Holistic Retreat in Perak, Malaysia – Banjaran Hotsprings

June 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Hotels

Tucked away minutes from Ipoh in Perak, Malaysia, The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat is Malaysia’s first luxury wellness hot springs retreat nestled in a 16.59-acre valley. Located amid lush tropical jungle, natural geothermal hot springs and a cluster of magnificent limestone hills, the self-contained sanctuary comprises 25 luxury villas and a wellness village offering authentic, Asian holistic wellness and spa treatments inspired by Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat presents the ultimate rejuvenation for the body, mind and soul. This amazing natural wellness destination also boasts a host of unique features including
a thermal steam cave, meditation cave, and crystal cave; outdoor rainforest shower, foot reflexology walks, hot springs, dipping pools, an ice bath, Dr Fish Pool containing 6,000 exotic Turkish Garra Rufa fish, a swimming pool with naturally heated water from the hotsprings and a fitness centre. Yoga, Qi Gong and Tai Chi are practiced on the Yoga Deck overlooking the hot springs lake against the breathtaking backdrop of its natural setting.

The environment and philosophy of this retreat is designed to promote relaxation, fitness, healthy eating and overall renewal, encouraging a healthier lifestyle change for all who visit. In addition, the retreat was built by using eco-friendly practices and conservation is of the utmost priority here.


On arrival at the Retreat, guests go through a personalised wellness consultation to ensure their objectives are complemented by an itinerary that features appropriate activities so as to optimise their visit and time. Guests can also opt to undergo consultations in naturopathy, nutrition and fitness.

The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat’s extensive spa menu comprises authentic Malay treatments, Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It also offers treatments like colon hydrotherapy, antioxidant restorative therapy and hydrotherapy, in addition to energy healing treatments including Reiki and Chakra Energy Balancing, as well as a variety of massages, foot reflexology, organic facials and body treatments.

Refresh and recharge your body, mind and soul just fifteen minutes from the town of Ipoh, for The Banjaran experience is truly centered around wellness and life enhancement. The Retreat welcomes adults and guests who are over the age of 16.

Save money while still enjoying a super holiday. Cuba Holiday Packages are easy to choose and quick to book when you use the place with the best holidays.

8 Great Malaysian Adventures

June 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Feature Highlights, Nature

The South East Asian country of Malaysia is a mix of two halves, separated by the South China Sea. The peninsula boasts the modern city of Kuala Lumpur, with its sprawling suburbs and adjacent towns, while the Borneo is renowned for their breathtaking, untamed landscapes, wildlife, spectacular diving sites and diverse cultural heritage. From timeless tropical rain-forest and national parks to rugged mountain terrains, there is much to explore and experience in this melting pot of world’s cultures. Here are the top 8 Malaysian adventures for nature and adrenaline lovers alike.

Photo credit – Stephane Enten

Photo credit – Stephane Enten

Mount Kinabalu

For those who felt they do not have the physical abilities to climb up one of South East Asia’s highest mountain, it’s time to put Mount Kinabalu back on your list of attractions to visit. There is now a 1.2 km long Via Ferrata in Mount Kinabalu, which covers routes of varying difficulties catering to all hikers, from beginners to seasoned. The Mount Torq Via Ferrata is basically a mountain path created out of steel rungs, rails and cables embedded into the rock face. Using this, hikers can go on routes previously only accessible to more experienced rock climbers.

The Via Ferrata starts at a whopping 3,411 m and takes you all the way up to 3,776 m, making it one of the world’s highest iron roads. Those after an exhilarating, adrenalin-charged experience can opt for the challenging four-hour hike up to Low’s Peak, Mount Kinabalu’s highest point at 4,095 m, which offers some truly awe-inspiring views and hidden corners of the mountain plateau as well as a traipse across a 22 m footbridge suspended at 3,600 m above sea level!

Photo credit - hkmadi

Photo credit - hkmadi

Klias Wetlands

Located about 120 km south from Sabah’s capital city Kota Kinabalu, the Klias Wetlands is a haven of natural paradise. With its lush mangrove forests that are home to a myriad of birds, reptiles, mammals and insects, the wetlands is a must visit for nature and animal lovers alike. A deep river winds through it all, and the best way to experience the Klias Wetlands is through a guided tour down the river.

Make sure that you have an experienced tour guide who can introduce you to the great, diverse wildlife that include the long tail macaque and the elusive proboscis monkey, and endangered species. The Klias river cruise typically starts at 3 pm and continues into the evening. Come nightfall, the forest comes alive with the song of nocturnal animals and insects but the highlight of the evening cruise has to be the breathtaking sight of thousands of fireflies lighting up the riverbanks, a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Other than adventure, check out as well our list of 8 Must-Try Malaysian Food to whet your appetite!

Photo credit – Christian Haugen

Photo credit – Christian Haugen

Redang Marine Park

Located 45 km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu in the South China Sea, Redang Marine Park is a world-class dive site that will satisfy even the most jaded diver. With turquoise blue waters and an abundance of spectacular marine life, this little jewel is a popular destination for both diving enthusiasts and beginners. The Marine Park covers all 9 islands in the Redang Archipelago, but the most popular destinations are Redang Island and Perhentian Islands. In contrast to the backpacker theme of Perhentian Island, Redang has a more up-market image, with the island featuring more than half a dozen or so resorts. Snorkeling and diving are the more popular activities here, and rightly so as the coral reefs can be quite spectacular. Redang is a popular place to complete the beginner’s diving course, but some of the sites further out can have strong currents, and are more suitable for experienced divers. Redang is also the site of two historic shipwrecks, which were sunk at the beginning of World War II.

Photo credit - prilfish

Photo credit - prilfish

Labuan Island

Labuan is a group of one large and six smaller islands off Sabah in East Malaysia. The waters surrounding these seven idyllic islands are home to some of Malaysia’s richest coral and fishing grounds, which makes this another attractive site to marine lovers and scuba-diving enthusiasts. Apart from the colorful underwater coral reefs and a dazzling variety of marine life, Labuan is also the site of four wrecks, including two from World War II. The four wrecks, locally known as the Australian Wreck, the American Wreck, the Blue Water Wreck and the Cement Wreck, are some of the best wreck diving sites in Asia, ranging from novice to serious wreck diving with penetrations into the hulls. Local dive schools provide various introduction and basic wreck diving training courses leading to a PADI Wreck Diver Specialty rating and TDI Advanced Wreck Diving course.

Diver’s, be sure to also visit nearby Indonesia for some of the best diving in the region. Check out our photographic journey through the Diving’s Holy Grail of Raja Ampat.

Photo credit – Azman Jumat

Photo credit – Azman Jumat

Sipadan Island

The Sipadan Island claims to be the world’s best dive site. While this is a big claim, the diving here is certainly world class, with more than 3,000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species that have been classified in the ecosystem. In 2002, resorts around the island have been closed to protect the environment, so visitors will need to stay on nearby islands, such as Mabul or Semporna, and take a boat into Sipadan to dive. Because Sipadan is now a protected site, only 120 dives are allowed daily, so it’s best to dive as early as possible to beat the crowds and increase your chances of getting on the dive roster. Be sure to check with your dive operator that the dives are done with permits, as some companies have been caught diving without permits. Sipadan is surrounded by very rich reef life with sea turtles and white tip reef sharks seen on almost every dive with visibility ranging from 10m to 30m and above.

Photo credit - Paul Mannix

Photo credit - Paul Mannix

Kota Kinabalu National Park

Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site is Kinabalu National Park, which ranks amongst the most popular tourist spots in the whole of Malaysia. Established in 1964, this national park is home to faune and flora spread over four climate zones, making it one of the most important biological sites in the world. Apart from many carnivorous plants, the park is also home to many endemic animal species, including the Kinabalu giant red leech and giant earthworm.

The national park is located on the west coast of Sabah and covers some 754 sq km surrounding Mount Kinabalu. The park headquarters is the main point of entry for most visitors and is easily accessible from the rest of Sabah via highways and roads. Leisure travelers will enjoy exploring the park as it requires little endurance and you can enjoy trekking at your own pace. Accommodations are available in the park near the park headquarters.

Marine lovers would also enjoy this write up on Diving in the 3 Pearls of Indonesia only here in Unearthing Asia.

Photo credit - showmeone

Photo credit - showmeone

Gunung Mulu National Park

A must-visit for the intrepid traveler, the Mulu Caves National Park is where you’ll find one of the longest networks of limestone caves in the world, hidden beneath forested slopes. Lubang Nasib Bagus (Good Luck Cave) is one of the biggest caves here, containing the world’s largest underground cavity known as the Sarawak Chamber, as well as the Deer Cave, the world’s largest cave passage. The Clearwater Cave, meanwhile, contains an extensive river system that winds its way underground over 30 miles. Those who prefer their activities above ground can test their endurance by conquering the Pinnacles, the serrated limestone peaks dominating the park’s high country. Climbers require stamina and several days of rigorous trekking to make their way to the top.

Photo credit - hyqphotos

Photo credit - hyqphotos

Taman Negara National Park

The Taman Negara National Park is Malaysia’s largest, a truly national and natural wonder which crosses the state boundaries of Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu. It is home to one of the world’s oldest tropical rain-forest blessed with a stunningly diverse ecosystem. There is plenty to see and do in Taman Negara, from white-water rafting, to trekking the various trails within the park, with the latter an obvious choice to experience jungle life. The Teresek trail will lead right up to the world-famous Taman Negara canopy walkways that are 510 m long and suspended some 45 m above ground, giving trekkers a mesmerizing bird’s eye view of the jungle. Try and spot the gigantic Mengkundur tree, or the various wildlife, such as elephants, wild boars and monkeys, among others.


Unearthing Asia is a travel zine focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. Don’t miss out on the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of top Vietnamese noodle treats.

A Rough Guide to Dim Sum

No trip is complete without trying out some of the best local food at your choice of destination. When you come to Asia, one of the must-try food is none other than dim sum, a traditional culinary art originated from Southern China that has captured the palates of many, especially in countries with strong Chinese influences such as China (duh), Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and many others around the region.

Dim sum (literally meaning, “touch the heart”) is the name for a selection of Chinese cuisine which involves a wide range of light dishes. They are usually served before noon, along with tea (also known as yum cha), but is now such a big part of the culinary scene in Asia that you can find restaurants serving them all day through. Dim sum are usually steamed, baked or fried, and come served in traditional bamboo containers. Here’s a quick guide through some of the more popular dim sum dishes.

Siew Mai

Har Gau (see below) and Siew Mai (or usually translated to Steamed Meat Dumpling) combine to form the one of the most popular pairing of dim sum dishes. I’ve eaten Dim Sum umpteen times, and never had one without at least an order of each. In fact, they are the first things my dad would order when eating dim sum. So while we ponder on what to order next, we’ll be munching on these delicious dumplings. The original Cantonese Siew Mai is usually made out of pork and mushroom, but nowadays you can find all kinds of Siew Mai to suit your preferences.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Har Gau

I personally prefer Har Gau (Steamed Prawn Dumplings) compared to Siew Mai. The skin of Har Gau is delicate and translucent, wrapped around fresh juicy shrimps to form a pouch-shaped dumpling. They are usually dipped in soy sauce, rice vinegar, or even a combination of mayonnaise and chili sauce. This dish is a crowd pleaser, so be sure to order enough so that everybody will have at least one.

Photo credit - Nate Robert

Photo credit - Nate Robert

Cheong Fun

This dish features a thin roll of rice noodles that are filled with meat, vegetables or other ingredients. Before serving, the roll is usually cut into a few pieces and a spoonful of soy sauce is poured on top. With a wide variety, this dish comes filled with shrimp, beef, char siew, or even youtiao (Chinese fried bread stick), chicken or fish. My personal favorite is Cheong Fun with Youtiao, which features fried youtiao wrapped in noodle rolls. The crispy youtiao combines well with the silky noodle rolls, melting away in your mouth with a heavy dose of soy sauce. Heavenly!

Photo credit - Wendalicious

Photo credit - Wendalicious

Baos / Buns

The most popular type of Baos (Buns) is Char Siew Bao, which simply means BBQ Pork Buns. They are soft bread with a unique texture, filled with char siew (BBQ pork) at the center of the bun. The char siew is pork tenderloin slowly roasted to achieve a tender and sweet taste, which combines well with the fine soft bread on the outside. Though Char Siew Bao is another popular dim sum dish, it is not exactly one of my favorite. As much as I enjoyed the taste very much, it is however, a very filling dish. My preference is to skip this so I can eat more of the others.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Daikon & Taro Cake

Here’s another standard pairing when ordering dim sum. They are both similar in appearance, usually cut into square-shaped slices and pan-fried before serving. This makes them crunchy on the outside, but soft on the inside. The Daikon Cake is made of shredded radish and flour while the Taro Cake is made from the vegetable taro.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Dan Tat

Dan Tat (Egg Tarts) is the Cantonese interpretation of egg custard tarts which are popular in many parts of the world. This pastry was initially introduced to compete with dim sum restaurants, but ironically they have now become part of the dim sum experience. Many variations are available, including egg white tarts, milk tarts, honey-egg tarts and even bird’s nest tarts.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Jin Dui

Jin Dui (Sesame Seed Balls) is a fried ball-shaped pastry coated with sesame seeds on the outside that is crisp and chewy. The pastry is filled usually with lotus paste, black bean paste or red bean paste. A more modern interpretation I’ve seen before are Jin Dui filled with chocolate and even durian.

Photo credit - Charles Haynes

Photo credit - Charles Haynes

Chun Juan

This is not a dim sum dish per say, as you can easily find them in various countries with differing interpretations. However, the fried version is one you would encounter in dim sum restaurants, usually filled with various meats.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Fu Pi Quan

This dish is similar to Spring Rolls, with the main difference being the outer layer of the dish is made of tofu skin. Just like Spring Rolls, you can find the fried and steamed versions, with various meat fillings inside of it.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Fung Jeow

Phoenix Talons is the fancy way of translating this dish name, which is usually just called Chicken Feet by non-Chinese speaking eaters (like yours truly). The chicken feet are first deep fried or steamed to make them puffy, and then stewed and marinated in flavored black bean sauce. The result is a dish that is moist, tender and flavorful, though it does consists of many small bones.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Lo Mai Gai

The English translation to this dish is quite a handful – Steamed Glutinous Rice in Lotus Leaf Wrap. It features glutinous rice filled with chicken meat and various vegetables, which is then wrapped in a dried lotus leaf and steamed. The result is a savory and flavorful dish, with the aroma of the lotus leaf and chicken melting into the sticky glutinous rice. A personal favorite.

Photo credit - Jason Lam

Photo credit - Jason Lam

Almond Jelly

This is a common dessert made of sweet Chinese almond. Almond milk is extracted, sweetened and then heated with a gelling agent. It is then chilled to create a tofu like pudding with a sweet almond taste.

Photo credit - jetalone

Photo credit - jetalone

Mango Pudding

Last but definitely not least, is one of my favorite dessert – the Mango Pudding. This is the perfect way to end your feast, a simple dessert that captures the glorious flavor of mangoes like no other. When done well, the pudding is silky smooth in texture, rich in flavor and refreshing in taste.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz


This post is part of WanderFood Wednesday, a Blog Carnival held by Wanderlust & Lipstick. Check them out for a visual treat of tasty dishes, or take part in the carnival yourself. Additionally, do check out as well our latest offering, our new Issue 02 of the magazine!


If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best travel ideas and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of Singapore’s best romantic views. You can also find some information on cheap holidays to kavos here.

8 Must-Try Malaysian Food

March 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Feature Highlights, Gourmet

Malaysia is home to fabulous street eats and equally tasty restaurants. With various influences from Malay and Chinese traditions, spicy Indian and Nonya dishes, Malaysia offers much to savour in all of its 13 different states and many more cities. The culinary scene is bustling with choices, fueled by this diversity of the country’s multicultural heritage. Here, we share with you the local favorites from three popular foodie stops in the region – Malacca, Penang and Ipoh Perak.

Ayam Buah Keluak

Nonya Cuisine is also a must try in Malacca, where you can find mouthwatering food combining Chinese ingredients with Malay herbs and spices. The Malaccan version of Nonya Cuisine favor the use of coconut milk, and is therefore richer in taste. Ayam Buah Keluak is a popular Nonya dish, which is chicken stewed with black nuts. Don’t be put off by the murky, ink-like gravy! The sauce is rich and creamy, and mixes very well with the kepayang nuts and chicken meat.

Photo credit - Pinoy Food

Photo credit - Pinoy Food

Ikan Bakar

The aromatic grilled fish dish is another must-try – ikan bakar (literally, burnt fish in malay). The fish is marinated in a myriad of spices, then wrapped in banana leaf and grilled over charcoal fire. In Malacca, head towards Perkampungan Ikan Bakar Terapung, 11 km off Malacca Town, where you can get freshly barbequed fish along with a good selecion of seafood such as cockles, squids and oysters grilled on the spot.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Nasi Kandar

Nasi Kandar is a popular northern Malaysia dish that originated from the state of Penang, so its small wonder you’ll find so many stalls around the state offering this dish. This Malaysian staple comprises simply of plain or flavored rice accompanied by side dishes such as fried chicken, curried spleen, cubed beef, fish roe, fried prawns or fried squid.
A mixture of curry sauces is then poured on top, imparting
a diverse taste to the rice. Other than in Penang, Nasi Kandar is also a popular dish in Ipoh, Malacca and more.

Photo credit - EightySixx

Photo credit - EightySixx

Penang Char Kway Teow

Another popular dish is char kway teow, flat rice noodles fried with beansprouts, prawns, cockles, chives and eggs in a rich dark sauce. The Penang version of this popular South East Asian dish (you can also find local versions in Indonesia and Singapore), is smooth and smokey, with additional light and dark soy sauces, extra spices and the use of broader width variety of flat rice noodles.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Penang Laksa

No visit to Penang is complete without a bowl of its namesake laksa. The Penang laksa is a rice noodles dish served in a thick and tasty spicy broth, spiked with flaked mackerels and a generous serving of vegetables. In Penang, head towards Lorong Selamat, off Macalister Road to try out this renowned dish – there are two versions, the sour type, and the lemak type (with the addition of coconut milk).

Photo credit - Chee Hong

Photo credit - Chee Hong

Chicken Rice

One of the most popular dish in Ipoh is the humble chicken rice. In Ipoh, the chicken is poached Hainanese style, served with beansprouts and pork meatball soup. The famed Lou Wong Restaurant is a popular place specializing in chicken rice. Their chicken is perfectly done, cooked just enough to retain a juicy smoothness that is often absent from overcooked chicken. They come mixed with beansprouts and drizzled with a tasty combination of sesame oil and soy sauce mix.

Photo credit - Charles Haynes

Photo credit - Charles Haynes

Ipoh Hor Fun

When in Ipoh, be sure to try out their famed Ipoh Hor Fun. There are two variations of the dish itself. The soupy version comes served with a clear chicken and prawn browth, topped with shredded chicken meat and spring onions. The other version is a fried version, boldly flavored and enhanced with a splash of dark gravy.

Photo credit - avlxyz

Photo credit - avlxyz

Nasi Lemak

Perhaps the most popular and ubiquitous staple of Malaysian cuisine is nasi lemak, a simple dish comprising of rice cooked with coconut milk, ikan bilis (fried anchovies), roasted peanuts, some vegetables and a generous portion of a tasty sambal chilli. This is a popular dish that can be found all over Southeast Asia, each with their own local influences in the dish.

Photo credit - emrank

Photo credit - emrank

Unearthing Asia now offers travel packages throughout the region of Asia. Check out our promotional offers of Luxury Private Villas in Bali, perfect for Honeymooners or those looking for a little romance. We also have great offers for hotels in Singapore, resorts in Phuket and many more.

About the Author. Nikolas Tjhin. A graphic and web designer in its previous incarnation, Nik’s journeyman career has seen him do work for various creative studios in Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Singapore and Jakarta. Now, he’s settled down for the time being and focusing his efforts as the editor of an Asia travel zine, Unearthing Asia.

Natural Attractions – Langkawi

March 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Nature

Langkawi is home to Malaysia’s legends and a gift of mother nature to its inhabitants. Covered in mystery and natural beauty, the coast-side island is filled with natural attractions and cultural history. Here’s a list of the best attractions in this beautiful little island!

Photo credit - Ewan M

Photo credit - Ewan M

Pantai Cenang – Island Hopping

Start your morning with breakfast at Pantai Cenang, Langkawi’s most popular beach. Don’t forget to try out some of Malaysia’s local cuisine, such as the nasi lemak (literally, “rice in cream”). This name is derived from the cooking process of nasi lemak, where the rice is soaked and cooked in coconut cream, giving it more fragrance and flavor to the rice. Combined with ikan bilis (anchovies), peanuts, eggs and a spicy sambal, this is a full-filing combination to get you through the day.

Spend some time enjoying the white sandy beaches at Pantai Cenang, and immerse yourself in the various water sports available here. Go swimming, hire a jet ski, go parasailing or hop on a banana boat. You can also go island hopping to nearby islands, such as Pulau Rebak Kecil and Pulau Rebak Besar.

Photo credit - Khalzuri

Photo credit - Khalzuri

Langkawi Geopark

Hop into a cable car to the very top of Mount Mat Cincang at the Langkawi Geopark. Here, you can take in the breathtaking views at the two viewing platforms and head over to the 125-metre bridge suspended 700m above sea level for a bigger thrill. The Geopark is also home to various other attractions, such as Elephant Rides, Reptile Encounters as well as home to the Ninth Tiger Sub-species – the Malayan Tiger.

Another major attraction at the top of Mount Mat Cincang is the Telaga Tujuh Waterfall (Seven Wells). Seven pools whose water flow into each other creates a mesmerizing picture for you to enjoy. Dip into the pool for a relaxing laize-faire afternoon.

Photo credit - kaeru.my

Photo credit - kaeru.my

Kuah Town

Kuah Town is Langkawi’s main town, as well as the entry point for ferry from either the mainland or from Penang. The town isn’t really all that big, but you’ll be able to do some shopping over at the Eagle Square (Dataran Lang), the Langkawi Fair or at the various bazaars at the center of Kuah. This is a great place to pick up batik, local handicrafts and duty free goods.

The name “Kuah” comes from the malay word for ketchup, soup or gravy, this is owing to the local legend that the town arose from a cup of gravy spilled on the land by two giants fighting.

Visiting Malaysia? Don’t forget to check out our other articles on Malaysia
Cruising through MalaysiaKuala Lumpur’s New BuzzRedang Island in Photos

Unearthing Asia now offers travel packages throughout the region of Asia. Check out our promotional offers of Luxury Private Villas in Bali, perfect for Honeymooners or those looking for a little romance. We also have great offers for hotels in Singapore, resorts in Phuket and many more.

About the Author. Char Magalong. Char Magalong, freelance web designer and programmer, spent two years living, working and traveling in Singapore. Another two years stint right after that in Malaysia led to homesickness, after which she promptly returned to the Philippines. With her myriad of treasured experiences for apt comparison, she comments regularly on the beauty of Philippines and its surrounding country side.

Cruising Through Malaysia

September 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Nature

Many towns in Malaysia were founded at the mouths of rivers as they were an important means of transport. Today, these rivers provide an alternative means of taking in the sights of a town as well as the plant and animal life along their banks. Tourists should try one of the the several leisurely river safaris available in East Malaysia.

Photo credits - Chang'r

Photo credits - Chang'r

Malacca River Cruise

Top of the picks is a river cruise that has been made famous by the Hollywood movie called “Entrapment” shot in 1998. It is none other than the Malacca river cruise. From the jetty at Dutch Square, the boat proceeds upriver and passes under Tan Boon Seng Bridge. This bridge has historical significance as its capture by the Portuguese in 1511 divided Sultan Mahmud’s Shah’s forces, weakening them. As a result, the Portuguese were able to capture the town.

Soon, old shophouses come into view on the left and right banks. The next bridge that the boat passes under is the Chan Boon Cheng Bridge. It was originally built in 1908 and replaced by its present structure in 1963. During World War II, (1942-45), the Kempetai (Japanese Military Army) displayed the beheaded heads of resistance forces at the foot of the bridge to serve as a warning to the community. After another five minutes of wind, a footbridge by the eerie name of Ghost Bridge passes overhead. The origins of the name is a mystery today. Then, the boat passes under the Old Market Bridge that links Kampong Hulu and the former Central Market. Fishing boats still berth here to unload their catches which are transported to the new Central Market.

Photo credits - Shutterhack

Photo credits - Shutterhack

Kuala Trengganu

Kuala Trengganu, off the coast of Malaysia offers a river cruise with several interesting stops. From the Shah Bandar jetty near the Central Market (locally referred as Pasar Payang), the tour boat departs upriver along the Trengganu River to Pulau Duyung (Mermaid Island), the first stop. A boat-building industry thrives on this island, which is also linked to the mainland by a bridge. Here, both luxury yachts and fishing boats are constructed by craftsmen without any blueprint, a skill inherited from their forefathers.

The riverine tour continues to Jeram River, with a stop at Kampung Jeram that holds a surprising sight. Amidst the traditional wooden Malay houses stands a Chinese temple with its red roof. According to legend, Admiral Cheng Ho of the Ming Dynasty sailed through the locality in 1414, and made a stop for supplies. His ship ran aground in the shallow waters of the river, and he came on land, spending several days with the villagers. In 1943, the Terengganu Chinese Cultural Association built a temple to honour the admiral. Called the Sam Poh Kong Temple, it comes alive during Chinese New Year and other festive days when devotees come to pray.

The next stop is the Pura Tanjung Sabtu Cultural Center, which has ten traditional houses. The centre belongs to the family of Tengku Ismail Tengku Su, a Terengganu prince, whose aim is to preserve the architectural heritage of his state. Finally the ship takes passengers back to the estuary of the Terengganu River to the State Museum Complex in Bukit Losong. The largest in the country, it consists of a Main Museum, Maritime Museum, Fisheries Museum, four traditional houses and herbs and botanic gardens.

Photo credits - nadi0

Photo credits - nadi0

Kampong Kuantan

For nature lovers, a highly recommend river cruise is down the Sungai Selangor (Selangor River) at Kampong Kuantan to see the rhythmic flashing of lights produced by thousands of fireflies resting on mangrove trees. The phenomenon resembles the twinkling lights of Christmas trees and is truly spectacular. Locals call these fireflies kelip-kelip but they are actually beetles of the Lampyride family. On average each firefly measures six millimetres long. The males produce flashing lights in their thorax thrice every second. At the jetty at Kampung Kuantan, boat operators take their passengers (minimum two persons) upriver for about 40 minutes and turn back, allowing them the opportunity to observe this mating ritual of the insects.

Photo credits - BlueDolphin_Stefania

Photo credits - BlueDolphin_Stefania

Kuching

Nestled on the banks of the Kuching River, the capital of Sarawak, Kuching, has an interesting boat ride that begins from the waterfront in Main Bazaar. The narrow bustling streets near the river are chock-a-block with colourful temples, raucous markets, historic building and Chinese shophouses selling handicrafts of all manner. Admire the Astana, built by Charles Brooke in 1869 on the opposite bank. Today, it is the official home of the Governor of Sarawak. Further ahead, there is Fort Margherita that dates back to 1879. The fort resembles and English castle, and now serves as the Police Museum. It was named after the wife of Charles Brooke. As the boat slides eastward, the cheery colours of the wooden houses of Kampong Boyan, Kampong, Gersik and Kampong Sourabaya Ulu greet you. Finally, you are deposited on the east side of the city centre. What a joyful ride for a song.

Unearthing Asia now offers travel packages throughout the region of Asia. Check out our promotional offers of Luxury Private Villas in Bali, perfect for Honeymooners or those looking for a little romance. We also have great offers for hotels in Singapore, resorts in Phuket and many more.

About the Author. Ewe Paik Leong. Based in Kuala Lumpur, Ewe Paik Leong has almost 20 years’ experience as a writer/editor. He has held editorial positions in publications ranging from lifestyle, medical, building, travel and business to motoring. He won second prize in the Her World Short Story Competition 1980, and was listed in the Malaysia Book of Records (1st and 2nd editions) as “the writer with the most short stories published on a freelance basis.”

Redang Island in Photos

April 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Exotic South East, Nature

Redang Island, a long 12 hours bus ride away from Singapore, was this little get-away island perfect for lazing out your weekend away. Be warned however, there isn’t much in terms of things to see and or do. But I was glad to at least note that the claims of over-tourism well exaggerated. The crowd was there for sure, but it was not hard at all to find my own peace and quiet whenever I want to.



This post is part of Photo Friday, a Blog Carnival held by Delicious Baby. Check them out for photo-sharing goodness, or take part in the carnival yourself!

About the Author. Nikolas Tjhin. Freelance graphic artist and travel fanatic. Twiter-addict and social media novice. Adventure budget traveler and stay home weekend worker. Before working on Unearthing Asia, Nik’s journeyman career has seen him do work for various creative studios in Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Singapore and Jakarta. Now that he’s settled down for the time being, he’s focusing his efforts on Unearthing Asia.

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