Sunday, November 30, 2008

Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra’s debut concert in Kota Kinabalu

The prestigious Malaysian Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (MPYO) will be performing on its first tour to East Malaysia in Kota Kinabalu at the Tun Raffae Auditorium, Menara Tun Mustapha, Yayasan Sabah on 15 December 2008 at 8:00pm. The MPYO, which is under the tutelage of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO), comprises of 110 Malaysian talents with an average age of 18 years who come from across the nation. They will also be presenting a matinee show exclusively for students at the same venue at 2:00pm.

Audiences will be entertained with classical favourites including Overture of the Roman Carnival (Op.9) composed by Berlioz, Cello Concerto in B minor (Op.104) written by Dvorak and Symphony No.2 in C minor (Op.17) – ‘Little Russian’ by Tchaikovsky, while the students matinee will be featuring among others P Ramlee’s Tunggu Sekejap, Bizet’s Excerpts from Carmen, Britten’s Irish Reel and Rossini’s Overture: The Thieving Magpie.

The MPYO tour to East Malaysia is co-organised by the MPO, Century Music School Sdn. Bhd. & Kells and Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn. Bhd (wholly owned subsidiary of Sabah Tourism Board).

Tickets are priced at RM30, RM50 and RM100 for the Evening Concert at 8:00pm and the matinee exclusively for students is priced at only RM15 performing at 2:00pm, on the 15 December 2008

For ticket inquiries, please call Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd - Ms. Jane Lai at 088-232121 or Sabah Tourism Board - Ms. Shirley Teo at 088-212121. For more information; please contact Susan Shahira, Event Manager at 088-232121.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Tourism: Making the States benefit

Sandakan: The Tourism Ministry has proposed that state governments should get returns from the tourism sector.

Its Minister, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, said presently all income from the sector was channelled to the Federal Government.

"In my view, some percentage of the tourism sector income should be returned to the state governments based on tourism income generated by the respective state," she said after launching the 'Zoom!Malaysia' campaign to promote domestic tourism at the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sepilok, here, Saturday.

Azalina said the returns from tourism could be used to enhance promotions and develop tourist spots in the states. The move, she said, would also enable the state governments to give greater commitment to efforts to promote tourism in their states.

Azalina also said the Government needs to focus on the overall concept of tourism, with better promotion of the tourism products in the local and international tourism belt. This would include more specific tourist destinations.

She said the Tourism Ministry had fixed 2009 to promote Malaysia more aggressively through various activities such as Flora and Fauna 2010.

Continue reading at: Tourism: Making the States benefit

Saturday, November 29, 2008

FAQ: Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Q: What time does the Half Day Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre Tour end and what time could I reasonably get a flight?

A: You may take MH2042 0810hrs and return flight at noon time MH3033 ETD: 1215/1305hrs or MH2709 ETD: 1400/1445hrs - Morning feeding at 1000hrs and for afternoon feeding recommend flight BKI/ SDK MH2708 ETD:1240/1340hrs returning SDK / BKI MH3037 ETD: 1850/1940hrs.

Sandakan Bird Fair 2008 - A day for birdwatchers

SANDAKAN: The Sandakan Bird Fair 2008 will be held at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok from until Nov 29 in conjunction with Tourism Malaysia’s Zoom Malaysia.

The Bird Fair is jointly organised by Sabah Society, State Forestry Department, Sabah Tourism Board, State Wildlife Department, NIKON Malaysia, IJM Plantations and the Sandakan Municipal Council.

The event will be extended to Borneo in Kota Kinabalu from Dec 6-7, the organisers said in a statement.

The objectives of this Bird Fair are to create public awareness of the various magnificent birds of Borneo and the importance of conservation and ecotourism activities.

Continue reading at: Sandakan Bird Fair 2008 - A day for birdwatchers

'Sayang Kinabalu' chosen as Sabah tourism promotional theme song

Kota Kinabalu: Popular local hit "Sayang Kinabalu" has been chosen as the Sabah tourism promotional theme song for a period of 10 years, said Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He said the song composed by top Malaysian composer, Asmin Mudin and sung by his elder brother, Kimin Mudin, was chosen by Sabah Tourism Board because it has the essence to promote Sabah's beauty and tourist attraction, namely Mt Kinabalu.

"The title itself is already a great slogan and reflects Sabah in a good light," he told reporters at the Ministry in Wisma Tun Fuad Stephens here Friday.

Secondly, he said the song was also catchy and not difficult to memorise with most people being fond of the song.

To kick start the promotion strategy, he said Sabah Tourism has invited one of Indonesia's popular artistes, Nadia Vega to sing "Sayang Kinabalu" albeit an Indonesian version.

He said Indonesian television crews would be coming to Sabah early December to do the ground works before shooting Nadia's video clip and do a documentary to promote Sabah in Indonesia.

At the same time, Sabah Tourism would also cut a new version of the song to be used in its promotional material, which Masidi envisioned would be sung by local singers from the various ethnic groups in Sabah.

Continue reading at: 'Sayang Kinabalu' chosen as Sabah tourism promotional theme song

SEAIR debuts Puerto Princesa-KK route

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah aims to complement the inaugural South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) flight from Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Philippines to Kota Kinabalu while continuing to market itself as the "premier nature-adventure destination in the world".

Welcoming the entourage on board the 32-seater Dornier 328 at Terminal Two, Friday, Sabah Tourism Board (STB) chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin said there's so much that Palawan and Sabah could offer.

"We feel the two destinations have so much to share to complement one another for its benefit.

"(And) with travelling period of only about an hour from Puerto Princesa to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah is a good choice for a quick getaway as well as a first choice of travelling regionally to visitors from Puerto Princesa," he said.

While Sabah is not out to compete with its counterparts, he said both destinations have beautiful pristine beaches, lush tropical rainforest, a myriad of wildlife and unique cultures that are just waiting to be explored.

From January until August this year, Sabah recorded 45,229 tourists from the Philippines, a slight increase from the 44,465 arrivals during the same period last year. Nevertheless, Adlin said the STB would continue promoting and marketing Sabah as well as creating awareness on Sabah in the Philippines.

Continue reading at: SEAIR debuts Puerto Princesa-KK route

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sabah Tourism Consultancy Council for public to convey feedback to government

KOTA KINABALU: The new State Tourism Consultancy Council will be a channel for the public and stakeholders to convey feedback to the government, particularly suggestions, to enhance the tourism industry in Sabah.

The information will be used where relevant to plan strategies and identify potentials for investment besides improving the quality of products and services according to the expectations of tourists.

Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said the council would not replace the role and functions of the Sabah Tourism Board.

While the board works to promote and organise events, the council’s function will cover other aspects such as investment, facilities, infrastructure and services.

Continue reading at: Sabah Tourism Consultancy Council for public to convey feedback to government

Rainforest Discovery Centre all set in Sepilok

Sandakan: The Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok near here will be the location for the "Zoom! Malaysia" domestic tourism campaign in Sabah on Saturday.

Tourism Ministry's domestic tourism promotion division director, Mohd Nasir Kushairi, said the centre was chosen as the area offered unique attraction.

"At the moment, visitors to the place are mainly foreigners, probably due to the lack of promotion among domestic tourists," he said.

Continue reading at: Rainforest Discovery Centre all set in Sepilok

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands - Welcome to Ramsar site

KINABATANGAN: Nature lovers in Malaysia, especially those in Sabah, have welcomed the announcement that the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands have been recognised as a Ramsar site.

The recognition is significant as the wetlands comprise rarely-found coastal mangrove swamps and peat jungles.

This recent development adds impetus towards conserving endangered animals like the Sumatran rhinoceros, proboscis monkey and pygmy elephants.

The recognition was announced at the 10th conference of Ramsar Convention signatories on wetlands in Changwon, South Korea, on Oct 28.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands - Welcome to Ramsar site

4000 visitors a day expected at Satok festival

KUCHING: This year’s Satok Festival is expected to receive at least 4,000 visitors daily, Housing Minister, Datuk Amar Abang Haji Johari Tun Openg, said yesterday.

Briefing the media on the event, he said this was because the event would be held during the school and university holidays.

The Satok Festival, the second to be organised by the Satok Tourism Coordination Association (PKPS), will be on at the Kuching Waterfront from tomorrow until Monday.

Johari, who is Satok State Assemblyman, will launch the festival tomorrow.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: 4000 visitors a day expected at Satok festival

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

AirAsia X launches low fare London-to-KL flight

AIRASIA X, the low-cost, long-haul affiliate of AirAsia launched its STG99/RM499 flight from London to Kuala Lumpur, at London's County Hall yesterday.

The five times weekly direct flights, using the Airbus A340, will begin in March next year, and will be from London Stansted Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport low cost carrier terminal.

The STG99 fare is for one way inclusive of tax. The usual travel fare from London to Malaysia is between STG500 and STG600 (RM2,700 and RM3,200).

AirAsia group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said the London-Kuala Lumpur route was the realisation of a long held ambition to open up affordable access between Malaysia and Europe for both Asian and European communities.

London is AirAsia X's fifth destination after Gold Coast, Perth and Melbourne in Australia and Hangzhou in China.

Continue reading at: AirAsia X launches low fare London-to-KL flight

Dinner at Beaufort Restaurant, Penampang

From KK Food Reviews blog:

Whenever I pass by Beaufort Restaurant, I would always see it FILLED with customers every single time.

But I've been told before that the food served there are quite expensive. So that explained why WC and I never got around to dining there before.

Nevertheless, I was always curious as to how 'expensive' the food there might be, and lucky for me, this week, my question was answered, as we had another family dinner there.

Beaufort Restaurant is located right near to the Lido traffic light (that leads into KK High School). You can't miss it; it's visible from the main Penampang Road. It's a corner lot with a big signboard that says Restaurant Beaufort on it!

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Dinner at Beaufort Restaurant, Penampang

Kinabatangan-Segama wetlands a Ramsar site

KINABATANGAN: Nature lovers in Malaysia, especially those in Sabah have welcomed the announcement that the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands have been recognized as a Ramsar site.

The recognition is significant, as the wetlands comprise rarely-found coastal mangrove swamps and peat jungles.

This recent development would add impetus for efforts on conserving the world’s almost extinct animal species like the Sumatran rhinocerous, proboscis monkey and pygmy elephants.

The recognition was announced at the 10th conference of the Ramsar Convention signatories on wetlands held at Changwon, South Korea last Oct 28. Ramsar Convention Deputy Secretary General Dr Nick Davidson presented the certificate of recognition to Sabah Biodiversity Centre (BSC) Director Abdul Fatah Amir.

Any wetlands that obtained the recognition would be able to obtain assistance from the Ramsar Fund for implementation of biodiversity conservation programmes.

The Ramsar Convention is an informal name accorded on the convention on wetlands that have international significance, particularly concerning habitats of water fowls.

The Ramsar Secretariat shares its headquarters with the World Conservation Union in Gland, Switzerland.

Continue reading at: Kinabatangan-Segama wetlands a Ramsar site

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sabah seen as perfect for movie-making

KOTA KINABALU: A resort here is doing its part in making Sabah a travel destination by promoting the state as a backdrop for movies or television series.

Gayana Eco Resort in Pulau Gaya off Kota Kinabalu recently hosted a bevy of top Indonesian celebrities and beauty queens.

Joining them were 25 travel agents and television production crews from Indonesia on a site tour of the picturesque resort.

The group was accompanied by Sabah Tourism and Royal Brunei Airlines representatives.

The resort is owned and operated by Gloharta (M) Sdn Bhd.

The company’s spokesperson Nilakrishna James said that Sabah’s diverse communities, landscapes, environment and history could serve as a backdrop for the movies.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sabah seen as perfect for movie-making

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pulau Sipadan a Sea Turtles Haven

From First Borneo Arts blog:

Lying just off the northeast coast of Borneo is Sipadan, Malaysia's only oceanic island. The magical isle was made famous by renowned French oceanographer, Jacques Yves Cousteau, in his documentary 'Ghosts of the Sea Turtle'. Indeed, Sipadan offers more than just turtles; it guarantees that every dive is a memorable experience. Few island in the world offer such prolific marine and coral life.

At the Drop Off, five metres of white, soft sand in knee-high water suddenly gives way to a precipitous drop of discovery. Follow the vast wall around as you drift with the current,exploring the corals that inevitably form refuge for the fish. Bumphead parrotfish often rumble past in bison-like hordes. A night dive here may yield a chance encounter with these large fish as they sleep.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Pulau Sipadan a Sea Turtles Haven

Iban longhouses along Rajang River lure tourists

THE Ibans, known for their friendliness and hospitality, are also know to be good hosts, particularly to foreign tourists.

They consider it an honour to play host to foreign tourists, especially those coming to stay with them to experience life at longhouses.

In Kapit Division in the upper Rajang basin of central Sarawak, there are 570 Iban and Orang Ulu longhouses along Batang Baleh and Batang Rajang that are popular with tourists.

The Orang Ulu comprise sub-ethnic groups like the Kenyah, Kayan, Sihan, Penan, Sekapan, Kejaman, Lahanan, Ukit, Tanjung and other smaller communities.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Iban longhouses along Rajang River lure tourists

Seair optimistic on budget international flights, launches KK flights

Despite concerns on the state of global economy, local airline South East Asian Airlines (Seair) is commencing its international operations with an inaugural flight to Malaysia this Friday.

Seair will begin flying between Puerto Princesa in the Philippines' western region of Palawan and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia by November 28.

In a statement, the company said it will add four other Asian cities to its international portfolio by summer next year. It said Singapore and Macau will be the priority destinations, followed by Bangkok and Hongkong.

Seair is leasing two units of Air Bus A-320, which will be delivered in the first quarter of 2009, marking the airline's budget operation out of Clark to other parts of Southeast Asia next year.

Regulatory barriers to these Asian destinations have been relaxed through various bilateral air rights negotiations this year. Stakeholders from Clark in central Luzon have successfully pushed for the inclusion of Clark as one of the specified airports on which international flights would be launched.

Continue reading at: Seair optimistic on budget international flights, launches KK flights

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Tamparuli Bamboo Music Festival

Date: 26 November 2008

Bamboo is highly significant in the lives of the local folk and this November, the locals are celebrating this evergreen plant! Join in the merriment in Tamparuli this November – there will be performances by the famed Kinabalu Bamboo Orchestra playing songs on various musical instruments crafted from bamboo, including the sompoton (bamboo aerophone), bungkau (jaw harp) and tagunggak (hollow bamboo idiophone). Watch various bands and solo bamboo musicians battle it out to win prizes for the best act.

Don’t miss other exciting events such as the rampanau (bamboo stilt-walking) race, bamboo raft-building competition and performances by local artistes. This is a great chance to learn more about – and purchase – local bamboo-based handicraft and musical instruments as well as a perfect time to visit the Tamparuli tamu (open-air market) which is held on Wednesdays from 6.00 am to 2.00 pm. It’s all happening this month at the Bamboo Music Festival in Tamparuli. See you there!

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Diving into Sabah

With numerous islands, underwater treasures and highlands, Sabah is simply too good to miss.

Layang-Layang Island

IF TOTAL isolation is what you really want, then don’t plan any holiday other than one on this atoll that houses the only dive resort in Sabah – Layang-Layang Island Resort. With regular flights from Kota Kinabalu (the only way in and out of here), it boasts breathtaking reefs and a host of beautiful marine citizens, making it one of the top ten dive locations in the world.

Sipadan Island

If Sabah is popular for one thing, it must be their beautiful islands in their blue-green waters. Sipadan needs no introduction and is one of the most talked about diving locations in Malaysia. Due to its size, only 120 divers can visit the island at any one time to enjoy its underwater scenery.

Gaya Street, Kota Kinabalu

Essentially a flea market, this street is cordoned off between 6.30am and 1pm on Sunday mornings when many come out and put up huge umbrellas to sell their wares here. More than anything else, you will see the Sabahans at their best, some in traditional costumes selling indigenous wares and foods.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Diving into Sabah

WWF Malaysia against Mabul oceanarium development

KOTA KINABALU: WWF Malaysia is against the controversial oceanarium development plan for Mabul, saying the island was already over-developed.

Studies carried out on the island and its surrounding waters revealed that 85% of the island had already been cleared for village housing, schools, budget homestay accommodation as well as five-star resorts, WWF Malaysia communications manager Angela Lim said.

She also said that 80% of the coral reef sites surrounding Mabul Island were used up by operators for muck diving, with 50% of the reefs shared between the diving sector and villagers for fishing.

“As the hub of the tourism industry in Semporna, Mabul Island has the potential to act as a coral reef management centre,” she said in a statement following the disclosure that the state has given the green light for an oceanarium resort on the shallows of Mabul.

Continue reading at: WWF Malaysia against Mabul oceanarium development

Japanese help to further develop Eco-Forest Park at Kinarut

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Forestry Development Authority (Safoda) is collaborating with Japanese non-governmental organisation (NGO), Overseas Volunteer Activity Support (Ovas), to further develop the Eco-Forest Park at Kinarut.

Safoda will be working with Ovas, with the support of the Greenery Fund of Japan, to plant 1,600 fruit trees (wild durian and clone mango) on 3.5 hectares within the Park.

A tree-planting ceremony was held at the Park, Saturday, to commemorate the collaboration, in the presence of Safoda's Research and Development (R&D) Division manager Crispin Kitingan, Japanese Consul-General Masashi Kono, chairman of Ovas, Susumu Chida and Director of Ovas, Dr Kazuko Tsuzuki.

About 35 volunteers from Japan, Rotary Club of Luyang and students from S.M Shan Tao took part in the half-day tree-planting activity.

Earlier, Safoda General Manager Francis G. Otigil extended his gratitude to the Greenery Fund of Japan and Ovas for funding the planting of 3.5ha of fruit trees and for providing funds for the maintenance of access roads.

Continue reading at: Japanese help to further develop Eco-Forest Park at Kinarut

Saturday, November 22, 2008

FAQ: Sandakan to Lankayan Island

Q: How long is the transfer from Sandakan to Lankayan?

A: Boat transfer take about 01 Hour to reach Lankayan island but its depends to the sea condition as well.

Q: What times are the boats?

A: Schedule boat transfer is at 1000hrs and only one boat transfer to Langkayan daily.

Tiger Airways to boost tourism in Sarawak

KUCHING: Sarawak expects a 30% increase in arrivals from Singa­pore following a fourth airline servicing the Singapore-Kuching route.

State Tourism and Urban Deve­lop­ment Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said if the state could tap 3% of the seven million tourists from Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia visiting Singapore annually, it would help boost its tourism industry.

He was speaking to reporters after welcoming 177 passengers on board the Tiger Airways inaugural flight that landed at the Kuching International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

The other airlines providing the Singapore-Kuching direct service are Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and SilkAir.

Continue reading at: Tiger Airways to boost tourism in Sarawak

Whetting Chinese Tourists Appetites With Sarawak Favourites

SHANGHAI - Malaysia's eastern Sarawak is firing up the bellies of Chinese tourists after their jaunts into the state's rainforests and other eco-attractions like the Mulu Caves and Bako National Park.

Sarawak's indigenous cuisine has joined the list of attractions for Chinese tourists, known for their penchant for food.

"Sarawak 'laksa' is now a must eat and the Chinese also love fried 'bidin' (jungle herbs) and 'cangkuk manis' stir fry with egg," said Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) marketing executive Catherine Lau whose exhibits at the China International Travel Mart 2008 here included a guide to local delights of the state.

"'Kolok mee', tomato 'kuey teow' and the 'Iban manok pansoh' or fire-roasted chicken in bamboo are also becoming very popular because they can only be found in Sarawak," Lau added.

Continue reading at: Whetting Chinese Tourists Appetites With Sarawak Favourites

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sabah targets 3.4 million tourists by 2010

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is targeting to receive 3.03 million tourists next year and 3.4 million by 2010.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun said in his winding up speech at the State Assembly sitting here yesterday that they were also expecting RM5.66 billion in tourism income next year and RM6.37 billion by end of 2010.

In order to achieve this, he said his ministry would enhance cooperation with airline companies operating flights to Sabah.

Air accessibility, he stressed, was important in the development of tourism as more than 96 percent of tourists arrived in Sabah by air.

“Sabah now has 107 international direct flights weekly which link the state to 14 destinations as compared to only 101 flights in 2007,” he said, adding that the seat capacity had also increased from 15,762 to 16,607.

Masidi also said with the open skies policy announced by the federal government recently, his ministry would strive to lure more airlines to operate flights to Sabah.

Continue reading at: Sabah targets 3.4 million tourists by 2010

Nunuk Ragang

From Lost Borneo blog:

Travellers who make their way to Sandakan by road from Ranau will hardly find anything interesting along the way to break the monotony of the long journey. Oil palm plantations dominate the countryside. However, alert travellers might notice an interesting structure on the right about an hours drive from Ranau. Although it is located at some distance from the main road, the structure stands out from its surroundings and is easily spotted.

This structure or building is known as the Nunuk Ragang Monument. From afar, the monument resembles a fort, but on closer inspection, you will find big-holey windows dotting the walls. The strange building is topped by a pyramid-shaped umbrella. Fans of Japanese anime might think that this building would not look out of place in a Miyazaki Hayao movie. It might even be a Hobbit house from the Lord of the Rings.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Nunuk Ragang

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mabul Island Oceanarium won't destroy coral

KOTA KINABALU: The proposed 33-hectare oceanarium resort in Mabul Island, located in the Sabah East Coast, will not destroy the coral reefs.

Rather, it would help ease pressure from the diving crowd coming from neighbouring Sipadan island, said state tourism, culture & environment minister Datuk Masidi Manjun yesterday.

He said the government was initiating efforts to restore the coral reefs which he claimed, had already been destroyed over the past 15 years due to illegal usage of fish bombs.

“I am not trying to defend the oceanarium… what the oceanarium is trying to create is a diving spot by rehabilitating the coral and marine life so that people need not go to Sipadan but just stay in Mabul.

“The whole idea is to disperse the diving crowd so that it eases the pressure on Sipadan,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the state legislative assembly sitting.

Continue reading at: Mabul Island Oceanarium won't destroy coral

Palawan-Kota Kinabalu flight connection from Nov 28

MANILA: Southeast Asian Airlines (SEAIR) will be mounting flights this month from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, the Philippines, to Kota Kinabalu, marking the carrier's entry into the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) market.

Scheduled on Nov. 28, 2008, the inaugural flight will allow passengers to visit world-renowned destinations in a circuitous route without backtracking. It also opens up direct flights from Kota Kinabalu to Puerto Princesa and Boracay in Aklan, Philippines news agency quoted the carrier as saying in a statement.

"SEAIR made 3,511 flights to and from Caticlan. This translates to 635 flights more than our nearest competitor. This (new) service will add further to the connectivity to Boracay with twice a week flights direct from Caticlan to Puerto Princesa," said Patrick Tan, SEAIRs vice president for commercial affairs.

Continue reading at: Palawan-Kota Kinabalu flight connection from Nov 28

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sabah tourism ministry to focus on domestic, regional tourism markets

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Tourism, Culture & Environment Ministry is shifting its focus to emphasise more on domestic and regional markets in view of the changing trend in the industry caused by global economic downturn.

Citing a report by the United Nation World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), its Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the trend in tourism is expected to change with tourists opting either to travel less or to closer destinations as a way to cope with the current global recession.

In this view, he said the Ministry will multiply its effort on further exploring the market closer to home in particular neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia and Brunei.

Taking cue from UNWTO confidence on global tourism industry’s ability to cope with current crisis, he said the State Tourism will also enhance its marketing in medium distance markets such as southern China and Australia.

Continue reading at: Sabah tourism ministry to focus on domestic, regional tourism markets

Mabul oceanarium: Land title only if all conditions are met

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Land and Survey Department will only issue a land title for the controversial oceanarium resort in the shallows of Mabul Island if all special conditions are complied with.

“If the public is worried, we are also worried,” said the department director Datuk Osman Jamal in stressing that for the first time numerous stringent conditions have been imposed for the Mabul oceanarium project proposed by local company Bina Ecosaba Sdn Bhd.

He said among the conditions imposed for the development of the project were that it should comply with environment regulations and be of low density in the eco-sensitive Mabul which is just nine nautical miles from the diving haven of Sipadan.

All relevant departments including environment, marine, fisheries, and drainage and irrigation will scrutinise the development plan before any green light is given for the project to begin, he said Wednesday.

The Land Utilisation Committee recommended the land application by the company for the 33ha of Mabul shallows in July last year and the state cabinet approved it based on a letter from the state’s Hasil Bumi unit in August this year.

Continue reading at: Mabul oceanarium: Land title only if all conditions are met

Hot deals at Sabah Travel Fair in Brunei

With support and collaboration from Tourism Malaysia and the Malaysian High Commission in Brunei Darussalam, the Sabah Tourism Board will be hosting the 2nd Sabah Travel Fair from November 21 to 23.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Dato' Ku Jaafar Ku Shaari is expected to launch the 2pm travel fair at The Mall in Gadong.

Sabah Tourism Board Deputy Chairman Datuk Sari Suhut will head the Sabah tourism delegation which will comprise representatives from the airlines, hotels, and travel agencies among others, a press release said.

The three-day event will offer special promotions and updates on the latest information and upcoming products Sabah has to offer as well as the best tour deals that are specially tailored to suit Bruneian consumers. There will also be daily performances by the Bamboo Orchestra group from Sabah.

The Sabah Tourism Board will continue to position Sabah as the preferred destination for business and leisure to Bruneians by embarking on advertising efforts in the local newspapers and magazines as well as working closely with Royal Brunei Airlines and Malaysia Airlines in promoting the Bandar Seri Begawan - Kota Kinabalu route.

In 2007, the total number of tourist arrivals to Sabah was 2,478,443 and Brunei Darussalam once again toped visitor arrivals with a total of 79,861. As of September 2008, Bruneians had registered 50,696 arrivals, an increase of 8.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Miri to Kota Kinabalu

Read the on-going Jeff's World Travel blog of Jeff Brad as he travels to Sabah from Sarawak. But the most shocking (oh well, not so much shocking, but more disturbing) is Jeff's revelation that Kota Kinabalu's night clubs are "a bit like Thailand". Some excerpts below:

Sat 15th Nov - Moving on from Miri today, to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, which is another independent Malaysian state.
You know how you make an initial opinion about somewhere within the first few hours? Kota Kinabalu...from now on just referred to as one of the great destinations of Asia. It has everything you could want of a city. Nestled in a superb location facing the South china Sea, with a backdrop of the magnificent Kinabalu mountain, at over 4000m. Gifted with a good climate and within easy reach of so many interesting places to visit. The city itself has it all. Not too big to be overpowering, but big enough to have a good range of facilities. Swanky shopping malls, great eating places, street life, a nice boardwalk promenade, with a great sunset tonight, looking out to the islands...oh, and beautiful ladies. Lots of friendly people who said hello as I passed...and still retaining that relaxed open feel to it.
Along the waterfront is an excellent market and food stalls area. Some nice fruit available and some artistic displays of fish ready for purchase or eating. It reminded me of a few other places I’ve been where the waterside came alive at night. As I said earlier…this place seems to have it all and in a nice balance.

Read More (incl. pic) at: Miri to Kota Kinabalu

Controversial oceanarium at Pulau Mabul still needs EIA evaluation

KOTA KINABALU: A controversial oceanarium resort at Pulau Mabul (read: Concern over Mabul resort plan) along Sabah’s east coast still has to get the approval of various authorities here although the state cabinet has endorsed the land office’s green light for project.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the oceanarium proponents would need to get approval for the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) and development before it can get off the ground.

He said his ministry would evaluate the proposal when they received the development plan of the proposed oceanarium.

“As such, the issue of the project’s approval does not arise at this point in time,” he told The Star yesterday.

He said the EIA was a crucial component in the entire evaluation process of the project.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Controversial oceanarium at Pulau Mabul still needs EIA evaluation

Sarawak Tourism targets RM8m for next year’s Miri International Jazz Festival event

MIRI: Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) is targeting to reap RM8 million revenue from its 4th edition of music driven tourism product, Miri International Jazz Festival (MIJF) 2009, scheduled on May 8 and 9 at The Pavilion of ParkCity Everly Hotel Miri.

STB’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gracie Geikie was optimistic the target could be achieved with strong sponsorship from ASTRO.

“We are indeed very happy that ASTRO this year is going to give wider television coverage in helping STB to make MIJF a truly international event. We are going to team up with ASTRO to document this festival under one of its programme ‘Travel and Living’,” she said in a press conference at ParkCity Everly Hotel yesterday.

Last year, Gracie, who is also the advisor of the festival, said some RM6 million in revenue had been collected from the 3rd event of its kind.

Thus with the continuous strong support from various sponsors, she remained highly confident of another great success next year.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Sarawak Tourism targets RM8m for next year’s Miri International Jazz Festival event

Monday, November 17, 2008

Raleigh’s bridge takes Imbak Canyon to new scientific frontier

KOTA KINABALU: Raleigh Borneo is in the process of constructing a 200-ft span suspension bridge at the Imbak Canyon.

Raleigh Borneo Communications officer, Lisa Henshaw said that once completed, the bridge will enable scientists to access the canyon for research purposes as well as enabling a gravity feed water system to be fed across the river into the field centre.

She explained that the bridge was necessary, especially during rainy season when the Imbak river would swell and cut off access to the conservation area.

In dry season however, the river can easily be crossed by foot.

During the first phase of the project, the Raleigh project team had completed the foundation site for one side of the bridge and that this involved transporting and mixing the sand, gravel, rocks and cement for the foundation.

“The next phase will see the completion of the foundation for the other side of the bridge,” she said.

Lisa also explained how Raleigh got involved in the development at the area.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Raleigh’s bridge takes Imbak Canyon to new scientific frontier

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Romancing Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa (STARS)

Gardens in abundance at the resort - Courtesy of Shangri-La Tg Aru

Heart-shaped rose petals and a stem of rose placed invitingly in the centre of the bed

Sunset view at the resort

Aerial view of Shangri-La Tg Aru Resort & Spa - Courtesy of Shangri-La Tg Aru

Photos courtesy of and Copyright to Shangri-La Tg Aru, Mohd R Jamaludin and
Brunei Press Sdn Bhd

By Mohd R Jamaludin

Sabah is a romantic destination and there are ample activities for a couple to ensure that they have a memorable honeymoon.

Whether couples choose to take in the sights around Sabah, share cocktails, watch spectacular sunset, enjoy a cosy dinner or just spend a day relaxing on the beach, a honeymoon at Sabah's Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu is sure to be full of memories.

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa offers one of the most ideal settings for honeymooners in the Asia Pacific region.

Its suites and rooms overlook the South China Sea, white sandy beaches and 25 acres of exotic gardens.

It's a strategic hub to explore Sabah, being located conveniently just 10 minutes away from the city centre, the international airport and five coral islands offshore.

"At the 495-room Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, an average of 12 honeymoon couples check in daily," says Matthias Roeke, the resort's general manager.

"And these are just the ones who make reservations on our Borneo Romance honeymoon package - I am sure there are others who prefer complete privacy during their stay," added Roeke.

"Honeymooners deserve the pampering we accord them and the resort has seen an increase in the number of honeymooners and wedding solemnization ceremonies in recent years."

The "Borneo Romance" package caters specifically to honeymooners and couples, allowing them to indulge in the romantic ambience the resort provides, from the moment they arrive - from the beating of the gong announcing their arrival to the rose petals on the bed and gifts for the couple in the room - right up to a selection of gastronomic experiences in a relaxing and soothing ambience.

"Honeymooners deserve special services during their stay, and we do our best to make the occasion as memorable as possible for them," says Tulip Noorazyze, the resort's Director of Communications.

"Some couples prefer to relax in the tranquility of the resort's gardens while others prefer to soak in the sun on the resort's private beach.

"Some prefer a little more adventure during their honeymoon and can indulge in such activities as climbing the famous Mount Kinabalu, white-water rafting, diving or jungle trekking."

Sightseeing options are endless, from a river cruise to see the Proboscis monkey and fireflies, to a canopy tree-top walk to be at peace with nature or a visit to the orangutan sanctuary.

Sunsets in Sabah are breathtaking, offering spectacular views of the South China Sea, and Shanri-La Tanjung Aru's Sunset Bar is by far the most popular spot from which to watch a sunset while enjoying cocktails.

The resort's cabana dinner at Sunset Beach and Peppino's, or balcony dining options, are a haven for lovers, where the can enjoy the evening in complete privacy - romantic candlelit dinner with roses, taking in the cool sea breeze and a clear starry night.

Many couples from as far away as the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia and Japan have recognised the impeccable tranquility of the resort's surroundings, making it an ideal venue for a romantic honeymoon escapade.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Sunday

Concern over Mabul resort plan

SEMPORNA: A plan to build Malay­sia’s first and biggest oceana­rium resort of luxury chalets in Mabul, in the east coast of Sabah, is facing a wave of opposition.

Environmentalists, villagers and dive operators warn that the proposed project on a 33ha parcel of shallows will bring disaster to Mabul marine life and may also degrade the eco-sensitive coral reefs of Pulau Sipadan, a 20-minute boat ride away.

Application for a 99-year lease for the parcel facing south of Sipadan was first put in by a local company based in Kota Kinabalu in September last year.

The Semporna Assistant Collector of Land Revenue approved the application early this year and the Sabah Cabinet endorsed it last month, according to state officials.

They said the project was supposed to be undertaken by a local and Japanese joint venture based on an environment-friendly building concept.

Work will only commence after a thorough study of the environment impact assessment report.

The sources added that the oceanarium would be surrounded by five villages of more than 200 sea-view bungalows and semi-detached villas, with side pools and spa villas as well as staff and scientist quarters.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Concern over Mabul resort plan

Bornean Sun Bear conservation centre gets overwhelming support

KOTA KINABALU: Efforts to raise fund for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) received overwhelming support from generous donors and the state government on Friday night.

Some RM1.3 million was raised through the auction of four paintings and a sculpture, sales of dinner tickets and a matching grant from the state government during the Bear Necessities Fund Raising Event at a resort here.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman who graced the function announced that the state government would give a matching grant based on the amount of money raised during the event.

According to the Land Empowerment of Animal & People (LEAP) executive director Cynthia Ong, the BSBCC will cost about RM2.1 million.

It will be built next to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan and it will be carried out in three phases with phase one costing RM1.1 million, phase two RM600,000 and RM900,000 is needed for phase three.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Bornean Sun Bear conservation centre gets overwhelming support

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eastern Sabah is safe for visitors

Kota Kinabalu: Commissioner of Police Datuk Noor Rashid said Friday that Eastern Sabah is very safe for visitors, contrary to the warning on the online version of the popular travel guide Lonely Planet.

"The warning is not true at all and police can assure visitors to eastern Sabah that it is very safe for them to visit," he said.

Lonely Planet issued a posting entitled "Don't Go To Eastern Sabah" due to the risk of being kidnapped by terrorists.

Noor Rashid said such information is misleading and visitors should ignore it. "As a popular travel guide, it should not have posted such a warning without verifying the actual situation," he said.

He said police are monitoring the security situation at all times and the information gathered showed that Eastern Sabah is perfectly safe.

"We have police personnel stationed all over the place as well as doing patrolling and general duties to ensure it is safe there," he said.

Continue reading at: Eastern Sabah is safe for visitors

Brunei's very own Times Square ready by 2010

By Azlan Othman

Brunei will soon have another shopping centre, located near the Brunei International Airport.

It will also incorporate a transit hotel with more than 100 rooms, which is scheduled to be completed before Hari Raya in 2010.

Called 'Times Square', it is situated next to the airport mall building, which is now under construction. The new mall is a value-added family-friendly shopping centre that is designed to give family shoppers more priority with an array of family-friendly products and services in Brunei.

"It is not related to Times Square in Kuala Lumpur", Mr KB Tan from Times Square Property Management told the Weekend.

With over 200,000 sq feet, it will house over 70 individual shops, an anchor departmental store tenant, wet supermarket, multi-purpose hall for those who wish to hold gatherings such as Malay wedding, food court, a row of outdoor cafes including 24 hour café, spa for the comfort of jet-lagged tourists transiting in the Sultanate as well as an indoor playground and amusement arcade for children.

KB Tan added, "Currently, we don't have a specialised shopping centre to cater for the family and children."

"Times Square is designed to cater for such a purpose. As it is located close to the housing resettlement and residential areas, we bring the shopping centre to the residents, which are otherwise concentrated in the town centres. We also create crowds for our tenants. This pro-family initiative may help retailers and shopping centres to increase visitor traffic," he added.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Friday, November 14, 2008

After Five - New eating outlet in Kuching

Need to relax after a tiring day at work? Then head over to After Five, where good food and a great atmosphere await you.

After Five is located at Sublot 1-8, 3rd Exchange Commercial Centre, Jalan Datuk Tawi Sli, Kuching.

If you don’t have a clue where that is, it’s near the car park next to the BanQuet. Just look out for a signboard featuring a huge crab waving its claws at you.

Like it says in the name, the newly opened After Five operates from 5pm until 11pm daily.

The concept of this sparkling new eating outlet is “steamboat and BBQ in open air.” Now, you might be thinking that the concept is similar to those of other steamboat and BBQ establishments in Kuching.

While that may be so, one thing you must know is that After Five stands out from the rest of those establishments because it doesn’t just serve normal steamboat and BBQ. It serves a very healthy steamboat and an array of truly decadent barbecued items.

The best thing about the steamboat and BBQ items at After Five is the pricing. The food here is affordable. As far as the atmosphere is concerned, After Five’s open air concept offers comfort and spaciousness.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: After Five - New eating outlet in Kuching

A fundraising event for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

From Life In Borneo blog:

An array of Malaysia’s best-known musicians, television and film icons will come together for one night to raise funds for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, to be established at Sepilok, Sandakan. Aptly named ‘Bear Necessities’, this fundraising event will be held at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa on Friday 14th November 2008 at 6.30pm.

The Malayan Sun Bear

Borneo is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, where some of them are unique to the forest of Borneo. The Malayan Sun Bear is one such animal. The sun bear is the smallest of the world’s eight bear species, about 1.2 metres (4 feet) in length. Its name comes from the orange-yellowish marking on its chest, which looks like a crescent-shaped sun. It has short and sleek fur, unlike other members of the bear species, and dark black or brown-black in colour. The sun bear is also an excellent climber - it has large paws with hairless soles and long claws that help them move about with ease high up in trees.

A threatened species

The Malayan Sun Bear was once widespread throughout Southeast Asia, but now its home is fast diminishing. Sabah is one of the last few places where this animal can still be found in the wild. It is under constant threat, its natural habitat in the wild disappearing from forest degradation. They are also illegally hunted for food and for medicines. They clash with human settlements at times and are often shot to prevent damage to crops. The sun bears are also victims to poaching, captured as small cubs for the pet trade.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: A fundraising event for the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Ranau Cabbage Fest (Pesta Kubis)

Date : 15 November 2008

Journey to the district of Ranau for the annual Cabbage Fest or Pesta Kubis. This one-of-a-kind event celebrates the significance of the cabbage, one of the main products of the district that has long supported the livelihood of the local residents.

During the festival, enjoy a variety of activities including a cabbage cooking competition which highlights the array of cabbage recipes – a great opportunity to sample delicious Sabahan fare! Enjoy the upbeat performance of the Bamboo Orchestra and various song and traditional dance routines.

You can also visit the various stalls and exhibition booths set up for the day. And of course, this is the best time to purchase fresh cabbages and other vegetables, grown in the hills and valleys of Kundasang. See you there!

For more information, please contact District Officer Siriman Basir at tel. no 088-875253/ 013-8771666 or Organising Secretary Suatin Mayor 019-8411435. Alternatively, send an e-mail to

Source: Sabah Tourism

Note: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

ED NOTE: The word Ranau originated from the word 'RANAHON' which means PADDY FIELD. Usually the Kadazandusuns in Ranau are involved in hill paddy due to the hilly geographical structure. But on low land, paddy is farmed in watery places/fields or 'padi sawah' which locals called it 'RANAHON'. So, in short, the word 'RANAHON' became 'RANAU'.

AirAsia does away with fuel fees on all flights

KUALA LUMPUR: Passengers on AirAsia and AirAsia X flights will no longer have to pay a fuel surcharge for both local and international flights.

AirAsia Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes said with the move – effective midnight yesterday – passengers need only pay the fare, airport tax and administrative fee.

AirAsia becomes the first airline in the world to do away with the fuel surcharge for all its flights.

Previously, passengers paid an average of RM47.

Fernandes, however, added that he could not guarantee that the airline would not reimpose the surcharge should world fuel prices skyrocket again.

“I would be crazy to say I’ll never impose a fuel surcharge. But we will resist for as long as we can.”

Continue reading at: AirAsia does away with fuel fees on all flights

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bundu Tuhan – A Sacred Place

From Around The World - A Traveller Perspective blog:

The last time I step my foot in Bundu Tuhan was in 1992. I was 14 year old, a young boy sent there to attend a religious retreat. Since then, this place never had been so important or significant to me until I was there recently.

Bundu Tuhan is located about 35-40 km from Ranau or 60-70 km from the city of Kota Kinabalu depending which road one’s heading from. It is valley in between the mountain and hill ranges of the Crocker Range where the Kinabalu Park is majestically standing, the icon of Sabah’s tourism destination and a world heritage site.

The close-knit population of Bundu Tuhan and its traditionally way of life coupled with lack of major development makes Bundu Tuhan an area ideal for countryside tourism. Here you can relax, enjoy the mild climate and venture into the rich cultural potpourri of the Dusunic ethnic group that make up most of Bundu Tuhanites.

The environmental setting of the 3 major villages, i.e. Sokid, Siba and Gondohon provides the alpine outlook of Bundu Tuhan, similar to those alpine villages found in Switzerland and Germany at the foot of the Alps in continental Europe. Houses are built on slopes along the road and scattered through out to the heart of Bundu Tuhan, and up on the slopes again to Gondohon and gateway to other remote villages (Terolobou, Piasau, Karanaan, Himbaan, Toboh) farther in the Crocker Range. It’s amazing that most Sabahan never reached this part of the planet in their lifetime or ever hear of these places throughout their life. I for one is fortunate enough to ever step on these villages!

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Bundu Tuhan – A Sacred Place

Local literary figures at poetry festival in Miri

By Rosli Abidin Yahya

Two local poets are currently participating in a poetry festival at Niah National Park in Miri an the effort to create awareness on the richness of the natural beauty, flora and fauna and the need to safeguard them for future generation.

Organised by the Department of National Heritage, Ministry of Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage in Malaysia; Miri Resident Office and Sarawak Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism from Nov 8 to 11, the two Bruneians - Nurfik and ZAB - have joined other international poets such as Supardi of Indonesia, Naowarat Phongphaibun of Thailand, Djamal Tukimin of Singapore, V I Braginskiy of Russia and Cai Jiwcheng of China.

The event also features Malaysia's established poets such as national laureates A Samad Said and Muhammad Haji Salleh, Dr Siti Zainon, Dr Lim Swee Tin and Rajeswari as well as Putera, Abizai, Poul Nanggang and Jaya Rimba from Sarawak.

The former curator of Sarawak Museum, Lord Cranbrook, who wrote many books on Southeast Asia wildlife was also invited to make an emotional return to the country.

Entitled "Festival of International Heritage Poetry", the event is themed "Culture and Nature: Forest, Caves and Swiftlets" and poems to be recited were themed accordingly.

Aside from poetry recital and cultural performances, the 30 participants were also taken on a guided tour to Chang Long House, Painted Caves and Great Caves which are all in the vicinity of the Niah National Park.

The poets are also expected to compose heritage poems during the event which will be translated into English for publication purposes.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sarawak To Launch New Tourism Products Next Year

KUCHING -- Two new tourism products will be launched next year to boost Sarawak's tourism potential.

State Urban Development and Tourism Minister Datuk Michael Manyin said the Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak celebrations would be the state's latest additions to tourism products to provide tourists with the real atmosphere of the celebrations.

Villages and longhouses within a two-hour drive from Kuching City would be selected for the purpose, he said, adding that tourists who were keen to attend the celebrations would get first-hand experience of the various rituals and ceremonies practised by locals.

Continue reading at: Sarawak To Launch New Tourism Products Next Year

Sunday, November 09, 2008

SabahAir Aviation - Altitude with an Attitute!

You’ve trailblazed Sabah by road and sailed the seas to view the ocean wonders, but have you taken to the skies to take in the sights? With SabahAir Aviation, it’s time to see Sabah from way up high!

SabahAir Aviation is a well-established heli operator with over 30 years' experience. It has a fleet of five helicopters in Kota Kinabalu and one in Sandakan. With their affordable rates, the company aims to change the perception that heli charters are for the rich and famous. Think again! Here are some of flights of fancy you might enjoy:


Imagine a close-up view of majestic Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia. This flight takes you on an unforgettable journey over the mighty Mt. Kinabalu where you will enjoy stunning views of the seemingly endless Crocker Range.


Maliau Basin, also known as the ‘Lost World of Sabah’, is located in the south-central part of the state. It is an area of approximately 58,840 hectares, surrounded on all sides by steep cliffs, which is rich is flora and fauna. Many people flock to this natural wonder to view the 7-tier waterfall.


Avoid the hassle of traffic jams and save precious time as you fly above the city of Kota Kinabalu! Get a bird’s eye view of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, the iconic Menara Tun Mustapha (Tun Mustapha Tower, also known as the Sabah Foundation building). See if you can spot your hotel or the famous Tanjung Aru Beach! A 20-minute joyride will cost around RM260 per person.

SabahAir Aviation also caters to special requests, transfers and tours. Just ask and you shall receive! In short, you can charter a flight from any point as long as there is a landing area the size of a tennis court. The Bell Jet Ranger 206 can seat up to four people, while the Long Ranger can seat six. To save time, dive enthusiasts and island hoppers can request to fly to any of the many islands along the east coast.

Golfers can also enjoy this service so they can spend more time on their favourite golf course rather than in a car. How about flying to Kudat to see the Tip of Borneo? The journey to Kudat by road from KK city can take 3 hours whereas it takes only 40 minutes by helicopter. Larger aircraft such as the Nomad (which can seat up to 10 people) are used for flights to Layang-Layang (an 80-minute flight from Kota Kinabalu).

Some interesting requests include a marriage proposal in which the gentleman had ‘carved’ his proposal on a sandy beach and asked the heli carrying his girlfriend to fly over the designated area. She accepted his sandy proposal with a resounding 'yes'. For SabahAir Aviation, no request is too grand!

But it’s not all play for Sabahair Aviation. Their busy schedule includes various government projects, such as assisting in the building of schools in the interior regions of Sabah. They transport building materials using their helicopters; this has a low impact on the environment as trees are not chopped down to build roads to ferry material to the desired location.

The company is currently upgrading its services to include an interactive website where you can book all tours online and have them confirmed immediately without any hassle.

For more information on the tours and charters offered please contact Tova Waage at 088-484 733/484326 or fax 088-484557. You can also write them at SabahAir Aviation Sdn Bhd, Locked Bag 113, 88999, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Support for Sabah District Festivals

KENINGAU: The state government will always support festivals organised by district administration by promoting the products, identity and uniqueness of the respective districts.

This was stated by Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, at the official opening of the “Pesta Kayu Koningau” or Cinnamon Fest here yesterday. The Chief Minister’s speech was delivered by the Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun who represented him.

Musa said such festivals not only strengthened the agricultural sector as a driver of economic growth in the state but more importantly served as a catalyst for the realisation of the objectives of the Halatuju and Sabah Development Corridor with a strong agricultural base.

He said the government treated the agricultural sector as a growth area with potential for more development and high returns.

Continue reading at: Support for Sabah District Festivals

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Good news! It's now cheaper to fly with Royal Brunei Airlines

By Amie PDH Ishak

Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) announced that it has lowered its fuel surcharges for most of its destinations to and from Bandar Seri Begawan. The reduced surcharges will apply to all tickets from November 10 onwards.

"RBA is pleased to pass along savings from the lower fuel surcharge to our passengers," Wong Peng Hoon, Senior Vice President, Commercial Sales and Marketing at RBA, said in a statement.

According to a press release from RBA, the reduction follows the recent drop in crude oil prices. If the price of jet fuel continues to drop, RBA will further review the surcharges.

The new surcharges are as follows:

Kota Kinabalu and Kuching - B$30 one-way
Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Surabaya and Ho Chi Minh City - B$60 one-way
Bangkok - B$70 one-way
Hong Kong - B$75 one-way
Perth and Brisbane - B$110 one-way
Auckland - B$150 one-way
Dubai - B$130 one-way
Jeddah - B$140 one-way
London - B$185 one-way

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Friday, November 07, 2008

Hilton Kuching’s November promotion galore

In the USA, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the month of November. Here in Kuching, there is a different reason to celebrate, as the Hilton Kuching introduces its not-to-be missed promotions this month.

Don’t know what’s good? Read on to find out what’s on offer at Hilton Kuching in the month of November.

The Steakhouse

This month at The Steakhouse, diners can expect back-to-back promotions on the freshest oysters and lobsters.

- The World Is Your Oyster [Nov 1-14]: Oyster fans can look forward to enjoying these delicious morsels prepared in six different, and not to mention mouth-watering, styles.

There’s the Mornay (oysters topped with bechamel and cheese sauce), Tempura (deep-fried oysters in a light, fluffy batter), Louisiana (a delicious dish of oysters stuffed with beef bacons and fried in a hearty sauce, topped with cheese), Avocado Salsa (a fusion of guacamole and salsa), Chilled (fresh chilled oysters) and the must-try Borneo Style (oysters served with a dollop of Umai (local raw fish salad)).

Try these at just RM39++ for a set of six oysters.

- Be Shellfish, Indulge [Nov 15-30]: After some oysters, it is time to move on to some juicy lobsters - Rock Lobsters, to be more precise. Each brawny lobster weighs between 600 and 900 grammes. And at The Steakhouse, you can have your lobster prepared in five different styles.

The Grilled Lobster is a great choice. Grilled to perfection, the lobster is served with lemon, Hollondaise Sauce or flavoured butter.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Hilton Kuching’s November promotion galore

Air Asia: Miri-Singapore route on if there’s enough demand

KUCHING: Air Asia is prepared to mount direct flights between Miri and Singapore on one condition – sufficient load factor, both ways.

Urban Development and Tourism Minister, Datuk Michael Manyin Jawong, said the low cost carrier’s chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez, had assured him recently that he (Tony) would consider the Miri-Singapore direct flight within the next three months.

“The problem is not having enough load. If the load is low, definitely now, they (Air Asia) will not do it because the fuel price is so high. So definitely, they would like to see whether it is viable and profitable or not,” he said.

Manyin said the inaugural Kuching-Singapore flight recently recorded a load factor of about 80%, which was considered above normal.

Continue reading at: Air Asia: Miri-Singapore route on if there’s enough demand

Ramsar Site In Kinabatangan-Segama Another Milestone In Biodiversity Conservation In Sabah

KOTA KINABALU -- The designation of the lower Kinabatangan-Segama as a Ramsar site is another milestone in the biodiversity and ecosystem conservation initiative in Sabah, State Secretary Datuk Sukarti Wakiman said today.

He said the designated area comprised three contiguous protected forests -- the Trusan Kinabatangan forest reserve, Kulamba wildlife reserve and Kuala Maruap and Kuala Segama forest reserve -- with total area of 78,803ha.

"This area is not only the biggest Ramsar site in Malaysia but is even larger than the total combined area of the five previously designated sites in the country, three in Johor and one each in Sarawak and Pahang," he said at the certificate presentation ceremony for the first Ramsar site in Sabah here. His speech was delivered by Deputy State Secretary Datuk Gregory Joitol.

Continue reading at: Ramsar Site In Kinabatangan-Segama Another Milestone In Biodiversity Conservation In Sabah

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Birding in the Penrissen Range at Borneo Highlands Resort

Bird-watching or birding is, to put it simply, the observation and study of birds. Over the years, more people have taken interest in the activity.

There are 580 species of birds identified in the mountains, mangroves, forests and coastal areas of Borneo. And what better way to, hopefully, see these birds for yourself than to go bird-watching.

As birds differ mostly in shape, colour, beak and tail, the only way to get a good look at these distinctive features is through the aid of devices such as binoculars.

Also, birding is best done in the morning, as it is during this time that birds are most active and easier to spot.

Borneo Highlands Resort, a unique highland resort located 60 kilometres southwest of Kuching City, and the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) jointly organised the Mini Bird Race 2008 in the Penrissen Range recently.

The Mini Bird Race was a fun event where teams of two persons competed against each other in a race to search, identify and record as many species of birds in the Penrissen Range as they could within a time frame set by the organisers. The team with the highest number of bird species (the species must be those listed in the official list) would emerge the champion.

The event kicked off at 8 am with 16 participating teams rushing from the Chinese Tea House at Borneo Highlands Resort into the Penrissen Range.

Penrissen Range

The Penrissen Range sits more than 1,000 above sea level between Kalimantan and Sarawak. It is located in the world's oldest and second largest tropical rainforest and is accessible only via Borneo Highlands Resort.

What's interesting about the Penrissen Range is that it is still an undiscovered area as far as bird-watching is concerned.

A total of 156 species have been identified in the area prior to the Mini Bird Race, including many endemic species (only in the area covered) plus other interesting species.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Birding in the Penrissen Range at Borneo Highlands Resort

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Keningau Cinnamon Festival 2008

Date : 07 - 09 November 2008

The Cinnamon Festival 2008 will be held from the 7th to the 9th November at the Arked Hall, Keningau. It is to be officiated by YAB Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman, the Chief Minister of Sabah.

Among the interesting activities awaiting visitors are the agricultural product competition, Bintang Koningau 2008 competition, Cinnamon Teh Tarik competition, Cinnamon Beauty Queen competition, fishing competition, and Body Builder competition.

Apart from that, visitors may look forward to visiting the exhibition stalls which are open for viewing from 8.00am to 5.30pm. There will also be exciting performances by local artistes as well as beautiful fireworks display.

Swing by for an excellent spicy time!

Further Information

Contact Person : Tuan Haji Zulkifli Nasir, Pegawai Daerah Keningau
Telephone : +6087 301507 (D.O) / 331519 / 301509
Fax : +087 331535

Source: Sabah Tourism

ED NOTE: The name Keningau derives from the word ‘Koningau' which means cinnamon, hence the Cinnamon festival. Cinnamon tress were once found in abundance in Keningau and the district used to be the main producer of the crop. The history of cinnamon, also known as "Kayu Manis", goes back a long way to the Ming Dynasty which established a trade relations with the Brunei sultanate which ruled most of Sabah before the British East India Company came over in 1881. Koningau is a popular term among the Hokkien community, of course derived from the cinnamon tree. The cinnamon is said to be a popular ingredient for food items, as well as traditional Chinese medicine in China and the Asia Pacific region. But sadly, the trees are now endermic in the district.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kudat Coconut Festival 2008 - Coconut Fashion Queen contest

From blog:

This is probably the most interesting fashion show in Sabah. The Coconut Fashion Queen contest is the highlight of Pesta Kelapa (Coconut Festival) celebrated in Kudat annually. The contestants have to dress in outfit and accessories made of coconut materials. I think the contest is solely for fun and laugh, but the contestants were really serious about it.

Actually Coconut Fest is not my main target to visit Kudat. I just timed the trip during the pesta so I had something to do at night, before I moved on to other destination the following day. In fact, there were some delay on the show, so the event ended at 11:30pm.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Kudat Coconut Festival 2008 - Coconut Fashion Queen contest

Book as promotional tool for Sabah tourism

KOTA KINABALU: A good book can be a powerful and cost-effective marketing tool to promote the State’s eco-tourism to the international market, said Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun.

He said an informative book supported by rare and interesting pictures would always provide needed reference materials for tourists and inspire them to visit Sabah.

Such a good book also makes a perfect souvenir for the tourists to bring home to relish their memorable trip.

But more importantly, he added, it can be a powerful and cost-effective and long lasting promotion approach as a good book would remain on the shelf for a long time.

Masidi said this when officiating at the launch of ‘Tabin – Sabah’s Greatest Wildlife Sanctuary’, a book by Wendy Hutton and Cede Prudente newly published as part of the Tabin Management effort to promote the forest.

Continue reading at: Book as promotional tool for Sabah tourism

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sabah Tour Operators Told To Update Approaches To Attract Tourists

KOTA KINABALU -- Tour operators in Sabah were today told to update approaches in efforts to attract more tourists to the state.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the majority of tourists to the state preferred outdoor and environmental activities which should be given attention and focus by tour operators.

"Most tourists choose holiday destinations that can give them experience by participating in outdoor and ecotourism activities, including environmental conservation programmes.

Continue reading at: Sabah Tour Operators Told To Update Approaches To Attract Tourists

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Places of Interest in Sabah: Fish Massage at Kampung Luanti, Ranau

The main entrance to Kg. Luanti with the fish icon visible from the roadside

A poster at the reception area showing visitors how the massage is done

The unique signboard near the river

The picturesque river view where the fish massage will be "performed"

The "Pelian" fish or more commonly known in Sabah as "Kelah" fish

Mr. Jeffrin (foreground) showing how a full body massage is done

Yes, you read right! A Fish Massage sounds odd but it's a unique experience you might not be curious enough to try.

Fancy something more unique than your average spa? Then head on to Kampung Luanti, Ranau for a fish massaging session at Moroli river in the village!

Located in Kampung Luanti, Ranau, 131 kilometers from Kota Kinabalu (2 hours and 40 minutes drive away); this fish massage ‘spa’ is managed by the Kampung Luanti JKK and lead by Mr. Jeffrin Majangki.

In the Local KadazanDusun dialect, ‘tagal’ means ‘no fishing’, and the main purpose of the ‘tagal’ is to preserve the environment as well as the ecosystem to benefit the future generation. ‘Ikan Pelian’ or Malaysian Masheer comes from the family of Cyprinidae. These fishes are specifically trained by the villagers to perform the healing massage activities.

The fish massage is deemed to have a curative effect on those who suffers from psoriasis. Come to Kampung Luanti for regular fish massages and you will enjoy smoother and suppler skin - just like a baby’s bottom.

If the idea of fishes nibbling off your dead skin doesn’t thrill you, try other activities such as jungle trekking and camping. Should you intend to stay longer, Kampung Luanti is also equipped with a homestay programme to make visitors feel at home every time.

Further Information

Contact Mr. Jeffrin Majangki

Tel. No: 088- 878044

HP: 016-806 6598

Source: Sabah Tourism

ED NOTE: Kampung Luanti is by the main KK-Ranau-Kundasang road just after the junction to Sabah Tea Garden. The trick to the fishes coming to "massage" you lies in the "fishmeal" that you need to hold close to you body underneath the water. You can also rent some shorts or clothings for the dip at the river if you forgot to bring your own swim wear. The only minus at Kampung Luanti is a lack of good bathing facility (one has to shower in the open at present).