Endless Celebrations for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

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Best Islands to Visit in Malaysia for 2015.

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A list of Top 10 Places to visit in Malaysia for 2015.

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4 Sep 2015

Nikon P900 Review Moon Photos

Nikon P900 Review Moon Photos

To be honest, I have never done a camera review and this is actually my first time doing the Nikon P900 Review on Moon Photos taken in July 2015. As a child, the moon always fascinated me and often wondered what it looked like with the naked eye. And then through my teens, I have always wanted to photograph the moon but technology did not allow that back in the day and finally, when I got this new Nikon P900 camera in early 2015, my opportunity had come.

The Nikon P900 is actually from the CoolPix series and also the highest range where it comes with a whopping 24-2000mm single lens zoom. Yes, you read correctly, 2000mm! It is also lightweight, as I assume it was heavy, but it is in fact lighter than my Nikon D5100 DSLR. Ok, to cut the story short, one of the functions in scenes is the moon mode. It let's you choose different tones of color while there is a go-to 800mm button and with one click, it takes you to that focal length. Check out the video I also did below. 

Nikon P900 Review Video on Moon Photos

More Moon Photos taken with the Nikon P800

Blood Red Moon Picture
Blood Red Moon Photo - Using the red tone in settings
Moon Photos in Malaysia
Black and White Moon Photo - Using the plain tone in settings
Photo of the moon in blue
Blue Moon Photo - Using the blue tone in settings
Orange Moon Picture
Orange Yellow Moon Photo - Using the tone in settings
Nikon P900 Moon Photos Review
Green Moon Photo - Using the green tone in settings
Overall, the quality was very impressive as you can see from the moon photos above, it captures most of the surface details and even the craters. All I did was sharpen the images a bit and there you have it, a professional looking moon photographer at work. 

Again, these were all shot with the 800-1000mm focal length of the lens and I could still zoom in further. In face, when the digital zoom kicks in, you can even focus on the main crater of the moon. However, I did not have my heavy duty camera tripod with me so these were taken with a standard beginner tripod. 

Again, my main purpose for buying this camera was for bird watching or birding but somehow, I am yet to fully test this. I will be posting more photos in future on my Malaysia Asia Facebook Page or my Malaysia Asia Instagram, so do follow me to see updates and I hope you enjoyed my inaugural Nikon P900 Review on Moon Photos. Any comments or feedback, please feel free to leave them in the comment form below.  

2 Sep 2015

Sabah for First Time Visitors

Sabah for First Time Visitors

Sabah, the Land Below The Wind as it is also called is and has been one of the premier destinations in Borneo offering all sorts of touristic experiences over the years. As I have been here many times, I thought that this article highlighting Sabah for First Time Visitors will come in handy for anyone planning to come here. Before you read on, you should know that Sabah is on the island of Borneo and is part of Malaysia.

Kota Kinabalu will be your main gateway into Sabah as it is also the capital of the state and my article will be featuring this fascinating place. The amazing thing about Kota Kinabalu or KK as the locals call it is that the international airport is a mere 10 minutes away from the city, one of the shortest distances from airport to city in the world. KK is also a coastal city therefore visitors are spoiled for choices when it comes to what to do in KK. 

Lets start with the basics; most visitors would be asking how long should I spend in Kota Kinabalu or even Sabah. Well, it is quite subjective based on different travelers but I will do my best to please both worlds. Ok, here's my breakdown based on local travelers and international travelers.

Kota Kinabalu International Airport
The Kota Kinabalu International Airport or KKIA
How long to spend in Kota Kinabalu? 

For the local travelers or even those from around Southeast Asia, the ideal time to spend in KK is about 3-4 days. For international travelers or backpackers, you can opt to spend at least 4-6 days here to fully experience what KK has to offer. Again, the recommended time can be adjusted to ones itinerary or what they want to see and do here in Kota Kinabalu. 

Where to stay in KK?
There are numerous hotels, resorts, guesthouses and boutique hotels available here and most of them are centrally located within the main city area so walking around is not a problem at all. It is also recommended that you double check the location of the hotel before booking for convenience.

Kota Kinabalu Sightseeing
Suria KK, one of the premier shopping malls in Kota Kinabalu
What to do around KK?
Kota Kinabalu offers various options for sightseeing, ranging from islands, beaches, diving, hiking, climbing, trekking, shopping, markets, water rafting and so on. At the end of the day, it is all about your time management here as one can easily visit two attractions in a day if you manage it well and still have time to do a bit of shopping and try the local Sabahan food.

Sapi Island Sabah
This is Sapi Island, part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, just outside of KK
KK Island VisitsThe Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park or TAR Park is a mere 20 minutes boat ride from the Jesselton Jetty in KK town so this means, day trips are possible here. Here, you will be amazed with the crystal clear waters and many activities to do including snorkeling, scuba diving, sea walking or simply sun tanning. There are three main islands to choose from - Manukan Island, Mamutik Island and Sapi Island for day trippers.

Borneo Reef World Pontoon
Borneo Reef World Floating Pontoon
One of the new attractions found around Sapi Island is also the Borneo Reef Pontoon, a floating paradise that houses an underwater live aquarium, sea walking experience and also water sports. For those wanting to try scuba diving, they also have a safe platform for this. Highly recommended too! 

Another fun adventure experience on Sapi Island is trying the Coral Flyer, an island to island flying fox which will surely excite anyone. This is currently the longest island to island flying fox in the world too and very reasonably priced. 

Total Time Required: 4 hours to one full day

Mari Mari Cultural Village KK
Local tribesmen at Mari Mari Cultural Village
Mari Mari Cultural Village - Sabah's living museum showcases the many ethnic tribes of Sabah in one place. The Mari Mari Cultural Village is located after Inanam, about 30 minutes from KK and visits here have to be booked by one of the travel agents or counters around KK. They will send guests there and back. Suitable for anyone visiting Sabah as you will learn much about the local ethnic people here. Very educational, interesting and great for photo taking. 

Total Time Required: 2-4 hours

Gaya Sunday Market in KK
A common scene at the Gaya Sunday Market in KK
Gaya Street Sunday Market - Only if you are in KK on a Sunday, this is one market worth exploring as it is probably the best market in the entire Sabah. Starting from as early as 6am, you can find all sorts of things, crafts, souvenirs, food, plants, clothes and sometimes even domestic pets being sold here. A must-visit for anyone who loves markets and the Gaya Street Sunday Market closes about 11am. 

→ Total Time Required: 1-2 hours

Cooking Class in KK Sabah
The Sabah Cooking Class takes you to local markets to buy your ingredients
Sabah Cooking Class - Yes, for those who enjoy cooking, there is a unique Sabah Cooking Class operated by Sabahan - Hajjah Halimah who teaches local Sabahan cooking. The location is at her specially designed outdoor cooking area at her home in Kinarut which is about 40 minutes from KK city. 

The experience takes guests to the local market to do some shopping before heading there to learn how to cook. This is also a hands-on experience where you will cut, chop, stir and fry and then enjoy your cooking for lunch. Classes start at about 9am where they will pick you from your hotel and send you there and back. 

→ Total Time Required: 3-4 hours, done after lunch.

Pasar Ikan Masin KK
The unique Salt Fish Market or Pasar Ikan Masin in KK
Interesting Markets in Kota Kinabalu - For the market lover, there are quite a few very interesting markets located in KK itself which are all walking distances from one another. Start with the Handicraft Market (Old Filipino Market) where you squeeze through lanes and lanes of souvenirs, clothes and Sabah Pearls.

Exiting, just walk next door to the Salt Fish Market for a unique experience and then to the Fruit Market to see the unique Sabahan fruits sold. There is also the huge Kota Kinabalu Wet and Dry Market and finally, the Night Food Market which is an amazing experience. All of these markets are by the waterfront area and they are all just next to each other. The place is very safe too and best time to visit is before lunch. 

→ Total Time Required: 1-3 hours

What to do outside of KK? 
Adventure seekers will find load of things to do just out of KK city. Namely water rafting, trekking, bird watching, cultural experiences, river cruises and even a classic steam locomotive trip just to name a few. There are also broken down to give you a rough idea for timing too.

Padas River White Water Rafting
Challenging the mighty Padas River
Padas River White Water Rafting (Advanced) - About 2 hours from KK city. You need to book this tour from any of the tour companies around KK. This is suitable for those wanting an adrenaline rush as the rapids are from class 3-5 and not for beginners. The rafting here is also the best in the entire Sabah.

Prepare to spend half a day for this trip and the amazing moment is taking the old diesel local trains to the start of the rafting point. Some crazy rafting action is available here and not for kids. 

→ Total Time Required: 6 hours

Kiulu River White Water Rafting
View of the Kiulu River where the water rafting is done
Kiulu River White Water Rafting (Beginners) - Also about 2 hours from KK city but the other way. You can also book the Kiulu Water Rafting Tour from any of the tour companies around KK. This is suitable for those wanting to experience white water rafting as the rapids are from class 1-2 and very suitable for beginners, kids or even pensioners.

The rafting experience along the Kiulu River lets visitors see the natural beauty of the local Sabahan countryside, villages and nature. Raft guides are professional while the centers are equipped with toilets and changing rooms. Remember to bring a dry bag is you have one.  

→ Total Time Required: 6 hours

Kinabalu Park Visit (Outdoors, Trekking, Sightseeing) -
About 2 hours from KK, you can book a tour in the city or rent a car to self drive there. The park provides a cool climate experience and there are various easy treks available around the park. This is providing you are not climbing Mount Kinabalu as many visitors just come here for a day trip to take photos. A tip for photos - You need to come here before 8am to get that shot as after that, the clouds start to cover the mountain. 

Kundasang is the town near the park and here you can find local produce being sold while there is also a local dairy farm similar to the ones in New Zealand with Friesian Cows! There are numerous hotels and homestays available for those wanting to spend the night here and prices are quite decent. 

→ Total Time Required: Half a day to one full day

Klias River Cruise
Visitors doing the Klias River Cruise
Klias River Cruise (Nature) - About 2 hours from KK, you need to book a tour to get here. The journey starts about 2-3pm from the city and you get here just in time for the late evening cruise. After that, there is a local dinner provided and then you get back on the boats for the FireFly watching which is spectacular. 

At the Klias River Cruise, you stand a chance to spot the very unique Proboscis monkey, birds, monitor lizards, macaques and if you're lucky, the local otters. This is safe for families and children as safety is highly practised here. 

→ Total Time Required: Half a day, from after lunch.

Upside Down House Tamparuli
The unique Upside Down House in Tamparuli, Kota Kinabalu
Upside Down House, 3D Museum and Chanteek GalleryAbout 45 minutes drive from KK city and you will find the unique Upside Down House of Sabah also known as Rumah Terbalik, a 3D museum and the very interesting local Chanteek Gallery Borneo which highlights the ethnic people of Sabah.

All this on one road which is great fun for anyone. There are tours here but usually, locals will self drive here and back to KK. Each place charges a minimal entrance and there are restaurants, cafes, toilets and souvenir shop facilities at these places. 

→ Total Time Required: Half a day

North Borneo Train Sabah
The Vulcan Steam Train, North Borneo Railway
North Borneo Railway ExperienceHow about taking a nostalgic trip on the only railway system in Borneo which still uses a classic steam locomotive engine. The North Borneo Railway takes visitors on a trip from KK to Papar town and then back after lunch and this unique experience operated by Sutera Harbour Resort runs on various days of the week.

The classic steam train has about 4-5 carriages where every detail is preserved to the original and even the staff tending to you wear classic British era uniforms and lunch is served out the classic tiffin carriers. Slightly on the pricey side but well worth the experience.

The Vulcan Steam Locomotive takes you to Papar where you depart for a walkabout around the old town. The Locomotive then makes a u-turn from a special turning station and then everyone boards to head back to Tanjung aru Station just outside of KK. 

→ Total Time Required: 4-6 Hours or Half a day. Trains depart at about 9am.

Sabah Resort Villa
Gayana Eco Resort on Pulau Gaya, 15 minutes from KK city
Overall, all the places above have been personally visited by me over the years and all real experiences. Do not be fooled by those lists of 'What to do in KK' which are all done for hotel booking sites and those seeking traffic.

You can also read about my other Sabah articles where there is one about Free Things To Do in Kota Kinabalu which is all walking distance in KK town and another from 2010 about 5 Things to do in Kota Kinabalu. Again, for first timers to Sabah, it is recommended you explore the city before heading out to other places. Unless of course, you are spending a week or two here, then you can plan a few days in KK before moving on to other places. 

If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to leave them in the comment form below and for anyone heading here to North Borneo, I hope this list of Sabah for First Time Visitors will be helpful. 

1 Sep 2015

Kang Gary at Matta Fair September 2015

Kang Gary Running Man Matta Fair September 2015

Running Man fans in Malaysia are in for a major treat as there is a rare and fantastic opportunity to meet the shows star, Kang Gary at the Matta Fair September 2015 here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is a special move made by the Korea Tourism Organisation to promote their country to Malaysians by using a very popular TV series star. 

Fans can find Kang Gary (姜熙建) at the Korea Tourism Organisation booth during the Matta Fair September 2015 at the Putra World Trade Centre or PWTC in KL on the 5th (Saturday). For those who want to meet Kang Gary personally, the organizers have made it such that anyone who purchases a Korean travel package through selected agents here will have that opportunity. 

If you are coming here just to see Kang Gary, you can do so from a distance only as the are will be cordoned off and only those who buy the Matta Fair Korea Packages will have the special meet inside. 

Matta Fair Kang Gary
Kang Gary, popular Korean TV star from the Running Man series
Meet Kang Gary at Matta Fair September 2015

• Date: 5th September 2015
• Time: 5:20pm – 6pm
• Venue: PWTC , Kuala Lumpur
• Anyone who purchases Korea Travel Packages may stand a chance to take a group photo with Kang Gary.

Matta Fair 2015 Kang Gary
Kang Gary as one of the stars in the Running Man - Image from fan page
Photo session by MATTA’s official media partner

• Date: 5th September 2015
• Time: 6pm – 6:30pm
• Venue: PWTC, Kuala Lumpur

*The above timings are subjected to change. The main photo is taken from the official Korea Plaza KL Facebook Video to promote the superstar. 

On why this article was promoted here? You will be shocked to know that the Running Man TV Series is so huge in Malaysia, that almost 30% of the population watches this Korean TV Series so bringing in one of the main stars is a tactical move to promote the country to the many Malaysian fans here. 

So if you have been yearning to visit Korea and also have that rare opportunity to meet one of K-POP's largest superstars, this is your chance to meet Kang Gary at Matta Fair September 2015 here in KL, Malaysia. 

28 Aug 2015

Melaka New Tourist Attractions

New Tourism Attractions in Malacca

Melaka or Malacca has always been one of the top tourism destinations in Malaysia and here is a list of Melaka new tourist attractions which have opened in the last 12 months in the historical state. With the growing tourism industry here, many businesses have taken to catering to tourist as a huge number of visitors are coming from Singapore and Indonesia. 

This list of new tourist attractions in Malacca is also mostly based on quick visits to them, which are all located around the main city area here. If you plan your trip well, you can most probably visit them all within one full day too. Here they are;

Magic Art 3D Museum Melaka

Melaka Magic Art 3D Museum
The Melaka Magic Art Museum - Photo from Magic Art Museum Facebook
Located in the Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, the 3D Magic Art Museum in Melaka opened in April 2015 and is currently the latest attraction in Melaka. The location is out of the main historical city of Malacca and is in the Bukit Katil area which is on the way to the main Air Keroh tourism spots.

This provides visitors with some pretty interesting or even quirky 3D art which seems to be the flavor of 2014 and 2015. Great for anyone visiting Melaka and wanting some fun as this is suitable for just about anyone including families with kids. 

Magic 3D Art Museum in Malacca
A family poses at the Magic Art Museum in Melaka - Photo from their Facebook Page
Magic Art Museum Address:
G19 Bayou Square, Jalan Wakaf Utama, Bukit Katil, 75450 Melaka.
Adult: RM25.00
Child or Senior Citizen: RM20.00
Operation Hours:
Mon-Thur: 10am – 7pm
Fri – Sun, Eve Public & School Holiday: 9am -9pm
E-mail: dickson.magicart@gmail.com
Tel: +606 2311604
Website: http://www.bayoulagoon.com.my/news/magic-art-3d-museum/

The Shore Oceanarium Melaka

The Shore Oceanarium Melaka
Shore Oceanarium in Melaka - Photo from the Facebook Page
This is one of the latest attractions in Melaka which recently opened and located in a shopping mall called The Shore Shopping Gallery. Opened in December 2014, this mall-style attraction caters to all walks of life, especially families with young children. It is very centred towards marine education and overall a recommended place for just about anyone so when you are in Melaka, do look up this place at the Shore Shopping Gallery. 

Malacca Shore Oceanarium
One of the attractions at the Oceanarium in Melaka - Photo from their Facebook Page
The Shore Oceanarium Address:
2F-01, The Shore Shopping Gallery,193, Pinggiran @ Sungai Melaka, Jalan Persisiran Bunga Raya, 75100 Melaka, Malaysia
Tel: +606 2829966 
Fax:+606 2831003
Email: oceanariummelaka@gmail.com 
Website: http://www.oceanariummelaka.com/
Open daily: 10.30am - 9.00pm (Last admission is 8.00pm) 

Upside Down House Melaka

Rumah Terbalik Melaka
Upside Down House Gallery in Melaka -Image from Siputhijau.com
Another unique attraction to hit the city is the Upside Down House Melaka which opened in November 2014. This shop lot concept offers those seeking some fun and laughter by taking photos in an upside down position. While the gimmick is catchy and easy to be shared on social media, many have visited this place to date.

The place is decorated with a standard home concept where you will find a living room, kids bedroom, master bedroom, toilet and a kitchen. So if you're in Melaka city and want to have some fun, this would be suitable for couples, groups or families. 

Melaka Rumah Terbalik
Some of the quirky photos inside the Upside Down House in Malacca
Upside Down House Melaka Address:
G12 & G14, Jalan PM 7, Plaza Mahkota, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka.
Tickets: Adults RM15, Child RM10
Non-Malaysian: Adults RM20, Child RM16 
*Children Below 90cm, Free.
Tel: +6011 10722260
Website: https://www.facebook.com/upsidedownhousemelaka

Photographfie Art Gallery Melaka

Melaka Photographfie Art Gallery
The Photographfie 3D Art Gallery in Melaka - Photo from kiruaorigami.blogspot
Another 3D art gallery in Melaka where this one is on a much smaller scale and privately operated with a twisted spelling for the name. Photographfie, a combination of 'Photography and Selfie' we assume.

The paintings are pretty standard here while there are quite a lot in this gallery. This is also located in the main city area just next to the Mahkota Parade too. For any selfie lover or those who love 3D art galleries, you can check this place out. 
Malacca Photographfie Art Gallery
An interesting effect inside the Photographfie Gallery in Melaka
Photographfie 3D Art Gallery Melaka Address:
Address: No. 10 & 10-1, Jalan Plaza Merdeka,75000 Plaza Merdeka, Melaka
Email: thephotographfie@gmail.com
Mon-Thurs: 10am - 8pm
Fri-Sun: 10am - 10pm
Tel: +606 281 2941
Tickets: RM25 Adults, RM12 Children/Senior Citizens
Landmark: Next to Mahkota Parade Mall

Photographfie 3D Gallery in Melaka
Inside Photographfie Gallery in Melaka
- Photo by kiruaorigami.blogspot
There are many other new tourist attractions in Melaka to be opened by end 2015 and all through 2016 but most of them are still being built and awaiting official confirmation. Some of them include theme parks of international standards and special attraction shows. 

Until they all open, there is still so much one can do in Melaka as the historical city offers quite a lot of things to explore here, from heritage to food to sightseeing and suitable for all walks of life. Again, food in Melaka is one of the must-try things for anyone visiting here. 

The only thing is that when you are here in the day, you should be ready for walking under the sun. Among the most popular attractions here, Jonker Street in Melaka is a must visit for anyone coming here. 

Anyone visiting here should take note of Melaka's New Tourist Attractions as they are in the vicinity of the main city area. If you have any comments or feedback, please do leave them in the comment form below and have a great time in Melaka! 

26 Aug 2015

Gaya Street Sunday Market in Photos

Gaya Street Sunday Market Photo

One of the unique tourism spots in Kota Kinabalu is in fact the Gaya Street Sunday Market which is a highly recommended place to visit for anyone visiting Kota Kinabalu. You may be wondering why, but if you are a market lover and want to see the natural local scene, this is the place to visit. 

Only open on Sundays from as early as 6.00am, the Gaya Street Sunday Market offers visitors a fascinating insight into the local Sabahan culture with many locals seen busily purchasing all sorts of items here. The location - along the main Gaya Street in KK town where over 100 stalls line up selling all sorts of everything. To list them down here would be a giveaway therefore, it is best for the visitor to explore this place in person and I am only sharing with you the Gaya Street Sunday Market in Photos.

Gaya Street Sunday Market in Photos

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu
What the market look like along Jalan Gaya
Pasar Gaya Street KK
A view of the Sunday Market at Gaya Street
Cute Puppy in Kota Kinabalu
Cute puppies which make everyone stop and look
Ayam Serama Sabah
Sabah Serama Chicken, occasionally sold here
Animals at Gaya Sunday Markets
An assortment of local and domestic pets for sale
Sabah Tamu Jalan Gaya
Baby chicks sold by the different ages
Pets at Gaya Street Sunday Market
A wide variety of domestic pets sold
Kota Kinabalu Choppnig Board
Handmade wooden chopping boards 
Massage at Gaya Street
A permanent fixture here is the blind massage service
Toys at Gaya Street Sunday Market
Some interesting toy dice being sold here
I Luv KK T-shirts
T-shirts on KK sold here
Jalan Gaya Tamu
Traditional handmade bamboo containers and other crafts
Kota kinabalu Artist
A local artist sells his work here 
Cili Padi Sabah
Sabah chilli padi sauce, locally made too
Sabah Bak Chang
Local Bak Chang, a Chinese dessert
Sabah Souvenir Photo
Sabah souvenirs on sale, great prices too
Tamu Jalan Gaya Sabah
Assortment of bags on sale here 
Stall at Gaya Street Sunday Market
A medicine trader sells some odd items
Sunday Market Gaya Street
View of the Gaya Sunday Market at the main fountain
For anyone visiting Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, this is one of the highly recommended places to visit if you are here on the weekend. Make sure you come around 7-8am when the market gets into full swing. There are quite a number of local coffee shops and restaurants where you can also have your breakfast, some of them very authentic. There are halal and non-halal food places here too. 

For those on a budget, you can also refer to my other articles on Free Things to do in Kota Kinabalu as the list focuses on a walking tour around KK. And if you are venturing out of KK, you can see this article on the Best Places to Visit in Sabah as it details the newer tourist attractions around the state. 

After the market visit, you can then proceed to explore the other areas around here, namely the craft market, fruit market and if you are up for it, the wet market and also fresh fish market which are all situated along the waterfront area. 

If you have any comments of questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment form below and I hope that you enjoy my Gaya Street Sunday Market in Photos. 

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