Friday, 25 November 2011

Tourism Malaysia - Anglers Info

Malaysia Fishing Guide
(best spots, information & tips)

Fishes

The country is rich with fish fauna. There are over 700 species of sea fishes whilst our rivers and lakes provide 360 species. Development and industrialisation has depleted many of these freshwater fishes, although most of those affected are of the aquarium variety. There are still 60 species of fish that can be caught on rod and line. Please refer to the Freshwater Fishes section for listings.

Many of the fishes are of the carp family, the largest being the rare temoleh (Probarbus jullieni), a striped carp that can grow to 50 kg. (110 lb.). It can be found only in two rivers (the Perak and Pahang). In fact, other than a river in Thailand, these are the only homes for the fish in the world.

The sebarau (Hampala macrolepidota) is a popular carp among river anglers. Erroneously referred to as Malaysian Jungle Perch, it is a roving piscivore that readily takes lures. It can grow beyond 15 kg. (33 lb.0 although average sizes are between 1 to 3 kg.

Another popular sportfish family are the snakeheads (Channa spp.). The haruan (C. striatus), bujuk (C. lucius), jalai (C. marulloides) and toman (C. micropeltes). The toman is an especially ferocious fighter, able to tear even Rapala plugs to shreds and break your wire leader. It can grow to about 30 kg. (66 lb.), but average sizes are between 3 to 10 kg. Ample stocks can be found in the hydro lakes like Kenyir and Temengor.

The ultimate quarry for upstream rivers are the fishes from the mahseer family: the kelah (Tor tambroides) and the tengas (Acrossocheilus hexagonolepsis). The kelah is also called Greater Brook Carp, or Malaysian Red Mahseer. It represents the greatest challenge for the river angler: locating the fish, tempting it to take your bait and finally fighting and landing it, involves the utmost care and preparation. Many a time, all you have to show for your efforts is a broken line or a sunburn! There are kelah fishermen, and others for whom fishing is merely a hobby!

The catfishes are also popular targets. The tapah (Wallago attu) reaches 100 kg. (220 lb.),though most specimens are around 35 to 50 kg. (110 lb.). They inhabit the deep pools of large rivers. The patin (Pangasius pangasius) is smaller (3 to 10 kg.) but more gregarious.

The Malaysian Fisheries Dept people have succeeded to breed many of the local species. This is good news considering the ever depleting stocks of wild fish. Many fisheries have sprouted all across the country, and you can fish for most of these species, with the exception of the kelah, tengas and large tapah.

FISHING DESTINATIONS IN MALAYSIA

Malaysia has numerous rivers, lakes, mining lakes, canals and commercial fisheries that are accessible for the angler. There are the well known big waters like Lake Kenyir, Lake Temengor, The National Park at Kuala Tahan and the Endau-Rompin Park in Johor. On the other hand, some disused mining lakes in Perak and Selangor have produced some record fish. Long-forgotten canals that criss-cross the paddy regions of North Perak, Kedah and Perlis can provide great sport with the haruan (Striated Snakehead). Meanwhile, there are many secluded small river mouths along the Terengganu and Kelantan coastline that are good for brackish water fish like the siakap (barramundi) and kakap merah (mangrove jack).

Less exotic but none the less popular are the commercial fisheries that have mushroomed across the land. Don’t be surprised to find even saltwater ponds in the middle of Kuala Lumpur!

Many of these waters are not registered in the tourism publications. What I’m trying to do here is to list down the whole spectrum of fishing destinations; from the popular and well known tourist waters to remote locations to the little-known backwaters, hopefully to cater for the wide range of tastes, opportunities and depth of pockets!

Source: Fishing Directory

The locations discussed below are depicted in the general sense. Further information like contact numbers and addresses are given in the Fishing Directory, where available. I will try to embellish this over time.


FISHING DESTINATIONS BY STATE IN MALAYSIA

Perak

Perak is a state steeped in history. Rivalry among a few influential clans have resulted in a unique sultanate system where four families take turns assuming the sultan’s throne. The dominance of the British and influx of the Chinese in the 19th Century have opened up large tracts of land for tin mining activities. Perak is now studded with countless disused lakes. From the air, the land is like a giant face riddled with blue and green pimples.

These lakes have now become attractions for fishermen. One golf resort – the Clearwater Lakes Sanctuary near Ipoh – is built around a set of these lakes, and provide excellent fishing for the casual angler.

Another dominating factor for the Perak fisherman is the Perak River, the second longest river in the Peninsula. This waterway is also steeped in history, with many important landmarks like Teluk Intan, Pasir Salak, Bota, Kuala Kangsar and Cenderoh. There is also a wide of fishing activities for the angler. Several impoundments upriver have also created fishing havens.


Temenggor Lake and Banding Island Resort
Temenggor is named after a small river which once flowed into the Upper Perak River. Sometime in 1980, a huge dam was built at the confluence. An extensive and deep lake (down to 450 feet) was created, The indigenous fish thrived both in quantity and size. Monster toman (giant snakehead) to about 7 feet long; kalui (giant goramy) up to 15 kg., and large stocks of sebarau (Malaysian jungle perch) could be landed.

Now, over-fishing has reduced the stocks, but there is still sport to be had, with some local guidance. Toman to about 5 kg. and sebarau of 1 to 2 kg. can still be found in the coves and stream inlets. You would need a boat for mobility, for the lake is almost totally jungle-lined. Lure casting is the way to go. The crankbaits like Rapala Countdowns and Shad Raps are good for both toman and sebarau. The former normally prefer larger lures (CD11, CD14 or equivalent), while the sebarau would go for the size of the CD9. Red or orange mixed with white or silver seem to be favourite colours.

The best access to Temenggor Lake is Banding Island, created after the dam project. The East-West Highway (Jeli in Kelantan State to Gerik in Perak State) cuts through this island. The Banding Island Resort provides decent accomodation, with nearby amenities. Guided fishing can be arranged.

Cenderoh Lake
Cenderoh is one of our oldest lakes, created in 1929 to provide electricity for the region. It is relatively shallow (60 feet at the deepest: the original Perak River bed). The plus side is that is has almost been ‘naturalised’: the dead tree stumps are almost all gone. There are picturesque coves of the flaming red lotus, and fish abound in the form of kalui, lampam (Puntius schwanenfeldii), sebarau and toman.

The sebarau is especially interesting. You need to paddle your boat or canoe near the lotus beds and wait for the rises. You then cast to the school, hoping for that brutal strike. Mind you, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Stealth is needed, for sure. The current record for sebarau here is 2.8 kg.

(For a clearer account of Cenderoh, refer to Chapter 2 of my book, Fishing Forays)

Other species worth chasing for are the snakeheads like toman, haruan and bujuk. Belida can also be had in the main lake, over the old river bed. Invariably, livebaits like small belantok (Oxyleotris marmorata) and prawns are used.

Cenderoh can be accessed via Raban or Kampung Jenalik on the Lenggong – Sauk road. Tanjung Harapan Resort is a good place to stay. It can be reached via Kampung Changkat Duku, near Sauk.

Bukit Merah Lake and Laketown Resort
In the 1950’s, The colonial British built a small barrage at Bukit Merah to help the irrigation of the downstream paddy fields of Krian. A shallow lake (about 20 feet deep) was created. It is now home to fishes like sebarau, kalui, toman, toman bunga (Channa marruloides), lampam and the rare kelisa merah (Red Golden Arowana, Scleropages formosus).

The opening of the Laketown Resort on the banks of the lake has given great opportunity for the angler to chase these fishes. Guided fishing is available here. You can stay in the hotel, and there are amenities and activities for the whole family there, while you go fishing in peace! Contact Mr. Lawrence Tan, the Fishing Manager, drop my name and (hopefully!) he make good arrangements for a trip. If possible, get the guide named Johar: he’ll bring you to the good sebarau and toman spots.

The lures used here are comparatively smaller: small Shad Raps (silver is good), silver spoons, Cicadas are the typical stuff. Fly fishing is also an alternative, although it’s a challenge to land fish amidst the tree stumps and aquatic vegetation!

Perak River Upper reaches: Kuala Kangsar to Cenderoh Dam
The Perak River here is wide, mainly shallow and fairly fast flowing. Upstream activities like sand pumping and the clearing of jungle had rendered the water perpetually murky, but it still provides many fishes and the occasional monster.

This stretch of river is home to the rare temoleh (Probarbus jullieni). Specimens of up to 50 kg. have been caught, and many have been lost. This is specialised fishing. You need lines of about 30 lb. test, on ample multipliers. You fish from a boat, since you may need to follow the fish: fights of up to 2 hours are not unheard of! Baits used are young banana pieces, the ara fruit, young papaya or chicken pieces mixed with dough.

These days, however, it is increasingly difficult to hook a temoleh, so do not set your hopes too high!

There are other species to be caught. Casual fishing can be done below the Rest House of Kuala Kangsar, catching lampam and other species on bread. If you can get access to a boat, the upstream waters can provide sebarau up to 4 kg. Try lures like the CD9 or equivalent.

Perak River: Lower reaches: Teluk Intan
This is a mighty river. It drains almost the whole state. Its banks are studded with historical landmarks. The Perak River has played a major role as a communication and transportation route, in the process of shaping the state and country.

The lower reaches of the river is decidedly muddy, hence most of the fishing will naturally involve using some bait or other. The commonly targeted species are the catfishes like baung (Mystus nemurus), patin (Pangasius pangasius), tapah (giant catfish, Wallago attu), the snakeheads like haruan, and toman, and the odd sebarau. Baits will range from live small fish, worms, various grubs (lundi), and freshwater prawns.

One unique form of fishing involves catching river lobsters (called udang galah) on rod and line. Worms or small prawns are used on small sharp hooks on light lines.

Guided fishing is hard to come by here, so you need to be adventurous, asking around at the local jetties. Try making enquiries at the local tackle shop in Teluk Intan.

Krian District: The paddy region
The area downstream of the Bukit Merah Lake is one huge network of paddy fields. Several large canals with clear running water service this area, with connecting networks of channels. You can try your luck here catching the snakeheads like haruan and bujuk (Channa lucius). The main canals may have the odd sebarau.

Frog baits are usually used to good effect. A more convenient alternative are small spinnerbaits or weedless spoons and plugs. The snakeheads can usually be located among the weeds. They are air-breathing fish, so if you are stealthy enough, you can spot their customary rises. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best times.

Kenering and Bersia Lakes
These are lesser-known hydro-electric lakes situated below the immense Temenggor Dam. Bersia is about 120 feet deep, and is directly below Temengor and close to the town of Gerik. Further downstream is Kenering, having roughly the same depth but with a bigger spread.

Both lakes contain fishes like belida (giant featherback, Notopterus chitala), haruan, toman, kalui, sebarau and lampam. The record belida of 27 kg. was landed in Kenering.

Bersia can be reached via Kampung Bersia on the Gerik – Banding highway, whilst Kenering can be accessed via the village of Air Ganda, south of Gerik. There are no proper fishing services available, but be adventurous and ask around the roadside cafes, and you may get someone with a boat.

The usual game plan once you are on the water is to search the coves with lures. Toman can be spotted by their sinuous rises, while schooling sebarau will rise like staccato shots of a machine gun. Belida can only be fished with live baits – small fishes or prawns – in late afternoons and into the night.

Lumut area: estuaries
The Dindings region around the port of Lumut is a myriad of mangrove channels. Here you will find the estuarine species like the kakap merah (mangrove jack, Lutjanus spp.), siakap (barramundi, Lates calcarifer) and small ikan bulan (tarpon). These fishes are game for the plugs like the Nilsmaster, Halco and spoons like the Abu Toby.

Again, the angling scene is not organised here. Try the tackle shops for information and the chance of boat services.

Dulang River
This muddy river is known for its udang galah, plus the odd baung and the interesting cangka lulang (Mystus wyckii), a beautiful catfish with yellow and black/violet colours.

One odd thing about the fishing: do not use monofilament line. There thousands of buntal (puffer fish) which will bite and cut your line just below the surface. Apparently, they are attracted by the sparkle of the line. You must thus use braided line, which is impervious to their small teeth.


Pahang

Taman Negara (National Park) at Kuala Tahan: Tembeling, Tahan & Keniam Rivers.
The National Park at Kuala Tahan is the oldest Park in the country. Seemingly, the jungle here is also reputed to be the oldest in the world. Established in the early 1900’s, it was initially named King George V National Park. The foresight of the British must be lauded: the park is now a preciously conserved pristine area of jungle, a last vestige of a fast-disappearing eco-system.

The Keniam and Tahan Rivers, tributaries of the Tembeling, are about the only rivers in the country truly gazetted for angling, for no other forms of fishing (nets etc.) are allowed here. The waters are pristine, with all sorts of aquarium-quality fish. The main quarry for anglers, however, are the kelah (Malaysian red mahseer, greater brook carp, Tor tambroides) and sebarau (Malaysian jungle perch, Hampala macrolepidota).

This is the pinnacle of Malaysian river fishing: the rivers are shaded by giant hardwoods, and has the usual deep pools interspersed with fast rapids. Lures are good for the sebarau: try silver spoons and plugs in the CD9 size. Tough lines are needed; there is ample snags and rocks in the rivers.

Kuala Tahan is at the confluence of the Tembeling and Tahan rivers. It is accessible by road, via the Mentakab – Maran road. A more scenic option is to get to Kuala Tembeling and then travel up the Tembeling by longboat.

For details of fishing the two rivers, contact the Taman Negara Resort of Kuala Tahan.

Cini Lake
Cini is a network of shallow swampy lakes (12 to 20 feet deep), accessible from the Muazzam Shah – Keratong road or from Kampung Belimbing on the banks of the Pahang river. The Lake drains into the small Cini River and on into the Pahang, the Peninsula’s largest waterway.

It is an eco-tourist’s haven. There is a myriad of flora and fauna to be found here, made unique by the surrounding swamp forest.

There are a few dozen fish species here, but the dominant ones are toman, kalui, baung, haruan and belida. Due to the dense vegetation, weedless lures like spinnerbaits are recommended. If you are after toman – they grow to about 8 kg. – the best method is by livebaiting. The preferred bait is small keli (walking catfish, Clarias batrachus).

Float fishing for kalui can be done, using baits like crickets or small prawns.

The Cini Resort on the banks of Laut Gumum (the largest lake) can arrange for you a fishing outing, using one of the local fibreglass boats. Laut Melai and Jerangking are good choices for toman.

Bera Lake
This is another swampy lake, situated near the town of Triang. The size of the lake varies drastically with the seasons; expanding into the forests during the months of heavy rains (November to February). The waters are similar to that of Cini, shallow, dark water fringed with the mengkuang (pandanus). Without a boat, it is literally impossible to fish these waters.

The main target species here are tengalan (Puntius bulu), sebarau, tapah and the rare kelisa (green variety). The tengalan are a favourite of the locals, due to its culinary quality, while the tapah is the ultimate predator. Locals catch it by trolling large plugs like the Rapala CD14.

There is a resort here ( ) which provides full-board accomodation, plus fishing services.

Lipis River
If you drive along the Raub – Kuala Lipis road, you will see a large river alongside it. This is the Lipis, a winding, murky river with some deep pools. Invariably, the tracks to the river from the road are steep, but you can follow the beaten paths to the waterside.

This is pot luck fishing, depending on where you decide to stop and fish. Use the ‘smelly’ baits like worms, grubs, crickets, chicken intestine etc. There are baung, patin, even the odd jelawat (sultan fish, Leptobarbus hoevenii) to be caught. I would recommend strong lines (say 15 lb. test) and heavy sinkers: the Lipis water is turbulent, and there are snags about.

Jelai River: Kuala Tembeling to Kuala Lipis to Kuala Medang
The Lipis River drains into the Jelai, one of the main tributaries of the Pahang. It is a decidedly murky river at best. The expected species are the omnipresent baung, patin, jelawat, the odd kerai (Puntius daruphani), temoleh and kelulah (cangka lulang, Mystus wyckii).

For fishing services, try the asking at the jetty in Kuala Lipis, or the Rest House.

Kenong Park: Kenong River
This is a lesser-known park situated between Kuala Lipis and Kuala Tembeling. The Kenong River drains into the Jelai. The park is more for the trekkers and caving guys, but there are sebarau and such fish in the streams. So, if you happen to visit this park, do bring along a light spinning outfit (6 to 10 lb. test).

Enquiries on the Kenong Park can be made at the Kuala Lipis Rest House.

Pahang River: Kuala Tembeling to Pekan
At the small town of Kuala Tembeling, the Tembeling and Jelai rivers meet to make the mighty Pahang River. The Pahang averages about 400 to 500 metres wide, is mostly shallow with the occasional deep run. Common species here are the catfishes (baung, patin, keli, tapah), carps like the lampam and tengalan, the weird looking kenderap (Bagarius bagarius), udang galah and the rare temoleh. Even freshwater sting rays and soles have been caught in the river! Oh yes, there are also a few crocodiles thrown into the bargain, so do be careful!

Mostly, the fishing is a hit-and-miss affair, and there are scarce fishing services to rely on. Try Kampung Belimbing, near Maran. This village on the banks of the Pahang is a jump-off point to Cini Lake. However, you can get a boat here to fish the Pahang River itself.

Paya Bungor Lake
Paya Bungor is a small swampy lake beside the main Maran – Kuantan road. Decades ago, it was home to a myriad of rare and exotic fishes. Sadly, the clearing of nearby forest has resulted in severe siltation. I wouldn’t recommend targeting this water as your sole fishing destination. However, if you happen to be there, try float fishing with baits like worms and crickets for the small cyprinids like the lampam and terbol (Osteochilus hasselti). If you are extremely lucky, you may catch the kelisa or toman bunga (Channa marruloides).

Tanum River at Cegar Perah
This is a wild jungle river that originates from Gunung Tahan itself, then flows underneath the Kuala Lipis – Gua Musang road near the village of Cegar Perah. Upstream of the bridge, the river is actually out of bounds: it is under the jurisdiction of the National Park. However, you can fish the stretch downstream of the bridge.

There are tracks that follow the river,and there are a few nice pools that harbour fish like the kelah, kalui, sebarau, kerai, lampam and kelulah (cangka lulang). However, since this area is still virgin jungle mixed with oil palm groves, it is advisable not to fish alone.

Baits like the oil palm fruit can be used for the kelah and kalui, whilst the sebarau will go for the usual lures. Be careful during the rainy season: the slopes can be treacherously slippery.

Taman Negara at Merapuh
About halfway on the Kuala Lipis – Gua Musang road is the district of Merapuh. Soon – in about a year, we hope – the Merapuh Camp of the National Park will be opened. Fishing may be possible at a few rivers, on of which is the Upper Tanum River.

All this is in the future, but I thought it good to give you advanced notice! Will keep you posted, of course.

Estuary fishing: Kuantan, Pahang & Cerating rivers.
One nice way of killing time while searching for new fishing spots is to take a slow drive from Kuantan northwards, along the coast. You will come across many rivers big and small, laced with mangrove. Many of the rivers are still nice and clean, with their resident fish like the siakap, kakap merah, even the small tarpon and the powerful kurau (threadfin salmon)

Fishing is a rambling affair. If you have a gut feel about a particular river, just slow down, stop and talk to the locals. Usually, they are very friendly, pointing you in the right direction, be it a good fishing spot or the chance of getting a boat.

Carry some lures with you: casting among the mangrove at high tide can give good results. Rebel plugs seem to work better than others.


Terengganu

Kenyir Lake
Terengganu River
Bukit Besi Lake
Estuary fishing: Dungun, Paka, Marang and Kerteh Rivers
Coastal swamps: Merang to Penarik; Ajil near Kemaman
Setiu River & Lagoon


Kelantan

Taman Negara at Kuala Koh: Lebir River
Felda Aring: Aring, Relau and Lebir Rivers
Galas River at Gua Musang
Nenggiri River

Perlis

Timah Tasuh Lake
Perlis Plantation sugar cane fields: ponds.
Paddy irrigation canals

Kedah

Pedu & Muda Lakes
Upper Muda: Muda & Teliang Rivers
Paddy irrigation canals
Lower Muda River
Kedah River: Alor Setar to Kuala Kedah


Selangor

Kelang Gates Dam
Ulu Selangor (Upper Selangor River)
Semenyih Lake
Pangsoon Lake, Ulu Langat
Semenyih area: fisheries
Kundang area: fisheries
Ampang Pecah: Pelasari Lake
Batang Berjuntai: old tin mines
Bernam River: the Gedangsa region



Negeri Sembilan

Linggi River
Pantai Reservoir
Jelebu area: Konkoi & Titi


Johor

Endau – Rompin Park at Kampung Peta
Muar River: Pagoh to Muar
Kluang – Kahang area: Kahang & Semberong Rivers
Estuaries: Endau, Rompin & Mersing Rivers
Johor River
Pontian River


Melaka

Machap Reservoir
Sabah
Kinabatangan River
Tawau area: Kalabakan River
Danum Valley


Sarawak

Rejang River
Kucing area
Bintulu area
Batang Ai


SUGGESTED PREPARATIONS

Fishing Tackle:
Rods: 7 – 9 ft. , 6 / 10 / 12 / 20/ 25 lb.
Reels: Spinning or baitcasting: Eg. Shimano Baitrunner 3500, Penn 4400,
5500, Shimano Calcutta 100, Abu 5600
Lines: Abrasion proof: snags in river / lake.
Leaders: Braided / wire.
Lures: Spoons (12 g. 18 g.; Abu Toby, Abu Atom); spinners; Rapala (Shad
Rap, Rattlin Rap, CD9 – 14); spinnerbait (Bushwhacker, Mini Whacker).
Fly tackle: #5 to #9, Floating & sinking WF line.
Flies : Lures: Streamers, Clousers, Pink Thing, Muddler, Dahlberg Diver,
Nymphs: Montana, Hare’s Ear, Shrimp, Damsel , Dragonfly
Dries: Winged Ant, Adams, Hopper
Others: Prawns, Golden Eye, Charlies.
Clothing: Beating the sun & rain
Shirts: Long-sleeved, light cotton or micromesh (quick-drying)
Pants: Khaki or durable cotton.
Hats: Wide-brimmed hats, or caps with rear flaps
Footwear: Sturdy sports sandals & hiking boots.
Others: Polaroids, suntan lotion, neck towel, leech-socks if possible,
Light rain jacket, anti-fungal cream, light rucksack.


Finance


Cost of living is low relative to standard of living.
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
Major credit cards and travellers’ cheques accepted is most cities and
towns. However, it is advisable to carry enough cash when going to the
provinces and the hinterland.
Current exchange rates (approximate):
USD : RM3.5
Pounds Sterling: RM6
Australian $: RM2.1
Typical prices:
Bread: RM1.50
Petrol (litre): RM1.15
Cigarettes (20): RM4.50
Beer (250 ml): RM5.00
Bus fare (150 km): RM15.00

3 –star hotel : RM120.00

Glass of tea / coffee (local): RM1.00
Plate of fried rice: RM3.50


Health

Main challenges: spicy food, sun, rain, humidity
Hygiene level: good
Water supply
Transmittable diseases: Dengue fever (aedes mosquito).
If you expect to go into the jungle, I suggest you have these stuff:
Anti-septic or anti-fungal cream, anti-diarrhoea tablets, suntan lotion,
paracetamol, pseudo-antihistamine (eg. Sinusidin).

Fishing is Caring...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Malaysia Info - Places of Interest Sawawak


Sarawak Museum

The Sarawak Museum, located in Jalan Tun Abang Haji Openg, is one of Asia's finest. It houses a collection of Bornean ethnological and archaeological items and an exhibition featuring a reconstruction of the great Niah Caves, with remains of the Neolithic people who lived in the Caves.
Closed on Fridays and public holidays.
The Sunday Open Market
The Sunday Market also known as "Pasar Minggu" is ideally located within the City near the well-known Satok Suspension Bridge. The popular Sunday Market in fact starts its activities as early as Saturday afternoon.
Jungle produce of all kinds find their way to the market through the hard working Bidayuh women folks from the outskirt longhouses.
A stroll along the Sunday Market is like browsing through a Borneo supermarket. Here you can find an array of tropical fruits and a variety of jungle vegetables seldom seen at any wet market. Sago worms, also find their way to the Sunday Market. It is a specialty for some locals who believe in eating them raw for good health and vitality. Also can be found at the Sunday Market is another rare jungle produce called Miding. Miding is the Malay name of a fern found only in moist bush areas along stream banks and near the fringe of jungle. The stalk of the young leaves and the leaves are soft and sweet if fried with prawn paste and chilly.
Court House
The Court House is surely one of the most magnificent buildings in Sarawak The imposing facade has intricate local art patterns incorporated in its door and window grilles and roof panels.
Completed in 1874, it was the seat of government during the reign of the white Rajahs. The beautiful clock tower was added to the architecture in 1883, with the obelisk memorial to Rajah Charles Brooke officially commissioned in 1924.
Fort Margherita
The district of Kuching on the northern bank of the Sarawak River mainly consists of Malay kampungs. Prominent on its hilltop site is Fort Margherita. Situated within walking distance from the Astana in Kuching. It is named after the Rajah Charles Brooke's wife. Built in 1878 as a token of love to his wife. It is today's the Police Museum.

The Sarawak Cultural Village and Heritage Centre

A living museum located at Santubong, the Sarawak Cultural Village conserves and portrays the multi-faceted cultures and customs of ethnic groups such as the Ibans, Bidayuhs, and Melanaus. The Heritage Centre is an integral part of the cultural village, which offers traditional arts of Sarawakians. Opening hours: 9.00am -5.00pm. Cultural Show: 2.00pm-3.00pm. Fees: Adults:RM45; Children (6-12 years) - RM22.50. Below 6 - Free.
Outside of Kuching Skrang River Safari
The safari takes you on a four-hour journey along the Skrang River, occasionally shooting the rapids, to the Iban longhouses. Their traditional ceremonies include an offering of rice wine to their guests.

Santubong Fishing Village
On a 17 acre site at the foothill of Mount Santubong, fronting the South China Sea is the Sarawak Cultural Village, which exudes the typical warmth and hospitality of the state. Here, you have the opportunity to share the arts and crafts, games, food, and music of the seven major cultures of Sarawak. At a modern theater, the visitor can see performances of multicultural dances and lots of bamboo (bamboo musical instruments, bamboo carvings and even a bamboo bridge). You are taken into the world of "longhouses", drums, and gongs. You are taught to use the blowpipe (the weapon of the jungle nomads) and you get the opportunity to see the women work on their intricate beadwork.
Camp Permai Sarawak
Situated at about 32 km from Kuching.
It is a site covering some 18 hectares of tropical rain forest. A popular place for camping where the Camp Permai of Sarawak is set up here. Have a dip in its clear cool water from the running streams. A walking track partly built on stilt above the rough terrain is available for trekkers. Setting around the majestic Mount Santubong, it is a very picturesque view from below.
Kuching Waterfront
Situated at the Main Bazaar along Sarawak River in Kuching.
The waterfront is about 1 km long and is also known as the People Place. Built for the people of Sarawak. It has many facilities such as restaurants, handicraft shops, entertainment hall, and the dancing water fountains

Monday, 21 November 2011

Malaysia Info - Sarawak


Sarawak covers some 124,000 square kilometers along the northwestern coast of Borneo and is the largest of the 13 states in Malaysia. Much of the land is still forested and a healthy 75 percent is devoted to forest reserve and national parks.
Its capital city, Kuching, one of the most charming towns in Malaysia is simply unique offering such a romantic and unlikely history. Kuching’s residents is approximately 450,000. Perfectly preserved colonial buildings blend elegantly with the gracious modern architecture adorned with beautiful landscape.
For such a vast state, Sarawak’s population of about 2 million is a surprising sparse yet fascinating and diverse mix of almost thirty ethnic groups. The population is mainly composed of the Iban tribe (who forms one-third of the population) with a mix of Chinese and Malays while the Bidayuh, Melanau and the Orang Ulu comprise a minority of the population. Sarawak is a society composed of traditions and customs that is both hundreds of years old and as new as the microchips in a personal computer.
Reflecting the wide mixture of ethnic groups in Sarawak, religion in the state is both tolerant and diverse. Islam is the official religion. However, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and animism are also represented and respected.
Although Bahasa Melayu is the official language, English is by far very widely spoken over the state.

Like Sabah, Sarawak is known to international visitors primarily because of the extraordinary natural wonders of its national parks, including Gunung Mulu, the Niah Caves, and Bako. Sarawak's cultural treasures are also fascinating, reflecting the influence not only of the state's many ethnic peoples, but also the odd western influence of Sarawak's "White Rajahs."
The capital of Sarawak is Kuching. Malaysia Airlines flies regularly to Kuching International Airport as well as to Miri from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Singapore, and Kota Kinabalu. Boats are a common mode of transport in Sarawak, as its the dense vegetation of its interior is crisscrossed with rivers. Travel in areas not reachable by boat is often by light aircrafts and helicopters. Major towns are serviced by buses.


The capital of Sarawak is Kuching. Malaysia Airlines flies regularly to Kuching International Airport as well as to Miri from Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Singapore, and Kota Kinabalu. Boats are a common mode of transport in Sarawak, as its the dense vegetation of its interior is crisscrossed with rivers. Travel in areas not reachable by boat is often by light aircrafts and helicopters. Major towns are serviced by buses.
By Air :
Kuching is connected by air to a number of regional capitals like Singapore, Manila, and Hong Kong. Malaysia Airlines also operate daily flights from Kuala Lumpur. Furthermore, regular flights connects Kuching to other major towns. Charter planes and helicopters are also available.
By Sea :
Major ports are serviced by ships from the Peninsula although more catered for cargo purposes. Boats are a major form of transportation because of the states' vast network of rivers.
By Road :
Car rental and taxi services are available in all major towns. However, visitors should note that the taxis are not operated by meters, thus a fare should be negotiated before embarking on your journey.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Malaysia Info - Places of Interest Sabah


Orang Utan Sanctuary
located at the virgin forest reserve in Sepilok, this is the one of the only tour orang utan sanctuaries in the world. It is accessible after a 25-km drive from Sandakan. Orphaned and injured Orang Utans are brought to Sepilok to be rehabilitated to return to forest life. These gentle great apes are very appealing. Trained orang utans may be cuddled for a memorable snapshot.
Sabah State Mosque, Kota Kinabalu
This resplendent structure, with its majestic domes and gold inlay motifs, is a spectacular sight, ideally located as a place of worship for Kota Kinabalu's Muslim inhabitan3ts and visitors.

Sabah Foundation Building, Kota Kinabalu
The 30-story circular glass building, supported by high tensile steel rods emanating from a central building, is an architectural and engineering feat. It is one of only four such buildings in the world.

Kota Belud
Kota Belud is a small town located 77 km from Kota Kinabalu. Every Sunday it comes alive in a scene of blazing, riotous colour when the "Tamu," or open market, takes place.

Tuaran
Tuaran is the location of the region's agricultural station. Nearby is Mengkabong, a Bajau village built over water. Also close by is Tamparuli, a town specializing in the production of local handicrafts.

Penampang
Another village that offers an insight into Sabah's varied ethnic groups, Penampang is home to the Kadazan people. The village is located 13 km south of Kota Kinabalu.

Sipadan Island
a diving paradise, Sipadan Island is some 30 km off the coast of Semporna, a small town in the southeast coast of Sabah. The mushroom-shaped Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, offering myriads of colourful tropical fish and corals in its c:ystal clear waters

Kinabalu Park And Mt Kinabalu
the journey by road to the Kinabalu Park takes some 11 and half hours. It is a natural haven for a variety of plant and animal species and a must for nature lovers. The mighty Mount Kinabalu at 4095.2 meters is within the park. This is the biggest tourist attraction in Sabah, luring flocks of mountaineers to scale to the summit. There is a thermal —pool system at Poring Hot Springs to offer a Japanese- style hot spring bath in the open air.

Sandakan

Sandakan is busy port on the Sulu Sea, about 386 km from Kota Kinabalu. The forestry exhibition in Sandakan showcases the astounding variety of flowers and plants found in Sabah; the Sandakan Orchid House has a collection of rare orchids. Along the Labuk Road from Sandakan is a crocodile farm, housing about 1,000 crocodiles of various sizes.
Gomantong Caves
situated at 32 km south of Sandakan, the marvelous Gomantong Caves are the home to hundreds of thousands of swifts. They build their nests high on cave walls and roofs. Twice a year, nest collectors come to the caves and climb on tall bamboo poles to collect the nests, which are considered a delicacy. Besides swifts, the caves are also inhabited by millions of bats, which have become a spectacular sight to many tourists.
Semporna
Located on the southeast coast of Sabah, Semporna is the jumping-off point for Pulau Sipadan, a diving paradise, and Pulau Gaya, the island where Sabah pearls are cultured.

Kudat
A long way from Kota Kinabalu (238 km), Kudat is, nevertheless, worth a visit, as it is home to the colourful Rungus tribe. The journey to the village is an attraction in its own right, winding through the region's varied terrain of mountains, valleys, and jungles.

Kota Kinabalu
The State capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu has a population of 300,000. The town was built from the ruins of the Second World War.

Sabah State Museum
located in Kota Kinabalu, the Sabah Museum boasts good collections of tribal and historical artifacts of the ancient people of Borneo and exhibits of flora and fauna, including rare birds, reptiles, animals and fish only found in Sabah.

Mengkabong Water Village
about some half an hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, is the famous Mengkabong Water Village where houses are built on stilt and linked by a maze of rickety plankwalks. An ever increasing population has seen the water village gradually expanding into the sea.

Tanjung Arau Beach
the scenic Tanjung Arau Beach is lined with palm trees and masson pine.

Malaysia Info - Sabah


SABAH - is the second largest state in Malayisa, it is situated at the northern part of the Island of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. It covers area 72 500 sq kilometers with a coastline of 14 400 kilometers long washed by the South China Sea in the west, the Sulu Sea in the northeast and the Celebes Sea in the east.
The Kota Kinabalu City is the capital of SABAH, set between lush, tropical hills and fronting emerald green waters-vibrant and exciting yet serene and uplifting, what with its eco-treasures from top to bottom. Formerly known as Jesselton before it's name was changed in 1986 to Kota Kinabalu, the states capital is also affectionally called KK by locals. Known as 'The Land Below The Wind' because geographically, it is below the typhoon belt. The three million population of SABAH is as diverse as its ecology. Comprising of a colourful mix of 32 ethnic group and other non-indigenous people - they are all interwoven by culture, tradition, marriage and language. The result is the face and dialect unmistakably SABAH.
The largets ethnic group is the Kadazandusun, making up 1/3 of the total population, they can be found on the west coast, to the interior. Formerly the main rice-producer of the states, the Kadazandusun are now the major force in SABAH's rapid progress towards urban modernisation.
The Bajau were originally the seafarers of Borneo. Many still reside along the coastline with fishing being a major occupation. Their riding skills on ponies have earn these Bajau nickname 'Cowboy Of The East' and their colourful costumes (as well of their ponies) are greatly admired. The Murut reside mainly in the hinterland, with many still occupying the traditional long house. Once feared of their Headhunting, the Muruts now, mainly use their Blowpipes and Darts for hunting food and ceremonial occasion.
The highlight of all ethnic community festival is the Harvest Festival held in may. Traditionally, it is a ceremony to give thanks to the rice-spirit for a bountiful harvest and to ensure the same of the next season. Gong-beating competition, unduk ngadau (Harvest Queen), buffalo-races and other traditional sports, the appearance of the 'Bobohizan' or the 'Hight Priestess', are all part of the interesting festival. The majority of the ethnic communities in SABAH are either Muslim or Christian bye choice. Hence, in additional to their traditional celebration, the respective communities also celebrate Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji, Awal Muharram, Good Friday and Christmas.
The Chinese who migrated in great numbers to SABAH during the early years of the North Borneo Chatered Company era, make up large portion of non-indigenous people. Living mostly in and around city areas, they engaged themselves primarily in the commercial sectors of the economy.
The Chinese has adapted themselves well in SABAH with many of their traditional beliefs and celebration such as Wesak Day and Chinese New Year, are still being observed and celebrated in SABAH, not only the Chinese alone but the community as one.
SABAH's wide variety of attractions, the physical beauty of the island, the year-round pleasant climate and the friendly people make SABAH a place regarded by many visitors as the "BORNEOS'S
  History 
As early as the 9th century AD., Sabah, then under various chieftains traded with China and later the Spanish and the Portuguese. During the 15th century, Sabah was a vassal of the Sultan of Brunei. In 1704, the Sultan of Brunei ceded the land east of Murudu Bay to the Sultan of Sulu. In the early 1880’s, Moses, an American trader, obtained a lease over Sabah from Brunei. The lease eventually passed to Alfred Dent, an Englishman. In 1881, he signed a treaty with Brunei and Sulu, converting the lease into a cession.
Thus the British North Borneo (Sabah old name) was born. It was administered by the Chartered Company of British North Borneo until the Japanese occupation. In 1945, after World War II, Sabah became a British Crown Colony. In 1963, it gained independence and joined Malaysia. Today Sabah is an integral part of Malaysia.
  People & Culture 
With a population of about 2 million, comprising of over 30 different races speaking over 80 local dialects, it offers a diverse and multicultural experience. The three main indigenous groups of Sabah are the Kadazan-Dusun, Murut, and Bajau.
Kadazan-Dusun
The largest, the Kadazan-Dusun, make up about a third of the population. These are the prosperous rice producers of Sabah, although in recent times many have ventured into other trades. Living in the interior plains they are well known for their unique customs that feature female priestesses called ‘bobohizan’ presiding over still practiced ancient rituals.
Bajaus
Skilled fishermen as well as rice farmers they are also experts in rearing ponies and water buffaloes. The Bajaus live mainly on the east and west coasts. East coast Bajaus are sea nomads, coming ashore only to bury their dead. The West-coast Bajaus are farmers and being dubbed as ‘The cowboys of the East’, they are renowned for their horsemanship.
Muruts
Being agriculturists and hunters, they live in the interior region near the borders of Sarawak and Kalimantan. Once feared for their head hunting, the Muruts are great hunters with spears, blowpipes and poisoned darts. Many still reside in their traditional communal longhouses and they are well known for their elaborate displays of bride-wealth, dancing and feasting.
  HOW TO GET THERE 
Kota Kinabalu, the state capital, is the modern gateway to the rest of Sabah. Direct flights between KK (the name by which Kota Kinabalu is fondly called) and the regional capitals of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Hong Kong, Brunei, Manila and Cebu, make Sabah easily accessible to travellers everywhere. Largely destroyed during the Second World War, KK has since developed into a thriving modern city. Places of interest include the State Museum, the State Mosque, the Gaya Street Fair held every Sunday morning and the "pasar malam" where you can polish up your bargaining skills. Nearby are the popular Tanjung Aru Beach, quaint water villages and idyllic off-shore islands.
KK and its surroundings are well served by world class holiday resorts and hotels for a relaxing private retreat or large business conference.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Malaysia Info - Places of Interest Terengganu


Visitors to
the Waterfront of Kuala Terengganu will be in awe of and fascinated by the hustle and bustle of activities taking place there. Stroll down the waterfront and watch fishmongers haggling for the price of fish and other seafood, or take a boat ride to one of the many beautiful surrounding islands. Another appealing alternative is to take a passenger boat to Seberang Takir, where the most incredible view of the South China Sea can be seen.
The Terengganu State Museum Complex consists of a Main Museum, a Maritime Museum, a Fisheries Museum, 4 traditional houses and botanic and herbs gardens. The Main Museum is built on 16 stilts, in accordance with the traditional architecture of Terengganu. Its 4 blocks are adjoined, to represent a big family. There are 10 galleries showcasing textiles, crafts, historical, royal, nature, art, petroleum, Islamic, new generation and contemporary arts.
Approximately 6 km south of Kuala Terengganu is Sutera Semai Centre at Chendering. It is Malaysia's pioneer silk weaving centre, where visitors can witness different stages of silk manufacturing. There, witness the painting of batik designs onto the fabrics, resulting in beautiful batik shirts, kaftans, scarves, handkerchiefs, etc.
Batik painting is an exquisite and delicate art which requires skill, patience and meticulousness. In batik painting, brightly coloured floral motifs are painted in stages onto dyed cloths. Songket, a piece of dyed silk material weaved with gold and silver threads, is the clothing for royalties, and Malay brides and grooms at their weddings. It is also often worn during special ceremonies and occasions such as on Hari Raya Aidil Fitri (The celebration which marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month). There are many Batik and Songket Centres in and around Kuala Terengganu which produce and sell batik and songket.
Bukit Puteri is a 200 m high historical hill, situated next to Istana Maziah. It was used as a fortress between the years of 1831 to 1876 to defend the state from enemy attacks. Some of the historical remains which can be seen on Bukit Puteri are cannons, a flagpole, a large bell and a fort. Today, as it is the highest point in Kuala Terengganu, visitors standing on top of Bukit Puteri can witness the magnificent view of the areas sur-rounding it.
Istana Maziah is believed to have been constructed during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. It was built in 1897 to replace the Istana HijalJ which was burned down during World War II. Located next to Bukit Puteri, it is the venue for royal birthdays, weddings, conferment of titles and receptions for local and foreign dignitaries. A product of the blend between splendid modern and traditional architecture, it is also well-known as one of Malaysia's cultural attractions.
The Masjid Tengku Tengah Zaharah, located outside Kuala Terengganu is just 4.5km away. This is no ordinary mosque but said to be the only one of its kind in Malaysia. Combining modern and traditional architectural desighs, the mosque creates an illusion of itself as floating on water.
The Central Market, or locally known as Pasar Payang which is located by the Terengganu River is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kuala Terengganu. Housed in a modern building complete with a shopping arcade and a car park, it offers visitors a variety of traditional handicrafts such as batik, silk, songket, brocade and brassware, other fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and 'Keropok Lekor', which is a special local delicacy made from a mixture of fish and sago. Visitors to this market will have a delightful experi-ence shopping in local fares at reasonable prices.
Desa Craft, formerly known as Usaha Desa, is an interes-ting handicraft centre which showcases songket, brassware, batik, souvenir items and also fashion wear of current batik designs. This centre was developed by the Terengganu State Economic Develop-ment Corporation (SEDC) as part of its effort to promote Kuala Terengganu as a popular tourist destination.
Pulau Duyung is the most well-known boat building ground in Terengganu. There, you can see boats being made by skilled boat builders who implement skills which have been passed down from generation to generation. Boat building is an art form therefore the boat builders take pride in their skill. The boat builders are unique, for they work entirely from their memory and experience, and without any set plans. Pulau Duyung is also renowned for its dried and salted fish, and fish crackers industries. It is easily accessible by the Sultan Mahmud Bridge, or for those who enjoy using sea transportation, take a boat from the Kuala Terengganu waterfront.
Chendering, located approximately 6 km from Kuala Terengganu, is the site of the Malaysian Handicraft Centre. The centre offers visitors a wide variety of Malaysian handicraft and also an insight into handicraft making. Some of the exquisite items which can be found here are songket, batik, vases, and mats, hats, wallets and bags made from pandanus leaves. Visitors will also get a chance to witness first hand the skills of local artisans in songket weaving, batik painting, basket weaving, etc.

Malaysia Info - Terengganu


Terengganu is one of the Malaysian state which is endowed with a wealth of charming and refreshing natural landscapes. She has beaches, exotic islands, lush virgin tropical jungle, quaint fishing villages, dazzling waterfalls and many, many more. Her miles and miles of white, sandy beaches and crystal clear water stretches throughout its 225 km coastline, extending from Besut in the north to Kemaman in the South. Her islands are among the most picturesque and fascinating in the country. From its myriad of colourful pastimes which include batik printing and songket weaving to the rapturous celebration of its many generations of cultural and traditional heritage, Terengganu is indeed a very blessed state.
Terengganu's population, which stands at approximately 1 million people, consists of 90% Malays, with the rest being made up of Chinese and Indians. The pace of life in Kuala Terengganu, its capital state, and all the towns and villages in Terengganu is unhurried and unaffected by the hustle and bustle of a big city.
Terengganu's history goes back to as far as the 1st century and has long been an important area of Malay settlement. Throughout the time up to the present day, Terengganu has been ruled by 16 Sultans.
Area
12 955 sq km

State Capital
Kuala Terengganu

Royal Town
Kuala Terengganu

Administrative Divisions
7 (Besut, Dungun, Kemaman, Marang, Hulu Terengganu, Kuala Terengganu, Setiu)

Population (2001)
919 300

Breakdown of Races (2001)
• Malays: 869 000
• Chinese: 25 100
• Indians: 2 000
• Others: 900

The present Sultanate of Terengganu had its origins in 1726. Sultan Zainal Abidin I, from the family of the Pahang Bendahara, was the first ruler. His successor, Mansur Syah, played a vital role in checking the influence of Bugis outsiders in the region.
In the subsequent years, the Siamese started to impose its sovereignty over Terengganu with the Sultans sending tributes ( in the form of bunga emas) to Siam until 1909. In July 1909, the Anglo-Thai Treaty of Bangkok saw the British wielding its power over Terengganu. However, Sultan Zainal Abidin III rejected this treaty; a friendship treaty was later ratified and this paved the way for the appointment of an agent of the British Consul-General. Terengganu was finally persuaded to accept a British adviser, J.L. Humphreys, in 1919.
The Japanese Occupation (1941-1945) resulted in Terengganu being handed back to Siam. In September 1945, Terengganu was placed under the British Military Administration.
In 1945, together with Penang and Malacca, and 9 other Malay states, Terengganu joined the Malayan Union. In 1948, it joined the Federation of Malaya, which later achieved independence on 31 August 1957.
The traditional activity of this state is fishing. In the last decade offshore oil installations in the South China Sea near Terengganu have boosted the state's economy and transformed Kuala Terengganu from a sleepy hollow into a beautiful modern city Oil and gas refineries have been set up at Kerteh and Paka. Other economic activities include cottage industries, boat building and agriculture. There are attempts to diversify the economy with new industrial estates being set up in Kuala Terengganu, Dungun and Kemaman.
Apart from nature, the charm of Terengganu lies in its people. They are as beautiful as their state; courteous and helpful. The people of Terengganu welcome with open arms those who wish to share the beauty of the state. They lead a moderate and graceful lifestyle in picturesque villages where religion, tradition and culture are still dominant in their daily activities. Terengganu people are gifted. They are artistically inclined and able to create traditional works of arts including the highly-skilled craft of boat-building.
Terengganu is a paradise for bargain hunters and souvenir collectors. There is ample opportunity to buy batik cloth, songket, traditional woodcarvings, local handicrafts, woven hats and baskets, clothing, intricate filigree silverware, gleaming brassware and decorative wallpieces as well as a staggering variety of dried and fresh food. Another special feature for shoppers are the fascinating bustling weekend markets found in practically every town.
Terengganu cuisine is distinctively memorable for its fresh ingredients, inimitable spices, and unique flavours! There are many good restaurants in Kuala Terengganu serving Malay, Chinese and Indian dishes. Western cuisine can be found at larger hotels and restaurants in many towns. Nasi Dagang is glutinous rice, white or pinkish, cooked in coconut milk and served with fish curry, cucumber, pickle and coconut sambal. More recent accompanying items include chicken and seafood cooked in curry.
Visitors will find most places in Terengganu easily accessible. There is a host of transportation modes that one can choose from, when travelling to and within Terengganu, i.e. by air, road, buses and coaches, taxi. MAS operates daily direct services from Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Terengganu as well as connecting services from other major cities and towns. For inquiries on flight reservations and confirmation, visitors are requested to call MAS at Tel: 09-6221415,09-6222266,09-6664204.
BY AIR
The Sultan Mahmud Airport is only 18 kilometres from Kuala Terengganu. Contact the Airport Information Counter at 09-6664204 for further information.

BY BUS & TAXI
The normal taxi fare is 8.5 sen for 1 km and 10 sen for 1 km for air-conditioned taxis.