Friday, October 30, 2009

'Beauty and the Beast' way to boost support for orang-utan

Kota Kinabalu: An Orang-Utan Awareness Week (November 9-15) will see a fresh UK "beauty and the beast' idea to jolt support for Sabah's beastly icon.

The beauty is Hayley Bagnall who sacrificed a lucrative London corporate social responsibility consultant job to inspire a permanent future for our famous "Man of the Forest" - the orang-utan.

Packing all the youthful zeal, Hayley will mount an assault on Mt Kinabalu on November 8-10, slot herself into a full orang-utan dress once she reaches the summit that is Low's Peak, gather all climbers she can rally around her to unfurl a large banner to launch the week-long campaign!

"The aim is to raise awareness and raise vital funds to help support the work of the Orang-Utan Appeal UK here in Sabah," explained Hayley in her new role as the Appeal's Liaison Officer.

The Orang-Utan Appeal UK, founded by businesswoman Sue Sherwood, has been working hand in hand with the Sepilok Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Centre since 2002.

Continue reading at: 'Beauty and the Beast' way to boost support for orang-utan

Trekking to the roof of Sarawak, Gunung Murud

It was past midnight when I woke up suddenly in a wooden hut at the elevation around 2,000 metres above sea level. As I opened the door to have a peep outside, the strong and cold wind was blowing right into me and I was chilled to the bone. I noticed the steam coming out from my nose while exhaling. Though I was wearing a thick windproof jacket, I still could not stand the cold and windy environment as the temperature was approximately 10 degree Celsius! I was standing on the roof of Sarawak, awaiting the sun to rise in order to climb to the highest peak of Gunung Murud.

Gunung Murud is the highest mountain in Sarawak. The summit of this sandstone mountain is 2,423 metres (7,946 feet) above sea level. It is located inside the largest protected national park of Sarawak called Pulong Tau National Park, on the boundary of Limbang and Miri division of north-eastern Sarawak. I was joining an international team consisting of 14 members from Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Taiwan to trek to the summit of Gunung Murud on the actual birthday of Malaysia, 16 of September. This trip was organised by Borneo Touch Ecotour Sdn Bhd and our expedition team was leaded by Mr Chua Eng Hin from Limbang. It was my honour to be one of the two members being sponsored by Sarawak Tourism Board to participate in this unforgettable trip to one of the most beautiful places in this land of hornbill.

On 14 of September, our members in two groups arrived at Limbang and Lawas town respectively and spent a night there. On the following day, all the fourteen members together with our drivers gathered in front of a coffee shop at Lawas in the early morning. After taking our breakfast and uploading our backpacks to our four-wheel-drive vehicles, we headed to the bus station of Lawas around 8am. We were greeted by Datuk Henry Sum Agong, MP for Bukit Sari at the bus terminal. After taking the group photo and the flag off ceremony, we waved goodbye to him and left the town for the Ba’Kelalan highlands.

Several minutes after leaving Lawas town, our convoy turned into a logging track from the main road of Lawas. Thanks to the fine weather, we arrived at Raven scout camp about 3 hours later. It is a small logging camp located about 109km from Lawas town. We took our lunch in a canteen there and rested for one and half hour; then we continued our journey to Lepo Bunga. Around 2.15pm, we reached Lepo Bunga, which was the trailhead of our trek to Gunung Murud.

At Lepo Bunga, four porters from the nearby Ba’kelalan village approached and helped us to unload our bags, foods and drinks from the vehicles. Each porter carried more than 20kg of our belonging, including foods and drinks up to the church camp from the trailhead.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Trekking to the roof of Sarawak, Gunung Murud

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flavourful Barramundi at Kuching Grand Margherita Hotel, Sarawak

Lunch at the Meisan Szechuan Restaurant of Grand Margherita Hotel recently was a healthy and intriguing affair. It was strictly an ‘all fish menu’ affair except for the Hong Kong Kale with Garlic that came almost towards the end of the informative and knowledgeable lunch about a fish called Barramundi.

In between catching up with the news and enjoying the dish of Barramundi among media friends, Assar Aquaquest Sdn Bhd Senior Farm Executive Awg Mohamad Farid Awg Fadzellah narrated about their project on the fish that they started about four years ago. His interesting and entrepreneurial success story helped to stimulate further our appetite. Well, if people ask me what do I know about fish and Barramundi, the least I can said is that the meat tastes good, thanks to the hotel chef and business vision of Assar Aquaquest.

Farid said that Barramundi is a relative of an Australian and Asian sea bass and their presence here would give us more varieties in the type of sea fish and seafood base dishes.

Looking at the menu that we had for lunch, he could not be wrong as we were served a dish called Hot and Cold Barramundi “Omega 3”. The fish cake was crunchy, crispy and juicy with mayonnaise fillings that melt in your mouth. That was good. The cold dish of Barramundi raw meat was done umai style. It was very flavourful with chilli, garlic and lemon grass. It went very well with roasted sago pearl.

According to Farid, Barramundi is getting popular here and has already made a name for itself in major supermarkets and leading hotels in the city. Its a matter of time, in the not too distant future, before its name will be mentioned by every housewife in the city.

Well, remember how we have slowly got use to one of Thailand’s greatest soup - The Tom Yam. We were also served a special Tom Yam soup with Barramundi.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Flavourful Barramundi at Kuching Grand Margherita Hotel, Sarawak

Sabah has more than 1,000 species of orchids

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is blessed with more than 1,000 species of orchids growing in the wild and is also famous for its Slipper and Butterfly orchids.

Yet ironically, Sabah remains a net importer of cut orchid flowers with florists and hotels displaying blooms that were likely to have originated from the peninsula, said Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Yahya Hussin at the launch of the four-day orchid exhibition held at Star City here yesterday.

Hence, the Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) master plan has called for the acceleration of the State agriculture sector through an emphasis on high-value and high-potential products such as aquaculture, non-timber products and horticulture, which includes orchid cultivation, he said.

Continue reading at: Sabah has more than 1,000 species of orchids

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Balancing act in Sabah’s tourism promotion

Malaysia and in particular, Sabah, have been promoted extensively as a tourism destination in this part of the world. There are contentions however that our tourism products have been hyped by the media to boost their marketing value.

New Sabah Times sought the opinion of Associate Professor Dr Ong Puay Liu, who is attached to the Institute of Ethnic Studies or KITA of the University Kebangsaan Malaysia recently.

Ong says, “I think each country and each place has its own beauty and something to offer. By ‘product’, you have put a commercial value to the destination, hence just as in commodities sold in the market, their saleable value depends on the demand, on what the customers want. Malaysia and especially Sabah, have much to offer to people who appreciate nature, culture, adventure, history. Sabah is a microcosm of what there is on Earth – you want mountains, there are mountains. Valleys, islands, forest, wildlife, flora, traditional cultures and mode of living-you have these all in Sabah. So I do not think the promotion of Sabah as a premier tourist destination is mere media or marketing hype.”

On another question, Ong shares that Malaysia and Sabah have tried all possible means to promote their attractions both online as well as through printed media.

“The federal and State Government also organise trade fairs and participate in expos and cultural demonstrations overseas, where natives of particular ethnic groups are invited to come along and demonstrate the uniqueness of their respective cultures. The private sector is also working together with the government and local communities. One good example is Borneo Eco Tours in Sabah. If you look at its website, it is very appealing not only in the packages offered but also in the company’s interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.”

Continue reading at: Balancing act in Sabah’s tourism promotion

Monday, October 26, 2009

Determined Spaniard wins Mt Kinabalu climb

KOTA KINABALU: A strong determination to win paid off for Spaniard Kilien Jornet Burgada when he clinched the top spot in the 23rd edition of the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon.

The 21-year-old university student had just completed a gruelling 218km Tahoe Rim race in the US before coming to Sabah for the mountain race that attracted 173 participants.

“I was really tired from the Tahoe Rim race but I decided to give it my best shot for the climbathon,” said Burgada who completed the climb in 2:40:41.

Japanese Toru Miyahara repeated his last year’s feat by taking the second spot after completing the dash up and down the mountain in 2:41:49.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Determined Spaniard wins Mt Kinabalu climb

Kota Belud Tamu Besar drawing crowds

KOTA BELUD: Colourful and steeped in tradition while showcasing a harmonious blend of cultures and peaceful living, the annual Tamu Besar event never fails to attract people – locals and visitors alike.

The celebration yesterday drew more than 10,000 people turning this town, where the Cowboys of the East roam free, into a veritable carnival.

Ponies dressed in brightly coloured cloths with their equally fancy riders, beauties decked in traditional costumes and the gentle strains of the betitik musical ensemble all combine to make a truly unique festival.

Kota Belud district officer, Mohd Najib Muntok was definitely pleased to witness the large turnout of people.

“They have come to see for themselves how people in Kota Belud all live in peace despite our different cultures. It is a true example of the 1Malaysia concept,” he beamed.

Continue reading at: Kota Belud Tamu Besar drawing crowds

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Passport to Sandakan

Once dubbed “Little Hong Kong”, this city of nature is a fusion of new and old. With its booming commerce, historical charm, exotic wildlife and sun-soaked coasts, the Sabah paradise is a playground for die-hard naturalists, beach-bunnies and culture vultures alike.

Journey to the Past

Unravel fascinating stories of interesting people and events through the various historical landmarks found around the city. Begin exploring the Heritage Trail at Masjid Jamek, a mosque which served as a refuge for Muslims and European officials during World War II. Walk to the William Pryer Monument and climb the Stairs with a Hundred Steps before embarking on a spiritual path. Discover the Gothic-inspired St Michael’s and All Angels Church that took 13 years to complete; and ask for protection, good health and educational success at the Sam Sing Kung Chinese Temple and Goddess of Mercy Temple. Tour the Agnes Keith House, the former residence of the Land Below the Wind and Three Came Home author, then head over to the English Tea House & Restaurant for a cup of steaming hot tea, scones served with jam and cream, and a traditional game of croquet.

Honour Fallen Heroes

Commemorate the tragedy of 1945, which robbed the lives of approximately 2,400 Australian and British prisoners of war. Visit the Sandakan Memorial Park, the POW camp where Allied servicemen were held by Japanese soldiers. The remains of an excavator, generator and boiler are sad reminders of the bitter past. Step into the shoes of the captives and traverse the trail of the notorious Sandakan-Ranau Death Marches. Be warned: even the fit and strapping have found it overwhelming to trek across this route that witnessed the demise of more than 1,400 soldiers. Most of them died of exhaustion, hunger and deadly diseases such as tropical ulcers and beriberi.

For more info:

* Sandakan Memorial Park, Sandakan Municipal Council, Tel: 089-275400 / 217343, Fax: 089-272112

Go Ape!

Swing by the largest Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok to witness the cheeky animals go about their daily business. Catch a glimpse of this protected species as they dangle from trees and dance along platforms during feeding time at 10 am and 3 pm. Established in 1964, the Centre aims to rehabilitate orphaned babies from logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting. Once equipped with the necessary survival skills, these hairy creatures will be released back into the wild. Get up close and personal with the peculiar bulbous-nosed and pot-bellied Proboscis Monkeys at the Labuk Bay Sanctuary. Although these primates search for food in their jungle habitat, they are also treated with snacks such as peeled cucumbers, long beans, and sometimes even pancakes. Originally intended as an oil palm plantation, the 190-hectare area is also home to the mischievous Silver Langgur and Oriental Pied Hornbill.

For more info:

* Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Sandakan Wildlife Department, Tel: 089-531180, Fax: 089-531189

* Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Tel: 089-672133 / 672177, Fax: 089-672136, Email:

Hit the Trails

The Rainforest Discovery Centre, one of the most accessible rainforests in Sabah, sits by a lake at the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Walk along the 800-m Rainforest Discovery Trail and become acquainted with green giants such as the menggaris tree. Be sure to also keep an eye out for darting civets and flying squirrels. Climb to the top of the observation towers and take in the breathtaking view from the 150-m long and 28-m high steel canopy walkway. 250 species of birds reside within the Centre including the Banded and Rufous-collared Kingfisher; Hooded and Black-and-Crimson Pitta; Scarlet Minivet; Red-bearded Bee-Eater; Banded Broadbill and Diard's Trogon. Patience is a virtue, especially when trying to spot the trophy Bornean Bristlehead!

For more info:

* Rainforest Discovery Centre, Tel: 089-533780 / 533781, Fax: 089-535201, Email:

Hit the Beach

Attempt to find Nemo and other underwater creatures such as the yellow-tail barracuda, humphead parrotfish and guitarfish in the blue-green waters surrounding Lankayan Island. Non-divers can snorkel along the reef, kayak or just lie back on a hammock and enjoy the beautiful sunset and ocean breeze. Witness Green and Hawksbill turtles landing to lay eggs at the Turtle Islands Park, which is dedicated to the protection of this endangered species. Gazetted in 1977, the Marine Park consists of three islands, Pulau Bakungan Kecil, Pulau Selingan and Pulau Gelisan. A friendly tip: Go during the months of March–September to avoid the north-eastern monsoon windstorms.

Ride the River

Travel by open boat along the Kinabatangan, the longest river in Sabah which flows 560 km from the Crocker Range in the southwest down to the Sulu Sea in the east. With its tributaries and oxbow lakes, the Lower Kinabatangan is the largest floodplain in Malaysia and one of only two known places on earth where 10 primate species including the orang utan, proboscis monkey, maroon langgur and macaques can be found. Keep an eye out for other spectacular wildlife along the riverbanks such as the Borneo pygmy elephants, bearded pigs, wild cats, sun bears and crocodiles, just to name a few. The endemic Bornean Bristlehead, rare Storm's Stork and endangered Oriental Darter have also been spotted in the area.

Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

With MASwings will travel

KOTA KINABALU: In conjunction with MASwings second anniversary, the airline is offering discounted fares from as low as RM2 to RM29 for online booking.

Beginning Oct 24-31, a total of 150,000 seats within Sabah and Sarawak and between these two neighboring states were put for grabs at a discounted fare for travel period from Jan 1, 2010 until June 30, 2010.

The seats offered are more than 20% of the total seats available on MASwings flights between and within Sabah and Sarawak for the half year period.

Acting head of commercial, Azlan Awang Tanjung said, “The seat offered were part of MASwings’ effort to show appreciation to all MASwings’ loyal and supportive customers.”

He also stressed that many customers perceived that MASwings fares were expensive but on the contrary, its fares were relatively reasonable and affordable to many East Malaysians and “even lower if the booking is made via the internet.”

“The anniversary offer is a real deal as MASwings will give out ample seat allotment for customers who are willing to make advanced plan for their travel. For eight consecutive days beginning Sunday this week, MASwings will be offering unbelievable discounted fare never before offered to our customers. What they need to do is to log on to MASwings website and choose any date they wish to travel,” he added.

Continue reading at: With MASwings will travel

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Huminodun - The mystical origin of the Kadazandusun people

By HERMAN SCHOLZ, The Flying Dusun

First, there was nothing but Kinoingan and Sumundu. Together, they created man and the universe, the earth, and everything seen and unseen, known and unknown.

In the beginning, all was well in the Heavens, and the world was pure and beautiful. But one day, Ponompulan, Kinoingan’s son, rebelled against his divine father, and he corrupted the hearts and minds of the humans on earth.

Disappointed and angry, Kinoingan banished Ponompulan from the Heavens and cast him to Kolungkud . Then, to punish mankind for their sinful ways, Kinoingan sent seven plagues. The last plague was a severe draught, and famine threatened to destroy every living being on earth.

But at last, the people on earth realised their sin, and turned back to Kinoingan, to ask for forgiveness. Ponompuan, Kinoingan’s only daughter, entreated her father’s mercy to forgive the people of the world and consented to Kinoingan’s proposal that she be sacrificed, as a symbol of the greatest love of all.

Kinoingan sacrificed His only daughter so that the people could have food. Her body parts were planted as seeds and became the food resource of the world: rice. Ponompuan’s spirit dwells in the paddy, and is the seven-in-one Bambaazon (Bambarayon), the spirit of the paddy. Red rice is the most sacred of all, because it was from the flesh of Ponompuan.

Ponompuan, who is often called Huminodun, is in essence the soul of the paddy. During harvesting time, the Bobohizans (Bobolians) usher the seven-in-one soul of Bambaazon to dwell in the Tangkob (Toguruon), at home, until the next planting season is due.

Bambaazon is embodied in every part of the paddy and its related products. During the course of its seasons it is inevitable that the paddy is damaged, be it naturally, unintentionally, innocently or through abuse and neglect. Also, during the harvest itself, parts of the spiritual components of Bambaazon are separated. Thus, it is of utmost importance that immediately after the harvest Bambaazon’s dispersed mystical spirits are collected by the spiritual specialists, brought home, re-united, healed and appeased.

The Bobohizans perform the Magavau, Modsuut and Humabot Ceremonies, travelling though the different levels of the spiritual world to rescue the severed and strayed Bambaazon. Whole again, Bambaazon will ensure that the next harvest is equally bountiful.

To thank Kinoingan for Bambaazon’s gift of a good harvest, the Pesta Ka’amatan (Harvest Festival) is held. The Kadazans forgive each other, restore and strengthen peace and harmony – not only on a worldly level, but also between nature and the spiritual world – and play the gongs, sing songs and dance to the ancient rhythm of life.

To commemorate the greatest love of all, Kinoingan’s sacrifice of His only daughter, the Kadazans idolise Huminodun and select the Unduk Ngadau (lit: zenith of the sun; Harvest Beauty Queen) in order to remember that Ponompuan was perfect: she was of total beauty of the heart, mind soul and body.

Source: New Sabah Times 'In' Sites

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Pesta Gong Kudat

Date: 25 October 2009

Celebrate the backbone of traditional music in Sabah as the Kudat Rungus community assembles for the annual Gong Festival held on 24 and 25 October at Kampung Sumangkap, Matunggong. Titillate your eardrums as participants battle it out in the gong beating, singing and traditional Mongigol Sumundai dance competitions. Witness the crowning of the Gong Queen and adorable children strutting down the catwalk during the kids fashion show contest. Stalls selling food and other local goods will also be set up for the convenience of visitors.

For further enquires, contact Zachary Mobijohn (Sri Pelancongan Sabah) at 088 232121/ or Arnold Joibi (Matunggong District Office) at 088 613762.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Sabah – paradise and a paradox

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is a paradox – it is a land blessed with many resources yet remains poor.

That is how Prof W. Chan Kim, co-author of the best-selling Blue Ocean Strategy, sums up the state.

“When you have so much natural resources you are comfortable to sell what you have (but) what you have will one day disappear,” he said.

The professor, who co-authored the Blue Ocean Strategy with Renee Mauborgne, said there was a need to exploit the state’s resources in areas which are untapped.

Noting that Sabah was home to the third largest rainforest in the world, he said it was important that the state made itself known to the world as Asia’s rainforest tourism destination.

The main areas of economic growth in the world are pharmaceuticals, bio-science and telecommunications, he said, noting that the rainforest provided 25% of the ingredients for modern pharmaceutical use.

“I see Sabah as a powerful state especially compared to a place like Dubai which had nothing apart from a desert, goats and some oil and gas and today is a big tourist spot.

Continue reading at: Sabah – paradise and a paradox

F&B a major tourist attraction for Sarawak

If somebody asks me what is it about Sarawak that makes people come back again and again – at least once in their life time - my answer is that it depends on the person. Each traveller has his own needs and wants. I am not a marketing expert but like other any tourist destination Sarawak has something at par to offer travellers from around the world.

When someone browse through holiday brochures he is quite certain to see the words such as “It’s a must see and must go” place printed on the brochure or leaflet. It is almost a certainty that the holiday makers or travellers would form some rough ideas of their destinations.

Sarawak in general is beautiful and has a huge potential to be a tourist destination. It has numerous tourist products and there is no denial that it is a paradise with its picturesque flora and fauna, and a landscape that only exists in this part of the world.

But tourists do not come here for just the landscape or filling up their digital camera memory cards. They want something different that could not be found from where they come from. They want to experience something – other than snap shots – that they can remember for a life time.

Singaporean actor cum gourmet expert Moses Lim, who is the Sarawak Food Ambassador in the republic since Sept 1 this year, said personally he sees Sarawak as a very interesting destination with numerous tourist products to promote. Moses explained that for many years people form Singapore and the Asian region had not heard much about Sarawak and East Malaysia.

“I knew Sarawak in the 1970s when I was involved in my late father’s automotive business. I travelled to this part of the world. I used to travel at least 21 days a month around East Malaysia and came to know the many interesting places and food that people would love to experience.

“In the middle of this year, STB ex CEO Gracie Geikie approached me and asked me whether I would like to promote food like laksa since I have such gourmet experiences and laksa is one of the food loved by Singaporeans. I believe we should promote Sarawak through the varieties of authentic food and beverage products,” he said.

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: F&B a major tourist attraction for Sarawak

Thursday, October 22, 2009

E-BORNEO.COM's New Office Location

For those who had missed out on our recent Relocation Notice, please take note that our office had been relocated to the following new location:

Lot No. 7, 2nd Floor, Block C
Lintas Jaya Uptownship
88200 Penampang
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel/Fax: +6-088-722606

Our operating hours will be as follows:

* Monday - Friday : 8.30 am to 5.30 pm

* Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays : Closed

Looking forward to serving you at our new premises.



23rd Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon

Date: 24-25 October 2009

Come 24 and 25 October the hills, or rather the mountain, will come to life with the sound, smell and taste of sheer determination to conquer the steepest marathon on the 7-series Skyrunning World Championship circuit. Billed as the World’s Toughest Mountain Race, the 23rd Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon will decide the ultimate champions of the 2009 Men’s Open, Women’s Open and Men’s Veteran categories.

Mountain runners must sprint through 21 kilometres of craggy terrain up steep steps and paths to the summit of Mount Kinabalu (4095.2 m) and back to the Kinabalu Park headquarters to complete the race. While the average mortal takes two days, the herculean contestants can reach the finishing line in approximately two and a half hours.

Although the first Climbathon was inaugurated in 1987 to scout for an adept rescue squad, it has matured throughout the years into a significant sporting event that attracts participants from more than 40 countries including Japan, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain, Italy and Great Britain—a majority of which are members of the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), whose patron is the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF).

Bystanders can join in the excitement at the TM Fiesta and participate in a multitude of activities including the colouring and drawing competition, games and lucky draw. Transportation to the Pesta Kubis (Cabbage Festival) in Kundasang will also be provided on 24 October by the organiser from Kinabalu Park to Kundasang and Ranau town to Kundasang.

For more information, contact Zachary Mobijohn (Organising Secretary) at 088 232121/ or visit

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Sabah's wildlife lures US TV celebrity

Kota Kinabalu: Zoologist and television personality Jack Hanna is here with his film crew to capture Sabah's pygmy elephants, sun bears and orang utan on film to be shown in the Into the Wild television programme in the US to heighten the world's awareness of the animals.

The famed Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, was pleased with the warm welcome he, his wife, daughter and film crew received and would be here for six days.

During the period, they would be going to Sepilok to see orang utan and sun bear conservation.

"Also we will be going to Sukau River to see the pygmy elephants and orang utan as well as the Kinabatangan Orang Utan Conservation project and Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary," he told reporters at Pacific Sutera, Wednesday.

He also would look out for some nocturnal creatures and hoped to shoot two or three 30-minute programmes during their stay.

"Our primary aim is the orang utan, sun bear and pygmy elephants but we hope to see also proboscis monkey, leaf monkey and cobra," he said.

After Sabah, Jack and his crew would be going to Bako National Park outside Kuching and do some filming at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

Continue reading at: Sabah's wildlife lures US TV celebrity

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Tamu Besar Kota Belud

Date: 24-25 October 2009
Saddle up, culture vultures, for an authentic extravaganza at the annual Tamu Besar Kota Belud held on 24 and 25 October! Located 70km northeast of Kota Kinabalu, the “Land of the Cowboys of the East” plays host to the biggest open-air market in Sabah, which is held at the Kota Belud tamu ground and town field.

This colourful event is a feast for visitors hungry for a taste of the native way of life. Purchase a variety of local goods from farmers, fishermen and vendors or observe unique ceremonies, dance and music displays. Enjoy the sight of Bajau horsemen parading on handsomely dressed steeds, the crowning of the Ratu Sarempak and traditional sports such as buffalo racing.

For more details, contact Zachary Mobijohn (Sri Pelancongan Sabah) at 088 232121/ or Mohd. Najib Muntok (Kota Belud District Office) at 088 976621/976542.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Sabah wild animals to be filmed for American TV

KOTA KINABALU: American animal expert Jack Hanna, popularly known as “Jungle Jack” is in Malaysia for a television shoot of the wild.

The 62-year-old is in Sabah to film orang utans, sunbears, proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants in the wilds of Borneo for his entertainment and educational television show “Jack Hanna’s Into The Wild.”

Hanna and his crew will also be heading towards Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia during his two-week trip to Malaysia and Singapore for at least four 30-minute television series.

Invited by Tourism Malaysia, Hanna told reporters here that the great apes and elephants had always fascinated him and that it was the first time he was doing a show on orang utan and the Borneo pygmy elephants.

‘’I have always wanted to come to Malaysia but my tight schedules around the world delayed me. I am really excited to be here in Borneo,” said Hanna who has been hosting educational animal shows for the last 43 years.

Continue reading at: Sabah wild animals to be filmed for American TV

Sabah Tourism Upcoming Event: Pesta Kubis Kundasang

Date: 24-26 October 2009
It's veggie galore at the Pesta Kubis held from the 24th to 26th October at Kundasang, Ranau. In honour of the humble cabbage, visitors can join in the three-day Festival and enjoy activities such as the cabbage cooking demonstration. Also, don't miss special performances by our local artists.

For more information, contact Suanti Mayor (Organising Chairman of the committee) at 019-8411435 visit here.

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photo Copyright to Sabah Tourism

Mt Kinabalu Climbathon creates history with biggest foreign participation

KOTA KINABALU: This year’s 23rd Mt Kinabalu International Climbathon will record the highest number of foreign participation in the event’s history, with 35 countries taking part compared to 21 last year. Sabah Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Ellron Angin said so far they have registered 493 participants for the event this weekend at Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, but they expect the number to increase.

Of the number, 172 people are foreign participants, he said at the press conference here yesterday.

“We are still open for last-minute additions,” he said, adding that Malaysia, as usual, recorded the highest number of participants at 321, with Sabah contributing 240 of the total.

The race is set to be an interesting an exciting event as the world’s top mountain runners compete in the climbathon, which is also the final and determining race for the 2009 Sky Runners World Series.

Continue reading at: Mt Kinabalu Climbathon creates history with biggest foreign participation

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mount Kinabalu, home of world’s highest via ferrata

Ask the man on the street on whether he knows what is ‘via ferrata’ and it is highly likely that he would return a blank look and say “sorry, no idea”.

Repeat the same question to a mountaineer or rock climber, you may get a passionate reply with some glowing experience on it thrown in.

The via ferrata, or ‘iron road’ in Italian, is a mountain path that consists of a series of steel rungs, rails and cables embedded into the rock face on a mountain slope. It opens up routes for the average hiker that were previously only accessible to experience rock climbers and mountaineers with specialised equipment.

This leisure mountaineering sport had its roots in World War I. The first via ferrata was constructed and used by the Italian military to move troops and equipment across the Italian Dolomites into to Austria. Climbers can follow the via ferrata without needing to use their own ropes and belays, and without the risks associated with unprotected scrambling and climbing.

The via ferrata are found in a number of European countries, including Italy, Germany, England, France, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Norway and Poland as well as a few places in the United States, Canada and Malaysia.

Mount Kinabalu in Sabah has the first via ferrata, not only in Malaysia but also in Asia. Opened in December 2007, it is an alternative route to the top of Mount Kinabalu at 4,095 metres above sea level. Located at Mount Kinabalu’s Panar Laban rock face, the via ferrata is also the world’s highest. It begins at 3,411 metres and ends at 3,776 metres above sea level. This was certified by the Guinness World Records. The via ferrata is a four to six-hour hike from the Mount Kinabalu Park Headquarters.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mount Kinabalu, home of world’s highest via ferrata

Serene Podos Waterfall, Kota Belud

Kota Belud: AWAY from the hustle and bustle of city life, the largely unknown Podos Waterfall in Kadamaian, Kota Belud is a place to behold.

The waterfall, named after the village where it is located, is about 26km from Kota Belud town, 16km consisting of the ride to Taginambur, a small rural town off the Ranau by-pass, and the rest on a gravel access to Kg Podos, with a 10-minute walk at the end to reach the spot.

A visit to the site left a lasting impression on founder and president of non-governmental organisation, Gindol Initiative for Civil Society Borneo, Kanul Gindol.

"The Podos Waterfall is ideal for a small group of five to 10 people because it has only a single pond.

"The water comes from the pristine forests at the foot of Nopunggok in the Crocker Range. I estimate the height of the waterfall to be around 150 feet," he said.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Serene Podos Waterfall, Kota Belud

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Undying passion gives lifeline to fading Kadazan art of craft-making

KOTA KINABALU: Most of the Sabahan womenfolk in the past were proficient in handi-craft-making.

Of course, during those days the handicrafts which we know now as devices that looked pretty behind glass walls were often put to good use by the folks.

Crafts such as the ‘sinagging’, a Kadazan term for the backpack, were used to carry fruits, vegetables, catches from the sea or the river while the ‘tikam’, which is a local term for a mat, were often placed on the wooden or bamboo floors during festivities and other special occasions.

The enterprising women also made the ‘siung’ meaning ‘hat’ in Kadazan. It’s triangular in shape and made primarily out of bamboos and rattan and used by the folks as a head cover whenever they have to bask under the hot sun or rain.

But with the time passing, there were lesser people practicing handicraft-making and these skills, which once was so prevalent among the locals of Sabah, are slowly being forgotten and would surely fade if not for the effort of some folks who continue to enjoy making local crafts.

One of these womenfolk is Lapar Binti Salah, a Murut woman who hails from Tenom.

An ardent handicraft maker, Lapar said that her livelihood depends on her craft-making skills.

“This is my job. What I make, I will later sell to people, most of whom are tourists,” she said.

She added that tourists liked the local handicrafts as it was unique and beautiful for them.

Continue reading at: Undying passion gives lifeline to fading Kadazan art of craft-making

Saturday, October 17, 2009

50 yachts for Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2010

KOTA KINABALU: The joint organising committee of Borneo International Yachting Challenge (BIYC) has set their Key Performance Index (KPI) - to attract participation of at least 50 yachts for BIYC 2010.

Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications, Datuk Lee Kim Shin is confident that the target can be achieved with concerted efforts from various organising partners of the event.

“To ensure greater success for the BIYC 2010 in future, let us form a joint-committee to draw up publicity and promotional programmes for the event,” he said.

“The partners of the event, namely Miri, Labuan and Kota Kinabalu should meet soon to fix the dates for 2010 challenge and work out new strategies and start promoting and marketing the event to the yachting community in different parts of the world.

“Perhaps representatives from Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak would study the proposal and come up with fresh, creative and new ideas to market the event,” he said in his address during the 6th BIYC Prize Presentation Ceremony at Sutera Harbour on Thursday night.

Datuk Lee, who is also the joint-chairman of 6th BIYC main organising committee, thanked all who have contributed towards the success of this years’ event, particular their counterparts in Labuan and Kota Kinabalu for their support and contribution towards the event.

“The 6th BIYC has created a new milestone as this is the first time that the BIYC is being extended to Kota Kinabalu. This has helped to build up the profile of the BIYC while the passage race becomes more challenging and interesting,” he added.

He stressed that the achievement would not have been possible without the strong support, cooperation and assistance from the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and Sabah and the Sarawak and Sabah Tourism Boards, the Labuan Corporation and Tourism Action as well as the Miri Marina and Sutera Harbour Marina and other volunteers of BIYC Sabah Working committee.

“Ever since the introduction of the BIYC in 2003, increasing number of yacht owners in different parts of the world have come to know Sarawak, Labuan and Sabah.

Continue reading at: 50 yachts for Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2010

More RBA flights to S'pore, Manila, Jakarta & Jeddah

From October 25, Royal Brunei Airlines passengers will have more flexibility when it comes to booking flights as the airline will be increasing its flight frequencies to Singapore, Jakarta, Manila and Jeddah.

Singapore flights will operate 17 times weekly with additional day time flights on Monday, Friday and Sunday departing Brunei at 1.20pm and arriving at 3.20pm.

Manila services will increase to eight times weekly, while Jakarta services will increase to six times weekly.

RBA stated in a press release that the increase in services for Jeddah from October to December would strengthen the airline's positioning for Jeddah as a niche market.

"RBA is responding to market demands in the region," said Robert Yang, the Chief Executive Officer of RBA. "We are focused on providing connectivity to our customers and the new winter schedule allows greater flexibility to connect to Europe and the Middle East."

RBA passengers can visit their travel agents or Internet web site to book their flights.

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin Weekend

Friday, October 16, 2009

Suspended Zamboanga-Sandakan Air Link Resumes

KOTA KINABALU -- Trade and tourism exchanges between Sandakan and Zamboanga are back on track as regular flights connecting the two neighbouring areas in the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) resume Friday.

Zest Air's new 56-seater MA 60 aircraft departed from the Zamboanga Airport in the Philippines at 12.45pm and arrived in Sandakan, Sabah, at 2.00pm, marking the revival of the Zamboanga-Sandakan air link which has been suspended since April last year.

A statement issued by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) Friday said that Zest Air would operate flights to Sandakan three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

"This is part of our commitment to complement government efforts in enhancing transportation connectivity in BIMP-EAGA," said Ken Tan, station manager of Zest Air Zamboanga.

"The revival of the Zamboanga-Sandakan air link will provide convenience to the public from Mindanao and Palawan," he said.

Tan said the flights would cut travel time for tourists and businessmen from Mindanao in the Philippines who needed to go to Manila ahead of time just to catch up flights to Sandakan.

Continue reading at: Suspended Zamboanga-Sandakan Air Link Resumes

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sabah Cultural Park to promote culture in the state

KOTA KINABALU: Taman Budaya Sabah, a one-stop centre for performing arts and cultural activities which is under construction, is expected to further enrich the various cultures and arts in the state.

Featuring traditional building designs of the various ethnic groups in Sabah, the park is expected to provide the most sophisticated facilities for the performing arts and cultural shows when fully completed in May next year.

Among other things, it would become a training centre for local artistes and would unearth new talents in the field, said the State Director of the Department of National Arts and Culture, Salehhuddin Md Salleh.

“We want to have a ‘mini Istana Budaya’ in Kota Kinabalu.

Continue reading at: Sabah Cultural Park to promote culture in the state

Pageant renamed Miss Borneo Beautiful

KUCHING: ‘Miss Dayak Sarawak 2009’ has been renamed ‘Miss Borneo Beautiful 2009’ in the hopes of putting a stop to the controversy surrounding it.

This being the case, the pageant would also see some changes in its entry qualifications, as it is now open to all Malaysian women from Sarawak and Sabah.

Organiser Alaric Soh said he was actually on the verge of changing the pageant’s name even before objections about it were highlighted in the media.

“As of Sunday, I had already decided to change the pageant name, well before yesterday’s and today’s news articles,” said Soh yesterday.

He said after the initial launch he had received phone calls from an unknown man and a lady who introduced herself as a secretary of a Dayak non-governmental organisation, objecting to the name of the pageant.

He claimed the man thought the word ‘Dayak’ was inappropriate for a beauty pageant, while the lady wished to know how the pageant was going to be conducted and wanted to meet him.

Soh said he agreed to meet with her on Monday, but she did not show up.

He decided then to respect the man’s views even though the man did not identify himself, and therefore change the pageant’s name.

Soh, who owns Alaric’s Productions Company, said the initial intention to use the word ‘Dayak’ was mooted by some of his Dayak friends.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Pageant renamed Miss Borneo Beautiful

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mysterious Borneo adds attraction to international yachting challenge

MIRI: The name Borneo will lure the yachting community to participate in the Borneo International Yachting Challenge (BIYC).“Borneo has a mystical and adventurous image to the outside world particularly westerners. That’s why we are using Borneo in this yachting challenge as the name is known to the world,” said sixth BIYC joint main organising committee co-chairman Datuk Lee Kim Shin on Sunday.

The yachting race has promoted Miri in particular and Sarawak in general as well as Labuan and Sabah to the international yachting community. The number of participating yachts from different parts of the world has been increasing steadily in the last five years, he said.

In the 5th BIYC, over 40 yachts from 13 different countries took part. It is evident that BIYC has a great potential to grow into a truly renowned international yachting event in Asia, if organisers put in more concerted effort to publicise and promote it.

According to Lee, since the introduction of the race, Miri has become increasingly known to the international yachting community. The participants of the past five years have helped promote Miri through their own yachting network.

“I have in fact received a number of e-mails from previous participants, helping promote the event to their friends,” Lee said.

Continue reading at: Mysterious Borneo adds attraction to international yachting challenge

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mulu trip springs many surprises

My first trip to Mulu National Park resulted in many surprises for me. While there I had the opportunity to explore four caves, namely Deer Cave, Lang Cave, Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave.

With its extensive underground cave systems and vast tropical rainforest, Mulu National Park is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

A visit to Deer Cave is not complete without a visit to Lang Cave. The entrance of the two caves is just a short distance apart.

Deer Cave can be reached by taking a walk on a three-kilometre plankwalk which passes through peat swamp, alluvial flats and limestone outcrops. There is much to see on the way to the cave, including some superb rainforest, jungle streams and an ancient Penan burial cave.

When I reached the entrance of the cave, I could not help but wondered how big Deer Cave is after being tagged as the largest cave passage in the world.

According to the record, Deer Cave is simply huge! It is just over two kilometres long and has a height and width of around 90 metres.

The main chamber, which is partially lit by sunlight, is 174 metres wide and 122 metres high.

Our guide told us that the locals claimed that herds of deer used to seek shelter in the main chamber which led the Penan and Berawan communities to name the cave Gua Payau or Gua Rusa (Deer Cave).

There is a place known as “Garden of Eden” in the Deer Cave, where a hole in the cave roof lets in a shaft of light which allows rich green vegetation to grow. Another feature is the rock profile of former American President, Abraham Lincoln, which guards the southern entrance of the cave.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mulu trip springs many surprises


Belated but memorable Malaysia Day celebration

KUCHING: It was a memorable and meaningful night for thousands of Kuchingnites as Sarawak celebrated its first Malaysia Day on the night of Oct 10 at Padang Merdeka here.

As said by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak in his speech, the celebration marked the day when Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula formed Malaysia 46 years ago.

“Malaysia Day means a lot because that was when Sabah and Sarawak agreed to achieve independence through the formation of Malaysia. Because of the decision of leaders at that time, Sabah and Sarawak have been able to prosper and become secure as part of Malaysia,” he said.

Earlier, Najib arrived at Padang Merdeka around 8.20pm together with Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud followed by Head of State (TYT) Tun Datuk Patinggi Abang Muhammad Salahuddin and Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Norkiah.

Other VIPs were deputy chief ministers Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan and Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang, federal and state ministers, elected representatives and community leaders.

The celebration was aired live on RTM’s TV1 at 8.30pm.

The celebration started with a group performance by 80 dancers doing an opening act on stage, followed by the national anthem ‘Negaraku’ and the state’s anthem ‘Ibu Pertiwiku’. These over, came another spectacular and colourful dance by the same dancers who were dressed in the traditional costumes of the various races. The dance was called ‘Selamat Datang 1Malaysia - 1Semangat, 1Tekad, 1Aspirasi’.

Continue reading at: Belated but memorable Malaysia Day celebration


Sunday, October 11, 2009

MASwings receives sixth ATR aircraft

KOTA KINABALU: MASwings received its sixth ATR aircraft, which arrived here from Subang yesterday.

The additional aircraft adding up to its current fleet will fortify MASwings commitment in enhancing its connectivity and comfort to the travelling public in Sabah and Sarawak.

MASwings managing director, Mohd Salleh Ahmad Tabrani said, "The delivery of the 6th ATR will enable MASwings to fulfill its obligation to offer daily frequencies which are required to provide air connectivity to the people of Sabah and Sarawak".

The latest craft will replace the Fokker 50 routing from Kota Kinabalu to Labuan, Sandakan, Tawau and Sibu-Kuching sectors effective Oct 25.

The introduction of the ATR will increase additional overall seat capacity by 1008 passenger per week or 28% injection on the above routes and certain route will experience a massive increase by 36% without changes in the flight frequencies.

The overall combined seat capacity for these three routes are 3,644 per week before the introduction of the ATR and will increase to 4652 per week after Oct 25.

MASwings would be able to cater higher seats capacity as compared to the previous operational model using the Fokker 50, he said.

"The ATR will enable us to expand our capacity, meeting the future demand in air travel within Sabah and Sarawak, and connect more customers worldwide to the two states which are ideal destinations for business and tourism" Salleh added.

Continue reading at: MASwings receives sixth ATR aircraft


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sibu’s largest tourist icon to open on November 1

SIBU: The new Chinese Yu Lung San Tien En Si Buddhist Temple at KM26 Sibu-Bintulu road is now getting its finishing touches in preparation for the much-anticipated official opening on Nov 1.The RM60 million temple will be opened by Second Finance Minister Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Robert Lau and Master Hii Siew Onn at 9am.

Several hundred guests and dignitaries from overseas and Peninsula Malaysia have been invited to the opening ceremony.

Dubbed as Sibu’s largest tourist icon, the sprawling and magnificent temple has been the talk of the town since work started two years ago.

“More than 2,000 foreigners, including some 1,000 Singaporeans, had already visited the temple since construction begun,” said Hii, who pumped in total commitment to oversee the huge project.

On average, he said about 200 to 300 visitors from throughout the world visited the temple daily.

He was confident that the temple would be a boon for the tourism industry in Sibu.

He also said the temple was the biggest in Asia, in terms of bringing together a combination of three religious faiths - the Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian faiths.

Continue reading at: Sibu’s largest tourist icon to open on November 1


Friday, October 09, 2009

'Important Bird Area' status for Sepilok

Kota Kinabalu: The Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) at Sepilok will be declared Sabah's first "Important Bird Area" (IBA) at the launching ceremony of the 1st Borneo Bird Festival 2009 on Saturday, the organisers said.

"This is just the first of probably a string of other IBAs in the State because we know there are many other sites worthy of similar status," noted Cede Prudente, the festival's deputy organizing chairman under forester Dr Robert Ong, the Organizing Chairman.

On who designates IBAs, Prudente cited the opinion of both the Conservation BirdLife International and the Malaysian Nature Society, that RDC more than qualify as an IBA.

"Many people think Sepilok is one single forest type but actually it is composed of four different original forest ecosystems of Sabah - mangrove forest, heath forest, lowland dipterocarp forest and sandstone hill dipterocarp forest each of which is an important bird habitat in its own right," Prudente pointed out.

It's no surprise that more than 300 of Borneo's total 622 bird species are found at RDC and out of the island's total tally of 46 endemic birds, 26 are found at RDC.

A highlight at the launching ceremony will thus be the unveiling of the Important Bird Area plaque by Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Peter Pang, at 3pm.

New also to most Sabahans is the idea of a Borneo Bird Race which Datuk Pang will also flag off at 4pm. "It's a 24-hour bird watching competition," Prudente explained.

Continue reading at: 'Important Bird Area' status for Sepilok


‘Miss Dayak Sarawak’ to be different from other pageants

KUCHING: A beauty pageant to be introduced this year, Miss Dayak Sarawak, promises to be different from the Kumang Dayak pageants often organised during Gawai festivals.

Planned for just before Christmas, it is likely to see contestants doing their catwalk in evening gowns instead of the traditional costumes.

Up for grabs will be attractive cash prizes of RM5,000 for the queen, RM2,000 (first runner-up), RM1,000 (second runner-up), RM800 (third runner-up) and M500 (fourth runner-up).

The man behind this new event is Alaric Soh, famous for his string of creations — Miss Cheongsam, Miss Sarawak and Miss Tourism pageants since 1983.

He told a press conference yesterday that this latest pageant not only aimed to crown the most beautiful Dayak lady but also to provide a platform for the participants to succeed in their future careers.

And in his 21 years of pageants, he said, the winners had also been well-behaved and never abused their titles with most of them having settled down to family life not long after winning.

“With my 21 years of experience in beauty pageants, and since I am good at it, why not make good use of my experience in helping to promote tourism, to promote the diversity of Dayak cultures, and to foster closer relationship among the Dayak communities.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: ‘Miss Dayak Sarawak’ to be different from other pageants

Brunei tourism is up by a few notches

By Danial Norjidi

Brunei Tourism is set to go through a very important period in January next year, as the country will be hosting the Asean Tourism Forum for the second time.

"It will be good year for me," Chief Executive Officer of the Brunei Tourism Board, Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed (photo above), said, "because in January next year we'll have our chance to be hosts of the Asean Tourism Forum for the second time."

According to the CEO, 1,500 tourism executive officers will be coming from all over the world.

"This will be big time for Brunei Tourism. We can boast about our strengths, nature, our rainforests, our people, safety and security.

"We have appointed Travel Tourism Gazette (TTG) Asia as event organisers of the Asean Tourist Forum," he added. "TTG has a wide marketing reach in the world, so they will definitely help promote Brunei.

"There really isn't anything that could pose us problems - the only problem is H1N1," said the CEO. "Diseases and mother nature are the only things that could spoil this.

"A good point, however, is that the world economy is currently on the rise. Australia, for example, is showing a lot of positive moves," he said.

"The government is excited about tourism because it provides jobs," he added. "If you open a hotel, you need maybe 200 people to work in it. It's not just people with degrees who keep hotels running, but also people with O Levels.

"Tourism in Brunei has already been taken up another notch by two new products: the Kampong Ayer Cultural and Tourism Gallery (KACTG) and the Mangrove Paradise Resort," he said. "I hope that the Mangrove Paradise resort will be an eye opener to our private sector to encourage them to get involved in Brunei Tourism."

Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

Remote town Kiulu located near Crocker Range fast developing

TAMPARULI: Kiulu, which was once a small remote town located close to the virgin jungles near the Crocker Range, is now witnessing rapid development.The rows of old wooden shophouses has been long replaced by new and modern buildings.

Even the SMK Tun Fuad Stephens Kiulu building that once had zinc roofs and wooden walls has been replaced with concrete building.

In fact, Kiulu located at the Tuaran district is undergoing positive transformation in all aspects including public amenities that has greatly benefited its 20,000 residents.

Other than this, the Sungai Kiulu that flows nearby is increasingly gaining attention as an interesting tourist destination in Sabah not only because of its crystal clear waters but also because of its rapids that make it suitable for extreme sports activities.

Each year the Kiulu 4M Challenge event is held here with the participants from within and throughout the state converging to either watch or participate in activities like running, bamboo rafting, swimming with bamboo and walking with bamboo stilts.

Due to the encouraging response, the Sabah state government has listed the event in the state tourism calendar that puts Kiulu in the world tourism map.

“I have noticed a lot of changes in Kiulu, after Sabah gained independence through Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963. For example since the last five years many roads have been upgraded and many villages have been enjoying electricity,” noted Kiulu state assemblyman Datuk Louis Rampas to Bernama, here.

Louis pointed out that the government spent more than RM50 million to upgrade or to tar the road from Tomis (near Nabalu town) to Lokos and the Pukak-Mantob road under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

This does not include at least the 10 recently completed or upgraded village roads including the Bongol-Parad road and several suspension bridges across rivers.

“If all goes well both the Tomis-Lokos and the Pukak-Mantob roads are expected to be ready soon, making life easier for the villagers and boosting further the economic activities,” he said.

Continue reading at: Remote town Kiulu located near Crocker Range fast developing

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tabin Wildlife Resort one of Malaysia’s most beautiful retreats

KOTA KINABALU: The Tabin Wildlife Resort, located in the east coast of Sabah, is rated among the most exotic, most beautiful tropical retreats in the country, particularly in terms of design and beauty, according to a local architect.

Sim Sie Hong said yesterday the nature-based resort was architecturally well-planned, thus befitting its tag as one of the finest for wildlife viewing in Sabah.

“The timber chalets are built along the forested hill and offer beautiful views of the jungle as well as privacy. All rooms are spacious and sited just next to a running river.

“If you go there you can see this exotic resort from afar inside a virgin jungle… it’s a nice place,” he told reporters after a handing-over ceremony of the recently launched book by the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) to the state library here yesterday.

Continue reading at: Tabin Wildlife Resort one of Malaysia’s most beautiful retreats

E-BORNEO.COM's Relocation Notice

Effective 8 October 2009, our office premises at Wisma Fook Loi, Gaya Street will be relocated to the following new location:

Lot No. 7, 2nd Floor, Block C
Lintas Jaya Uptownship
88200 Penampang
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel/Fax: +6-088-722606

Our operating hours will be as follows:

* Monday - Friday : 8.30 am to 5.30 pm

* Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays : Closed

Thank you for your continuous support. We look forward to serving all your travel needs in the future in the new premises. We believe that you will find our new office welcoming.

Best regards,



Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sabah put on Orange alert

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah was put on Orange alert as tropical storm Parma, lurking over the Philippines, triggered heavy rains and strong winds in the east Malaysian state.

Many low-lying areas in the west coast of Sabah were flooded by overnight rains, with meteorologists anticipating inclement weather to continue till Wednesday night, while strong winds are expected to last till Sunday.

Several key roads including Tuaran Road, the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park road and the low-lying areas of Menggatal, Inanam, Telipok as well as several kampungs (villages) in neighbouring Tuaran, Penampang and Papar districts were flooded.

Power and telecommunications systems were lightly disrupted by the inclement weather, but there were no reports of any casualties or serious incidents.

Sabah Meteorological Department director Abdul Malik Tussin said that the state was put under Orange alert because of moderate and occasionally heavy rain that could cause flooding in low-lying areas and overflowing riverbanks due to the existing tropical storm Parma over northern Philippines.

Continue reading at: Sabah put on Orange alert

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Malaysia committed to Heart of Borneo initiative

Kota Kinabalu: Malaysia reiterated Monday its commitment to the Heart of Borneo (HoB) initiative - a Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia effort to preserve one of the most important centres of biological diversity in the world.

Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Minister, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (pic), said this was because of the benefits, not only for the participating countries but also the world at large.

"I must say that our beautiful and incomparable forest, rich in biodiversity on Borneo island, is our natural heritage which provides so many goods and services vital for our welfare and wellbeing É forests are like the proverbial 'goose that lays the golden eggs' and thus we must be the ones to protect our forests," he said.

He was opening the Third Heart of Borneo (Hob) Trilateral Meeting at Sutera Pacific Hotel here, attended by delegations from the countries involved.

"While we have clearly made significant progress in biodiversity conservation, our task is far from complete," said Kurup, inviting government agencies, research institutions, universities and non-governmental organisations to work together to achieve the ultimate goals in biodiversity conservation.

At the national-level, he said, Malaysia had formed a National Expert Working Group on the HoB, chaired by Secretary-General of his Ministry and comprising experts from the relevant stakeholders from Sabah and Sarawak as well as Peninsular Malaysia.

At the State-level on the other hand, he said Sabah and Sarawak have also formed the State Steering Committee on HoB chaired by their respective State Secretary.

Continue reading at: Malaysia committed to Heart of Borneo initiative

Monday, October 05, 2009

Isolation of Orang-utan population still the major threat for Orang-utans

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah State government is determined to ensure the continued existence of its iconic orang-utans by enforcing land laws which does not allow clearing of forest along riparian reserves for planting crops such as oil palm.

Riparian reserves are extremely important for linking isolated patches of forest which are home to such unique wildlife such as the orang-utans, the Borneo Pygmy elephants, the sunbear (world’s smallest bear species) and many others.

The resolution from the two day Orang-utan Conservation Colloquium at the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort calls for a minimum of 100 meters for wildlife corridors along riverbanks to be acquired by the Sabah Wildlife Department.

This was reported by a joint press release from the Sabah Wildlife Department, Borneo Conservation Trust and HUTAN yesterday.

The Borneo Conservation Trust is a Sabah State Government mandated NGO established in 2006 that aims to connect fragmented ecosystems of protected areas both for fauna and flora biodiversity conservation in Sabah.

Continue reading at: Isolation of Orang-utan population still the major threat for Orang-utans

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Tamparuli set to soar into international tourism with paragliding

TAMPARULI: Tamparuli, located about 40km from Kota Kinabalu, is set to soar into international tourism, following the official launch of paragliding here yesterday.

Once paragliding takes off, it would benefit the local community in economic and job opportunities, and also boost the state’s tourism, said Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Jahid Jahim.

Jahid, who is also Tamparuli assemblyman, said Tamparuli had high potential for paragliding activities.

“This is good for Tamparuli as the recreational sport would be beneficial for the locals,” he told reporters after officiating the event.

Also present was Korea Paragliding Association president Kim Dong Sul who was specially invited for the launch.

He has been here several times to assist with the trials of the paragliding activities.

The paragliding activities are operated by Borneo Air Sport Ozone Adventures and the take-off is from Bukit Ruhiang, over 1,000 feet high, and the landing at the flat land beside the Tamparuli Cultural House near the town.

“I was informed there are about 250,000 paragliders in Korea, and about six million worldwide.

“If we could get about 10,000 to come to Sabah, it would be enough to boost the tourism here,” Jahid noted.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Tamparuli set to soar into international tourism with paragliding


Boat sunk at Mataking to build up ecosystem

Tawau: A former Norwegian fishing vessel, MV Sipadan Mermaid, was sunk near Reef Dive Resort at Mataking Island off Semporna on September 26.

The dive team started to flood the ship at 11.15am and the vessel began to sink at the assigned position after 55 minutes.

Also present during the event were international guests from WWF, as well as local government authorities.

The Resort's Managing Director, David Sie, said the sinking of this new wreck will help in building up the fragile ecosystem at the island whilst easing pressure involving diving activities off Sipadan Island.

"We hope to see new life on this reef within a matter of months as it creates a new home for many different types of marine life," he said.

The Mermaid is the Reef Dive Resort's second artificial reef. The vessel originally started her life as a Norwegian fishing boat and was responsible for many successful trips, including along the coasts of Malaysia.

Continue reading at: Boat sunk at Mataking to build up ecosystem


Friday, October 02, 2009

Mini Bird Race is back at Borneo Highlands Resort

KUCHING: The Mini Bird Race will be held for the second time at Borneo Highlands Resort (BHR) this coming Saturday.

Jointly organised by the resort and Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), this annual event is aimed to promote the love and appreciation of nature to the general public, as well as to gather bird-watching enthusiasts from all over.

“A bird race is a fun race where teams of two will compete in searching, identifying and recording as many species of birds as possible within a stipulated time.

“There are around 160 species of birds at Borneo Highland Resort so far, but with this event we hope that participants might come across new species to add on to that number,” said MNS Kuching Branch (Bird Group) Secretary Susan Teal at a press conference yesterday.

The cost to participate is RM100 per team of two, inclusive of return transfer, afternoon teabreak, event t-shirts and insurance.

According to Teal, each team will be given a log book where they record what they have seen and heard during the race, which will flag off at 8.30 am and finishes at 2.30 pm.

There will be three expert birders who act as the arbitrators to verify that the birds recorded are actually found in the highlands.

She revealed that this year they are targetting a maximum of 50 teams to participate. So far, 23 teams have signed up.

Continue reading (incl. pic) at: Mini Bird Race is back at Borneo Highlands Resort


Chicken Rice in Sarawak

Simple yet delicious. That, for me, is what the Chicken Rice is all about. When you are hungry for something that is tasty but not at all sophisticated (and does not cost too much), Chicken Rice is the perfect choice.

And yes, you can have it for lunch or dinner. In fact, you can even have it for breakfast, whichever suits you.

The key to a good Chicken Rice is of course a good selection of ingredients, with which the savoury rice and the chicken that go with it, are cooked. Timing is also important because you don’t want the chicken for the dish to be too dry or still bloody.

Anyway, this week the Food Hunters went to three different places offering the dish to see which one of them faired best in this week’s Taste Test.

Da-Light Food Court, King’s Centre

Like many other popular food courts in Kuching, this one is packed especially at night-time. The attraction is of course good food. And one of the most frequented stalls is J.C. Phang’s Chicken Rice stall.

From what I understand, the guy who runs this stall used to work at a well-known hotel here. For whatever reason, he left the hotel many years back and started a Chicken Rice business (among other businesses, I suppose).

J.C. Phang’s Chicken Rice operates in two shifts - 11am and at 5pm daily. If you haven’t been to this particular chicken rice stall, be warned that by 8pm, you probably won’t get any more chicken rice. Yes, this stall is that famous!

Continue reading (incl. pics) at: Chicken Rice in Sarawak


Thursday, October 01, 2009

World-class runners to compete in Mount Kinabalu Climbathon

Kota Kinabalu: The 23rd Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon, the annual world's toughest mountain race, scheduled for Oct 24-25 at the Kinabalu Park in Kundasang, will see the world's best mountain runners competing.

Its Publicity and Publication assistant manager Melina Molukun Chia said the climbathon's record holder, Marco De Gasperi of Italy, had confirmed his participation in the event.

Gasperi's unbeaten record of 2:36.59s was set in 2003, Chia said in a statement issued here Wednesday.

She said this would certainly add flavour to the event as he would be competing against other former climbathon champions such as Ricardo Mejia of Mexico, who is currently leading the Skyrunner World Series 2009, Jean Pellissier of France, and Agusti Roc Amador and Killian Jornet of Spain.

Keen competition is expected between these runners as the points collected in the climbathon, which is the final race of the Skyrunners World Series, will be doubled.

Among the male runners from Japan who have confirmed their participation in the race are Toru Miyahara, this year's winner of the 2009 Mt Fuji Race, and Yokoyama Tadao, the winner of last year's Mt Fuji Race.

Continue reading at: World-class runners to compete in Mount Kinabalu Climbathon

Climate expert praises Sabah’s approach in managing Sipadan and Mt Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah got a “pat on the back” from a United Nations climate expert for its approach in managing ecologically sensitive areas such as Mount Kinabalu and the diving haven of Pulau Sipadan.

Gabor Vereczi, the UN Development Programme regional technical advisor for Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific, said the move to limit visitors to such sites would ease any stress these areas could face due to climate change.

Borneo would not escape the effects of global warming due to climate change, Vereczi said in an interview yesterday.

It was just a matter of time, said Vereczi who was one of the speakers on the issue at the three-day Tourism Promotion Organi-sation for Asia Pacific Cities (TPO) general assembly here.

Earlier, Sabah Tourism chairman Datuk Tengku Zainal Adlin Engku Mahamood told the participants that the state was limiting the number of daily visitors to Mount Kinabalu to 146 and 120 to Sipadan as part of its management plan for these areas.

To a question from the floor, Tengku Adlin said the effects of climate change on places like Sipadan was negligible, adding that there were no significant signs of coral bleaching.

However, Vereczi said that the effects of climate change would be felt throughout Asia from low-lying coastal plains to mountainous areas.

Continue reading at: Climate expert praises Sabah’s approach in managing Sipadan and Mt Kinabalu