Malaysia Tourism Hunt: See Yah, Malacca!


If you’re planning an upcoming trip around Asia, make it Malacca! Here’s why.

Malacca is the centre of culture of Malaysia and was declared by UNESCO as the World Heritage City. Hence, there are parts of the city that were preserved and maintained to their original look and built.

After of almost an hour of driving from Port Dickson, we reached the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park. On our arrival, the ushers dressed in vibrant colours led us to an open auditorium. Once we were all settled, we were treated to a series of dances and performances reminiscent of the Malaysian multi-racial heritage.

The Mini Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park, Malacca

The Mini Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park, Malacca

mini-malaysia-and-asean-cultural-park-cultural-show

Malaysia’s multi-racial culture is reminiscent in different ways, even in the dances.

There are many exciting and challenging activities that you, your family and friends can get your hands on and enjoy at the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park. In our case, we did quite a few of those fun stuff and challenges – totally ethnic and local.

Malaysia is also known for its colourful batiks. So, our first task was the batik painting. Batik painting requires some amount of artistry and techniques for a more creative result. Colour combination counts a lot as it defines the overall look of your batik. One need not be a virtuoso to make a creative batik. Just think about your art class. And surely, you’ll have an amazing time putting those creative juices at work.

We were given a pre-drawn canvass ready for painting, a set of water colour and brushes. Batik painting is actually a fun and relaxing activity while you let your creative imagination take control. With a few painting techniques, controlled brush strokes, some colour mixing, we were done with our first batik masterpiece. Working on that task felt like I was in my Humanity class during my freshman year in college! Ahahah! 🙂 Task #1: Done.

Sarah and I completed this batik as part of the first activity at the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park.

Sarah and I completed this batik as part of the first activity at the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park.

Our second activity was Top Spinning. Locally, they call it "Gasing", sounds like "kasing" which is the Visayang word of the top.

Our second activity was Top Spinning. Locally, they call it “Gasing”, sounds like “kasing” which is the Visayan word of the top.

Having grown in the countryside, coconut grating by hand wasn't a difficult task for me. :)This is our final activity.

Having grown in the countryside, coconut grating by hand wasn’t a difficult task for me. :)This is our final activity.

Our second task was Top Spinning. In Malay, “top” is called “gasing”. When pronounced, it sounded like “kasing”, which is a Visayan word for top. Sounds familiar, eh? Like I have previously mentioned, there are similarities between the Philippines and Malaysia. Quite honestly, I felt intimidated because I wasn’t good at spinning the top. But I was able to pull it off, in just one try! Then the next challenge was coconut grating – the old fashioned way. Having done it so many times back home, I didn’t have any difficulty doing it. I recall one of the delegates asking me where did I learn to do it. After completing our activities, we had our cool treat of the local delicacies and the famous local favourite refreshment cendol (pronounced as chen-dol),which is similar to our sago’t gulaman.

Right outside the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park is a bazaar where local delicacies and souvenir/novelty items are sold.

Right outside the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park is a bazaar where local delicacies, souvenir and novelty items are sold.

We bid goodbye to the staff of the Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park with new learnings and new experiences, and for me, I had the opportunity to re-learn and experience once more how it was to be a kid and how it was to be living a simple life in the countryside.

Our home for two days in Malacca - the elegant Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences.

Our home for two days in Malacca – the elegant Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences.

After a long day of activities and driving from Port Dickson to Malacca, it's time to get the much needed rest in this is very comfortable suite at the Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences, Malacca.

After a long day of activities and driving from Port Dickson to Malacca, it’s time to get the much needed rest in this is very comfortable suite at the Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences, Malacca. (Photo taken the glass panel in the bathroom)

We drove off to Malacca business district for the remainder of of the afternoon. Before we knew it, we’re right in front of the grand Swiss-Garden Hotel in the centre of Malacca business district. Our home for the next two days of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt.

For Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park tours and enquiries, please contact:

Mini Malaysia & ASEAN Cultural Park Melaka
Lebuh Ayer Keroh, Melaka 75450
Phone Number: 06 234 9989

For Swiss Garden and Residences, please contact 06 288 3131, or visit http://www.swissgarden.com/hotels/sghrm

For more stories on #MyMalaysiaChronicles, don’t forget to hit the Subscribe button.

Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by the Malaysian government through the Malaysia Tourism Hunt program.

Advertisements

More FUNtastic Reasons To Travel To Guam


There are too many good reasons why we love to travel. Others travel to get a breather from their stressful 40-hour work weeks, spend quality time with the family and loved ones, discover new and exciting places with friends. Some people travel only to shop, dine and live up to their YOLO principle. Truth be told, there’s an endless list of reason why people leave the comfort of their homes and find time to be on the road.

And if I may add, here’s a couple of great reasons to travel, most particularly to Guam. Sports and Shopping! How do sports and shopping come together? Isn’t that a bit odd? Quite frankly, the answer is a massive No.

Reason No.1: 2016 Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragonboat Festival
2016 Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragonboat Festival

2016 Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragonboat Festival

In the past years, much less has been heard about dragonboat racing in the Philippines. However, recently, dragonboat racing is significantly making its way as one of the top sports in the country. More and more sports enthusiasts have gotten their hands on it from even as young as nine years old up to individuals in their 50s, apparently transcending social demographics.

On the flipside, dragonboat in Guam is pretty much in its early phase. Whilst Philippines has fully established its own national dragonboat team, Guam has yet to fully introduce the sport amongst Chamorro sports enthusiasts.

With the prevalence of dragonboat racing in the international arena, Guam is opening its crystal-clear beaches to international paddlers and club crews as Guam ACES (Athletes, Communities, Educators, and Students) in partnership with Guam Visitors Bureau hosts the first 2016 Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragonboat Festival on November 19-20, 2016, at the Matapang Beach Park, Tumon, Guam.

The 2016 Guam Thanksgiving Day Dragonboat Festival is designed to enhance relationships through friendly competition among the local and international club crews. The event will allow the exchange of cultural experiences among the dragonboat clubs from the Philippines, Hongkong and Taiwain, and putting Guam as one of the dragonboat racing venues in the world. 

Representing Guam ACES, Mr. Terrence Baclig is very enthusiastic about this offering since it will be a milestone for the dragonboat community in Guam. Also, it will give the Chamorros the opportunity to race not just with the local club crews but with the international club crews as well.

And for the international paddlers, “aside from dragonboat racing, they can relax and enjoy shopping,” added Mr. Baclig.


Reason No. 2: Sports Tourism and More!

As Guam is barely 3 hours away by plane from the Philippines, Ms. Carmel Carpio, Market Account Director of Guam Visitors Bureau – Philippines is inviting Filipinos to come over to Guam, join the Thanksgiving Dragonboat Festival and “experience what Guam has to offer.”

Sky diving is one of the exciting activities that tourists can enjoy. Photo credit: Visit Guam PH

Sky diving is one of the exciting activities that tourists can enjoy. Photo credit: Visit Guam PH

The bureau has been aggressively pushing its sports tourism campaign. As part of the campaign, they recently invited the basketball teams from the University of the East and National University for a friendly competition with Guam National Team.

Ms. Carpio is excited to share that young Filipino athletes can expect more invites from Guam Visitors Bureau for more friendly games held in their world-class sports facilities, and for them to experience other cultures as well.

Aside from its world-class sports facilities, there’s so much more to discover and experience in Guam.

For the runners and running enthusiasts, there are two more good reasons to visit Guam. First, there’s the annual signature race – the Ko’ko Road Race happening around October, and the second, the Guam International Marathon being held in April. The best part about the Guam International Marathon is that, it is a Boston Marathon qualifying race.

One exceptional fact about Guam is that you can practically dip in its beaches, without being asked to leave the beachfront as they are not being owned by hotels and resorts built along the coasts. How’s that for a change?

Dragonboat festival, sports activities, beaches. What else is there in Guam? Hold on to your passport, apply for a US visa, get a plane ticket and fly to Guam for a…


Reason No. 3: TAX-FREE Shopping!
Guam is a perfect haven for shopaholics. Enjoy an absolutely TAX-FREE shopping! Photo credit: Visit Guam PH

Guam is a perfect haven for shopaholics. Enjoy an absolutely TAX-FREE shopping! Photo credit: Visit Guam PH

Guam is one of the five US territories, and the closest to the Philippines. A small island with a population of about 170,000. It is said that you can actually circumvent the entire island in just half a day!

A small island it may be, but it has so much to offer most specially to the shopaholics. There’s an abundance of outlet stores and high end boutiques in the island. And take note, signature brands are way cheaper because the products are tax-free. Yes, you’re reading it right. All items on sale are absolutely TAX-FREE. That means you can shop ‘til you drop. Or perhaps, once you shop, you can’t stop!

Tax-free shopping sounds great, isn’t it? Is it easy to get a US visa to travel to Guam? You may reach out to Guam Visitors Bureau (https://www.facebook.com/visitguamph) to seek assistance on getting a US visa . For some, the visa granted may only be for “travel to Guam” instead of a full US visa. As long as you get that visa, it’s time to pack your bags and plan a vacation.

Visiting Guam can be a quick turn around. A weekend will do, in fact, which means you don’t need to be on an extended vacation, unless you have other itineraries in the island aside from shopping. 🙂 Like they say, leave for Guam with a backpack, and you go home with a luggage.

So, the next time you plan to travel, make it Guam.

Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2015: Things To Do When In Port Dickson


The wide roads soon narrowed down to two-lane busy streets. And some retail establishments came into view. Whilst the place still keeps up with the time, Port Dickson brought in a different feeling, way different when you are Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Once in Port Dickson, I can’t help but feel nostalgic and think about home, the countryside. It feels rustic and laid back. And though it was a pretty long drive from Kuala Lumpur, there’s so much to discover and experience in Port Dickson.

Our first stop in Port Dickson was in Muzium Tentera Darat.

Muzium Tentera Darat
Ken Si Rusa, Persiaran Pahlawan
71050 Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan

Port Dickson is a home to Malaysia’s war history and memorabilia – the Muzium Tentera Darat. After getting our cars parked, we proceeded to the museum entrance for the instructions of our second activity – the Explorerace. But little did we know that the activity was camouflaged with twist – we had to paint our face like war guerillas! As I wasn’t of an artist, I tried what I can do with the camouflage effect on my face.

Muzium Tentera Darat houses a great collection of weapons used by the guerillas during the war. Tanks, war planes and vehicles used during the war were displayed outside the museum. Concrete structures were built and engraved with the names of the soldiers who perished during the war. It’s interesting to know that guerillas rode the elephants during the war using bows and arrows as their primary weapon.

One of the few war planes displayed outside the museum

One of the few war planes displayed outside the museum

These structures are engraved with the names of guerillas who died from the war.

These structures are engraved with the names of guerillas who died from the war.

The Explorerace primarily required us to have a quick review of Malaysia’s history. Somehow, there were similarities in the history of the Philippines and Malaysia as both have been invaded by the Japanese government; both countries were once under the American government. One difference that I can think of is that Malaysia became a British Colony.

The activity was very informative despite that some of the texts were written in Malay. Yet, we got to answer all of the questions. It was an enriching and educational experience.

Tired from the day’s event, with our face still painted, we got into the car and headed to the Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson. The staff greeted and accommodated us warmly, handing each one of us a cold towel to wipe off the paint on our face. We proceeded to our respective rooms, and whattasuprise! Welcome gifts were waiting for us neatly placed in our bed.

Welcome gift from Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson.

Welcome gift from Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson.

Though I felt a bit exhausted, I can’t afford to miss how it feels like to run on this side of the world. The runner in me just kicked in. At five in the afternoon, it was rather humid. From the Grand Beach Resort where we were staying, I went out for a 5-kilometre run. Just what I needed to stay in shape.

What I love about running is that it takes me anywhere my feet lead to. This was part of the 5-kilometre route I ran in Port Dickson.

What I love about running is that it takes me anywhere my feet lead to. This was part of the 5-kilometre route I ran in Port Dickson.

Back at the resort, the poolside was getting busier. Pumped up music filled the air. Dressed in traditional Malaysian costume, I joined the rest of the delegation for the welcome dinner. To make the event more meaning for us, Director of International Promotion Division (South East Asia) for Tourism Malaysia Mr. Syed Yahya Othman also joined us.

Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson welcome us with a barbecue dinner and a great party!

Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson welcomed us with a barbeque dinner and a great party!

During the welcome dinner, we wore the batik we received as gift when we arrived at the resort.

During the welcome dinner, we wore the batik we received as gift when we arrived at the resort.

While dinner was served, raffle prizes were given away. And the most awaited part was the open mic. Those who had the courage and less stage fright went up the stage to sing their heart out. Okay, so I did a couple of solo songs, and duet with Jude. As it was already past 10:30, we called it a night.

Just as we started the day, it was also time to catch up with the other delegates over breakfast and sharing the things we do back home.

A refreshing morning at the Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson.

A refreshing morning at the Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson.

Next stop on our itinerary was the PD Ostrich Farm. And honestly, I’ve never seen one before. So, I was very excited about this tour.

When we arrived at the PD Ostrich Farm, we were oriented on the Dos and Don’ts to avoid any injuries that may arise from mere negligence or for not following the regulations.

Our second stop in Port Dickson was the PD Ostrich Farm.

Our second stop in Port Dickson was the PD Ostrich Farm.

PD Ostrich Farm
Lot 1419, Jalan Keman 13 | Batu 9, Jalan Pantai
Port Dickson, 73000 Malaysia
For tours, you may contact the Malaysia Tourism Information Centre.

And here the five exciting things that you can do at the PD Ostrich Farm:
1.Get your hands on the ostrich egg. The shell is so thick that you have to drill through it to crack it.
2.Take a bite of the skewered ostrich meat.
3.Try the ostrich egg omelet.
4.Be up close with the ostrich and get to feed the one. Just take some extra caution, though. They get stressed also.
5.My favourite – run with the ostrich!

Aside from the getting up close with the ostrich, we did other farm activities like chasing the geese. It was physically challenging as I had to catch not just one, but two geese. Chasing the geese felt like one of those times when I was kid.

Photo 1: Ostrich egg yolk/white. 2. Ostrich egg omelet. 3. Skewered ostrich meat.

Photo 1: Ostrich egg yolk/white. 2. Ostrich egg omelet. 3. Skewered ostrich meat.

One of the things you can do at the PD Ostrich Farm is to feed the ostrich.

One of the things you can do at the PD Ostrich Farm is to feed the ostrich.

Unleash the runner in you. Race with the ostrich!

Unleash the runner in you. Race with the ostrich!

Also, make sure to buy souvenir items for your friends and loved ones.

Laid back as it may seem, Port Dickson offers its visitors a glimpse of the past at Muzium Tentera Darat, the warmth of the Malaysian culture at the Grand Beach Resort, and a wonderful farm experience at the PD Ostrich Farm.

If you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a day or two, drive down to Port Dickson.

****

For more stories on #MyMalaysiaChronicles, don’t forget to hit the Subscribe button.

Read more about our road trip from Kuala Lumpur to Putraja and Port Dickson here: Malaysia Tourism Hunt: Road Trip – Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya and Port Dickson

Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by the Malaysian government through the Malaysia Tourism Hunt program.

Malaysia Tourism Hunt: Road Trip – Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya and Port Dickson


Waking up to a fine morning, I got ready for what lies ahead – a road trip from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson. It’s gonna be along drive but I’m excited about the pitstops and the activities prepared for us. I joined the other Malaysia Tourism Hunter at Dondang Sayang Coffeehouse at Corus Hotel lobby for breakfast.

The Dondang Sayang Coffeehouse at the Corus Hotel lobby served buffet breakfast.

The Dondang Sayang Coffeehouse at the Corus Hotel lobby served buffet breakfast.

Aboard the tourist coach, we headed to Malaysia Tourism Information Centre for the flag off, where at least 20 Proton cars were lined up. After a short program and some photo ops, we’re all ready! No less than the Honourable Minister of Tourism and Culture Dato’ Seri Nazri ABdul Aziz sent off all of the Malaysia Tourism Hunt participants in the most festive and perkiest flag off event all with party poppers and confetti! Everyone was excited!

Just about getting ready for the flag-off. This is our assigned car, a black Proton. #TeamPhilippines7

Just about getting ready for the flag-off. This is our assigned car, a black Proton. #TeamPhilippines07

We drove off from the busy streets of Kuala Lumpur through the remarkably wide four-lane interstate roads going to our first destination – Putrajaya. The temperature outside was already creeping up. Thanks to the excellent cooling system of the Proton car we’re driving because we never felt uneasy and uncomfortable. Each toll plaza along the national road was electronically designed – one tap up card is you all need. Very convenient to use.

Toll Plaza in Malaysia requires a tap up card. Makes driving more convenient.

Toll Plaza in Malaysia requires a tap up card. Makes driving more convenient.

Driving along Malaysia's interstate roads.

Driving along Malaysia’s four-lane interstate roads.

Got this awesome view of the Seri Wawasan Bridge while approaching Dataran Putra.

Got this awesome view of the Seri Wawasan Bridge while approaching Dataran Putra.

It was almost midday when we arrived in Datran Putra after almost an hour of driving, which is located in the heart of Putrajaya. Getting off our car, we gathered around for the instruction of our first activity – a Photo Hunt. We got our activity sheet and went around Dataran Putra (except the nearby mosque) to work on, looking for the possible matches, and crossing out the ones we’ve found. We even had to go down the lower sub-level for this activity. We found at least one match there. We only had one hour to finish that activity, right under the sun. It was a challenge but it was fun, too!

First activity: Photo Hunt in Dataran Putra

First activity: Photo Hunt in Dataran Putra

Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government of Malaysia. Despite of the absence of malls and other recreational establishments, Putrajaya should be on your itinerary when visiting Malaysia. Here, you can find the Perdana Putra, which houses the executive office of the Prime Minister, the Palace of Justice (Persiaran Perdana), Perbadan Putrajaya Complex, the Grand Mosque, and the Seri Wawasan Bridge. In Dataran Putra, there are some novelty shops and coffee shops at the lower sub-level. It is also located along a body of water. It’s perfect for taking those awesome photos!

The Perdana Putra, which houses the executive office of the Prime Minister

The Perdana Putra, which houses the executive office of the Prime Minister.

The Grand Mosque in Dataran Putra.

The Grand Mosque in Dataran Putra.

The Perbadan Putrajaya Complex in Putrajaya.

The Perbadan Putrajaya Complex in Putrajaya.

I can't think of an awesome way to have my photo taken in front of the Palace of Justice. It turned out like this one.

I can’t think of an awesome way to have my photo taken in front of the Palace of Justice. It turned out like this one.

Putrajaya offers magnificently designed buildings occupied by government offices. This one is the Palace of Justice. It's located opposite the Perbadan Putrajaya Complex.

Putrajaya offers magnificently designed buildings occupied by government offices. This one is the Palace of Justice. It’s located opposite the Perbadan Putrajaya Complex.

Then, we got back on the road heading off to Port Dickson. It was indeed a hot day. So, we drove by the RnR Seremban for a quick stop over. This is similar to the pit stops located along NLEX or SLEX. There are several fastfoods available which serve local dishes, KFC, fruit shake stands, a waiting shed, and restrooms.

After taking our lunch at KFC, I found myself standing in queue in front of Cool Blog fruit shake stand. Cool Blog has a wide variant of fruit shake flavours that you can choose from. And I must tell you, it’s totally thirst-quenching!

Grab your favourite fruit shake at Cool Blog when you stop by RnR Seremban. We drove by this place on our way to Port Dickson.

Grab your favourite fruit shake at Cool Blog when you stop by RnR Seremban. We drove by this place on our way to Port Dickson.

The wide roads soon narrowed down to two-lane busy streets. Some retail establishments came into view. Whilst the place still keeps up with the time, it brought in a different feeling, way different when you are Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. There’s a bit of laid back and rustic feel to the environment. So, if you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a day or two, drive down to Port Dickson.

Though it’s a long drive from Kuala Lumpur, there’s so much to discover and experience in Port Dickson. Believe me!

For more stories on #MyMalaysiaChronicles, don’t forget to hit the Subscribe button.

Drive around when you visit Malaysia. For car rental enquiries, please contact the Malaysia Tourism Information Centre (MaTIC).

Disclaimer: This tour was sponsored by the Malaysian government through the Malaysia Tourism Hunt program.
%d bloggers like this: