Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A New Orangutan Population on Borneo




Finding a new population of any species is good news in conservation. But finding a hitherto undiscovered population of orangutans (see one in the video above) is really exciting. And we did just that.

In December 2008, we found a significant population of Bornean orangutans. This is some welcome news on a generally gloomy conservation agenda.

Orangutans are among the rarest primates on Earth. Populations are plummeting under the various pressures on their forest habitats. An increasing demand for timber, palm oil, coal and other things desired by the world’s growing human population makes life for orangutans very difficult these days.

So, we all got pretty excited when our field team came back from a survey in a really inaccessible part of Borneo with photos and videos of orangutans. They had traveled to the heart of a 2-million-acre forest area situated in the rugged Sangkulirang limestone mountains in East Kalimantan Province.

Continue reading at: A New Orangutan Population on Borneo
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Interesting events at Pesta Kalimaran


Kota Kinabalu: A string of interesting events including unorthodox rewards in the forms of ox and goats for winners have been lined up for this year's Pesta Kalimaran on April 3-5 at the Murut Cultural Centre in Tenom, according to the Sabah Cultural Board.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman will launch the celebration on April 4 at 10am, as he has done over the past couple of years.

But a full day of exhibitive and drawing activities will start almost at the crack of dawn on April 3, the highlight being a preliminary Kalimaran beauty contest at 2pm.

Exhibition on agricultural products and their sales will start on day one at 7.30am, featuring both government and non-government agencies and their respective booths.

A central component of the exhibition will be the best of Murut handicrafts, including live handicraft making demonstrations and of course, sales.

For culture buffs who are attracted to diversity, Murut sub-ethnic groups will be out to showcase their cultural variations through exhibitions of their own, till 10pm.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Interesting events at Pesta Kalimaran
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Pesta Kalimaran - Celebrating the rich culture of Muruts


THE annual Murut cultural festival known as Pesta Kalimaran celebrates almost a complete range of their famously rich culture that distinguishes Sabah from its neighbours.

Not surprisingly, one way to appreciate and understand the culture of Sabah's indigenous Murut people is to head for the Pesta Kalimaran which will be a three-day affair between April 3-5 April in Tenom.

According to a culture officer with the Sabah Cultural Board, the word 'Kalimaran' refers to the craftsmanship of the Muruts.

It is rooted in two words: ralaa and alimar.

Ralaa means young lady and alimar means hardworking, strong-minded, diligent and trustworthy.

The story has it that there was a young Murut lady named Ralaa who had all these wonderful personal virtues: hardworking, strong-minded and trustworthy.

The sad part was, in the interest of their community, her brother named Yolomor believed he had to sacrifice her.

But before that tragic event, she managed to produce a flurry of handicraft of excellent quality such as Tikar, Silaung, Tikalis, Buyung, Lintoyog and Onot by using raw materials like bamboo, rattan and bamban.

Continue reading at: Pesta Kalimaran - Celebrating the rich culture of Muruts
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RM15,000 MAS boost for Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre


SANDAKAN: Orang utan conservation and rehabilitation efforts received a boost when Malaysia Airlines (MAS) contributed RM15,000 to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

“As the national carrier, we are proud to be associated with this labour of love, which preserves and protects not just the famous wild man of Borneo, but also local wildlife including sun bears, gibbons and sumatran rhinoceros,” MAS area manager for Sabah Morris Ong said in a statement yesterday.

The contribution is part of proceeds from the sale of air tickets from its inaugural direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan, which commenced yesterday.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: RM15,000 MAS boost for Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

DragonAir: Sabah flights to Hong Kong will continue


KOTA KINABALU: Hong Kong-based international airline, Dragon Air, said it would remain committed to the East Malaysian market despite the drop in travel demand following the global economic slowdown.

Malaysian and Brunei Country Manager Katherine Lo said the airline has in overall observed significant drop in ticket sales but it has remained positive for Malaysian and East Asian region’s future market.

“We will continue to be committed in providing the best service and world class products to our customers. We will continue to provide sufficient flights (from Sabah) to Hong Kong and China,” said Lo at the Dragon Air Sabah annual dinner here on Friday.

She said the commitment was based on the fact that Hong Kong is expected to continue to be an attractive destination for travellers from the East Asian market including those from East Malaysia.

Sabah is currently Dragon Air’s single destination in Malaysia with a daily flight between Hong Kong and Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Continue reading at: DragonAir: Sabah flights to Hong Kong will continue
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Brunei's Royal Regalia building a top spot for tourists


By Achong Tanjong

The Royal Regalia Building continues to become one of the popular places of interest among local and foreign tourists in the Sultanate.

As of Thursday (March 26) a total of 383 people comprising of local and foreign tourists had visited the building. The latest statistic from March 1st until 26, recorded a total of 6,633 had visited the building.

According to staff at the reception counter, the rising numbers of visitors in March is due to the school holiday at Malaysia.

Topping the list of foreign visitors in the month of February are visitors from Singapore, (1,025), China (800), England (135), Australia (122) and Malaysia (116).

Meanwhile, a group of 50 visitors from PEKERTI "D" branch led by Probationary Inspector Zalinda Susan Skinner visited the Royal Regalia Building yesterday.

According to Zalinda, the visit aims to foster closer ties among members as well as to bring their children together for a meaningful and educational activity.

"We make use of the school holiday as an opportunity to bring children for the visit in order for them to gain educational knowledge and experience and see for themselves the history and culture displayed at the building," she added.

Some of the children visited the building for the first time and were impressed with the amazing display inside the building. During the visit the group were accompanied and briefed by staff of the Royal Regalia Building.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hong Kong stars in Sabah for shoot at Mount Kinabalu


KOTA KINABALU: Scenes of Mount Kinabalu will be featured in a Hong Kong TVB drama series entitled Born Rich.

The shooting of the film, which started today and continues until April 9, will be mainly at the 1Borneo Hypermall, the Tun Mustapha Glass Tower and the Gaya Street Market here as well as in several locations in Kudat, north of Sabah.

Producer Chong Wai Kin said the drama was about a father in search of a long lost son and finally reunited with the son in Sabah.

"We came down a few months ago and found Sabah to be full of exciting locations, which are ideal for the drama."

Continue reading at: Hong Kong stars in Sabah for shoot at Mount Kinabalu
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Malaysia shines at Berlin tourism show


DUBAI: Malaysia received three prestigious awards at the world’s largest tourism fair, the International Tourismus-Boerse (ITB), in Berlin, Germany, recently.

According to Tourism Malaysia, the “Malaysia Truly Asia” advertising campaign won the gold award in the print advertising category at the Das Goldene Stadttor (The Golden City Gate) international film competition award ceremony at the ITB Cinema on March 12.

Malaysia’s entry was among 94 entries accepted from all over the world for selection by a 40-member committee comprising representatives from the marketing, media, film and advertising industries as well as official institutions.

The ITB ran from from March 11 to 15.

In addition, the Malaysia Pavilion secured second place in the Best Exhibitor Award in the Asia/Australia/Oceania category at the CBS Best Exhibitor awards, Tourism Malaysia said in a statement here.

It was organised by the Cologne Business School (CBS), an internationally renowned business school of the European University of Applied Sciences Rhine/Erft, which ranks among the top 10 German universities for business studies.

Measuring 494sq metres, the Malaysia Pavilion showcased the diversity of Malaysia’s tourism products.

Representatives from Sabah, Sarawak, Penang, Terengganu, Selangor and Langkawi, 30 hotels, 20 tour operators as well as Malaysia Airlines participated under the “Malaysia” banner which was coordinated by Tourism Malaysia.

Continue reading at: Malaysia shines at Berlin tourism show
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mulu's Clearwater Cave eighth longest in the world


KUCHING: Sarawak’s giant Clearwater Cave in Gunung Mulu National Park has moved up the rankings to eighth longest in the world from 11th place and could also be the largest in the world by volume.

This latest discovery was made during the just completed 14th Anglo-Sarawak Caving Expedition to the park.

Based in the Melinau Gorge, the expedition was in the field between Jan 16 and March 12.

Tim Allen, from the United Kingdom, led the team of 18 which consisted of experienced Mulu cavers, young speleologists, a research scientist and an ecologist from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

The team was closely supported by the national park management and staff, as well as local organisers and labour, according to a press release yesterday.

The expedition focused most of its attention on the Whiterock area of the Clearwater Cave system.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mulu's Clearwater Cave eighth longest in the world
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Relics from the past at the Sarawak museum


A NEW History Gallery has opened at the Sarawak Museum, chronicling the state’s history from its pre-Brunei Sultanate days right up to independence.

Located on the first floor of Dewan Tun Abdul Razak, the gallery is divided into several sections in chronological order – from the Santubong era (7th-14th century) and the Brunei Sultanate era (15th-19th century) to the Brooke era (1841-1946), the Japanese Occupation (1941-45), colonial rule (1946-63) and finally independence.

Sarawak’s history is told through various artifacts, photographs and documents displayed according to their respective eras.

The Santubong section, for instance, features archealogical finds from Sungai Jaong and Bongkissam which showed that Santubong was an important port in the past.

In the Brooke section, there are interesting items such as James Brooke’s sword and coat of arms and the wheel from Charles Vyner Brooke’s boat “Zahora”.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Relics from the past at the Sarawak museum
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sipadan a candidate for Unesco listing


KOTA KINABALU: Sipadan is now officially eligible to be considered for nomination as a Unesco World Heritage site.

The nominee for the World's New Seven Wonders of Nature is famous for its abundance of turtles, schooling barracudas, white tip reef sharks, bumphead parrotfish and its teeming reef.

The island will be judged by a scientific panel alongside other world-renowned diving destinations, such as the Raja Ampat, Banda islands and Bunaken National Park in Indonesia, the Tubbatha and Apo Reefs in the Philippines and hundreds of other islands in the world.

A special panel headed by Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin submitted an entry about a week ago.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sipadan a candidate for Unesco listing
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New paddle boats at Jerudong Park Playground

Pic copyright to JPCC

By Amie PDH Ishak

Jerudong Park Playground launched a new flotilla of pedal boats in the Carousel Lake.

Playground visitors now have the option of two models of pedal boats; the contemporary two-seater or the zippy new water scooters dubbed 'Formula 1 on the Pond'.

The launching of the pedal boats coincides with the completion of a three-month renovation programme which included the rebuilding of the pedal boat dock, cleaning of the lake, reinstating of the lake's fountain and lighting features and repainting of gazebos and other structures in Phase 1A.

Russell Finney, General Manager of JPCC, which includes Jerudong Park Playground, said, "The new pedal boats are a huge improvement.

"They offer a more pleasant ride, are more manoeuvrable and go faster - if you pedal harder!"

Members of the public are welcome to try out the new pedal boats especially during these school holidays.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Papar to kick off the Kaamatan this time


Kota Kinabalu: Papar will start this year's Kaamatan Harvest Festival celebration on May 1, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan announced, Monday.

Speaking after chairing the Harvest Festival Main Committee meeting at his office in Sembulan, here, he said the theme for this year's celebration is 'Together We Mould a Better Future" (Bersama Membentuk Masa Depan Yang Lebih Baik").

He said it has been a while since Papar hosted the event and hoped the proximity of the district to the city will see more people at the launching.

He said dates for the Harvest Festival at district-level are still being finalised and will be released to the media at a later date.

As with past Harvest Festivals, the aim is to showcase the State's rich cultural heritage, he said, adding that events such as 'Sugandoi' (singing) and the Unduk Ngadau pageant as well as traditional sports and agriculture-products exhibition, will also be featured.

On another matter, Pairin said there was no confirmation yet on whether there will be a national-level Harvest Festival celebration such as the one held here last year.

Continue reading at: Papar to kick off the Kaamatan this time
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Swiss-Garden International to manage and rebrand @Ease Hotel in Sandakan


KUALA LUMPUR: Swiss-Garden International Hotels, Resorts & Inns (SGI), a member of PJ Development Holdings Bhd, has signed an agreement with Sara Timur Sdn Bhd to manage and rebrand its @Ease Hotel in Sandakan, Sabah.

The 138-room hotel would officially be launched as Swiss-Inn Waterfront Sandakan on Thursday.

SGI vice president of business development Melinda Ngew said in a statement: “Our expansion in Sabah will provide an ideal avenue for SGI to continuously extend and establish its brand portfolio to east Malaysia where demand for hotel rooms has escalated.”

Last year, Sabah recorded a total 2.3 million tourist arrivals, thanks to the attractive fares and route accessibility offered by low-cost carriers. Swiss-Inn Waterfront Sandakan, which is located at the heart of Sandakan Harbour Square, is a prime waterfront landmark set to be the leisure, entertainment and commercial hub.

Continue reading at: Swiss-Garden International to manage and rebrand aEase Hotel in Sandakan
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Golfing in Sabah


“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.” – Arnold Palmer

Choose to tee off in the city, by the sea or with Mount Kinabalu as your backdrop. This is Sabah, a true Golfer’s Paradise!

Borneo Golf & Country Club

Located along the Papar–Beaufort highway, the Borneo Golf and Country Club (BGCC) is touted as having the best-maintained Bermuda Tifdwarf greens this side of the country and was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus. The natural features of the lagoon and immediate terrain are played up to accentuate the water hazards as well as the wasteland and bunkers. Guests can spend a night or two at the Presscot Resort Hotel situated next to the Clubhouse. Tel: 087-861 888


Mt. Kinabalu Golf Club

Tee off in dramatic style with Mount Kinabalu as your backdrop with the cool crisp air greeting you right here at the Mount Kinabalu Golf Club. Situated on the Pinosuk Plateau at 1500 metres above sea level in Kundasang, Mt. Kinabalu Golf Club is the highest golf layout in Sabah. One of its notable holes is the 14th, par 3, 142 m, which features a gushing river at the bottom of a deep ravine. It is a true test of skill once you get here: you will need an accurate shot from the elevated tee across the Mesilau East River to land on the green perched on the edge of a cliff.


Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club

Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club is part of the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort in Tuaran. Formerly a mangrove swamp, it comes as no surprise that water is a popular feature at every hole. It consists of two nines, the Mengkabong Nine and the Tambalang Nine. Mount Kinabalu can be seen in the distance, making this a truly dramatic setting. And if you’re lucky, you might even find an Orang Utan or two hanging around! Tel: 088-791 188, E-mail: dalitbay@tm.net.my


Sabah Golf & Country Club

Just 10 minutes away from the city centre of Kota Kinabalu is the par 72 championship course designed by Robert Muir Graves. Also known as one of South East Asia's toughest courses, SGCC is known for its undulating fairways, hilly terrain, large lakes, tracts of mature trees and adverse wind conditions. For many years, the SGCC was also the venue for the Sabah Masters, which is a part of the Asian PGA Tour. Tel: 088-224788 / 247 533


Karambunai Resort Golf Club

The Karambunai Resort Golf Club is a magnificent course that stretches from the edge of low hills and reaches towards the sandy beaches. There are several dogleg holes and the 13th (390 m) will test your long and short game. Winding waterways, bunkers and ocean winds add to the challenge. If anything, perhaps the breathtaking view will be your main distraction! Tel: 088-411215, E-mail: krgc@tm.net.my


Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club

This 27-hole championship course was designed by Graham Marsh and comprises the Lake (3140 m), Heritage (3176 m) and Garden (3176 m) Nines. The 24th hole par 4, 330 m (Garden Course) is the signature hole, a true test of skill with the existence of the sandy waste and ocean which comes perilously close to the undulating green. Can't get enough during the day? Night golfing starts from 5:02 pm to 9:00 pm. Tel: 088-252266, E-mail: suteraclub@suteraharbour.com.my


Kudat Golf Club

The Kudat Golf Club was established in the early 1900s and is acknowledged as the first golf club in Sabah. Fairways are covered with Kudat local grass and the 3075-m course is challenging in its own unique way – tee-off from Hole 4 requires you to shoot over an office building! On a clear day, expect a spectacular view of Mt. Kinabalu and the Bengkoka Peninsula across the Bay and the Crocker Range. Tel: 088-611002


Shan Shui Golf & Country Club

One of Tawau's treasures is none other than the Shan Sui Golf & Country Club. Golf Magazine claimed Shan Sui's Hole No. 15 to be one of the Top 500 Holes in the World back in 2000. This 18-hole, par 72 course was designed by world-renowned golf architects Nelson and Harworth and hailed to be their finest piece of work in Asia. Spanning some 365 acres, the course is distinguished by its green surroundings, weaving through rubber, cocoa and coconut plantations. Shan Sui's claims to fame include hosting the 16th Sabah Masters, part of the Asian PGA Tour and the 55th Sabah Amateur Open. Caution: Watch out for lurking crocs and cheeky monkeys! Tel: 089-916888, E-mail ssgolfcc@tm.net.my


Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism



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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sabah working with Brunei on tourism


Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Tourism and Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) have sealed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to identify areas of collaboration for mutual benefit, said Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He said the decision was made after he met with the Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade for Brunei Darussalam, Pehin Lim Jock Seng during his recent visit to the Sultanate.

It was also decided that the MoU would be followed up immediately with a meeting between officers from both sides and its outcome made known as soon as possible.

Met after launching Royal Selangor's School of Hard Knocks Pewtersmithing Workshop at 1Borneo near here Friday, Masidi said the meeting would basically focus on specific steps to be taken for mutual benefits.

"Sabah Tourism acknowledges the major contribution of Royal Brunei Airlines in bringing tourists from Australia and Indonesia," he said, adding that other means to increase arrivals from these two countries were also being looked at.

Currently, the RBA has a fleet of 10 airplanes but Masidi was made to understand there are plans for RBA to increase its fleet, which obviously would indirectly benefit Sabah.

Continue reading at: Sabah working with Brunei on tourism
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Sarawak to have 11,000 hotel rooms by 2011


MIRI: The number of hotel rooms in Sarawak is expected to double from 5,600 to 11,000 in the next two years.

State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said the figure was based on the new hotels expected to mushroom throughout the state until 2011 and the growing interest among Sarawak entrepreneurs to venture into the hospitality industry.

Sarawak would be in a better position to attract more tourists with the availability of more hotel rooms, he told reporters after a dialogue with local tour operators recently.

Continue reading at: Sarawak to have 11,000 hotel rooms by 2011
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A close encounter with the orang utan at Semenggoh


NORWAY’s Ambassador to Malaysia Arild Braastad and his wife Nina got up close and personal with orang utans at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre near Kuching recently.

The couple, who were on a two-day visit to Sarawak, got to see the rare animals swinging from tree and tree during feeding time at the centre.

They were also briefed on the orang utan conservation programme at the centre by manager Jen Sangi.

Braastad said it was a fantastic experience to see the orang utans.

”To be able to see the orang utan eating and swinging from the trees is really fantastic.

”We have never seen these animals before so this is really a rare experience for us,” he said.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: A close encounter with the orang utan at Semenggoh
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sumatran rhinos conservation effort raises RM520,000


Kota Kinabalu: A total of RM520,000 was raised Tuesday at the Bornean Rhino Alliance's "Rhino Rescue Lunch" at the Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa - surpassing the original target of RM500,000.

The single biggest pledge came from the State Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister when Datuk Masidi Manjun announced it would give RM100,000!

Another RM100,000 came from two US Non-government-Organisations namely Shared Earth Foundation represented by its President and CEO Caroline D Gabel who pledged RM50,000. The other being SOS Rhino US which also pledged RM50,000 through a distance phone call from its CEO Dr Nan Schaffer from Bali.

Singaporean Datuk Edward Ong of Sutera Harbour Resort Sdn Bhd made his presence felt for the tourism sector with a RM50,000 pledge.

Eight Wildlife Department Bird's Nest Concessionaires from Sabah's East Coast represented by Awang Hohd Sah B Arsad sprang a surprise with a combined pledge for RM50,000.

Another RM50,000 came from oil palm plantation group Wilmar International Limited represnted by its Group Head-CSR, Jeremy Goon.

The group which owns a large plantation that borders the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, has been helping out on anti-poaching activities since 2002 with some 20 honorary wildlife wardens of their own.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sumatran rhinos conservation effort raises RM520,000
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Marked slowdown in tourist arrivals in Miri city


MIRI: Lack of tourism development projects in Miri Resort City for the past four years has resulted in a marked slowdown of tourist-arrivals in the city, said the managing director of a renowned resort here.

Borneo Resort owner, Henry Lau, who owns a landscaping firm, said that since Miri was declared a resort-city in 2005, nothing much were done to develop it to attract more tourists.

Lau raised the issue for discussion during an open dialogue with Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin and Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Gracie Geikie here recently.

Some 50 key players of the tourism sector in northern Sarawak comprising tour operators, hoteliers and resorts managers, whose business had been badly affected by the slowdown spoke frankly during the dialogue session.

Lau questioned why nothing had been done to turn Miri into an attractive destination after the city’s declaration.

“We are badly affected by the low tourist arrivals. The authorities keep on saying that Miri is a resort-city, but the volume of tourists coming had dropped sharply.

Continue reading at: Marked slowdown in tourist arrivals in Miri city
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Orang utans swim to safety in Sabah

Orang utan mother grabs the rope bridge thrown to her

She begins her descent from the tree while holding onto the rope.
Her baby can be seen tightly clinging onto her

The mother makes sure heads are above water while she swims to safety

Note: PHOTOS COPYRIGHT TO AND COURTESY OF
WWF MALAYSIA


SABAH - Desperate times calls for desperate measures. Wild orang-utans spend 90 per cent of their time on treetops, and very rarely descend to the ground, unless disaster strikes, according to a press release.

A WWF-Malaysia field staff in Lower Segama recorded a series of photographs illustrating the rescue of a wild orang-utan mother and her baby who had been hanging on to a tree for a week due to flood in the area.

A unit from the Sabah Wildlife Department was rushed to the site and a rope bridge was immediately set up about four metres from the shore.

Previous documentation had stated orang-utans to be non-swimmers, supposedly due to their fear of water. However, this new discovery shows that orang-utans are actually able to swim in desperate situations, with the help of a tool.

Last month, Sabah received a high record of rainfall, which undoubtedly affected the wildlife in some lowland areas.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
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Limbang town - the former "Sin City" of Borneo


THE sleepy hamlet of Limbang, tucked between the northernmost part of Sara-wak and Brunei, was once Borneo's "Sin City".

During the timber boom from the 1970s to 1990s, Limbang was notorious for drugs, gambling, prostitution and alcohol.

Now, timber has given way to oil palm plantations.

Income from small- and me-dium-scale enterprises form a major source of income for Limbang residents.

For decades, Brunei citizens endured a two-hour drive to Limbang and nearby Lawas for cheap shopping and entertainment during weekends.

In the outskirts of Limbang and the division of the same name, cash crops such as rice are the major source of income for rural folk.

Many Iban residents live in the town, while Bisaya and Lun Bawang tribes live on the outskirts.

Continue reading at: Limbang town - the former "Sin City" of Borneo
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Sarawak as a food paradise


KUCHING: The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) will position the state as a food paradise in its coming promotional campaigns following the success of the Sarawak Laksa Escapade.

STB CEO Gracie Geikie said there is a lot of potential to promote other local dishes unique to Sarawak.

“Our next series is ‘Kolo Mee’, which will start either in August or September. To me, Sarawak is a food paradise but it is little known around the world,” said Geikie.

“During the Sarawak Laksa Escapade, tourists are also to visit tour attractions in the state but of course, the focus is on laksa. This is the first time Sarawak’s tourism is promoted via food, previously, music was used,” she said.

Geikie told The Borneo Post, during an exclusive interview yesterday, that two blocks of the Sarawak Laksa Escapade had sold out and the package will be an ongoing one.

The Sarawak Laksa Escapade, which was launched at the end of February in Singapore, sold out just two days after it was first advertised.

The tour will see blocks consisting of 25 tourists coming to the state trice monthly starting April 30.

The four-day and three-night tour package was created by Singapore-based Konsortium Express & Tours Pte Ltd in collaboration with STB and Cat City Holidays Sdn Bhd (ground arrangements).

Continue reading at: Sarawak as a food paradise
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Monday, March 16, 2009

MASwings hails the new workhorse of the skyways

TOULOUSE: A new workhorse of the skies is set to take over air travel across Malaysia, boosting the nation’s internal services – especially for people in Sabah and Sarawak.

That was the pledge of Salleh Tabrani, boss of the national carrier’s short-haul division MasWings, as the company took delivery of the airline’s second 68-seater ATR 72 turboprop here in southern France early this month.

MasWings has already placed orders for 10 of the craft – and that means the end of the road for the internal carrier’s ageing fleet of Fokker 50s.

Having trialed one ATR for the past two years, Salleh is certain the purchase of this new workhorse of Malaysia’s internal airways has been a smart decision.

Each ATR 72 costs aboutRM18 million.

“We made the right choice,” said Salleh, managing director of MasWings. “This turboprop fixed-wing aircraft will eventually replace the Fokker 50 and enable us to provide quality and reliable services to the people in East Malaysia”.

Brimming with zest and confidence, he said they were certain of making a positive impact and bringing reliable airline services on the domestic routes for Sabah and Sarawak.

Salleh was speaking at ATR’s final assembly line plant here when MasWings took delivery of the second new plane in question.

Also present for the handover were Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Tengku Datuk Seri Zainal Adlin and senior ATR and MasWings officials.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: MASwings hails the new workhorse of the skyways
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Sabah wants Ramsar conservation convention site No 2


KOTA KINABALU: Barely five months after having its first Ramsar site, Sabah is lobbying for a second Ramsar site in the 24-ha Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre.

The state government will support efforts to apply to the international Ramsar body soon.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said he would support the move to ensure the city had ample green lungs and also to provide more recreational activities to the urban population.

"The move will also cement Sabah's excellent track record in conservation," he said at the launch of World Wetlands Day here yesterday.

The proposal was mooted years ago along with the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands, which has been recognised as a Ramsar site on Oct 28 last year.

At present, there are six Ramsar sites in Malaysia -- Tasik Bera in Pahang, Tanjung Piai, Pulau Kukup and Pulai River in Johor, Kuching Wetlands National Park in Sarawak and the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands in Sabah.

The Ramsar Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for international cooperation in wetlands conservation. It was signed in 1971 at Ramsar, Iran.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sabah wants Ramsar conservation convention site No 2
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sabah to woo French tourists


PARIS: Sabah is going all out to increase the number of tourists from France.

And, the Malaysian Embassy here has pledged to give its fullest support to help realise this endeavour.

Speaking to Malaysian journalists during a dinner reception for French major tour operators here recently, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said France was a potential market which has yet been fully tapped.

“Because air connection is the major factor, the Malaysia Airlines has also agreed to play its part to ensure more arrivals to Sabah,” he said.

Masidi added that he met the Malaysian Ambassador Datuk S. Thanarajasingam and senior MAS and Tourism Malaysia officials based in Paris during a luncheon held at the embassy and their discussions yielded positive results.

“I have also offered to send our cultural dance group to perform at any roadshow to attract the French people to visit Sabah,” he said.

According to Masidi, many French people who visited Malaysia would end up touring only Kuala Lumpur “but I am confident they would love to visit Sabah if MAS could provide easy flight connections to Sabah”.

Continue reading at: Sabah to woo French tourists
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nomadic treasures on show in Mulu

Carving of an orangutan

A Penan woman showing how to make a rattan mat

Carvings of Hornbills

Colourful hand-made bracelets and keychains

Visitors always stop by at the market to buy handicrafts made by the Penan

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Abdul Aziz Pandin and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd


By Abdul Aziz Pandin

At the Mulu Park Headquarters, we waited for about 10 minutes before we were ushered by the park guide to the jetty where a longboat awaited us. We hopped onboard and put on our life jackets.

We departed against the river's current. The longboat glided steadily along the water, which was quite murky because of the rain the night before.

We started to enjoy the cool morning breeze and green surroundings. But our pleasant boat ride was interrupted as the skipper steered the boat to the riverbank, which was lined with rustic little houses.

The Penan Settlement at Batu Bungan took about five minutes (depending on the river's current) to reach by boat from the Mulu Park HQ. It was set up by the State Government to relocate the nomadic Penan.

There is legend that surrounds this village. 'Batu' is the Malay word for rock and Bungan is said to be the name of a folklore princess who died waiting in hunger and exasperation for her lover to return. She made a bamboo flute which she played as she waited in vain for her lover's return.

The villagers heard the sad song and followed the tune, eventually finding her dead body amongst the rock of Batu Bungan.

It is a picturesque 'kampung' (village) set in natural settings with the mountains as a backdrop.

There was a spread of grassland bordered by a couple of longhouses, a row of little houses and a long shelter for the daily 'tamu' or market. On the other side is an unblocked view of the mountains.

At the 'tamu', we mingled with the local Penan - children, adults and the elderly. Before being relocated, the Penan used to be nomads, hunting in the forest and fishing in the rivers.

They are quiet, humble and friendly people. There are about 200 inhabitants in this village.

That morning, the mountain peak played peek-a-boo behind the thick mist.

Since the settlement was included on the itinerary for those going to the Wind and Clearwater Caves, the local folks grabbed the opportunity to sell their beautiful and intricate handicrafts such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, tikar (mats), machetes, kitchen utensils, rattan bags and blowpipes.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend
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Sarawak to focus on short-haul tourism sector


KUCHING: Sarawak’s tourism strategy will focus on the short-haul sector, including domestic tourists this year instead of the long-haul market.

Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said this change in strategy was made to offset the effects of the current global financial crisis in the travel industry.

He said holiday-makers in the region were expected to cut down on trips to long-haul destinations such as Europe and America during the downturn and look for more affordable holidays closer to home.

As such, Sarawak will market itself as the best alternative holiday destination in the region, he said.

”We feel that if people have less money to spend, they cannot afford to go on long-haul holidays but they would still want to travel.

Continue reading at: Sarawak to focus on short-haul tourism sector
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Friday, March 13, 2009

South Korea, China TV keen on Sarawak


MIRI: Television networks from South Korea and China will be coming to Sarawak to produce documentaries on the state’s national parks.

The television stations, from Government-owned agencies as well as private networks, will produce short films and documentaries on the sceneries, lifestyle of the natives as well as plants, animals and insects in the national parks.

These documentaries will include stories about the people of the state and the uniqueness of the heritage in this part of Borneo.

The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) yesterday briefed State Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin on the matter as well as hoteliers, tour operators and tourism promotion officials here during a dialogue.

The board is now sorting out the permit applications with the relevant federal and state ministries to enable these television crews to come in to start their filming.

Continue reading at: South Korea, China TV keen on Sarawak
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

AirAsia X may offer cheaper fares to UK


SEPANG: The first AirAsia X direct flight to London took off yesterday with promises that fares could dip even lower.

At the launch of the Stansted-bound flight, AirAsia X chief executive Azran Osman-Rani said with the 50 per cent rebate on landing charges in Tuesday's mini-Budget, the airline will offer lower fares if its costs go down.

"Whatever savings we get from landing charges, we will pass on to our passengers.

"We are always looking for opportunities to lower our fares," Azran said before boarding the fully-occupied Airbus A340-300 that took off from the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal at 9am.

With five flights a week, the Kuala Lumpur-Stansted route is expected to bring in more tourists from the United Kingdom.

The first passengers booked their tickets last November, when the one-way fare was RM499.

Continue reading at: AirAsia X may offer cheaper fares to UK
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Full booking for Sarawak's Rajang river cruise


SIBU: Booking for the RV Orient Pandaw Rajang River Cruise is already full for this year and beyond the expectation of the company, the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company.

The founder of Pandaw Cruises, Paul Strachan, in an email to Eastern Times yesterday, said although the Pandaw Cruise would only start in July, bookings for the upcoming cruise was already full.

He said response was that overwhelming due to the active selling of the cruise by company to their long established list of clients who had experienced such cruise in Vietnam and Cambodia.

“It seems that hundreds of our old passengers are just waiting for a really exciting new product like this to come along,” he said, adding that Pandaw Cruise was also actively promoting stop-over in the state capital of Kuching and other towns in Sarawak to be added to the Rejang river cruise.

The cruise would be Malaysia’s first luxurious cruise when the Pandaw Cruise began operation in July this year.

Operated by on the RV Orient Pandaw, a ship that is a replica of the old colonial river steamer, this cruise will sail along the Rejang River.

Continue reading at: Full booking for Sarawak's Rajang river cruise
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Monday, March 09, 2009

A big boost in Sabah tourism with the arrival of more Asian tourists


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s effort to promote its tourism products in Asian countries has shown positive impact with an increasing number of Asian tourist arrivals into the State last year.

Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Bolkiah Ismail said the intensified promotional activities by the State Tourism Board in neighbouring and other Asian countries has been successful and expected to lead to similar upward trend in the number of tourists from the region arriving in Sabah this year.

He however noted that there has been a slight decrease in arrival of tourists from the United States and European countries as travellers and holiday makers reduce expenses to cope with global economic crisis.

Bolkiah said this while representing Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun to officiate the closing ceremony of the Higher Learning Institutions Ethnic Cultural Festival hosted by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) here, Saturday evening.

Continue reading at: A big boost in Sabah tourism with the arrival of more Asian tourists
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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Aircraft boost for MASwings


AIR links between towns in Sabah and Sarawak have been given a boost with the delivery of MASwings' second ATR 72-500 aircraft.

MASwings managing director Salleh Tabrani received the brand new 68-seater aircraft from ATR chief executive officer Stephane Mayer at the Blagnac international airport here yesterday.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun who witnessed the handover said the delivery of the new aircraft was a reflection of MASwings' relentless efforts to ensure connectivity to the smaller towns in the two states.

He said the deployment of the ATR 72, which was known as a "green aircraft", would further establish Sabah's commitment to sustainable tourism development.

The new aircraft is the second of seven ATR 72s ordered by MASwings last year at a cost of US$128.1 million (RM476.3 million).

Continue reading at: Aircraft boost for MASwings
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Friday, March 06, 2009

Getting Sipadan on the World Heritage Site list


PLANS are afoot for Sipadan island, a nominee for the World's New 7 Wonders of Nature, to be listed as a world heritage site.

A special panel headed by Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin has been tasked to prepare a working paper for the purpose.

The paper will be submitted to Unesco, the organisation responsible for according world heritage status, as soon as possible.

The idea was raised by state Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun at a meeting with Malaysia's permanent delegate to Unesco Datuk Kenneth J. Luis at the Malaysian embassy here yesterday.

Also present were Malaysia's ambassador to France Datuk S. Thanarajasingam and Tengku Zainal.

"Luis was very supportive of the idea and I have told Tengku Zainal to work with him on the matter," Masidi said.

Continue reading at: Getting Sipadan on the World Heritage Site list
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Swiss-Garden International signs agreement to manage 138-room hotel


SANDAKAN: Swiss-Garden International Hotels, Resorts and Inns (SGI) has signed an agreement to manage a 138- room hotel in this east coast town, which will be rebranded as the Swiss-Inn Waterfront Sandakan.

The Swiss-Inn Waterfront Sandakan is strategically located at the heart of Sandakan Harbour Square, a prime waterfront landmark set to be the leisure, entertainment and commercial hub. The vibrant waterfront offers an eclectic mix of side walk cafes, alfresco dining, quaint shops and a central market where local produce, fresh seafood and souvenirs are abundant.

Swiss-Inn Waterfront promises its customers a new experience in its food and beverage outlets. Mr Ian Ridley, an experienced F & B Manager for 25 years of Swiss Garden has been assigned the duty and responsibility to restructure, redesign all the food and beverages facilities at Swiss-Inn Waterfront.

Boasting panoramic view of the Sulu Sea, the guest rooms and suites are designed in vibrant hues for the ultimate comfort with modern amenities complemented by a contemporary setting. A host of innovative dining options and facilities await discerning travelers seeking a brand new experience.

Continue reading at: Swiss-Garden International signs agreement to manage 138-room hotel
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sarawak expedition uncovers new plant species at Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary


KUCHING: An unusual parasite plant related to the giant Rafflesia flower and new species of the ginger plant have been discovered at Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarawak’s largest protected area.

The parasite plant, measuring 60cm in diameter, is known locally as jambu limau. It sucks on the nutrients of the parent plant and its rotten smell attracts flies.

The discoveries were made by some 150 scientists and researchers during a two-week expedition nine months ago.

The findings were discussed at a seminar, “Biodiversity of Eastern Lanjak Entimau: Hidden Jewel of Sarawak,” yesterday.

Seminar organising chairman Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Abdul Majid told reporters: “You can expect many new species, some endemic (to Sarawak).”

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sarawak expedition uncovers new plant species at Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary
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Combined primate protection plan helps boost orang utan population in Borneo


KUCHING: The combined conservation efforts of Sabah, Sarawak and Indonesian authorities have helped to boost the orang utan population in Borneo.

Sarawak Forestry Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Len Talif Salleh said the three authorities had provided specific habitats for the orang utan, which is a protected species.

He said there were an estimated 2,000 orang utans in Sarawak, most of them found in the totally protected areas of Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary and the Batang Ai National Park.

“Sarawak Forestry is carrying out a survey to determine the number of orang utan in the state,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after opening a seminar to discuss the findings of a scientific expedition at Lanjak Entimau in June last year.

The 160,000ha Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary was constituted primarily to protect the orang utans.

The sanctuary is linked to the Betung Kerimun National Park across the border in Kalimantan, Indonesia, and together, they form a trans-boundary biodiversity conservation area.

Continue reading at: Combined primate protection plan helps boost orang utan population in Borneo
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MASwings to increase its flight frequencies in East Malaysia


KUCHING: MASwings will increase its flight frequencies and provide better connectivity when it takes delivery of another six French-made ATR 72 aircraft this year.

Managing director Mohd Salleh Tabrani said MASwings would receive its second and third ATR aircraft in the next two months.

“By the end of 2009, we will operate seven ATR aircraft which will expand our total capacity by 150%.

“This means an increase in frequency and better connectivity, and meeting the future demand in air travel within Sabah and Sarawak,” he added at a Chinese New Year dinner gathering at Kuching Hilton on Wednesday.

Mohd Salleh said passengers would enjoy a better travel experience with the 68-seater ATR aircraft.

Kuching resident Theresa Ipau anak Kapit became MASwings’ one-millionth passenger.

Continue reading at: MASwings to increase its flight frequencies in East Malaysia
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Sarawak Tourism Board: Recommend your favourite laksa stall for grading


KUCHING: The Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is calling for all Sarawak Laksa lovers to recommend their favourite stalls, especially those in and around Kuching, for grading by Singapore’s food ambassador Moses Lim.

The grading is part of STB’s initiative to identify selected Sarawak Laksa stalls which Lim will recommend for the four-day three-night ‘Sarawak Laksa Escapade’ tour.

Locals who want their favourite stall graded by Lim are to email letitia@sarawaktourism.com under the heading ‘My Recommended Laksa Stall’.

The email should include the stall’s name, full address and contact number (if available). Suggestions should reach STB by March 10.

Lim, a well known television celebrity in Singapore, is scheduled to be in Kuching from March 14 for a laksa recce.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sarawak Tourism Board: Recommend your favourite laksa stall for grading
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Borneo Cultural Festival 2009 - Maori cultural troupe to perform


SIBU: A Maori cultural troupe from New Zealand will be here to perform at the Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) 2009.

The presence of the troupe was based on the theme of the BCF which is Beauty in Ethnic Diversity, Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Deputy Chairman, Daniel Ngieng said.

It was the council’s intention by inviting the troupe here to highlight some local production as well as some foreign ones, he said.

Speaking at a press conference after chairing a meeting for the event yesterday, he said the Council was confident that BCF 2009 would be a grandeur event for the town as it was also jointly promoting the Visit Sibu Year this year.

Daniel said this year’s BCF would be the eighth in the series and would take place from July 3-11 at the Town Square.

Continue reading at: Borneo Cultural Festival 2009 - Maori cultural troupe to perform
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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Celebrity travel: Brian Blessed turns wild man of Borneo


Have you ever yearned to run barefoot on a sun-kissed beach, dive into emerald-green water, trek through mist-shrouded mountains or trudge through mysterious primordial jungles?

If the answer is yes, Malaysia is the land for you. This place is home to the unique proboscis monkey and, of course, the wonderful orang-utan. Towering over it all is Mount Kinabalu, at 13,435ft the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea and the focal point of Kinabalu Park.

It was the Malaysian High Commissioner, His Excellency Datuk Abd Aziz Mohammed, who invited me to visit his exotic country. 'You can even climb Kinabalu,' he suggested.

'It's not quite as high as Everest but it is awesome in its own right and a magnet for the adventurous.'

I was thrilled to receive this generous offer and seven months later I was on the plane with Matt Dickinson.

I first met Matt, a tall, slim, handsome film director and mountaineer, on an expedition to Everest in 1996. We were tickled pink to be embarking on a new adventure, this time in Sabah, the Malaysian state located in northern Borneo.

We were flying to Kota Kinabalu via Hong Kong and the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. After an overnight stay, Matt and I were being taken to Mount Kinabalu.

After the mountain challenge, we would be taken to Sandakan to tour the city and visit the nearby Sepilok orang-utan sanctuary.

We would be treated to a boat trip on the Kinabatangan river before returning to Kota Kinabalu for a city tour. And all this had to be achieved in eight days.

At Kota Kinabalu airport we were greeted by Tengku Adlin, our guide for the Mount Kinabalu section of our adventure. Refreshed after spending the night at the magical Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, Matt and I headed to Kinabalu Park.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Celebrity travel: Brian Blessed turns wild man of Borneo
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Monday, March 02, 2009

Sabah popular with Singaporean tourists


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has become a choice destination for those living in Singapore thanks to the global economic downturn which has seen short-haul and regional flights becoming more popular.

Previously, Singaporeans preferred travelling to Europe and Australia.

"But now, shorter trips, where the Singapore currency can go further, are a better choice. Sabah, especially Kota Kinabalu, is ideal," said Tiger Airways head of communications Matt Hobbs.

The Singapore-based budget airline began its inaugural flight to the state capital yesterday with 110 passengers.

Continue reading at: Sabah popular with Singaporean tourists
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Sarawak eyes short-haul tourists


KUCHING: Sarawak is rethinking its tourism promotion, focusing on short-haul holidaymakers, in particular affluent Singaporeans.

The top three groups the state is eyeing are church groups going for retreats, students and expatriates.

State Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said Sarawak would be more aggressively marketed in Singapore as the long-standing problem of air connectivity was a thing of the past.

Singapore's low-cost carrier Jetstar flew its inaugural flight into Kuching International Airport yesterday. It will fly four times a week between Singapore and Kuching.

"There are 7,000 seats available (from Singapore to Kuching) a week," Manyin said at a ceremony to mark the first flight.

Continue reading at: Sarawak eyes short-haul tourists
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900 sign up for Rajang luxury cruise


KUCHING: The fare for a nine-day "Into the Heart of Borneo" river cruise is RM9,000 per person. But what a cruise it will be.

The trip on Sungai Rajang combines six-star luxury on a replica of an American paddle steamer with jungle adventure and shooting the famed Pelagus rapids in a longboat.

About 900 people from all over the world have confirmed their bookings. On July 1, the RV Orient Pandaw will embark on its maiden voyage from Sibu with 60 mostly American and European tourists.

Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Gracie Geikie described the cruise as the first of its kind in Malaysia.

The cruise slogan was taken from the title of a book Into the Heart of Borneo by Redmon O'Hanlon, who will be one of the special guests on board the inaugural cruise.

Continue reading at: 900 sign up for Rajang luxury cruise
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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cheapest tours, hotels for dream holiday in Brunei


By Liza Mohd

Travelling has become a part of the Bruneian culture and to cater for that lifestyle, Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) and Abacus launched the 4th Annual Belait Travel Fair in OGDC Seria to give opportunities for locals to survey tour packages offered by local travel agents and plan for their dream vacation.

Abacus Brunei Sales and Marketing Manager Abd Halim bin Haji Abd Rahman said this year's travel fair promises to offer the cheapest travel deal in view of the announcement of reduction in RBA fuel surcharge as well as the lower price accommodation overseas as result of the global recession.

Abd Halim said the world financial crisis did impact the travel industry in Brunei but not to a large extent and the presence of low-cost carriers provides cheaper travel alternatives for locals.

"Apart from creating travel opportunities overseas, the travel fair also promotes Brunei popular attractions as part of the 'Kenali Negara Kitani' (KNK) by the Brunei Tourism representatives. The fair also gives opportunity for us to support the local tourism market and offer foreigners, particularly the expatriates community in Belait District, the beauty that Brunei has to offer," said Abd Halim.

Brunei Tourism representatives were seen distributing pamphlets and KNK Passport, illustrating the 10 Must-Do packages for 2009 in Brunei Darussalam' such as the overnight stay at Ulu Ulu resort and day trip adventure in Temburong; Sungai Brunei night safari; Sea Sports activities at the Empire Hotel and Country Club; Sailing; Proboscis Monkey Tour and the rural experience of staying in the longhouse at Ulu Melilas.

The travel fair which ends tonight gathered travel industry players such as RBA, national tourist offices and travel agents under one roof to promote and showcase their products.

It is expected to draw 3,000 visitors who will eyeing lucky draw grand prizes such as air tickets to Brisbane, Bangkok, Singapore, 50,000 Royal Skies air miles and travel insurance.

RBA Senior Vice President Commercial - Yield and Planning and Director of Abacus Brunei Captain Sheikh Rashid bin Sheikh Abdul Salam yesterday morning released balloons to mark the opening ceremony.

Abd Halim said the past three travel fairs conducted in Belait District since 2006 had been successful and he expressed confidence it will be a success again this year.

It has been the aim of the travel fair to provide a platform for our travel agents to acquire new customers and at the same time give an opportunity for residents in the Belait District to shop around and book a dream holiday from the best deals offered, he noted.

He said the travel fair will give opportunity for locals to beat the travel rush, particularly during the June school holidays, as advanced booking will ensure that they will get cheaper airfare and accommodation deals as well as ample time to plan ahead.

At the fair, the six Abacus-linked travel agents are using more than twelve Abacus computer reservation system terminals to make reservations during the two-day fair, he said. "This will assists them in providing necessary services such as booking and ticketing," Abd Halim said.

Tosed who made travel bookings at the fair are also entitle to a grand draw as well as a lucky draw for visitors and a Spin the Wheel game to win attractive prizes. A children's colouring, games, free ice-cream, face-painting activities were organised to enliven the fair.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday
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