Endless Celebrations for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

Best Islands in Malaysia

Best Islands to Visit in Malaysia for 2015.

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

Welcome to the New Malaysia Asia Website. As we have been in publication since 2008, we recently passed our 1000 article mark and for June 2015, we have introduced a brand new fresh look and feel for this site. Note that you will find more tourism and travel information here as we are pushing our focus to promote Malaysia to the world.

We are also still in the process of fine tuning the site so if there is something wrong, please excuse us. Also, if you have any comments or feedback, please use the form found at the bottom of this page. A huge thank you and appreciation goes out to all our readers over the years and also to our sponsors and clients who have supported us in the last 7 years.

Who We Are

Malaysia Asia is a travel blog website that focuses only on travel and tourism around Malaysia, Asia and the World.

Award Winners

We have won multiple awards issued by Tourism Malaysia, Sabah Tourism Board, Sarawak Tourism Board and many other physical awards.

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Malaysia Wins Best Eco-Vacation at Nat Geo Traveler Awards

Malaysia Wins Best Eco-Vacation at Nat Geo Traveler Awards 2015

Another feather was added to the Tourism Malaysia cap when it was voted as the "Best Eco-Vacation" at the 5th National Geographic Traveler Awards 2015 at a ceremony held in Moscow on 18 November. A total of 29 countries were nominated for this category and Malaysia, Namibia and Portugal were in the top three positions. 

The Awards is organised by the Russian branch of the National Geographic Traveler magazine to give recognition to top travel destinations annually. The prestigious award allows nominees to highlight new trends based on the preferences of Russian tourists.

Tourism Malaysia Moscow Director Noor Zulia Mohamed
Tourism Malaysia Moscow Director - Noor Zulia Mohamed accepting the award in Moscow
Readers were asked to cast their votes online at National Geographic Russia website from 29 June - 10 November 2015. This year, more than 240,000 online votes were cast for 12  categories, namely Beach Vacation, Family Vacation, Mountain-skiing Vacation, Sightseeing Vacation, Agrotourism, Wellness Vacation, Eco-Vacation, Adventure Tourism, Russian Tourism, Discovery of the Year, Gastronomic Tourism and Exotic Tourism. During the voting process, they also elected the Best Foreign Airline, Best Russian Airline, Best Hotel Chain, Best Beach Hotel, and Best Travel Program on TV. 

The Best Eco-Vacation Award was also received by Director of Tourism Malaysia - Ms. Noor Zulia Mohamed, who is from the head office of Tourism Malaysia in Moscow. Congratulations to Tourism Malaysia as Malaysia Wins Best Eco-Vacation at Nat Geo Traveler Awards 2015. 


Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 Winners

Winners of Sabah Tourism Awards 2015

Here are this years Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 Winners list where a total of 12 categories and 34 sub categories were honoured for their excellence in promoting Sabah, Malaysia Borneo to the world. Three Ministers Special Awards were also given out this year during the grand event held at the Magellan Sutera Harbour Ballroom here in Kota Kinabalu and this year's theme was also based on the rocking 50's and 60's era where special invited guests and tourism players came dressed for the occasion. 

To officiate the prestigious event, Sabah's Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister - Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun was the main guest of honour accompanied by Sabah Tourism Board's Chairman, Datuk Joniston Lumai. Special guest for the event was also AirAsia's CEO, Aireen Omar where the airline bagged two awards at this years event. 

The Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 gala dinner was also entertained by well known artist from around Sabah and Malaysia and a special performance by Sabah's own Elvis Presley had the guest singing to his amazing show. The finale was performed by no other than the Malaysian Jazz Queen - Sheila Majid who performed four of her most famous hit songs. 

Elvis from Sabah
Sabah's Elvis takes stage as one of the performances during the Sabah Tourism Awards 2015
Sheila Majid Sabah Tourism Awards
Malaysia's Sheila Majid performs the final show of the night at the awards
Minister Special Awards

Kinabalu Park Rangers & Kinabalu Mountain Guides
Eastern Sabah Security Command ESSCOM

Best Shopping Complex in Sabah

Suria Sabah Shopping Mall

Best Food Outlet in Sabah

• Best Restaurant in Sabah - Stand Alone
Party Play Lifestyle Café, Gaya Street

• Best Restaurant  in Sabah - Hotel/ Resort
Ferdinand’s, The Magellan Sutera Harbour Resort

• Best Night Spot Experience in Sabah 
Shenanigans, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

Best Spa Experience in Sabah

• Best Stand Alone Spa in Sabah
Jari Jari Spa

• Best Hotel / Resort Spa in Sabah
The Spa, Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort and Spa

Best Media Coverage on Sabah

• Best Tourism Article published in Malaysia
No Winner

• Best Tourism Article published Overseas
Writer : Jun Kumayama
Title of Article : "Orphaned Orang Utan Returns To The Forest – Orang Utan Nursery"
Published in Tokushima Shinbun, February 2015

• Best TV Program on Sabah Produced in Malaysia
Sungai Mengkabong by RTM

• Best TV Program on Sabah Produced Overseas
Discovery 'Sabah Earthquake Decoded' by Discovery Channel Asia

• Best Blog Entry on Sabah
The Mountain Is The Mountain, Tomorrow Is Tomorrow. Reflections From Mt. Kinabalu by Lucy Piper. Published in Intrepid Travel Blog, 10th June 2015.

• Best Tourism Article In A News Portal
Why I Keep Re-visiting Sabah by David Hogan. Published in the Malaysian Insider, 11th August 2014

David Hogan Jr with Sabah's Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun
with my award for Best Tourism Article in a News Portal 2015.
Best Tourism Attractions in Sabah

• Best Tourism Attraction in Sabah - Nature
Tabin Wildlife Resort

• Best Tourism Attraction in Sabah - Non-Nature / Man-made
Mari Mari Cultural Village

Best Inbound Tour Package in Sabah

4D3N Stay at Luxury Villa @ Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley

Best Tour Guide in Sabah

• Best General Tour Guide in Sabah 
Belle Betsy Chong

• Best Specialised Tour Guide in Sabah 
Muhammad Salehuddin Bin Jais

Best M.I.C.E. DMC in Sabah

Borneo Trails Sdn Bhd

Excellence in Hotel Services

• Best 5-Star Hotel in Sabah 
Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort

• Best 4-Star & 3-Star in Sabah 
Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan

• Best 2-Star & Below in Sabah 
Best Western Sandakan

• Best Nature Lodge in Sabah 
Sepilok Nature Resort, Sandakan

• Best Dive Resort in Sabah 
Lankayan Island Resort, Sandakan

• Best Homestay in Sabah 
Misompuru Homestay, Kudat

Best Tour Operator in Sabah

Best Overseas Tour Operator for Sabah
• Japan: H.I.S. Co. Limited
• Korea: Hanatour Service Inc
• Hong Kong: Wing On Travel
• Taiwan: Comfort Travel Service Co.
• Australia: No Winner
• Indonesia: No Winner
• China: Guang Dong China WomenInternational Travel Services Co. Ltd

Best Inbound Tour Operator in Sabah

Amazing Borneo Tours & Events Sdn Bhd

• Most Improved Wholesaler for Sabah
Winner: Modetour Network Inc

Best Airlines to Sabah

Air Asia

Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 Pictures
The Magellan Ballroom for the Sabah Tourism Awards 2015
Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 Show
Sabah Tourism Board and Sri Pelancongan Sabah staff perform the last dance before the event ended
The Sabah Tourism Awards are held biannually to recognise the contributions of individuals and organisations in the tourism industry. Organised by the Sabah Tourism Board and Sri Pelancongan Sabah, the inaugural awards were first held in 1997 and this was the 10th anniversary of this prestigious award held here in Sabah. 

Malaysia Asia would like to congratulate all the nominees and the winners of this years awards. I would also like to mention that I was one of the winners under the category 'Best Tourism Article in a News Portal' for my work earlier this year, and this is my second award won for my work on promoting Sabah over the last five years. 

The next awards will be held in 2017 and I look forward to further promoting Sabah, Malaysia Borneo to my very best as I always enjoy visiting this Malaysian state in North Borneo, despite the negative media news that is usually exaggerated many folds. Once again, my congratulations goes out to all the Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 Winners.


Marriott International to buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide

Marriott International Buys Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Marriott International and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide announced on 17 November 2015 that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will create the world's largest hotel company. All this for a cool cost of US$12.2 Billion in one of the most talked about hotel deals of all time. 

On Monday, 16th November 2015, the Marriott group announced that it would acquire Starwood for $11.9 billion in stock and $340 million in cash. That means cash was used for a mere 2.8 percent of the deal, which is the seventh-lowest percentage on record for cash-and-stock deals greater than $10 billion

The combined company will own or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide and give Marriott greater presence in markets such as Europe, Latin America and Asia including India and China in this deal. 

Marriott has purchased a number of hotel companies in recent years and in 2014, it acquired Cape Town-based Protea Hospitality Group for about US$186 million, making it the largest hotel company in Africa. In early 2015, it became the largest full-service hotelier in Canada with the US$135 million purchase of Delta Hotels and Resorts in North America. 

On the loyalty rewards programs for both properties, the Marriott and Starwood have 54 million members and 21 million members, respectively. But the companies have yet to decide when, or how, those two programs will be combined. 

This current transaction combines Starwood's leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott's strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio. The merged company will offer broader choice for guests, greater opportunities for associates and should unlock additional value for Marriott and Starwood shareholders. 

After the transaction closes, which his expected around mid-2016, the company is expected to add three Starwood members to its board, which will expand to 14 members. This is currently the much talked about hotel industry news around the world where Marriott International is to buy Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. 


Genting Premium Outlets (GPO)

Genting Premium Outlets GPO

Great news for shoppers as Malaysia's second premium outlet center called Genting Premium Outlets or GPO is set to open in late 2016 up at Genting Highlands or Resorts World Genting as it is now known. 2016 will be an amazing year for Genting as a number of new attractions are set to open all the way till 2017 where the much talked about first ever 20th Century Fox World theme park will open here as well.

Genting Premium Outlets will also be located near the Awana Resort and Golf Course, which is a little more than half way up to Resorts World Genting. A gross area of about 600,000 square feet that will house 150 designer brands and also local brand name stores will be available to suit the Southeast Asian market and there will be an allocation of 4,000 parking bays for cars and buses here.

Shoppers can expect brands like Aigner, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Burberry, Canali, Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Furla, Guy Laroche, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Swatch, Tumi and more here. At GPO, you will also find retail shops selling sportswear, fine leather, luggage, housewares, home furnishings, fashion accessories and more.

Genting Premium Outlets GPO Awana
Genting Premium Outlets is located next to Awana Resort and Golf Club
The first phase of the Genting Premium Outlets will cover an estimate area of 300,000 square feet and is expected to be ready in 2016. A new food street area is also planned around the GPO and in total, the company is expecting around 4 million or more tourist a year. The second phase of the project would kick off in the next three to five years whereby another 40 brands would be included with a built up area of 80,000 square feet.

GPO will cost about RM200 million and this will be Southeast Asia’s first hilltop Premium Outlet Centre and Malaysia's second Premium Outlets Store after Johor Premium Outlets or JPO. This is also not the last as there are plans for a third Premium Outlet in the north of Malaysia in time to come.

Genting Premium Outlets GPO logo

About Genting Premium Outlets GPO

Genting Simon Sdn Bhd is a unit of Simon Genting Ltd, a 50:50 joint venture between Genting Plantations Bhd and Premium Outlets, the outlet division of Simon Property Group. The centre will be operated by GSSB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Simon Genting Ltd (SGL). GPO is also the 85th Premium Outlet Center in the Premium Outlets portfolio, development for Genting Premium Outlets is targeted for completion in the last quarter of 2016.

Genting Simon Sdn. Bhd
Genting Simon Sdn. Bhd. during the press conference
How to go to Genting Premium Outlets GPO

Genting is located about one to one and a half hours drive from Kuala Lumpur city center. There are various methods to get here and all of them are via road only. Unless you have a big wallet, you can charter a helicopter from KL to fly there in probably 15 minutes. Below are the ways to go to Genting Premium Outlets at Genting Highlands.

Car - Self driving is probable the best and easiest way to get here. From Kuala Lumpur, you need to take the MRR2 or Middle Ring Road towards the East Coast Highway or Karak Highway. The turn off to Genting is just before the main tunnel. I would strongly recommend you use Waze or GPS for first timers. One way drive time is around 60-80 minutes. 

Taxi - There are numerous taxi companies that offer KL-Genting services. One way would cost you about RM100 for 1-4 persons. Taxis include standard taxis which you can stop anywhere, executive taxis, Genting Taxis, radio call taxis and hotel taxi or limousine services. 

Taxi from KLIA and KLIA2 - There are a number of taxis that will gladly take you up to Genting Highlands, but the price will cost anywhere from RM250 to RM350 per taxi and 4 persons max. There is also a Limousine service  where prices are from RM3000 or more. Alternatively, there is the SkyVan which can seat 6-8 persons and this will cost around RM450 to RM600. 

Bus - A number of bus companies offer KL to Genting or PJ to Genting and back services. You can find most of the buses at Puduraya Bus Station near Chinatown KL, Duta Bus Terminal or in Petaling Jaya, One Utama Shopping Center Bus Terminal. The price is around RM12 one way per person and time taken is about 80-100 minutes one way. 

Cable Car - Note that most bus services stop at the main cable car station where you will continue your journey via cable car the rest of the way. A great experience for 1st timers but if you want to go all the way to the top, you need to double check with the taxi or bus company if ticket is all the way or just half way. 

Helicopter - For the well heeled, this is a quick option up there which is only 15 minutes. But special arrangements need to be done for this service in advance which can cost anywhere from RM3000 on wards. You need to contact Resorts World Genting to make this arrangement.

Overall, if you need more help on transportation to Resorts World Genting, please contact Genting Transport Reservations Centre - Tel: (603) 6251 8398 

Resorts World Genting Integrated Tourism Plan
The Genting Integrated Tourism Plan layout
In general, the new Premium Outlets at Genting would help strengthen Malaysia's position as one of the world's best tourist destinations and shopping havens as Resorts World Genting has taken a very strong initiative to cater to the tourism industry which is part of the 10 Year Genting Integrated Tourism Plan. Among the other new attractions that will open in 2016 are Sky Avenue Mall Genting, Sky Plaza Shopping Mall, a new cable cay system and of course, the Genting Premium Outlets (GPO). 


20th Century Fox World Genting

20th Century Fox World Malaysia

The first ever 20th Century Fox World Genting Malaysia theme park is set to open in late 2016 but to date, there is some news that the new theme park in Genting will only open in early 2017. This is currently the most talked about theme park in the world as it is the first of its kind and being built here in Malaysia. 

Costing over US$300 million, this first ever film-inspired theme park located up in the cool highlands of Malaysia will surely be the magnet of tourism for Southeast Asia and even greater Asia. This massive theme park is also taking over the 30-year old iconic Genting Theme Park which has since closed in September 2013 to make way for the new park. 

In total, the entire 20th Century Fox World Genting theme park located 6000 feet in the highlands will be 25 acres in size and will feature around 25 thrill rides and attractions based on films and franchises from popular movies and cartoons. Their aim is simple - to bring the rich storytelling by Fox to a whole new level with an interactive theme park for all walks of life.

20th Century Fox World Map
20th Century Fox World, artist impression - Photo by Genting Resorts
20th Century Fox World Genting Theme Park Rides
• Rio
• Ice Age
• Titanic
• Life of Pi
• Planet of the Apes
• Alien vs. Predator
• Night at the Museum

*The above are still tentative popular rides as they are yet to announce the actual line up of attractions. For now, those above have been quoted from press conferences and other news portals. 

20th Century Fox World Genting Renovations
20th Century Fox World on going renovations at Genting Highlands - Photo by Greater Kuala Lumpur
Current Status of 20th Century Fox World Genting

There is massive construction going on around Resorts World Genting for the completion of the new theme park here. For anyone who has recently visited Genting Highlands, and stayed at the First World Hotel, you would most likely have seen the ongoing construction from the escalators going up the the Highlands Hotel area. 

While it is no secret on what is going on, many curious visitors have been seen taking photos of the entire area, some even doing selfies and so on. 

20th Century Fox World Genting Theme Park Map
20th Century Fox World Genting Theme Park Map
While Twentieth Century Fox World is under construction, Resorts World Genting also is undergoing a full refurbishment and upgrade and the popular First World Hotel will have an additional 1,286 rooms by mid-2015, possibly making it the largest hotel in the world, once again.

In total, Resorts World Genting has six hotels, and has one of the biggest hotel in the world, First World Hotel with over 7300 rooms. Their premium brand of hotels include Crockfords, Genting Grand and Maxims, together accumulating about 10,000 hotel rooms, over 60 food and beverage venues, a golf courses, and numerous other attractions to serve over 20 million customers annually.

New attractions at Genting Resorts World

Horizon 50 - A unique galleria spanning 16,000 square feet which showcases Genting's inception and development in conjunction with its 50th anniversary. The gallery also features the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP), a development road-map for the next 10 years and if you wanted to know more about Genting Highlands, Horizon 50 is the place to check out and it is free entrance.

Genting Sky Avenue Photo
Genting Sky Avenue, artist impression - Image by Genting
Sky Avenue Mall Genting - This new attraction is set to open in 2016 and will be another star attraction here with an incredible size of 390,000 square feet housing over 165 retail lots, food and beverage outlets and cinemas. There are also around 76 shopping units. The Sky Avenue Mall Genting is planned to be the main hub for people to shop, dine and enjoy the overall atmosphere of Resorts World Genting.

Genting Premium Outlets (GPO) - Malaysia's second premium outlet center, similar to Johor Premium Outlet (JPO) will be approximately 480,895 square feet and will have 120 outlets with a total of NLA area 260,895 square feet. Costing RM200 million, this will be Southeast Asia’s first hilltop Premium Outlet Centre and will house 150 designer brand name stores with a total 4,000 parking bays for cars and buses. This is also being built at the Awana Resort and Golf Course area of Genting with a new mid-hill cable car station here. Originally set to open by late 2015, this project was pushed to 2016.

Sky Plaza Shopping Mall - A newly renovated and modern shopping mall catered to all walks of life which is connected to Sky Avenue.

New Skyway Cable Car Station - After closing down the first cable car system or Awana Cable Car, renovations are on going now for the new cable car system which is able to transport 4,000 people an hour. This new Genting Cable Car is also located at the Sky Avenue area and will connect the mid-hill Genting Premium Outlet.

Aerial photo of Resorts World Genting Highlands
A beautiful aerial view of Resorts World Genting - Stock photo
The massive overall project is part of a RM5 billion makeover of the Genting Highlands resort, which started in December 2013 and scheduled to be completed in 10 years under the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan. The initial article on the 20th Century Fox Theme Park was done by me in 2013, while much has changed since the news came out. In 2013, Resorts World Genting attracted 19.6 million visitors and it is now targeting 30 million visitors by 2020.

To date, the last known news was that the entire project has been rescheduled to open in 2017, but there is no exact date mentioned. 20th Century Fox World Genting will also have a soft opening before the official launching. Till then, you can always check the many other theme parks in Malaysia to visit if you are coming here in 2016.


Hong Kong Disneyland Announces New Ticket Pricing

Hong Kong Disneyland Announces New Ticket Pricing

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort recently announced the park’s new admission ticket prices and special offers for the travel trade industry with effect from November 11, 2015 (Wednesday). The resort will be offering a two-month grace period to the travel trade to enjoy the old ticket prices from now until January 10, 2016, and the tickets will be valid until the same date.

A Hong Kong Disneyland spokesperson said, “The resort evaluates and adjusts pricing based on a variety of factors including the value of the resort’s attractions and entertainment offerings as well as future development needs.”

Hong Kong Disneyland New Ticket Pricing

Hong Kong Disneyland 1-Day Ticket
• General Admission (aged 12–64) - HK$539 
• Child Ticket (aged 3–11) - HK$385

Hong Kong Disneyland 2-Day Ticket
• General Admission - HK$739
• Child Ticket (aged 3–11) - HK$525 

*For 1-Day and 2-Day senior admission tickets, pricing will remain unchanged as in the past four years. 

Frozen Hong Kong Disneyland
Characters from Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland
For the attractions at the theme park, Hong Kong Disneyland launched the “Disney Paint the Night” parade in October 2014, a year-long “Happily Ever After” 10th anniversary celebration, including an all-new stage show “Mickey and the Wondrous Book” which is set to launch this November 2015. 

New initiatives will also be rolled out including the first-ever Marvel attraction “Iron Man Experience” in late 2016 and a third hotel, “Disney Explorers Lodge”, in early 2017. For more information, visit the Hong Kong Disneyland Website on the latest attractions and also news about the Hong Kong Disneyland New Ticket Pricing. 

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