Friday, October 31, 2008

Two Majestic Mosques Of Brunei

From AsiaHotels blog:

Touring the Empire Hotel and Country Club was the perfect introduction to the beauty of Brunei. The luxurious hotel can be compared to the appetizer of a 10-course meal where the food that you savor just keeps on getting better with every bite.

There are so many places to explore in this regal country. Brunei’s climate of high temperature and extreme humidity did not even bother me most especially since I am already used to living in a country where the average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius.

Given that Brunei is predominantly a Muslim country, I made it a point to include a visit to the different mosques in my travel itinerary. From my research before my trip, I learned that there are two impressive mosques that are worthy of a visit and one of them is even located in the middle of a shopping district!

The first mosque in my list was the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque which was built in 1958. It was named after Omar Ali Saifuddien, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, who is also fondly referred to by locals as the “architect of modern Brunei.” Currently, it is considered one of the most magnificent mosques in the entire Southeast Asian region. This mosque is a dominating structure that can be found on the river banks of Bandar. It is not hard to find this mosque as it is located right smack in the town center of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Two Majestic Mosques Of Brunei

Desserts and more at Orchid Garden Coffee House, Holiday Inn Kuching

Some people are simply crazy about desserts. If you are that person, then you are in for a sweet treat! Every Saturday from now till November 29, the Orchid Garden Coffee House at Holiday Inn Kuching is serving up a huge selection of local and international desserts.

The Just Desserts promotion features savoury and sweet items, prepared by the hotel’s Pastry Chefs, that are simply perfect for tea time. These items range from cookies, cakes, pastries, puddings and ice creams. There are even salads and hot items to choose from.

Start at the “Sandwich Wagon”, where a good selection of sandwiches await. Different types of bread are used, each offering its own distinctive flavour. Sandwich fillings include cheese, cold cuts, fresh vegetables and tuna.

In the Just Desserts promotion, diners can also indulge in some hot items. A must-have item is the delicious Crepe with different condiments. Have one freshly made for you by the chef at the live cooking station.

The Cinnamon Toast is also worth a try. But if you prefer Kaya on your toast, they have that as well.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Desserts and more at Orchid Garden Coffee House, Holiday Inn Kuching

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Maize Festival (Pesta Jagung) Kota Marudu

31 October - 2 November 2008

An annual festival of Kota Marudu District that celebrates the maize industry. Featuring a myriad of activities including maize-related exhibitions, competitions, traditional sports, Pesta Jagung beauty pageant and colourful cultural performances.

Further Information

Organiser : Disrict Office of Kota Marudu / Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd
Contact Person : Puan Luvita Koisun / Zachary S. Mobijohn
Telephone : +6088 661321, 232121
Fax : +6088 661419, 265540
Email Contact :

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

International recognition for the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands has been officially designated as Sabah’s first and Malaysia’s largest Ramsar site.

This declaration was made at the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar COP10) in Changwon, Korea on Tuesday.

It not only names the 6th Ramsar site in Malaysia, but also makes the area Sabah’s first Ramsar site as well as Malaysia’s largest, extending over 78,803 hectares of mangrove forests and peat swamp on the east coast.

Dr. Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention presented the official certificate to Abdul Fatah Amir, director of the Sabah Biodiversity Centre (SBC) at the Ramsar COP 10.

The site comprises three contiguous forest reserves namely Trusan Kinabatangan Forest Reserve (40,471 ha), Kulamba Wildlife Reserve (20,682 ha), and Kuala Maruap and Kuala Segama Forest Reserve (17,650 ha).

Continue reading at: International recognition for the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands in Sabah

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: Come and smell the flowers

HERE’S a bit of advice for those planning to visit the Orang Utan Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, 13 miles out of Kuching. Don’t just go ape – stop and smell the flowers by the wayside!

The flowers in question grow in the Pitcher Plant And Wild Orchid Garden, at 10th mile. No traveller bound for Semenggoh or Benuk can miss it — it’s by the old bazaar at the end of the railway line of pious memory. The main road, bound for Sibu and Miri, turns to the east here, but orchids, apes and highlands lie due south, on a well maintained country road.

Pitchers Or Flowers?

In case a serious naturalist reads this – the title is misleading. The vast majority of Sarawak’s 2,500-odd orchids don’t smell, and the pretty vessels dangling from the pitcher plants aren’t flowers. Check up on the facts at the Pitcher and Wild Orchid Garden, carefully laid out under huge trees that provide cool shade even at midday, and enjoy the visit!

Visitors pay a modest fee to enter the quiet world of pitchers. The genus Nepenthes is represented here with over two dozen species, some of them indigenous to Borneo. It’s a plant that grows on poor, sandy soils, often seen by the roadside or on abandoned agricultural clearings.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre: Come and smell the flowers

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New look for Palace Hotel, Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: A landmark in Sabah’s hospitality industry will soon be the emergence of a new four-star business hotel.

Sitting on a hillock about a kilometre from the city centre, the 151-room The Palace Hotel is set to be fully operational by year’s end.

Hotel general manager Phang Joo See said almost every part of the hotel was being refurbished following the management takeover of the facility by Main Board listed NPC Resources Bhd on March 9.

She said refurbishment works were also being carried out at the hotel pool as well as the gym that would make them even more inviting to guests.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: New look for Palace Hotel, Sabah

Bird watchers enthralled by exotic species at Borneo Highlands Resort mini bird race event

BIRD lovers flocked to the Borneo Highlands Resort near here recently to take part in an inaugural bird watching competition.

Dubbed the “Mini Bird Race”, the event was organised by the resort and the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) to promote bird watching and bird conservation in Sarawak.

Sixteen teams of two people each participated in the race, which took place on the jungle and mountain trails around the resort.

Located on the Penrissen Range some 1,000m above sea level on the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, the Borneo Highlands Resort is an important bird sanctuary where more than 150 species have been sighted so far.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Bird watchers enthralled by exotic species at Borneo Highlands Resort mini bird race event

Monday, October 27, 2008

Borneo, it's a jungle out here!

From TravelBlog:

We made our way to Brunei by ferry boat after a brief stopover on the duty-free island of Pulau Labuan to stock up on some Vodka. There is no alcohol sold in the kingdom, so we had to plan ahead. The age of consent is 14, but one can never drink, maybe that makes sense after all.

We made it to the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan and found out two of the top attractions in the city, as noted by the hotel and tour agent, was to visit the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and the mall. No kidding! We did both. The mosque was beautiful and worth the time we spent there looking around. The mall was, well it was a mall.

Getting to Miri (which is in Sarawak, Borneo Malaysia) involved taking three buses, a ferry (imagine your daddy’s boat), a bus, a border crossing and a final bus into town. After a brief rain soaked layover in this Shell Oil town we departed for Sibu.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Borneo, it's a jungle out here!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mudslinging Fun at Pulau Tiga In Sabah

Step on the lawn of the Pulau Tiga resort in Sabah, Malaysia, and you are quite likely to encounter mud-covered, mutant-like figures heading for the sea.

You would be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled on the set of a movie about a scientist whose experiments had gone horribly wrong. After all, the island off Sabah does have a Hollywood connection. It was the location for the very first season of the popular reality TV show Survivor, which debuted in 2000.

But, really, the unkempt figures would just be resort visitors who had enjoyed a therapeutic mud bath, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Pulau Tiga was formed in 1897 when an earthquake on Mindanao in the southern Philippines caused a volcanic eruption north of Sabah.

More geothermal activity over the next 40 years resulted in an island that is 4.5km long, 1.5km wide and 20.7sqkm in size. The last eruption was in 1941 but mud still oozes from a few vents on the surface of the island.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mudslinging Fun at Pulau Tiga In Sabah

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu: The Summit Of Borneo

From AsiaHotels blog:

So many tourists go to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah Malaysia to test their limits by conquering Mt. Kinabalu, the tallest mountain in Malaysia.

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu can actually be completed within two days but it is not recommended most especially for novice climbers. A slower paced 3-day climb is more comfortable and suggested to acclimatise to the altitude and to give you to enjoy the climb and appreciate the rich flora and fauna including rare plants, colourful birds, interesting insects, etc.

You can reach the summit by taking two trails: the Summit Trail and the other one is the Mesilau Route. These two trails meet at one point called the Layang – Layang which is already at 2, 740m.

The Summit Trail is the more travelled route. You would have to start your journey from the park’s headquarters by taking the shuttle transport to the Timpohon Gate (1, 866.4m) and this is where the Summit Trail starts. You would have to start on foot near the descent of the Carson Falls, named after the first Park Warden of Kinabalu Park. From here, the climb would take around four to five hours for the day but this would still depend on your fitness level.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Climbing Mt. Kinabalu: The Summit Of Borneo

Sabah Handicraft Galore

Even with today’s designer innovations, traditional handicraft has always been a part of the lives of Sabah’s peoples. From functional objects to decorative accessories, the various handicraft made throughout Sabah reflect the culture that they come from.


Baskets woven with tree bark, rattan and bamboo are still used by the natives everyday. They use the baskets to carry harvest such as fruits, paddy and other crops, as well as any tools that they need to take with them when they go out to work in a field or the jungles. Today techniques used for making woven baskets have been used to make contemporary products such as stationery holders, trays and decorative pieces for the home. Seen here is the carrier called “wakid“, a basket made by the Dusun/Kadazan people who live at the foot of Mount Kinabalu. The back carrier is cylindrical at the base and has a flared-out top. The body is made from pieces of carefully split bamboo that tightly fit at an elongated base. A pair of shoulder straps made either of woven split rattan or bark cloth complete the form and function of this basket.


Beaded products made by the Rungus people from Kudat are especially known for their burst of colours and intricate designs. According to tradition, the patterns on the beads knit together represent special meanings and tell a story. Most Rungus beaded products are worn as a part of the Rungus traditional costume, as a loose band of beads worn crossed over the chest and back. Current pieces also function as deco pieces for the home and used as wall hangings. The beaded necklaces seen here are known as “pinakol”.


Fabrics with elaborate patterns and designs like the “tinohian” woven by the Rungus women of Kudat and the “kain dastar” made by the Bajau take months to complete and are consequently some of the most expensive traditional crafts there is to purchase. The “tinohian” is a heavily embroidered piece while the “kain dastar” is woven with great concentration to detail but they are both similar in that they are both worn on the head by the men of their respective makers. There are many more traditional textiles made by the Rungus, the Bajau as well as the other cultures around the state, each strongly expressing a different ethnicity.

Musical Instruments

Leopold Stokowski once said, “A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” The natives of Sabah too painted the silence with musical instruments of their own, crafting them out of bamboo, wood and animal skins. The “sompoton” seen here is a traditional Kadazan music instrument made by the Dusun tribes in Sabah. The “sompoton” is made of a double raft of eight bamboo pipes inserted into a dried gourd. They also made other wind, stringed and percussion instruments, including the gong, which is used widely today in any traditional musical performances.

Other Traditional Crafts and Where to Get Them

There is an almost inexhaustible amount of crafts made by the local folk, like the tight-woven “rinago” baskets made by the Rungus of Kudat, the “tudung duang” made by the Bajau and various woven hats made by various ethnic groups of Sabah. The are also traditional tools like the “parang” and larger constructions like the “lepa-lepa” boats from the East-coast Bajau. All these and other crafts can be found at a “tamu”, the traditional open-air market found in various locations throughout the State. Check out page 25 for the locations and days that these “tamu” operate. Alternatively, these crafts are also available from the reasonable priced Kadaiku boutique in Kota Kinabalu, which sells high-quality traditional goods sourced through the local communities. Kadaiku is located at Lot 5, Ground floor, Block L of Sinsuran Complex.

Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pulau Tiga - Survivor Island

From Lost Borneo blog:

Of all the many wonderful natural attractions in this eco-paradise called Sabah, Pulau Tiga Park is perhaps one of the more unique ones. As its name suggests (Pulau Tiga means “three islands” in Malay), the national park is made up of three islands and all three are special in their own way. Established as a national park since 1978, Pulau Tiga only became “famous” after the first season of the popular reality game show, Survivor, was filmed there in 2000. Its remote location and unique features like mud volcanoes, tropical jungle and clear waters made it the perfect place for a deserted island adventure. Despite its new-found fame, the island has not been spoiled by hordes of holiday-makers, and it remains a quiet island getaway.

Getting there

Getting to Pulau Tiga is not as convenient as, say Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, but that can be a blessing in disguise. Its distance from the capital city of Kota Kinabalu means that only those truly determined souls can enjoy the island. There are three ways of getting to the island. The first is by car. From Kota Kinabalu, it is a 140km (2 hours +) car ride to Kuala Penyu, the departing point for Pulau Tiga. The boat ride takes about 30 to 40 minutes from here. An alternative is to travel by speed boat directly from KK. This takes between 60 to 90 minutes. The last alternative is only for those who can afford it – a helicopter ride direct to the island.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Pulau Tiga - Survivor Island

Sarawak Museum needed to be expanded

KUCHING: There is a need to expand the present Sarawak Museum which is touted to be the best in South East Asia in the future, said Minister of Urban Development and Tourism Datuk Michael Manyin Jawong.

“We need a bigger building for our museum to cater to the increasing number of visitors. Our present one is getting too small. As we go by, we see our requirements. For now it is too premature for me to answer that question (on whether we will have a bigger building for the museum).

“It can be a reality when we have the money. The money has to come from KL. We will think about it and put up a request maybe under the 10th Malaysia Plan,” Manyin told reporters after launching an art exhibition entitled, “More than Colours” at the Arts Museum here yesterday.

He reiterated that if you really want a good museum, ample space was needed, especially parking spaces for visitors.
“Take for instance, the London Museum. One can spend the whole day there.

“It has a cafeteria and bookstore inside where one can do your research work. We have to incorporate these facilities into a big space. And if you go to the various museums and cathedrals in Paris, there are plenty of spaces at these premises. Some can accommodate about 100 coaches at any one time,” he pointed out.

Manyin was however proud of the Sarawak Museum as it is one of the state’s main tourism products.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sarawak Museum needed to be expanded

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sabah Tourism Board launches Chinese website

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism Board has launched its Chinese version website in addition to English, Bahasa Malaysia, Japanese and Korean languages.

Aimed at attracting Chinese travellers from the China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong markets, the new Sabah Tourism Simplified and Traditional Chinese web sites shall become a favourable means of information regarding the Land Below the Wind, all in their preferred language.

Once logged on to, visitors will be given language options on the first page. Sabah Tourism website is currently the only Malaysian state tourism website that offers 5-language options which are spoken by 2 billion people—about one third of world’s population. This move is also in line with the nation’s tourism strategy to reach more Asian visitor mass.

Continue reading at: Sabah Tourism Board launches Chinese website

Tattoo and Art Exhibition at Monsopiad Cultural Village

From Life in Borneo blog:

An Art & Tattoo exhibition is being held at the Monsopiad Cultural Village, every Friday to Saturday for the month of October. For the people of Borneo, Tattoos are a part of our culture and tradition. While modern tools have almost replaced all traditional methods, ancient tribal patterns are not forgotten. Flora and fauna motif passed down from generations are still being used till today.

Some people display tattoos to celebrate or memorialize a significant point in ones’ life and at other times, to commemorate a loved one, may it be name(s) or even an illustration of a person. Though these times in history are not depicted using words, rather they are more like etchings using designs of places and dates which only the person that received the tattoo would know the meaning behind them.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Tattoo and Art Exhibition at Monsopiad Cultural Village

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Muara Beach in Brunei gets new look

Information centre which will come into operation soon

New wash area built for the convenience of the public

Concrete gazebo for people to take shelter from the sun

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Sham and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Sham

Refurbishment work at the popular Muara beach, which has been going on for a number of months, has finally been completed.

With the completion of the work, the famous beach has enhanced its reputation as one of the most beautiful beaches in the country.

In addition to the existing concrete and wooden gazebos plus a much bigger washroom, which is now in a much safer location, more new and strategically located concrete benches and other facilities have also been added.

To provide better comfort to those who want to clean and freshen up, perhaps after playing in the sand or swimming in the sea, several well-covered and well-built shower facilities as well as water pipes for cleaning have been constructed at various spots.

For those who are planning to have barbecue, it is indeed a perfect place.

Several concrete-made barbecue facilities, which come with the steel grill, are provided for visitors to utilise. Each of the three-legged facility, which is just over a metre high, is conveniently located next to shelters.

There is also an information booth overlooking the sea and once it comes into operation will provide all visitors whatever information they may require.

To boost safety in the area, a guard room has also been constructed at the entrance to the beach.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Concern over logging road into Bario highland

MIRI: The 300-km long mountain-logging road right to the top of the Bario highlands in northern Sarawak will permanently damage the ecology and weather systems in Sarawak's interior, warned environmental-watchdog group Borneo Resources Institute.

Institute coordinator for Sarawak, Raymond Abin, said this road might result in more highland forests being logged and this would spell the end of the pristine nature of Bario.

"We (his institute) are totally caught offguard by the news that this logging road has already been built all the way into the top of Bario highlands.

“The Bario highlands is a very ecologically-important region. The ecosystem and the weather system there is very fragile.

Continue reading at: Concern over logging road into Bario highland

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

75-year-old Bruneian scales Mt Kinabalu

Awg Haji Johar showing the route he and his group took to the summit

Awg Hj Johar and his team pose after scaling the Low's Peak

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Achong Tanjong and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Achong Tanjong

Climbing Mount Kinabalu is no ordinary feat. And for a 75-year-old Bruneian to do it is simply phenomenal - not once but twice in two years.

Awg Haji Johar bin Hj Abd Rashid, 75, has successfully scaled the 4095.2-metre Low's Peak, the summit of Mount Kinabalu, recently with other young local climbers.

This was his second achievement following his first successful attempt in 2006.

"Age is not an obstacle to success. If there is a will there is a way," he told the Bulletin.

Proudly showing off his certificate to the Bulletin, Haji Johar said, his group comprised Haji Norariffiinhazalin Haji Abdullah, Hjh Siti Jamilah Hj Lamit (Group Leader), Hjh Rosinah Hj Lamit, Md Zafri Hj Lamit, and Norshima bte Md Jali.

When asked about his preparation and fitness before going to Sabah, he said, "I used to do my normal jogging in the morning at Shahbandar Recreation Park in Jerudong two times a week."

He said this year the conditions were quite tough for him compared to 2006 because he lacked sufficient physical fitness due to the fasting month. After celebrating Hari Raya, the group went for the climb.

"I felt pain for two days after the climb but I'm alright now," he said adding that one needs to be fit before starting such an expedition.

He said this year they started climbing via the Mesilau Summit Trail and took 10 hours to reach Laban Rata from Mesilau, which others may take about five hours. They climbed for four hours in rainy conditions until Laban Rata (Guest Chalet), he added.

Haji Johar thanked the group for believing in him to reach the Mt Kinabalu summit. All the expenses for the expedition were borne by Awg Haji Johar. He is now looking forward to join any group to scale any mountain provided his fitness and health condition allow him to do so.

He advised the younger generation that nothing is impossible in the world if they have the self-confidence, which is the key to success.

Kinabalu Park is Malaysia's First World Heritage site and conserves one of the richest assemblages of biological diversity and spectacular natural landscapes in tropical Southeast Asia.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sabah Tourism: Our Direction

A thought worthy comment about Sabah Tourism from Daniel Doughty's "Does It Really Matter" blog:

Whenever I think of tourism destination in sabah, i’ll start thinking of all the beautiful places there is and how lucky we are to be a sabahan to have such rich biodiversity and culture to present to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, I must admit that the tourism destination in sabah is getting dryer, for the past 6 years or so, there have been introduction of tourism area and product. Some make it and some don’t., some man made and some are naturally one of its mother nature’s kind of intervention.

Are we at this stage required to create a lot of man made tourism product to attract more diverse tourist and cater to many tourism market. Or shall we continue with what we have and continue to see the tourism product die naturally through overcrowding, mismanagement, etc.

Let take Mt Kinabalu for example, the demand for this mountain is at its peak so much so the need to privatize its accommodation to cater for the tourism standard were approved. Then somebody got greedy, private company who were suppose to manage its accommodation started to run themselves as a travel agent thus resulting in monopolizing the market and leaving other small travel agent disappointed due limited space allocated for them.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sabah Tourism: Our Direction

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baloi Hill transformed into eco-friendly tourism hotspot

By Jon Tampoi

The Information Department collaborated with the Village Council of Pengkalan Batu to organise an expedition called, "Jelajah Penerangan ke Bukit Kota", at Kampong Batu Ampar in Mukim Pengkalan Batu, yesterday.

Hj Md Yussof Bin Hj Ladi - the Acting Director of the Information Dept, the Ketua Kampong of Pengkalan Batu - Awg Hj Kahar bin Tinggal, some 20 officers from the Information Department and their family members, Pengkalan Batu Village Council members as well as residents of the surrounding village were present at yesterday's event.

In his address, the ketua kampong of Pengkalan Batu emphasised on the natural beauty of the surrounding area of Baloi Hill, which sprung to life with the idea of turning it into an eco-friendly tourism hot spot which will not only benefit tourists or foreigners but locals as well.

Talks with the Environment and Recreational Department, the Ministry of Development and the Tourism Unit have been completed. Another meeting will be scheduled with the Survey Department for the same purpose. The morning activity was part of the strategies implemented to realise the aim.

The Acting Director, Hj Md Yussof Bin Hj Ladi, said in his speech that the day's programme was a move towards the national aspiration to foster closer relations between a government agency and the village council to promote activities, silatulrahim and harmony.

The activity began with a warm up exercise session followed by climbing to the top of the hill led by the members of the Pengkalan Batu village council.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sanctuary for sun bears in Sabah soon

KOTA KINABALU: There is hope for a bright future for sun bears in Sabah that are facing extinction. A sanctuary is being set up in Sanda­kan for the bears.

The state Wildlife Department together with the state Forestry Department and non-governmental organisation Land Empower­ment Animals People (Leap) will jointly set up the conservation centre next to the orang utan rehabilitation centre.

Wildlife Department director Laurentius Ambu said the sun bear facility would be the first of its kind in Asia and was aimed at rehabilitation, research and education efforts concerning the animal.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sanctuary for sun bears in Sabah soon

Jewel of Sibu

SIBU is very well known for its lip-smacking and affordable local dishes like the Kam Buan noodles, Diang Miang Ngu (a savoury soup), Bek Ting Yuok (the soup of eight essences) and a lot more.

One blogger who appreciates the wide variety of food there is Glutton Queen, and she has an interesting story to tell on her blog.

“Having lunch at Ruby Restaurant in Sibu is both pleasurable and pressure-able.

“Pleasurable as in everything at Ruby’s is nice!

“Pressure-able here means you are tempted to taste all the food on the menu but your stomach capacity is limited!

“I had the opportunity to have lunch with Suituapui and gang at Ruby’s yesterday. I left with a happy stomach!

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Jewel of Sibu

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: 4 x 4 Borneo Safari

26th October - 2 November 2008

The Borneo Safari involves 4WD vehicles and their fearless drivers who will be challenged in the world’s most beautiful jungle terrains in Sabah. It is a unique adventure where all participants, be it men or women, enthusiasts or professional, have an equal chance of winning.

Participating teams will compete for awards, which are presented in recognition of driving skill, innovation in vehicle recovery, obstacle clearing, and of utmost importance, cooperation and team spirit. Points will be allocated for many special stages set during the event.

Tasks include deep-driver crossing, map reading, bridge building and mud side clearing. Points are deducted for over-speeding, dangerous driving and vehicle equipment abuse.

The event will take the teams along Lingan Batu, Ulu Kimanis, Bambanagan, Binsuluk, Beaufort and Kuala Penyu. The flag-off is scheduled for 26 October at Sabah Tourism Board headquarters along Gaya Street and is expected to be officiated by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Masidi Manjun.

For more information about vehicle checks, flag-off, routes, registration forms, venues and related schedules, please contact Jessica Chong at 013-8817389 or fax 088-383286.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Friday, October 17, 2008

Annual Pesta Koningau Nov 7-9

Keningau: The annual district-level Pesta Koningau (cinnamon) will be held on Nov 7-9, to be launched by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman.

The three-day event will include an agriculture exhibition, handicraft, cinnamon products, traditional dance presentations and a fireworks display, with a Ratu Koningau beauty contest highlighting the event.

Disclosing this here Thursday, District Officer Haji Zulkifli Nasir also hoped the private sector, local business community, hoteliers and sawmill operators could make valuable contributions to ensure the success of the event.

Continue reading at: Annual Pesta Koningau Nov 7-9

Call to protect, conserve Sarawak's pitcher plants

KUCHING: According to Research Manager of Sarawak Forestry Corporation at Forest Research Centre, Julaihi Abdullah, pitcher plants or nepenthes must be protected and conserved.

He said that this would be his working paper presentation with another Sarawak Forestry Corporation researcher, Bibian Michael Diway at the coming 15th Malaysia Forestry Conference to be held here from October 20 to 24.

He said that the reason was that the floriculture industry in Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds. Many species of plants including orchids and pitcher plants of Sarawak are in high demand from plant lovers in the world.

He added that as a result of the surge in interest from overseas and locals in the past decade, the demand for pitcher plants has become so great that some species in the wild are now in grave danger of extinction.

“The major threats to wild pitcher plants are their removal by collectors and habitat destruction. As such these plants need to be conserved urgently,” he stressed.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Call to protect, conserve Sarawak's pitcher plants

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Tamu Besar Kota Belud

25th – 26th October 2008

The biggest, most colourful and most exciting Tamu is back this October! Check out the vibrant atmosphere at this traditional open-air market, a perfect opportunity for you to get an insight into the life and culture of the people of Kota Belud. It is at this grand 3-day affair where you will find food, fresh produce, seafood, traditional medicines, clothes and even livestock sold by the society of Kota Belud.

The local community will come out fully dressed in their respective traditional attire and the Bajau will stage a spirited display of their riding skills on ponies in dazzling costume. Catch sight of water buffaloes– rarely seen at smaller tamus, they are brought out for racing, competition and for sale at this annual event.

For further information, contact Mohd Najip Muntok at 088 976621 / 976542 or Sri Pelancongan Sabah at 088 232121.

Check out the website at

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

My orangutans sensed I’d had cancer - they were so gentle with me when I was weak

Michelle Desilets wasn't surprised she was exhausted. The founder of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation UK had just returned from a hard, three-month business trip to Indonesia, Australia and America in 2006.

Once back at home in Ambrosden, Oxfordshire, Michelle noticed her feet were itching all the time. The itching soon spread to her entire body and was so bad that within three months she found herself red raw all over.

'I couldn't sleep and was having five cold baths a day,' says Michelle. 'Nothing the GP prescribed worked and he finally referred me to a tropical diseases expert at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, but their treatment didn't help either.'

Finally, in May last year, Michelle, then 40, was sent to a dermatologist who suggested she be tested for lymphoma - cancer of the lymphatic system.

'I was given an urgent CAT scan but I was sure I'd picked up something in Borneo,' says Michelle.

However, the results were devastating. She did indeed have a kind of lymphoma known as Hodgkin's disease, and further tests were required to determine whether the cancer was confined to one area or had spread.

'I had the results on my 41st birthday. I felt like I'd been punched in the face,' says Michelle, who instead of going out to celebrate, curled up in bed, petrified she would never see her beloved orangutans again.

Her work with orangutans had begun in 1994 when Michelle, a former teacher, met air hostess Lone Droscher-Nielsen on a volunteering holiday in Borneo working with the animals. Five years later, they had opened their own sanctuary there - the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Project, which featured in the BBC One series Orangutan Diary in 2006.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: My orangutans sensed I’d had cancer - they were so gentle with me when I was weak

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seven Natural Wonders Of Borneo

An interesting article from the Borneo Blog:

I must admit that I’m a bit bias when I come up with this list of Seven Natural Wonders of Borneo.

Firstly, I’m a Sabahan and I haven’t travel extensively to Sarawak, so naturally I know more about Sabah’s natural attractions than Sarawak’s.

Secondly, I’m a Malaysian, so I know more about the natural wonders of the two Malaysian Borneo states — Sabah and Sarawak — than Kalimantan’s, the Indonesian side of Borneo. Also, I don’t have many information on the natural wonders in Brunei, the tiny Sultanate sandwiched between Sabah and Sarawak.

Starting the wonder ball rolling

With this entry, however, I hope to start the “wonders” ball rolling, encourage discussion and hopefully sometimes in the future, there will be organisations that will come up with a definitive list of the Seven Natural Wonders of Borneo.

You can also suggest several other natural wonders of Borneo and if there are too many of them, maybe we can have a poll to choose the seven wonders.

Without further ado, here they are, the Seven Natural Wonders of Borneo, in no particular order:

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Seven Natural Wonders Of Borneo

Better air link for KK-Cebu

KOTA KINABALU: The State and Cebu governments hope to explore areas in which they can encourage airlines to put more direct flights to connect the State Capital and Cebu, Philippines.

Presently, there are only two weekly direct flights servicing the Kota Kinabalu-Cebu-Kota Kinabalu route, said Tourism, Culture and Environment minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun after receiving a courtesy call from Gwendolyn F. Garcia, the Governor of Cebu, Philippines yesterday.

“We need to improve on the air connectivity as this will help promote travels within the region itself,” he stressed after hearing that the Cebu governor had to travel via Manila and Kuala Lumpur before arriving in the State Capital.

Masidi said that he also discussed how the Sabah government and Cebu could work together in the promotion of tourism for mutual benefit.

“We believe that both Sabah and Cebu had good tourism products where people from both sides would be able to enjoy. We believe that we should also promote more regional tourism and this is where the Cebu-Sabah tie-up seems to make sense,” he said.

Continue reading at: Better air link for KK-Cebu

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New and Revised Mount Kinabalu Porter and Guide Fees

Effective 1st September 2008, Sabah Parks has revised the rates for porter and guide fees for Mount Kinabalu climbers.

Please Click Here for the full description of park, porter and guide fees, or contact Sabah Parks at 088 243629 fax 088 259552.

As such, please note that tour package fees for the Mount Kinabalu Climb may have to be revised in the near term - to be advised later.

Indonesia is Sabah's new tourism focus

Kota Kinabalu: Indonesia is a new market focus for Sabah's tourism industry that has huge potential to generate better spin-offs for the State during the current global economic slowdown.

Sabah Tourism Board (STB) Deputy Chairman Datuk Sari Suhut, who disclosed this, said the agency is tapping the Indonesia market as part of its aggressive promotional campaign to highlight Sabah tourist destinations.

"It is expected that the long haul tourists from Western countries would be declining following the present economic crisis like in the US. Hence, we are focusing on new markets of tourism in neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Philippines.

"That is why we have been tapping the Indonesian market since last year as we see there is a growing trend of Indonesian tourists spending their holidays in Sabah that will benefit the business sector and tourism players in the State," he said.

Sari said this at the opening of a three-day introductory course on Indonesian Language and Culture for 60 participants of the Sabah Tourist Guide Association (STGA) at the Indonesian Consulate, here, Monday.

Continue reading at: Indonesia is Sabah's new tourism focus

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Sabah International Expo 2008

15th-19th October 2008

Visit over 400 booths from over 20 countries at Sabah’s premier trade fair, the Sabah International Expo. Since its beginning in 2000, SIE has become one of the largest and most successful trade events in the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines - East Asean Growth Area).

More than 30,000 visitors are expected at the three-day expo, featuring a myriad of manufacturing, tourism and agriculture products and services from both local and overseas exhibitors, including exhibitors from the UK, Australia, Germany and Canada. Professionals from all sectors and anyone interested in embarking on businesses and networking in Sabah and the wider BIMP-EAGA region are urged to attend this prominent event to be held at Borneo’s premier hypermall, 1Borneo in Kota Kinabalu.

For more information, contact the SIE 2008 Secretariat at 088 250962, 088 250961 or email Check out their website at

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Gomantong, largest limestone cave draws tourist

KINABATANGAN: The largest limestone cave in Sabah, Gua Gomantong, is not only a tourism attraction but also home to thousands of swifts, a bird famously known for its edible nest.

Hence, the cave plays an important role in Sabah’s production of bird’s nest.

It’s renowned for its high commercial value and is a favourite among the Chinese due to its medicinal significance.

Spread over 3,297 hectares of area, Gua Gomantong is located in the Gomantong Forest Reserve in Kinabatangan and is under the Class VI Forest Reserve Category.

In Sabah, there are about 25 limestone caves that are home to the swifts but only two have high number of the bird’s nest, namely Gua Gomantong and Gua Madai in Lahad Datu.

Gua Gomantong is under the care of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Office which is the authority in charge of the bird’s nest under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Gomantong, largest limestone cave draws tourist

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Poring Canopy Walkway in Pictures

Signboard showing the direction to the Poring Canopy
Walkway trail, adjacent to the Butterfly Farm

A diagram depicting the Poring Canopy Walkway amidst the
canopy of the Menggaris tree - the King of the Forest

The trail to the Canopy Walkway, which takes about
30 challenging minutes, almost all ascending

The canopy walkway, about 157.8m long and 41m high, constructed high up
in the forest canopy for use by scientists to conduct research but tourists can also
walk on it (if they dare), and look at the magnificent nature from a bird eye point of view

Friday, October 10, 2008

Poring Butterfly Farm in Pictures

Signboard indicating the direction and distance to other attractions in Poring

The Butterfly Farm nursery and hatchery for the purpose of
research, education and the conservation of endangered species

Some of the display of rare butterfly species inside the hatchery

The beautiful garden inside the nursery

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Places of Interest in Sabah: Poring Hot Spring, Ranau

The front office/admin centre at Poring

The signboard showing the Poring admininistration centre

Signboard showing the map of Poring Hot Spring area

A modernised "canopy walkway" at the entrance to the Park proper

The Rock Pool ala swimming pool at Poring

Some of the individual sheltered pools

A visit to Kinabalu Park will never be perfect without swinging by Poring Hot Springs.

Situated 40 kilometers (25 miles) slightly northeast from the Parks HQ, Poring is located in the lowlands—a contrast to the Parks HQ. De-stress and soak away the sores and aches of your muscles in the spring’s hot sulphuric minerals, deemed to have healing properties and very popular among the locals.

Other than the natural hot spring main attraction at Poring Hot Springs, there are also other interesting areas in the park to be visited such as the butterfly farm, the Poring Orchid Conservation Centre, the tropical garden, the Poring canopy walkway, and the Rafflesia flower site.

Butterfly Farm

Poring Hot Spring’s butterfly farm is in fact the first butterfly farm in Borneo. It features a garden, nursery and hatchery for education, research and preservation purposes.

Poring Orchid Conservation Centre

This centre houses the largest collection of Sabah orchids as well as rare endemic orchids. Some 1, 200 species of orchids are available at this centre.

Tropical gardens

Get a glimpse of mousedeers and deers frolicking in the garden with the company of vividly coloured birds in the aviary.

Poring canopy walkway

This canopy walkway is a must visit for anyone who ever sets foot in Poring Hot Springs. Take a stroll amidst the lush canopy of the Menggaris tree—king of the forest—the walkway is 157.8 meters long and 41 meters high.

The Rafflesia flower

The world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia, doesn’t come around very often. Luckily, in Sabah, we have the largest concentration of Rafflesia population. This rare and exotic flower takes up to 15 months to bud, yet only lasts 7 days in bloom. The park will post a notice to announce a blooming or budding Rafflesia flower.

Poring Hot Springs is open daily from 7am to 6pm.

Getting there

Poring Hot Springs is situated approximately 136 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu (3 hours drive away). One can choose to either go by bus, take a taxi, or rent a car to get to Poring Hot Springs


For a satisfying trip to Poring Hot Springs, visitors are recommended to bring some vital things such as rubber sandals/slippers, change of clothes, towel, and swimwear.

For extra information:

Poring Hot Spring & Nature Reserve
Tel: 088-878801
Fax: 088-878801

Source: Sabah Tourism

Also Read: National Park Vacation at Poring Hot Springs

BIMP-EAGA region to be made ‘Single Ecotourism Destination’

KOTA KINABALU: Governments within the BIMP-EAGA region have set the goal of developing the region as a “Single Ecotourism Destination”.

In an exclusive interview with the New Sabah Times yesterday, the organizing chairman of the upcoming BIMP-EAGA “Community-based Ecotourism Conference”, Bernadino Moningka Vega said that all these while, local governments within the BIMP-EAGA region have promoted their ecotourism destinations on their own and that it was high time for these governments to work together to promote the BIMP-EAGA region as one big region, adding that if successful, it would be a win-win situation for all its member countries.

He further added that the BIMP-EAGA region would be an attractive destination for ecotourism as it is the only place in the world where one would be able to experience lush tropical rainforest (in Borneo) and rich coral reefs (at the Sulu-Sulawesi’s Coral Triangle) under one roof.

One would also find the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, Mt Kinabalu, experience the rich marine diversity at Raja Ampat situated on the island of New Guinea and Wakatobi located at South Eastern side of Sulawesi, among others, he said.

Continue reading at: BIMP-EAGA region to be made ‘Single Ecotourism Destination’

Free flights from Kuching to Singapore for 5,000

KUCHING: AirAsia is offering 5,000 free seats for its new Kuching-Singapore route which commences next month.

Tickets went on sale on the airline’s website yesterday at midnight with the free seats available for booking between now and Oct 19.

AirAsia chief executive Datuk Tony Fernandes said that the Kuching-Singapore route would give Sarawak a huge tourism boost.

“We’re currently doing a very aggressive marketing campaign in Singapore and our first flight will be on Nov 1.

“We will start with one flight a day and from March onwards we will increase the frequency,” he said at a media briefing here yesterday.

Continue reading at: Free flights from Kuching to Singapore for 5,000

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Extend open sky policy to S'kan,Tawau: Masidi

Kota Kinabalu: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun wants the Federal Government extend the 'open sky policy' to Sandakan and Tawau.

He said while he was aware that the Government had recently announced the liberalisation of the Kota Kinabalu-Singapore route, direct flights to Sandakan and Tawau were needed, as both areas were also tourism draws for the State.

Sabah's tourism product is scattered and not only confined to Kota Kinabalu or its surrounding areas, he said, hence the need for direct flights into the two areas.

Continue reading at: Extend open sky policy to S'kan,Tawau: Masidi

Sabah wants more tourism promotion allocation

Kota Kinabalu: Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the Federal Government should consider giving more allocations to Sabah to promote its tourism products as it would benefit them as well.

He said the Federal Government stands to receive more income via taxes from Sabah and Sarawak if the two states operate more tourism activities.

"The more prosperous Sabah and Sarawak, the more money goes to the Federal coffers," he said in a press conference after receiving a courtesy call from Sarawak Minister of Tourism, Datuk Michael Manyin, Tuesday.

He said both states felt there was a slight oversight on the part of top policy-makers in the peninsula in relation to promotional spending.

The Federal Government, he said, lumped Sabah and Sarawak together with other states in the peninsula in the promotion package of the nation's tourism. However, he said the two East Malaysian states offer unique products that need to be marketed by themselves.

Continue reading at: Sabah wants more tourism promotion allocation

Sabah to set aside Malua Forest Reserve for conservation

SANDAKAN: Sabah is committed towards establishing a forest reserve in its east coast for the conservation of orang utan.

The State Forestry Department recently inked a deal with Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) Malaysia to achieve credible forest certification for 241,098ha of jungle, including the 34,000ha Malua Forest Reserve, designated for primate conservation.

Department director Datuk Sam Mannan said the state was also committed towards achieving certification for the Ulu Segama and Malua forest reserves covering 242,000ha within a year.

“With vast experience from the management of the Forest Stewardship Council’s certified Dermakot Forest Reserve, the department would like to prove its commitment to sustainable forest management to the world,” said Mannan at the signing ceremony.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sabah to set aside Malua Forest Reserve for conservation

How did Sabah get its name

The following article (published last month courtesy of New Straits Times) is an interesting reading for those who ever wonder how and where did Sabah get its name from:

Getting to root of the name Sabah

By : Jaswinder Kaur

FROM "North Borneo" to "Sabah", just how did the state get its name?

The quest to discover the origins of Sabah's name took me deep into the Internet and volumes of journals and articles.

My first stop was the search engine Google which took me to websites on names for babies. Sabah, the websites explained, is a girl's name and means morning in Arabic. In Africa, it refers to the sunrise.

The only reference in the Internet to how Sabah got its name is detailed in a couple of blogs, with information pieced together from a variety of sources.

One blog entry claimed the name was widely used in the 15th century when Sabah was part of Brunei and that it referred to pisang saba, a type of banana which grew well along the coast.

Interestingly, Seludang cropped up as an old name for Sabah. According to a blog, it was used in reference to this region in a Javanese poem dating back to 1365.

Obviously, I couldn't get all the information I needed on the Web, so I went to the Sabah state library.

In volume seven of the 1981-1982 Sabah Society Journal, I found a nine-page article by Allen R. Maxwell titled The Origin of the Name Sabah.

Maxwell did not mention the banana theory but he dismissed the numerous theories and meanings ascribed to the name Sabah in published literature as "fanciful suggestions" because there was a lack of supporting evidence.

He said a study on the subject suggested that Sabah was derived from the Malay word sabak which is the place for or act of boiling to extract palm sugar. Again, he ruled out this theory due to lack of evidence.

Maxwell also says that in Bruneian Malay, saba means downstream but other studies say it means upstream. Sabah is located to the northwest, or upstream of Brunei.

"The other sense of meaning of the word saba, and the one which specifically gives rise to the name of the state of Sabah, is much less general, and refers specifically to the northern portion of the island of Borneo.

"The published literature abounds in examples of this usage, but different authors seem to place an almost endless variety of only slightly different interpretations on this sense of meaning," Maxwell adds.

"Various authors indicate that Sabah is a local name, a Malay name, an old Malay name, a native name, an old native name or an indigenous and Brunei people's name; a name referring to portions of the northwest coast of Borneo, northern Borneo, north of Brunei, or the territory of the British North Borneo Company."

A few days later, I found myself flicking through old books at a small corner of the Sabah Museum library.

I came across Volume Four of the Sabah Society Journal 1969-70 which had an article titled The Prehistory of Sabah by Tom and Barbara Harrisson.

According to the authors, most names in Borneo had their roots buried in prehistory, and were "beyond any hope of further disentanglement".

"Most Sabahans take their state's title for granted. They are wise to do so... Sabah is better considered as a word of obscure local origin," the Harrissons wrote.

Realising that I was not likely to get any more answers, my attention turned to why, after being called North Borneo for 82 years from the time of the British North Borneo Chartered Company in 1881 until independence in 1963, the state's name was changed to Sabah.

In the state's annual report for 1963, published the following year, it was stated that the legislative council had voted unanimously that the British colony should become independent on Aug 31 under the name of Sabah, but it did not give any reasons. From that date, North Borneo became known officially as Sabah.

Former Sabah state secretary Tan Sri Richard Lind, who was in the civil service during British rule, told me that the matter of changing North Borneo's name to Sabah was raised well before independence by the late Tun Mustapha Harun, who later went on to serve as head of state and chief minister.

"There was a lot of objections from Governor Roland Turnbull who said the whole world already knew North Borneo.

"It took over two years and there was a debate over it," Lind said.

He said the word Sabah was not commonly used during British rule but that the Native Courts called the region negeri Sabah.

"I served as a district officer once and I know that the native courts used the word Sabah. They never called it North Borneo," he said.

I also found a book published five years before the state's independence, called Sabah Men At Work, in the North Borneo Social Studies series which indicated that the name Sabah was known to the public.

A much earlier use of the name was in Joseph Hatton's book The New Ceylon, being a sketch of British North Borneo, or Sabah in 1881.

As Maxwell had pointed out, the study of the origin of place names can be fascinating, informative and rewarding.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bajoo Fashion House impresses Japanese visitor

By Alex How

Bajoo Fashion House impressed Mr Akihiro Miwa with its trendy designs when it hosted the Japanese delegate from Jetro (Japan External Trade Organisation) at its shop yesterday.

Jetro Business Development Director Mr Miwa visited Bajoo as part of a two-day trip on Development & Export Promotion of Brunei Handicraft Products initiated by the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.

The project aimed to allow the Japanese delegate a chance to gain inside knowledge on the local company and its products, and also to further analyse how these local products can be exported to Japan.

Continue reading (Incl. pic) at: Bajoo Fashion House impresses Japanese visitor

Sarawak bracing for flood of foreign tourists

MIRI: Sarawak, in particular the northern region, is expected to enjoy a multi-fold jump in international tourist arrivals following the Federal Government’s move to allow international direct flights from Singapore into Miri.

The announcement by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat that Air Asia had been given the green light to fly Singapore-Miri direct was like a tonic for northern Sarawak’s tourism industry, said State Infrastructure Development and Communications assistant minister Lee Kim Shin.

Lee, who is also the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) director for northern Sarawak, said yesterday that the state expected to see a massive increase in tourist arrivals to Miri, the world heritage site Mulu National Park, the prehistoric Niah Caves and other major places of interests.

Continue reading at: Sarawak bracing for flood of foreign tourists

Sabah Food: Fish Head Beehoon Soup @ Bukit Padang

From KK Food Reviews blog:

This has always been one of my all time favourite eateries to go to on a weekend. I just LOVE fish head beehoon soup!

This stall is located on the food stall beside the Church of Mary Immaculate in Bukit Padang, and across the road from the Bukit Padang Hospital.

It's been here for a long time now, I heard, and business is still going strong.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Sabah Food: Fish Head Beehoon Soup at Bukit Padang

Monday, October 06, 2008

Celyn Resort Kundasang

From Lost Borneo blog:

Another resort in Kundasang with fantastic views of Mount Kinabalu.

Celyn Resort is a new 3-star resort located on top of a hill in Kampung Samuruh near Kundasang. There are only 32 rooms (though a few more are being built) so you can be assured of plenty of privacy.

The rooms are divided into 2 categories - one facing Mount Kinabalu, and the other facing the valley on the opposite side. All rooms have balconies for those who want to spend the day sipping tea while looking at the gorgeous scenery.

As the resort is located at 6000 feet above sea level, it is even colder than at Kundasang itself. The reception and restaurant staff are very friendly. The resort has its own organic farm, so fresh vegetables are served during meals.

Continue reading (incl. lots of pics) at: Celyn Resort Kundasang

Sunday, October 05, 2008

11th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta kicks off

KOTA KINABALU: Jointly organised by the Malaysian Association of Hotels Sabah / Labuan Chapter (MAH), the Asian Tourism International College (ATIC) and Sabah Restaurant Fellowship Association (SRFA), this year’s 11th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta 2008 promises another exciting 2-day competition on November 8 and 9 at 1Borneo Hypermall, which ends with a closing ceremony and prize presentation dinner at 1Borneo Grand Ballroom.

With 54 medals in 18 classes of competition for hotel and resort, restaurant and college categories being contested, this 2-day fiesta brings together some of Sabah’s hospitality industry heavyweights to present the latest products and trends in the hospitality arena.

“For the benefit of those who are new to the industry, this fiesta was initiated by students of Asian Tourism Institute under the supervision of lecturers in 1997 aimed at creating an enthusiastic spirit of competition among the tourism and hospitality industry players to showcase their talents in the respective fields and to expose the public to the high standards maintained in the industry,” said Chairman of the SHF Organising Committee Param Sivasamy

Continue reading at: 11th Sabah Hospitality Fiesta kicks off

Tourism players hail TV Sarawak

KUCHING: TV Sarawak can boost the state’s tourism industry, said Sarawak Tourism Federation president, Wee Hong Seng yesterday.

“I believe if its contents are properly planned, the channel can help in the development of the state tourism.

“It will be easier to promote Sarawak. We can reach more people,” said Wee in an interview with Eastern Times.

He said he welcomed the idea of Sarawak having its own television channel.

However, the objectives of the channel must be clear. Its contents should not be similar to those offered by the other channels.

Continue reading at: Tourism players hail TV Sarawak

Saturday, October 04, 2008

AirAsia's KK-Singapore service soon

Kota Kinabalu: Low cost carrier AirAsia will soon operate between Kota Kinabalu and Singapore.

This follows the government's decision to liberalise this sector in line with the implementation of the 'open sky policy', said Transport Minister Datuk Ong Tee Keat.

Apart from the Kota Kinabalu-Singapore route, two other routes that have also been approved for liberalisation are Kuching-Singapore and Miri-Singapore, he said, adding these will also be served by AirAsia.

Ong said that negotiations between the Ministry and its counterpart in Singapore will be finalised very soon and flights are expected to commence by the end of the year.

Continue reading at: AirAsia's KK-Singapore service soon

Gayana Eco Resort first in M’sia to sign deal with Preferred Hotel Group (PHG)

KOTA KINABALU: Gayana Eco Resort has become the first resort in Malaysia to sign a partnership with the Preferred Hotel Group (PHG).

This was announced by spokesperson and consultant for Gloharta (M) Sdn Bhd, Nilakrisna James during a press conference held at the resort yesterday. The resort is also the second within the Asean region to form an alliance with PHG, which represents 750 hotels and resorts in 85 countries. “PHG has five different branding labels for the hotels and resorts it represents – the Preferred Hotels and Resorts, Preferred Boutique, Summit Hotels and Resorts, Sterling Hotels and Historic Hotels of America,” said Nilakrisna.

Gayana Eco Resort falls under PHG’s Preferred Boutique Collection which enables it to enjoy all the privileges and benefits of being a member boutique hotel such as sales support, integrated marketing solutions, global connectivity and reservations service.

She added that the resort was noted by PHG for providing a unique tourism product. “After our rebranding exercise and refurbishment with new identity layouts and expansion programmes with an additional traditional spa, we have caught the eye of international luxury property branding labels such as the Preferred Hotel Group,” she said.

Continue reading at: Gayana Eco Resort first in M’sia to sign deal with Preferred Hotel Group (PHG)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Tourism: Sabah needs to prepare for paradigm shift

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah needs to re-evaluate its tourism products and prepare for a paradigm shift to keep itself abreast with the rapid changing global tourism market.

“Sabah has often been the model for other states in Malaysia as a leading edge in tourism industry. We have been enjoying a double digit growth and we feel that with the fast changing pace of the global tourism scene, we have to keep ourselves in the forefront with the changing market demand of the consumers and tourism trend,” said Albert Teo.

Teo who is the Managing Director of Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge said we need to look at ourselves on whether we are going in the right direction or should we make a change in three to five years time down the line.

“This is because some of the products need five to ten years to be implemented successfully into world-class product and we also have to look at the things that are going wrong with our industry too,” he said when met at seminar entitled ‘Developing Sabah’s Tourism Products and Brand’ at Universiti Malaysia Sabah recently.

Continue reading at: Tourism: Sabah needs to prepare for paradigm shift

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Places of Interest in Sabah: Sabah Tea Garden, Nalapak, Ranau

Sabah Tea Garden (i.e., "Ladang") at Nalapak, Ranau

The reception and restaurant area

The entrance to the restaurant with the famous "Sabah Tea" signboard

The dining area - not too grand to say the least - much improvement
needed especially the service as well as the dishes

The garden area, which has some memorable scenery

The view of Mount Kinabalu from the garden area, with tea plants spiralling below

One of the accommodations/"chalets", which is a bit
rundown and not up to tourist's standard

With its sprawling tea plantation surrounded by pristine rainforests in the cool mountain air, the Sabah Tea Garden beckons you to indulge in its beautiful surroundings, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. A mere 2-hour drive from the city of Kota Kinabalu, the Sabah Tea Garden boasts a beautiful backdrop, Mount Kinabalu.

Sabah Tea is the only organic tea farm in Borneo and one of the few in the world. A trip to the tea garden is both educational and fun, one where visitors can enjoy a variety of recreational activities such as obstacle-crossing in the Sapaon Recreational Area, trekking along the trails to the peak of Kamunsu Hill or embarking on a night walk to check out the unique insect life. Highly recommended is the 2-day 1-night Sabah Tea Adventure package, which incorporates a tea factory and plantation tour, a course on basic jungle survival skills, understanding rivers and how to safely get across them and obstacle training. This package has been awarded the Best Tour Programme for Educational Tourism at the Malaysia Tourism Awards in Kuala Lumpur.

Visitors can opt to stay in a range of accommodation, be it a traditional long house, a cosy bungalow or-those who wish to sleep under the stars, a campsite. Other facilities include a conference room, restaurant, souvenir shop, a soccer field and tennis court. A stone's throw away from the garden are various places of interests, including the historical Kundasang War Memorial , Kinabalu Park and rejuvenating Poring Hot Spring . Ask the friendly staff for directions and they will be more than glad to help you out. Be it for business or pleasure, the Sabah Tea Garden awaits you with unforgettable experiences and adventures. A friendly reminder: No trip to the Sabah Tea Garden would be complete without a taste of Sabah's finest tea!

* A variety of tour packages are available. Contact Sabah Tea Garden for more details.

KM17, Jalan Ranau/Sandakan, Kg. Nalapak,89309, Ranau

Getting There
If you are not joining a tour group, take a bus from the Terminal Bas Bandaraya-Utara (City Bus Terminal-North) for around RM15.00 per person (the bus stops at Ranau town). You can also take a taxi from the station near Merdeka Field for approximately RM160 per taxi. Fares may range around RM300 if departing from your hotel. Note that all fares cited are one way.

Opening hours
Daily 7am - 5pm
Closed on selected Public Holidays
*The best time to visit is between 8am to 12noon.

Admission fee
RM5.00 for a guided tour of the tea factory
RM20.00 for a guided tour + lunch
No admission fees applicable for entrance only.

Telephone: +6088 440882
Fax: +6088 423448

Source: Sabah Tourism


ED NOTE: The accommodation at Sabah Tea Garden is unfortunately not really up to standard at the point of writing. It would be good if the Management of the Sabah Tea Garden can enhance/upgrade the accommodation as well as ensure that all the facilities are up to mark considering the rates that they charged. Also note that part of the infamous Sandakan-Ranau Death March trial can be found inside the area, which is an added attraction. The Mountain Bike Race track is also within the vicinity.