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22 May 2015

Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur

Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

The world's first Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur will be opened in 2018 and this will also be Malaysia's first 7-Star Hotel right here in the Golden Triangle of KL just next to the upmarket Pavilion Shopping Mall and this project will easily compliment the many other luxury hotels in Kuala Lumpur. 

This spectacular hotel will be 30 stories high and will feature 300 hotel rooms and also serviced apartments built at a cost of RM1 Billion. The Harrods Hotel KL project will comprise two residential towers, an office building and a retail podium, with direct connectivity to the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall. The KL Harrods Hotel will complement the vibrancy of the cosmopolitan lifestyle, adding to its comprehensive fusion of malls, hotels, retailers and leisure experiences.

The seven-star Harrods Hotel in Malaysia is expected to be the first to open worldwide followed by the other two Harrods Hotels in London, UK and Costa Smeralda, Italy. 

Harrods Square Kuala Lumpur
Harrods Square KL - Image from The Edge Malaysia Weekly
Harrods Square Kuala Lumpur

This massive project will also be under the Harrods Square Kuala Lumpur project where there will be 4 blocks of buildings including a commercial area. 

Tower A - 27 floors (102 Hotel Rooms and 2014 Service Apartments)
Tower B - 61 floors (530 Service Apartments)
Tower C - 52 floors (390 Service Apartments)
Tower D - 31 floors (Offices and other facilities)
Commercial Area - 4 floors

Harrods Hotel and Residence
Harrods Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur
Qatar Holding bought the iconic London department store in 2010 from Egyptian-born businessman Mohamed al-Fayed in a deal reported to be worth around £1.5 billion. Since then, the new owners have aimed for Harrods to become a “global enterprise that defines the luxury retail and leisure sectors”. 

The owner of the Harrods Hotel KL is Qatar Holdings LLC, Tradewinds Corp Bhd in collaboration with developer Jerantas Sdn Bhd where the hotel is built on a prime piece of property in Kuala Lumpur where Chulan Square and Sri Melayu Restaurant are currently sited. The land was acquired by Jerantas Sdn Bhd from the government for RM429.68 million or 1,800 per sq ft.

Harrods Hotel Malaysia
Harrods Hotel KL
The Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur mixed development is a joint venture between Tradewinds Corporation Bhd (Tan Sri Syed Azman Mokhtar), the Pavilion Group (Malton Bhd’s Datuk Desmond Lim, among others), and Qatar Holding LLC (Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund). The latter two were also owners of Pavilion mall before it was listed as part of the Pavilion REIT.

Qatar decided for Malaysia to house one of the world’s first three Harrods hotels because of the country’s good investment environment and because Malaysia gets up to 25 million tourists every year, said Qatar Holding LLC vice chairman Dr Hussain Ali Al-Abdullah. 

Qatar Holding is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority. Its key investments include Agriculture Bank of China, Harrods Group, Hassad Food Company, Iberdola SA, J Sainsbury plc, London Stock Exchange, Lagardere, Porsche, Qatar Exchange, Qatar Telecom, Qatar National Bank, Santander Brasil and Volkswagen AG. They also have stakes in British bank Barclays, French luxury conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and American jeweller Tiffany.

At the moment, there is not much information available for the hotel as it is still in the construction process and we estimate that by 2016 or 2017, there would be more information available on the 7-star luxury hotel here in KL. 

For luxury hotel fans, be ready as when it is 2018, Malaysians will be the first few to experience the Harrods Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the only 7-star hotel in Malaysia. 

20 May 2015

Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015

Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015

Birdwatching in Malaysia showcases the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015 which takes place this 23-24 May 2015 and this is also the 28th series for the unique bird race here.Since 1998, over thousands of birders and bird watchers have visited Fraser's Hill to participate in the Bird Race which is conceptualised by the Selangor Bird Group and Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) and the Fraser's Hill Development Corporation. 

This year, local and international birders will make their way to Pahang to participate in this niche event which has seen a steady growth in this sport over the last decade. Birdwatching in Malaysia has also seen a number of local birding clubs form in Peninsular and also over in Sabah and Sarawak Malaysia. 

Frasers Hill International Bird Race
Birders in Malaysia
Fraser’s Hill is often been referred to as a first-class bird watching destination in Peninsula Malaysia, since this highland paradise is home for more than 250 species of wild birds. 

Fraser's Hill Bird Race 2015
Come November and December each year, the virtually untouched Montana forests of Fraser’s Hill receives many species of newcomers, that is the migratory species that fly across from places as far as northern Siberia of Russia and remote islands north of Japan and neighbouring land mass, to seek new feeding grounds as well as to escape the freezing winter up north. 

The sightings of Siberian thrush from Siberia are often reported and they are truly a rare treat to ardent birdwatchers. 

Normally these migratory visitors stay around in Fraser’s Hill for couple of months before migrating southwards to Australia and New Zealand. 

They will eventually leave here and fly back home to the north in March and April when to welcome the summer there. 

Fraser's Hill International Bird Race Objectives

• To promote Fraser's Hill to local and international birdwatching as a top class bird watching destination.

• To encourage birdwatching as an academic and healthy outdoor activity

• To create awareness among both Malaysians and foreigners on the rich flora fauna in Fraser's Hill

• To protect Fraser's Hill as a bird sanctuary and as an important part of Malaysia 's rich natural heritage to be preserved for the future generations.

Birdwatching at Fraser's Hill Pahang
Bird Watchers in action
It is known fact that many rare and endangered species are often sighted in Fraser’s Hill. Endangered local species such as the wreathed hornbills and rhinoceros hornbills can be easily spotted at times too. 

Bird watching is non–spectator activity. Many people have the impression that a bird race is an event where birds actually race or being raced against each other. 

Actually, a bird race is a ‘fun race‘ where teams of three bird watchers compete against each other in sighting, identifying and recording the most number of species (not birds!) within the boundaries of Fraser’s Hill which cover an area of 2,804 hectares of hush tropical jungles, and subjected to stipulated ground rules set by the organizers. 

A bird spotted at one of the recent bird races in Malaysia
For instance, in order not to disturb the birds, the use of electronic equipment such as tape recorders and loudspeakers is strictly prohibited. Throughout the race, participants are not allowed to communicate with other competitors regarding the whereabouts of the birds except members of his/her own team. Failure to comply with the rules will result in the forfeiture of species that have been recorded in their team logs.

This year, the competition will be divided into three distinctive categories;

1. Advanced category: For serious and experienced bird watchers.
2. Novice category: For those who just take up bird watching out of curiosity or treat bird watching as an academic hobby.
3. Local category: For the local residents who know the whereabouts of the birds in Fraser’s Hill are.

Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015 Banner
The Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015 Poster
Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015 Prizes

For the prizes, a total of RM15,000 has been allocated which include RM 2400, RM 2100 and RM 1800 for the first, second and third prizes respectively in the advanced category and smaller sums for the novice and local categories. 

The rules this year will also be slightly stricter with the inclusion of checkpoints at various strategic spots where participants will have to register in order to maintain their eligibility.

For more details contact :
Tourism Pahang
JKR 300, Jalan Masjid, 25000 Kuantan, Pahang
Telephone: 609-517 1623            
Fax: 609-517 1626
Email: pkbf2006@yahoo.com or pkbf2009@gmail.com
Website: www.pahangtourism.org.my or www.pkbf.org.my

This year's sponsors include Omicron, Minox dan BOH and DSC World Sdn Bhd and the bird race is also supported by Tourism Pahang, Tourism Malaysia and endorsed into the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 or MyFest2015 Calendar. 

If you are a birder, you can also see my other articles about Bird Watching in Borneo and also Bird Watching in Malaysia. Otherwise, see you at the Fraser's Hill International Bird Race 2015. 

19 May 2015

Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015

Tadau Kaamatan Harvest Festival 2015

The largest festival in Sabah called Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015 will be celebrated from 30th to 31st May and this is where the Kadazandusun and Murut communities come together during the month of May to offer thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest.

The theme for this years Tadau Kaamatan 2015 is "Peace & Unity Through Culture" and this was officially launched on 1st May 2015 at Pisompuruan Square in Tambunan, Sabah. This festival has also been celebrated for the last 55 years here in Sabah.

Tapai Lihing Tasting
Visitors tasting some Tapai and Lihing
Visitors and locals are invited to join in the merriment and be entertained by a variety of traditional and unique cultural dances which are performed at the KDCA on the last weekend here in Penampang. 

There are also traditional sports competition such as mamarampanau (walking on bamboo stilts), arm wrestling and many more. For craft lovers, there are a number of shops that are showcasing or even selling traditional Kadazan craft. Some of the interesting pieces are in the form of ladies accessories.

The Ka'amatan Festival is also a great opportunity to sample traditional local food and drinks which include the fascinating lihing or tuak (local rice wine as in the picture above) where they are found in the traditional houses at the KDCA.

Hongkod Koisaan KDCA Penampang
The Hongkod Koisaan KDCA building in Penampang
2015 Unduk Ngadau
Unduk Ngadau contestants take stage on the final day
Unduk Ngadau 2015

One of the much talked about highlights of the harvest festival is to witness the highly anticipated Unduk Ngadau Harvest Queen beauty pageant as it takes place at the end of the festival to crown the harvest queen for the year. The title Unduk Ngadau comes from the ethnic word Runduk Tadau which means 'the girl crowned by sunlight'. 

This is one beauty contest that no one should miss as it showcases the beautiful Kadazandusun women from each district who are up for the main crown title. The Unduk Ngadau 2015 finals take place at the Hongkod Koisaan KDCA on the 31st May in the Penanpang district which is about 15-20 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu city.

Unduk Ngadau Tambunan, Sabah
Unduk Ngadau contestants from Tambunan, Sabah
For this years prizes, the champion will win a cash prize of RM6,000 and a return ticket to Melbourne, Australia sponsored by Royal Brunei Airlines. Additional cash prizes of RM4,000, RM3,000, RM2,000, RM1,700, RM1,500 and RM1,300 respectively will go to the first to seventh runners-up while consolation prizes will be given to the other contestants.

The main sponsor, Altel, will sponsor the award for the Ratu Popular Altel and a scholarship for diploma course in tourism will be sponsored by ATI College for the Unduk Ngadau Winner 2015. 

Tadau Kaamatan 2015
Traditional Sabahan Dance during Kaamatan
Sabah Harvest Festival 2015 State Wide Celebrations

As Kaamatan is celebrated throughout Sabah, there are various districts that hold their own celebrations to the harvest festival and below is a list of dates and places where you can catch the celebrations. 

Date         Venues
May 1 Tambunan (Grand Launching)
May 2 Keningau
May 7 Tongod
May 9 Kuala Penyu, Menumbok, Klang Valley, Papar, Ranau, & Sook
May 10 Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan & Kinabatangan
May 14 DBKK, Matunggong & Sipitang
May 15 DBKK & Kudat
May 16 DBKK, Kudat, Penampang, Sandakan, Johor Bahru, Pitas, Tungku, Tawau, Putatan, Lahad Datu & Membakut
May 17 Tuaran, Tamparuli, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Inanam, Kunak, Banngi (Kinobungan) & Lahad Datu
May 23 Nabawan, Kemabong & Beaufort
May 24 Kota Belud & Tenom
May 30 Hongkod Koisaan KDCA, Penampang (Launching Ceremony & Traditional Games Exhibitions KDCA)
May 31 Hongkod Koisaan KDCA, Penampang (Grand Finale)

Traditional Bamboo Band from Kundasang
Traditional Bamboo Band from Kundasang, Sabah
Sabah Fest 2015

The Sabah Fest is a prelude to the Statewide Harvest Festival celebration that incorporates dance, music, fashion, food and crafts that is ethnically Sabah. Widely known as Agop by many communities on the east coast, caves have been a definitive feature of their cultural identity spawning a wealth of folklore and ancient practises related to dwellings, deaths, burials as well as a supply of resources for present-day economic activities. 

The celebration of Agop this year takes us on an expedition mostly to the east coast of Sabah to sample the charms of the communities – Ida'an, Dusun Sungei, Begak and Dusun Subpan identified with the ancient cave culture and related on-going traditions and practises. 

Other rarely seen groups such as the Tidong of Tawau, Dusun Sandayoh of Paitan and Dusun Melangkap of Kota Belud also shared the stage to perform and display their culture and musical traditions at this year's Sabah Fest production – one of Sabah's most anticipated annual premier events. The Sabah Fest 2015 show was held from 1-3 May 2015. 

Kadazan Dusun Food at Kaamatan
Various ethnic Kadazan Dusun Food at Kaamatan
Sabah Harvest Festival 2015 Food Showcase

As Sabah is known for their unique ethnic foods, there will be a series of food showcases throughout the month of May and around the city of Kota Kinabalu. For any food lovers, this is the best time to explore the Sabahan delicacies at these events. 

Kaamatan Buffet Dinner
Date: 1 - 31 May
Venue: Golden Dew Bistro, Ming Garden Hotel & Residences, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Azree Bin Jaidun (+6016 832 6027)
Tel: +6 088 528 888 (ext. 6611)

Sabahan Set Dinner + Cultural Show
Date: 1 - 31 May
Venue: The Kingfisher Restaurant, Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Shahrun Nidzam Sharoom
Tel: +6 088 480 888 (ext. 6004)

Mother's Day Champagne Brunch featuring a Sabah Cuisine
corner Date:10 May
Time: 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Venue : Cafe TATU, Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Ms. Jeslia 
Tel: +6 088 327 919

Ethnic People of Sabah
An ethnic group from Kota Belud called Walai Tindal
Kaamatan Feast Buffet Dinner
Date: 30 - 31 May
Venue: The Penyu Restaurant, Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Shahrun Nidzam Sharoom
Tel: +6 088 480888 (ext. 6004)

Harvest Festival Buffet
Date: 30 - 31 May
Venue: Tanjung Ria Kitchen, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. David Lim
Tel: +6 088 221234

International Buffet Dinner Spread - Featuring Local Delicacies
Date: Every Saturday night in the month of May & Sunday 31st May
Venue: Promenade Cafe, Hotel Lobby / Ground Floor, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person: Mr. Hillary Bestan & Mr. Husin Hasan
Tel: +6 088 265 555 (ext. 1134)

Weekend Dim Sum Buffet Brunch at Shang Palace 
Date: Every weekend in the month of May
Time: Every Saturday from 11:30am to 2:30pm & every Sunday from 10:00 a.m to 2:30 p.m
Venue: Shang Palace, Level 1, Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person : Ms. Jeslia
Tel: +6 088 327 919

Sabah-inspired Champion Cocktails at Sunset Bar
Date: Daily throughout the month of May
Time: 2:00pm to 11:00pm 
Venue: Sunset Bar, Kota Kinabalu
Contact Person : Ms. Jeslia 
Tel: +6 088 327 919. Reservation is highly recommended 

Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015
A Sabahan ethnic group dancing during the Kaamatan celebrations
Tadau Kaamatan Festival Grand Celebrations

The large scale Tadau Kaamatan Festival will also be celebrated in the town of Ranau on the 6th June 2015. This will include the tourism ministers, VIP's, state officials and will showcase some interesting performances and local foods. 

For more information on Kaamatan 2015, please contact;
The Kadazan Dusun Cultural Association (KDCA): +60 88 713696
Sabah Tourism Board: +60 88 212121
Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd: +60 88 232121
Sabah Tourism Website for Kaamatan

KDCA building in Penampang Sabah
KDCA building in Penampang
Having attended the Kaamatan Harvest Festival in Sabah in 2011, it opened my views to the unique and interesting culture of the Kadazandusun people and also the many other ethnic groups that celebrate this unique festival here. Among the highlights, I have to admit that the Unduk Ngadau Beauty Contest was something unexpected and so very different. 

For anyone who has never been to this, I highly recommend for you to attend this harvest festival which is very unique to east Malaysia. The best time to do this is also at the end of Kaamatan at the Hongkod Koisaan KDCA in Penampang. Otherwise if you are in Sabah anytime in May, you can also visit some of the districts to have an experience for Tadau Kaamatan Festival 2015 on a district level. 

18 May 2015

Events in Malaysia for June 2015

Events in Malaysia for June 2015

Reaching the half year mark for 2015, here is a list of Events in Malaysia for June 2015 which is filled with all sorts of activities for just about any tourist or even local. Ranging from music festivals, harvest festivals to outdoor and adventure events, they are pretty spread all over Malaysia for the month of June. 

June 2015 will also be the Muslim fasting month of Ramadhan where there will be many Ramadhan Bazaars found throughout Malaysia. It is here at these unique food bazaars that you will chance upon some of Malaysia's fascinating foods in one spot. Below are the events and festivals; 

Sunset Music Festival 2015 Sabah

Sunset Music Festival 2015

Embark on a musical journey at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau in Sabah, the northern-most tip of Borneo with the unique Sunset Music Festival 2015. Delight in an evening of classical favourites and contemporary tunes brought to you by a talented line-up of performers as the sun sets over the Sulu and South China Seas. 

You won't want to miss this amazing musical experience. The stage is set for one of the most breathtaking outdoor musical events of the year – right here at the iconic Tip of Borneo. 

Date : 5 to 6 June 2015
Venue : Tip of Borneo, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat, Sabah
Organiser : Sabah Tourism Board/Sri Pelancongan Sabah Sdn Bhd
Contact : +6088-232 121
Website : www.sunsetmusicfest.my

Malaysia Dance Festival KL 2015

Malaysia Dance Festival 2015

The 2015 Malaysian Dance Festival brings together international and local choreographers, dancers and students in an exciting showcase of creative expression. Witness amazing choreography, and colourful set-ups as this event has been known to have crowned over 16 dance groups, eight from each traditional and modern category. 

Contestants will be judged in terms of performance, choreography, creativity and best costume. Come and support some of the finest dance crews battling it out at the DBKL auditorium at the 2015 Malaysian Dance Festival this June.

Date : 4 to 6 June 2015
Venue : City Hall Auditorium, Kuala Lumpur
Organiser : National Department for Culture and Arts
Contact : +603-2614 8200/ 8283/ 8203
Website : www.jkkn.gov.my

1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2015

1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 

The 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival for June makes up one of the three major shopping events in the country, transforming Malaysia into a festive shopping paradise and lasting for more than two months. 

Retail outlets, malls, and shops selling a variety of products ranging from luxurious goods to electronics and souvenirs offer great discounts and bargains during this special time. Enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere of shopping in Malaysia, the events, competitions and retail experiences during the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival.

Date : 27 June to 31 Aug
Venue : Throughout Malaysia
Organiser : Shopping Secretariat Malaysia, Tourism Malaysia
Contact : +603-8891 8000
Website : www.tourismmalaysia.gov.my

Gawai Dayak Festival Sarawak 2015

Gawai Dayak Festival 2015

Throughout the years, the Gawai Day has become a symbol of unity, aspiration and hope for the Dayak community. Known as Gawai Dayak, it is a day of giving thanks to the spirits that have bestowed a bountiful harvest to the community, and marks the preparation for a new farming season and life in general. 

The whole community takes part in the celebration which involves a lot of rituals, singing, dancing and sharing of traditional food and drinks such as tuak, a wine made of fermented rice. Enchant yourself by the various cultural performances and traditional delicacies during the Gawai 2015 celebrations here in Sarawak. 

Date : 5 to 6 June 2015
Venue : Sarawak
Organiser : Ministry of Tourism Sarawak
Contact : +6082 246 575
Website : www.mot.sarawak.gov.my

Kuantan160 Century Ride 2015

Kuantan160 Century Ride 2015

Attention to all avid cyclists around, the Kuantan160 Century Ride is back and the race, set in the scenic east coast town of Kuantan, Pahang, will challenge cyclists to complete a gruelling ride over 160 km. The journey is enriched with the culture and architecture of Kuantan. 

However, expect the hot weather and elevations to give you a real challenge. Whether you want to ride with a couple of friends or get a real workout, this event invites you to challenge yourself and take a shot at surviving the 160 km bike ride.

Date : 7 June
Venue : Kuantan, Pahang
Organiser: Pahang Tourism and Culture Office
Contact : +609 517 1111
Website : www.kuantan160.com

Orchard Wellness and Health Resort Malaysia

Orchard Wellness and Health Resort Malaysia

The Orchard Wellness and Health Resort in Melaka is a destination spa which advocates maintaining wellness in a natural green environment where one can seek healthcare treatment in a restful setting. 

Combining modern science and holistic treatments, the resort encourages healthy living in every aspect. Experience a secluded world of nature and serenity located within 100 acres of the world’s largest collection of tropical fruits estate, while you nurture yourself back to health!

Location : Lubok China, Melaka
Contact : +606 5528 999
Website : www.orchardwellness.com

Tadau Kaamatan Harvest Festival Sabah 2015

Tadau Kaamatan Harvest Festival Sabah 2015

The biggest festival in North Borneo is the Tadau Kaamatan Harvest Festival in Sabah where this fascinating month-long Harvest Festival celebrates the cultural lifestyle of the Kadazandusun and also Murut community of Sabah Borneo. This massive event is held to welcome the new Harvest Season and to offer gratitude for the good harvest. 

The event is usually celebrated with general merry-making, cultural performances, traditional sports, and of course, the Unduk Ngadau 2015 (Harvest Festival Queen) pageant. Guests will be enthralled by cultural performances and traditional delicacies. It’s a great opportunity for visitors to experience the hospitality and celebrations of the Sabahan people.

Date : 6 June
Venue : Ranau, Sabah
Organiser : Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia
Contact : +603- 8000 8000
Website : www.motac.gov.my

Penang Bridge Half Marathon 2015

Penang Bridge Half Marathon 2015

The Penang Bridge Half Marathon is a sports event catered to serious runners as well as amateur ones from both local and international grounds. The main attraction is the opportunity to run across the iconic bridge that connects the island to mainland Malaysia. 

Uniting thousands of marathon enthusiasts annually, the run is well known for the captivating sight of the sunrise over a panoramic Penang. Very popular among sportsmen, school-going youngsters, working adults and families in search of good time. If you're looking for a healthier way to spend time with your family; this 21km run is the event you won't want to miss!

Date : 14 June
Venue : Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge, Penang
Organizer : Penang State Tourism Development Committee
Contact : +60 016 411 0000
Website : www.penangmarathon.gov.my

Iftar KL 2015 (Iftar@KL)

Iftar@KL 2015The month of Ramadan is a holy month observed by Muslims all over the world. Muslims refrain from eating and drinking, but come evening, they prepare to break their fast with special meals, prayers and spiritual gatherings. Experience the breaking of fast right in Kuala Lumpur’s bustling heritage environment with Malaysians of all races at Iftar@KL. 

What can you expect? The Jalan Raja road will be closed to traffic and special mats will be rolled out for the public to “picnic” on the road and enjoy a free meal when the time comes to break the fast at around 7:30 pm. 

Quranic recitations, mass prayers, bubur lambuk (a type of traditional porridge) demonstration, and special talks are scheduled from 5pm to 10pm. This peaceful mass gathering in the city is a great way to reflect on unity, spirituality and the beauty of a diverse population. All are welcome!

Date : 20, 21 and 27, 28 June 2015 (3 to 4 and 10 to 11 Ramadhan)
Venue : Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Jalan Raja, Kuala Lumpur
Organiser : National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN)
Contact : +603 2614 8200
Website : www.jkkn.gov.my

The above are just some of the main events which are included in the Malaysia Year of Festivals or MyFest2015 calendar. There are many other events and festivals taking place in each of the individual states of Malaysia and for more information, you can check out the state tourism websites or visit the Tourism Malaysia website for all other Events in Malaysia for June 2015.

17 May 2015

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Launches Travel Industry Salute

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Launches Travel Industry Salute

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort has launched a Travel Industry Salute promotion to reward trade partners. Travel Agents, Airlines Employees, Hong Kong and Macau hotel employees and accredited tourist guides in Hong Kong are all welcome to enjoy special privilege with discounts on park admission tickets, and reduced rates for stays at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel.

Disney’s Hollywood Hotel Limited Time Offer

From now to July 15, 2015, eligible guests can enjoy special discount on room rate of Standard Room, with 10 days advance booking:
- HK$1,288 per room per night with check-in dates from Sunday to Thursday
- HK$1,688 per room per night with check-in dates from Friday to Saturday

Hotel Room Rate Discounts

From now to December 22, 2015*, eligible guests can enjoy up to 30% discount on room rate of Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel or Disney's Hollywood Hotel.

Park Admission Ticket Offer

From now to December 31, 2015#, eligible guests are entitled to a 10% discount off the published price of 1-Day Ticket (Standard Day only) or 2-Day Ticket to Hong Kong Disneyland.

• Discounted hotel room rates are subject to 10% service charge.
• Block-out dates include September 26 to 27, 2015 and October 1 to 3, 2015.
• Discounted hotel room rates are subject to 10% service charge.
• Each eligible guest may make up to 5 purchase transactions using this offer during the promotion period, and may only purchase up to 4 park tickets in each transaction.

Hong Kong Disneyland Picture
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort’s footprint has grown significantly since the launch of three new themed lands. Guests may enjoy a whole new night time dimension with “Disney Paint the Night” parade, a light show which transports guests into a world of luminous, interactive fun. 

With exciting developments and celebrations lined up, the resort looks forwards to continue the close partnership with travel trades to bring magical and unique Disney experience to guests from all over the world. For more information and full set terms and conditions, please refer to www.hkdltravelagents.com and www.hongkongdisneyland.com for the Travel Industry Salute program by Hong Kong Disneyland Resorts. 

8 May 2015

10 Years of the Borneo Jazz Festival

Borneo Jazz Festival 10th Anniversary 2015

It has been a decade since the inaugural Borneo Jazz Festival took place here in Miri, Sarawak and this year, the festival celebrates its 10th year after hosting 72 various jazz musicians, artist and bands from all over the world. 

Starting back in 2006 and originally called the Miri International Jazz Fesitval, organizers Sarawak Tourism Board painstakingly ensured the success of this niche music festival to where it is today. 

Held yearly at the Everly ParkCity Hotel grounds in Miri by Brighton Beach, this unique venue provided a fantastic atmosphere where music lovers and jazz fans could enjoy a weekend of jazz music played in the outdoor area of the hotel which has a seafront view. 

This year's Borneo Jazz Festival 2015 takes place from the 8-9 May and promises an exciting festival with 8 notable musicians and bands handpicked to return here for the 10th Anniversary of the Borneo Jazz. 

Below are photos from the first Borneo Jazz till today with a list of artist who performed here over the years. 

Borneo Jazz Festival 2006
Borneo Jazz Festival 2006
Miri Jazz Festival 2007
Borneo Jazz Festival 2007
Miri Jazz Festival 2008
Borneo Jazz Festival 2008
Miri Jazz Festival 2009
Borneo Jazz Festival 2009
Miri Jazz Festival 2010
Borneo Jazz Festival 2010
Miri Jazz Festival 2011
Borneo Jazz Festival 2011
Miri Jazz Festival 2012
Borneo Jazz Festival 2012
Miri Jazz Festival 2013
Borneo Jazz Festival 2013
Miri Jazz Festival 2014
Borneo Jazz Festival 2014
Borneo Jazz Festival 2015
Venue: Everly ParkCity Hotel, Miri Sarawak
Date: 8-9 May (Friday & Saturday)
Time: 6pm onwards

For tickets, you can simply come to the venue and buy your tickets at the gate or at the hotel lobby ticket counter. The 10th Anniversary Borneo Jazz Festival 2015 or BJF2015 is organized by the Sarawak Tourism Board and supported by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and Sarawak and supported by Tourism Malaysia which is also part of the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015. 

6 May 2015

Coral Flyer Zipline in Sabah

Coral Flyer Zipline in Sabah

One of the new tourism products in Sabah is the Coral Flyer Zipline which is absolutely unique for anyone who loves adventure and outdoor. This is also the world's longest island to island zipline with a 250 meter total length and is located just outside Kota Kinabalu at Gaya Island and Sapi Island. 

Opened in May 2014 by a Sabahan company, the zipline challenges participants as the experience takes you over the sea from one island to another island. Something out of the ordinary and thrilling, this attraction is open to all ages too. In general, the entire experience can be done within an hour and many are known to do it twice.

Padang Point Jetty on Gaya Island
Padang Point Jetty on Gaya Island
The starting point is located on a hilly area of Pulau Gaya and the zipline slopes downwards to Sapi Island which is your end point. From the Gaya Island jetty, one needs to walk in pass the main jetty building and then turn left to the gear up point. 

After gearing up with the harnesses and a safety briefing (safety is their number one concern), you then trek up a hill which is a 45 degrees walk for 5 minutes. You then reach the metal platform where final checks are done before you go on your thrilling journey across the sea.

Sabah Zipline Coral Flyer
A sign leading to the Coral Flyer Zipline
Longest Island to Island Zipline in the World
Longest Island to Island Zipline in the World
Gearing up and safety briefing
Trekking Gaya Island
Trekking up 5 minutes to the start point
Sabah Coray Flyer
Coral Flyer Start Point
Coray Flyer Pictures
View of the adventure
Coral Flyer in Sabah
End point of Coral Flyer
Each ride can accommodate two persons at one time and the extreme experience takes a total of about 25-30 seconds. For those with bags and equipment, fear not as they have a transfer service for your bags where they will bring it over to your ending point. 

After you have flown over the sea to Sapi Island, your experience is complete. You then take a 5 minute hike back down to the main Sapi Island area and continue your snorkeling or beach activities there. 

Check out my Coral Flyer Zipline Video below;

Coral Flyer Zipline in Sabah
Open: 7 days a week
Time: 10.00 am to 3.00 pm
Tickets: RM65 (Inclusive GST tax)
Where to buy: Sapi Island Jetty Counter

In general, when you head to Sapi Island, you need to buy your boat tickets from the Jesselton Pier ferry counters. Here, many counters offer you boat services to any of the island here therefore you need to go to Sapi Island which is part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

Jesselton Pier Ferry Ticket Counter
Jesselton Pier Ferry Ticket Counter
Here is a step-by-step process for the Coral Flyer;

1. Go to Jesselton Pier in Kota Kinabalu
2. Buy a return boat ticket to Sapi Island from any of the counters
Boat to Gaya Island
Boat to Sapi Island
3. Arrive at Sapi Island (15 minute boat ride)
4. Walk along the jetty to the jetty office
5. The Coral Flyer counter is next to the marine park counter
6. Buy your Coral Flyer tickets from the counter
7. Fill up form, pay RM65
8. Return to jetty and take Coral Flyer boat to Gaya Island (2 minutes)
9. Walk in to Padang Point on Gaya Island
10. Take a left after main building
11. Reach Coral Flyer 'Gear Up & Briefing' point
12. Trek uphill for about 5 minutes
13. Reach Coral Flyer starting point
14. Enjoy and end up on Sapi Island

This experience was done by me at the end of April 2015 and my recommendation to anyone who loves the outdoors and adventure, you should not miss this amazing experience. For RM65, it is well worth it! Moreover, the Coral Flyer is located just 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu city and on Sapi Island.

Coral Flyer Gaya Island
Coral Flyer is located in between Sapi Island (Left) and Gaya Island (Right)
For those heading to KK, you can also check out my other article on free things to do in Kota Kinabalu as it is centred around the city here. But for the serious outdoor and adventure junkie, read this article on all the Canopy Walks in Malaysia as there are a few around Sabah. 

Finally, Ropeskills Rigging Sdn. Bhd - the company operating this attraction has noted that they intend to double the length of the Coral Flyer Zipline in Sabah to 500 meters and this could be ready in the later part of 2015. 
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