Travel Archives - New Malaysia News

Malaysia to host first WorldChef Battlefield competition
It will be another first for Malaysia this April when it hosts the inaugural international culinary championship known as WorldChef Battlefield – Battle of the Masters (WCB 2019). The culinary championship is the first of its kind not just in Malaysia but the whole of Asia and will take place from April 4 to 7. Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Muhammad Bakhiar Wan Chik, at the recent official launch said, “The love of good food is a trait shared by all Malaysians, and as a well-known food paradise in the continent of Asia, Malaysia is well-positioned to host WCB 2019.” The event will be chaired by professional chef and Masterchef Malaysia judge Chef Zubir Zain, while the judging panel will be headed by Otto Weibel from Switzerland, who is accredited by the World Association of Chefs Societies. Other members of the jury comprise industry professionals from Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. “This championship brings a new perspective to the Masterchef culinary reality TV show which relies on amateur chefs as participants and Iron Chef where experienced guest chefs challenge the show’s resident ‘iron chef’ in a timed cooking battle built around a specific themed ingredient,” Zubir said. “In WCB 2019, which is jointly organised by DRS Proevent and CZ Restaurant Group, culinary competitions are taken into an arena that reflects real life situations through a series of culinary battles among professional chefs from around the world,” he added. Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Arts Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik launches the WorldChef Battlefield 2019 at Movenpick Hotel & Convention Centre KLIA, Sepang, Selangor. Photo: The Star/SS Kanesan Professional chefs from Asia as well as the African nation of Mauritius will compete for the title “Champion of the Masters” in culinary challenges throughout the event. WCB 2019 is supported by the Professional Culinaire Association and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies. The culinary championship will be recorded live and broadcast throughout Asia. There will be 16 teams of four chefs each, preparing culinary dishes to be judged by nine jury members. Another 10 judges will assess the chefs’ skills in the kitchen, and only the best four teams will compete in the final stage. The champion team stands to win a cash prize of US$12,000 (RM49,570). For more information, visit worldchefbattlefield.com. [...]
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What to do at Bukit Larut in Taiping, Perak
If the weather starts to get too hot and humid where you are, how about escaping to the cool hills of Bukit Larut in Taiping, Perak? Formerly known as Maxwell Hill, the hill station is just 10km from the town of Taiping. There are no traffic jams in the area because private vehicles aren’t allowed in. You need to take the Government-owned four-wheel drive up the hill station, which is 1,250m above sea level. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the top. The air is cool and refreshing, and it can get chilly, especially at night. The temperature is between 15°C and 25°C during the daytime, and around 10°C at night. It can also be very wet because it is located in an area that has the highest rainfall in Malaysia. The place got its former name from the British assistant resident of Perak, William Edward Maxwell, who founded it in 1884 during British colonial Malaya. The name was subsequently changed to Bukit Larut. Why you should go There are many hill resorts in Malaysia but Bukit Larut, although not really new, is less crowded and not as commercialised. But, make sure you get there early because the tickets are limited to just 200 a day and run out very fast. The counter opens at 8.30am but the queue may start as early as 7am. There are specific times for the journeys up and down Bukit Larut. It might be a rather bumpy ride, too – like a roller coaster – so if you are prone to motion sickness, be sure to take your medication before the ride. Personal vehicles are not allowed at Bukit Larut. You have to take a government approved four-wheel-drive vehicle from the foothills. Some folks might prefer to walk up the hill (about 13km). There is the tarmac road which the jeeps take, and also a jungle trail that goes all the way up. The walk might take three to five hours, though, depending on how fast you go and how fit you are. It is a rather challenging hike and you will need proper hiking shoes and if you wish, gloves to protect your hands when climbing. In a way, you could say that Bukit Larut is still “unspoilt” because it is less well-known compared to other hill resorts in Malaysia. What to do Just chill. Enjoy the fresh air, cool weather and scenery. There are bungalows as well as chalets where you can stay. You need to make bookings for accommodation beforehand. It is a place where you can get close to nature, and check out the flora and fauna in the area. You can go on a hike or do some birdwatching, as there are a few jungle trails to follow. If you don’t wish to hike in the jungle, you can still go for a relaxing stroll to explore the surroundings. There is a playground and a bridge that leads to a watch tower where you can get a good view of Taiping and the surroundings. The place is sometimes filled with flowers depending on the season. You can also sit in the garden (of the bungalow or chalet where you’re staying), sip some tea and have a snack. Some resorts even serve scones! This is a good place to take photos, too. It can be rather misty in the mornings but that just makes it seem like you are on holiday somewhere out of Malaysia. Who will like it Nature and outdoor lovers and anyone else who just wants some quiet and respite from city life, traffic, noise, pollution, and crowds, would probably enjoy a trip to Bukit Larut. If you enjoy nature and bird photography, you might also want to visit this place. Getting there If you’re driving, take the North-South Highway and get off at the Taiping exit. There are signboards taking you to town after the toll. Head towards the Taiping Lake Gardens where you will find signs leading you to Bukit Larut. You can also take a taxi or any e-hailing service from Taiping to the foothills of Bukit Larut. From there, you will need to buy a ticket for a ride on the 4WD. Bukit Larut Recreational Area Office Jalan Bukit Larut 34000 Taiping, Perak Tel: 05-807 7241/05-807 7243 [...]
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Food! People! Stuff! 6 reasons to fall in love with Malaysia
For some, February is the month of love, thanks to Valentine’s Day and (for this year, at least) Chap Goh Meh. But it is also a good time to rekindle your romance with Malaysia, and to explore the country. Here are some reasons to fall in love again with Malaysia according to popular travel portal, Agoda. Food Galore The word on the street is that Malaysians eat only one meal a day – they start in the morning and don’t stop till just before bedtime! As absurd as that may sound, this is a unique trait that many Malaysians can relate to. In fact, the most typically agreeable Malaysians can become instantly passionate and opinionated when it comes to food. But that isn’t a surprise because Malaysia is a nation blessed with 24-hour eateries. It is a culinary paradise that champions the delicacies of all ethnicities. For a heady mix of culture, head to George Town in Penang where the street and hawker food scene remains a dominant draw for many. Exotic King Of Fruits Arguably the world’s most divisive fruit, the durian is infamous for its powerful aroma and distinctive taste, and is as much a cultural icon as it is a treasured delicacy. Dubbed the “King of Fruits”, there are over 134 varieties of durian registered, with some of the most popular being the Musang King, D24 and XO. Set your taste buds on an adventure and travel to the quaint town of Raub in Pahang between June and August when the durian harvest is plentiful. Homegrown Talents Malaysia pulls its weight when it comes to churning out famous celebrities. From the likes of veteran TVB actress Mimi Chu and Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, to designer Datuk Jimmy Choo, each of these celebrities holds one thing in common: they are all from the beautiful country of Malaysia. In fact, two of them – Mimi Chu and Yeoh – are from the town of Ipoh. Malaysian actor Yeoh has stared in many well-known international movies including Crazy Rich Asians and more recently, Master Z: The Ipman Legacy. Photo: RAM Entertainment The bustling town, known for its whimsical appeal, has plenty of sights, sounds and smells to keep you occupied, including many movie sites. Check out film locations like Ipoh Old Town (Ang Lee’s 2007 Lust, Caution), Menglembu (King Of Mahjong, 2015), Pusing (After This Our Exile, 2006) and Papan (Apa Dosa Ku?, 2010). The Museum of Illusions in KL offers hours of fun and laughter. One Language Only in Malaysia will you hear four languages squeezed into a single sentence. This is usually an amalgamation of Bahasa Malaysia, English, one or two Chinese dialects and Tamil. For the unsuspecting tourist, hearing what is known as “bahasa rojak” might seem oddly confusing, but for any local, the lingo is perfectly understood and accepted as a true symbol of one’s Malaysian-ness. You will hear most of these conversations taking place in local hawker centres, where food is aplenty. The well-known Jalan Alor Food Street in Kuala Lumpur is a good place to start, for a taste of local lingo as well as local fare. There are also many interesting tourist attractions which are easily accessible from here, such as the Museum of Illusions, Selfie Museum, Laser Tag, Escape Room, and Blastacars. Unique Things Nothing can compare to receiving handwritten letters and notes. In Malaysia, we go to the ends of the Earth, or to the bottom of the sea, to do it! If you dive, you’d be thrilled to discover that there are not one but two functional underwater postboxes that allow divers to post letters or postcards to anyone in the world. One is located in Mataking Island, Sabah. The island is home to Malaysia’s first Underwater Post Office also known as the Shipwreck Post. The Mountain Standing majestically at 4,095m, Mount Kinabalu in Sabah is one of the highest mountains in South-East Asia and Malaysia’s pride and joy. It takes roughly two days and one night to reach Mount Kinabalu’s prominent peak. A glimpse of the epic sunrise vistas from the summit is worth the trek. Those seeking a less heart-pumping getaway can always enjoy unobstructed views of the majestic mountain from Kundasang. You can also explore the Unesco Kinabalu Park where one of the world’s largest collections of flora and fauna abound, the Kundasang War Memorial and Kundasang Market. [...]
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What to do at SuperPark Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur
Are your kids feeling restless at home because of bad weather? For those of you who live in the Klang Valley, this new all-in-one indoor activity park located in the Kuala Lumpur city centre may be a good place to take them to. Launched in December last year, SuperPark Malaysia is an activity centre from Finland. In his speech during the launch, SuperPark global CEO Juha Tanskanen said that children today are not “moving enough” and that the centre encourages the “joy of play, movement, fun and friendship for both kids and adults.” There are a total of 18 SuperParks around the world: 13 in Finland, and one each in Hong Kong, Sweden, China, Singapore and Malaysia. Why you should go Described as a “hybrid” park, SuperPark Malaysia is purpose built for people of all ages and sizes to join in the fun and keep active. There are over 20 energising activities available for visitors, as well as a 232sq m ice skating rink made from 100% recyclable and non-toxic synthetic ice. What to do The Adventure Area offers activities for younger children and parents like the iWall (interactive parkour game), Flying Fox (indoor zipline), Tube Slide, Kid’s Gym, Kid’s Adventure City and Pedal Car Track. The Game Arena allows youngsters to play baseball or street basketball, or even compete with the RoboKeeper, an AI goalkeeper. Performance is measured by radar and other digital systems, so kids can challenge each other. The Freestyle Hall offers SuperClimb, a tailor-made fun climbing concept, Ninja Track, Skate and Scoot World, Trampoline Platform, Augmented Climbing Wall and Skate Rink. Equipment rental such as scooters, skates and helmets are included in the ticket price. All activities take place under the guidance of friendly and experienced staff. Who will like it There are plenty of things to do for toddlers, tweens and teenagers, as well as for adults. Families and groups of friends would enjoy trying out some of the games and activities offered. Getting there SuperPark is located in the Avenue K Shopping Mall, just opposite the Petronas Twin Towers and Suria KLCC. It is easily accesible by public transport like the LRT and buses. Ticket prices start from RM30, but do check the website for discounts and promotions, as well as surge rates. The price increases when you go on a “Super Day” – Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays and school holidays. Tickets are the same price for children (aged three and up) and adults; kids below three can enter free. Note to parents: Children younger than nine must always be accompanied by someone who is at least 18 years old. SuperPark Malaysia Address: Unit 4-1, Level 4 Avenue K Shopping Mall 156, Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur Tel: 03-2789 1408 Website: superpark.com.my [...]
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Couples who travel together, grow together
Don’t Miss Our “In The Mood For Love” Contest! Details Below  Travel is a bit like love. It makes you do things that you’ve never done and explore places you’ve never been to before. It reaches to the innermost part of your soul that other things can’t, and it also changes you. Two couples who are passionate about travelling share their beautiful stories with us. Whether it is discovering new destinations or trying out unique experiences, these travellers prove that a holiday is always better when it is shared with people you love. Keeping passion alive Ken Lee, 42, and Charise Liew, 41, have been married for 17 years and have two teenage sons. Travel is a very important part of their lives so at least once a year, the couple would go on a romantic trip without the kids. Lee and Liew usually go on holiday around Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day, for practical reasons. “It’s not just a Valentine’s Day-cum-Chinese New Year trip, because for us, we’re celebrating everything at the same time – our first date anniversary in November, my birthday in January, and Christmas in December, too,” Liew explained. Lee, who runs a family business, works long hours every day and hardly ever takes any time off. He would only take longer breaks once a year to travel with his wife. “I appreciate the fact that he always tries to make time for me and the family despite his hectic schedule. This yearly trip is a way for us to spend some quality time together,” Liew said. “Every year during Valentine’s Day, we would have a candlelight dinner and he would give me a flower,” she added with a good-natured laugh, emphasising that it would always be just a single stalk as flowers are normally very expensive on that day. The practical couple prefer to spend their money on travel. Liew also noted that travelling over the Chinese New Year period is fun because some places will not be as crowded. “Also, it is winter for countries in the northern hemisphere during this time, and my husband just loves the cold!” she shared. Liew and Lee have been going on such holidays for the past 10 years. “Travel draws people closer and a couple that travels together, stays together. This is because we get to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses during our travels, and we learn to get along and compromise if and when there are any disagreements,” the serious, soft-spoken Lee said. He said the word “occhiolism” is defined as “an awareness of how small one’s perspective is” and that when one travels to another country, one tends to gain a bigger perspective and understanding of just how big the world is. “It makes any difficulties or disagreements you might have in your relationship seem trivial compared to the great world out there. It makes a person want to quickly put aside any disagreement or misunderstanding, and just focus on strengthening their relationship,” Lee explained. “I believe that’s what this saying by Gustav Flaubert, ‘Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world’, is referring to,” he added. His wife agreed and said, “After being married a long time, it’s important for couples to go on romantic getaways to reignite the passion and keep the magic alive in their relationship.” The duo were first introduced by friends at a cocktail party in Kuala Lumpur. They became friends first, but romance blossomed and they started going out more often. “Every time we went out, he would cook something for me to eat. It was his homemade red bean tong sui, red bean buns and red bean baos (that won me over)!” Liew said, laughing. Lee and Liew on their ‘honeymoon of sorts’ in Maldives last year. It was one of their most memorable trips together. Photo: Ken Lee The couple revealed that their most memorable trip was to the Maldives last year. “It was different from other hectic tours or trips. We could customise the itinerary to do and see what we wanted each day, so it was very relaxed,” Lee said. “There was also a lot of privacy and it was a very serene place. We would definitely recommend it for a couple’s trip,” Liew added. It started with a pen The bride and groom-to-be used to travel often for business. Nowadays, though, they prefer to travel together. Photo: Aaron Dinesh Kumar Ukrainian Tatiana Moskalenko, 26, runs her own wedding planning business. She travels often between Europe (mainly the Ukraine and Russia) and Malaysia, thanks to her business ventures here, and also to visit her family around Europe. In June last year, Moskalenko attended a business investment event in Kuala Lumpur. She did not have a pen with her, so she borrowed one from a “tall, dark and handsome stranger”. That was the first time she and her soon-to-be husband, Aaron Dinesh Kumar, met. Moskalenko and Dinesh Kumar exchanged numbers and kept in touch for business purposes. Soon, though, they became friends. “Initially, we were just friends but I really liked her. She was so energetic and motivated like me, and of course, very beautiful,” Dinesh Kumar, 32, said. He added that Moskalenko had refused to go out with him on a real date at first, so they just hung out together. “He didn’t give up and that was a very good strategy,” Moskalenko retorted with a glint in her eyes. “Whenever I was putting on my makeup, getting ready to see him, I asked myself, ‘Why?’ because we were just friends. And, when I went out with him the first few times, I was very shy,” she revealed. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder because when Dinesh Kumar had to go on a month-long trip, Moskalenko became anxious and missed him so much. “I had to wait for him for weeks in KL and it was so difficult,” Moskalenko said. Soon enough, their love blossomed and they were no longer “just friends”. One day, Dinesh Kumar proposed to Moskalenko. “We were chilling at home and I really felt like I could never be [...]
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Why splurge on Valentine’s Day when you can just be creative?
February is a month of love, with Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Meh (Chinese Valentine’s Day/15th day of the lunar new year) within just days of each other. No money to spend during this season of love? No worries! Here are some places in Malaysia that you can head to, as well as activities that you can check out with your loved one that do not cost much. Camping under the stars Endau Rompin in Johor is a protected forest where you can go camping. Photo: Tourism Malaysia If the idea of sleeping under the stars and being serenaded by crickets or cicadas appeals to you, then head outdoors for a night of romance. There are many places in Malaysia where you can go camping at night like Janda Baik and Kenong Rimba State Park (Pahang), Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Chiling Waterfall and Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest (Selangor) and Endau-Rompin National Park (Johor). In Sabah, you can head to the Kota Belud district, where you can find several notable areas known for star-gazing activities and overnight camping. Some of these are public areas, while others are parks that charge a minimal entry fee and/or camping fees. A few are also protected forests which may require a guide. If you’re worried about safety, you can always go with a group of friends and bring your own individual tents for privacy. Pack a picnic How about a picnic in the park? Perdana Botanical Gardens in Kuala Lumpur offers many scenic spots for this. Photo: Tourism Malaysia A picnic, whether it’s by the lake or in the middle of a beautiful botanical garden, is one of the most romantic outings for a couple. Plan and prepare your picnic basket – light snacks and drinks are a must, but do remember to bring a mat to sit on, some napkins and perhaps a bottle of water too. Since it’s the season of love, why not throw in some chocolates or some other lovely desserts in the mix? You can up your game by making all the food yourself, but if you’re not much of a cook, then it’s perfectly fine to buy everything. Go to your partner’s favourite coffeeshop or restaurant and get some dishes there. Some good places for a picnic include Perdana Botanical Gardens, Bukit Kiara Park, Desa Parkcity Central Park, KLCC Park and Kepong Metropolitan Park in Kuala Lumpur; Putrajaya Lake in Putrajaya, and Taiping Lake Gardens in Perak. Otherwise, you can also head to the nearest beach and have your picnic there. On two wheels Couples that cycle can enjoy a relaxing ride around Putrajaya Lake. There are interesting spots along the way such as the Istana Darul Ehsan. Photo: Tourism Malaysia If you’re a fit couple who share a love for exercise, then how about going cycling together? Malaysia is a top destination in South-East Asia for cycling so it definitely won’t be difficult to find a good route to try. There’s no need to pack any food with you either as you can always pause for a snack along the way. Some interesting routes for couple cycling are Putrajaya (stop for some yummy nasi lemak and roti jala), Bukit Cahaya in Shah Alam where you can cycle on a tarmac road surrounded by nature, Sekinchan where you can enjoy paddy field views (and eat fresh seafood), Genting Sempah in Bentong, Pahang (try the local desserts) and Bukit Kokol in Menggatal, Sabah where the air is just lovely. Go for a walk Go on a heritage walk together in the Royal Town of Kuala Kangsar. Photo: Tourism Malaysia How well do you and your partner know your city? Discover lesser-known parts of your city by going on a walking tour. Many of the major cities or town in Malaysia have walking tours that you can check out, although not all of them are free of charge. Some are self-guided – just get a brochure or map from the tourist office, or download them from official state tourism websites – so you can do it at your own leisure. There will be many opportunities to take that perfect Instagram shot, so be sure to bring your smartphones and power bank along. Some of the walking tours available include Kuala Lumpur Heritage Trail, Jalan-Jalan Kampung Baru, KL Night Walk, Kuala Kangsar Royal Town Heritage Trail, Ipoh Heritage Trails, Melaka Heritage Trail, Johor Heritage Trail, George Town Heritage Trail and Sandakan Heritage Trail. If you’re adventurous enough, you can also plan your own walking tour itinerary with foodstops along the way to refuel. Make memories Couples who love taking photos and selfies can go on a streetshoot in Georgetown, Penang. Photo: Tourism Malaysia If you both enjoy taking photos and prefer something more urban, how about hitting the streets with your cameras (or smartphone if you prefer)? Discover the city’s wall art and other interesting nooks and corners and take couple photos together. Bring along a selfie stick to help you with this. From quirky and funny poses, to sweet and romantic gestures, this would be the ideal time to do them. Since you’re in the city, you can also check out nice cafes and restaurants. Be arty-farty Galeri Petronas at Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur. Photo: The Star/Samuel Ong If you and your loved one are into the arts, then how about watching some cultural performances or visiting an art gallery? A simple research online would yield plenty of options for you to choose from. Some art galleries to check out in the Klang Valley include Galeri Petronas, Taksu, Ilham Gallery and Wei-Ling Gallery, and Hin Bus Depot Art Centre, Run Amok Gallery and Daiichi Modern Art Gallery in Penang. For cultural experiences, go for a wayang kulit show at Gelanggang Seni in Kelantan. [...]
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Travel Diaries: 3 Days in Bentong
A 30-minute drive east from the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur will lead you up green mountains and fertile valleys. Exiting the Genting Sempah tunnel, I bade goodbye to Selangor and said hello to Bentong, the westernmost district of Pahang. Over the course of three days, I ditched the highway and travelled the network of old roads exploring the highlands to the gold-mining town of Bentong. 1) Day 1 – Morning: Drive Up To the Refreshing Hillside Village of Janda Baik As soon as I got off the expressway, the route quickly changed to a narrow, winding road sandwiched in between thick forests. I made my way up to Janda Baik, a plateau of tiny villages, orchards and rustic retreats. The place was still thick with morning mist at nine, creating a mysterious atmosphere. I drove to Riverside Janda Baik, a well-known picnic spot where bamboo huts and wooden chalets line Sungai Benus. The sound from the flowing river and rustling leaves created a calm zen-like atmosphere. Though the weather was still cold, I dipped my feet in the river to feel the refreshing cold water — I wish I could stay here forever!   2) Day 1 – Evening: Live the French Fantasy at Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills Resort Now energised, I slowly made my way to Colmar Tropicale, a French-themed village straight out of a fairy-tale. This hotel-cum-village is part of Berjaya Hills Resort, complete with an 18-hole golf course and a traditional Japanese garden. My room was cosy and overlooked the verdant hills — a beautiful view greeted me when I woke up and bade goodbye when I went to sleep! After a quick shower, I went down to the “town square” for an evening stroll. Colmar Tropicale is based on its namesake in Alsace and, in my opinion, Bentong does a pretty great impression. I walked all the way to the end of the village and climbed the watchtower to capture a bird’s eye view of Colmar Tropicale. The panoramic view made me feel like I was in a quaint little town in France instead of a thick tropical rainforest in Malaysia. By then, I was pretty wiped out so I scooted back to the castle-like The Chateau Spa and Organic Wellness Resort for a much needed full-body massage. 3) Day 2 – Morning: Get All Warmed Up at Bentong Hot Springs After a hearty breakfast, I continued on the historic Route 68 where the view of the hills slowly transformed into the jungle. I was halfway to Bentong town when I chanced upon a signboard saying “Bentong Hot Springs”, and guess where I ended up! There are two parts of the springs – one free for the public and the other privately run by Erya by Suria Hot Spring. I decided to swim in the public pool, which had an option of either “hot” or “warm.” My aching muscles called for the former option. Fifteen minutes in this mineral-rich water was all I needed to replenish my energy. 4) Day 2 – Afternoon: Learn about Bentong’s Golden History at Bentong Gallery I hit the road for another half an hour towards Bentong. This former gold-mining town still retains its old-world charm with two-storey shophouses lining the main street. To find out more about Bentong’s past I went to Bentong Gallery on Lu You Street.  Photo credit: Bentong Gallery Bentong Gallery is a mini-museum set up in a century-old shophouse by the 3rd generation of Dong Shun Corporation. I was amazed at the amount of historical information and profile of community leaders who continue to make Bentong relevant till today. There were many interesting artefacts like ancestral chairs and furniture. From real gold of the yesteryears to the golden flesh of durian today, Bentong is clearly proud of its gold mining history! Photo credit: Bentong Gallery 5) Day 2 – Evening: Hit Bentong Walk and Hunt for Its Famed Street Food The street at Bentong Walk closes in the evening to make way for the weekly festival. By 5pm, the street is crowded. Street performers and buskers spread out mats along the street and the food stalls were packed with customers. You can easily find local cuisines such as wanton noodles, tau fu fah and chee cheong fun! Besides the festival, Bentong is also famous for its street art such as this ginger cart mural! Photo credit: @setinstories 6) Day 3 – Morning: Indulge in a Hearty Malay Breakfast at Lemang To’ki The next morning, I headed north of Bentong town to fuel up at Lemang To’ki. I got a shock when I arrived – at eight in the morning, the roadside restaurant was already full! Lemang To’ki is a famous breakfast stopover for bikers during their weekend rides. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for long. After 15 minutes, I got myself a seat and ordered all the house specialities: lemang, rendang and fire-roasted chicken. The made-to-order lemang was solid and creamy while the equally tender rendang was a perfect compliment. I was really impressed with the roasted chicken which had a crispy charred skin, and juicy meat. 7) Day 3 – Morning: Hang Out and Take a Dip at the Impressive Chamang Waterfall The breakfast of champions at Lemang To’ki had me ready to take on the world, so I went to the next stop: Chamang Waterfall. Unlike other 90-degree waterfall drops, Chamang Waterfall is formed by a huge cascading drop and dotted with plenty of wading pools at the bottom. I took no time jumping into the river and water was just as revitalising as the river in Janda Baik. Photo credit: @wenkaifong I spent the rest of my morning admiring the majestic waterfall. Once the weekend crowd started to pick up, I packed my bags and made my way back to town. 8) Day 3 – Afternoon: Feast on the King of Fruits at A Roadside Stall A trip to Bentong would be incomplete without eating durian, the district’s most famous fruit! I was fortunate to be in Bentong during the durian season from July – August. Plenty of roadside stalls were selling this pungently fragrant fruit. I got hold of Musang King, one of the premium durian varieties found in Bentong and the neighbouring [...]
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What to do at The Void @ Resorts World Genting in Genting Highlands
Have you ever wanted to be in the movies or be part of a videogame? At The Void @ Resorts World Genting in Genting Highlands, you can sort of experience what that is like. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on four hyper-reality experiences that might – at times – seem “more real than real”. Why you should go The Void spans 650sq m and is said to be the biggest centre outside of North America, and the first in Asia. It’s fun, interactive, and you get the chance to immerse yourself in virtual reality. What to do The Void is similar to a laser tag game – it’s untethered so you aren’t bound to any contraptions but are free to wander around within the game itself. However, it’s a step-up from laser tag because everything is in virtual reality and feels like you’re in “another dimension” or in the game itself. There are several games to play at The Void. In Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire, you and your team travel to the molten planet of Mustafar with a mission of recovering Imperial intelligence. Alongside droid K-250, you must navigate through dangerous territory, disguised as stormtroopers. So, grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters to fulfil your orders. Some of the games you can check out include Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire, and Ghostbusters. Photo: The Star/Ming Teoh “If there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, who you gonna call?” That’s right – ghostbusters. You and your team get the opportunity to become ghostbusters as you track down supernatural foes in a New York apartment complex that is haunted by a creepy ghost. So, strap on a positron collider, get into the building, and bust any apparitions you might encounter. There is also Ralph Breaks VR where you can sneak onto the Internet disguised as “Netizens” to play the newest, coolest video-game. Shoot retro alien spaceships, squash pixel bugs, and fend off hordes of bunnies and kitties in the Pancake Milkshake Diner while you team up with Ralph and Vanellope in a race against time to see who can rack up the highest score. But beware, an evil security system shows up, threatening to take you and your new buddies offline … permanently. Nicodemus: Demon Of Evanishment is set in Chicago, where a demonstration in the Electro-Spiritualism Exhibit at the Chicago World Fair brings something terrible into the world. An unknown creature lures guests down into an Evanishment Room, from where they never return. Do you dare to venture in? Before you play any of the games, though, you will first need to sign an indemnity form. Everything is automated so it’s a fast and simple process at one of the online terminals at The Void. There are lockers to put your stuff in (you won’t be able to bring your bag with you into the game room). Also, you will need to suit up and listen to a briefing before embarking on your adventure. This is very important so do pay attention for your own safety. The games can be very realistic so if you’re afraid of heights or sudden movement, it might seem a bit scary at first. But once you’re into it, it can be really fun. Who will like it You must be at least 122cm tall, and 10 years of age or older to play any of the games at The Void. Guests under 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian with them to sign the liability waiver form. Getting there The Void is located at the First World Plaza in Resorts World Genting, Genting Highlands, Pahang. If you’re not driving there, you can always take the resort’s bus from the 1Utama Bus Terminal in Petaling Jaya. The Void @ Resorts World Genting Address: Level 1, First World Plaza, 69000 Genting Highlands, Pahang Tel: 03-2718 1118 Website: rwgenting.com/themepark/TheVOID/ [...]
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Dear single people, travel to these cities to escape Valentine’s Day
For Valentine’s Day this year, consider going on a holiday with a special someone – you. Although this commercial holiday celebrates couples and romances, more singles are taking this time to travel. Data by Airbnb revealed that singles are travelling more than ever during this Valentine’s Day weekend, with bookings increased over 200% compared to last year. The trend, when it comes to destination preference, runs the gamut from warm urban locales to cold places and culturally rich venues. According to Airbnb, bustling destinations within Asia also provide the perfect time for solo travellers to immerse in local culture. The top cities in the region during Valentine’s Day are Sydney (Australia), Bali (Indonesia), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Bangkok (Thailand) and Jeju (South Korea). Interestingly, Kuala Lumpur is the top South-East Asia city to head to for group travel over Valentine’s Day. On the other hand, spa booking agency SpaSeekers revealed some romantic travel findings in its Worldwide Romantic Index. The index studied social media data to find the most popular destination for marriage proposals. New York was revealed to be the most romantic city destination in the world, with a score of 46.4. The city is also the destination with the most marriage proposals in the last six months. New York also ranked the ninth most sexually active city in the world, as well as having the fourth highest marriage rate. The Big Apple is buzzing with romantic hotspots – Central Park is a popular location for movie-worthy dates, and the Empire State Building provides some of the country’s best views. London ranks second on the list, with 1,813 marriage proposals shared in the last six months. The capital is also the fourth most sexually active city, but ranks low (44th) on marriage rates. Los Angeles, Paris and Chicago round up the top five list of romantic cities. [...]
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Travel Diaries: Iceland, the Land of Ice and Fire
They say that a family who travels together stays together. This was no exception for us as we made our way to Iceland from different cities. Planning this trip for nine people proved to be a challenge, as we had to make sure transportation, accommodation and Iceland attractions were booked in advance. We chose Iceland because of its beautiful landscape and the number of family-friendly attractions. Since all of us have different interests, we pooled together activities which we could enjoy as a family. We also made sure that we had plenty of free time to explore the city of Reykjavik separately. Here, I’ll be sharing the highlights of our trip to Iceland where we spent nine days in rolling hills, lagoons and beaches. 1. Exploring Laugavegur Street in Reykjavik The main city of Reykjavik is the country’s capital and largest city. We stayed here for two days before starting our road trip to the south of Iceland. We had our rental car but parked it most of the time at the apartment which is located right in the middle of town. This allowed us to explore central Reykjavik by foot and save money on petrol. There’s also a guided walking tour that’s available for visitors who wish to understand more on the history of the landmarks in Reykjavik. Laugavegur Street is the longest shopping street in Reykjavik with shops, cafes and colourful murals. We walked on this street, popping into cute Icelandic souvenir shops selling puffin soft toys, t-shirts, magnets and scarves bearing the Icelandic flag. 2. Visiting Hallgrimskirkja Church Skólavörðustígur Street is another popular shopping street in Reykjavik which leads to Hallgrimskirkja Church. The church is a popular landmark is the tallest building in Iceland and can be seen from anywhere in the city. Visitors can go up the 73-metre tall church for a view of surrounding mountains, volcanoes and the coastline. The entry fee to the towers is RM35 for adults and RM4 for children 7-16 years old. It’s best to check the timing before visiting the Hallgrimskirkja Church. Unfortunately, we did not manage to go up the towers as it was closed for lunch. 3. Getting local snacks at Kolaportið Large Indoor Flea Market We try to visit any local markets whenever we travel and we loved the Kolaportio indoor flea market which faces the harbour front. The large market is split into two areas; the food section and the clothes section. We bought most of our Iceland sea salt chocolates here since it was cheaper than the shops on Laugavegur Street. The indoor flea market in Rejkyayvik town. 4. Taking a drive around the Golden Circle Route Our first road trip for the week in Iceland started with the popular Golden Circle Road that span 237 kilometres and a 3-hours journey from Reykjavik. It can take from 1-3 days to cover all the places on this route. We decided to enjoy the scenery and choose the attractions that we wanted to see the most together. When you have a big family like mine, there are bound to be random stops for epic sceneries, toilet breaks and snack time. The view from Pingvellir National Park Our first stop was the Þingvellir, or Thingvellir National Park which is a site of geological wonder and listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its cultural values. We continued our drive to visit three more places which include the Gullfoss Waterfall, Haukadalur Geyser and the Kerio Volcanic Crater. The views were amazing and even though the weather fluctuated greatly, we still thoroughly enjoy this road trip around the Golden Circle Route. Meeting Icelandic horses along the Golden Circle Route.  Waiting for the hot steam to sprout out from the Haukadalur Geyser.  Huddling together for a group selfie at Kerio Volcanic Crater. 5. Watching the sunset at Reynisfjara Beach. The famous Black Sand Beach is located in a town called Vik, which is a 2.5-hour drive from Reykjavik.  Sunset at Black Sand Beach The sand on this shore is black because it was formed from heavily eroded volcanic rock. We walked on the soft sand and continued to the Instagrammable basalt columned wall. The dimensional nature of the columns make for a perfect backdrop for a family photo. If it starts raining or the weather gets too cold, there is a cave along the wall which provides ample shelter while waiting for the sky to clear and the winds to stop. We stayed until the sun disappeared past the horizon before continuing our journey. The basalt columns at Black Sand Beach 6. Up close with Jökulsárlón glacier in Hofn. We took the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon boat tour to see the large icebergs up close. While waiting for our boat, we took shelter at the tourist shop selling souvenirs, tickets and warm food. When it arrived, we got onto the boat with life jackets, chose our seats, and our guide explained the origin of the icebergs and how they are melting quicker as the years go by. They would drift on the waters before floating back to the black sand of the Diamond Beach. Viewing glaciers from a hill. Icy blue glaciers at Jokulsarlon.  View of the glaciers from the boat tour. 7. Counting sparks at Diamond Beach. Another beach that we could never forget was the Diamond Beach in Hofn. The sparkling ice chunks on the sand beach is washed up on shore from the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Some are transparent or hard white in colour. It looks stunning as it sits on the soft black sand of the beach. The waves don’t tend to sneak up the beach as they do in Reynisfjara, but it’s still important to stay alert. Ice anyone? Splashed at Diamond Beach 8. Crossing the sea to Westman Islands The Vestmannaeyjar archipelago or the Westman Islands is one of Iceland’s finest natural wonders. We drove our cars onto the evening ferry and disembarked at the Westman Islands pier. View of the Westman Pier from the ferry ride. There are quite a few hotels near the Vestmannaeyjar pier and we chose to stay in this area for the night as it’s walking distance to [...]
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Why travellers are skipping big tourist sights to see everyday life
“Authenticity” is the magic word. “Tourists want to get to know real life,” says researcher Ulrich Reinhardt. It’s this urge for genuine cultural experience that is prompting a growing number of travellers to forego major sights, like Egypt’s pyramids or North America’s Niagara Falls, for the chance to immerse themselves with locals. “It’s about providing a contrast to everyday life at home, but also an unusual and special experience, which not everyone has. Visiting a temple can’t provide that,” says Reinhardt, a professor with the Foundation for Future Studies in Hamburg. Most visitors to North Africa, for example, will stick to the usual travel catalogue itinerary and spend their time touring the royal cities of Morocco or exploring the ancient temples along the Nile – perhaps on a bus tour. But others prefer to venture off the beaten track. For them, German travel company Hauser Exkursionen has an alternative: A tour through the Algerian desert guided by real Tuareg. “This is not a hired team. They don’t do this every week or every month, and they only do it with us because we know the elders in the region,” says Ovid Jacota, the company’s chief executive. “The tour guide is usually either a Tuareg or someone with good links to the locals who acts as a bridge-builder. This is an extremely authentic exchange between cultures.” A desert tour with the Tuareg is perhaps towards the extreme end of the scale, but more and more travel companies are incorporating contact with locals into their itineraries, along with the usual churches, temples, old towns and markets. German travel company Hauser Exkursionen offers a tour through the Algerian desert guided by real Tuareg. Photo: dpa Algeria is not the only destination offered by Hauser. The company also runs tours led by locals in Italy. “We found a fisherman, Pino, from the Aeolian Islands, who shows our guests ‘his’ Italy,” says Jacota. Pino takes holidaymakers from island to island in his boat. “It is a way of glimpsing the Italian soul.” And that is exactly what many travellers want nowadays – at least as a supplement to the standard itinerary. Another provider, the Munich-based Marco Polo Reisen, focuses on authentic experiences – not just the usual tourist attractions. “Such experiences are lasting and emotional,” says Holger Baldus, managing director of Marco Polo Reisen. “In Beijing, for instance, everyone wants to see the Forbidden City. But they already know what it looks like.” Sensory experiences leave a far longer-lasting impression in people’s minds, he says. “How did something smell? How did it taste?” The company likes to take its customers to unexpected places – for example, on a morning bike tour of Shanghai, bang in the middle of city traffic. German travel company Marco Polo Reisen takes its customers on a morning bike tour of Shanghai. Photo: dpa “You can see people doing tai chi in the park in the morning or having breakfast in their kitchens,” says Baldus – everyday life as the main attraction. “It just blows you away.” Yet why are such experiences so in demand? Firstly, many countries have become more accessible. Twenty to 30 years ago, visitors to Nepal would have been happy to simply travel safely from one end of the country to the other. Today, that’s nothing special. Secondly, tourists are staying fitter and more adventurous for longer, so demands on organisers have risen. Travellers want unrehearsed experiences, says Baldus. “People have become very choosy in that respect and don’t go for kitsch any more. If our guests believe the offer smacks of a promotional event, they become really angry. Our tour guide will incur their wrath if expectations are not met.” Despite the growing appeal of the less-beaten track, the usual sights won’t be disappearing from itineraries any time soon. “Only when the must-sees have been checked off does immersion into everyday, local life begin. Every first-time visitor comes to see the highlights – it’s in the traveller’s psyche.” But Jacota is certain: “The need for authenticity will continue to grow.” – dpa/Philipp Laage [...]
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3 Hari Di Negeri Indera Kayangan, Perlis
“Jauh di mata, dekat di hati.” Begitulah perasaan saya apabila melabuhkan punggung di rumah selepas hampir enam jam memandu dari utara. Kami telah menjelajahi Perlis selama tiga hari, tempoh waktu yang cukup untuk pergi ke seluruh pelosok negeri Indera Kayangan. Rasa rindu pula melihat gambar-gambar yang diambil, dari hutan belantara Wang Kelian hingga kudapan enak di Kuala Perlis. Ini adalah cerita pengembaraan kami di negeri paling kecil di Malaysia. 1) Hari 1 – Pagi: Beli-Belah Sakan Di Padang Besar Membeli-belah dengan orang Malaysia berpisah tiada. Kami bertolak awal pagi dari Kuala Lumpur dan mengambil Lebuhraya Utara Selatan sampai ke penghujung jalan. Destinasi pertama kami adalah Padang Besar, pekan yang bersempadan dengan negara Thailand. Padang Besar cukup terkenal dengan bazar membeli-belah yang mempunyai pelbagai barangan dari pakaian hingga perkakas dapur. Kami berdua rambang mata melihat beratus-ratus kedai kecil sehingga kami tidak tahu mana nak mula! Selepas beberapa jam “shopping” sakan, kami keluar dari Padang Besar dengan beg yang sarat dengan blaus wanita, jersi bolasepak, pakaian kanak-kanak serta keropok dan kacang khas dari Siam. 2) Hari 1 – Tengah Hari: Nikmati Masakan Kampung di Anjung Keli Setelah tamat sesi membeli-belah, perut mula berkeroncong jadi kami singgah di Anjung Keli untuk makan tengah hari. Anjung Keli sudah penuh dengan pengunjung ketika kami sampai jam 12:30 – nampaknya kami telah membuat pilihan yang baik. Selepas mendapat meja, aneka lauk disajikan. Juadah masakan kampung Anjung Keli betul-betul kena dengan lidah kami. Kami pun menyantap habis ikan keli goreng, gulai kambing, sup tulang, sambal dan puluhan jenis ulam-ulaman yang sunguh jarang kami jumpa sebelum ini! Photo credit: @anis_saliza  Photo credit: @wansyahrulamry 3) Hari 1 – Petang: Belajar Sejarah Perlis di Muzium Kota Kayang Kami kemudian bergerak ke Muzium Kota Kayang yang terletak di antara Sungai Perlis dan Bukit Kayang. Muzium ini dulunya terdiri tapak bekas istana Sultan Kedah ke-15 ketika Perlis menjadi sebahagian daripada negeri Kedah. Muzium Kota Kayang mempunyai galeri yang cukup menarik kepada peminat sejarah seperti saya dengan bahan dan artifak seperti kapak batu zaman Neolitik dan replika bunga emas yang dihadiahkan kepada Raja Siam sebagai ufti. Kami juga menelusuri silsilah keturunan diraja dan adat istiadat yang unik. Perlis pernah bernaung di bawah pemerintahan Kedah dan Thailand serta pernah menjadi negeri yang berdaulat hingga menyertai Persekutuan Tanah Melayu yang merdeka. 4) Hari 1 – Petang: Istirahat di The Putra Regency Hotel Selepas penat mengembara satu hari, kini tibanya untuk berehat di The Putra Regency Hotel, hotel paling selesa dan mewah di Perlis. Hotel ini terletak di tengah-tengah ibu kota Kangar dan dikelilingi dengan pelbagai kemudahan seperti bank dan pasaraya. Bilik “Superior Queen” yang ditempah sangat luas dan selesa. Lantai dilengkapi dengan kayu dan jendela besar membantu cahaya matahari masuk ke setiap sudut bilik. Kami sengaja memilih bilik di tingkat atas supaya dapat menikmati panorama Perlis yang indah! 5) Hari 2 – Pagi: Masuk Thailand & Nikmati Keindahan Alam Di Thale Ban National Park Keesokan harinya kami bergerak awal ke Wang Kelian, pintu masuk kedua ke Thailand. Kami bergerak melalui jalan gunung yang berbengkang-bengkok dan turun ke satu lembah yang penuh dengan hutan tebal. Kami akhirnya tiba di pondok imigresen dan selepas mencop pasport, kami akhirnya berada di dalam negara Siam. Kami singgah sebentar di pasar pagi yang betul-betul terletak selepas pos imigresen untuk membeli kain dan seluar bercorak batik “gajah.” Tak sampai 10 minit dari pasar tersebut adalah destinasi kami – Thale Ban National Park. Taman negara ini terdiri dari satu tasik besar dikelilingi bukit-bukau yang sesuai untuk melihat pelbagai spesis burung. Kami menghabiskan masa dengan menyusuri laluan berkayu sambil melepak di gazebo “terapung” di tepi tasik yang tenang. 6) Hari 2 – Petang: Terokai Gua Kelam Di Taman Negeri Perlis Dalam perjalanan pulang ke Kangar, kami singgah sebentar di Taman Negeri Perlis. Di sana terdapat bukit batu kapur, hutan hujan tropika dan sistem gua yang panjang. Mengingat masa kami yang singkat, kami mengambil keputusan untuk menerokai Gua Kelam, gua batu kapur yang mempunyai laluan air bawah tanah. Kami sangat terpesona dengan formasi stalaktit dan stalagmit yang diindahkan lagi dengan lampu berwarna-warni. Gua Kelam mempunyai laluan pejalan kaki sepanjang 370 meter dari hujung ke hujung. Kami kerap berhenti dalam gua itu untuk mendengar bunyi derusan air sungai serta menjenguk kelawar yang sedang nyenyak tidur di atas siling. 7) Hari 3 – Pagi: Bergambar Dengan Sawah Padi dan Bukit Batu Kapur di Keteri Hari terakhir di Perlis bermula dengan perjalanan ke Bukit Keteri, satu kampung yang mempunyai lanskap tercantik di Perlis. Kampung ini terkenal dengan dua bukit batu kapur yang tersergam megah dikelilingi ribuan bendang sawah.  Photo credit: @yattmansur Kami memandu “off-road” ke lorong antara sawah padi yang berlatarbelakangkan Bukit Keteri. Selepas mendapat “angle” yang cantik, kami tidak berhenti mengambil gambar dan swafoto menggunakan kamera dan telefon pintar sehingga bateri pun hampir habis! 8) Hari 3 – Tengah Hari: Hirup Semangkuk Laksa Kuala Perlis yang Unik Selepas basah peluh dihujani cahaya matahari yang terik, kami berangkat ke Kuala Perlis untuk mengisi perut yang kosong. Seorang rakan sekerja mencadangkan agar kami cuba Laksa Kuala Perlis, satu varieti laksa yang belum pernah kami cuba. Kami tiba di Laksa Kak Su tepat jam 12 tengah hari dan segera dihidangkan dua mangkuk ‘laksa kola.’ Bahan-bahan yang digunakan iaitu laksa beras dan kuah ikan selayang semuanya “home-made” jadi tidak hairanlah mee dan kuahnya rasa sangat segar. 9) Hari 3 – Petang: Rasai Bayu Laut Andaman di T Hotel Kuala Perlis Hotel di Kuala Perlis tidak banyak pilihan [...]
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4 wellness activities in Malaysia that will rejuvenate your senses
Here are some wellness-based services and activities that are available in Malaysia for travellers and locals alike. Relax and rejuvenate Feeling stressed and want to escape from the hustle and bustle of your daily routine? Malaysia offers many spas and wellness centres where you can go for a full spa treatment or body massage. Whether you’re in the city or checking into an exclusive spa resort in the islands, there are many types of massages available in Malaysia, including traditional Malay massage, Swedish, Thai, Balinese, and deep tissue massage. Reflexology and foot massage, as well as “fish spas” – a kind of treatment in which small red garra fish nibble away a patient’s dead skin around the feet – saunas and steam baths are also available. Malaysia offers many spas and wellness centres where you can go for a full spa treatment or body massage. Photo: Tourism Malaysia Healthy and fit If your idea of a wellness holiday is meditating or doing sunrise or sunset yoga by the beach, or rooftop yoga with a view of the city skyline, then Malaysia offers several suitable destinations. Some resorts even complement the exercise and fitness regiment with a healthy nutrition or “detox” programme. Head to islands like Langkawi or Pangkor or even to urban areas like Kuala Lumpur to find some of these resorts. In KL, there are many places that offer yoga classes. There are also public parks such as Perdana Botanical Gardens, Taman Tasik Permaisuri and Bukit Kiara Park where you might find people practising tai chi or dancing away, and you’re welcome to join in. Be beautiful Be a beauty with a purpose? If you’re planning to go on holiday and return home looking more beautiful than ever, there are several resorts and beauty treatment centres in Malaysia where you can go for a facial, makeover, manicure, pedicure and more. There are many located in the cities, as well as at island or beachside resorts. Some resorts or hotels also have their own beauty centres for guests, as well as walk-in customers. Tranquil nature Do you wish to escape from the traffic jams of the city? Visit a hot spring, waterfall, or even go on a hike in the jungles of Malaysia. The cool morning mist, fresh air and tranquility will calm your mind and soul. Plus, there are many health benefits to outdoor activities. For example, soaking in a hot spring is said to improve blood circulation and soothe aches and pains. Wellness tourism also includes getting up close and personal with nature, such as at Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls, Langkawi. Photo: Tourism Malaysia The good news is Malaysia offers many places where you can do such activities. Some hot springs that you can visit in Malaysia are Poring Hot Springs in Sabah and Sungai Congkak Hot Springs in Selangor. For those who wish to visit a waterfall, head for Kota Tinggi Waterfall in Johor, Sungai Chiling Waterfall in Selangor, Telaga Tujuh Waterfall in Langkawi and Latar Kinjang Waterfall in Perak. Do note that a few of these places would require you to go with a guide, so check out local hiking forums on social media to find out, before making your trip. [...]
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Art attack! Top 5 exhibitions in KL you can’t miss this February
Chia Yu Chian: Private Lives Ilham Gallery, Kuala Lumpur Feb 16-June 15 If you want archival shows, Ilham Gallery is the place. Following retro-slanted shows like Love Me In My Batik (2016) and Gerak, Rupa, Ubur Dan Penyataan (2017),  the gallery is shining the spotlight next on prolific Malaysian painter Chia Yu Chian (1936-1991). Chia, born in 1936 in Johor, was the first artist from Malaysia and Singapore to receive a scholarship from the French government to study art at the Ecole Nationale Supériere des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1959. Chia, trained at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore,  created more than 5,000 pieces of art during his lifetime as he never stopped painting until his death. In Private Lives, the presence of the human figure is central to this collection of paintings, spanning Chia’s life in KL from the 1960s until his passing in 1991. Private Lives zooms in Chia’s interpretations of social dramas and the quieter slice-of-life moments in the city. The exhibition features over 160 artworks and archival materials drawn from Chia’s family collection as well as private and national collections. The last major exhibition to feature Chia’s artwork posthumously was in Singapore in 2009. In 2017, the Chia Yu Chian Enlivened exhibition was held in KL, sparking renewed mainstream interest in this Malaysian pioneer’s work. Cartoonist Zunar’s works will be featured in the Democracy In Action exhibition. Photo: Filepic Democracy In Action Blackbox MAP, Publika, KL Feb 13-17 The inaugural Democracy Festival in KL presents Democracy In Action – a group exhibition of 21 visual artists, performance artists and artist collectives from South-East Asia. The exhibition, curated by Intan Rafiza Abu Bakar, brings together artists navigating the arts and activism worlds. Malaysian names include Ahmad Fuad Osman, Amin Landak, Pangrok Sulap, Shaq Koyok, Sharon Chin, Zunar, while the regional artists are Anida Yoeu Ali (Cambodia), Arahmaiani (Indonesia), Khai Maew (Thailand), Le Brothers (Vietnam) and Taring Padi (Indonesia). Yeoh Lian Heng (KL art space Lostgen’s founder) and team will also unveil a 3.5m installation titled Winning Back Our Democracy at the exhibition’s launch. Democracy In Action is part of the Democracy Festival programme, organised by the group the Forces of Renewal for South-East Asia (Forsea). Sharon Chins’ Malaysia Medusa (ink on paper, 2013). Photo: Sharon Chin Sharon Chin: Ingin Jadi Pelukis Drawings 2013-2018 Hom Art Trans, Ampang, Selangor Feb 13-20 Multidisciplinary artist Sharon Chin presents a lovingly-assembled fundraising show for MARS (Malaysian Art Archive and Research Support) at Hom Art Trans that collects her stray illustrations, activist artwork and graphic journalism.  Here’s a good chance to see the versatility of Chin’s range across ink drawings, oil pastel on paper, rubber stamps and fabric collage. “There are also drawings for artworks I wanted to make, or had already made. They represent the thrill and challenge I find in drawing, as well as the joy of becoming an artist who fulfills the vision of what her local community thinks an artist is, and should be,” says Chin about this exhibition. Ivan Lam’s Tempus Fugit (Time Flies) (2018). Photo: Wei-Ling Contemporary Ivan Lam: Faux Wei-Ling Contemporary, KL Feb 21-April 2 This Faux exhibition is not really Ivan Lam’s version of flower power, is it? In this new series, Lam blurs the line between his contemporary art background and the age-old Western oil painting tradition of still life. The interest in the insentient is obvious in this show. French painter Edouard Manet once called still life “the touchstone of painting” and it looks like Lam is challenging himself – through nine paintings and stone – to return to the roots of what used to define an artist in the classical era. Rizo Leong’s new print work Bayau Knows Everything (2019) for the Dialogue exhibition. Photo: Rizo Leong Dialogue: Taiwan Malaysia Printmaking Exhibition Oriental Art and Cultural Center, KL Feb 23-March 17 There is no stopping the printmaking revival in these parts. The upcoming Dialogue group exhibition, presented by Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia, Paris Foundation of Art and Oriental Art and Cultural Center (OACC), promises to continue the momentum kick-started by the Seni Cetakan: Seni Sepanjang Zaman show at KL’s Bank Negara Malaysia Museum and Art Gallery last year. The introduction of Taiwanese printmakers in Dialogue will be eye-opening attractions while familiar local names – using a variety of printmaking techniques – such as Long Thien Shih, Jerome Manjat, Rizo Leong, Samsudin Wahab, Juhari Said and Kim Ng look the part to give this cross-cultural exhibition a solid grounding. [...]
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Where to go next? 10 best places in Selangor to visit in 2019
Looking for a getaway close to home? Here are 10 best places in Selangor to visit this year. Selangor is well-known for its beautiful natural landscape and there’s no better way to see it than on foot. So get ready to fill your travel bucket list with a swoon-worthy selection of destinations in Selangor hand-picked by Tourism Selangor. Sky Mirror (Secret Island), Kuala Selangor Kuala Selangor beach is only accessible twice a month during the new moon and full moon period. It is located 1.74 nautical miles off the coast of the fishing village of Jeram in the Straits Of Malacca. Most of the time it is submerged, which makes it uncharted on the map. It is when the tide is ideal that this sand bar emerges – Malaysia’s own Salar de Uyuni. Kuala Selangor beach is better known as Mirror Of The Sky as the shallow water of this “secret island” reflects the sky in all its glory, creating many photo opportunities. The island makes a perfect holiday destination and is also a habitat for many marine life, the most common are sea and baby clams found abundantly in the sand. Royal Klang Heritage Walk (free guided walk tour) The Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk aims to highlight Klang’s charm, character and attractions including clusters of colonial sights, places of worship, a school, fire station, royal gallery, and a tin warehouse built by a local Malay chieftain. As a royal town and former capital of Selangor, Klang is characterised by historical buildings and quaint traditional structures. Klang’s heritage quarters may be visited on foot via an interesting walking tour provided free of charge by the city’s municipal council and Tourism Selangor, which has identified up to 11 attractions on the walk. The Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk is conducted by professional guides, with entry to exclusive venues only on this walk. The under-3km trail is relatively easy as the route follows footpaths in and around the city centre. The walking tour takes about 2.5 hours to complete and is conducted in English. Kuala Kubu Baru (hidden gem activities) Kuala Kubu Baru is the town you will pass by on your way to one of the least developed hill resorts in Malaysia, Fraser’s Hill. This town is about 50 to 60km away from Kuala Lumpur and is about 80 years old. Driving here from KL using the trunk road from Rawang will take approximately one hour. The original town was known as Kuala Kubu and was well known for tin mining activities in Selangor. It used to be the fort of Raja Mahadi when he fought Tengku Kudin during the Selangor civil war (1867-74). Today, the town centre is well-maintained with proper parking lots, well-kept trees and a clean surrounding. You can see the mountain range from this pleasant and quiet town. There are a few rows of shop-houses, which are as old as the town, most of them renovated and repainted. Try the food and go sightseeing within the vicinity. Some attractions at KKB include Chilling Waterfalls, paragliding activities, white water rafting, rope-swing, moutain bike, hiking, and glamping. Tanjung Sepat (emerging eco/agro tourism destination) Tanjung Sepat is a small, coastal town about 95km south of Kuala Lumpur. Visitors often make a detour here to visit its fishing village and indulge in its culinary delights. The town is also an emerging eco/agro tourism destination with a growing number of visitors arriving over the past decade. Tourist buses are a common sight especially on weekends. Some tourism products are Bakaugruv Kampung Resort, Kuan Wellness Ecopark and Ganofarm Homestay. Food lovers can find some authentic kopitiam-style coffee, bao, fish ball, and seafood. Kajang Heritage Centre (free guided walk tour) Kajang Heritage Centre is a small gallery in Kajang town, located on the same row with Maybank, showcasing collections related to Kajang town and the Hulu Langat district. It is worth a visit, and the Heritage Centre itself promotes community engagement in building a more liveable environment through history, culture and the creative arts. Cultural & Heritage Programme, Sultan Alam Shah Muzeum (free cultural performance show) Selangor’s Malay Tradition & Heritage Corporation (Padat) organises a cultural and heritage-inspired programme, every second Sunday of the month, at the Sultan Alam Shah Museum in Shah Alam. This is an initiative by the Selangor state government to promote culture and the arts in the form of traditional dances, games and such. Eco Adventure Activities, Batu Caves The Batu Caves stairway has a colourful new look and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Dark Cave is one of the main caverns at the hill, located 15km away from downtown Kuala Lumpur. It comprises a 2km surveyed passage with seven major sections named A through F and the Great Chamber. Dark Cave is one of the must-see Batu Caves attractions as it is home to an ancient animal community of 100 million years old, and features the rarest spider in the world – Liphistius batuensis or trapdoor spider. It has a unique guano-driven ecosystem, which can sustain a tremendous ecological significance of rich scientific and educational interest. Dark Cave also has its own special feature of magnificent cave formations, which has taken Mother Nature eons to form. The protected cave is part of a conservation effort where educational and adventure tours for the public are conducted. The Damai Extreme Park here also features rock-climbing activity. Selangor Fruit Valley This is the latest agro tourism destination in Selangor and a step forward in modernising the agricultural sector. Explore the vast tropical fruit farm at Selangor Fruit Valley and engage in interactive learning. Try its fun outdoor activities including tram rides, a petting zoo, a herbal garden (with 150 species of plants), an orchard, vegetable harvesting activities, a sting-less bee farm, a bike trail, rubber tapping activity, and experience Rumah Kampung with its various farm animals. Mövenpick H [...]
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What to do at Kek Lok Si in Penang during Chinese New Year
There are very few temples in Malaysia which command the degree of awe that the Kek Lok Si in Penang does. That wonder has much to do with its grand architecture, and the colossal size of the venue. Perched atop sprawling hills, Kek Lok Si has been identified as one of the largest temple complexes in South-East Asia. Its altitude and enormity renders it visible from many parts of Penang. Some locals believe this ensures divine protection throughout the island. And then there’s the huge bronze statue of the Goddess Guan Yin that is synonymous with the temple. Those from the older generation might tell you they have seen the Goddess Of Mercy’s statue shedding tears, an omen of calamity befalling the island. Chances are, the younger ones would dismiss this as an old wives’ tale, but it certainly adds an element of mystique to the temple. The Kek Lok Si looks out to views of the island and verdant greenery. Why you should go Kek Lok Si is extremely popular during Chinese New Year, with roads along Air Itam leading up to the temple clogged up with traffic. But this also happens to be one of the best times to visit. The grounds of the temple are lit up with a display of LED and neon lights as well as thousands of Chinese lanterns. The yearly event has been going on for almost half a century and has grown bigger over the years. However, there has been talk that the tradition will cease in the future but thus far, there has been no official confirmation from the temple’s committee. If you don’t want be bitten by the FOMO bug, we suggest you make a trip pronto this festive season. The temple is lit up with bright LED lights and traditional lanterns during the Chinese New Year festivities. What to do The iconic temple is divided into three zones: ground, mid section and hilltop. The ground houses a maze-like souvenir section and a tortoise pond. The animal is traditionally associated with longevity. Travel to the upper levels and you will be greeted by monasteries, prayer halls, temples and beautifully-landscaped gardens. A notable structure here is the striking Rama VI Pagoda. Comprising seven levels, the pagoda boasts thousands of Buddha statues as well as an architecture that marries Chinese, Thai and Burmese elements. Climbing up the pagoda will reward visitors with a picturesque view of Penang. The pagoda is one of the main draws at Kek Lok Si. The hilltop is where the enormous 30.2m bronze statue of the Goddess Guan Yin is located. There are also statues of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals, a great photo spot for travellers who seek out their own personal zodiac. Who will like it The hills where Kek Lok Si is located have always been associated with good feng shui. Many monks and devotees flock here to enjoy the good vibes during meditation. But for casual visitors, the temple’s serene atmosphere is a welcome respite from the bustle of the island city. Those looking for a great view of Penang will benefit from the picturesque sights from a great altitude. Architecture enthusiasts will have a field day marvelling at the great details incorporated into the temple while photographers will get plenty of nice shots here. Getting there Driving or using a ride-hailing service is the most convenient and comfortable way to the temple. The area is also serviced by the Rapid Penang Bus. Here are a few buses to board: 201, 203, 204, 206, 306 and U502. Look out for the stop located along Jalan Pasar at the foothills of the temple. Kek Lok Si Ayer Itam, Penang Tel: 04-828 3317 Website: kekloksitemple.com [...]
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