namely ACCOR (the world’s leading European brand in hotels) with Novotel (16 storeys, 263 rooms), Mercure Hotel (16 storeys, 338 rooms), Courtyard Hotel (9 storeys, 160 rooms), the revolutionary hip Tune Hotels.com (4 storeys, 168 rooms), bringing the total to 929 hotel rooms at 1Borneo.

Condominiums – 4 Towers which include A&B (25 storeys, 399 units each), Tower C (28 storeys, 119 units) , Tower D (over 12 storeys, 91 units); totaling 1008 units.

Autocity Showroom - 35,077 sq ft of space and 31,000 sq ft elaborate bonded warehouse cum car showroom to showcase the latest in exotic sports cars and luxury convertibles to all types of vehicles Oceanarium & Discovery Centre - 35,000 sq ft - the largest in East Malaysia will hold 750,000 million litres of over 500 species of marine life.

Handicraft and Cultural Centre
* showcasing Sabah’s rich cultural heritage of indigenous arts, crafts & Malaysian-made apparels & products such as a collection of weaving tools, musical instruments, various ethnical garments and accessories as well as batik & handicraft making.
* Seamless transportation from taxis, bus shuttle services from 4 major routes, an airconditioned bus terminal, hovercraft and helicopter services complete with hovercraft terminal and helipad.
* Ample carparking exceeding 3,500 bays for customer convenience replete with ramp for easier & faster access. 32 escalators, 4 travellators, 23 passenger lifts, 10 goods lift and a car lift.
* Physically disabled-friendly facilities including 6 special lifts.
* Exclusive event and promotional areas.
* Platinum Lifestyle card catering to your every need at 1Borneo.

1Borneo is poised to be an icon for Sabah and shall herald a new era in the Tourism, Retail and Property sector.

For more information, please contact:
Aileen Diana Yapp
Corporate Affairs Manager
T: +6 088 447 777 / M : 013 8770 770
F: + 6 088 447 788
E: aileendyapp@1borneo.com
W: www.1borneo.com

Source: New Sabah Times 'In' Sites

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Obama’s kith and kin - connection to Sabah, Malaysia Borneo


Barack Obama is not only the first black US President but also the first to have such international family ties, including one that connects him to Malaysia, albeit tenuously!

ONE of the strongest reasons for optimism about the Barack Obama’s presidency is the man’s diverse family background. While his predecessor, George W. Bush, came from an insular family of WASP blue-bloods, Obama is the very embodiment of the American “melting-pot”.

His family tree is truly varied and includes half-siblings from his father’s three other relationships and his mother’s second marriage, spread out in different parts of the world.

However, at the very centre of his life were two very strong women with a liberal world outlook. His recently deceased grandmother Madelyn Lee Payne (1922-2008) was a very progressive woman who overcome the discriminatory practices of her time to become vice-president of a bank in Hawaii.

She passed her liberal views onto her only child (Stanley) Ann Durham (1942-1995) who, in the course of her studies as an anthropologist, met and married Kenyan student Barack Hussein Obama, Sr (1936-1982).

Obama Sr was born into the Kenyan tribe of Luo that had converted from Christianity to Islam. He was something of a ladies man, fathering six other sons and a daughter with three other women (his first wife Keiza, third wife Ruth and a woman named Jael).

Continue reading at: Obama’s kith and kin - connection to Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

Also Read:

* Bittersweet moment for Obama’s kin - 07 Nov 2008

* Sabah’s Obama link - 28 Jul 2008

* Obama has links to Malaysia - 21 Jul 2008
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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: 4M Kiulu Bamboo Rafting Challenge

25 January 2009
With valleys, mountains, rivers and hills, Sabah is every adventure-enthusiast’s dream. It’s all thrills and spills this month during the annual 4M Kiulu Bamboo Rafting Challenge. The event was initially scheduled to take place in December but due to unfavourable weather conditions, the event had to be postponed to January. Severe floods swept away the bamboo rafts and affected the race course. Organisers had no choice but to postpone the event to a later date.

This exciting Quad-event consists of four popular race-events of Kadazandusun people: Manang’kus (a 6-km run), Mamang’kar (bamboo rafting for 5 km along the rapids), Manam’Patau (paddle-swim for 1.3 km with a bamboo pole) and Mama-ram-panau (bamboo stilt-walking for 0.2 km).

Since its debut in 1996, the race has become a much-anticipated annual event, attracting adventure-enthusiasts from all over. The competition has several categories, including the X-treme 5M, the Mixed Open and Junior Open. Over the years, it has received rave reviews from both local and international participants due to its unique race elements – a truly Sabahan race! Come and cheer for your favourite team and be part of the excitement during the Challenge!
For more information or to register, please contact Ariffin Gadait (organising chairman) at 088-225752 or 019 862 4585. E-mail Ariffin.Gadait@sabah.gov.my

Source: Sabah Tourism

Note: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism
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Friday, January 16, 2009

More focus on Sarawak’s tourism


KUCHING: Tourism Malaysia Sarawak will focus more on the state’s tourism, said director Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali at a marketing briefing at a leading hotel here yesterday.

Under the “Zoom! Malaysia” tourism campaign, which replaced the “Cuti-Cuti Malaysia” campaign, there is emphasis on specific areas, such as eco-tourism, resorts, recreation and homestays.

“Sarawak’s strength lies in these areas, especially eco-tourism and homestays,” said Johanif. He added that the homestay programme in Sarawak was different from those in Peninsular Malaysia as the state offered unique lodging in the form of longhouses.

Sarawak is home to many indigenous tribes who have their own longhouses and cultural activities.

“The villages in Peninsular states are quite similar to each other while the longhouse homestay offers tourists a totally different experience from the usual village house,” Johanif said.

He revealed that there was plan for a Mulu package after the rainy season. He said the package would benefit the state’s eco-tourism.

Continue reading at: More focus on Sarawak’s tourism
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Lowest MAS domestic fares to Sabah and Sarawak


PETALING JAYA: For the first time, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is offering the lowest fares for all its domestic destinations with prices starting from RM39 nett.

Customers can also enjoy other all-time low fares from RM69 nett for all flights from or to Kuala Lumpur and to all destinations in Sabah and Sarawak.

The special fare is also available from Johor Baru to Kuching.

Continue reading at: Lowest MAS domestic fares to Sabah and Sarawak
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chinese New Year festive spirit high at 1Borneo Hypermall


Spring comes in showers of gold and the feeling of prosperity and wealth in abundance at 1Borneo Hypermall is the theme of the elaborate decorations this Chinese New Year.

Inspired by ancient I-Ching divination coins, the decorations at the centre atrium and at the whole mall features abundant gilded coins reminiscent to the late Ching Dynasty which brings prosperity and wealth, a press release stated.

"A massive 40-ft high, I-Ching gold coin has been created at the centre atrium as the centrepiece and focal point of cultural shows. The outer layer consists of gold mesh with auspicious greeting written in Chinese calligraphy made of satin. This stunning creation is complemented by a triple lighted-perspex coin on the stage surrounded by cherry blossom trees," explained 1Borneo's Public Relations Manager, Chris Ho. Shoppers can literally bask under a windfall of gold coins at the centre atrium and across the mall, he added.

Among the shows set to delight audiences are the Amazing China Acrobatic Show, the Acrobatic Dances of 18 Lions, 24 Seasons Drum Performance, Chinese instrumental music orchestra and the Shanghai Night Costume Competition.

The Amazing China Acrobatic Show is a seven-member troupe from Beijing who will perform a series of stunts such as the porcelain pot juggling, somersaults and gymnastics which will result in mind-baffling body contortions. Also, their 'Tui Chui Diao Hua' act, or the 'spinning multi plate' act, will definitely thrill shoppers. Catch also the world award-winning Yick Nam Lion Dance troupe performance together with the 'Deity of Fortune' spreading good prosperity and well-being around to shoppers.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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Stop price undercutting, Sarawak tour operators told


KUCHING: There is now an unhealthy trend among tour operators who undercut each other by offering lowly-priced packages in their bid to attract customers.

The Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) Sarawak director Ahmad Johanif Mohd Ali revealed yesterday that several tour operators were offering packages at prices much lower than the general rates.

While this move was welcomed especially in this time of global economic recession, Johanif said there were worries that this could lead to a drastic drop in standard of services rendered. This was because the operator may go for convenience over comfort in the pursuit to trim down expenses.

“I give you an example. A company may opt for an old bus instead of the usual coach to transport tourists around. What if in the middle of the journey that bus breaks down.

“This would tarnish our reputation because the tourists are being exposed to uncomfortable condition whereas they are here to enjoy their stay,” he said when contacted here yesterday.

He urged the operators to stop the unhealthy price undercutting tactic and instead revert to the old but honest ways.

Continue reading at: Stop price undercutting, Sarawak tour operators told

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

MAS drops domestic fuel surcharge


Subang: Malaysia Airlines will remove its domestic fuel surcharge for travel in Malaysia effective today (Jan 14). This decision was made by Malaysia Airlines after taking into account the decline in fuel prices, competitive pressures and the need to boost air travel during this period of economic slowdown.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dato’ Sri Idris Jala said, “We have always offered competitive fares that are benchmarked against our competitors on a route by route basis. Today’s move is in line with the competition, ensuring even more competitive pricing.

“Our stand is the total amount that the customer pays must be competitive, whether it’s the fares alone or fares in combination with the fuel surcharge. It’s the total sum of the parts that matters.”

The removal of the fuel surcharge will see more competitive prices for MH Value Fares which offers 4 fare options for economy class travel – MHlow, MHbasic, MHsmart and MHflex.

Continue reading at: MAS drops domestic fuel surcharge

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Philippines Everest team conquer the Mt. Kinabalu via ferrata


KOTA KINABALU: Their climbing gear arrived four days after them but for the Philippines Everest team, it was not reason enough to quit from their quest to conquer the Mt Kinabalu via ferrata or “iron road”.

Team leader, Arturo Tavarro Valdez said it was a difficult decision to make but they decided that it was too late for them to turn back.

“You can’t imagine how we felt. When we arrived, we did not have our baggage with us. It was flown to Guangzhou (China)!” he said.

The baggage containing their climbing gear only arrived here on Monday, four days after the team arrived in Kota Kinabalu and certainly after a triumphant climb on the world’s highest via ferrata.

The team consisted of Fred Balbastro Jamili, Carina Gonzaga Dayondon, Janet Meniado Belarmino-Sardena, Erwin Gabatan Emata, Teofredo Tablan Esguerra and Vincete Eduardo O’Connor Rodriguez, led by Arturo.

They came, conquered and left with a deep respect for the mountain.

“Irrespective of whether you are climbing Mt Everest or any other mountain, for that matter, what we have learned is never to underestimate any mountain,” said Arturo.

“When you climb a mountain, you can get altitude sickness. So we tell all our friends to never underrate any mountain,” said Fred.

Continue reading at: Philippines Everest team conquer the Mt. Kinabalu via ferrata

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Bundu Tuhan


From LostBorneo blog:

One of the best things about driving up to Kinabalu Park is the view along the way. Remote villages give a splash of colour to the green of the valleys and the white of the clouds. Travellers passing by must often wonder what life must be like to live in a village like that. From a distance, it looks as though there are no roads leading into the villages, and the only way to get in or out is to walk.

That may be so a few decades ago, but development has come even to places like this, and with Kinabalu Park being a major tourist draw, the roads have improved tremendously. Villages close to the main road have benefited the most, and there are paved roads leading into these villages.

One of these villages closest to the Kinabalu Park Headquarters is called Bundu Tuhan. Located in a valley to the right of the park, the turning to Bundu Tuhan is just before the next corner to Kinabalu Park. The junction is easily recognizable.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Bundu Tuhan

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April dates for Kalimaran Fest


TENOM: The Kalimaran Festival, a traditional Murut celebration that was scheduled on 28 and 29 March this year has been postponed to 4 and 5 April.

Chairman of the Sabah Cultural Board Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said the delay was due to reasons that could not be avoided.

Nevertheless, he assured all the programmes that had been planned earlier remained unchanged with more interesting highlights to be included.

The Kalimaran Festival that will be officiated by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman will feature among others, a colourful display of the cultures and traditions of eight Murut sub-groups in Sabah.

These are the Tagol, Timugon, Paluan Baukan, Nabai, Kolor, Gana and Sambakong that can be found in Tenom, Nabawan/Pensiangan, Sipitang, Keningau and Tawau as well as the sub-districts of Kemabong, Sook and Pegalungan.

Continue reading at: April dates for Kalimaran Fest

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sabah Tourism ministry eyeing rich neighbours


KOTA KINABALU: The Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry is luring the rich from Indonesia (Jakarta) and Philippines (Manila) to visit Sabah.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, its minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said that he visited Jakarta in December last year during a Sabah tourism promotional stint and was surprised to find that the number of rich in Indonesia outnumbered that in Malaysia.

“A lot of people do not know that there are a lot of rich people in Indonesia than Malaysia. And there are about 42,000 expatriates residing in Jakarta alone,” he said after launching the Tiara Boutique Pool-Villa Show House near Bukit Padang.

He was pleased to learn that Air Asia flights from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu are fully booked for the next two weeks.

Masidi said that they will also be promoting the State to the rich in Manila, Philippines.

“There are a lot of elites residing in Manila, and we would like to tap into this market,” he said.

Aside from attracting the elites from these two countries, the ministry has also prepared a plan of action to lure more domestic travelers from West Malaysia to spend their holidays in Sabah particularly from Penang, Klang and Johor Bahru.

Continue reading at: Sabah Tourism ministry eyeing rich neighbours

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Sabah River Safari - Garama, Klias or Weston?


From Lost Borneo blog:

One of the most popular day tours for tourists to Kota Kinabalu is the River Safari Tour.

For those who can’t make it to the East Coast of Sabah, the River Safari gives visitors to Kota Kinabalu the best chance to see wildlife in its natural surroundings. The tour starts around 2pm when tourists are picked up from their hotel for a 2-hour car ride to a river jetty.

The river cruise begins from about 4.30pm and lasts until the sun sets and the sky turns dark. During the evening cruise, the main attraction will be the proboscis monkey, a primate with a huge pendulous nose found only in Borneo. At night, the attention turns to the beautiful lights of the fireflies that dot the trees by the river side. It is one of the best day tours in Kota Kinabalu and should not be missed.

What few tourists know though is that there are actually 3 rivers that are currently being used by tour operators and while all 3 rivers offer almost the same thing, that is proboscis monkeys and fireflies, in truth, they are very different, and would affect how much the tourists enjoy the tour, depending on what they would like to see most.

Almost all tour operators never specify the name of the river that they are going to, and even if they do name the river, you might actually be taken to a different place instead. So, it is very important that you INSIST on where you want to go if you have a particular river in mind.


Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sabah River Safari - Garama, Klias or Weston?

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Mystifying Maliau - 'Lost World' That Time Forgot


In 1947, a World War II British pilot was heading towards Tawau when he flew over what he thought was a mist-shrouded jungle. But as the cloud dissipated, he found himself encircled by a wall of steep cliff rising some 915 metres above the jungle floor.

This serendipitous discovery was reported in the Borneo Bulletin which was first published in 1953; it did not generate much interest.

Surrounded on all sides by wickedly steep and forbidding slopes, Sabah's 'Lost World' covering an area slightly bigger than Singapore is insurmountable by foot in all direction.

The only way in is at the point where the Maliau River - the only one flowing here - exits the basin. But even this is guarded by a series of impressive waterfalls and gorges. Inaccessibility has led to its natural secrets being hidden from mankind for millions of years.

LOST WORLD UNTOUCHED BY THE PASSAGE OF TIME

Earlier attempts to scale down the escarpment in 1960, 1976 and 1980 failed and the explorations were confined to its perimeters.

In 1981, a survey party from the Sabah Foundation landed in a helicopter and managed to cut a trail which enabled a 43-member expedition to spend three weeks in the Maliau Basin in 1988.

The expedition opened a Pandora's Box of surprises, unveiling the mystery and beauty of a world untouched by the passage of time; where nature and wildlife coexists in perfect harmony, tucked in what seemed to be the very edge of the world: A 'Jurassic Park' sans dinosaurs.

Continue reading at: Mystifying Maliau - 'Lost World' That Time Forgot

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Sabah Lion, Dragon Dance Fest on Jan 17


Kota Kinabalu: To usher in the Lunar Year of the Ox, some 30 lion, unicorn and dragon dance troupes from the West Coast of Sabah will converge on the Padang Merdeka here for the Lion, Unicorn and Dragon Dance Festival on January 17.

An annual affair, this spectacular event to showcase the Chinese culture is being organised by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association of Kota Kinabalu comprising 15 Chinese clan associations.

Vice organising chairperson, Wong Lee Chu, said about 10 groups, including world champion lion and dragon dance troupes, will perform at the festival which is scheduled to start at 3pm. She said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman will lead the guests in a mass ribbon-cutting and drum-beating activity on stage.

Continue reading at: Sabah Lion, Dragon Dance Fest on Jan 17

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Four-star hotel adds 421 rooms in Kuching


KUCHING: The RM290mil Four Points by Sheraton Kuching has opened for business, giving a boost to the city’s tourism development.

Owner Global Upline Sdn Bhd took just 11 months to complete the 421-room four-star hotel near Kuching International Airport.

Global Upline adviser Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing said the firm’s investment would overcome the city’s shortage of hotel rooms.

“Even after we open Four Points by Sheraton, there will still be a need for more rooms to support the tourism industry,” he told reporters at the hotel’s soft opening on Sunday.

Ting said that Global Upline, which had completed several major airport and other infrastructure projects in Sabah and Sarawak, planned to invest in a second hotel next to the Four Points by Sheraton.

He said the lack of hotel rooms had discouraged big tour groups from choosing the city as they were frustrated by having to split the groups to stay in different hotels.

He said, with a ballroom that could cater for 3,000 to 4,000 seminar seats and 1,500 diners for sit-down banquets, Four Points by Sheraton was ready to serve the market.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Four-star hotel adds 421 rooms in Kuching

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Experience new flavours at the Steakhouse, Hilton Kuching


It’s a brand new year. And what better way to start it off than by checking out what the restaurants here (in Kuching) have to offer. In this article, we have the perfect candidate to start off the year’s gastronomic adventure with.

The Steakhouse at Hilton Kuching has a new set of dishes that will surely please your palate. And they’re all available via the restaurant’s new a la carte menu.

Masterfully crafted by the restaurant’s young Chef Mohammad Munzahir, each one of the dishes boasts many different flavours from various parts of the world. These flavours come together to create what the 24-year-old chef calls “global cuisine”.

The new a la carte menu allows the diners to "design" their own special four-course or three-course meals. They can choose from a huge variety of appetisers, soups, main courses and dessert from the new menu.

This writer recently had the chance to sample some of the exquisite offerings available in the new a la carte menu, and the breakdown is as follows:

Appetisers and soups

As you flip open the menu, you'll first see a selection of appetisers. Choices include Beef Carpaccio With Marinated Mushrooms, Parmesan Tuille & Basil Oil and Marinated Salmon with Deep Fried Oysters & Saffron Beurre Blanc among others.

Fresh Oysters On Ice with Lemon Wedges, Wasabi Cream, Cucumber Pickles and Shallot Salsa are also available.

One particular dish which this writer would recommend is the Baked Garlic & Paprika Freshwater Prawn with Herbs Toast & Provencale Butter. The prawn is perfectly cooked and has a mild spiciness to it, as well as a hint of sweetness. The bread is toasted to a crisp. As you take a bite, you’ll notice the distinct flavours of the herbs on the bread. A glass of white wine would go perfectly with this dish.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Four-star hotel adds 421 rooms in Kuching

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Sarawak Tourism Board secures Aseanta award


KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) ended 2008 on a sweet note by winning one of the nine Aseanta Awards for Excellence 2009.

STB won the Best Asean Marketing and Promotional Campaign category for its Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) 2008 entry.

Organised by Asean Tourism Association, the award will be presented at the opening ceremony of the Asean Tourism Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Friday.

Delighted with the international recognition, STB chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said the award came at a time when the festival was entering into a new decade.

She disclosed that the award would motivate STB to work harder to ensure that RWMF would continue to be a major tourism attraction for foreigners to come to Sarawak.

Continue reading at: Sarawak Tourism Board secures Aseanta award

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Cruise along the Rajang River, Kuching


Crafted colonial-style ship to offer passengers a memorable nine-day cruise

KUCHING
: An exciting river cruise will be introduced along the Rajang River in July this year.

Southeast Asia’s river cruise company, Irrawaddy Flotilla Company, is introducing a new cruise line for Malaysia’s longest river in the central region of Sarawak.

The new Orient Pandaw Cruise Ship, crafted in traditional colonial-style with 30 luxury staterooms finished in hardwood panelling with brass marine fittings, will offer passengers a memorable nine-day cruise.

Enamoured with the Rajang River after reading the book ‘Into the Heart of Borneo’ by Redmon O’Hanlon, the company’s founder Paul Strachan made plans to visit Sibu last year where, upon landing, he met Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng.

Wee said Strachan came to him with the idea of starting a river cruise to help promote the state’s riches.

He complimented Irrawaddy Flotilla Company for bringing its cruise here despite the recession, and for promoting it at its own expense.

“It is a good starting point for Sarawak’s tourism industry in this time of recession, and we need to look at ways to come up with new products to add to the cruise,”

Continue reading at: Cruise along the Rajang River, Kuching

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Online sale of Rainforest World Music Festival 2009 tickets begin


RAINFOREST World Music Festival (RWMF) 2009 tickets are available online from this month.

The tickets for adults are priced at RM90 for a one-day pass and RM250 for a three-day pass while children aged between three and 12 years have to pay RM45 and RM100 respectively.

The tickets are available online at www.ticketcharge.com.my and festival organiser Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is offering 500 exclusively designed t-shirts for early birds who purchase two three-day passes.

Sale of the three-day passes is on until June 26 after which only one-day passes will be available.

Continue reading at: Online sale of Rainforest World Music Festival 2009 tickets begin

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Bev's Trip to Orangutanland - Danum Valley, Malaysia


From Bev's Trip to Orangutanland blog:

I really wanted to go to the Danum Valley Area to see some more wildlife, and get deep into the Bornean Jungle before I left, and to have a chance to see Bornean Pygmy Elephants, but there's only two places to stay in the ares - one of them being a 5 star resort, with prices to match and the other, the Danum Valley Field Centre, for researchers, being fully booked by all accounts.

However, i was determined to go, so decided to go off on a little adventure to see if I could make my way into the valley somehow. All the buses to the Valley Area go from Lahad Datu, so I got an early morning bus from Sandakan, and arrived in Lahad Datu at about 9am. Loaded up with my now 20kg bag ( I haven't bought anything, so don't know where the extra 4 kg has come from!), I tried to find a taxi to the Field Centre, but couldnt, and noone seemed to speak a word of English, they didn't even understand 'taxi' when the malay is 'teksi'!

There wasn't another white person in the while town, and people were staring and laughing and prodding me. One guy even brought his young daughter up to me to point and show her 'the white girl'! Was very surreal, and I was about at the end of my tether when I found a taxi! I had to wait until 4pm to get a minivan to the centre, and met George, a kiwi girl and Madeleine and John, a couple from Surrey who had all arrived with the same idea as me - stubborn determination to get to the valley outweighing any sensible concerns about where we might stay! But we all felt a bit better once we had a little group of us!

We bounced along the dirt track for 81km/3 hours until we reached the centre. We spend most of th journey spotting elephant dung, and then, as it got dark, fireflies. The view was stunning tho - the clouds were down in the valley, and we were just in acres and acres of primary rainforest - although we saw huge numbers of logging lorries throughout our visit ; they claim that it's sustainable logging, but there is no way its sustainable the number of trees we saw leaving each day - is very sad.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Bev's Trip to Orangutanland - Danum Valley, Malaysia

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Sabah gets set to run Sipadan


KOTA KINABALU: Winds of change are blowing over Pulau Sipadan with the imminent handover of the island to the state government.

The National Security Council in the Prime Minister's Department is now in the final process of handing over the administration of the world-famous diving spot.

"This has always been the plan. The island was handed over to the Federal Government in 2002 by the International Court of Justice in a territorial dispute with Indonesia.

"Now that things are settled, the island will be returned to the Sabah government," said state Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

The state government will form a small panel headed by an assistant minister to tackle the various issues brought up by tourists and dive operators, and Sabah Parks will handle the day-to-day running of the island.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sabah gets set to run Sipadan

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Tourist arrivals to Sabah may decline in Q1


KOTA KINABALU: With the exception of the Chinese New Year holidays, Sabah may experience a decline in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year in view of the global economic crisis.

Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun told New SAbah Times yesterday the Korean market was already showing a slowdown in arrival statistics due to the sharp depreciation of the Won currency against the Ringgit.

“Even the Australian market, which saw an upswing during the last quarter of 2008, may be affected by the depreciation of the Australian Dollar against our currency,” he said.

He added that with the current exchange rate, it was now more expensive for the Koreans and Aussies to spend their holidays in Sabah.

But despite the slowdown and uncertainties, Masidi remained upbeat that Sabah’s young tourism industry was able to come out of the economic crisis healthier and stronger, especially with proper marketing strategies.

“Sabah can actually gain from the Japanese, southern Chinese (Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shanghai) Singaporean, the rich Indonesians and Filipinos and even from the more affluent Australians.

Continue reading at: Tourist arrivals to Sabah may decline in Q1

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Sarawak to promote My Second Home plan


KUCHING: Sarawak will go on a roadshow in Singapore this year to promote itself as a destination for the Malaysia My Second Home programme.

State Housing Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state had built houses in the RM300,000 price range, which were targeted for foreign ownership.

“We will encourage Singaporeans to own houses here. This will also help to promote the state’s tourism and stimulate its economic growth,” he said at the ministry’s media appreciation dinner at Grand Margherita Hotel on Friday.

The ministry, he said, would be working together with the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association on the roadshow.

Johari said Sarawak would also try to attract Singaporean construction companies into building homes targeted for foreign ownership in the state.

Continue reading at: Sarawak to promote My Second Home plan

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Friday, January 02, 2009

Lucky passenger of MAS inaugural KL-Tawau flight


Kota Kinabalu: It was a lucky start to 2009 for teacher Habibah Melan, 32, when she was picked out of 144 passengers on board Malaysia Airlines' inaugural Kuala Lumpur-Tawau flight MH2664, Thursday.

The Selangor lass, who was returning to Tawau, won a pair of free tickets from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) for Kuala Lumpur-Tawau as well as a three days-two nights diving package to the Borneo Divers Mabul Resort courtesy of Borneo Divers.

The draw was held in conjunction with MAS' new inaugural direct service between Kuala Lumpur and Tawau, which started yesterday (Jan 1).

"This is really a pleasant surprise and a very nice start to the New Year. I am very happy and hope this good luck will continue to trail me for the rest of the year!" she said. Habibah teaches at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kalabakan, Tawau.

Continue reading at: Lucky passenger of MAS inaugural KL-Tawau flight

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

I Love The Night Life! - Exploring Kota Kinabalu's Hotspots

As the sun goes down in Kota Kinabalu, party-goers come out and play! KK has a great selection of pubs, clubs and karaoke joints for your entertainment. We bring you a list of some of KK’s favourite hotspots. Ready to paint the town red?

Shenanigan’s Fun Pub, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

KK’s favourite after-hours hangout has withstood the test of time and remains one of the most popular nightspots in the city. Famous for its outstanding live band performances and efficient service, Shenanigan’s is a cosy pub located at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu. Ladies flock here on Wednesdays to enjoy special privileges, and happy hours are from 5–9 pm, Mondays to Saturdays. Sunday means happy hours all night, and patrons can enjoy unlimited pool games for free. The dance floor gets tight on Friday and Saturday so put on those dancing shoes and party the night away! Open from 5 pm to 1 am from Sunday to Thursday and till 2 am on Friday, Saturday and the eve of public holidays.

BED (Best Entertainment Destination), Waterfront

Crawl into BED for an unforgettable good time! With its warehouse-style concept, BED is tastefully furnished and spacious enough to cater to large crowds. A private room, aptly named the Bedroom, is available for those who prefer a more relaxed ambience. Like most clubs, live bands entertain nightly, alternating with an in-house DJ. Isn’t it time you went to BED? Open from 7 pm to 1 am on weekdays and till 2 am on weekends.

Hunter’s Terrace (Hunter’s Pub, Café & Karaoke)

Located on Jalan Pantai, Hunter’s Terrace is a great place to enjoy a refreshing drink as you watch the bustling streets of KK. Patrons particularly enjoy its al fresco concept and relaxed atmosphere. Sip on a Pina Colada as you share travel tales with fellow visitors or unwind after a long day at work with a mug of beer. They also offer special deals for scuba divers, so be sure to whip out that diving licence! If you feel like belting out a tune or two, check out their karaoke corner. Happy hours are from 4–9 pm daily. Open daily from 8 am to 1 am on weekdays and till 2 am on weekends.

The Loft, Waterfront

Picture this: A breathtaking view of the sun setting over the South China Sea and a cool breeze blowing as you sip on a tall glass of Long Island Tea. The Loft is another after-hours favourite, perfect for enjoying your beverage of choice complemented with a view to die for. The bartenders are friendly, and the DJ will keep you entertained with both contemporary hits and retro favourites. Pool sharks can challenge each other upstairs, while avid football fans stay glued to the screen during live football matches. Thursday nights are dedicated to the ladies! Open daily from 3 pm to 1 am on weekdays and till 2 am on weekends.

Cock & Bull, Waterfront

With a name like that, how could you miss it? Another hotspot found on the Waterfront in Kota Kinabalu, the Cock & Bull is a friendly bar where everybody just might know your name. A live band performs every night as you enjoy a pint or two. Sports enthusiasts can also do this without missing their favourite game on two large 8-foot screens. Happy hours are from 4–9 pm daily (30% off on wine, liquor and cocktails by the glass and 40% off on selected beers). Business hours: 4 pm–1 am (weekdays), till 2 am on weekends and the eve of public holidays.


Blue Note

Another one of Kota Kinabalu’s favourite party haunts, Blue Note has been around since 1994, entertaining crowds with non-stop music, friendly bar service and unique theme nights. This night spot, located at Shangri La’s Tanjung Aru Resort, is both classy and funky with its great décor with a touch of understated glamour. Enjoy live performances and great music spun by an in-house DJ. Weekends are the best time to check out the happening crowd, and specially flown-in DJs play the latest in trance, dance and house music. Happy hours on selected drinks are from 9–11 pm. Open daily from 6 pm to 2 am.

Upperstar

Upperstar has grown from a modest pub and café into one of the most popular hang-outs in Kota Kinabalu, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and affordable drinks. Enjoy ‘buckets’ of beer at extremely affordable prices and be sure to check out the extensive menu – we recommend the generous portions of lamb chops or for a snack, the deep-fried quail. The establishment also provides wi-fi services and computers, allowing you to surf, snack and sip! There are two establishments: in Kota Kinabalu (across from Hyatt Regency Kinabalu) and in the bustling district of Damai. Open from 6:00 pm to 1:00 am on weekdays and until 2:00 am on weekends.


Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

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Bako National Park Still A Popular Tourist Destination In Sarawak


KUCHING -- Sarawak's oldest national park, the Bako National Park, continues to be a popular destination for local and foreign tourists in the state, receiving an average of 80 visitors daily, Sarawak Forestry Department director Datuk Len Talif Saleh said Wednesday.

He said 31,000 tourists, with 70 per cent of them foreigners, visited the national park last year. The Bako forest was gazetted as a national park in 1957.

"We believe the number of visitors to the park will increase to 100 people a day this year," he told Bernama at the Kampung Bako jetty near the national park here.

Continue reading at: Bako National Park Still A Popular Tourist Destination In Sarawak

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Sudden tourist influx at Limbang and Lawas checkpoints unexpected


18,000 travellers passed through entry points from Dec 22-25

LAWAS: The influx of visitors streaming past the immigration checkpoints in Limbang and Lawas during the school holidays and Christmas season was a new phenomenon.

The immigration chief of Limbang, Abang Othman Abang Mornie said a whopping 18,000 travellers passed through these entry points over four days from Dec 22-25, resulting in massive congestions.

“This is a new record of arrivals from our neighbouring country, and a clear change in the choice of holiday destination, from Miri to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah this year,” he said. The effect had been felt by locals in Limbang and Lawas as this huge seasonal influx was unexpected.

Continue reading at: Sudden tourist influx at Limbang and Lawas checkpoints unexpected

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