Sabah and Sarawak Tourism News March 2016

Sabah and Sarawak Tourism News 2016

Here is a round up of Sabah and Sarawak tourism news for March 2016 for those wanting to know more about what is happening in these two Malaysian states in Borneo.

Poor air links, slowdown hit tourism in Sarawak

Foreign arrivals to Sarawak fell short of expectations last year, recording a 7% drop from 2014, no thanks to poor air connectivity.  State Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg had hoped for 5 million arrivals in 2015. However, only 4.51 million visitations were recorded. In 2014, there were 4.85 million foreign arrivals. “Our target for this year remains 5 million,” Johari told reporters after the yearly State Tourism Steering Committee meeting here yesterday. The prolonged haze, repercussions from the twin Malaysia Airlines disasters, and global economic slowdown were also blamed for the drop.

A much touted attempt by the Sarawak and Sabah governments to become majority shareholders in MASwings also failed to materialise. Johari said poor air links had continued to “handicap” Sarawak’s tourism growth. Looking ahead, the state would concentrate on attracting tourists via China and Singapore hubs.

On April 26, Hong Kong Airlines would fly its first flight between Kuching and Hong Kong. “As a result of that route, there is a possibility of other airlines coming. In fact, Sarawak Tourism Board is negotiating with other Chinese airlines to fly direct from China to Kuching. I can’t reveal more yet. The other important hub will be Singapore,” Johari said. “Promotional works in Hong Kong and Singapore would be ‘aggressive’”, he added.

Read More: http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2016/03/24/poor-air-links-slowdown-hit-tourism-haze-and-disasters-also-blamed-for-7-drop-in-arrivals-last-year/

Sarawak Eyes 5 Million Tourist Arrivals This Year, Via Singapore, Hong Kong

KUCHING, March 23 (Bernama) — With a view to luring five million tourists to Sarawak this year, the state government will liaise with Singapore and Hong Kong to record the statistics from the two iconic Asian tourist hubs.

State tourism minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg noted that last year, 60 per cent of the 25.7 million tourists to Malaysia came through Singapore, while Hong Kong was the gateway for tourists from mainland China. He said the state government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Singapore Cooperation Enterprise to tap the island’s expertise in developing new tourism destinations and products.  He was speaking to the media after chairing the Sarawak Tourism Steering Committee annual meeting here Wednesday.

Read More: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v8/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1227815

Sabah No 2 choice of Beijing tourists

Kota Kinabalu: Despite several hiccups, China tourists are still flocking to Sabah, making it their second most preferred destination in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur, according to Ctrip.com, China’s leading online travelling agency. Its Malaysia Business Unit Director Stephane Thong said 37 per cent of its customers opted to come to Sabah since the company was established in Malaysia in 2014.

“Sabah offers a complete tourism experience which makes it more popular among China tourists compared to other Malaysian cities such as Kuala Lumpur or Penang. Other than the local cuisine, these tourists are attracted to the beautiful islands and beaches here because China has very few of it,” she said.

Thong also said Malaysia’s efforts to promote Sabah as a tourist destination contributed to the success. “The government has taken many initiatives to promote Sabah to China tourists such as increasing the number of direct flights to Sabah,” she said, adding that the depreciation of the Ringgit has resulted in a cheaper travelling package.

Read More: http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/local.cfm

Sarawak To Have Direct Hong Kong-Sibu Flights

SIBU, March 13 (Bernama) — The Sarawak Tourism Ministry will establish direct flights from Hong Kong to Sibu to increase tourist arrivals to the state’s central region soon.  Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said this after the state government signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hong Kong Airlines earlier this year. He said the twice-a-week, Hong Kong-Kuching-Hong Kong direct flights were expected to begin next month.

“This is in line with Sarawak’s open sky policy inviting interested airlines to have direct flights to the state,” he said in a speech read by state housing and tourism minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg at the launch of Visit Sibu Year 2017 at Dataran Sibu here last night.

Adenan said Sibu was the main entrance to the central region of Sarawak, boasting of various tourist attractions comprising Kapit, Sarikei and Mukah which had tourism potential not fully explored and developed. “Sarawak’s central region is rich in culture, nature, adventure, heritage and history,” he added.

The chief minister also announced an allocation of RM200,000 from the state government to the committee in charge of ‘Visit Sibu Year 2017’. The tourism sector is a major contributor to the state economy, with a turnover of about RM9 billion with 4.5 million tourist arrivals last year. The amount is equivalent to 13 per cent of Sarawak’s total gross domestic product (GDP) last year, said Adenan, adding that the tourism sector would also provide employment opportunities to the people of Sarawak.

Read More: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=1224661cat=sre

Sarawak eying Asean, East Asia tourism markets

KUCHING: The state Tourism Ministry is working to position Sarawak in the Asean and East Asia markets as its priority areas for 2016, said Tourism Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg. “While we still promote the state to the European market, we would also want to concentrate more on our neighbours particularly Asean and East Asia.

“We are penetrating into important hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong. As you know, we will have direct flight to and from Hong Kong starting next month. Hong Kong is the gateway to southern China, so these are cities where we want to concentrate in improving connectivity. We also hope to tap into the Mongolian market.  “We also expect other airlines to join the bandwagon. In fact we are negotiating with a few,” he said at the official opening ceremony of the 8th MATTA Fair 2016 at Boulevard Shopping Mall yesterday.

According to Abang Johari, a Sarawak Week would be held in Singapore in May. “As part of the campaign, five Singapore buses will be wrapped with Sarawak logo and themes and they will go around Singapore for a month. It will be an aggressive campaign which we are working with Singapore Tourism Board and Silk Air,” he said.

Read More: http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/03/12/sarawak-eying-asean-east-asia-tourism-markets/

China tourists flock to Sabah again

KOTA KINABALU – The lure of the sea and convenient direct flights are among the factors pulling Chinese tourists to Sabah despite security concerns, according to Sabah Tourism Federation president Datuk Seri Winston Liaw. These travellers, he said, had been assured by the presence of security personnel in the east coast area.

“The issue of personal safety is not stopping them from coming as many of them say that crimes occur everywhere,” he said, crediting the continuous arrival of Chinese tourists to efforts by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB).

The feedback from Chinese tourists indicated that Sabah’s natural resources were a major attraction, he added. “They tell us that they love our beautiful beaches, islands, nature and cheap seafood,” he said, adding that it also helped that many Sabahans could speak various Chinese dialects. Seafood, especially in the east coast, is not only fresh but cheaper compared to peninsular Malaysia or even China, he added.

Read More: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2016/03/16/china-tourists-flock-to-sabah-again-travellers-feel-its-safe-to-visit-east-coast-thanks-to-beefed-up/

Sabah exploring new areas as tourist attractions

KOTA BELUD: The Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry is exploring new areas with the potential to be developed into exciting tourist destinations. Its permanent secretary, Datuk Ginun Yangus said this was part of efforts to draw the international community to the state.

“The places rich in natural beauty and with the potential for eco-tourism development include Kadamaian in Kota Belud, Keningau, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort and Sungai Kinabatangan in Sandakan, ” he said at the launch of the Kadamaian Nature Challenge 2016 by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak here today.

Read More: http://www.thesundaily.my/news/1733160

Call For More Backpackers Clubs In Sabah To Promote Tourism

TUARAN, March 19 (Bernama) — Backpackers Clubs could assist in promoting Sabah as the best tourism destination in Malaysia. This is according to Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai who said more of such clubs should be formed in the state. He said club members could empower the local tourism sector through various means including social media.

The associations could organise sojourns to tourism spots where members may also share their experiences for instance, on Facebook, he told reporters after launching ‘2D1N Earth Hour and Kiulu Adventure Voluntourism’, Saturday. The programme held in Kiulu near here and organised with the cooperation of Sabah Backpacker Operators Association (SBA) and Almacrest College was participated by about 30 students from the Almacrest Student Backpackers Club.

Read More: http://www.bernama.com/bernama/state_news/news.php?id=1226669cat=sbe

Tigerair Taiwan touches down in Kota Kinabalu

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is confident of surpassing its aim of 60,000 tourist arrivals from Taiwan by year end.  State Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said it was not impossible to achieve the target with the addition of new direct flight between two destinations. “Last year, the state recorded 41,000 arrivals which was 31 per cent increase than the previous year.”

“With the addition of the new budget Tigerair Taiwan airline, it is not impossible for us to achieve the target by year end,” he said in a reception welcoming the budget airline’s inaugural flight from Taipei to the Kota Kinabalu International airport, here, this morning.

The airline’s chief executive officer Kwan Yue said the carrier chose Sabah as the state was a resort destination with modern facility and possessed a strong cultural element as well as providing good hospitality. “We are able to generate high interests among people to come to Sabah within short time of marketing the destination. “The airline foresees great potential (in this partnership) and looking forward to increase frequency and offer affordable price tickets to the people,” he said.

Read More: http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/03/133496/tigerair-taiwan-touches-down-kota-kinabalu

The above is a compilation of Sabah and Sarawak Tourism News for March 2016 taken from various mainstream new sources in Malaysia. If you have any comments, please leave them below.

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Relive the Ming Dynasty at Cheng Ho Cultural Museum Melaka

Your decision to visit Melaka can never turn out be the wrong one as there are several tourist attractions in Melaka. The city has a rich history with several historical building, architecture, heritage sites, and museums. Cheng Ho Cultural Museum is one of the prestigious places to visit in Melaka. All the artifacts in the museum are ancient and take you hundreds of years back.

Cheng Ho Cultural Museum

The Museum occupies various shop houses nearby the river in the city. History devotees and enthusiasts visit this fascinating place, fathoming the amazing career of a Chinese admiral Cheng Ho. Cheng Ho (Zheng He) was the Ming dynasty admiral who has a prominent place in Melaka history. It is said that the admiral visited this city-state for at least five of his seven visits to the Western Ocean from China from 1405 to 1433. He setup his own depot, warehouse in this area. The museum is assumed to be built on the original Guan Chang site built by Cheng Ho around 600 years ago. It is also said that the warehouse built by Cheng Ho was also located in the same area.

The museum stretches over three floors which can roughly be divided into various sections such as ship gallery, old Melaka village, treasure ship, antique gallery and garden courtyard. Various old shop houses that date back to the time of Cheng Ho are restored and linked together to establish this archetype museum. It covers a huge place that depicts Cheng Ho’s life and voyages.

The museum has mock-ups of his treasure ships, a life-sized statue of a giraffe that was supposedly bought by him from china. The teas hops and treasure ship living cabins will carry you the past while offering a glimpse of Cheng Ho’s routine. All these ancient objects display his birth into a Muslim family, his career as a eunuch in the palace and counselor to the Ming emperor. The social influence of his voyages in more than 200 treasure ships with more than 28,000 men can be sensed till today. The gallery also exhibits his death during his journey to the Persian Gulf.

Visiting Cheng Ho museum is indeed one of the amusing things to do in Melaka. The museum is strategically located at Jalan Hang Jebat and is also close to the Tan Kim Seng Bridge, making it easily accessible from wherever you are staying in Melaka. It is open daily from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm and the admission charges are RM 10.00 (2.33 USD).

The Cheng Ho Cultural Museum is a must-visit museum in Melaka, especially if you’re interested in a history. If you have visited the museum and would like to share your thoughts, please add comments below.

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10 Fun Facts about Melaka to know the City better

Malacca (or Melaka in Malay) is undoubtedly the most interesting city in Malaysia from a historical perspective. While Malaysia dire sites and monuments full of history compared to its South Asian neighbors, Malacca is a cultural oasis with a rich colonial past. Successively colonized by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English, the city guard these times many buildings of European inspiration and a certain architectural style. There are various things to do and places to visit in Melaka. But the city is also linked with various interesting facts to know.

Read on to know 10 fun facts about Melaka which will excite you to visit this amazing place.

Fun facts about Melaka

  1. The name of Melaka is famous because the city gave the name to the strait between Malaysia and Indonesia which used to borrow all the boats sailing between Europe and China.
  2. Melaka is the third smallest state in Malaysia which is located about 150 miles north of Singapore. It can be reached from Singapore within 3 hours.
  3. Melaka’s history is quite old than the other Malaysian cities. It was founded by Paramesawar, the last king of Singapura. He ruled from 1389 to 1398. He established Melaka in 1402 when he found a port strategically located in the narrowest point of Melaka Straits.
  4. Melaka has a long history of invasion and destruction. It was first captured by Portuguese in 1511 by General Alfonso de Albuquerque who sailed from Goa to Melaka.

The Dutch defeated the Portuguese in 1641 with the help of the Sultan of Johore. They ruled Melaka from 1641 to 1798.

The Dutch surrendered Melaka to the British under the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 in exchange for Bencoolen on Sumatra. It was then ruled by British between 1826 and 1946. It was a part of the Straits Settlements and became part of the Malayan Union after the dissolution of the crown colony.

  1. Melaka is quite a diverse society with 63% Malays, 25% Chinese, 6% Indians, and small communities of Kristan with partial Portuguese ancestry and community of Eurasians with Dutch ancestry. Islam is the dominant religion of Melaka i.e. 66% percent, along with about 25% Buddhists, 5% Hindus, and 3% Christian.
  2. Melaka has several antique sites that transport you back to the time. The Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum and the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum are the most famous museums of Melaka.
  3. The city has heritage sites belonging to every religion. For instance, Melaka has Sri Pogyatha Vinoyagar Moorthi Temple that is the converging point of Hindus of Malaysia. It was built in 1781 where devotees believed to be granted what they ask.

Melaka has a monumental Christ Church constructed in 1753. The church reflects Dutch architecture as it was ceiling skylights, hand-crafted church pews, copper replica of the Bible, and a reproduction of “The Last Supper”.

Melaka also has historical Mosque. Kampung Hulu Mosque is the oldest mosque in Melaka. The mosque is also known as “Harmony Street” as it is located nearby the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. It was built between the year 1720 and 1728 and was renovated in 1892. The mosque is one of the most interesting places to visit in Melaka as its architectural design is an amalgamation of Hindu, Chinese, Sumatran, and the Melaka Malay styles. Its minaret resembles pagoda.

  1. One of the fun things to do in Melaka is to visit Taming Sari Tower. It goes 260 feet in the sky. Its height and revolving structure lets you view Melaka from bird-eye-view.
  2. Melaka also has typical tourist attractions such as the Melaka zoo which is second largest zoo in Malaysia with more than 1,200 animals. The Taman Mini Malaysia and Mini ASEAN cultural parks are also located in Melaka. These parks houses architectural styles of all the 13 Malaysian with numerous arts and crafts and other items depicting their culture.
  3. Like any city, Melaka also has atypical mean of transport. These are the bicycle rickshaws decorated with loads of flowers and vigorously painted with several colors.

These fun facts about Melaka is not only a historical city but it has a lot more than that. It has everything that can please tourists via its diverse culture, adventurous places, exciting commute system, and recreational parks etc.

 

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Hard Rock Cafe Melaka – More than an Eatery

Melaka is a hot spot for tourists around the world. People from every corner of the globe pour into the city for a thrilling and pleasant vacation. Melaka does not only offer cultural diversity, tourist attractions, startling beaches and amazing places to visit and to lure its guests, but it also has some of the most exciting eateries. These places are a haven for foodies who also love the unique ambience for a total matchless experience.Hard Rock Cafe Melaka is such a space where you can enjoy food, music, and ambience altogether. It is also the best Melaka cafe to enjoy a great ambience with the live music scrumptious food.

Hard Rock Cafe Melaka

Hard Rock Cafe has been a renowned brand name for many years as it brings delectable food, live music, shops and much more under one roof, setting next level for your eating experience. The cafe has continued its experience in Melaka, Malaysia as well. It is a mammoth 9,000 sqft double-storey building, adding an excitement in this UNESCO World Heritage City.

Features

Hard Rock Cafe Melaka was opened in 2013 and has its signature layout similar to the rest of the outlets around the world. However, the interior is decorated to compliment traditional Malay styles. It has indoor and outdoor seating areas, a bar, and the Rock Shop that sells Hard Rock Cafe Melaka souvenirs. The whole décor of the café radiates liveliness with the patterned floor inspire by Straits Melaka, walls with music collectables such as Prince’s white dinner jacket and Bruce Springsteen’s signed guitar.

Cuisines

Hard Rock Cafe Malacca has an array of cuisine with delectable local and international flavor. It serves chick, turkey, veggies, bacon seasoned with spices, top with cheese, basted with sauces, and roasted till fork tender. The A-la-carte menu of the café has handcrafted starters to entice your hunger and main entrees ranging from grilled salmon, pasta, fried chicken, fried chick and fish and chips. The smokehouse cuisines are perfectly slow-cooked with lip-smacking marinating and seasoning. Burgers and smokehouse sandwiches of the Hard Rock Cafe are must try as they leave you craving for more. Satisfy your sweet tooth with mouthwatering ice-creams, shakes, pies, and cookies.

They have a separate menu for kids to keep them fed as amazingly as adults. To make your food experience a complete haven of taste, the Hard Rock Cafe also has salads and beverages.

Live Music

If you are opting to visit Hard Rock Cafe in Melaka for its live music then you will not be disappointed at any point of the performance. The live band starts entertaining its guests 22:00 onwards with famous rock and roll hits, with the hint of little blues and pop in between. You may voice out your favorite number and it might get played next.

Hard Rock Shop

The cafe does not stop entertaining its guests with food and music only. Visit to the cafe will be incomplete without buying something from the Hard Rock Cafe Shop. The shop has Hard Rock Cafe pins, t-shirts, guitar picks and other little gifts and memorabilia.

Related Article: Shopping Malls in Melaka

Location

The strategic location of the cafe by the Melaka River makes it a hotspot for vacationers. The place often remains jam pack because of being one of the must visit places for tourists in Melaka. The eager diners and live music enthusiast,  often seen queuing at the entrance. So, it is advised to arrive before 21:00 so that you can get your favorite seat to catch the live band while enjoying your cuisine.

Hard Rock Cafe Melaka is a must visit if you want more than appetizing food. One trip to the café will leave you in the trance of the place forever. Listening to the live band, while having food is among the must things to do in Malacca. If you have been to Hard Rock Cafe and would like to share your experience, please do so by adding comments below.

Address: 23 Lorong Hang Jebat, 75200, Melaka, 75200, Malaysia
Phone: +60 6-292 5188
Visit their FB Page

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Calanthe Art Cafe Melaka – A treat for Your Taste Buds

The trickle of tourists in Melaka has swelled since it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. With increased tourism and vacationers in the city, the cafe business also oozed up in Melaka. Several new cafes are opened in the city, while the old ones renovated to catch customers. Cafes in Melaka are quite distinctive from their likes in other part of the world. With unique architecture and style. Calanthe Art Cafe Melaka is also such café that has maintained it’s unique for many years and sipping coffee in this space is a must thing to do in Melaka.

Calanthe Art Cafe Melaka

Serving customer for 10 years, Calanthe Art Cafe is a well-known cafe in Melaka. It is famous amongst tourists and even potential tourist who are planning to visit Melaka. It is, perhaps, the most rusting yet creative cafe in the town. Started by a close group of friends who brought up and schooled together, Calanthe Art Cafe is the warmest and welcoming retreat in Malacca. It specializes in myriad of coffee types, roasted in each of the 13 Malaysian states.

Vintage Looks

Calanthe Art Cafe is located in a narrow backstreet of the famous Jonker Street in Melaka. The café might look a quiet haven from outside, but the interior tells a quite different story. The café is vibrant with colors, creative and eclectic touches to the wall that are hand painted, 1980’s type furniture, and television from the ancient times with knobs. The cafe does not show off the contemporary looks that are signature for modern cafes, but it will feast your eyes with inimitable style.

13 States Coffee and Drinks

Calanthe Cafe might be known for its creative looks, but the thing that makes it special is its coffee selection. “The First and Only One”, their tagline truly matches their servings of special coffee from all the 13 states of Malaysia. This is a place if you are a coffee enthusiast. Besides their unmatched coffees, they also offer unique blends such as ‘Green Tea Coffee’ (coffee and green tea with whipped cream on the top), a rich espresso amalgamated with the spoonful of mint paddy syrup.

Their ice-blended drinks are something to die for such as ‘Pink Lady’, a blend of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry sauce and ‘Cendol Ice Blenz’ a concoction of coconut milk and palm sugar topped with Cendol and red beans. With such ingredients and unique mixtures, the prices are also quite appealing, as one of these servings price even less than RM9.

Do not be disappointed if you are not a coffee aficionado as they also serve teas, smoothies, milkshakes, and soda mixes with a variety of alcohol-based drinks. If you want to taste everything in one serving then their Royale Bailey Cocktail is something to try. It is a mixture of Bailey, single shot of espresso and chocolate sauce, garnished with a single scoop of ice cream.

Local Food and Desserts

Calanthe Art Cafe Melaka amazes us with more than coffee and beverages as it also specialized in local food as well. Their Laksa is listed in top 50 Laksa outlets by the Malaysian Tourism Body. They have customized it with loads of ingredients such as fishcake slices, tofu puffs, eggs strips, and fried beancurd skin. Nasi Lemak is modified by the café in golden rice and served with special chicken Rendang. There is nothing that Calanthe Art Cafe Melaka does not do as the homemade desserts they serve are the perfect ending of your classic meal in the café.

Related Article: Top 10 must-try food in Melaka

Calanthe is not a mere cafe; it is one of the most appealing tourist attractions in Melaka. With its vibrant interior, delectable meals, mouthwatering desserts, and especially their brewing coffee, Calanthe Art Cafe Melaka brings happiness to your table. If you have visited this amazing cafe in Melaka, please feel free to share your experience by adding comments below.

Address: Jalan Hang Kasturi, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
Phone: +60 6-292 2960
Timings: Monday to Wednesday (12 to 11PM), Thursday (Closed), Friday (12PM to 12AM), Saturday (8:30AM to 12PM), Sunday (8:30AM to 11PM)
Visit their FB Page

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