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02 September, 2014

Asia Music Festival 2014


The second Asia Music Festival 2014 promises the most electrifying eclectic mix of live music on stage comprising bands from the Asian region. This 2-day musical festival featuring artistes and musicians from Asian countries such as India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and homeground Malaysia.

Held in the resort city of Miri in Sarawk Borneo, the AMF 2014 is set to bring the city to life with a mix of music genres that range from modern rock, roots, hip hop and pop. The straight forward objective is to attract the Asian expatriate community working in neighbouring Brunei, the local Bruneians themselves, our neighbours from Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia as well as those in Indonesia, Singapore and the surrounding region.

Asia Music Festival 2013 Tree Planting
Performers from last years Asia Music Festival 2013 at the tree planting 
Held at the Eastwood Golf and Country Club which is minutes from Miri city, the atmosphere is planned to be that of a carnival style with a showcase of a local Sarawakian bazaar selling ethnic craft and other souvenirs. Last years event saw a mini tattoo display, a photography exhibition and also a bikers gathering at the event with a decently large turnout for a first event here. 

Miri has been home to the world famous Borneo Jazz Festival and recently the unique Miri Country Music Festival and now the Asia Music Festival which adds a flavor of music to this part of Sarawak where each of the festivals are held months apart throughout the year here. 

AMF Boy Thai Band
Boy Thai Band performs at the inaugural AMF 2013
The line up for this year has been carefully selected to appease the many walks of life here where the musical culture is of a more commercialized style versus conventional. Well balanced, the performers come from various countries around the region which are;

AMF 2014 Performers 
  • Drumcall Community (Sarawak)
  • MAD August (Malaysia)
  • Masia One (Singapore)
  • Misaluvi and Motion Family (Miri, Sarawak)
  • Pancake 80 (Philippines)
  • Pisco (Taiwan)
  • Ras Muhamad (Indonesia)
  • Retrospect (Thailand)
  • SalamMusik (Malaysia)
  • Soul Mate (India)


Drumcall Community (Malaysia)
Started with less than 10 members, early June 2013. Up to 2014, the members have been increased up to 30 members. The Drumcall Community is a platform for the drummers to practice together through consistent drumshed. Today, the Community has been performing in few events in Kuching City and the Community is growing!


MAD August (Malaysia)
The band was formed in August 24th (2011) and the band’s name was derived from their critical decision in the month of August, whether to pursue their dreams in music scene or to stay ordinary as others. The concept behind the name “MAD” is actually an abbreviation of a philosophical slogan – “Make A Difference”.  It pledges that everyone can make a difference in life, even with a least of strength. The main principles of the band’s initial “MAD” includes creative, peace & environmental caring. The word “August” which in numeric 8 – refers to success, opportunity & strength.


Masia One (Singapore)
Born in Singapore, Maysian Lim or popularly known as Masia One became a fan of Hip Hop after stumbling upon a bootleg copy of Public Enemy’s “It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” at the age of 8. After moving to Vancouver Canada at the age of 9, Masia developed a keen interest in graffiti and break dance however It was not until she started studying architecture at The University of Toronto that she began writing rhymes and performing. There began her journey into the music world. Masia One also became the first female rapper to be nominated for "Best Rap Video" in the MuchMusic Video Awards.


Misa Luvi and Motion Family (Miri, Sarawak)
Brainchild of Michelle and Olivia, Misa Luvi are a dance group from Miri Sarawak, Misa Luvi have their own studio who perform and teach dance classes for Hip Hop, K-POP and dance choreography. They have performed at various events and also done various flash mobs around Sarawak.  


Pancake 80 (Philippines)
Pancake 80 is a band composed of five musically talented individuals who share the same interest and love for music of different genres. From reggae, rock, pop alternative and most especially new wave music of the 80’s to which they add their own flavor when covering songs. Very talented, proof of which are awards from competitions both locally and abroad using their own compositions as their contest pieces.


Pisco (Taiwan)
Pisco (P!SCO) from Taiwan plays modern rock and have performed around Asia. Members are CatLun on vocals, Rachel on guitars, Omoi on Bass, Ding Ding on Keyboards and Liang on Drums. 


Ras Muhamad (Indonesia)
Prolific recording and  performing artist, bi-lingual lyricist, published book author, radio host & producer. The self-proclaimed Reggae Ambassador of Indonesia, Ras Muhamad has relentlessly and ceaselessly spread the message of Reggae from the aspects of culture and history throughout Indonesia and to the likes of South East Asian regions.


Retrospect (Thailand)
In 2001 four kids, Big (guitar), Bomb (bass), Not (Guitar), and Nap (drums/vocal) teamed up a rock band played industrial metal rock music, a mix of Death metal and Thrash metal which is quite heavy, raw, and rough.  They started playing for small parties, later on had a new member to play drum (Birth) whilst Big went abroad to further his education, the Retrospect is still a 4-member rock band.


SalamMusik (Malaysia)
formed in 2010 by Ashraaf Salam A. Alam. He studied sound and music design at the Polytechnic of Mersing, Johor in 2006. During his studies, the music studio in the university was being constructed and to accomplish the tasks given, he built his own studio in his home which allowed him to experiment with different types of music. He graduated with distinction in 2008 and started producing his own music. Salammusik has also won Best Album at the Anugerah Industri Muzik ke-19 in 2012. 


Soul Mate (India)
Inspired by the roots and groove sounds of the Blues, Blues-Rock, Soul, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Funk and R&B, SOULMATE was formed in Shillong, in October 2002 when Rudy Wallang and Tipriti Kharbangar decided to form a band dedicated to playing the Blues and spreading awareness about this important genre of music.  Since then have played numerous gigs all over India and Abroad.

Tree Planting Ceremony at the Asia Music Festival

Following the tradition of the Rainforest World Music Festival and also the Borneo Jazz Festival, the AMF has also practiced a tree planting session before the festival which is done in the grounds of the Eastwood Golf and Country and Club , the official venue. 


Dato Rashid Khan, CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board officially plants a tree in the tree planting ceremony for the Asia Music Festival in 2013. Below, one of the performing bands contribute their part to mother nature. 


Asia Music Festival 2014 Tickets
  • Pre sale before 2nd Oct - RM25.00 per day (Adult) RM10 p/day (Child/Student Age 3-18)
  • Door sale 3 & 4 Oct - RM30.00 per day (Adult) RM15 p/day (Child/Student Age 3-18)
  • Doors Open: 5.00pm
  • Show Time: 7.30pm to 12.30am 
  • To Purchase AMF 2014 Tickets

Eastwood Golf and Country Club in Miri, Sarawak
Official venue - The Eastwood Golf and Country Club in Miri, Sarawak
Malaysia Asia and Malaysia Travel News
David and Janice from Malaysia Asia and Malaysia Travel News contributing our tree during the AMF 2013
The above photo shows the writer and photographer contributing back to mother earth during the inaugural Asia Music Festival here in Sarawak Borneo. The Asia Music Festival is organised by the Sarawak Tourism Board. For more information on this please visit the official Asia Music Festival 2014 website. 

31 August, 2014

Secret Art Garden

Secret Art Garden Thailand

If you love all things art, craft and garden, the Secret Art Garden in Thailand is one of the places that you must-visit. It has been many years since I came across a very interesting place like this and a huge thanks goes to Tourism Thailand, who organised our exploration of outer Bangkok which brought us to visit this amazing place among many other places here in Khao Yai. 

The Secret Art Garden in Pak Chong was created by owner Surindr Sonthirati over 30 years ago when the land was a barren empty space. He painstakingly took his time and converted this plot of 10 acre land to become one of Thailand's hidden secrets - The Secret Art Garden. This of course was done with passion and love from him and his family. 

Secret Art Garden Korat
As you enter the place, these guys greet you
His objective was plain and simple, the share his passion of art and garden in one place here in Pakchong, Thailand. Over the years, Khun Surindr dedicated his effort in planting over 1000 trees while his wife and three children assisted in the art, crafts and decorations of the entire place. If you walk around the compound, you will be easily mesmerized by the little details that they pay attention too. 

For those into art, there are a number of art workshops and shops found here. Creative art using antiques are also displayed around the garden where all of the work is created by the family members. Walking over wooden bridges above man-made ponds takes you through a journey similar to Alice in Wonderland where cute garden clay dolls and other craft figurines are seen all over the premises which are un-noticed if you do not keep an eye out. This is also before you journey into another world of the secret garden here.

Entrance to the Secret Art Garden
Entrance to the Secret Art Garden
The secrets unfold as you slowly enter the main archway where a wooden sign hangs above the iron cast black gate. This is where the 'secret garden' is located and hidden from the naked eye. What you see outside the premises is the basic art and decoration where the full experience is found behind the iron cast doors.

Secret Art Garden Nakhon Ratchsima
Some of the beautiful and cute art decorations here
Surindr Sonthirati Secret Art Garden Owner
Owner Khun Surindr and his wife
As you go for the Secret Art Garden Tour, Khun Surindr will walk you through the many sections of his wonderland showing you the many different art styles and decorations he has collected and created over the decades. Some of them are very impressive as they are life-sized while many of them are too cute to miss. He has art in the form of paintings, plants, clay, mosaic, metal, stone and even the prized Petrified Wood where a huge life-sized elephant is made from it. 

A restaurant and cafe is available for anyone wanting to have an authentic Thai meal here while local Thai coffee and ice cream is also available at the cafe. Khun Surindr once used to run a 'stay program' at some of his showcase private cottages but he no longer offers this service. One of them is also called the Writers Cottage overlooking a beautiful landscaped pond where staying here is supposed to inspire you for your writing. He obtained the idea from a visit to the United States over 20 years ago and dreaming to own a cottage like this came true for him when he made his own private cottage here. 

Asking Khun Surindr, what inspired him for the Secret Art Garden, he calmly replied "It was my dream to have a secret garden, and now you're here in it". The businessman is semi-retired now and spends most of his time here entertaining and educating visitors about art and garden together with his wife and children. 

Thailand Secret Art Garden
Art created by flower pots and plants
Secret Art Garden Craft
Small sheep figurines laid on the grass
Along the tour here, you will also come across a Japanese themed house, a very English garden and also a unique rainforest garden. The tour lasts about an hour or so while Khun Surindr speaks good English too. I love the way he also uses some antiques to blend in with nature and his art. Very creative if you ask me. 

Most of all, it was the little sculptures that caught my attention as every where I went, there was something to spot, in the grass, on the trees, they are just about everywhere. For those wanting to participate in classes, you can do so by arranging with the owners. They offer clay pottery, painting and a few other art classes here. 

Writers Cottage Thailand
View from the Writers Cottage
Secret Art Garden Khaoyai
Some of the cute art spotted along the walk here
While I was overly impressed with this place, I took too many photos here therefore to see more beautiful pictures of the Secret Art Garden, see my Malaysia Asia Facebook Album

Secret Art Garden
99 Moo 9 Soi Tesabarn 28 Klangdong Pakchong
Nakhon Ratchsima, Thailand
Telephone: (66) 044993939-40 
Opening Times: 10.00am to 6.00pm
Opening Days: Open every day except Wed
Entrance Fee: 60 Baht

Secret Art Garden Map 


Located in a very quiet area of Pakchong in Nakhon Ratchsima, the Secret Art Garden is about two hours from Bangkok. This trip is also part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's initiative to promote tourism products around outer Bangkok and Thailand. You can either self drive here or use a tour company service to get here. This place is also close to the Khao Yai area. Again, this place is highly recommended for anyone who loves art, craft and garden. 

Luxperience 2014 takes off in Sydney

Luxperience 2014 Sydney

This weekend, luxury travel specialists will descend on Sydney to explore the latest in luxury and experiential tourism at Luxperience 2014 - an event that brings together over 300 travel agents with over 250  tourism operators from around the globe for three days of serious networking.

Luxperience is the only global business exchange located in the Southern hemisphere dedicated to exploring the connection that exists between bespoke luxury and high-end experiential travel. The trade show has been 12 months in planning and, now in its third year, has experienced significant growth with exhibitors from as far afield as Bhutan, Mauritius, Tahiti, Dubai, Peru, India and the UK as well as increases in the Asia Pacific regions.

New Zealand has the greatest share of exhibitors, and has doubled its presence to 26 per cent of the total, closely followed by Asia, which is on a par with Australia at 25 per cent of share. 


Reflecting recent trends in the luxury tourism sector, there is also an increase in the number of adventure and experiential tour companies exhibiting, as more and more operators recognise that today’s high-end traveller wants a richer experience while on holiday.


“Our experiential exhibitors offer bespoke travel designers a choice of unique experiences in some of the most divine locations around the world; from ski safaris in the Swiss Alps, to trekking in the foothills of the Himalayas in Bhutan through to unique water based activities in Queenstown,” says CEO Lindy Andrews.


Buyers will be kept busy over the three-day event, with pre-scheduled appointments and access to exclusive social networking events, access to the LuxConnect Private Community and to initiatives such as the Corporate Connect Event, and ‘Thought Leaders Forum ’.

Malaysia at Luxperience 2014

First timer Bunga Raya Resort will be showcasing their unique luxury property which is based on Gaya Island, Sabah Borneo. They will be branded under Private Island & Beach Villas – For Couple and Family Land and Water Activities Food and Beverage Wine Cellar Spa & Salon Marine Ecology Research Centre.

Another Malaysian property will also be showcased there which is the luxurious Vivanta by TAJ Rebak Island Resort, located on a private island off Langkawi Island in Malaysia. Vivanta will be featured under the TAJ Group - Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces which is one of the exhibitors at the event. 

Luxperience 2014
When: 31 Aug - 3 Sep 2014
Where: Sydney’s Pier 2/3, Sydney, Australia

Luxperience will be staged at Sydney’s Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay from 31 August to 3 September 2014 and other venues around Sydney. As the only bespoke travel exchange in Australasia Pacific it has become an essential forum for exhibitors, buyers and international media with an interest in luxury and experiential travel. Photos all from the Luxperience website. More information at Luxperience 2014

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