Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sabah worth it to visit: Chinese Mayor

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah is worth visiting even if only for a day, according to Xing Pei Bin, Vice Mayor of Weifang, in Shangtung province.

Xing led a six-member agriculture delegation to Sabah Sunday and Monday for an unofficial post-conference visit after attending a major Asean Agriculture Trade and Expo in Kuala Lumpur last week.

"Because I had only one day here, I cannot claim I know Sabah very well but I leave with two deep impressions," Xing told Daily Express.

"One, Sabah is worth seeing because it teems with biodiversity, nature, tranquility, vast expanse of scenic beauty and green country. Secondly those agricultural people I met are seriously looking at ways and means to improve the quality of their products," he said.

"What impressed me most are some enterprising efforts on developing the best organic farming methods," said Xing who visited Nabalu, Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, Ranau, with Henry Chok, a member of the Executive Committee of the Environmental Action Committee, organic farmer Low Siew Wah.

At Sabah Tea, the group was hosted to lunch by Executive Director Goh Mung Chwee who later led a tour of the factory and organic tea plots tucked inside the rainforest. "Health awareness is rising throughout the world," Xing said. "For this reason, we foresee a rising demand for organic food in the world market." He said this was why China planned to promote and support organic farming particularly in Shantung province "because we are known as the bread basket of China."

Xing's group included Fan Xi Zhi, Director of Weifang Municipal Agricuture Bureau, Wang Zenghu, Vice President of Weifang People's Friendship Association with Foreign Countries, Ms Li Shu fan, Vice Director of Financial Bureau, Chen Jin Lian, assistant research officer and interpretor, Miss Gao Xinhui.

Linus Suen, Chief Engineer during the first expansion project of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport under Usno, was instrumental in persuading Xing to visit Sabah.

Suen, who got to know Chok who was then a shipping officer with Harrisons & Crosfield, said he never forgot Sabah.

An additional member of the group was Eva Wong, President of California based Pegasus Financial Inc, USA, who said Sabah has fantastic nature resources at the base to build a thriving tourism industry.

"Preserve your goodness because it costs less to preserve. But if you lose it, you lose it forever," she said. Sabah needs just to package its natural marvels a little bit more, Eva said.

"I agree with Xing on the tranquility and beauty about Sabah," said Eva.

Source: Daily Express

Monday, November 28, 2005

10 Little Things that make Sabah one of the best place to live in or visit

Sabah, Malaysia Borneo, may be an emerging and exiting Tropical Vacation capital of the new millennium. But besides the breathtaking and unique tourist attractions, the following are 10 Little Things (taken granted by most Sabahans) that make Sabah one of the best place to visit and/or to live in:

1. Summer All Year Round

Well, almost. Sabah have warm tropical weather and warm seas for at least 9 months of the year. Usually, there will be about 3 months of rainy spell during the Monsoon season (normally November to January in areas around Kota Kinabalu, and different months in other districts like Sandakan or Tawau) but that does not mean it will rain non-stop for 3 months. It just mean an occassional shower or two, which might be heavier than other months. Due to the Greenhouse effect, the Monsoon season is not so predictable anymore.

2. Relatively Free from Natural Disasters

Sabah is affectionately known as The "Land Below the Wind", first made famous in a best selling book by Agnes Keith, the famed American writer of the early 20th century. It is also a name appropriately given to the state as Sabah lies below the typhoon (or hurricane) belt of East Asia - Sabah only feels the brush of the tail wind of a typhoon and therefore, is relatively free from any wrath of nature. Early seafaring traders were said to seek refuge in Sabah from the vicious typhoons that plague other parts of Southeast Asia in the summer.

3. Calm, Serene and Modern

As a state within the Federation of Malaysia, Sabah, which is slightly less developed than its counterparts in Peninsular Malaysia, is basically away from the hustle bustle of a city environment. Even Kota Kinabalu city, the capital and business centre of Sabah is very much a surburban town compared to Kuala Lumpur. It is less crowded everywhere even in the city. But The international gateway to Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a major city with fast developing modern infrastructure, well-planned with an efficient road system, and an International airport that has become the busiest airport in Malaysia after the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

4. Warm, Friendly and Colorful People

You will be fascinated by the warm hospitality and smiling faces of Sabahans, which come in many races and exhibit wide cultural diversity. You will also be captivated by the remarkable feature of the colorful population. There are at least 30 distinct ethnic indigenous groups in Sabah speaking different languages and close to 100 dialects. The days of savage tribesmen and headhunting are history and only illustrated/depicted for tourism purposes. The major races are Kadazandusun, Bajau, Murut, Malay and Chinese . But of course, people tend to be even more helpful and friendlier as you get further away from the town centres like in the interior or rural areas.

5. English and Chinese Widely Spoken

Malay or Bahasa Melayu is the national language of Malaysia but English is considered as the second language in Sabah (as well as in Malaysia as a whole), perhaps as a legacy of being a former colony of the United Kingdom. Most locals can converse well in the language, and even the less educated rural folks can maybe understand a few words (and give direction as well). Chinese is also widely spoken as there are many people of Chinese origin residing here (third largest ethnic group). Mandarin is the standard Chinese dialect for communication but Hakka and Cantonese is commonly used for daily conversation in West Coast and East Coast respectively.

6. Best Seafood and Tropical Fruits

Being a coastal state, Sabah is well known for its abundant fresh and tasty seafood. Many visitors have been raving about the superior quality of Sabah's seafood and certainly behooves Sabah to be committed on marine conservation efforts. You can easily find seafood in local restaurants and seafood centres. You can even choose the fish, lobster or tiger prawn of your choice from the restaurant's aquarium for the cook to prepare your meal. As for tropical fruits, all of them can be found here such as durians, rambutans, mangosteen, belimbing (or star fruit) and many more. But there are also has a number of specials not found anywhere else such as at least 14 varieties of local mango including the popular bambangan, the tarap, a variety of wild durian with red flesh, and the Markisa, a yellow-skinned passion fruit.

7. Politically and Socially Stable

Malaysia as a whole is the most stable country in the region. There have never been a change in government since independence (ruled by an alliance groups of multi-racial political parties called Barisan Nasional or National Front). Malaysia's commitment to religious plurality and economic equality has created enduring harmony and peace in multi-cultural Sabah. Despite so many people from different races and religions living together, Sabah never experience any serious racial tensions or riots in its 40+ years history. Most Sabahans are simple folks and satisfied with and appreciative our economic well-being. Poverty here is defined by household income, not by material possessions or daily meals. Starvation is unheard of in Sabah. Our hardcore poor may still be living in their own land and can plough the land for food.

8. Safe and Secured

Crime is not really a big issue in Sabah. Your probability of being mugged on the street of Kota Kinabalu is almost the same as falling down from a staircase in a hotel here. But it's always good to take precaution and avoid back alleys (not many anyway) or dimly-lighted areas after midnight. Crime is almost a non-issue in most touristic places and accommodations. Your wallet is more likely to be stolen by an Orang Utan at Sepilok than by his cousin, the homo sapien.

9. Low Health Risk

Basically, cases of infectious diseases like Malaria are rare (even in the rural areas) and always brought in from elsewhere, but you are best advised to take a preventive medication, such as Maloprim or Paludrine especially for visiting places such as Sukau, Tabin or Danum Valley. But normally, you would have been advised well in advance by your travel guide/company.

10. Limited Terrorist Threats

Sabah is comparatively safer than most places in the world for the following three reasons:
  1. Not densely populated and easy-to-target tour destinations (e.g., eco, rainforest, natural caves, rural areas, etc. normally do not and cannot have too many people frequenting at one time).
  2. Not a prime destination for Americans (or Europeans), or with lots of US interests (at least not yet, and not likely in the immediate term). And the capital of Malaysia is not located in Sabah or Sarawak.
  3. Politically and socially most stable and peaceful in the region, two important ingredients that can minimise the threats of terrorism.
However, it must be noted that NO destinations in the world can be 100% guaranteed to be safe from terrorists or any other threats, either natural or man-made. Sabah and Borneo as a whole is no exception.

You may hurt yourself falling down from a staircase in a 5-star hotel here, or you may get stung by a jellyfish. But, it is definitely much safer in a secluded tropical beach resort or in the jungle or natural environment than a populated high rise building or nightclub (not enough nightlife here in fact).

Whatever the case, it is best for you to do your own personal research and get opinions from locals (a trip advisor like us, perhaps) on the present local condition. Then it is really up to you to whether make the trip or not based on your findings.

About the Author: is one of the leading Borneo-based
Borneo Travel and Trip Advisor web sites, which also serves as a Borneo travel gateway and tour intermediary for the best and cost-effective custom/full-package vacation deals to Malaysia Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) and Brunei Darussalam. Please also visit's latest sister site, Borneo Tropical Vacation for more travel content.
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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Visitors can apply for visas to Malaysia via Net soon

BY Mazwin Nik Anis

PUTRAJAYA: Foreign visitors and travel agents abroad can soon apply for Malaysian visas online.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the facility would be available in two months. The Immigration department was still finalising and fine-tuning the new system.

Azmi added that when operational the system would allow applicants to know within 24 hours if their visa application has been approved.

“If approved, the applicant can make payment online via credit card,” he told reporters after presenting awards at the National Registration Department Quality Day function here yesterday.

“Upon arrival, visitors only need show a copy of the online receipt and the department’s approval and they will be issued on-the-spot visas.”

On another matter, Azmi said the National Registration Department (NRD) should not be blamed if those who applied for MyKad at the last minute had to endure hours of waiting.

“We have done everything to encourage the people to apply early, including having a lucky draw. Applicants will get their MyKad free if they apply before Dec 31.

“Yet, as of now, there are still 1.58 million people who have yet to apply,” he said.

“After what we have done, including opening our counters on Saturdays, the department should not be blamed for any inconveniences faced by applicants later,” he said, adding that NRD counters were open till 6pm on weekdays and from 8am till 4pm on Saturdays.

Asked if counters would be opened late at night to accommodate the last-minute crowd, Azmi said this could be arranged.

He added that some of those who had not applied for MyKad might be abroad or could be in prison, under detention or staying in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.

Source: The Star

Friday, November 25, 2005

Why Sabah is an Emerging Tropical Vacation Capital of the New Millennium

Sabah, being located at the northeast corner of Borneo island, is well positioned to offer a unique tropical vacation flavour with a difference.

In fact..., a very big difference.

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

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

What makes Sabah, Malaysia Borneo a unique tropical vacation spot?

Given its unique geographical advantage where within 76,115 square kilometres (or 29,388 square miles, slightly smaller than the US state of South Carolina), you can...

  • laze around in white pristine and unspoiled tropical beaches
  • conquer the highest peak in South East Asia
  • encounter wildlife in their natural habitat
  • admire the largest flower in the world
  • appreciate the culture of the colourful indigenous peoples
  • rough it out in controlled adventure vacation sites
  • brave the river rapids on a white water rafting adventure
  • be one with nature in the world of million years old rainforests
  • dive into some of the world's best underwater wonderlands
  • explore the underwater cave of the world's only mushroom-shaped world class dive spot

Most of the tropical wonders of the world, from ocean deep to mountain high, can be found right here in sunny Sabah. You don't have to travel far and wide to savor the best tropical attractions, saving you invaluable time and money to stay put in just one tropical vacation destination.

You can actually experience Sun, Sea and Sand, Forest and Mountain in less than ONE hour - that is, if you utilize a helicopter service.

If you are planning for your next Tropical Vacation, or thinking of exploring a new and exciting Tropical Vacation destination, please explore Sabah personally to find out why it is an ideal choice for your dream tropical vacation.

Click Here for more on why Sabah is an ideal Tropical Vacation destination

Or, please visit our sister site at for more information.

About the Author: is one of the leading Borneo-based Borneo Travel and Trip Advisor web sites, which also serves as a Borneo travel gateway and tour intermediary for the best and cost-effective custom/full-package vacation deals to Malaysia Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) and Brunei Darussalam. Please also visit's latest sister site, Borneo Tropical Vacation for more travel content.
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Terms for Reprint: Article may be reprinted provided content and byline (i.e., "About the Author") are not edited and links are kept live.

Miri, Sarawak to host Jazz Fest next year

By George Francis

MIRI - The Miri International Jazz Festival 2006 was yesterday launched here by the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Communication Development Lee Kim Shin.

The event was also covered by the national and international media through the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB).

The festival was promoted and premiered at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) last month held in Newcastle in the UK.

Lee Kim Shin, who is also the patron of the festival, said the launch of the international class festival would be translated into the promotion of Miri as an event destination, as yet another milestone in the development of Miri as a resort city.

The festival will be held on May 12 and 13, 2006 at the Pavilion, Park City Everly Hotel Miri with tickets priced at RM50 for a one-day pass and RM80 for a two-day pass.

Performers line up, include All the Best from Sarawak, Fra Fra Sound of the Netherlands, Gangbe Brass Band from Benin, Lluis Coloma of Spain, Nah Youn Sun of Korea and France, Quinteto Mambo Jambo from UK, Shanghai Jazz of China and Ubules of Sarawak and Singapore.

"I was told of the ambitious plans to nurture this Jazz Festival, as Sarawak's premier event of the year and Tourism Malaysia's event in its annual tourism event calendar," Lee said.

He was confident that as the festival grows from year to year the audience would grow in number and benefit the people at large.

He called on the Mirians, the business community, private organisations and individuals to give their full support and contribution to this event next year.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Mustapha Gallery to enhance tourist draw to Sabah

Kota Kinabalu: Tun Mustapha Gallery at the Yayasan Sabah here was unveiled on Wednesday to hoteliers and tour operators in an effort to offer yet another tourism product.

Deputy Director of Yayasan Sabah (YS), Dr Johan Arriffin A. Samad, said the gallery was initially set up in honour of a leader who was instrumental in leading Sabah to gain its independence.

Basically, he said the objective of the gallery is to provide information pertaining to the late Tun Mustapha's political struggle.

These, he said, include his sacrifices and contributions to nation building, particularly those that pertain to Sabah's independence through Malaysia that had resulted in the blessings, peace and prosperity enjoyed by Malaysians in Sabah today.

"It is hoped that through such awareness, the people will understand and be more appreciative of the late Tun as our early leader and will value the unity and harmony among multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural people who formed the very core of the late Tun's struggle," he said.

Dr Johan, who is also Chairman of the Tun Mustapha Gallery, said they are confident that the gallery would be able to attract a steady stream of visitors and inevitably complement the on-going visits by tourists to the unique YS building.

"As such, I hope you could add in the list of your (tour operators) tourism destinations of the potentially important and interesting new tourism site," he said.

He said many tourists from abroad would stop by the building every day, snapping pictures with the unique tower in the background.

However, he said the value of the pictures could be further enhanced with the basic knowledge of the landmark structure through a brief tour in the gallery and explaining the man behind the building.

Depending on who the visitors are, he said the gallery would also serve several purposes such as a source of accurate and interesting political history, information about the nation building process and instrumental role played by Mustapha.

He said Mustapha's legacies include guiding Sabah's independence through Malaysia and also the various socio-economic developments during his tenure.

The gallery, he said, houses various pictorial illustrations and artefacts with informative captions about Mustapha beginning from his childhood days up to his demise.

"To the tourists, the gallery would compliment their visit to the Menara Tun Mustapha.

"It is for this reason that major players in the tourism industry, would find the gallery worthy of inclusion in your brochures and schedules and also make it as one of your tourism destinations," he said.

In addition, he said the facility would also benefit the research community in their scholarly works.

Visitors must pay entrance fees to go inside the gallery located next to the Tun Hamdan Theatre at the Yayasan Sabah and it is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday except on Monday.

Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah would officially open the gallery next month.

Source: Daily Express

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

World-class international diving centre in Brunei

Scuba Tech invites divers to explore underwater treasures

By Azrol Azmi

Brunei now has a world-class international diving centre at the Empire Hotel and Country Club. With the collaboration of Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), International Resorts Association and SCUBA-TECH International and the support from the Brunei Tourism Department, Brunei waters are open to divers interested to experience one of the top diving destinations in Southeast Asia.

Scuba Tech International Diving Centre is strategically located at the Empire Hotel and Country Club, Marine Centre and offers various water activities.

Pg Anak Hjh Ameenah, Chairlady of Scuba Tech, expressed her delight at the launch of Brunei's first diving centre. A press statement said that Brunei has beautiful underworld treasures which must be preserved and enjoyed.

The product launch was officiated by Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, head of Brunei Tourism. He said that Brunei Tourism Department was proud of the centre and would help and support the centre in promoting the diving centre to the tourism world.

Several beautiful reefs have been identified as diving spots such as Brunei Patch, Princess Avenue, Clowfish Avenue and Burn's Patch within 15-20 minutes ride in the Scuba Tech International catamaran. For those interested in exploring Brunei's 'deep blue', there is also "wreck diving".

Michael Aw, one of the world's most acclaimed documentary photographers and Editor of Scuba Diver Austral-Asia Magazine, has described the dive sites of Brunei as being loosely divided into three categories - reefs, rigs and wrecks.

Reefs are generally shallow to about 12 metres with exceptional fish and coral life, but the sites are exposed to currents and visibility is at best an average of 10 metres.

The rigs are overwhelmed with soft corals and lush sedentary growth of sea fans, sponges, shells and tunicates. About 25 minutes from Scuba Tech Dive Centre is Rig Reef, a complex reef created out of decommissioned oil platform structures.

Meanwhile, Michael Aw said that wrecks are perhaps Brunei's most unique attractions among the diving destinations in Southeast Asia. The Bolkiah Wreck is easily accessible, but further offshore are the S.S. De Clerk a 100-metre long Dutch passenger/cargo steamer, the USS Salute AM 294, Admirable Class Minesweeper and the photogenic MV Tung hwang in Brunei Bay which are all part of the repertoire of dive sites offered by the new dive centre.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Developing 'Double Beach' in Lahad Datu as tourism product

Lahad Datu: The "Double Beach" area in Silam, near here, known for its unique coral formations, will be developed as a new tourism product in Sabah's east coast.

Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur, said studies conducted by Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) found that the beach has the potential to attract tourists.

"I was told that the "Double Beach" area is rich in corals of various shapes sizes and cannot be found elsewhere in the country.

"Therefore, the Government will develop the area to attract more tourists to the east coast, especially Lahad Datu," he said after officiating Meet The Client's Day organised by the Information Ministry at the Lahad Datu Community Hall, here, Monday.

Datu Nasrun said even though Lahad Datu has tourist attractions based on nature known all over the region, the Danum Valley Forest Reserve, but efforts to diversify tourism products must continue.

Earlier, in his speech, Datu Nasrun said the department and agencies under the Information Ministry, especially the Broadcasting Department and the national news agency, Bernama, must continue to do the best in disseminating information to the people.

In Monday's programme, the Special Affairs Department (Jasa), Broadcasting Department, Information Department and Bernama took part.

Source: Bernama

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dive to explore Brunei's rich coral wonders

By Ignatius Stephen

A Bruneian princess is inviting all to share the wonderful undersea kingdom that lies off the sultanate's shores.

Princess Hjh Ameenah Bushral Bulqiah has gained the backing of Brunei Tourism Department, which also wants the largely undiscovered coral wonders to be made into a world-class tourist destination.

The splendid Empire Hotel & Country Club, where the Princess is centering her diving and sea sport activities, is also supporting the venture.

Princess Hjh Ameenah's activities hinge on a company she has registered, ScubaTech International Dive Centre Ltd, which is operating out of the hotel's Marine Centre.

It will be Brunei's first internationally certified resort dive centre and will hold its product launch Tuesday at the Empire. Tourism head Sheikh Jamaluddin will be the chief guest.

ScubaTech is Brunei's first Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), which ensures that within few days one could be enjoying the underwater world safely.

A presentation explaining the importance of the international certification as well as an update on diving and water sports activities at the Marine Centre for the enjoyment of tourists and locals will also take place.

So, then, would you like to glide along in paradise by the splendid Princess Avenue, Clownfish Avenue, the beautiful Burn's and the Brunei Patch? Perhaps you would. For that you will have to reach down Brunei's deep blue.

There is no doubt now that Brunei is considered as one of the world's top diving destinations in Southeast Asia. Brunei's marine life is rich with variety of coral colours as well as plenty of reef fishes.

Beautiful, rich reefs such as Brunei patch, Princess Avenue, Clownfish Avenue, Burn's patch and many others can be found just 15-20 minutes by catamaran boat 'Pekan Lama'. For those who want to explore Brunei's 'deep blue', wreck diving is also one of our specialties.

There are a number of wrecks found along Brunei Bay and are within reach from the dive centre. These wrecks are also rich with marine life and soft corals can be found everywhere along with barracudas, trevalleys, sting rays as well as other macro species.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sarawak's Sematan Carnival using crabs to pull in more tourists

SEMATAN (Sarawak): This seaside town, 110km west of Kuching, is trying to lure visitors through their stomachs – by promoting its delicious crabs at the inaugural Sematan Carnival and Crab Fest.

Besides an exhibition on the crustacean, there are stalls offering live crabs and a variety of crab dishes such as crab sandwiches, soft-shelled crab burgers and fried rice with crabstick

Activities during the three-day carnival which started on Friday, include crab-cooking competition, guessing the number of crabs in a glass jar and a quiz on crabs.

The carnival is jointly organised by the state Urban Development and Tourism Ministry, Agriculture Department and Kuching Resident’s Office to promote this town as a tourist destination.

Launching the carnival yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan said the carnival would help promote the crab industry here and introduce its attractions such as the beautiful beaches, corals, seafood and two nearby national parks to visitors.

“Tourism infrastructure and facilities here have been upgraded and this will help draw in more visitors. For example, there are now home-stay programmes in several villages in the district,” he said.

He also said the crab industry here would continue to be developed by the Agriculture Department in collaboration with a private company, Kumpulan Muhandis Sdn Bhd, as well as with the assistance from foreign agencies such as Danish Cooperation for Environment and Development.

Source: The Star

Promoting Brunei as a honeymoon destination

The Empire Hotel and Country Club recently hosted a TV crew from Mushroom Television, Bangkok, who were in the Sultanate to do a special feature on Brunei for a television programme called 'Honeymoon Seat' that showcases wonderful honeymoon destinations around the region.

The group received a traditional Hadrah welcome at the hotel, where they were greeted by Assistant PR & Marketing Manger Ak Danny Pg Tajuddin.

During their visit, the group had the opportunity to film the luxurious rooms and suites, restaurants and facilities available at the hotel.

Asides from that, they also visited and filmed several tourist attractions including the water village, Jerudong Park Playground, a view of the town and the commercial centers in Gadong.

This trip was also supported by Bon Asia Holidays with tours and ground handling arrangements.

The programme will feature Brunei as a unique and beautiful honeymoon destination. Other countries that have been featured include Australia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Honeymoon Seat is aired every Wednesday, at 8.45pm on UBC TV, Channel 17, Bangkok. The programme that features Brunei is to be aired on UBC Cable TV, Channel 17, Bangkok in December this year.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

Friday, November 18, 2005

MAS joins resort in promoting Mulu

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and Royal Mulu Resort have joined forces to promote Mulu as a popular tourist destination under a special package.

The three-day-two-night package priced at RM650 onwards includes accommodation, air fares, airport transfers, tours of the world-famous Mulu caves and meals.

The agreement was signed by MAS Sarawak sales manager Victor Lim and Royal Mulu Resort general manager Alan Robinson in Kuching recently.

Lim said that Mulu was chosen because it was a World Heritage Site with spectacular caves and unique wildlife and was an ideal destination to promote tourism in Sarawak.

He added that MAS was always looking at ways to promote local tourist destinations through special packages.

"We want to package local destinations at affordable prices to help boost domestic tourism," he said.

Robinson described Mulu as one of the jewels of the world.

"Mulu is more than just a travel destination. It is a paradise," he said.

The package is sold in Sarawak only and reservations should be made seven days in advance.

Source: The Star

More Info on Mulu World Heritage Tours, Sarawak

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tropical Vacation Resort: Nexus Karambunai Resort, Tuaran

Tropical Vacation Resort at Nexus Karambunai Resort The front view and entrance to Nexus Karambunai Resort

Tropical Vacation Resort at Nexus Karambunai Resort

Another view of the resort - from the inner area

    • Hotel Rating: 5-Star
    • Hotel Address: Kampung Karambunai, Off Jalan Sepangar Bay, P.O. Box 270 88450 Menggatal, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
    • Location: Tuaran
    • No. of rooms: 491 rooms

The Nexus Karambunai Resort is set within 3,335 acres of unique and unspoiled rainforest. The resort is located in Tuaran, about 30km North East of Kota Kinabalu, near another great Tropical Vacation Resort, the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort.

The resort resides on a secluded 45 acres of tranquil, natural beauty on the Karambunai Peninsular with wonderful white and sandy beaches.

The Nexus Karambunai Resort is literally a world unto itself and a great spot for a memorable tropical vacation in a true tropical Nexus. The resort offers 491 finely-appointed rooms and suites that are fully equipped with wealth of amenities and conveniences.

At the Nexus Karambunai Resort, guests have a full option of facilities and recreational activities including an 18-hole championship golf course and convention centre. In fact, nowhere in Asia can you find such a comprehensive range of facilities within one magnificent location.

At Nexus Karambunai Resort, you are also able to experience rainforest nature walks in the resort's 75-acre Nature Park, part of the Borneo Conservation Program. Get away from too much sun, sea and sand, and thrust yourself to do a nature tour along the several trails in the Nature Park.

If you are looking forward to a tropical vacation resort which offers a combination of class and comfort, the Nexus Karambunai Resort is the ideal choice with a perfect blend of Sabah's rich culture and the latest in hotel accommodation facilities.

Content & Photos Copyright © 2005
written for our sister site Borneo Tropical Vacation

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Café Tatu - New outlet at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort

By Wati Andi Samsiar

KOTA KINABALU: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort (STAR) is creating waves with the opening of its new interactive dining outlet Café Tatu.

Refurbished at a cost of RM3.5 million, the restaurant which occupies its former coffee house, has been extended from its original size.

The new outlet can now accommodate up to 362 guests at any one time.

Located on the garden level of Tanjung Wing, Café Tatu offers the buzz and variety of live action stations cooking up sensational authentic global cuisines in a vibrant and colourful atmosphere.

The restaurant features luxurious buffet breakfast and dinner with live-cooking stations of Mongolian, Tandoori, Asian noodles, Dim Sum, pasta stations, salad and deserts.

Guests can watch as their dishes are prepared fresh, hot and steaming on the pot.

There is also an array of Asian and Western main courses.

An added dimension to Café Tatu is its very own authentic Mongolian oven where e grilled Mediterranean cuisine is prepared.

Café Tatu replaces the former Garden Terrace restaurant and opens seven days a week from 6.30am to 10.30pm for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It offers buffet breakfast from 6.30am to 10.30am and buffet dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.

Lunch is available a la carte and features Asian favourites as well as Western favourites.

And by the way, Tatu stands for “Tanjung Aru, Tantalising and Unique”.

The opening yesterday was unique as all the invited guests have a hand in the event with each being given a string to pull to unveil the interior of the outlet.

Present to lead the guests was the resort general manager Ulf Bremer, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin and Tanjung Aru Hotel chairman Datuk Frankie Chong.

Courtesy of: New Sabah Times

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Focus on eco-tourism at upcoming Sarawak Summit

Eco-tourism is a key development target for many developing countries for it can bring much-needed money into impoverished areas. It can also help people understand and appreciate the importance of biodiversity. However, eco-tourism can also increase disturbance in sensitive areas.

So how can eco-tourism play a positive role in conservation? How can this role be enhanced? How should it be portrayed in the media?

The coming International Media and Environment Summit (IMES) in Kuching, Sarawak, from Nov 30 to Dec 2 seeks to address these issues in a session entitled Ecotourism – Boon or Bane?

Tourism Minister Datuk Dr Leo Toyad, a keynote speaker at the summit, says the gathering will discuss the challenges of using the media to project eco-tourism in an effective way.

“Eco-tourism is central to sustainable development, offering one key realistic solution to the apparent conflicts between environmental protection and economic growth. The success of eco-tourism initiatives depends to a great extent on how it is portrayed to the public, through the media,” he says.

News World Nature, the organiser of the summit, encourages participation from tour operators as the gathering will provide an opportunity for talks with the international media, environmental scientists and policy-makers. They can also join an exhibition to be staged alongside IMES.

IMES will bring together the media, scientists, environmental organisations, the academia, and corporate policy decision-makers to debate on how best to report on pressing environmental issues.

One session titled Hurricane Katrina: A Global Expertiment will discuss whether disasters like Hurricane Katrina warn of a conflict between natural and human processes, and whether media coverage of such events have sufficiently conveyed the environmental causes and consequences of these disasters.

Other topics at IMES: Who Sets the Media Agenda?; Balancing the Agenda; The Challenges of Covering the Marine Environment; The Media’s Love Affair with Orang Utans and Cuddly Bears; and Disseminating Eco Science to a General Audience.

Among the speakers are filmmaker and conservationist Prof David Suzuki, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) director Sir Peter Crane, IUCN-The World Conservation Union vice-president Javed Jabba, renowned underwater photographer Michael Aw, Great Apes Survival Project senior consultant Ian Redmond, Animals Asia Foundation director Jill Robinson, Wild Aid founder Steve Galster, Wild Asia (Malaysia) director Dr Reza Azmi, Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Programme director Dr Melvin Gumal and Asia-Pacific Federation of Environmental Journalists chairman Quamrul Chowdhury.

Learn more at Exhibitors seeking more information should contact Illka Gobius at +65-67283820 or e-mail

Source: The Star

Monday, November 14, 2005

AirAsia still eyeing Brunei

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's low-cost carrier AirAsia said Sunday it soon hopes to fly to Brunei and to new destinations in Indonesia and Cambodia following the arrival of two new A320 Airbus aircraft in December.

"We are waiting for approval to fly to Brunei from Kuala Lumpur," AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes told AFP.

Fernandes, who was in Brunei earlier this year on invitation to speak at a business forum, had said that AirAsia hoped to start flying to Brunei from September 2005. According to reliable sources, the issue of frequency of flights was being ironed out at the time.

Fernandes said that AirAsia was also planning to establish flights to key historic sites in Southeast Asia in response to growing tourist demand.

"We will probably fly to Solo, Indonesia in January and are waiting for approval to fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia," he said. Both routes would originate in Kuala Lumpur.

The AirAsia chairman said the new A320 aircraft would have a capacity of 180 passengers.

AirAsia has ordered 60 A320s with an option for another 40 aircraft which will completely replace its current fleet of 28 single-aisle, 148-seat Boeing 737-300s.

The first will be delivered in December, with the process continuing through 2011, the company said.

Fernandes dismissed rival budget carriers in Singapore, saying: "We have huge networks. Kuala Lumpur will become a hub for low-cost carriers. Singapore can't come near us."

Asked about the chances of AirAsia flying to Singapore, he said: "Zero".

AirAsia has accused Singapore of discrimination after the city state last month awarded long sought-after landing rights to a rival Indonesian carrier.

While AirAsia reported its net profit for the year to June as RM111.63 million, budget airline Tiger Airways, a unit of the state-owned Singapore Airlines, and JetStar Asia, in which the government has a stake, are unprofitable, the Financial Times newspaper said last month.

AirAsia recently launched daily flights from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok to Phnom Penh, a move that caters to the increasing number of tourists visiting Cambodia.

AirAsia was launched in December 2001 with just two aircraft and has since become a significant regional player, with its business model increasingly imitated by national carriers and a host of new low-cost entrants.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tropical Vacation Getaways: Langkah Syabas Beach Resort, Kinarut, Sabah

Langkah Syabas Beach Resort Front Entrance courtesy of landbelowthewind.comMain entrance and sales office of Langkah Syabas Beach Resort
( photo copyright and courtesy of )

The cosy and elegant chalet-type accommodation

The cosy and elegant chalet-type accommodation
( photo © )

Lush tropical gardens, trees and a perfect lawn at the beach resort Lush tropical gardens and a perfect lawn at the beach resort
( photo © )

Just next door to Seaside Travellers Inn is the Australian owned and operated Langkah Syabas Beach Resort. The beach resort is a small and secluded property consisting of 18 tasteful air-con chalets/cottages surrounding a small swimming pool in lush tropical gardens by the sea ensuring privacy for you.

Langkah Syabas Beach Resort offers an alternative to the larger 5-star tropical vacation resorts. It is particularly suitable as an “add on” for those looking for a quiet and peaceful tropical vacation getaway or retreat with a friendly and homely style of service.

It is also well suited for those interested in playing golf at the Borneo Golf and Country Club close-by. Horse-back riding activities are also available at Langkah Syabas Beach Resort.

Pamper yourself with all the comforts of Australian hospitality, Asian background and international cuisine at the beach resort. Dining at Langkah Syabas Beach Resort's restaurant is a bit more expensive than Seaside Travellers Inn.

But given the cosy atmosphere, services and facilities compared to its neighbouring inn, you may not mind paying slightly more for these luxuries.

Copyright © 2005
written for our sister site
Borneo Tropical Vacation

Friday, November 11, 2005

Tropical Vacation Getaways: Seaside Travellers Inn, Kinarut, Sabah

Tropical Vacation Getaway at Seaside Travellers Inn, Kinarut Main view of the Inn, where the rooms are located
( photo © )

Poolside at Seaside Travellers Inn, Kinarut Poolside view at the Inn with tropical coconut trees as natural shades
( photo © )

a view from the Beach House and Restaurant A wonderful sunset view from the Beach House and Restaurant
( photo © )

Seaside Travellers Inn is located in Kinarut, about 20-30 minutes drive south of Kota Kinabalu city but closer to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (about 15 minutes by road)

With only 25 rooms, the Inn is designed for those looking for a relaxed tropical vacation getaway (family, leisure or romantic) with a personalised service. Seaside Travellers Inn is a family-run establishment and is situated in a scenic area.

Its Beach House and Restaurant is built right at the edge of Kinarut seashore facing the South China Sea. Great to dine in full view of the fascinating tropical beaches sunset. There are also some beautiful islands nearby for a pleasant view.

Seaside Travellers Inn also provides a horse-back riding facilites at the nearby Kindawan course and is also close to the Train Station (the only railway in the whole of Borneo) where you can hop on a North Borneo colonial-typed train on an adventure by rail to South Western part of Sabah.

There are several types of rooms at the Inn from Deluxe (bathroom attached, hot shower, TV, air-con and telephone) to Dormitory (fan and common bathroom).

Copyright © 2005
written for our sister site Borneo Tropical Vacation

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Borneo World Heritage Flight 2005: 'Air safari' treat for pilots

By Roy Goh

Noriko Hatanaka travelled the world while working as an air hostess in her younger days.

Now, years later and no longer serving passengers on commercial flights, she still flies. This time, however, she is in the pilot’s seat.

As the secretary-general of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Japan, the aviation enthusiast has never stopped flying in over 20 years.

"I even did a flight around the world when heralding the millennium," said Hatanaka who was here for the inaugural Borneo World Heritage Flight 2005.

Her trip here with the association's vice-president Captain Ari Yamagata was the first for both and noted it was basically a "fun trip".

"It is all about visiting new places, seeking new adventures and Sabah is one of the places I have always wanted to fly to," Hatanaka said.

They were among a group of aviation enthusiasts who arrived yesterday from Manila for the four-day event dubbed as an "air-safari".

Co-ordinated by Sabah Tourism Board, its chairman Tengku Datuk Zainal Adlin Mahmood said it was a travelling adventure for the participants who hailed from Singapore, Philippines, Australia, Japan and Peninsular Malaysia.

"Our programme here includes flying over the city on a low formation as well as another one across Mount Kinabalu (in Kundasang) and the Tip of Borneo (Tanjung Simpang Mengayau in Kudat).

"We will also bring our guests to places of interests like Sepilok to see the orang utans and visit the islands," he said.

Joint co-ordinator Joy Roa from Manila said air travel adventures using general aviation aircraft — most of which are privately owned — is a growing industry in the region because more people can afford them now.

"There are many aircraft owners in the region and they enjoy flying to new destinations. By grouping these people together, it is fun and gives a sense of adventure to the pilots," he said.

He said flying aircraft to travel may be new here but it is just another form of adventure like travelling by sailboat from one port to the other.

Courtesy of New Straits Times

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sarawak To Unveil New Tourism Brand At World Travel Mart

KUCHING -- The Sarawak Tourism Board will participate in the World Travel Market in London next week to unveil its new marketing brand -- "Sarawak More Than A Paradise!" -- to industry players.

Its Chief Executive Officer Gracie Geikie said the travel market would be held at the Excel Exhibition Centre in Dockland from Nov 12 to 17.

"For the past decade, we've been using the marketing theme based on our culture, adventure and nature.

"In line with Sarawak's tourism offering to the world market, the marketing needs to be given a fresh new look," she said in a statement.

The event attracted more than 5,000 exhibitors from 193 countries and some 45,000 trade visitors last year.

Geikie said Sarawak Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh would be leading the state team which would have its booth at the Malaysian Pavillion, together with five Sarawakian companies.

Organised by the Reed Exhibition, the World Travel Market is regarded as the world's second largest travel event after the Berlin Tourism Fair in Germany.

Geikie also said Wong would launch STB's rebranding exercise on Monday aimed at promoting Sarawak as a preferred tourism destination with a myriad of "paradise".

The current tagline -- "Sarawak, The Hidden Paradise Of Borneo" -- being used since 1997, would be phased out to keep abreast with the changing times and travellers' tastes, she said.

She was confident that STB, the State Tourism Ministry's promotional and marketing arm, would continue to be in the forefront with the rebranding exercise to take it through the target markets in years ahead.

"From Monday, we will be using the new tagline and logo for our tourism promotions in the domestic and international markets," she added.

Courtesy of BERNAMA

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sabah to reopen revolving restaurant

By Joniston Bangkuai

SABAH’S exclusive revolving restaurant on the 18th floor of the imposing 30-storey Sabah Foundation glass tower in Kota Kinabalu is reopening its doors.

The restaurant, which ceased operations some 20 years ago, will be managed by Atmosphere Restaurant Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Asia Extreme Sdn Bhd, a specialist in travel and tourism development.

Asia Extreme marketing and sales director Victoria Hilley said renovation works to give the restaurant an avant-garde retro look has begun and will be completed by the end of this year.

“We are spending about RM1 million for the facelift and we hope to start operations latest by January next year,” she said during a preview of the restaurant for members of the travel trade recently.

To be called Atmosphere Restaurant, it offers a spectacular view of Mount Kinabalu, Likas Bay, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, the State Legislative Assembly building and islands fronting the city.

“We chose the name ‘Atmosphere’ to describe its location that provides breathtaking view of the city and its surroundings,” Hilley said.

Asia Extreme has been granted a long-term lease from Sabah Foundation and both are working closely to develop the restaurant as a unique product for both local and foreign tourists.

Recently renamed Tun Mustapha Tower, the glass tower is among the landmarks in Kota Kinabalu, attracting between 20 and 30 bus-loads of tourists every day.

“We want to capitalise on this by bringing the tourists up to the restaurant where they can both dine and enjoy the most panoramic views in the city,” she said.

The restaurant would offer Pacific Rim cuisine including specialties from the Association of South-East Asian Nation countries and even as far as North America and Mexico.

Courtesy of Business Times

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sabah has potential to become major organiser of adventure events

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah has the potential to become a major organiser of adventure events such as the 4x4 off-road challenge considering its location and suitable environment.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Karim Bujang said not many states in Malaysia organise such competitions.

"I hope that Sabah will become a major organiser of this event and bring tourists into the State," he said after presenting the prizes to winners of the 15th Borneo Safari 2005 on Sunday.

He said if the event proved successful, hopefully international participants would promote the State to their fellow countrymen to visit Sabah not only to take part in the event but for sightseeing as well.

In this respect, he urged the organisers, Malaysia Tourism Board (Sabah) and Sabah Tourism Board (STB) to plan the event early so as to attract more participants and tourists to come for the competition next year.

"If the event is successful it should be able to attract more diverse international participants such as the annual International Mt Kinabalu Climbathon," he said.

However, he stressed that early preparation is important to ensure the success of the event.

On other developments, he said the staging of Borneo Safari has helped established Sabah as an off-road safari destination and also provide and important opportunity to showcase Sabah's diverse natural attractions.

These, inevitably has complemented STB efforts to promote Sabah as a premier nature and adventure destination.

The off-road competition passed by several major towns in Sabah such as Tambunan, Ranau and Kudat.

Participants were tested of their skills, not only in driving but also in negotiating difficult situations.

The event attracted thousands of spectators that comprised 4x4 enthusiasts, onlookers and locals, as well.

Meanwhile, Loo Fu Siong and co-driver, Jabinus Suani emerged the champions of the Borneo Safari 2005.

Yap Swee Kiong and co-driver Kok Tsin Yee won second place while last year's champions, Yong See Long/Pang Ket Vui managed only third place.

Courtesy of Daily Express

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Second super yacht cruises into Sabah, Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu: Super yacht Georgia, a 48.5m world cruising performance cutter, has arrived for a week's holiday to Sabah, the second super yacht to travel through Sabah waters in three months.

It has been cruising Asian waters for several months and would depart Sabah for Bali and from there to Australia.

A full itinerary for the passengers, which includes land-based tours throughout Sabah, including Sukau, Mt Kinabalu, Maliau Basin and Kudat, is being managed by Touchdown Holidays Sdn Bhd.

The super yacht began its Sabah cruise at Pulau Tiga and would be sailing from here around the Tip of Borneo to Sandakan and Sipadan.

Sabah Tourism Board Chairman, Tengku Datuk Adlin, said seeing the super yacht on anchor off the city gave substance to what the board had been doing and showed their efforts have been worthwhile.

"Sabah Tourism supports the growth of marine tourism, and recognises the positive impact that this sector has on our economy and tourism growth in general," he said.

Meanwhile, Touchdown Holidays Managing Director, Phil Dobson, said the visit was a clear indication of the opportunity that exists for Sabah to develop properly managed marine tourism.

"If we focus efforts on marine tourism and expose the beauty of our cruising waters, visiting yachts and super yachts in the vein of Georgia and our last visitor, Yanneke Too, will come to our shores," he said.

Courtesy of Daily Express