Thursday, May 31, 2007

Getting a feel of the traditional Sabah ways

KOTA KINABALU: For the first time in her life, Armiedde Leang Fei Yi experienced how farming families in Sabah use the traditional method of grinding padi to separate the chaff from the rice.

The 11-year-old from Negri Sembilan took turns with her siblings, Aaron, 15, Armienne, 13, and Arnold, seven, spinning the kisaran parai Dusun or padi grinder fashioned from a tree trunk cut in two with a hole in the middle.

The siblings and their mother Ng Siew Fong, 43, are on holiday in Sabah and they decided to visit the Hongkod Koisaan hall in Penampang here yesterday.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Getting a feel of the traditional Sabah ways

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tamparuli gets ready to draw more tourists

Tamparuli, a small village of several rows of wooden shops that has grown into a town of 37,000 people, is getting set to draw more tourists.

Plans are afoot to have more tourist attractions in Tamparuli, which has hitherto been known for its weekly market on Wednesdays and the famous “Jambatan Tamparuli” song, and has seen tourists visiting the World Heritage Site in the Kinabalu National Park in Kundasang.

Tamparuli State Assemblyman Jahid Jahim said the government proposed to develop several tourism products under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-2010), including building the “Rumah Kebudayaan Dusun” (Dusun Cultural Abode) and upgrading the Australian War Memorial Park, Bukit Ruhiang and Minangkob Waterfall sites.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Tamparuli gets ready to draw more tourists

Direct India-Sabah air links mulled

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism Board (STB) will encourage airline operators such as Malaysia Airlines and others to form direct airline linkages between India and Sabah.

Speaking to reporters yesterday STB chairman Tengku Datuk Seri Zainal Adlin said with a direct link more Indian travellers would be able to make their way to Sabah directly without having to fly to the national capital.

Presently, travellers from India would have to go on transit at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) before connecting through a flight to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA).

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Direct India-Sabah air links mulled

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kaamatan: Festivals within a festival

Penampang: Sabah had a Cultural Rendezvous 2007 for the first time yesterday (Sunday), uniquely featuring "Festivals within a Festival" as a prelude to the State-level Tadau Kaamatan (Harvest Festival) on May 30 and 31 at Hongkod Koisaan (KDCA Cultural Unity Centre).

Which meant that even if Malaysians in Sabah had missed district-level agro-based festivals such as the Rumbia Festival, Cabbage Festival, Bamboo Festival, Maize Festival, Ginger Festival and Coconut Festival, they had the opportunity to participate in some of these indigenous festivals at the cultural rendezvous.

The programme is an initiative of the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) under the leadership of Huguan Siou (Paramount Leader), Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

Pairin, who launched the event, also witnessed the Momulangga (cleansing ceremony) by Kota Belud's Tindals at the Walai Tindal, one of the 11 traditional houses found within the association's Cultural Complex.

Continue reading at: Kaamatan: Festivals within a festival

Crafts Exotica 2007: Sabah home to over 40 ethnic communities

MENTION Kadazandusun, Murut or Bajau and most people would think they are the only indigenous communities of Sabah.

In reality, there are more than 40 ethnic groups that make up the state’s diverse communities.

To give insight and appreciate some of them, the Sabah Museum last week hosted an exhibition of the state's three lesser-known communities - the Sungei, Bonggi and Tombonywa.

The week-long exhibition - Crafts Exotica 2007 - was held at the museum in Kota Kinabalu.

It showcased the communities’ rich history, their traditional dances, music, costumes and crafts. Visitors to the exhibition were also able to sample some of the tribes’ delicacies.

Continue reading at: Crafts Exotica 2007: Sabah home to over 40 ethnic communities

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Rainforest of Sabah

By Anna Vivienne

Forests that receive high rainfall of up to 2000 mm are called rainforests. Rainforests are usually made up of big, tall trees and undergrowth. On the first layer a number of very large trees growing above the general canopy can reach the heights of 55 metres and above.

Some have been known to grow up to 60 metres high. These trees however are hardy as they have to withstand various weather conditions.

The layer where these trees are inhabited Eagles, butterflies, bats and some intrepid monkeys. After the tall trees comes the canopy, estimated to comprise 40 plant species, which is tremendous.

The inhabitants of the lofty trees also like to make their home in this level but there are more of other life forms there including various insect species.

Between the canopy and the forest there is a space, known as the under-storey. This is home to a number of birds, snakes, and lizards, as well as predators.

Armadillos also live here. The leaves are much larger at this level. Insect life is also abundant. Many seedlings that will grow to the canopy level are present in the under-storey.

This layer can also be called a shrub layer. The layer just above the floor, consists of mainly large-leaved plants and small trees able to survive on the meager amount of light let through by the canopy.

Next come the forest floor which receives about two percent of the sunlight. Only plants that have adapted to the situation can grow in this region. Away from river banks, swamps and clearings where dense undergrowth is found, the forest floor is relatively clear of vegetation, as little sunlight penetrates to ground level.

It also contains decaying plant and animal matter, which disappears quickly due to the warm, humid conditions promoting rapid decay. Many forms of fungi grow here which help decay the animal and plant waste. Danum Valley and Maliau Basin are well known for its rainforests in Sabah.

Courtesy of: New Sabah Times 'In' Sites - Sabah Travel and Leisure Guide

Further Reading: The Tropical Rainforests of Sabah

Pure mineral water at Kemantis Trail?

Kota Belud: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiah said the Water Department would be directed to take samples from the Kemantis Trail waterfall at Kampung Sayap, some 27km from here, for in-depth studies of its mineral content.

According to him, pure mineral water has a lucrative market that could serve as an economic source in the district, apart from the waterfall amidst a scenic background being a tourist attraction.

He said the waterfall, as well as its mineral contents, could serve as two economic prospects for the State.

Continue reading at: Pure mineral water at Kemantis Trail?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sabah's Harvest Fest a global event

Tuaran: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan described the Harvest Festival (Pesta Kaamatan) as a global commemoration for a bountiful harvest by the farmers, not only confining to the Kadadazansusun-Murut communities.

This festivity now involves the general Malaysian society, having been declared as a national festivity, he said.

In this respect, he said there is a need to understand the significance of the festival that has been an official function since 1960, as a reference for our future generations before it could be overshadowed by new trends.

Of late, the Pesta Kaamatan has become one of the major tourism products, thereby helping to generate economic growth for the State, he said, while addressing the International Convention and Pesta Kaamatan celebration at Nexus Karambunai, here, Thursday.

Continue reading at: Sabah's Harvest Fest a global event

Royal Brunei Airlines goes paperless with eTicketing

By Azaraimy HH

Royal Brunei Airlines and Abacus Distribution Systems Brunei on Friday announced the launch of electronic ticketing (eTicketing).

Abacus-connected travel agents in Brunei will now issuing eTickets on Royal Brunei Airlines flights from June 1, 2007.

Royal Brunei Airlines Vice President for Reservations and Distribution John Newn said, "The implmentation of eTicketing for travel agents in Brunei is a crucial component towards increasing our eTicketing penetration.

"We are pleased to engage Abacus to provide e-ticketing capability to the Brunei travel agents. This cutover represents another milestone and progress towards achieving International Air Transport Association's target of 100% eTicketing worldwide by end 2007.

"Abacus is pleased to provide solution for Royal Brunei Airlines to enable the travel agents to issue eTickets," said Abd Halim Haji Abd Rahman, Sales & Marketing Manager of Abacus Brunei.

"Brunei is a unique market as a Billing and Settlement Plan does not exist, thus the solutions for the other BSP markets cannot be implemented here. Abacus is providing a generic electronic transitional automated ticketing (eTAT) for the implementation of eTicketing in Brunei," he said.

Brunei's travel agents are also enthusiastic about the prospect of going paperless. Ms Young Siut Leng, the manager of Continental Tours & Travel, said "eTickets are not only more secure and convenient for customers, it also offers substantial cost benefits in terms of delivery and time management."

As eTicket holds the information previously held on a paper ticket, eTicketing is a real-time paperless method for airlines and travel agents to issue tickets.

Individual ticket information is stored within the airline's reservation system and can be retrieved and processed electronically, reducing the amount of paper ticket inventory and hassle in re-issuance of misplaced printed tickets.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Thursday, May 24, 2007

LCCT airport tax at KK, KL cut by up to 50pc

Putra Jaya: Airport tax for passengers at the Low Cost Carrier Terminals (LCCTs) at the KL International Airport and the Kota Kinabalu International Airport will be reduced from RM9 to RM6 for domestic passengers and from RM51 to RM25 for international passengers.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, in making the announcement Wednesday, said the reduction, for tickets purchased on or after June 1, 2007, aimed to raise Malaysia's potentials as an operational hub for low cost carriers in Asia.

"The new Passenger Service Charge (airport tax) rate includes the Security Charge, and the same rate would be applied at new LCCTs that might be built in future.

"The lower airport tax for passengers is in line with the state of facilities and services provided at both the LCCTs," he said at a press conference at his office, here.

Continue reading at: LCCT airport tax at KK, KL cut by up to 50pc

8th Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival in Pontianak

SIBU: A convoy of more than 40 superbikes from PEMODA, Brunei Darussalam entered Sibu Tuesday evening in thunderous style for a night stay, before heading for the ‘8th Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival’ in Pontianak, Indonesia.

As the usual tradition, they received warmth welcome from the RUFFRIDERS’ Sibu members, headed by Abdul Razak bin Hj Abdul Salam and friends.

According to PEMODA, Brunei Darussalam superbikes convoy spokesman, Haji Sani b. Haji Ahad, so far, despite heavy downpour, it has being a smooth journey through the Trans Borneo Highway.

Continue reading at: 8th Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival in Pontianak

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

First ever wildlife video footage of rare Borneo Sumatran rhinoceros

The video footage below (courtesy of WWF and Sabah Wildlife Department) is the first one captured of the rare Borneo subspecies of the Sumatran rhinoceros which provides the first recorded glimpse of the species in its natural habitat in the jungles of the Sabah interior.

A camera-trap, positioned by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature-Malaysia, caught a 2-minute video of an adult male, estimated to be around 30-40 years old, around midnight a few months back on Feb 16. It showed the animal feeding, walking towards the camera and sniffing the equipment.

This is the first time the animal’s behaviour has been filmed in the wild although it was first photographed for the first time in 2006, also by a camera-trap.

The rhino, which is almost never seen by people, can only be found in the interior forests of Sabah, part of an area known as the "Heart of Borneo". The Sabah Wildlife Department estimated that the number of this subspecies of Borneo rhino, Dicero-rhinus sumatrensis, to be no more than 50 heads at present.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Jazzy vibes resound in Miri

A melting pot of global jazz - that was how a tourist from England described the Miri International Jazz Festival 2007 that was held in the Sarawak city recently.

Indeed, that was the most appropriate description. Other superlatives from among the 4,000 visitors who attended the two-day event included “fantastic”, “wonderful” and “awesome”.

The Sarawak Tourism Board and the management of the Miri Parkcity Everly Hotel should be given a standing ovation for the way they had managed to turn this festival into a remarkable musical showpiece.

Though not yet as grand and famous as the Sarawak World Rainforest Music Festival in Kuching, the jazz festival in Miri has the potential to become a major tourism draw for the northern region.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Jazzy vibes resound in Miri

Jungle stint in Borneo

KOTA KINABALU: A South American-born nature photographer is setting his sights on the jungles of Borneo after having condensed a seven-month Amazon stint into a 191-page pictorial book.

Barely half a year after the publication of his inaugural work Amazonia; la source retrouvee, Jorge Camilo Valenzuela is now trekking through some of Sabah’s key conservation areas.

For the past two months, he has been photographing as well as recording the sounds of jungles and animals at the renowned Kinabalu Park, Tabin Wildlife Reserve and the Lower Kinabatangan region.

He intends to spend another five months in the rainforests of Sabah and Sarawak to complete the “shooting” for the book Au Coeur de Borneo (In the heart of Borneo).

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Jungle stint in Borneo

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Takeover of FAX rural services likely June

Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia Airlines is expected to begin taking over rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak from Fly Asian Xpress (FAX) next month.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said all details related to the handing over of the services by FAX to MAS are expected to be finalised by the end of this month.

"They are still in talks. It is not necessarily Firefly (MAS subsidiary). MAS is still discussing that with FAX, with the participation of my Ministry and the Ministry of Finance. And we can expect they will finalise all the details by the end of this month," he said.

Continue reading at: Takeover of FAX rural services likely June

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort - New nature resort blooms in Sarawak

Belian-plank walkway trekking with the natural tropical greenery
A custom-made farm tractor to take visitors for an enjoyable
ride to the 100 acres of large tropical fruit orchard

One room type at the resort chalet

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By George Francis

MIRI - Sarawak's first privately run multi-million ringgit agro-based tourism and nature resort, Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort, is scheduled to open by December this year with the completion of its 48 rooms full service accommodation and other eco-tourism recreational facilities.

In a sprawling 780 acres of secondary jungle, the resort is nestled in the midst of the rainforest blending in perfectly with the natural lakes, water falls, rivers and the hilly landscapes. Adjacent to an extraordinary species-rich forest Lambir Hill National Park, the resort is only 38 km from Miri City, midway between Lambir Hills National Park and Niah National Park.

Resort developer-operator, Syarikat Kai Nguong Resort Development Sdn Bhd obtained a 60-year-lease of the area from the state government in the late 90s and has been doing works in the area for the past four years.

It is however, geared for a soft-opening next month for the Phase I comprising of 150 acres which encompasses the completion of 18 chalet rooms, cafe, banquet hall, outdoor pavilions, domestic animal farm, tropical fruit orchard and other exciting eco-tourism recreational activities.

In a media briefing to Borneo Bulletin and West Malaysian journalists and Sarawak Tourism Board on the sideline of Miri International Jazz Festival, the first such opportunity before the resort is open to the public, Ms Sim Ling Ling of Ethos Connect International Consultant, said once fully completed, it will have 48 rooms full service accommodation, meetings and banqueting facilities, health centre and business services and a range of eco-tourism recreational activities appealing to the discerning leisure and corporate travellers.

The tour of the agro farms takes about two hours as a custom-made farm tractor takes guests on a comfortable and enjoyable ride to the 100 acres large tropical fruit orchard in which 38 species of tropical and ethnic fruits such as bawang, dabai, etc are found. The seventy acres large domestic animal farm rears about 1,000 numbers of free range chicken and some 100 sheep and goats.

Another exciting event is the boat ride along a river where guests could enjoy the beautiful scenery of the flora and fauna, rainforst, wildlife and birds in a natural outdoor environment.

Other options to consider include fishing, jungle trekking, botanical gardens, sports, camping and BBQ. There are nature walks and rainforest trekking with a combined distance of 2770 metres.

"Combine relaxation with wide range of sports activities, sight seeing, educational and recreational actvities suitable for all ages," said the resort owner, Henry Law, 56, whose interest in building resort all started because of "outdoor hobby" and his family background too, from his father ranging from orchard, housing and landscaping businesses.

In Miri, Syarikat Kai Nguong, is a renowned landscaping contractor, a housing-property development in Labuan and Auckland New Zealand.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Brunei tourism makes headway

By Azlan Othman

The pristine and lush green forest of the sultanate has grabbed the attention of a renowned travel magazine "Tavel Weekly" which has placed Brunei among the nominees for the best Southeast Asia Ecotourism award, CEO of Brunei Tourism Board said yesterday.

"Indeed our country has been picked to be one of the nominees," Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed told the Weekend. "Anyone could just logon to its website and vote for Brunei," added Mohd Jeffrey Hj Mohd Sunny Lai, Marketing and Promotion Officer of the Tourism Board.

Speaking on the steps taken towards promoting tourism, he said the department is now busy with the "Kenali Negara Kitani" (KNK) or Discover Our Nation's domestic campaign in creating tourism sustainability. The environment must be protected to prepare the country for a better travel experience.

The campaign includes road shows at secondary schools, the diplomatic corps, business chambers and government departments in the country.

KNK's aim is to encourage members of the public to explore the wonders of Brunei, especially during the holidays, as well as to sample local delicacies, crafts and other products. Feedback forms are also being used to ensure the campaign's success.

"I want them to understand the importance of tourism, as people still perceive tourism in a negative way like having social problems. Tourism industry contributes some 1.8 per cent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) with tourism receipts mounting to $315 million and offers some 5,000 jobs directly.

"With a year-on-year increase of seven per cent, I am happy with our progress to lure tourists to the country where we now see more arrivals, more money changers mushrooming and more tour buses and taxis," he added.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Cultures of Dusun sub-ethnic groups on display at Sabah Museum

Kota Kinabalu: Visitors to the State Museum this month are given the rare opportunities to see the cultural heritages of three ethnic communities - the Sungei, Bonggi and Tombonuwa - living in the northern part of Sabah.

This is in conjunction with the Crafts Exotica 2007 which was officially opened Friday by Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin, representing the Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

To last until May 27, the exhibition showcases not only the traditional dance, music and costume of these Dusun sub-ethnic communities but also the other aspects like their crafts workmanship and traditional cuisine.

The Sungei and Tombonuwa communities are majority found living in Kudat, Pitas as well as in Kinabatangan areas while the Bonggi in Bangi Island off Kudat.

Continue reading at: Cultures of Dusun sub-ethnic groups on display at Sabah Museum

Friday, May 18, 2007

Jazz music fest in KK Aug 11

Kota Kinabalu: City folk will see for the very first time, their very own Kota Kinabalu Jazz Music Festival come Aug 11.

The music festival to be staged at Jesselton Point, is being jointly organised by the Rotary Club Kota Kinabalu (RCKK), Society for Performing Arts Kota Kinabalu Sabah (SPArKS), City Hall (DBKK) and Sri Pelancongan Sabah.

Mayor Datuk Iliyas bin Ibrahim who welcomed the idea said the music festival would add to the vibrancy of the city, and the international programme, could be used to promote Kota Kinabalu as a centre of performing arts.

Continue reading at: Jazz music fest in KK Aug 11

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival

KUCHING: Sarawak Tourism Malaysia will be organising the Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival from May 21 to 29 to promote the Trans-Borneo Highway as another overland gateway to Sarawak.

Its director Zuraimi Abd Razak said the promotion would encourage tourists and others who liked to travel overland to use the highway that linked Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei.

He said the festival would involve riders traversing Sabah, Brunei and Sarawak via the highway before reaching Pontianak in Indonesia.

Continue reading at: Borneo Island International Big Bike Festival

Brunei eyes Arab tourists

By Azlan Othman

Brunei is eyeing tourists from the Middle Eastern countries, just like Malaysia which is said to have the right ingredients.

A lot of interest was shown during the recently concluded Arabian Travel Market in Dubai and Bahrain International Travel Exchange, the CEO of Brunei Tourism Board, Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed who led the Brunei delegation, told the Bulletin.

"We are working hard to quietly bring in the Arab tourists who like to travel during summer. Brunei can be an addition to the Malaysian market. There's not much issue on alcohol and the Arabs like to bring their family to enjoy a clean, fun and leisure experience," he said.

Touching on the success of the two trips to the Middle East, he added, "In total, more than 30 business contacts were made during the exhibition ranging from tour operators, travel agents, marketing representatives, media and the rest were mainly from the general public".

"A number of interesting contacts were made in terms of advertising medium such as in the upmarket magazines, family readers' digests as well as magazines distributed to not only the local Arabian market but also to the expatriate community in the Gulf."

"These advertising opportunities should be able to increase awareness of Brunei's image and there was a travel channel broadcast in the Gulf which offered to do a feature on Brunei."

Sheikh Jamaluddin added that prior to this event, they (Middle Eastern tourists) asked us, 'What is there to do in Brunei?' But now they ask, 'How much does it cost to go to Brunei'," citing the inquiries made during the travel mart.

And to put words into action, about 20 incentive group familiarisation trips will be made to Brunei during the busy month of July, which also coincides with His Majesty's birthday celebrations. "We have got to impress them (incentive group) for us to sell Brunei to the world". There are over 40 familiarisation trips organised to visit Brunei in a year.

After the 9/11 incident, the Arab tourists are now moving to visit this region, especially Malaysia. "Hoteliers, frontliners and restaurants need to understand the peculiarity of the Arab market. The Arabs like to shop and stay for a longer period. We have got to have a joint promotion with our Malaysian counterparts to attract them to Brunei."

"We have to work hard, prepare well and this effort should not just be shouldered by the Tourism Department but also those in charge of the visa facilitation and taxi operators, drivers and health inspectors, in the case of the cleanliness of the restaurants."

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sabah Fest a resounding success

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Fest ended over the weekend with an overwhelming response throughout its duration.

Sabah Fest is an initiative of Sabah Tourism Board and organised by its wholly-owned subsidiary Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd.

It is an annual cultural extravaganza taking place over two weeks highlighting various elements of culture through a performance of dance and music.

Continue reading at: Sabah Fest a resounding success

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Passage to Long Pasia in Sipitang, Sabah

Long Pasia is a remote rural village in southwest Sabah (in the Sipitang district) close to the Sarawak border. Long Pasia is a fertile basin which is home to the Lundayeh Muruts, one of Sabah's colorful indigenous people. with its rugged terrains covered with heath forest, Long Pasia definitely welcomes adventure travellers with open arms to the heart of Borneo. For more information on Long Pasia, the following article, published recently in the Bangkok Post by Sara Schonhardt, is an excellent introductory piece for tropical adventure lovers:

In the Red Riding Hood book of travel, a destination that is wild, isolated and oozing with natural habitats is all the better through which to hike, climb or kayak. Indeed, finding remote places to explore is part of the quest of the adventure traveller. And in Borneo that quest culminates at Long Pasia.

Nestled at the headwaters of the Padas River in southwest Sabah, Long Pasia and its twin village Long Mio are only accessible via a logging road, and until a satellite phone was installed last year no modern form of communication existed there. With that isolation comes magnificent landscapes, some of Borneo's oldest forests and one of the state's richest plant diversity sites with more than 700 species of orchids recorded so far.

The area known as Ulu Padas is steep and hilly (70 percent rests above 1,200m), but the variety of soils at differing altitudes has birthed a range of vegetation - 11 identified forest types to be precise, from riverine forest to dipterocarp to ancient mossy Agathis, a tropical pine whose sturdy wood is highly valued in the construction of homes and furniture.

That rich biodiversity is now under threat from logging and traditional agricultural practices that are often non-sustainable, such as slash and burn cultivation. Recognising the need for conservation, the Sabah state government and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia are pushing education and research initiatives that focus on understanding the region's unique plant diversity and distribution, while a homestay and tourism programme serves as an alternative income generator for local villages.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Passage to Long Pasia in Sipitang, Sabah

Extreme satisfaction: What is it about the Sabah Adventure Challenge?

They ran through jungles, biked through mountain ranges and tubed and canoed down rivers.

CHECKPOINT? Water? These were the short, typical questions thrown at us along the race route. Our answers were monosyllabic — a short, blunt “NO”.

This may seem cruel but our group of journalists and photographers had no other answer for participants of the gruelling Sabah Adventure Challenge.

We were drenched in guilt by the disappointing nods from the tired, sweating participants of the annual international event, the ninth so far.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Extreme satisfaction: What is it about the Sabah Adventure Challenge?

AirAsia Xpress Boarding - Easier air travel for under $10

By Azlan Othman

AirAsia yesterday introduced its new service 'Xpress Boarding' to the public, offering passengers greater options when it comes to seat selection.

The new service offers guests the opportunity to be among the first to board the flight and at the same time allow them greater choices of seats for as little as B$9.50 one way.

AirAsia - which practises a free-seating policy - will extend the Xpress Boarding service to all airports within its network, including those serviced by its sister companies Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia.

This service allows those who are prepared to pay a little extra to enjoy a head start to select the seat of their choice on a first come first served basis.

The AirAsia free-seating policy encourages guests to be punctual at the boarding gate, which is a crucial element for the airline's 25-minute turnaround.

A quick turnaround translates to cost savings, enhanced operation efficiency -which will in return be passed on to the guests, enabling the airline to offer consistent low fares.

AirAsia Commercial Executive Vice President Kathleen Tan said, "We are constantly on our toes in innovating our products and services. With our extensive route network with the Airbus A320, AirAsia is attracting a more diverse group of travellers.

"We have had special requests by passengers who say they are prepared to pay a little more for the enhanced service.

"We believe at the initial stage, most of our guests that are likely to take up this boarding service will consist of business, corporate and middle income travellers who are keen to get off the aircraft ahead of the rest upon landing.

"We believe this service will also prove enormously attractive for families who want to be able to sit together without the fuss of rushing to reserve seats and avoid the frustrating long queues upon boarding.

"The Xpress Boarding announcement is one of our steps to offer innovative products that meet the demand of the ever changing schedule of diverse target segment profiles; adapting to new consumer needs.

"This service has proven to be very popular amongst the other low cost carriers such as Europe's leading and largest low fare airlines like EasyJet and Wizz Air.

"Xpress Boarding is nice to have, but it is not a must have," Kathleen added.

Xpress Boarding is sold online on a first come first served basis as part of the normal flight booking process at and at any of the AirAsia sales offices, airport sales counters or call centre.

Guests are encouraged to check in two hours before flight departure and the counter closes 45 minutes before flight departure time.

Guests with Xpress Boarding should be at the boarding gate no later than 30 minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hotelier sees 45 years of tourism boom for Sabah

Tune Hotels.Com announced here Monday the acquisition of a 168-room no-frills hotel at 1 Borneo Hypermall at RM12.6 million or RM75,000 per room.

"We are scheduled to open in January 2008," said Dennis Melka, Director and co-founder of Tune Hotels.Com.

California-hailed banker Melka together with Datuk Tony Fernandez and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, are shareholders of Tune Ventures Sdn.Bhd, which own Tune

The business concept of TuneHotels.Com is a virtual carbon copy of Fernandez' no-frills airline, Air Asia.

"At the end of the day, people want a safe, clean room at a good price and don't need the frills.

Continue reading at: Hotelier sees 45 years of tourism boom for Sabah

Bridex to give boost to Brunei hotel industry

THE hospitality industry in the sultanate is expecting a full house as the Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition (Bridex - 2007) will see more than 800 participants, including ministers, delegates, consultants and journalists visiting the country.

"All participants will be staying in hotels so most of the major hotels in Brunei can expect a full house," said Major Haji Salleh Haji Suhaili, the Public Relations Officer of the Bridex Committee.

Although most of the hotel reservations have not been confirmed as it is still early in the month, most participants will be staying at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, The Sheraton Utama Hotel, The Orchid Garden Hotel and The Rizqun International Hotel.

Continue reading at: Bridex to give boost to Brunei hotel industry

Miri International Jazz Festival - Blowing up a storm

The Miri International Jazz Festival proved that music festivals, when properly organised, can be a blast.

Jazz is a form of musical expression through improvisation, and the recent Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF) captured that spirit perfectly.

From wild swing music to eclectic fusion jazz acts and impromptu jam sessions to spontaneous onstage appearances, the second edition of the festival last weekend was the embodiment of the freedom and joy of jazz.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Miri International Jazz Festival - Blowing up a storm

Did you know: Rules about touching an Orangutan?

As NBC TODAY goes to Borneo, please find a recent posting from MSNBC's Family Blog, AllDay, about the “Do’s and Dont’s” of orangutans in Borneo, which I hope you will find not only interesting but also educational.

In our modern society, there are rules that govern every aspect of our lives. But rules about touching an orangutan? Who knew?

In preparation for our trip to Borneo, I received a plethora of information about our location and an exhaustive page on the “Do’s and Dont’s” of orangutans. One of the more disturbing “Do’s” was that I had to get checked for HIV, Hep-B and TB. Not for my protection, but for the apes. What? Are these not the critters that run around a swamp swinging naked from trees and pissing on anything that happens by? Tests that prove I am worthy to meet the apes? That’s a new twist. OK, OK, no problem. I’ll have the tests done. Hell, I need the work.

But wait, there was more. Check out these general guidelines for when meeting an orangutan:

1. Do not touch the orangutan
2. Do not engage the orangutan
3. Do not wear loud clothing (Well, there goes my Elton John outfit!)
4. Do not make fun of the orangutan
5. Do not take pictures of the orangutan that will offend them

Continue reading (incl. pics and a video) at: Rules about touching an Orangutan?

NBC TODAY show goes to Borneo

The American show, NBC TODAY's anchor Ann Curry was in Borneo recently visiting orangutan rehabilitation sites. The news piece was featured this morning US time (note: Borneo time was yesterday).

Visit their website to read more about her experience and see photographs and videos from the land of orangutans.

The more attention and awareness brought to the plight of wild orangutans -- more will be done to help save them from extinction!

Also read: Ann Curry's Orangutan Adventure

Monday, May 14, 2007

First joint exhibition of works from Sabah and Sarawak opens

An art exhibition currently on display at Galleria, Kuching, brings together works by artists from Sarawak and Sabah in the first joint show of its kind.

Called “Titian Seni Sabah dan Sarawak”, it showcases some 70 works by 26 artists to forge new art links between the neighbouring states, to make art more accessible to the public and encourage greater participation in the arts in general.

The artworks on display range from paintings in oils and watercolour to ceramics and sculpture, featuring a wide subject matter and various styles from landscapes and studies in nature to abstract art.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: First joint exhibition of works from Sabah and Sarawak opens

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Miri promoting ethnic handicrafts through the International Jazz Festival

MIRI: In conjunction with the Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF) 2007, Janji, a local initiative, has taken the opportunity to hold a 2-day handicrafts demonstration and promotion at ParkCity Everly Hotel.

With the hotel packed with thousand of locals and foreigners for the jazz festival, the demonstration cum promotion provide another good opportunity for the jazz crowd to get close with ethnic handicraft development in the State.

Coordinator of Janji, Kartini Illias disclosed the 2-day event which started yesterday demonstrated the high commitment of Janji to uplift the living standard of native community via handicraft marketing.

Continue reading at: Miri promoting ethnic handicrafts through the International Jazz Festival

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jazz festival explodes in Miri

MIRI - The 2nd Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF) which started yesterday is poised to be the leading tourism-driven music festival in the region.

The event has also made Miri one of the venues for world's jazz lovers to converge.

As MIJF has now gained its popularity among music enthusiasts all over the world, Urban Development and Tourism Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh is optimistic that MIJF is an ideal channel for the tourists to explore the others tourism products in Sarawak.

"Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and my ministry as well have great high confidence in the MIJF. We are looking forward to develop this festival in bigger scale for future great market," he stated at the press conference after having luncheon with Media at ParkCity Everly Hotel yesterday.

Continue reading at: Jazz festival explodes in Miri

Sarikei gets ready for tourism promotion

JULAU: Members of Sarikei Division Tourism Task Force (SDTTF) headed by Sarikei Acting Resident Felicia Tan Ya Hua participated in a gotong royong exercise at Fort Brooke, Kampung Meluan in Julau district on Thursday.

Participated by the rural longhouse folks, the one day programme included events such as the release of three thousand fish fries into Sungei Meluan, trees planting and cleaning campaign.

Earlier, Felicia Tan chaired a closed door meeting of the tourism task force at the Julau District Office to discuss necessary preparations for implementing various tourism related events in the Sarikei division to promote tourism.

Some local tourism events planned included the Pesta Nanas, Pesta Pakan and Julau rafting race contest.

Continue reading at: Sarikei gets ready for tourism promotion

Friday, May 11, 2007

Scuba Diving Video off Kapalai Island

The following is a beautifully taken video by one "jasonlongcs", which I'm sure scuba divers will be interested to watch.

Kapalai is an island resort built on stilts in the middle of the sea and is one of three world-class dive destinations located within sight of each other are situated in the northeast of Borneo (or East Coast of Sabah). The other two dive sites are the world famous Sipadan and Mabul islands.

Enjoy the video and many thanks to "jasonlongcs" for the great footage.

More info: Scuba Diving Vacation in Malaysia Borneo

Miri Jazz Festival ready to swing

MIRI - The preparation for the 2nd Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF) which would start today at The Pavilion of ParkCity Everly Hotel has been completed.

Organising and working committee of the MIJF has put on all their effort to stage another excellent record after it first success last year.

The Pavilion, the main hall for the two-day jazz fest has been decorated beautifully with a giant poster on the stage and the entire hall filled up with PA system and lightings as well.

For this year, the organiser has added a 'Music-Under-the-Star' programme where entertainment on the second stage outside the Pavilion will keep the jazz goers’ ears swirling in music in between the main sets.

Continue reading at: Miri Jazz Festival ready to swing

Cable car ride up Mount Santubong

KUCHING: Visitors to the legendary Mount Santubong are set to get their first cable car ride in Sarawak.

A company here is building the RM50mil system, which is expected to be completed within 24 months.

It will be the third overhead cable car system in the country, after the ones in Genting Highlands and Langkawi.

The state government has granted local company Santubong Cable Car Sdn Bhd (SCC) the sole rights to design, build, operate and manage the system for a period of 60 years from the date it starts operation.

Continue reading at: Cable car ride up Mount Santubong

Local handicrafts with traditional motifs a boost for Sabah tourism

KOTA KINABALU: Local handicrafts using traditional Sabah motifs could help to promote tourism to the state, says Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Karim Bujang.

These crafts could include patterns and colours of Sabah that combine the traditional with the contemporary, paintings and crafts such as baskets and traditional musical instruments, he said.

He was speaking at the launch of the ‘Patterns and Colours of Sabah’ exhibition at the State Art Gallery here yesterday.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Local handicrafts with traditional motifs a boost for Sabah tourism

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Korean operators keen to promote Miri

By Norni Mahadi

MIRI-Travel operators in Korea are keen to map Miri as a main gateway to Sarawak to explore the many tourism attractions in the State for aggressive marketing in their country.

Borneo Trail director of operations Korea Division, John Kim Joon Kwon disclosed that he can see the great potential of tourism industry in Miri and Sarawak for marketing in Korea.

"All this while, the Korean tourists have listed Sabah as one of their favourite tourism choices.

But now after getting familiar with Sarawak via Miri, we are convinved that the State has many natural assets which will appeal to Korea's tourism market," he said at a joint press conference with Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communication Lee Kim Shin at Eastwood Valley Golf and Country Club (EVGCC) yesterday.

Continue reading at: Korean operators keen to promote Miri

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

SilkAir announces fifth KK service

Kota Kinabalu: SilkAir has announced the introduction of a new weekly flight to Kota Kinabalu, connecting Sabah to the rest of the world five times a week.

The new flight - every Saturday morning - will open new connections for customers from Singapore, North America, Europe, India and Australia, all of which are important source markets for inbound tourism in Sabah.

According to a statement Tuesday, the outbound flight will provide customers in Sabah with same-day connections to the Middle East, Europe and South East Asia.

SilkAir flights to and from Kota Kinabalu are coded-shared with Singapore Airlines (SQ) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

Continue reading at: SilkAir announces fifth KK service

Arab tourists showing keen interest in Sarawak

: Sarawak’s debut appearance at the recent Arabian Travel Mart (ATM) had received overwhelming response from the Arabs and expatriates staying in United Arab Emirate (UAE).

Numerous enquiries were made on Sarawak by the visitors who came to Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) booth that was set up within the Tourism Malaysia stand.

Among the enquiries made were on facilities and attractions that could lure Arab tourists and expatriates living in UAE to the State.

Ramesh Kumar from Anta Travel and Tours had expressed his confidence to STB Chief Executive Gracie Geikie that Arab tourists would be interested to explore Sarawak’s tropical rainforest.

Continue reading at: Arab tourists showing keen interest in Sarawak

Foreign visitors love Sibu town

By Roger Duyong

SIBU: The central region of Sarawak, Sibu town in particular, has so much to offer to European tourists.

A Dutch photographer Jan Ros and his two other companions find Sibu a ‘very interesting’ place to visit, especially with its cultural diversity, relaxed and laid back lifestyle and nice people

Interviewed by Eastern Times yesterday at the Sibu Central Wet Market, Ros said this was his first trip to Sibu but the fifth in Malaysia. He said he had "never had enough of Malaysia".

He said that in his first day around Sibu town yesterday he found so many things to see, so many things to experience including many local ‘authentic’ things to see and taste.

The fresh products on sale at the Wet Central Market were an eye-opener to the foreign visitors who found the sight refreshing.

Continue reading at: Foreign visitors love Sibu town

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sabah fest in Penang

PENANGITES had the opportunity to celebrate Sabah’s Hari Kaamatan or Harvest Festival at Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel recently.

The annual festival, also known as Tadau Kaamatan, saw dancers in elaborately beaded costumes, performing traditional dances such as the Sumazau.

The dancers were almost floating effort- lessly in their rhythmically paced steps.

Although living away from home, the Sabahans put in much effort to show and share their rich cultural and ethnic background with the locals.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Sabah fest in Penang

Monday, May 07, 2007

Maliau Basin Lost World field trip an eye-opener

TAWAU: One look and 16-year-old Lazarus Simpir immediately recognised a Tongkat Ali tree (Eurycoma longifolia) on the jungle trail.

He identified it through the shape of its leaves, stem and berry-like fruits.

The Murut lad from Saliku, Nabawan, said the fibrous Tongkat Ali leaves would return to their original shape even if they were crumpled.

He learnt this during a recent three-day study tour organised by Yayasan Sabah and Shell at the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, about 180km from here.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Maliau Basin Lost World field trip an eye-opener

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Murut Culture - Keeping alive cultural beat

A Murut dance troupe
A Murut warrior dance

A traditional Murut dance troupe made up of young performers

A dance performed by the Murut

Young dancers are taught the meaning of the dances

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

By Mohammad Abdullah

Our heritage must be upheld. We must not let our traditional heritage just be some distant memory or some text we read in the pages of history books.

There are those who ask: what is the point of letting our children learn the folk dances performed in the times of our ancestors? Education and study are more important than performing in some dances.

How utterly wrong one can be. The dances show our rich cultural and ethnic heritage and diversity. Through the dances we can learn our heritage, as well as our cultural identity.

Brunei has a rich cultural background. Much of our cultural heritage has been slowly eroded, and is dangerously close to extinction.

Through the effort of government agencies, as well as private companies and individuals, much of our culture has been retained. However, it is still slowly being eroded away.

Take the traditional dances of the Murut ethnic group which has several dances to commemorate festivals and events. Some of these dances have been forgotten by the new generation.

One of the dances is the 'Alai Ngapu Lun Rayeh' which is performed to greet the arrival of important people or brave warriors.

The ethnic Tutong have their own dances for various occasions too, such as the 'Temarok' performed after the sowing of the padi each year.

The 'Ancayau' is performed to celebrate a victory or the arrival of a warrior after a successful mission.

Finally, there is the 'Mengalai' which is performed at festive gatherings such as a wedding.

We need to preserve and document the ethnic heritage, advance cross-cultural understanding and inform the public, especially the young generation, of the ethnic experience through festivals, workshops, meetings and publications.

Without these efforts, our young generation might not understand why these dances exist, or why we still preserve them.

When they dance to their own cultural beat, they will know the meaning of the dances, what they represent to the people and what it means to take the steps their ancestors had once taken.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sabah Fest off to a great start

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s colourful multi-ethnic cultures lit up the night as Sabah Fest 2007 kicked off in spectacular style here on Friday.

This year’s cultural extravanganza opened with the pulsating drums of Sabah as 40 musicians from the districts of Kota Belud, Penampang, Semporna, Papar and Kudat filled the Magellan Sutera ballroom here.

Some 1,000 people, including tourists, attended the event.

Various ethnic groups promoted their dances which included “Arang Aawak,” a traditional dance of the Lundayeh people, followed by ethnic Irranuns performing the celebrative Sumaranum dance.

Continue reading at: Sabah Fest off to a great start

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mulu: beyond the caves

Everyone who comes to Mulu climbs the mountain, but there are other more rewarding things to do here as well.

It was with high expectations that I arrived at the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak.

I knew it was a Unesco World Heritage Site – one of only two in the country – and I had seen those pictures of a Krypton-like landscape of 50m-tall jagged limestone spears thrusting out from a lush forest canopy. This was also where one could find “the world’s largest cave chamber”, “the world’s biggest underground cave passage” and “the most spectacular bat exodus”.

I had six exciting days to see it all, but an hour into the Pinnacles trail, breathless, thighs burning, I began to think that perhaps I had been too ambitious.

The trek to the Pinnacles begins with what is supposed to be a leisurely half-day walk to Camp 5, the base camp for the ascent. I had imagined a lovely stroll in the woods but the rain made it a muddy, slippery affair. That evening, as we settled down at Camp 5, the sky emptied itself in a marathon downpour that lasted till dawn.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Mulu: beyond the caves

Sabahans celebrate harvest fest with lots of merry-making

As the weekends approach, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok will usually shuttle from Kuala Lumpur to his interior mountainous parliamentary constituency of Ranau to meet the people there comprising largely the indigenous Kadazandusuns.

As hectic as his normal schedule is, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department knows that May will even be a busy month when Sabah’s Kadazandusuns and Muruts celebrate Kaamatan or Harvest Festival.

On May 1, Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman struck a gong seven times and harvested a similar number of padi stalks at the Ranau community centre to launch the state-wide festivities at the Ranau community centre.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sabahans celebrate harvest fest with lots of merry-making

Traditional sports competition to mark World Museums Day in Sabah

By Ismail Haji Mansor

KOTA KINABALU - The public is invited to take part in a traditional sports competition to be held at the compounds of Sabah Museum Heritage Village and the Agnes Keith House in Sandakan until May 27. The activities will be held daily from 9am to 5pm.

Sabah Museum has lined up several competitions on traditional sports such as fishing, catapult, blow pipe, guessing the total number of paddy seeds, paddy pounding and plucking paddy seeds on every weekend.

The event is held in conjunction with the Crafts Exotica 2007 to commemorate World Museums Day carrying the theme 'Museum and Universal Heritage'.

Apart from the traditional sports event, museum visitors will also be able to witness a demonstration on handicraft-making by the Tombonuo, Bonggi and Orang Sungai ethnic groups as well as the Dusun Tambunan community at the museum's Heritage Village.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Haji Aman will be expected to launch the event on May 18.

The public will be entitled for a one-day free entrance ticket to the museum complex as well as the Agnes Keith house in Sandakan and Batu Tulug Museum in Kinabatangan on May 18.

The museum conservation building will also be opened to the public from 9am to 3pm.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Rare dances kick off Sabah Fest

Kota Kinabalu: A 90-minute spectacular cultural extravaganza featuring some rarely seen Sabah ethnic dances marked the launching of the 20th edition of Sabah Fest 2007 at Magellan Sutera Hotel, here, Friday.

The glittering grand launching that involved more than 500 musicians and dancers was graced by Head of State Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah and consort Toh Puan Dayang Masuyah.

Also present was Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and new Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

This year's highlights included the rarely seen Mamapak Ritual of the Rungus, Tamadak dance of the Bonggi community from Bangi Island, Kudat and the Suaan dance of the Dumpas people from Beluran.

Continue reading at: Rare dances kick off Sabah Fest

‘Malaysia, My 2nd Home’ participants in Sarawak may get longer visas

KUCHING: The state government is ready to extend the visa from the current five years to 10 years, in parallel with other states in the country, for foreigners in order to encourage them to buy houses in the state.

Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said this was in order to boost the property market in the state and also to ensure the success of the Malaysia My Second Home Programme.

He nevertheless said the visa should not be abused for other purposes as the privilege was solely to encourage foreigners to own property in the state.

Continue reading at: ‘Malaysia, My 2nd Home’ participants in Sarawak may get longer visas

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sarawak Tourism VMY booths a hit among tourists

SIBU: The recent road show by the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) and Visit Malaysia Year Secretariat held during the just concluded Kaul Festival was a successful one.

An executive from STB, Rudy Anoi said that there had been overwhelming response from visitors to both booths during the exhibition.

“When people found out that we have so much to offer in our country, they asked all sorts of questions. Some were even surprised that our country offered many interesting places to visit.

“Eco-tourism, educational, cultural or high class destinations, we have them all here. Some visitors said they might make arrangements to visit some of these places in the near future,” he said, adding that many had commented that the country was blessed with so many beautiful places.

“Those who have had experiences visiting only nearby towns said they could one day make visits to interesting places like Mt Kinabalu, Mulu Caves and the famed Ba’ Kelalan apple orchards,” he added.

Continue reading at: Sarawak Tourism VMY booths a hit among tourists

Central Region of Sarawak, a tourism goldmine

MUKAH: The Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism (MUDT) is promoting the Central Region of Sarawak that comprises Sibu, Kapit, Sarikei and Mukah, under one package with Sibu as its gateway.

According to MUDT Permanent Secretary, Haji Sarudu Haji Hoklai, all these divisions have their own attractions that are proving to be an attractive package for travelers and visitors to Sarawak.

“We have decided to sell the Central Region which consists of Sibu, Kapit, Sarikei and Mukah in one package. And we believe with its diversity in term of tourism products it is an appropriate approach as these could benefit all of the four divisions and also a good package for the tourists,” he said.

For instance, he said, Kapit is famous for the products related to adventure and nature, Sarikei with its agro-tourism product such as pineapple and Mukah is famous for its seafood and culture, while Sibu which has its own attractions and has a better connectivity to the outside world to become the gateway.

Continue reading at: Central Region of Sarawak, a tourism goldmine

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Miri May Fest a celebration for all

MIRI: The Miri City Council (MCC) together with government agencies, private sectors, commercial houses and non-government organizations has formed a strong by coming up with 35 events under the banner of Miri May Fest 2007.

The 35 events ranging from sports, social, recreational and commercial ones would be carried out for the whole month of May in conjunction with the 2nd anniversary celebration of Miri City Day which falls on 20th May.

Mayor of MCC, Dato Wee Han Wen disclosed the celebration for this year is a remarkable record as compared to 27 events last year and 24 events in year 2005.

"Apart from the items that have been listed under the Miri May Fest 2007, I believe many other activities will also be held in May 2007," he stated in his message on the launching of Mri May Fest 2007 yesterday.

Continue reading at: Miri May Fest a celebration for all

Kaul festival a show of ethnic heritage

MUKAH: Ethnic Festival is the best platform to showcase the richness of our culture to the world, said Mukah Member of Parliament, Dato Sri Dr Leo Michael Toyad.

In fact, the showcasing of our priceless heritage also automatically provides a glimpse the ethnic culture of the state as a whole, he said.

Dr. Leo disclosed this at the Mukah Kaul Festival Appreciation Night specially held for those involved in organizing that annual event at JS Restaurant, here, on Tuesday night.

“This ethnic festival has indirectly revealed that the history of Sarawak did not start during the Rajah Brooke Rule, and indeed our history existed very long time ago,” he said.

He also considered the staging of such event as the best venue to preserve and promote our culture to the young generation especially on the root and culture of their fore fathers.

And for Mukah Kaul Festival in particular, he said, it also showed that the existence of the Melanau’s history was well-before the British Rule in the state because this annual event have been practised by the Melanaus for hundreds of years.

Continue reading at: Kaul festival a show of ethnic heritage

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Aggressive Promotion To Restore Mulu National Park's Popularity

The Tourism Ministry will embark on several promotional efforts to revive the popularity of the Mulu National Park in Sarawak.

The national park, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is now facing the possibility of disappearing from the world tourism map due to flight cancellations and flight connection problems since Malaysia Airlines (MAS) stopped servicing the route from last Aug 1.

Tourism Deputy Minister Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said many tourists had omitted Mulu from their itinerary since MAS stopped flights to Sarawak's interior.

However, last Wednesday Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the Cabinet had approved MAS' new low-fare carrier, Firefly, taking over rural air services in Sabah and Sarawak from Fly Asian Xpress (FAX), he added.

Continue reading at: Aggressive Promotion To Restore Mulu National Park's Popularity