Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008

Colourful Frontiers Travel Sdn. Bhd. and would like to wish all our invaluable site visitors, customers, partners and families a very Happy New Year with hopes of good health and prosperity for 2008!

With this year's end comes a time of sharing, joy and the anticipation of an even better year to come.

Our sincere thanks for your support and we will strive to improve our services ahead in 2008!

Warmest Regards,

Colourful Frontiers Travel Sdn. Bhd.
( Travel Company of )
1st Flr., Lot 12, Block B
Damai Plaza Phase II
Lorong Pokok Manis Satu, Jalan Damai
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Tel: +6-088-249177
Fax: +6-088-234703

Breathing life into Brunei's Jerudong Park

By Huraizah Ahmad

An estimated 10,000 people comprising families and friends made their way to the Jerudong Park Playground over the weekend.

Reminiscent of its opening almost 10 years ago, the scene was that of lines of cars and scores of people heading to the theme park, proving that the park is here to stay and will continue to provide wholesome entertainment to its visitors.

The festive mood filled the air as people - young and old - waited in queue to hop onto the dozens of rides available.

The weekend programme at JPCC featured popular local bands who performed both Malay and English hits to the delight of the audience.

The Draw-A-Hero contest demonstrated the artistic skills of the many participating kids. All these were part of the Cartoon & Local Music festival.

At the Musical Fountain, the Dazzling Lights Festival continues to rope in scores of people keen on getting a close up of replicas of the wonders of the world.

At the Amphitheatre, RTB held its 'Anugerah Pelangi' to a full house, whose enthusiasm over the colourful performances delivered by the artistes was very much felt.

Donning colourful costumes, the performers rendered different production numbers that blended traditional and modern concepts, very much like a local version of the American Music Awards.

Now in its second year, the Anugerah Pelangi has become a huge success in the music industry ever since it began last year.

KFC also held its KFC Night with the Giggles yesterday evening. Fun and games were lined up for the whole family, in the company of the KFC mascots and JPCC Giggles team.

Meanwhile, New Year's Eve at the JPCC Playground will feature the Dazzling Double Year End Countdown at the Musical Fountain Garden.

Additionally, the Children's New Year Party Countdown and the Big Bang at the Garden will feature two mini fireworks displays, new music grooves at the Musical Fountain, special performances by Zul F and several local bands, a costume competition for kids as well as fun games and other surprises for the entire family to participate in.

Activities will commence at 7 pm. Kids keen on participating in the costume competition will be required to register.

The mini fireworks will start at 9 pm and at midnight, right after each major activity for the kids and families.

Tickets are priced at $7 per adult and $5 per child. Free goodie bags will also be handed out to the first 200 children.

For further information contact 2611894.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Friday, December 28, 2007

Scoops Gelato Bar, Warisan Square, Kota Kinabalu

What could be better than a refreshing serving of delicious gelato on a sunny Sabah day? For this piece of heaven, visit Scoops Gelato Bar at Warisan Square in Kota Kinabalu. Unlike regular ice-cream, Scoops gelato is freshly made every day in small 4-litre batches, ensuring all around freshness. It is also creamier and has less air content than ice cream, giving it an intense flavour.

Health conscious?

No problem as Scoop Gelato Bar uses natural ingredients without any preservatives or artificial colouring. The weight watchers will also be glad to know that gelato has no more than 8 percent fat. They also serve dairy-free sorbet and sugar-free gelato (vanilla and cappuccino).

Choose from a wide variety of flavours, from the classic chocolate to the more unusually flavoured banana cheese! There are over 60 flavours to choose from and 14 are served each day on rotation. Other flavours include blueberry cream, espresso, marshmallow, green tea, tiramisu, Bailey’s cream, pink guava, pineapple sorbet, mango sorbet and strawberry yoghurt… to name a few! Scoops Gelato Bar also offers a 50 percent discount on selected gelatos so ask your friendly waiter for the picks of the day.

Looking for a snack?

Scoops serves a variety of salads and finger foods, such as fish fingers, sandwiches and French fries. Enjoy these dining delights with any of their beverages – we recommend the mock Sangria, a delicious fizzy fusion of fruits. All this can be enjoyed in a cool and hip ambience, perfect for an after-dinner get together with friends and family.

Did we mention the fantastic and friendly service? See you at Scoops!

Scoops Gelato Bar is located at Unit no. A-G-19, Block A, Ground Floor, Warisan Square (opposite The Island Shop). Opening hours: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm (Monday to Thursday) and 11:00 am to 12:00 midnight (Friday to Sunday and Public Holidays).

For more offers, sign up for the Scoops privilege card.

For more information, contact Raymond at tel. no 088-484 337 or 016 836 2652.

Source: Sabah Tourism

Tenom Agricutural Park - A walk in the Park

By Anna Vivienne

NATURE’S kaleidoscopes of colours are the most beautiful offering the world has for us. The blue sky that can turn slate-y, the green leaves that can go orange and then red and then brown, colourful flowers and butterflies …it’s all there for us to enjoy.

As a child, the wonder of nature never failed to amaze and delight me and I am still being pleasantly amazed at all the beauty around.

For most of us who are curious as to how creation started, well a walk down the Garden of Evolution at the Lagud Seberang Agricutural Park in Tenom may well give us some answers if not more questions.

Evolution is change in the heritable traits of a population (flora and fauna) over successive generations. The continuous frequencies of genes over time may result in the evolution of the certain species or development of new species from existing ones.

Be that as it may, during a recent visit to Lagud Seberang, I traipsed into the evolution garden and stared at the display of the formation of the earth; from dusts to moss to grasses and trees to dinosaurs. The interesting transition from one type of vegetations to another is clearly shown.

To add a touch of reality, the effigies of a Brachiosaurus and a Stegosaurus, or what look like them, are also found there, standing proud over some fossil plants. They look almost lifelike, towering over their visitor (me!). I almost willed them to utter a roar or maybe several ear-rending roars. Alas they were still as they should be, being made from some concrete.

Anyway, if they had so much as uttered a squeak, I could have fled in a jiffy. They were almost lifelike.

Walking past the two still beasts, I came upon the pond where water lilies grow. They are not the average water lilies though. The leaves are as big as a tray, maybe bigger and the flowers are almost as huge. And they are thorny. As I stared down at the leaves (freaky, I thought) a frog jumped in and out again. I waited for the next passer by (maybe a snake, make my day) but nothing came up, so I walked past.

Several minutes later, I walked out of the evolution park and went to look at another area where various types of gardens are shown off. Actually, the park’s main objective for the garden is as a sample for visitors who are at a quandary as to how to design their garden. Well, they should come and look at these gardens. They are beautifully made.

The gardens are actually planned spaces, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The gardens incorporate both natural and man-made materials.

The gardens are not actually recognised as ‘a garden’ but little enclosures within gardens that have its own identity. The shades and enclosures are places that visitors can sit on and rest. While resting they can enjoy the scenery, mostly green, around them. There are also food-producing gardens there such as fruit trees and vegetables.

Next, I walked into the Hybrid Orchid Centre. This centre covers four acres of the park and boasts 400 species of Orchid.

I was not able to cover the whole area… but I managed to walk around the front side of the centre. The various types of orchids came in different sizes; really beautiful and they came in different colours, too. They are really dazzling.

After getting all dazzled by the orchids, I visited the Bougainvillea Court, Hibiscus Garden, Lily Glade, the cactus area and the Ixora Garden. The flowers there were in their full glorious splendour, so much so that I had to sit down every few minutes. Does sensory overload tire you?

I especially loved the hibiscus garden. As a child, I lived in a house that was surrounded by hibiscus plants with colourful blossoms. During my walk around the park I was hit many times with déjà vu. I love that park, take a walk in this park if you happen to come to be there.

Oh, by the way, the Park is in a 500-acre of land and is managed by the Sabah Agriculture Department. It is part of the 1,500-acre Lagud Sebrang Agriculture Research Station and was launched in March 2001 by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

And Tenom is located about four hours drive by road from Kota Kinabalu city. Buses and hired taxis are available at the bus terminal near KK’s Merdeka Field.

Go on, have fun at the park.

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

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Countdown to New Year in Brunei at Jerudong Park

By James Kon

There's good news for anyone looking for a count down to the New Year with their families and friends.

Jerudong Park is organising an array of fun-filled activities alongside the Dazzling Lantern festival - which is currently open to the public until January 6 - to ensure the public has a memorable New Year countdown.

The Dazzling Double Year End Countdown will be held at the Jerudong Park Garden on New Year's eve, with a lineup of activities/events that are catered for the whole family.

Families will have a blast in the double celebration.

From 7.45 pm to 9.30 pm, kids will be able to have their fair share of fun at the Children's New Year party countdown.

The children will be able to enjoy the Dazzling Kids Costume competition, New Musical Fountain Groove which includes a mini fireworks display, Holiday Treasure Hunt, Giggles Dance number, Statue Dance and Talent Portion.

At 10 pm, the Jerudong Park Garden will be enlivened with performances by Gambus Jabatan Penjara and local artist Zul F.

There will also be the new teen and adult musical fountain groove and a second mini fireworks display.

In the run up to the New Year's eve celebration, Jerudong Park will also be hosting the finals of the drawing and colouring competition at the Musical Garden Fountain on December 29. Participants will be required to draw any of the giant lanterns and stand a chance at winning fabulous educational prizes.

On December 30, visitors can join the fun at the KFC Night with the JPCC Giggles. It will be a fun family day out with Chickie and the Giggles.

Tickets are priced at $7 per adult and $5 per child.

For further information, contact 2611894 or email

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sabah needs another 6,000 hotel rooms

SANDAKAN: Sabah still needs some 6,000 hotel rooms to cope with the increasing number of tourists to the state.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun the government is encouraging the construction of especially four to five-star seaside resort to meet the demand.

“We are also encouraging the provision of home-stay accommodations which would help resolve the shortage of rooms and to generate economic activities in the rural areas,” he said after officiating at the opening of the Ease Boutique Hotel here on Sunday.

Continue reading at: Sabah needs another 6,000 hotel rooms

Sabah targets 2.6 million tourists next year

By Arman Gunsika

KOTA KINABALU - State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said Sabah is targeting 2.6 million tourists next year compared to this year's 2.3 million. This is in line with its new direction to promote Kota Kinabalu as an international 'shopping holiday'.

"We are confident Sabah could achieve the target. We will work closely with tourism players in the country as well as abroad to make Kota Kinabalu as a 'shopping holiday destination," he said here.

Masidi said with more shopping malls being built, Kota Kinabalu will become a shopping destination to many Asian tourists to complement Sabah's unbeatable natural beauty, nature tourism and shopping. He noted that the opening of Iborneo hyper mall in March next year would be a catalyst to this new tourism product. The confidence of drawing more tourists next year was also based on the double-digit growth in the State's tourists arrivals in the part few years besides several other positive development.

"This included the fact that airlines such as Silkair and Airasia have increased their flight frequencies to Sabah and connectivity to other towns or cities, and the State's rural air services have greatly been enhanced by MasWings," Masidi said.

"We were also made to understand that AirAsia has big plans to expand its routes from Kota Kinabalu to other Asian destinations when they take delivery of new aircraft next year. We will also work closely with other airlines like Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) to bring more Australian tourists via Bandar Seri Begawan," Masidi said.

He said this year's tourists arrivals numbered 1,971, 643 as of October, a 16.4 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sarawak aims for 3.5 million tourist arrivals

KUCHING: Sarawak is targeting 3.5 million tourist arrivals next year with RM7mil being allocated for promotional and marketing activities in new and existing markets.

Sarawak Tourism Board chief executive officer Gracie Geikie said one of the strategies to be implemented next year was to promote Sarawak at various airline hubs in Asia.

“With air accessibility no longer a problem, we intend to be more aggressive in our approach and this includes wooing European tourists.”

Continue reading at: Sarawak aims for 3.5 million tourist arrivals

Monday, December 24, 2007

Special Tour Packages For BIMP-EAGA In The Pipeline

KUCHING -- Special tour packages aimed at boosting the tourism industry in a growth area covering Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines are expected to be launched by next year.

Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF) president Wee Hong Seng said the vacation packages would be drawn up by a body called BIMP-EAGA Travel and Tours Consortium comprising key tourism industry players from the countries involved.

"Hopefully by the second quarter of next year, the consortium will be able to come up with a comprehensive tourism plan for the four countries, including attractive travel packages," he told Bernama here today.

Continue reading at: Special Tour Packages For BIMP-EAGA In The Pipeline

Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria unveils Ocean Wing

KOTA KINABALU: Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort takes centre stage in the design, landscape and special features of the new luxury Ocean Wing when it welcomed its first registered guest on Dec 20.

Surrounded by 400 acres of verdant vegetation and the resort’s own 18-hole, Par 72 Dalit Bay Golf, 64-acres Nature Reserve, the five-storey Ocean Wing offers 90 sea-facing premier guestrooms.

The lobby and courtyard feature vertical walls of granite, columns of cascading water, bamboo partitions and gardens which ushers visitors along a pathway and gradually reveal the broad vista of the South China Sea.

The Ocean Wing’s 90-square-metre Premier rooms are amongst the most spacious in the region. All guestroom décor features native selangan batu hardwood, locally inspired ornamentation and earth colours reflecting Sabah’s natural environment, yet are equipped with a full array of modern amenities. Check-in for all arriving visitors takes place in-room.

Continue reading at: Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria unveils Ocean Wing

Kota Kinabalu as an international shopping holiday destination

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wants to promote itself as an international shopping holiday destination.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the government wants to work with tourism players in the country to market the state capital as a shopping holiday destination.

“With more shopping malls on the way, we believe Kota Kinabalu would become a shopping destination to many Asian tourists to complement our unbeatable naturally beautiful state.

“Nature tourism and shopping is an irresistible combination,” he said.

Continue reading at: Kota Kinabalu as an international shopping holiday destination

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Fascinating Kuching

From its waterfront to the mountains and parks in the vicinity, Kuching has a host of captivating places to check out.


There are a few museums in Kuching that you must visit. The Sarawak Museum is acknowledged as one of the finest museums in South-East Asia. The Cat Museum is a reflection of Kuching’s fascination with its own name, and houses a collection of all kinds of feline memorabilia, along with displays detailing the evolution and natural history of the cat family, and the development of the different breeds of the domestic cat.

Damai Beach

This beautiful beach is only an hour’s drive from Kuching. The place is well developed with resorts, water-skiing facilities and other leisure activities but still retains a natural feel and warmth.

Bako National Park

The park is home to hundreds of species of fascinating wildlife. Beaches, trails, youth hostels and rustic dining canteens make for a unique adventure. It is some 37km by road from Kuching.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Fascinating Kuching

Sandakan Rainforest Park introduction seminar

SANDAKAN: Some 115 participants attended a seminar themed at “An introduction to a new eco-tourist destination: Sandakan Rainforest Park”on December 15, 2007.

The participants mainly tour operators, tourist guides, hotel managers and other nature- tourism stakeholders.

Held at the auditorium of the Sabah Forestry Department in the morning than on a guided tour of the park in the afternoon.

During which the participants were shown the park’s facilities: The Kebun Cina Gallery where historical, scientific and conservation values of the park are explained with posters, plant and animal specimens and historical documents, outdoor recreation facilities such as the jogging track and children’s playground, a natural pitcher plant garden which four species the Nepenthes ampularia, Nepenthes gracilis, Nepenthes mirabilis and Nepenthes rafflesiana of the insectivorous plants grow naturally and nature trails through pristine and semi-natural forests where the participants encountered live specimens (topotypes) of 13 species of plants, first discovered in the Sandakan Rainforest Park area.

They were also informed that facilities such as an entrance plaza, eateries and observation tower will be built in the near future.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sandakan Rainforest Park introduction seminar

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sarawak Iban longhouse visit with a difference

With a 20-year success record, a community tourism project in Sarawak shows that responsible tourism is the key to sustainability.

Frankly, I’ve always shunned longhouse experiences touted by tourist brochures in Sarawak. Maybe it’s because the idea of showing up at someone’s house, intruding on the family’s space and expecting them to put on a “dance” for you in the name of cultural enrichment, just doesn’t seem right.

Then I read about an Iban longhouse visit to Nanga Sumpa in the remote area of Ulu Batang Ai in Lonely Planet’s Code Green, a book that highlights responsible travel destinations around the globe. Lonely Planet dubbed Nanga Sumpa “one of the best examples of village-based tourism in South-East Asia.”

Basically, this project embodies the principles of responsible tourism – empower the local community, preserve the local ethos and protect the natural areas.

So in September, I showed up at Nanga Sumpa with Wild Asia’s Dr Reza Azmi, a responsible tourism (RT) “evangelist” and photographer Rapaee Kawi to check out the longhouse.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sarawak Iban longhouse visit with a difference

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sabah's Rhinos on video

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah wildlife researchers are keeping their fingers crossed for a hopeful future of the state’s endangered Sumatran rhinos following signs of natural breeding among the animals.

SOS Rhino Borneo programme officer Dr S. Thayaparan recently stumbled across and managed to shoot a video of an adult female rhino wallowing in a muddy patch in a mixed secondary and primary forest.

More importantly, he and fellow SOS Rhino Borneo researchers discovered signs of an adult male and a junior animal in the vicinity.

Continue reading at: Sabah's Rhinos on video

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nexus Resort Karambunai... Some say Its Heaven


IT’S getting closer to that time where we ring in the New Year; yes, time passes by quickly. If you are anything like me, all memories of 2007 so far would be based in shopping centres, the occasional trip to the beach and not much else.

Before we let this year slip by, its time to make the most of it, you’ve worked hard, you’ve got your professional life on track but what about your family and yourself, what will their memories be of this year in time to come?

One way to enhance those memories with friends and family [without blowing up the budget recklessly] is to make those memories locally. We have spectacular places within an hour’s drive, amazing beaches, million year old rain-forest and Mt Kinabalu as our own personal backdrop.

A weekend getaway is ideal to recharge your mind, body and get you back in touch with nature. Designed perfectly to accommodate the needs of every family member, and give you that kind of weekend packed with memories for years to come.

Nexus Resort Karambunai is a perfect place to share those treasured moments with family and friends, with 236 Borneo Wing rooms designed within 7 clusters of two-storey buildings set amidst a village garden with sweeping views of the golf course, garden or beach whilst 243 tastefully furnished Ocean Deluxe and Panorama rooms with private balconies arranged in a 5-storey wing offer ocean or garden views.

Six grand Royal and Presidential Villa suites, created for the affluent and discerning few, come complete with luxurious living and dining rooms, gardens and some with private swimming pools. Eight different restaurants and bars whet the appetites of even the most selective gourmets so why would you go anywhere else?

The end of the year is also a time to plan for the next year’s meetings and conference schedule. And who says you can’t mix business with leisure? At Nexus Resort, there are 8 function rooms and a Grand Ballroom that can comfortably accommodate from 60 to 800 people. All the rooms come with international standard meeting facilities to ensure smooth communication and organization of any event.

And to celebrate the end of a successful conference or meeting, you can have as much fun as you want with themed dinners at the Grand Ballroom or any of the outdoor venues such as the Palm Garden, Frangipani Cove or even the gardens and beachfront. The award-winning chefs will ensure that it will be a dining experience of the most memorable kind.

From work to leisure, Nexus Resort Karambunai has it all, so I’m going back there in January of the New Year with my husband who will be flying in from Sydney (as he works there) and my son for a break to recharge our batteries. Nexus…see you again soon.

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

More feathers in the cap for Miri Marriott Resort and Spa

MIRI: Marriott’s first full service spa resort in Malaysia and its first property in Borneo, The Miri Marriott Resort & Spa (MMRS) has won two major awards and three finalist awards in the 6th edition of the highly-acclaimed Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) 2007-2008, Malaysia Series recently.

The HAPA awards, organised and managed by World Asia Publishing (WAP), which publishes leading hospitality magazine Hospitality Asia, honour the most outstanding and deserving establishments and industry personalities for their exceptional performance.

This year’s edition saw the largest field of nominees ever - a record 190 - vying for 53 major, establishment and personality awards.

The judging by a panel of judges comprising distinguished industry professionals spanned almost four months, during which every nominee was reviewed by three judges per award category according to exacting guidelines set by the HAPA Committee.

Continue reading at: More feathers in the cap for Miri Marriott Resort and Spa

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sandakan Heritage Trail

Once a bustling little town dubbed the ‘Little Hong Kong of Borneo’, Sandakan is still one of Sabah’s economic hotspots and boasts a myriad of fascinating historical landmarks.

Remnants of the past are very much alive in this exciting township and there’s always something new to discover during your trip to Sandakan.

Perhaps the best way to see Sandakan’s famous historical landmarks is to take the Sandakan Heritage Trail. As you walk around the roads of Sandakan, you will come across interesting sites with historical significance.

The trail is easy to follow as there are signboards and indicators along the road to lead you. The trail begins at Masjid Jamek, the town mosque, which is more than a hundred years old. Today it continues to faithfully serve the Muslim community as a place of worship, despite some disruptions during World War II. The new Sandakan Hotel stands beside it, replacing the original, which was built in the 1880s.

You will then see the William Pryer Monument, which stands in memory of William B. Pryer (1845–1899), who founded Sandakan on 21 June 1879. He was also the first Resident of the East Coast.

Prepare to work those leg muscles as you make your way uphill using the Stairs of 100 Steps. These were the very stairs that the thriving Chinese community residing behind the hills used to make their way to town for business.

At the top of the steps, you can also find the World War II Chinese Memorial dedicated to the Chinese leaders and those who perished during the war.

One of the most notable landmarks you will encounter is the Agnes Keith House – home of the famous American writer who coined the term ‘Land below the Wind’ (also the title of her first book that recounts her time in Borneo).

As you walk further along the trail, you will see the Sam Sing Kung temple, built in 1887, making it 120 years old. Here you will find the oldest surviving bronze bell.

Also along the trail is the Goddess of Mercy Chinese temple and St. Michael’s and All Angels Church. This solid building managed to escape major damage during World War II and remains one of the very few stone buildings in the whole of Sabah.

Strolling along the side of the field after visiting the Sam Sing Kung temple will bring you to the junction facing the Malaysia Fountain. Along the way, take note of the Harrisons (& Crosfield) building. It is one of the oldest-established British companies in Sabah. Opposite the building are the former Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and Chartered Bank (now Standard Chartered Bank) buildings, both prestige banks of the colonial period.

The last historical landmark that awaits you is Wisma Warisan, which now houses the Tourist Information Centre. This was the main government building during the British administration. The former Residency office was on the first floor and the present Tourist Information Centre was the General Post Office for many years.

Courtesy of: Sabah Malaysia Borneo - Sabah Tourism Monthly Tourism Magazine

Sunday, December 16, 2007

World's highest mountain path on Mount Kinabalu

Kundasang: Mountain Torq Via Ferrata, a mountain path (via ferrata is Italian for iron road) opened here Saturday was certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as the world's highest and Asia's first to be built on Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia's highest summit.

The path, a climbing facility named and built by Adventure Factors Mountaineering Centre Sdn Bhd, would further elevate the tourism industry's service standard and enhance Sabah's reputation as a world-class adventure destination, said State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

"The tourism industry is a highly aggressive field as we are also competing with other countries for the same customers.

"To stay competitive, we need to keep abreast of the current and future needs of this ever evolving industry and respond to the demands of the increasingly sophisticated travellers," he said in his speech at the opening of Mountain Torq Via Ferrata at Kinabalu Park, here.

Continue reading at: World's highest mountain path on Mount Kinabalu

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Royal Brunei Airlines introduces visit Asean fares

By Azlan Othman

Royal Brunei Airlines being an Asean airline that participates in the Visit Asean Pass (VAP) programme has introduced a new air-pass with lower airfares from beginning this month.

Bernama reported, the new air-pass, called Special Visit Asean Air-Pass, is valid until Nov 30, 2008, and the eight participating airlines are Royal Brunei Airlines together with Malaysia Airlines, Garuda Airlines, Lao Airlines, Myanmar Airways International, Philippine Airlines, Thai Airways International and Vietnam Airlines.

At the same time, the validity of the original air-pass, named Visit Asean Air-Pass, has been extended for another year until Nov 30, 2008, said the Asean Tourism Association (Aseanta) which launched the pass in January 2006.

Aseanta president Felix J. Cruz said the new air-pass would be a major catalyst for further boosting tourism in Asean countries. "We will continue to look for more ways that airlines of Asean can play that important role," he said in a statement.

The new air-pass is priced at US$319 for three sectors or coupons and each additional sector or coupon is priced at US$120, up to a maximum of five sectors or coupons.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brunei's window to world tourism

By Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam's entry into the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) opens up a window of opportunity to acquire technical expertise and human resource development training.

Mr Francesco Frangialli, Secretary General of UNWTO, met with the Brunei Tourism Board yesterday, notably the CEO of Brunei Tourism, Sheikh Jamaluddin, to explore areas of cooperation.

There are lessons to be learnt from oil and gas nations like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia who are on the road to become important players in tourism.

"The oil and gas industry will not create employment forever and I shared the experience we have and to cooperate with UNWTO," Mr Frangialli told the media.

Brunei became one of the new UNWTO members during the 17th session of the UNWTO General Assembly which was held from Nov 22 to 29 this year in Colombia.

This will assist the sultanate in measuring the economic benefits of promoting tourism.

This observation was made by Mr Frangialli, who was speaking to the media yesterday after his meeting with Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Setia Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Dr Awg Hj Ahmad, Deputy Minister Dato Paduka Hj Hamdillah and Permanent Secretary Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid.

Being the 151st member of UNWTO, he said Brunei now has a benchmark to gauge its progress in the tourism industry.

"Tourism creates a lot of jobs for the younger generation, assists in economic diversification and (leads to) a stable economy," the UNWTO Secretary General said, adding that tourism was expanding very fast in the Asia-Pacific region.

While tourism can bring about a lot of good things, Mr Frangialli cautioned that it could also have a negative impact on the social cultural balance and environment of a country. "We have already explored possible areas of cooperation (with Brunei)," he said.

Sheikh Jamaluddin said: "The UNWTO can help us to maintain a tourism satellite account (so that) we know where we stand in terms of economic progress for tourism."

He added that was the reason why Brunei joined the organisation. "In any business, if we can't measure, we can't manage," the CEO of Brunei Tourism said.

Mr Frangialli is in Brunei for a two-day visit. He recently attended a business lunch with Brunei Tourism Board members, and visited the Sultanate's main tourist attractions such as the picturesque Water Village, Royal Regalia and the Selirong Recreational Park, where proboscis monkeys can be found.

Frangialli said that with tourism rising rapidly in the Asia-Pacific region and the prospect of millions of Chinese tourists roving in the region, Brunei ought to define its priorities early.

UNWTO is a specialised agency of the UN and the leading international organization in tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and practical issue of tourism know-how. UNWTO plays a central and decisive role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, paying particular attention to the interests of developing countries.

UNWTO currently has a membership of 157 countries and territories, as well as over 300 affiliate members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jerudong Park - Wonders of the World at Dazzling Lights Festival

Replica of the Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

THE 'WONDERS OF THE WORLD' will take centre-stage at
Jerudong Park Come Dec 15. Pic shows a replica of the
Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque - constructed on
a scale of 10:1 - the centrepiece of the attractions

A worker carefully placing crockery items onto the Leaning Tower of Pisa structure

A structure of Moscow's St Basil's Cathedral

The Eiffel Tower

A dragon head, which will also be part of the 'Dazzling Lights Festival'

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Huraizah Ahmad and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By Huraizah Ahmad

Come December 15, Jerudong Park Garden will transform itself into a panoramic landscape of the 'Wonders of the World'.

The latest attraction that will feature at the 'Dazzling Lights Festival' from December 15 to January 6, will be the first of its kind in the country.

According to one of the organisers of the project, Tony Lim, Director of Afortune Int Pte Ltd of Singapore, he said a four-feet container loaded with raw materials arrived a month ago for the construction process of the project.

The event is expected to give the perfect touch to the ongoing 'Cartoon and Local Music Festival' featured at the playground as part of the end of year school holidays activity.

"This will be a unique experience for all to experience the beauty of magnificent structures around the world in one location," said Chua Pheng Chai, Manager of JP Playground and Amphitheatre.

"The lighting structures are made entirely from scratch such as treated silk coverings, wires and steel rods by 20 skilled workers from China. The final touches will be completed by today," he added.

The event will feature a replica of the Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque constructed in scale of 1:10, which will be the centrepiece of the attraction.

Another major attraction to appear at the festival will be The Leaning Tower of Pisa. The only structure made out of steel frames and porcelain crockery items.

The Dazzling Lights Festival is organised by Afortune Int Pte Ltd of Singapore, Sky Wave Marketing and Management Services and Jerudong Park and Country Club.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Year-end celebrations at Miri Marriott Resort and Spa

Grand dinner during X'mas Eve includes Roasted Lamb

A Mandara hamper makes a perfect Christmas gift for friends

The Borneo Baking Company, the resort's bakery
and delicatessen, has been enjoying brisk sales
of its Christmas goodies since the start of the month

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Cedrina Norlaila Abd Clark and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By Cedrina Norlaila Abd Clark

The Miri Marriott Resort & Spa is spreading the joy of the festive season with a host of exciting promotions and events. From Christmas goodies and gift hampers to buffet dinners and New Year's Eve theme parties, there is something for everyone.

The international resort heralded the season with a glittering 'Christmas Launch' on Dec 7, which included the launch of its Christmas Wish Tree, a charity project supporting orphans, special children and children from underprivileged families, and a cocktail reception for business associates and resort guests.

The Borneo Baking Company, the resort's bakery and delicatessen, has been enjoying brisk sales of its Christmas goodies since the start of the month. They include traditional favourites like Fruit Cakes, Croquet en Bouche, Christmas Pudding and Stollen and more contemporary festive fare like Christmas Cheesecakes, Tiramisu and Chocolate Truffles.

The Yuletide festive spirit will be most evident on Christmas Eve when Zest, the resort's popular restaurant, lays out its lavish Christmas Eve Grand Buffet Dinner. Available from 6.30pm to 10.30pm, the dinner will showcase festive delights including Prime Ribs, Roasted Rack of Lamb, Grilled Pheasant and grilled seafood, as well as an array of tantalizing desserts like Gingerbread Cookies, Chocolate Petit Fours and other delectable treats.

On Christmas Day, Zest will feature a Christmas Day Brunch from noon to 3pm, for which Executive Chef Jeremy Harris and his merry band of chefs are set to cook up a sumptuous 'Christmas Roast' featuring Christmas specialties like Roasted Turkey, Leg of Lamb, Baked Salmon, Prime Ribs and more.

On New Year's Eve, Zest will usher in the New Year in a grand style, offering an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary delicacies, including Jumbo Prawn Cocktails, Seared Foie Gras, New Zealand Mussels, Rock Lobsters, as well as Zest's popular seafood thermidor, Seafood Paella, noodle and grill stations. Available from 7pm to 11pm, the promotion is priced at RM110++ for adults, half the price for children between six and 12 and free for those below six years old.

The Matahari Pool Terrace, meanwhile, will feature a poolside 'Salsa Beat Countdown Party' from 9pm onwards, including a spectacular fireworks display at midnight. A special treat for children will be a 'Fireworks Preview' exclusively for the little ones at 10pm.

For a New Year's Eve celebration with taste of nostalgia, the Lush Bar and its resident Filipino duo, Nightbyrds, will take patrons back to the Swinging Sixties with its '60's Retro Rock n' Roll Fever Nite' theme party from 10pm onwards. Amongst the evening's highlights will be prizes for the best Sixties attire.

To help revellers unwind and re-charge after an exhilarating night, Zest's New Year's Day 'Recovery Brunch' will showcase sumptuous seafood specialties like Grilled Tiger Prawns, Rock Lobsters, and brunch favourites like Eggs Benedict and Spanish Tapas. The brunch, which will also a feature a free flow of chilled juices and soft drinks, will be available from noon to 3pm.

For more information, contact the Miri Marriott Resort & Spa's Sales & Marketing Department at 085-421121 ext 7330.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Beverly Hotel expects high occupancy rates to continue into 2008

KOTA KINABALU: Beverly Hotel expects to increase its hotel occupancy rate next year, based on its more than satisfactory occupancy rate it has enjoyed this year, its general manager Thomas More Willie told reporters at a luncheon held at the hotel yesterday.

“The average occupancy rate for our hotel was 78 percent this year—and we expect this to increase next year,” he said.

He said that most of their clients are locals and comprise 65 percent of the market. “Another 15 per cent consist of West Malaysians while the remaining are foreign tourists from Japan, Korea and Europe,” he said.

Continue reading at: Beverly Hotel expects high occupancy rates to continue into 2008

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Renovated Labuan Airport may see more traffic from Singapore

LABUAN: The newly renovated Labuan airport will become a destination for low cost flights between the island and Singapore.

Minister of Transport, Dato’ Sri Chan Kong Choy said he would forward a proposal to the government after seeing for himself the facilities at the airport.

He said Labuan could become a destination of choice for Singaporeans and others who visit Singapore and looking forward to nearby places.

“We will suggest to the government that Labuan airport be used to service low cost carriers; either one way or vice versa or to allow low cost carriers from both sides to operate,” he said.

Continue reading at: Renovated Labuan Airport may see more traffic from Singapore

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kota Kinabalu International Airport’s new terminal goes live in April 2008

KOTA KINABALU: The new terminal at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport here is scheduled to be fully operational by April next year.

And, by then, it is hoped that the current “inconvenience and congestion” will reduce markedly for travellers.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to the airport yesterday, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said Malaysia Airports Berhad (MAB) is planning to use it for boarding and arrivals by January 9 before making it fully operational for passengers to check in at the new terminal block.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Kota Kinabalu International Airport’s new terminal goes live in April 2008

More villages for Sabah homestay programme

KOTA KINABALU: The State Government wants to identify more villages that can be involved in the homestay programme.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun said that as of to date, there are only 186 homestay operators in Sabah.

“We are still lagging behind in terms of participation in the homestay programme,” he said in his speech at the launch of the ‘Home Stay Development Seminar in Sabah’s Tourism Sector: Prospects and Challenges for Bumiputra Women Entrepreneurs” held at a hotel here yesterday.

The speech was read by the ministry’s assistant minister, Datuk Karim Bujang.

In Malaysia, there are 1,583 homestay operators, with Sabah being the second highest in terms of participation.

In view of Sabah richness in nature, Sabah should be the example of other States in the country where homestay programme is concerned, he said.

“We have everything. We are rich in natural resources which itself is an attraction to tourists. We also have an environment which is suited for eco-tourism.

Continue reading at: More villages for Sabah homestay programme

Kuching International Airport almost ready for the big aeroplanes

KUCHING: The Kuching International Airport (KIA)’s runway extension works will be fully completed by March next year.

Upon completion of the works, the total length of the runway will be 3,780 metres or 12, 400 feet which is long enough for any kind of aircraft such as A280s, Airbus and Boeing 747s to land.

Minister of Transport Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Chan Kong Choy, who arrived here in a private jet from Labuan and Kota Kinabalu for a brief visit to inspect works on the project, said he was very happy with the progress of works that have been done.

Continue reading at: Kuching International Airport almost ready for the big aeroplanes

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunset Bar, Nexus Resort Karambunai

If you are in Nexus Resort Karambunai, drop by the Sunset Bar to enjoy a hearty meal or sip on a cocktail as you enjoy the sunset. Located on the beachfront, the Sunset Bar is a quaint establishment, offering diners an al fresco environment to enjoy the South China Sea breeze while they eat.

For starters, check out the Lite Bites which offer an array of finger food including satay (a Malaysian favourite), Greek salad, spicy potato wedges and soup of the day. They also serve an array of sandwiches – try the tandoori chicken served in tortilla bread with cucumber yogurt.

Kids will love the Sunset Burger, chargrilled with onions or the Jumbo New York Hot Dog, served with caramelized onions, mustard and home-made relish.

Moving on the main course, the Sunset Bar can whip up a hearty charcoal-grilled Australian Rib Eye Steak or if you prefer something light, try the Grilled Seabass Fillet with spring onions and lemon dressing.

However, the pizza has proved to be the real winner at the Sunset Bar. Choose from a variety of flavours, including quarto formaggio, margarita and Mediterranean.

There’s definitely something for everyone! Craving for something sweet? Go for the chocolate cake, apple crumble or caramello cheesecake. Simply delectable! Cocktails, mocktails, smoothies and fresh juices are also available so take your pick.

Surrounded by the great outdoors and with an amazing view of the sunset, the Sunset Bar will not disappoint.

Open daily from 12 noon to 11:00 pm. For more information, contact Nexus Resort Karambunai at 088-411222.

Source: Nexus Resort Karambunai

Return to Nexus Karambunai

By Anne Vivienne

Karambunai, just 45 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu, the State Capital, has always been known for its stretches of white sandy beaches and the cerulean sea.

It is loved for its shady casuarinas trees that stand like sentinels against the harsher wind from the ocean.

Friends talk about sitting around bonfires, attending to barbecues and singing the ‘auld lang syne’ for several year ends there. Actually in those days (of yore!) my family and I visited that place for its abundance of clams and mollusc.

And then the Nexus Resort Karambunai’s construction began… no more ‘clamming’.

A few years afterwards Nexus Resort Karambunai came into being. Nexus means attachment, attraction or a bonding, and it has done just that; bond with the natural surroundings.

The resort is imposing; located on the green fields, seeming to look into the horizon, proudly but around it is the forests and the sea… nature surrounding the manmade formation.

Nexus is located on 3335 acres of land that is beautifully landscaped. Only one third of the land have been developed while the rest are broody hills covered with natural vegetation. And of course there is the white sandy beach and the blue sea. For die hard Sea, Sand and Sun lover, they can have six kilometres of beach to enjoy.

The accommodations in this resort are tastefully furnished, cosy and comfortable. The 485 rooms with six bungalows offer you views of the sea and the golf course as well as the mountain. All rooms have their own balconies.

One of the most beautiful rooms I have ever seen is actually in Nexus.

During a recent visit, the Resort’s Marketing Communications Manager Pamela Fletcher escorted me to a couple of the Resort’s villas and I was quite impressed, to say the least.

The Royal Villa has three oh-so beautiful bedrooms with spacious bathrooms. The beds are divinely made and seem to invite slumbers of the ‘Rip Van Winkle” kind.

The living room is quite spacious living as are the dining rooms. There is a kitchen there as well.

The villa also has its own private garden that can function very well as a place to entertain a few guests for parties.

The other villas are called the Presidential Villas. These two-storey villas are so dreamy that I wish I can take it home one and look after it like my own.

The two beautiful bedrooms are so inviting, you want to stay there forever; maybe move an inch or two but not more than that. The bathrooms, two of them to be exact, are so nice and clean, you want to linger there after everything is done.

The dining area inspires banquets; well, a small one, and the balcony can inspire ‘Romeos’. The balcony looks out towards the
sea, too.


Anyway, the Resorts other rooms are beautiful as well, so don’t worry. The services are flawless here too.

As for where to get your food, you have four restaurants to choose from for your food. The Penyu is a coffee house where they offer you all day dining. They serve a large selection of international and local food. The breakfast that I had here was tremendously satisfying.

The other restaurant is the Kingfisher. Imagine dining with the soughs of the wind on the treetops, the crash of the waves on the beach and the sound of the night serenading you. That’s Kingfisher for you. Then there is the ‘Olives’, which is a Mediterranean Restaurant. It serves continental food including from countries surrounding the Med.

The Chinese Restaurant, Noble House is also a good place to go. They also offer an array of classic Chinese cuisine. So if you are in the resort visit this eatery.

For those of you who like sports and recreation, there is the mangrove river cruise. The boat ride to the mangrove can be interesting.

You can see wildlife among the mangroves if you are observant enough. The last time I visited, I saw a lone iguana, a couple of lizards, a snake, some birds and many insects.

Of course there are many other things you can do in Nexus, but this resort is especially for those who want to relax, smell the sea air and take long nature walks along the beach or the nature trail.

So if you want to have a beautiful resort to stay in and enjoy nature, check out Nexus Resort Karambunai.

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

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Manukan Island - Sparkling gem of Sabah

Speed boats waiting to transport visitors to other islands

Visitors enjoying the sea and sandy beach at Manukan Island

Lion fish, one of the marine species found in the park

Chalets on Manukan Island are air-conditioned

Monitor lizard may visit picnickers on the island

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to NYL and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.


The gorgeous azure sea, stunning blue sky, soft beige sandy beach and wonderful sea breeze that leave a tangy salt taste on one's lips are all I could think of even way before setting foot on Manukan Island in Sabah.

It has been two years since I last dived into its stunning water and ventured to its reefs to be mesmerised by the sea dwellers that live down in the deep blue. Two years, I thought, is way too long to be away from a place that I have considered as home away from home.

Located about half an hour's boat ride off Jesselton Point, Manukan is the second largest of the five islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Others are the Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Mamutik Island and Sulug Island.

It is noon and the boat ride to Manukan Island is rather smooth when compared to the one I had during my last trip here.

While the wind blows by, we squint to avoid the splashing seawater as the boat cuts through the vast South China Sea, home to an array of fascinating sea life and diving sites.

Occasionally, schools of anchovy-like fish leap to the surface - their shiny scale glistening under the hot sun, probably startled by the boat or perhaps swimming away from predators beneath.

The boat service regularly takes visitors to the islands - catering to families, day-trippers and couples who prefer solace.

In June, the 800-metre stretch of beach on Manukan's long coastline becomes a haven to hundreds of tourists and backpackers, mainly from Europe, who turn up in droves to discover life under the hot sunny skies.

Captivated by the relaxed and laid back lifestyle the island offers, it is not surprising that some visitors keep coming back for more.

Most tourists join the daily snorkelling trips that take them to several snorkelling spots located around Manukan.

For those who are keen to learn diving, Mamutik Island, an island next to Manukan, has a dive school - Borneo Divers - that offers a full range of scuba diving courses. Otherwise, visitors may opt to ride on boats with a glass bottom to observe the fascinating sea life around the islands.

Among the marine species at the park are sea squirts, hermit crabs, feather starfish, lion fish, barracuda, rainbow runners, rock fish, brown groupers, clown fish, parrotfish, puffer fish, angelfish and black-tipped coral sharks.

Other attractions include island hopping rides, banana boat rides, kayaking, beach volleyball, parasailing, water sports and doing a 40-minute trek through the cool lowland forest for a scenic view of the beach.

If you are one of the lucky ones, you may even spot pangolins or scaly ant-eaters, squirrels, hornbills and monkeys along the trails.

Soft-speaking picnickers may occasionally see large monitor lizards visiting the picnic areas in search of a few scraps of food.

Visitors are spoilt for food choices at this seaside destination, which serves a wide range of seafood dishes done in BBQ style or ala carte aside from the normal array of Western, Chinese and Malay style dishes such as chicken chop, fried rice, noodles and typical mixed rice.

To get there, go to Jesselton Point, the pick-up point for all boat rides to the islands. You can choose between a return trip to an island, two islands or even three islands.

The return fare for an island is RM15 per person, RM25 for two islands and RM35 for three islands. There is an island entrance fee of RM10 per person which can be used for visits to all the other islands.

The earliest boat leaves at 9am and returns by 4pm.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

Brunei prepares for better airport

By James Kon

Brunei government has appointed a consultant company to prepare the main plan, as a guideline for the expansion of infrastructures and facilities of the Brunei International Airport.

This was revealed by Pengiran Hj Abd Rahman PSI Bin Pg Hj Ismail, the Director of Civil Aviation in his welcoming remarks at the launching of Civil Aviation Department Customer's day, yesterday morning at the Brunei International Airport.

He said, "The Government of His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam always places utmost importance on the infrastructure, facilities and services provided by the Brunei International Airport.

"Therefore under the 8th National Development Plan, the Department of Civil Aviation through an appointed consultant company will prepare a main plan for Brunei International Airport, scheduled to be completed by July 2008."

He added, "The main plan would be the guideline for the expansion of infrastructures and facilities. In addition to increasing the facilities, the implementation of the main plan will support the vision, mission and strategic plan of Civil Aviation Department and the Ministry of Communications in general.

Subject to approval, the expansion of the Brunei International Airport is expected to take off in year 2009.

Speaking of services at the Airport, he expressed, "Brunei International Airport as the main gateway to Brunei Darussalam, plays a great role in ensuring impression and expectations of passengers are always satisfied, comfortable, as well as proud of our services and facilities. As a service provider and facilitator, it is the responsibilities of Brunei International Airport's community to always be proactive on matters of providing quality services and react on any complaints and suggestion provided by members of the public."

Touching on customer's day, the Director of Civil Aviation highlighted that although the customer's day celebration is in moderate scale, its objectives and focus of the celebration is very important in terms of security, satisfaction and harmony of the passengers, aviation department, stakeholders of the airport and members of the public in line with the theme of the customer day which is achieving Service Excellence through Human Resource Development.

"Understanding the importance of Human Resource Development, the Ministry of Communications incorporated Human Resource Development as a strategy that has its objectives in the plan to achieve the Ministry of Communication's vision towards sophistication and excellence for empowering the country's competitive advantage."

He said, "In the Human Resource Development strategy, the Ministry of Communications and its departments are committed to making sure all officers and staff receive and are provided with enough training through structured competency development programmes as well as simplify the training and education. This method through the training schemes would raise public awareness to encourage locals to take up jobs in the aviation and communications industry."

After the speech, Pengiran Hj Abd Rahman PSI Bin Pg Hj Ismail, the Director of Civil Aviation presented awards to eight exemplary officers of the civil aviation department.

The guest of honour also witnessed a performance by the choir from Civil Aviation Department. Also present were Awang Muhamad Husaini Bin Aji, the chairperson of the event and other officials from the department of Civil Aviation.

The aim of the customer's day celebration is to provide services based on efficient, fast, transparent, care and politeness. It also hopes that the customer's day would change the mindset of staff in Civil Aviation Department and Brunei International Airport's community.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sarawak's spectacular cultures

Posing in front of an Orang Ulu house
Mr Eric gives a briefing about the Bidayuh house

A Melanau house

A native demonstrates the use of a blowpipe (Sumpit)

A Bidayuh welcoming dance

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Yusrin Junaidi and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

By Yusrin Junaidi in Kuching

During my recent visit to Kuching, Sarawak, with local journalists from various media outlets which was arranged by Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) and organised by the Sarawak Tourism Federation, I was amazed by Sarawak's myriad cultures. One of the most fascination places we toured was the Sarawak Cultural Village located in Santubong.

A fascinating place for all, the Sarawak Cultural Village at Santubong was created 17 years ago to showcase the beauty of Sarawakian cultures. Of the estimated 30 ethnic groups that call Sarawak home, seven main ones are displayed at the Sarawak Cultural Village, comprising Iban, Orang Ulu, Penan, Melanau, Malay, Chinese and Bidayuh cultures.

We were also told by Mr Eric, Cat City Executive Guide of Sarawak, that the Sarawak Cultural Village portrays the state's rich cultural diversity in one place. It is a seventeen-and-a-half-acre piece of land at the foothill of the legendary Mount of Santubong fronting the South China Sea with seven authentic ethnic houses built around a man-made lake.

The lake represents the propensity of Sarawakians to situate their dwellings alongside rivers or along the coastal areas. It is also a focal point for water-based activities.

All of us had the opportunity to further understand the history, customs and traditions of the main ethnic groups of the state, like the Ibans who make up the biggest demographic.

Renowned for their warrior courage and pride, the Ibans are experts in the jungle even today, showing great skills in hunting and collecting wild herbs and other produce.

There are many interesting curiosities on display at the village and visitors will perhaps immediately notice several hanging skulls, most of them are well over a hundred years old, serving a silent reminder of the days when the Ibans practiced headhunting. Preserved in a special way, the skulls are said to repel intruders and evil spirits from entering longhouses.

In Sarawak, there is a dance for almost every event. Victorious occasions, such as successful hunts, are often celebrated, and these dances differ according to the tribes' traditions. Some do not even have specific names. At the cultural village, most of these dances are showcased, providing another interesting insight into the art and heritage of the state's many cultures. The unique outfits of the ethnic men and women of Sarawak are also glittery and dazzling.

One of the dances is the "Datun Julud", an Orang Ulu traditional welcome dance performed by beautiful Orang Ulu maidens to welcome guests to the longhouse. "Ngajat Lesong" is an Iban dance where the Iban warrior demonstrates the extraordinary strength of his teeth by lifting a mortar, weighing around 20 kg. Dancing with the mortar hanging from his mouth showcases the agility of the warrior and is a feat of endurance.

The Bidayuh usually dance a "Langgi Julang", a ritual dance performed by the villagers on the occasion of electing a new chief for the village. The dance consists of Bidayuh men dancing on the "Julang" or brass tray, while accompanied by beautiful Bidayuh maidens.

One of the differences between the tribes can be seen in their costumes. Orang Ulu costumes are sewn in circular motions while Bidayuh costumes are mostly black and decorated with colourful feather fans, tiny bells and balls. Iban costumes are extremely bright; their attire is festooned with various accessories from head to toe, including feathered headgear, dangling bangles, beaded bags and silver anklets.

A very long time ago, the villagers also ate Sago grub. The Sago grub is the larva of the Capricorn beetle. It lives and feeds on the starchy pulp of the Sago palm tree, the Pantu palm and the Aping palm. A plump, creamy-yellow larva with a soft-ridged texture and a hard-shelled head, the Sago worm is regarded as a special high-nutrient delicacy among most ethnic groups in Sarawak. We heard that the Sago Grub tastes like prawns, and it is even better if eaten raw or roasted.

In the village, the young and exuberant village artistes provide magnificent multi-cultural dance performances in the modern theatre. The restaurant serves selected traditional Sarawakian food and the handicraft shop offers fine Sarawak handicraft and souvenirs. There are also handicraft-making demonstrations by skilled craftspeople. Traditional games, household chores, rituals and ceremonies are performed within and outside the ethnic houses.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Friday, December 07, 2007

New rule on climbing Mt Kinabalu Jan 1

Kota Kinabalu: Those wishing to scale Mount Kinabalu will be required to obtain a climber's permit from Sabah Parks beginning Jan 1, next year.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the new ruling would require applications to the Sabah Parks headquarters, which issues the permit.

Only then they could apply for accommodation facilities from Sutera Sanctuary Lodge (SSL), which privatises the services from the State Government since 1988, over a period of 30 years.

Continue reading at: New rule on climbing Mt Kinabalu Jan 1