Category Archives: Malaysia

Top Places to Enjoy the Wildlife in Malaysia

wildlife

With a string of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, Malaysia is a country teeming with exciting flora and fauna. Read on and find out about some of the country’s major wildlife hubs.

Taman Negara National Park

Established between 1938 and 1939, Taman Negara National Park is one of the oldest national parks in the country. Located close to Titiwangsa Mountains, the park protects several species of animals and birds including the famous Malayan tiger, crab-eating macaque, gaur, Indian elephant, Argus, red jungle fowl, and mahseer. The endangered Malayan peacock-pheasant can also be spotted here. Apart from observing the wildlife, you can enjoy numerous other outdoor activities like hiking, trekking, caving, fishing, and camping.

Endau-Rompin National Park

Nestled amidst the Tenasserim Hills, Endau-Rompin National Park is the second largest national park in Malaysia. Established in 1993 with an aim to preserve the country’s dwindling wildlife, the park boasts the largest population of threatened Northern Sumatran rhinoceros. Other animals living in the park include the white-handed gibbon, Malaysian tiger, wild boar, tapir, slow loris, deer, and long-tail macaques. Hornbills and Kingfishers can also be spotted in the park.

Turtle Islands National Park

Comprising of three small islands namely Selingaan, Little Bakkungan and Gulisaan and several tiny corals, Turtle Island National Park is a popular tourist attraction in the country. Set up in 1977 to conserve the endangered green and hawksbill turtles, the park provides its visitors an excellent opportunity to watch turtle landings, breeding and hatching. As the process of turtle landing takes places after dusk, an overnight stay in the nearby accommodation is usually recommended.

Kuching Wetlands National Park

Kuching Wetlands National Park is one of the famous parks in Malaysia. Made up of three major ecosystems – marine, coastal and freshwater, it has a large population of birds and animals including the endangered proboscis monkey, long-tailed macaques, silver langurs, mudskippers, white bellied sea eagles and horse shoe crabs.

Kinabalu Park

Located on the western coast of Sabah, Kinabalu Park is one of the earliest established national parks in the country. This popular UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 4,500 different species of birds, reptiles and animals including the ochraceous bulbul, philautus bunitus male, crested dragon, black and golden cicada and orb web spider. Kinabalu Giant Red Leech and Kinabalu Giant Earthworm are the two endemic reptiles found in the park. Also, Nepenthes rajah, the famous carnivore plant, is found here.

5 Most Popular Chinese Temples in George Town, Penang

penang

George Town is one of the most beautiful cities in Penang, Malaysia. Home to a large Chinese community, the city has some of the oldest Chinese temples on the island. Read on to know more.

Wat Chayamangkalaram

A popular Thai Buddhist temple in George Town, Wat Chayamangkalaram is a must visit attraction in the city. Built in 1845, the structure holds the famous reclining statue of the Buddha. Along with the 108 ft long statue of the Buddha there are several other smaller shrines and sculptures dating back to the early Buddhist period. The colourful dragons (Chinese cultural symbol) and the beautiful pagodas around the temple make it even more visually appealing.

Khoo Kongsi Temple

Known for its beautiful architecture and modern design, Khoo Kongsi was built in 1851 by a group of Chinese traders. Today, it is a UNSECO World Heritage. The main entrance of the temple is decorated with gold plated pagodas and other sculptures and paintings depicting important instances from the life of Buddha. The 36 divine guardian-statues next to the main shrine is a famous attraction at the temple. A traditional feast is held during the Chinese festivals for all visitors.

Dhammikarama Burmese Temple

Located on Burmah Lane, Dhammikarama Burmese Temple is the first kyaung (Burmese monastery temple) in the city. Built in 1803, by Chinese pilgrims, it is home to ancient relics and items dating back to the beginning of Buddhism in Malaysia. The wishing pond and the standing statue of Buddha are among the major attractions here. Chanting sessions are held regularly within the temple complex.  During Wesak Day and Thankyan festivals the temple is packed with devotees.

Kong Hock Keong Temple

Built in early 1880 by Chinese settlers, Kong Hock Keong Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in George Town. Dedicated to Goddess Guanyin, the temple features several statues of Buddha along with numerous other idols, paintings and sculptures. The beautifully carved entrance gateway and the courtyard leading to the main shrine add to the elegance of the temple.

Hainan Temple

Dedicated to the Sea Goddess, Hainan Temple is one of the most visited temples in George Town. Built around 1866, by members of the Hainanese community (one of the oldest Chinese communities), the temple complex is home to ancient Buddhist sculptures, paintings and objects. Daily chanting sessions and meditation classes are organised at the temple premises.

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit George Town, Penang

A colourful, multicultural city located in the Malaysian island of Penang, George Town is one amazing holiday destination.

penang

A former Malacca trading hub, the town today is the capital of Penang and is popularly known for its British Colonial buildings and other architectural wonders. For those of you heading to Malaysia, here are five reasons why you should visit the beautiful George Town.

Architectural gems

Named after the King George III, the city is known for its fine colonial architecture. Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it is home to several tall and beautiful buildings. Most structures here are as old as over 100 years. Penang Museum, Fort Cornwallis, The Old Town Hall and Saint George’s Anglican Church are among the popular architectural attractions in the city.

Unique Chinese temples

With a large Chinese community, George Town boasts the best and the oldest Chinese temples on the island. Featuring terrific architecture and design, these temples are a must visit in the city. Built during the beginning of Buddhism and Chinese Taoism, most temples here preserve elements of history and elements related to Buddhism and its practices. Khoo Kongsi is one of the oldest and the most beautifully carved of all Chinese temples in George Town. Yap Kongsi, Teochew Temple and Khoo Kongsi Temple are among other popular temples in the city.

Heaven for food lovers

The delicious Indian curries, traditional Malay delicacies and the authentic Chinese cuisine make George Town a heaven for food lovers. There are numerous restaurants and cafes in and around the city that serve a wide range of cuisines and delicacies prepared with real spices and herbs. During cultural festivals, markets are packed with stalls and shops serving mouth-watering local delicacies.

Street art

Apart from the beautiful temples, great food, and architectural marvels, it is the town’s street art that appeals most to the visitors. Images and depictions from ancient historical texts are painted on walls across the town.  While most of these paintings are drawn by the locals, few of them are prominent works by famous artists like Natthapon Muangkliang, Louise Low and Tang Yeok Khang. A bicycle ride around the town is the perfect way to enjoy this street art.

Fantastic mix of cultures

George Town is home to people of different ethnicities, such as the Chinese, Malays and Indians. It makes this town one of the most vibrant ones in Malaysia. Festivals and events are great times to take a peek into the region’s rich cultures and traditions.

Shop till You Drop! Five Popular Markets in Penang, Malaysia

penang

Also known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Penang is a beautiful island state off the northwest coast of Malaysia. Featuring a wide coastline and beautiful landscape, the city is a world renowned holiday destination. While most people visit Malaysia for its beaches and nightlife, few others like to enjoy and explore the colourful markets and bazaars in Penang. Take a look at some of them.

Little Penang Street Market

Open only on the last Sunday of every month, Little Penang Street Market is a famous flea market in Penang. Often referred to as a shopper’s paradise, the market is flooded with goods and antique items from the country and beyond. Homemade jewellery, dolls, pottery and painted tiles are among the popular items available here. Art works of prominent visual artists are also put to display at some of the shops. Interestingly, there are music and dance performances throughout the day. Food lovers can enjoy a sumptuous range of authentic cuisines and delicacies at the nearby restaurants and bars. Furthermore, there are designated spots here for hourly book reading and interactions.

Lorong Kulit Flea Market

Lorong Kulit Flea Market was established in 1992 and offers a wide range of electronic goods and items at terrific prices. Along with electronics, you can buy watches, shoes, used goods, antique items and other knick-knacks. On weekends the market is usually flooded with tourists and locals, so you may want to avoid the place if you are not too fond of big crowds. Most of the items sold here are available in limited quantities, so it makes sense to reach early and grab the best deal.

Pasar Chowrasta

Pasar Chowrasta is a well stocked marketplace in Penang and one of the best places to buy groceries, fish, meat etc. Besides groceries, the market is stacked with Indian spices, Chinese goods and other products like dry fruits, and cheap clothing and fashion accessories. There are several bookstores as well as old shops selling paintings and furniture. Interestingly, several shops and stalls here are over 100 years old.

Macallum Street Night Market

Operating every Monday from 7 am to 11 pm, Macallum Street Night Market is a remarkable night market in Penang. Having earned the reputation of offering some of the cheapest products and goods in the region, the market sells clothes, fashion accessories, homeware, decoratives, bamboo table mats and several other items of daily use. A few stalls and shops even offer electronic items at dirt cheap prices.

Batu Ferringhi Night Market

With an extensive range of items and goods on sale, Batu Ferringhi Night Market is one of the finest road markets in Penang. There are a total of over 100 stalls selling a range of classic and beautiful handicrafts and antique goods. Home ware and decorative items like lacquer plates, embroidered pillow cases and bejewelled accessories are sold here. The market is open from dawn to dusk.

It’s Time for Urbanscapes 2017 in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala-Lumpur

It’s time to welcome the 2017 edition of Urbanscapes. The largest Live Music and Creative Arts Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the annual festival will kick off on the 5th of May and continue till 21st May. Promising many days of power-packed fun and entertainment, the festival has a lot in store for its visitors. Take a look.

Introduction

Originally started in 2002 with an aim to bring together Malaysia’s heterogeneous communities in the field of music, dance, arts, design and other creative disciplines, Urbanscapes is one of the longest running arts festivals in Malaysia. It is known for hosting talent from different genres and disciplines from across the world. Offering the best of both the worlds, the festival hosts amazing local talent as well as internationally acclaimed artists. Numerous workshops and exhibitions catering to different age groups are held at the festival including terrarium, tote bag painting, calligraphy, and photography.

Location

Head to the heart of Kuala Lumpur and catch all the action live! The events will take place all over the city. Chinatown, Urbanscapes House, KL Live, The Row, and The Bee Publika are among the venues hosting the festival. The festival is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the beautiful cityscape with a flavour of creativity.

Featuring Artists

The 2017 edition of the festival is all set to host a series of live performances, theatre shows, comedy periodicals and art exhibitions. Opening the show is the popular artist Hoax Vision along with the band members. Other artists performing this year at Urbanscapes include Paras Bunyi, Filamen, Cigarettes After Sex, Stars and Rabbits, The Venopian Solitude, Ulrich Schnauss, Clean Bandit, Mylets and Yellow Fang. The famous rock band Mew will also be seen performing at the festival.

Events Line-up

The entertainment segment of the festival is packed with popular events like Levi’s® presents: 501® rock & rivets, #Uncagemusic block party, and live performances by some of the famous artists from different genres. Don’t miss the AHM Remix party presented by Pestle and Mortar Clothing and Urbanscapes. Be a guest to Creative Morning’s 1st birthday celebrations at the Urbanscapes House on the 20th May. Other festival highlights include the Komic Kon Road Tour, Art for Grabs, Chinatown Chowdown and Musika Vinyl Market. The #THISISKUALALUMPUR photo exhibition is another must visit at the festival.

A Look at Some of the Popular Beaches in Langkawi, Malaysia

Langkawi

Officially known as the ‘Jewel of Kedah’, Langkawi is a famous Malaysian archipelago in the Indian Ocean. Comprising of around 104 islands off the Malaysian coast, the city is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, sandy bays and attractive corals. And these are the beaches that are among the best in the region.

Datai Bay

Also known as ‘Pantai Teluk Datai’, Datai Bay is a popular crescent shaped beach in Langkawi. Located in the north western end of the island, the beach is home to beautiful white sand, crystal clear ocean water and attractive corals. For the site is a quiet and a secluded one, the tourists can enjoy a calm and peaceful holiday away from the city. The shallow waters and low ocean currents create favourable conditions for the tourists to enjoy swimming, surfing or even snorkelling. The nearby forested foothill is an apt spot to explore the island’s rich flora and fauna.

Tanjung Rhu

Located to the north, Tanjung Rhu is another famous public beach in Langkawi.  Featuring clear white sand and picturesque vistas, the beach is perfect for a quick getaway from the hustle-bustle of city life. Swimming is one of the most popular activities here.  The area around the beach is covered with beautifully casuarinas trees, making for an impressive view.

Pantai Kok

Located along the western coast, Pantai Kok is a secluded public beach in Langkawi. Known for its beautiful white sand and aqua blue ocean water, the beach is a must visit for the ones seeking an idyllic beachside holiday. Although, the beach lies on the outskirts of the island, it is well connected to the mainland through local transport and regular boat services. The shallow water around the area creates conditions favourable for water activities like swimming.

Burau Bay

One of Langkawi’s hidden treasures, Burau Bay is located on the western end of the island. Known for its beautiful white sand and crystal clear blue water, the beach is ideal for those hunting for a quiet beachside holiday away from the hustle bustle of the city. Several migratory birds can also be seen wandering in the surrounding areas.

Black Sand Beach

Known as ‘Pantai Pasir Hitam’, Black Sand Beach is another popular beach in Langkawi. Located on the northern shoreline, the beach is famous for its black coloured sand and aqua blue waters. There are several interesting myths related to the colour of the sand. You will have to visit the place to learn about them!

Pantai Cenang

Located on the western shoreline, Pantai Cenang is one of Malaysia’s prettiest beaches. Featuring velvety white sand and crystal clear waters and attractive corals, the popular beach is a must visit in Langkawi. Coconut and palm trees surround the area. The water here is perfect to enjoy water sports such as swimming, surfing, snorkelling and underwater diving.

Popular Religious Sites In and Around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala-Lumpur-header

Kuala Lumpur is the capital and the largest city of Malaysia. A former Chinese tin-mining village, KL, as it is popularly known, is now home to a diverse population of people belonging to different ethnicities including Malays, Chinese and Indians. Usually referred to as ‘a melting pot of cultures and traditions’, the city is home to some of the country’s well known religious sites. Read on to know more.

Thean Hou Temple

Thean-Hou-Temple

Located in Lorong Bellamy, Thean Hou Temple is one of the oldest and the largest temples in Kuala Lumpur. Officially opened in 1989, the 6-tiered temple is dedicated to Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of Mercy. Featuring elements of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, the popular temple is an ideal combination of modern architecture and traditional design. The prayer hall of the temple houses 3 different sculptures of the deity in various forms. Every year thousands of tourists visit the holy shrine to offer prayers to the goddess and seek her blessings.

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple

Located a few miles from Petaling Street, Sin Sze Si Ya Temple is the oldest Taoist structure in Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1864 by Kapitan Yap Ah Loy, the temple is dedicated to the deities of Sin Sze Ya and Si Sze Ya. Today the temple functions as a popular Chinese Cultural Centre in the city with thousands of devotees flocking around during the Chinese New Year. The two hanging carved panels, and several beautiful paintings and sculptures are among the popular attractions at the temple. Interestingly, most tourists visit the shrine for the famous ‘fortune telling sticks’ offered at the main entrance.

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple

Located in Jalan Petaling, Chan See Shu Yuen Temple is one of the oldest surviving Buddhist temples in Malaysia. Built between 1897 and 1906, the elaborate structure is known for featuring some of the most beautiful paintings and decorations dating back to the Buddhist Era. The interiors of the temple are packed with gold-painted lions, and dragons and other mythical creatures. The specially crafted terracotta frieze is one unique attraction of the temple.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Situated on the edge of the Chinatown, Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. Founded in 1873, the popular structure was built in the style of South Indian temple with the ornate ‘Raja Gopuram’ tower. The dramatic 75 ft tall temple is known for featuring a total of 228 idols on the gopuram along with the main prayer hall and a silver chariot. Every year on the occasion of Deepavali, the temple is packed with devotees offering prayers to the lord and seeking his blessings.

Sri Kandaswamy Kovil, Brickfields

Sri Kandaswamy Kovil is one of the most prominent Ceylonese temples in Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1902, the popular structure is dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Muruga. The beautifully crafted royal entrance (gopuram) is often referred to by the deities as the distinction between material and spiritual world. Photography and videography is strictly prohibited here.

Masjid Negara

Originally known as ‘National Museum’, Masjid Negara is a prominent religious site in Kuala Lumpur. Built between 1963 and 1965, the mosque is a symbol of Malaysia’s unity and multi-cultural harmony. Featuring a 73 meter high minaret and a 16 point concrete dome, the popular structure was constructed over a period of 3 years taking inspirations from popular mosques in India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey and the UAE.  The Grand Hall, with verses of Quran engraved, is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of the structure.

A Look at Some of the Reasons Why You Should Visit Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the most enchanting holiday destinations in the Fareast. The country has a vibrant atmosphere and thrives on its unrivalled amalgamation of the modern ideas and traditional ethos. As a tourist, there is a lot you can do in the country; here is just a fleeting overview of it all.

petronas-towers

Malay Food

The Malaysian cuisine is predominated by seafood and rice. This is the staple food of the locals and there are a number of variations of the same that you can try while you are holidaying in the country. Nasi Lemak (rice dish cooked in coconut milk), Hainanese chicken rice, Wonton Mee (Cantonese noodle dish), fried chicken, fish head curry, chilli crab and black pepper crab are some of the most sought after delicacies in the country. Even for the vegetarians, there are plenty of options, such as soul food, green beans cooked in a typical style, and Chinese Celery.

Malaysian Sightseeing

When it comes to sightseeing, you are going to be spoilt for choice in Malaysia. The world famous PETRONAS towers, one of the tallest buildings in the world, is something you absolutely have to visit. The architectural wonder of the place will leave you mesmerized.

If you are inclined towards nature, you may surely want to visit places such as the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, the Gunung Mulu National Park, the Mount Kinabalu, and Taman Negara Rainforests. You will see how well the flora and fauna of the country are preserved by the people and how tranquil and peaceful these places are.

Islamic Arts Museum, Christ Church Malacca, the Putra Mosque, Penang Hill and Temple, and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple are some of the religious places you may want to visit. The architecture of these temples and mosques is certainly impressive.

Malaysian Shopping

Malaysia is a shopper’s heaven and there is no denying the fact that you can have a blast looking for anything you may want to buy. From bags to clothes, watches to shoes, and jewellery to electronic gadgets, you will find anything and everything here. Some of the best places to shop here are the Gurney Drive, the Surya KLCC, and Bukit Bintang.

There are several other things you can do here such as visit the beaches, the botanical parks, the zoo, museums and the Kuala Lumpur city centre which has a lot of fun and excitement in store for people.

Experience the Magic of George Town Festival 2016, Malaysia

The heritage city of George Town, Penang will once again celebrate its admiration towards traditions, cultures and art. Penang, the peaceful island state is all set to welcome travellers from across the world for an extravaganza.

george

The George Town Festival will yet again transform the city into a lively celebration spot and stake its claim as one of Asia’s most popular festivals.
Get Ready for It

The best time to visit Penang is here. The Penang Island State is about to host its month-long celebration, George Town Festival. Incorporated in the year 2010 in honour of UNESCO World Heritage Site – George Town, it offers a world of entertainment.

Now in its seventh year of celebration, the festival will be held from 29th July to 28th August, 2016. The festival focuses on culture, art, community and heritage of Penang. One will enjoy discovering unique trends and practices during the festival.

Explore Penang

Don’t miss out on performances by renowned performers and artists. From theatre, dance, music, and puppetry to art, crafts, and performances, the festival offers a variety of entertainment. Visitors will definitely get an intimate insight into George Town’s heritage, history and present developments.

The renowned performing artists and performers include Smashed, Lim Yu-Beng, and Tan Kheng Hua along with A+SEAN showcase, Svara Bhumi (Songs of the Earth) and Choreographer Aida Redza. This year, the festival will feature new international performances whilst 58 percent of the acts will be from the state of Penang itself.

Also,  the A+SEAN showcase will include concerts by Indonesian band Nidji, Bittersweet, Dasha Logan, OAG, Sheila Majid, and more. It will also include Snuff Puppets – the puppetry show. Besides, there will be a fashion show and a market of as many as 30 stalls that would be put up by the members of ASEAN countries.

The Lively Acts

Travellers can enjoy a marvellous theatre performance by Lim Yu-Beng and Tan Kheng Hua in the ‘Pearl of the Eastern & Oriental’ play which will be premiered on the opening weekend. The A+SEAN Showcase will focus on talent from Australia and Southeast Asian nations.

The vibrant festival will leave every traveller awe-inspired with a dash of passionate performances like ‘Moved by Padi’ by Penang-born choreographer and dancer Aida Redza, musical theatre ‘Missing’, and musical comedy ‘Chekara’. Interestingly, ‘Moved by Padi’ will be performed in real paddy fields.

All in all, travellers will surely cherish the trip to the majestic city of George Town as the festival paints the streets in stimulating sensations.

Tickets

Tickets for the festival are pretty affordable and one may easily buy the same from GTF headquarters or from the online portal; RedTix.

Be a Part of the Celebrations at Sabah International Folklore Festival, Malaysia

The Sabah International Folklore Festival (SIFF) will be held at the Sabah Cultural Complex in Penampang from 24th – 30th July.

malaysia

It will include cultural dance performances by diverse ethnic groups from across the world. As many as 10 international cultural dance troupes will come together.

About the Festival

Based on the theme, ‘Peace through Culture’, the festival is in its 11th year and is aimed at promoting and celebrating the cultural ties between countries that transcend physical barriers. This event also serves as an opportunity to promote Sabah as an attractive tourist destination, rich in natural beauty and culture. The participating countries in the Sabah International Folklore Festival, Malaysia are Malaysia, South Korea, Estonia, Australia, Ireland, Indonesia, India, The Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

A Sabah Traditional Food and Handicraft Exhibition will also be a part of the festival. It will delight visitors with authentic delicacies and showcase local handicrafts made by the locals.

An international Folklore Parade will also be held across three venues on 26th July from 12.00 pm to 5.00 pm. The parade will be held at Wisma Budaya, Lintasan Seasoka, Gaya Street and Kota Kinabalu City Hall.

The Sabah Art Gallery will organize a Sabah Folk Art exhibition to commemorate the festival, much to the pleasure of art connoisseurs. Beautiful and intriguing pieces of art will be on display from 25th to 30th July. One can have an intimate affair with the artistic exhibits without paying any entry fee.

Concurrently, a Sabah Photography Contest will also be held and the winners will be rewarded with cash prizes. One can present his/ her collection pertaining to a theme that has already been specified. The contest is open to everyone for participation.

Tickets

Tickets for the dance competitions will be sold on per day basis. For other programs like the SIFF Folklore Parade, Folk Art Festival and exhibitions, entry is completely free.

The host city- Kota Kinabalu

The city of Kota Kinabalu will enchant you with beautiful sights. Sandy beaches, coral reefs, tropical forests, the imposing Mount Kinabalu, sprawling golf courses and beautiful resorts here simply mesmerise visitors. You should also definitely take out some time and visit some of the famous landmarks and attractions of the city such as Mari Mari Cultural Village, night markets, Sabah Museum, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and much more.

How to reach

The city of Kota Kinabalu is home to the second busiest airport in Malaysia and operates direct flights to and from many countries. Minibus services as well as taxis are available by way of transport.