Monday, April 30, 2007

Danum Valley wonders charm scientists

The Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah has the best of both worlds — nature in a pristine state and world-class research facility. Together, they have placed the 438sq km of primary jungle on the international wildlife map.

LOCATED 25km west of Lahad Datu is one of the world’s most complex ecosystems, the Danum Valley Conservation Area.

Scientists from the world over come here to study wildlife in a primary forest, with many spending three years researching its scientific wonders and soaking up its charm.

Central to the area is the Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC) set up by the Sabah Foundation, which has been home to researchers, nature students and wildlife lovers for the past 20 years.

It is an anomaly: A fully-equipped centre with laboratory, library and computer centre plumb in the centre of what could be the best example worldwide of undisturbed flora and fauna.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Danum Valley wonders charm scientists

Further Reading: Danum Valley Tropical Rainforests

Tropical Rainforests of Sabah

The following is a write-up on the wonders of Tropical Rainforests, and why Sabah, in Malaysia Borneo, may be the most convenient place to experience the thriving rainforests:

Tropical rainforests are an ancient but fast depleting natural wonder. The tropical rainforests have often being described as a “natural supermarket” as all of our every day’s basic essentials can be obtained from the forests such as food, drinks, fruits, medicine, etc.

At one time, tropical rainforest extent across the equator like a green belt but today, tropical rainforests cover less than 6% of the Earth's land area. The rainforests can only be found on three of the world's seven continents in the following geographical areas:
  • Central America - In the Amazon River basin.
  • Africa - Zaire basin, with a small area in West Africa and also in eastern Madagascar.
  • Indo-Malaysia - Borneo, Southeast Asia, West Coast of India, Assam, New Guinea and Queensland, Australia.

Continued Reading at: Tropical Rainforests of Sabah

American tourists enjoy trip to Brunei

By Arjuna

Twenty-seven tourists from Hawaii are in the country on a four-day golf incentive trip. They will play two rounds of golf at the Jack Nicklaus designed course at The Empire Golf & Country Club and another two rounds at the RBGCC.

Besides golf activities, they were also brought to visit some of the interesting places in the country and dined at different restaurants.

The group also experienced a soft adventure trip to Ulu Temburong National Park in Temburong. All arrangements have been organised by Golden Touch Holidays-RBA.

"It was a most memorable boat trip to the Ulu Temburong National Park, the surrounding view are magnificent," said one of the tourists.

"All my clients are happy with the arrangements made," said Mieko Shimizu, the incentive trip organiser.

"They really love the country, the food and the people. The toilets are very clean," she added. She also has plans to bring another high-end group to Brunei soon.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hidden beaches of Labuan

Layang Layangan beach
Paved walkway to the beach

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Mohammad Abdullah and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By Mohammad Abdullah

Labuan's beaches are away from town, hence it is not surprising that they will be missed by visitors from Brunei, who revel at the city centres in search of shopping.

Layang Layangan (a place to fly kites) beach is a popular place on weekends. Its sandy white beaches is tempting and inviting for one to lie down and soak up in the sun and hear the sound of waves lapping at the water's edge. Cycling paths and picnic tables are shaded by leafy trees.

There are many food stalls with live musical bands performing every weekend. Horse riding and cycling are popular leisure activities on this beach.

Extending directly onto the long sandy beach is a beautiful landscaped Peace Park, with its arched bridges over tranquil ponds and shaded gazebos. It was built as a memorial and renunciation of the horrors of the war, when the Japanese occupied Labuan for four years before they surrendered. Near the entrance is a stone slab with a bronze plaque commemorating the Surrender.

Nearby is the Manikar Beach Resort, the island's only beach resort with 15 acres of sandy beach and tropical gardens. It offers fishing and diving trips and a view of the South China sea, and a magnificent pool.

The Layang Layangan Beach, one of the most developed beaches, is on the western coast of Labuan, south of Pancur Hitam.

Pancur Hitam beach is home to Labuan's biggest and most luxurious private house, the "House of Millions of Peace". The roads near this house, Jalan Batu Manikar and Jalan Pancur Hitam, are tastefully designed with well landscaped and decorated pathways

Just in front of the house, rows of local market stalls offer treats including fresh coconut water, chicken wings, popcorn and other mouth-watering local cuisines and knick-knacks. Right on the side of the house is a small natural path that will lead to Bukit Pohon Batu (Pohon Batu Hill), the second highest peak in Labuan, where you can enjoy jungle trekking.

On top of this hill, you will be greeted with beautiful beaches that stretch along the shoreline. From this high vantage you can also have a bird's eye view of the entire Labuan island. On clear days, you can see all the way to the south of Financial Park Complex, the revitalised uptown business district five kilometres from the Labuan airport.

Further south of Pancur Hitam beach, you will find a recreational area,the "Sudut Cabaran" (Challenging Site), an ideal site for recreational activities, picnic and camping.

In the evening, a breathtaking vista awaits with the three peaks of Phin Batu Hill as a dramatic backdrop. The sunset here is not to be missed!

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

Kota Kinabalu Tadau Kaamatan Carnival May 10-12

Kota Kinabalu: City Hall and the Royal Malaysian Police are jointly organising the City Tadau Kaamatan Carnival at Lintasan Deasoka, here, from May 10 to 12.

In the run-up to the carnival, several programmes have been lined up such as the City-level Unduk Ngadau Kaamatan Carnival 2007.

According to City Hall Public Relations Officer Syron A. Tunggolou, participation is still open, until May 4, for the preliminary rounds to select 15 finalists at Promenade Hotel and not the Community Centre as stated in the entry form.

Continue reading at: Kota Kinabalu Tadau Kaamatan Carnival May 10-12

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bird-watching in Labuan

'Domes' of the bird park
The aviary provides a comfortable environment for the birds
A hornbill

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Mohammad Abdullah and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By Mohammad Abdullah

One of the most popular spots for tourists and locals alike is the Labuan Bird Park located near the Chimney at Tanjung Kubong.

This tranquil bird park is surrounded by a well-landscaped garden and walking paths. It has three large dome-shaped cages surrounded by beautiful trees and flowering plants.

A slow, relaxing walk in the bird park is recommended if you wish to escape to a more peaceful surrounding where you can soak in the beauty and marvel at a large variety of tropical birds under the same roof.

Did I mention that admission is free when I visited the bird park?

It is not advisable to feed the birds in the aviary, unless you want the birds to swarm you and start pecking at places where you don't want to be pecked.

One of the most interesting aspects of the park is that there are no bird handlers to be seen in any of the enclosures. This is a boon or a bane, depending on how you look at it.

It's a boon as we can observe the birds without any handlers looking over our shoulders. We can be up close and personal with the birds and observe the magnificent creatures which can only be found deep in the rainforests of Borneo.

The disadvantage that I could think of is that the birds can be a tad frightening, especially the big ones.

This is especially so when the birds decide to turn the tables and observe you up close and personal. They can swoop down very close to your head. At this point, kissing the ground seems to be a better alternative than having the birds peck your eyes out!

Labuan Bird Park is home to many bird species only likely to be encountered deep in the forests of Borneo. But there are plans to collect a good percentage of the 580 species of birds found in Borneo's diverse habitats, from mangroves along the coasts to forests in the mountains in order to increase the number of residents at this bird park.

Unlike bird-watching in the wild, here at the bird park, nature lovers do bird-watching without the arduous treks in the jungle or any need to tow expensive equipment.

Each of the domes is connected by a series of covered walkway.

The walkways are also filled with birds. Walking around in the domes gives a sense of freedom as you walk among the birds.

The bird park is cosy and not as big as some of the other bird parks in the region. But it is worth spending an hour or two in the aviary to view some of the unique bird species of Borneo.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Friday, April 27, 2007

Firefly Rural Air Services To Start 'As Soon As Possible'

KUCHING -- The federal government has given an assurance that Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) no-frills carrier, Firefly, will start its rural air services (RAS) operations in Sarawak and Sabah "as soon as possible'.

Sarawak's Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said this was conveyed to him by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy recently.

Wong, however, said the exact time frame has not been decided yet.

Continue reading at: Firefly Rural Air Services To Start 'As Soon As Possible'

Sarawak's longhouses - safe and healthy hospitality

HEALTH Tourism involves people travelling to an appealing holiday destination and getting some medical attention while they’re there. This concept includes spartan detox regimes, high-altitude resorts, mineral springs, thermal spas with hot mud packs thrown in. It includes surgery like ‘nose jobs’ or more serious procedures, even fertility treatments.

And then there’s Healthy Tourism.

On a recent trip up the Lemanak River in the Sri Aman Division, a group of German tourists settled down for the night in a hospitable Sarawak longhouse.

Dinner was followed by a bit of gong music and dancing and visitors were invited to join the fun. Eventually, they decided to seek the shelter of their mosquito nets, tired out by an eventful day, a wealth of new impressions and experiences, and maybe a glass or two of tuak rice wine.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sarawak's longhouses - safe and healthy hospitality

Mukah all set for Kaul Festival

MUKAH: Seventy-two participants took part in the Kaul Idol 2007 which kicked off yesterday morning.

Jointly organised by Dewan Suarah Mesra Mukah and Information office, the programme was the first event to be staged at the kaul site, Taman Kala Dana Mukah, this year.

It was held in conjunction with 2007 Mukah Kaul Festival with the highlight events from April 27 to 29.

The launching ceremony of the colourful traditional event is expected to be officiated by the Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, on April 28.

Continue reading at: Mukah all set for Kaul Festival

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mulling direct flights Perth-Kota Kinabalu

SANDAKAN: The Western Australian government will try to encourage airline operators to establish direct air link from Perth to Kota Kinabalu.

Its premier, Alan J. Carpenter told reporters after witnessing the Anzac Day gathering at the memorial site at Taman Rimba near here yesterday that presently, there are no direct flights from Perth to the State capital.

“More people will come here for holidays, tourism and also explore business opportunities (once the direct links are established),” he said.

Continue reading at: Mulling direct flights Perth-Kota Kinabalu

Sabah and Sarawak rural air services back to MAS

PUTRAJAYA: It has come a full circle – the rural air services will be taken from Fly Asian Xpress(FAX) and handed back to Malaysia Airlines(MAS).

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, who announced this Cabinet decision yesterday, gave assurances that it would not affect MAS’ turnaround plan.

“We have gone through the proposal and recommended to the Cabinet that MAS via its subsidiary Firefly be appointed to take over the rural air services.

“We also agreed that the provision of such services is the Government’s responsibility and a type of social service so we will continue subsidising the cost of running these operations, which amount to RM60mil per year, to maintain the low-fare structure.

“Officers from both my ministry and the Finance Ministry will go through all the details of the subsidy,” Chan told reporters at his office.

It has been less than a year since MAS handed over the rural air services to AirAsia, which then subcontracted them to FAX.

Continue reading at: Sabah and Sarawak rural air services back to MAS

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sabah's Lost World Pledge

TAWAU: The Maliau Basin will remain intact because of its pristine nature and high conservation value.

It is to remain untouched by any form of development that could compromise its environment.

“The state government’s stand is firm on this matter,” Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman told reporters after opening the Shell Maliau Basin Reception and Information Centre yesterday.

As such, he said the state government welcomed the collaboration between Shell and Yayasan Sabah to establish the centre.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Sabah's Lost World Pledge

Sabah Fest with a difference

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Fest two-day affair at the Magellan Sutera on May 3 and 4 promises to be different this year by featuring a series of traditional dances and musical performance exhibited for the first time at the festival.

The highlights are dances by the Bangi islanders known as Tamadak, another by the Lundayehs, the Arang Tawak and Suaan by the Dumpas from Beluran, the Rungus Mongingivit ritual and a gambus orchestra performance.

There will also be a handicraft exhibition when visitors can watch how items like the Serdang baskets from Kota Belud are made as well as the popular beadwork of the Rungus, swords from Kg Siasai in Kota Belud, lepa-lepa boats from Semporna and wood carvings from Ranau.

Continue reading at: Sabah Fest with a difference

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sabah To Promote Maliau Basin As Malaysia's Third World Heritage Site

KALABAKAN (Tawau) -- The Sabah government is promoting the Maliau Basin Conservation Area as the third world heritage site in Malaysia, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said Tuesday.

He said the process of acquiring the status from Unesco was being worked out by the departments and agencies at the various levels.

"This would help in promoting concrete international support and partnership for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and its ecosystems, as well as on the initiatives for a balanced and sustainable development of national and regional ecological networks and corridors," he said.

It certainly augurs well for Sabah where its ecotourism industry is promoted internationally as a tropical destination icon and second-home programme, he added.

Continue reading at: Sabah To Promote Maliau Basin As Malaysia's Third World Heritage Site

Sarawak welcomes FAX's proposal to take over rural air services

MIRI - The handing over of Sarawak's rural air services to Firefly, a subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines, from Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) is a welcoming move, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan.

"However, FAX must do it properly. I hope that they won't waste any time," he said about FAX's proposal to the government on the handing over of the operation.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Sarawak welcomes FAX's proposal to take over rural air services

Sumatran rhino on video

Kota Kinabalu: A video camera trap placed inside the forest somewhere in Sabah has captured rare footage of the elusive Sumatran rhinoceros.

The two-minute video - showing the animal eating, walking to the camera and sniffing the equipment - is the first footage of behaviour in the wild of one of the world's rarest rhinos.

Scientists estimate there are only between 25 and 50 rhinos left on the island of Borneo, according to WWF-Malaysia and the State Wildlife Department here Monday.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Sumatran rhino on video

Sabah to identify more diving sites

PULAU SIPADAN: There is a need to identify more diving sites as only 120 visitors are allowed in a day at the internationally-renowned Pulau Sipadan.

Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Donald Lim said there was a need to explore more sites which could match Sipadan to promote Sabah as a diving paradise.

He said there were 48 other islands off Semporna, from which other proper diving sites could be discovered.

“We need more divers to visit this part of the country. We cannot promote Sabah as a world diving site if there is only one island with a restricted number of visitors,” he said during his visit here on Friday.

Continue reading at: Sabah to identify more diving sites

Sarawak's strength is in eco-tourism

KAPIT: Among Sarawak's greatest assets are its many rivers and lush forest in addition to its people.

"These give the state the strength to boost its eco-tourism industry," said Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.

The best way to discover what Sarawak's has to offer through eco-tourism is for one to participate in events such as the Baleh Kapit Raft Safari which provides an opportunity for the participants to get in touch with nature through activities like river adventure and a visit to the longhouse to experience the way of life of the people living there.

James said this while officiating at the closing and prize giving ceremony of the Baleh Kapit Raft Safari 2007 held at the civic centre here recently.

Continue reading at: Sarawak's strength is in eco-tourism

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bent on Bento at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu Hotel

Few places in Kota Kinabalu are truly worthy of calling themselves Japanese restaurants, but the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu’s Nagisa is certainly the genuine article.

Known for its high tea promotions in conjunction with the Tanjung Ria Café and its Sunday buffets, Nagisa is one of the best places to come to for great beef teppanyaki and tempura.

The restaurant spices up its selection this month by introducing a few new items to its already well-rounded Bento menu.

Bento basically involves lacquered wooden boxes that hold complete meals in their compartments, much like a sophisticated Japanese lunchbox.

Nagisa offers an excellent variety of bento sets that combine meat, fish and vegetable dishes in convenient and filling portions, all served with white rice, miso soup and chawan mushi (a silky soft bean curd which contains seafood).

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Bent on Bento at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu Hotel

Sunday, April 22, 2007

On the ferry to Labuan island

By Mohammad Abdullah

Travelling to the island of Labuan is made maybe once a year due to the hassle of boarding the stuffy, and often cramped ferries.

However, there are bigger and more comfortable boats, where even the motion of the sea is hardly noticeable, during the 45-minute- to one-hour journey from the Serasa terminal in Muara. Labuan is about eight kms off the Sabah coast, at the mouth of the Brunei Bay.

Ninety two-square kilometre Labuan has one main and six smaller islands centrally located in the middle of the Asia-Pacific region. Its inhabitants are very cosmopolitan. They come from all walks of life and from various regions around the world, and create a diverse and stimulating society.

Buses and taxis are readily available in Labuan to take you anywhere around the island. It is, however, important to note that their fares are fixed. Car rental is also available for those who wish to travel on their own.

Labuan is best known as an offshore financial centre and a tourist destination for Bruneians and scuba divers.

The An'Nur Jamek Mosque, built at a cost of US$11 million, is the pride of the Labuan's Muslim community. Its futuristic architecture symbolises the progressive spirit of the people and island of Labuan.

The War Memorial, a beautifully landscaped cemetery, the War Memorial is located at Tanjung Purun on the outskirts of Labuan town (formerly Victoria Town). The memorial is the final resting place of fallen Allied soldiers. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Commission, it is a poignant memorial to the 4,000 Australian, New Zealand, and British Allied servicemen who had lost their lives during the World War II. A section is also dedicated to the Indian Soldiers of the Punjab Regiment. Many visitors, especially those from Australia, often return annually to pay their respects to lost friends and relatives.

At the Labuan Bird Park is where exotic as well as local birds are kept. The park is open to the public and admission is free.

Once a part of the Sultanate of Brunei, Labuan was ceded to the British in 1846. It remained under the British rule for 115 years except for the three years when it was under the Japanese occupation. With the increasing change in colonisation, Labuan was ceded to the state of Sabah in 1963. Subsequently, its administration was handed to the Federal Government of Malaysia in 1984.

Recognising Labuan's strategic location and proximity to major shipping routes and offshore oil and gas fields, the Federal Government launched a long-term development programme to jump-start its stagnating economy and to encourage the influx of both domestic and foreign investments.

As Malaysia's only deepwater anchorage, Labuan is a free port, a Federal Territory, and an International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC).

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

MAS to launch Miri-Hong Kong flight via Kota Kinabalu

MIRI: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will launch a four times a week service from here to Hong Kong with transit at Kota Kinabalu from May 3.

The flights are scheduled on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Lee Kim Shin said the service would help boost the tourism industry in this Resort City.

He urged the local tourism players especially tour agencies to form a Miri Travel Consortium specifically for ticket booking.

"It is time for the travel agencies to work closely together to map out an effective strategy to develop the international route granted to us," he told reporters after a meeting to discuss MAS Golden Holidays packages with a team from the airline at the Miri Marriott Resort and Spa yesterday.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: MAS to launch Miri-Hong Kong flight via Kota Kinabalu

RM30K to boost local culture and heritage

SEMPORNA: Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim has announced the allocation of RM30,000 to each parliamentary constituency in the country for the promotion of local culture and heritage.

Speaking at the launch of the ‘Merakyatkan Seni Budaya’ programme organised by his ministry at Anjung Lepa near here yesterday, Rais said it is up to the MPs what to include in the programme as long as it promotes the local culture of their constituency.

“With this allocation, we can at least preserve our cultural heritage and show to the world that we are still rich in high cultural values,” he said.

Rais also urged for greater efforts at unearthing and cultivating new talents in the various arts, saying they are creative endeavours that could indirectly promote the local as well as national economy.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: RM30K to boost local culture and heritage

RM91.4m for 21 tourism projects in Sabah

Penampang: The Tourism Ministry has allocated some RM91.4million under the Ninth Malaysia Plan for the implementation of 21 projects in Sabah, mostly for improving the facilities at various tourism destinations.

Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said among the biggest projects would be upgrading tourism facilities at Kinabalu Park and Mount Kinabalu.

The rest are rehabilitation of the Tanjung Aru water village, construction of Seri Malaysia in Semporna, upgrading of infrastructures in Tenom, upgrading of facilities at the Tip of Borneo in Kudat, as well as tourism developments in Keningau, Lahad Datu, Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre and Turtle Island Park in Sandakan.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: RM91.4m for 21 tourism projects in Sabah

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Little-known Sarawak community

VERY few Sarawakians know or have heard of the Berawan community, which is one of the smallest ethnic groups in the state.

With a population of barely some 750, the Berawans are found in two settlements in Marudi district in the northern region.

They are from the 61-door Kajan Sigeh longhouse in Long Teru and the 20-door Meran longhouse in Kampung Loagan Benut.

The Berawans, according to the Sarawak Forestry, are the only natives given privileges inside the Loagan Benut National Park to fish, collect forest produce and cultivate their native customary rights (NCR) land.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Little-known Sarawak community

Kaamatan in Sabah - Time for thanksgiving again

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is set to embark on a month-long celebration with the launching of the statewide Kaamatan or Harvest Festival in May.

The festival for the thanksgiving of a bountiful rice harvest is to be launched by Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman in the interior Ranau district at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu on May 1.

The festivities will get underway with the magavau or thanksgiving ceremony conducted by the bobohizan or the traditional Kadazandusun priests or priestesses.

This is to be followed by a series of traditional dances such as the sumazau of the Kadazandusun, mongigol of the Rungus and igal igal of the Bajau and Suluks, showcasing Sabah’s diverse ethnic communities.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Kaamatan in Sabah - Time for thanksgiving again

Grandest Kaul festival ever in Mukah, Sarawak

MUKAH: This year’s Mukah Kaul Festival, tipped to be the biggest and grandest ever to be held in the division, is expected to attract more than 25 thousand people from all walks of life.

The event which is considered as the best venue to showcase the richness of the Melanau ethnic culture and heritage, is scheduled to fall in the month of April every year.

For this year which is also the Visit Malaysia Year and April as Visit Mukah Month, as usual the colourful event will kick-off with the 2007 Fishing Safari, on April 21 to 22.

And the main event or the highlight of the festival that features various economic, social and sports activities, will be staged at Taman Kala Dana Mukah from April 27 to 29.

The Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, is expected to officiate at the launching ceremony on April 28.

Kaul is a traditional festival celebrated by the Melanaus living along the coast of Sarawak.

Continue reading at: Grandest Kaul festival ever in Mukah, Sarawak

Friday, April 20, 2007

Single rural airlines

SEPANG: Fly Asian Xpress Sdn Bhd (FAX) has presented its case to the Government that there should only be one domestic carrier for rural air services.

FAX submitted a proposal on Tuesday, urging the Transport Ministry to have just one turbo-prop operator in the country, instead of two now, said chief executive officer Raja Mohd Azmi Raja Razali.

“The proposal is based on (FAX director) Datuk Tony Fernandes' justification on having one player (to offer rural flight service),'' he told reporters yesterday. “I believe the ministry will get back to us before long.”

Fernandes had commented earlier that he was ready to hand back the rural air service (RAS) in Sabah and Sarawak, currently operated by FAX, to Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Single rural airlines

World Harvest Festival to have international flavour

KUCHING: Cultural troupes from several countries will provide an international flavour to the annual World Harvest Festival at Sarawak Cultural Village near here next month.

The Village’s general manager Jane Lian Labang said the troupes were from Ghana, Greece andLithuania.

She said audiences could expect to be thrilled by their music, dances and cultural performances.

The festival, a major event on the Sarawak tourism calendar, will also feature cultural troupes from the Dayak community.

Formerly known as Gawai Tourism Night, the festival on May 26 and 27 is jointly organised by the state Urban Development and Tourism Ministry and Sarawak Cultural Village.

Continue reading at: World Harvest Festival to have international flavour

Kuching City Day Street Parade open for entry

KUCHING: Entries for the Kuching City Day Street Parade 2007 themed 'Cheerful and Cultural Garden City' are now open to those interested in taking part in the event on Aug 4.

The Kuching City festival jointly organised by Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and Kuching City South Council (MBKS) will line up a series of exciting and fun-filled activities in the month August, with the street parade being the main highlight.

This year's street parade will unveil a different concept than those in the previous years. There will be a pocket show in front of the Hilton hotel here before a finale of the show by all participants of the parade at Padang Merdeka.

The parade which will be based on a competition concept is divided into three categories namely the ethnic creative, fancy costume and unique troupe with a minimum of 40 and no more than 100 members in each contingent.

Continue reading at: Kuching City Day Street Parade open for entry

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Special ‘Malaysia Pass’ programme for Korean golfers

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism Ministry has introduced the “Malaysia Pass” programme for South Korean golfers designed to provide them with access to 30 golf courses and 15 resorts in Malaysia.

The golf courses are in Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Johor Baharu, Melaka and Penang, its Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor said in a statement issued to Bernama here yesterday.

The minister is on a working visit to South Korea and Japan to promote Malaysia as a tourist destination.

Tengku Adnan said the Malaysia Pass programme was flexible and could be tailor-made to include Korean-speaking guides and optional holiday destinations such as Langkawi, Pangkor, Terengganu, and Tioman.

He said Malaysia has more than 200 golf courses and those in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu were popular with South Korean golfers.

Continue reading at: Special ‘Malaysia Pass’ programme for Korean golfers

Sarawak Tourism Board on ground visit ahead of Pesta Kaul in Mukah

SIBU: The Sarawak Tourism Board’s Regional Office here made a brief inspection of Kingwood Resort and Lamin Dana Boutique Lodge as part of the preparations for hosting a familiarisation visit on April 27 and 28.

According to STB regional executive, Eddy Puah, STB chief executive officer Gracie Geikie will lead a group comprising a journalist from KL, a leading tour operator from Penang and local tour operators, in the familiarisation visit here.

“We were in Mukah for a conference and took the opportunity to visit the two properties besides calling on those related to the tourism industry,” Puah said of the Monday trip.

He explained that the forthcoming familiarisation visit was organised for tour operators who were keen to sell Mukah, especially the Pesta Kaul.

Continue reading at: Sarawak Tourism Board on ground visit ahead of Pesta Kaul in Mukah

Shrimp bank in Bako village

Kampung Bako is nothing new to tourists, locals and foreigners alike as the village is the gateway to Taman Negara Bako, South-East Asia’s smallest national park in Sarawak.

Known for its belacan (shrimp paste), not many outsiders exactly know what the Bako villagers do for their daily subsistence, apart from depending on the catch from the river and agricultural produce from their small orchards.

“What is that? Is it a remnant of a broken down bridge or a water supply pipe to Kampung Bako,” this writer posed a query while pointing towards a post located right in the middle of the river to Azizi Abu Kassim, the operator of a boat that takes tourists to Bako National Park.

The reply from the smiling 30-year-old boatman was: “That is Kampung Bako’s bank, the villager’s source of livelihood.”

Azizi’s reply drew frowns and raised eyebrows from the writer.

How the villagers earn a living from the nibong (bamboo) structure to the extent that the post is dubbed as a “bank” by the villagers.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Shrimp bank in Bako village

Miri to entertain jazz lovers

By Achong Tanjong

Jazz music lovers are welcome to Miri to attend the Miri International Jazz Festival 2007 held in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007 and the country's 50th national day celebrations.

The festival will be held on May 11 and 12 at the Pavilion of Park City Everly Hotel.

The promotion and selling of tickets will be held in Brunei three weeks before the festival, said the event organiser in a recent report.

In this year's event, the organiser hopes to attract 4,000 jazz enthusiasts to attend the festival on both nights.

Tickets are on sale at the Visitor's Information Centre and also online at

Promotional road shows were already held in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Berlin. More road shows will be held in major shopping complexes in Miri and Kuching two weeks prior to the event.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mystical Sabah

The following is a recent article from the Brisbane Times, about Sabah, Malaysia Borneo, that you may find interesting (plus a great pic):

Last year, nearly 20,000 Australians developed a crush on the mystical island of Borneo, an increase of almost 14 per cent over 2005 and the best signal that its popularity is growing.

For some, a visit is about gazing deep into the eyes of an orang-utan, one of our nearest primate relatives, while others plunge in headfirst to sample some of the world's best diving and snorkelling spots.

Sabah is renowned for the earthly delights of its rich rainforests and deep, impenetrable jungles, and the 1600 kilometres of coast framing the territorial waters of the South China, Sulu and Sulawesi seas make it Borneo's premier adventure diving destination.

Located at the point where the two great land masses of Australia and Asia separated millenniums ago, Borneo is the world's third largest island, with spectacular biodiversity.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mystical Sabah

Experience The Splendour of Regatta Lepa in Semporna

Anyone visiting Sabah this weekend would do wise to include going to Semporna in the itinerary.

The Bajau community will be holding their Regatta Lepa XIV, an annual celebration that showcases their sea faring heritage and skill at making traditional wooden boats called Lepa, that is unique to these sea gypsies of Sabah.

Inaugurated in 1994 to commemorate the Bajau’s tradition of building these splendid vessels, the 3-day celebration beginning April 20 will be officiated by Sabah's Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah.

Continue reading at: Experience The Splendour of Regatta Lepa in Semporna

Re-enactment of legendary hero, one of the highlights for World Harvest Festival

KUCHING: The re-enactment of a Kayan legendary hero, 'Belawan Bureing – Hercules of the Keliman River', will be one of the main highlights for this year’s World Harvest Festival (WHF) at the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) on May 26.

Previously known as Gawai Tourism Night (GTN) from 1996 to 2004, the last WHF has since featured ethnic festival themes of the Bidayuh (2005) and Iban (2006) communities, and this year, the Orang Ulu community will take their turns to be highlighted in the annual Gawai celebration.

According to the Assistant Festival Director of WHF 2007, Zaini Zainudin, those who attend this year's WHF will be able to catch the play which will recount the tales of the Orang Ulu legend while enjoying the harvest festival.

“The highlight of this theme play is the fact that it will be performed by the talented SCV artistes amidst the natural surroundings with a real lake and forest accompanied by authentic longhouses which provides the perfect substance that will make the re-enactment of the Kayan legend 'Belawan Bureing' unique,” he said at the handing over of sponsorship by Hollywood Bridal here yesterday.

Continue reading at: Re-enactment of legendary hero, one of the highlights for World Harvest Festival

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Firefly to take over rural air services operation from FAX

By George Francis

MIRI - Rural air travellers and tourism players are thrilled with the news that Firefly, a subsidiary low-cost carrier of Malaysian Airlines, might take over Sarawak's rural air services operation from Fly Asian Xpress (FAX).

Lee Kim Shin, a member of Sarawak Tourism Board welcomed the good news if it would really materialise to help resolve the prevailing FAX's flight woes which has damaged the State's tourism industry.

FAX director Datuk Tony Fernandes reportedly made a proposal to Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy for the newly launched Firefly to take over the operation.

According to Lee, he had also contacted CEO of MAS, Idris Jala, who is on holiday in Perth about Fernandes' proposal. According to Idris in his reply, the MAS team would look into details of the "dramatic" offer.

Fernandes cited that it was too distracting for FAX to service the rural aircraft as it would be launching the long-haul AirAsia X operation.

FAX took over the rural service from MAS under the national air route rationalisation exercise since last August.

The subsidised airline has been at the receiving end of a litany of complaints from rural dwellers and tourism players.

FAX, a company that shares common directors with AirAsia, has since failed to resolve its commitment to improve services and shortcomings, disrupting settled routines and tourism businesses' bottom-lines.

Domestic travellers were fed up with insufficient flights, flight cancellations and delays or rescheduling of flights.

FAX-AirAsia's non-interlining connectivity with other airlines also shunned foreign tourists to Sarawak, especially to the world heritage site - the Mulu Caves - which depends on air accessibility.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Monday, April 16, 2007

Flight problems cause tourism revenue losses to Sarawak

MIRI: World heritage site Mulu National ParkSarawak tourism’s crown-jewel – has lost six months’ worth of tourism business from overseas , especially from Europe.

The cost to the state is estimated to be a few million ringgit.

Latest information gathered by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) showed that the Mulu National Park had been excluded from tour packages offered by tour agents throughout Europe for the past six months because of difficulties in securing confirmed flight seats.

STB Chief Executive Officer Gracie Geikie said on Monday that this news was very disheartening because the Federal and state government had spent huge amounts of time and money promoting Mulu all over the world.

Continue reading at: Flight problems cause tourism revenue losses to Sarawak

US group offers orang utan aid to Sabah

SANDAKAN: The Sabah Forestry Department received a RM700,000 (US$200,000) contribution from Arcus Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in the United States, to rehabilitate damaged areas of the Ulu Segama Forest Reserve in Lahad Datu.

Its director Datuk Sam Manan received the contribution from Arcus Foundation’s representative in Malaysia Cynthia Ong here recently.

Manan said the money would be used to plant new trees in the forest reserve, parts of which had been encroached and stripped of vegetation for agriculture.

The 25,000ha Ulu Segama Forest Reserve is known among wildlife experts as an important habitat for orang utan.

It is believed that there are some 3,000 orang utan in the forest reserve which borders the Lembah Danum forest rehabilitation area.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: US group offers orang utan aid to Sabah

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sarawak keen to have park guide training, licensing system

MULU: The State Government is committed to develop its park guide training and licensing system accordingly to world standard in effort to position Sarawak among the best eco-tourism destination on the world map of nature-based tourism industry.

To make this aspiration a reality, Chief Minister Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud stressed the need for Sarawak to have more professionals and certified park guides in the national park ornature reserve guiding services.

Speaking at Park Guide Training and Licensing System for Sarawak National Parks and Nature Reserves at Gunung Mulu National Park yesterday, Taib pointed out that totally protected areas were managed not only for the preservation of biodiversity but also for recreational use.

In fact, Sarawak's thrust on eco-tourism was also in line with the global trend towards nature-based tourism as opposed to mainstream mass tourism.

Continue reading at: State keen to have park guide training, licensing system

Sarawak can’t wait for FireFly

MIRI: The Sarawak Government will welcome FireFly with open arms. It hopes the low-cost national carrier would accept Fly Asian Xpress’ (FAX) offer to hand over the rural air service as soon as possible.

State Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications, Lee Kim Shin said the government was desperate to restore normalcy to the rural air service, particularly routes to Mulu National Park, Sarawak’s tourism crown jewel.

“As a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, FireFly can ensure better connectivity between cities and towns and rural destinations.

Continue reading at: Sarawak can’t wait for FireFly

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lambir Hills National Park - National Park for all walks of life

By Headturners

Lambir Hills National Park, at 462 metres above sea level, is approximately 30 kilometres from Miri City, Sarawak.

Its major attraction is the interesting selection of forest walks, from a gentle 15-minute stroll to an arduous all-day jungle trek. Most of Lambir's trails are interlinked, so it is very easy to cover quite a few of them in a day.

Lambir Hills National Park is perhaps the world's most complex and diverse forest eco-system. As if all the abundant nature isn't enough, Lambir's unusual geology has created dozens of sparkling waterfalls and bathing pools scattered across the rainforest.

Take into account how compact and conveniently located Lambir is, and you have one of the most accessible and enjoyable national parks in all of Malaysia.

Lambir's 6,952-hectare sandstone hills have created some very rugged forest terrains, rising over 450 metres in places, and covered with lowland dipterocarp and healthy forests.

The unique topography and environment have made Lambir a major centre for rainforest research, with scientists from Japanese and American universities permanently stationed at the park.

It has also made Lambir a major resource for Malaysia's environmental education programme, and weekend visitors will often bump into groups of trainee teachers or high school students studying the forest floor or the rainforest canopy.

On March 3, 12 staff members from BSP WEST AU took time off to hike to the summit of Lambir Hills, which is about 6.3 kilometres from the park's headquarters.

The time it takes to reach the summit depends on weather conditions and individual fitness level. They are conservative estimates, with experienced hikers completing the trails far quicker.

We started the hike at 9 am and the first group reached the summit at around 11.45 am, while the second group 30 minutes later.

Along the trails, we passed by several rivers with waterfalls; some trees were marked up for easy navigation. About 400 metres before the summit is where the real challenge is, where the trails are almost perpendicular to the ground. We had to clamber up, finding footholds on tree roots and grasping a rope for a firm hold.

From the summit, we can see a part of Miri City and South China Sea. We stayed for 30 minutes before heading back to the starting point.

After collecting our certificates, we made our way to Miri City to have a meal. And by 6 pm, we arrived back in Brunei with a great experience and smiles of satisfaction.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Deep sea fishing sport ideal for Miri

By Norni Mahadi

MIRI: The first ever Miri International Deep Sea Fishing Tournament organised in the Resort City mark another effort to promote Miri as one of the favorable spots for deep sea fishing in the world map.

Pujut assemblyman Andy Chia is optimistic such event will add another great tourism value to Miri City.

"I would like to convey my congratulations to the organiser for holding this meaningful event. This event has come at the right time while we are now promoting the Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007 campaign," he stated in his address when officiating at the welcoming dinner for Miri International Deep Sea Fishing Tournament cum 10 th Anniversary of Miri Anglers Club (MAC) at Boulevard Restaurant yesterday.

Continue reading at: Deep sea fishing sport ideal for Miri

FAX to increase LD-KK flights

Lahad Datu: Fly Asian Express (FAX) will increase its flights between Kota Kinabalu (KK) and here to four times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday compared to three at present, starting on May 1.

FAX would also enhance its quality of service, particularly on its flight schedule where the last flight from Lahad Datu to KK would start at 5pm, in contrast to 4.30pm previously.

The announcement was made by FAX representatives, Marketing and Distribution Customer Manager Kaarthik Velu and Senior Marketing Manager Shaku Kandar, during a meeting on flight route in Lahad Datu at the Malaysia Airport Berhad (MAB) office, here, Friday.

Continue reading at: FAX to increase LD-KK flights

Friday, April 13, 2007

MAS price structure to enable Malaysians to fly

Kota Kinabalu: Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has a different ticket price structure to enable Malaysians to visit interesting places in the country.

He said there are six different ticket prices for the economy class, including two online ticket prices, under the price structure offered by MAS.

"MAS fliers can now purchase cheaper economy class tickets compared to previously," he said when replying to a question from Kota Kinabalu MP Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai in Parliament, Thursday.

He said the national carrier is also offering promotional fares, such as group fare, senior citizen fare and student fare, apart from the promotional fare to certain destinations during certain seasons.

Dr Yee had asked the Minister of Transport what steps had been taken to reduce the fares between the peninsula and East Malaysia so that those in the middle and low-income group could travel within the country that could enhance integration among the people.

Douglas said AirAsia had also increased the frequency of flights between the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak from 332 flights to 469 flights a week.

Continue reading at: MAS price structure to enable Malaysians to fly

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Sarawak Cultural Tour: Living with headhunters

Below is a recent article from AdelaideNow about a visit to a longhouse in Sarawak, which we think you will find pretty interesting, especially if you are thinking of a cultural tour:

MIKE SMITH ventures into the Borneo jungle to visit some charming folk with a gruesome past.

He's a short, wiry man, aged somewhere in his late 80s. But to his peers, the 120 Dayaks who share his longhouse in the remote jungles of Borneo, his powers far outmuscle his ageing body. As a witchdoctor in the backwaters of Sarawak, "doctor" Unding is highly regarded in village society.

While modern medicine has its place in fighting malaria and other life-threatening diseases, the people continue to respect Unding's spiritual healing powers.

The witchdoctor's longhouse, Serubah, is tucked away in a tranquil corner of forest about 250km northeast of the bustling Sarawak capital of Kuching.

Tattooed across Unding's shoulders, neck, back and arms are figures that speak of bravery; the story of a gruesome past when, as a young warrior, the witchdoctor would return home with the severed heads of his enemies. "If there were no heads, there'd be no honey," is the view of one elderly villager.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sarawak Cultural Tour: Living with headhunters

Mahua waterfall in Tambunan awes visitors

TAMBUNAN: Most foreign visitors to the Mahua Waterfall, about 26km from Tambunan town, are amazed by the beauty of the natural wonder.

They describe the waterfall in superlatives, but have also suggested that the relevant authorities provide facilities like hostels and improve the road leading to the waterfall for the convenience of visitors.

“Nice display, refreshing waterfall,” wrote Jurg Meger from Germany. “Looks great,” scribbled another tourist, Marina Schmits from Holland.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Mahua waterfall in Tambunan awes visitors

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Malaysia Promotes VMY 2007 To US Businessmen

MIAMI (US) -- International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz today took to the task of promoting Malaysia as tourist destination to US businessmen in conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

"I am doing this on behalf of the Tourism Minister (Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor). Where else can you find a top five-star hotel that offers its rooms for only US$100 a night?" she said at a seminar on "Business Opportunities in Malaysia" here.

The minister is leading a nine-day trade and investment mission to the United States from April 8. Miami, Florida, marked the first stop before Minneapolis in Minnesota and San Jose in California.

Rafidah told the seminar participants that Malaysia is well known for eco-tourism, jungle trekking, diving sites and sanctuaries.

Two of the country's tourist spots are also listed under Unesco's World Heritage sites, namely the Kinabalu Park in Sabah and Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak.

Continue reading at: Malaysia Promotes VMY 2007 To US Businessmen

“Romancing Sarawak” tourists thank Sibu folks

SIBU : “We want to come back soon and bring our family members and friends to visit this wonderful town again!”

That was the general comment from all the 87 tourists who were here for the three-day two-night “Romancing Sarawak” tour programme organized by Unicatay and Anda Travel & Tours, with the guidance of the Ministry of Urban Development & Tourism and the Sarawak Tourism Board.

With beaming smiles and hearty handshakes, all the tourists and 12 officials from the two tour companies handling the package heaped praises on Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, the Minister for Finance (II) and Minister for Urban Development & Tourism, SMC Chairman and Lanang MP Datuk Tiong Thai King and RPA Chairman and Pelawan Assemblyman Vincent Goh Chung Siong for officiating at the various events during their visit.

“We were really overwhelmed by the hospitality and the congeniality of your Sibu leaders, all of whom struck us as being extremely down-to-earth and genuinely friendly and casual,” one of the tourists Francis Lee said.

He added that this was his first experience with Sarawak politicians and he has nothing but praises for them for the way they socialized and attended to the tourists.

“It’s nothing short of amazing how fortunate the people here are to have leaders who are so accessible and committed towards the development of the town and especially the tourism industry,” he added.

Continue reading at: “Romancing Sarawak” tourists thank Sibu folks

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Promoting tourism in Sibu, Sarawak

SIBU: Local tour operators here must have gotten the big picture of what they can do to package and market tourism products in the central region of Sarawak after witnessing three bus load of ‘second honeymoon’ tourists.

The package, now known as ‘Romancing Sarawak’, has been a combined work of Johor-based Anda Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd and Kuching-based Unicatay Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd.

The idea, apparently fresh here, has been well publicised in the local print media.

In its bid to promote Sibu as one of the best destinations for such packages, the two private tour agencies had worked with the state Tourism Ministry and Sarawak Tourism Board.

Continue reading at: Promoting tourism in Sibu, Sarawak

Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2007 To Lure 30 Teams

MIRI -- The Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2007 (BIYC) scheduled for September, which will have as its highlight a 100-nautical mile passage race from Labuan to here, is expected to attract 30 sailing teams.

Organising joint chairman Lee Kim Shin said Tuesday 21 teams had so far confirmed their participation in the event, which will take place from Sept 1 to 8.

Nineteen of the teams are international participants, among them eight boats from Australia, three from the United Kingdom and two each from New Zealand and Canada, he added.

"We are expecting a few more to take part, particularly from the Asian region, as we have already extended our invitation to sailing teams in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong as well," he said.

Continue reading at: Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2007 To Lure 30 Teams

Monday, April 09, 2007

Enjoy the sights and relish tastes of Brunei

By Amin Hosni

Tourists to Brunei should not only enjoy the sights but should also take away the tastes and aroma of the place. So said Brunei's tourism chief Sheikh Jamaluddin after declaring open the Yayasan Complex Food Festival 2007 yesterday.

The guest of honour said such a festival, which he fully supported, was a big step forward in promoting Brunei to visitors and an excellent example of local entrepreneurship.

He also thanked the Municipal Board and the Home Affairs Ministry in granting permission.

He said tourism has many faces and the local cuisine was one.

Amy Santos, Operations Manager, Archmedia Advertising, the organisers, said the support from the local food industry was most encouraging.

More than 30 vendors are participating, many selling fashion items. A large enthusiastic crowd attended the opening where prizes were also won.

The 10-day-event will include the Orphans' Day on April 15 when Music Expression students will perform for the delight of the shoppers.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Best of Sarawak: Bako National Park barren forest

THE heat is sweltering in Kampung Bako, the gateway to the Bako National Park at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula in Sarawak.

But it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m pleased that the clear sky will let me indulge in what I consider an adventure vacation of a lifetime.

I’d heard so much about Bako and I’d been looking forward to the trip. There was not enough time to explore all of the 2,727-hectare site so I am to concentrate on the Kerangas Forest.

“Kerangas Forest? What’s that?” I inquired when the suggestion was first made. Pictures of armies of red fire ants crawling all over came to mind as the name closely resembles kerengga, the Malay name for red ants.

To my relief, I learn that kerangas is an Iban word for “a place where paddy cannot grow” indicating its lack of soil fertility.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Best of Sarawak: Bako National Park barren forest

Saturday, April 07, 2007

77pc hotel occupancy in Sabah

Kota Kinabalu: Hotel operators in Sabah have praised efforts by the State Government and its agencies in promoting the State as an attractive tourist destination.

Their campaigns, locally and abroad, have greatly contributed to the high rate of hotel occupancy, Malaysian Association of Hotels (Sabah and Labuan Chapter) chairman Alex Chong says.

Hotel occupancy in Sabah last year was among the highest in the country at 77 per cent, he said.

"This, of course, didn't happen overnight. It was the outcome of hard work by the State Government and its agencies, especially the Sabah Tourism Board. I think they have put a lot of efforts in the past many years to promote Sabah domestically and abroad," he said.

He said local tourists, especially from the peninsula, also seemed to have preferred Sabah as their holiday destination now compared to previously.

Continue reading at: 77pc hotel occupancy in Sabah

Friday, April 06, 2007

MAS agrees to Miri-Guangzhou flight via Kota Kinabalu

MIRI: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has agreed to start a transit flight from here to Guangzhou and Hong Kong with a stop in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah after being unable to fulfil a request for direct flights between Miri and the two destinations in China.

State Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications Lee Kim Shin said at his recent meeting with MAS management, mobilisation problem was the reason given for the direct flight proposal to be turned down.

Speaking at a dialogue with tourism operators organised by Tourism Malaysia and the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) here, he said MAS' agreement to start the transit flight was a small breakthrough to bring more tourists here.

He added that MAS would be working on the details of the proposed flight and had yet to give the actual date for the flight commencement.

Continue reading at: MAS agrees to Miri-Guangzhou flight via Kota Kinabalu

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Brunei to partake in Bahrain Travel Fair

By Rosli Abidin Yahya

Travel and holiday related establishments in Brunei Darussalam will soon be promoting their products at the 3rd Bahrain International Travel Expo (BITE) 2007, which is scheduled to take place next month.

The event is organised by Magnum Exhibitions and Events Management (MEEM), under the patronage of Crown Prince and Bahrain Defence Force Commander-in-Chief Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

The three-day event from May 8 to May 10 at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre (BIEC) have seen confirmation of participation from travel and related industries in 38 countries.

One of the key highlights of the BITE 2007 will be the 'Study Abroad' segment, offering students from Bahrain and the region an opportunity to explore various career options for their future education.

Another highlight will be the publication of a 'BITE Daily Bulletin' through a special edition in association with TTN - Travel and Tourism News, the travel publication of the Al Hilal Group at the Expo.

This special publication is aimed at updating consumers on the various developments and activities as well as the latest offers.

BITE 2006 - which also saw the participation of travel and related agencies from Brunei last year - successfully witnessed a participation of 81 companies from 27 countries and a turn out of 16,800 visitors.

This year, BITE 2007 expects to draw a record of over 20,000 regional and global visitors from 38 countries.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Turtles land in Talang-Talang island, Sarawak

TALANG-TALANG ISLAND: As the sky darkens at dusk, dark shapes with flippers pushing hard, crawl and heave up the sandy beaches.

The turtles have landed. And the amphibians begin their search for spots to lay eggs on the beaches of Sarawak's “turtle islands” in the South China Sea.

The turtles have company, but they are in no danger at this particular time as warden Christopher Kri of the Talang-Satang National Park is strolling by.

The warden's adrenalin surges as he observes the gentle giants dragging themselves up along one of the beaches.

His passion burning for the need to conserve these endangered creatures, Kri and his two assistants are kept busy particularly in the nesting season of May-August.

This will be the time where the turtle hatchlings' survival rate plunges to a low.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Turtles land in Talang-Talang island, Sarawak

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sabah’s tourism potential ‘immense’

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s potential in optimising its tourism assets, is enormous in view of its competitive rates and unrivalled attractions, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat.

Kah Kiat who is the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister said competitors in the region such as China could offer advanced amenities for tourists but at a higher price.

“What Sabah can offer to tourists are as good as China, if not better, and all this at lower rates,” he said of his one-week visit to China recently at the ministry’s monthly gathering at the State Museum grounds yesterday.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sabah’s tourism potential ‘immense’

Tourist traffic to Sarawak drops last year

KUCHING: Sarawak recorded a 3% drop in tourist arrivals to 2.98 million last year due mainly to a shortfall of 90,000 tourists from the long-haul European markets.

Sarawak Tourism Board’s chief executrive officer Gracie Geikie said there were slightly more than two million international visitors last year.

The state received 3.02 million visitors in 2005, and has been recording a steady growth for several years.

She said the big drop in the number of European tourists was due to the domestic rationalisation exercise whereby Malaysia Airlines ceased its rural air services, with Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) becoming the new operator last August.

Continue reading at: Tourist traffic to Sarawak drops last year

Monday, April 02, 2007

Miri International Jazz Festival to jazz it up in May

By George Francis

MIRI - The Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF), which will be held on May 11 and 12, will be documented by Astro to be screened three months after the event.

Prior to that, Astro will be screening the blitz on its channels, namely Cable News Network, Discovery, Travel and Living, and Ria, including its radio channel, Light and Easy.

Malaysian radio channel, Traxx FM, will be doing a live telecast of the festival for its listeners, said Gracie Geikie, CEO of the Sarawak Tourism Board.

There will also be media coverage from Bangkok, Australia, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur, at the invitation of Tourism Malaysia.

Geikie expects at least 4,000 jazz enthusiasts from this region and overseas to converge for the two-day second musical extravaganza. The first edition was held last year.

Tickets for the festival are priced at RM$50 (per person per day) and RM$90 (per person for two days). Tickets are on sale at the Visitors' Information Centre in Miri, or can be bought online at

A total of eight international jazz bands from all four corners of the globe have confirmed their attendance at the festival, which will be staged at the Pavilion of Parkcity Everly Hotel here.

Meanwhile, several tour groups from Korea are expected to attend MIJF at night as part of a travel package with golf games during the day, with the inclusion of a trip to the World Heritage site, Mulu Caves.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Fuel cost cuts Korean flights for Miri International Jazz Festival

MIRI: The high cost of fuel may have scuttled plans to fly South Korean tourists directly to northern Sarawak on chartered flights for the International Jazz Festival next month, the Sarawak Tourism Board said.

Its chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said planning and negotiations between STB and tour operators to bring in tourists from Seoul directly to here and Mulu had come to a halt.

“The cost they will have to pay to fly via chartered flights is too high,” she said.

Geikie said it was not possible for STB to offer cheaper rates because of the high cost of aviation fuel.

The only way the tourists could come to Miri at a lower cost would be by using Malaysia Airlines from Seoul to Kota Kinabalu and then onward to Miri.

Continue reading at: Fuel cost cuts Korean flights for Miri International Jazz Festival