佳乐旅游有限公司
GREAT LEAP TOURS SDN. BHD.
(665229-U)(KPL-LN 3993)
Traveller's Tips
traveler's tips

 

ABOUT MALAYSIA

Located in Southeast Asia, Malaysia is a country that consists of thirteen states and three federal territories with a total landmass of 329,847 square kilometres. The capital city is Kuala Lumpur, while Putrajaya is the seat of the federal government. The population stands at over 27 million. The country is separated by the South China Sea into two distinct regions - Peninsular Malaysia, extending from the Thai frontier to the border of Singapore and the States of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo's northern coast. Malaysia borders Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. Malaysia is headed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and politically led by a Prime Minister. The government is based on federal constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.


LOCAL TIME (MALAYSIA TIME ZONE)
The Standard Time in Malaysia is GMT +8 hours.

 

CLIMATE & WEATHER OF MALAYSIA
As Malaysia is located near the equator; the country experiences a tropical climate. At lower altitudes the weather is normally warm, humid and sunny all year round, with temperatures hovering around 32°C by day and 22°C at night. The seasons follow the monsoon winds. Rainfall comes at any time in quick, heavy downpours, followed by sunshine within the hour. On the west coast of the Peninsular, the peak rainfall is generally from September to December. On the east coast and in Sabah and Sarawak, the monsoon rains normally occur between October and February. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. Worldwide climate changes can and do now affect these traditional patterns. An umbrella is always useful! At higher levels (in hill-stations, for example), much cooler temperatures is expected, with averages of 23°C by day and 10°C by night. The presence of insects such as mosquitoes in national park lodges and even occasionally in hotels can be a nuisance but is common in the tropics and not a reflection on standards of hygiene.

CULTURE & CUSTOMS
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The population consists of 62% Malays, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, with other minorities and indigenous peoples. Although Malay (Bahasa Melayu) is the national language of the country, English and Mandarin are widely spoken. Other languages are like Indian (Bahasa Tamil) and local dialects.

In this multiracial nation, freedom in religious beliefs is a direct reflection of peace and harmony. Malays are Muslims while Chinese are predominantly Taoists or Buddhists, though some are Christians. The majorities of Malaysia's Indian population are Hindu, though sizable percentages are also Muslims and Christians. Many indigenous tribes of East Malaysia have converted to Christianity although some still follow their animist traditions.

Although many religions are practiced freely, Malaysia is predominantly an Islamic country and rather conservative, thus observance of local customs and courtesy is appreciated. Modesty of attire in public places is expected.

During Ramadan, all Muslims will fast for one month before celebrating Hari Raya Puasa, which is one of the major celebrations in the country. Another major festival is Chinese New Year, normally falls in January or February, depending on the Lunar calendar. Open house is common during these two celebrations and visitors are served with traditional food, cakes and all sort of tidbits

 

MAJOR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Hari Raya Puasa*
- Chinese New Year*
- Awal Muharram*
- Birthday of Prophet Muhammad*
- Labour Day (May 1)
- Wesak Day*
- Hari Gawai (Sarawak only – June 1 & 2)
- Agong’s Birthday (June 7)
- National Day (August 31)
- Deepavali*
- Hari Raya Haji*
- Christmas (December 25) 

Some public holidays are not applicable to certain states. 
* Subject to change.

 

ACTIVITIES
Malaysia offers you never-ending adventure, from mild to vigorous, land to sea. Challenge your adrenaline level with various activities such as cave excursions, rock/mountain climbing, jungle trekking, mountain biking, deep sea fishing, rafting, jet-skiing, paragliding, snorkeling or scuba diving and many more.

If you are looking for a relaxed vacation, check out the amazing beaches or the heavenly island resorts around the country. Or perhaps the mystical rainforest and the tranquilizing highland resort is your cup of tea for a complete relaxation. Also, you might not want to miss out the many choices of massage centre, reflexology and health centre in town. If you have great passion for history and art, there are many historical buildings or structures, monuments, museums and also special themed art galleries open for visitors.

For golf enthusiasts, be sure to give it a swing at numerous spectacular courses or driving ranges throughout Malaysia. They can be found located high in mountains, along seashores, on tropical islands, amidst towering rainforests or in the heart of cities.

Shopping fanatics can experience all kinds of different shopping spree in Malaysia, where many exquisite souvenirs, unique handicrafts and quality antiques can be purchased at good bargains. Also be spiced up by the amazing nightlife in Malaysia, from fun pubs to discotheques, music café, karaoke lounge, night market and famous night food hawker stalls.

 

GETTING THERE
The main gateway into Malaysia is through Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang, located approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. Other major international airports which serve as entry points to Malaysia are Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

The main entry point by sea to Kuala Lumpur is Port Klang, about 50km away from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Singapore and Thailand.

 

ENTRY REGULATIONS FOR MALAYSIA
Foreigner entering Malaysia must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure from Malaysia. Entry into Sabah and Sarawak requires separate customs formalities, both on arrival from Peninsular Malaysia and between the two states. It is essential that the name on your passport and the name on your air tickets are identical - especially important for newly-weds - you may not be able to enter if this is not the case.

Citizens of the United States do not need visas for tourism and business visits, and upon entry are granted a Social/Business Visit Pass good for up to 3 months. Citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom can also enter the country without a visa and will be granted up to 30 days pass upon entry. For other countries, please consult the nearest Malaysian consulate before your trip for visa regulations. Travelers holding Israeli passports are not permitted to travel into Malaysia.

It is your personal responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport and visa/permit (if required) to enter or transit any countries en route. Please note that possession of narcotics and other illegal drugs in Malaysia carries death sentence. Pornography, firearms and ammunition are strictly prohibited.

 

MALAYSIA CUSTOMS & TAXES
Customs Duty Exemption 1988, Clause 19 allows Malaysian citizens and visitors to import goods, provided they abide by the following conditions:-

Wine, Liquor / Liquor Malt

All not more than 1 litre

Tobacco

225 gm / 200 cigarettes / 50 cigars

Duty Food Item

Not more than RM75

Souvenirs/Gifts

Not more than RM400 (except goods from Langkawi and Labuan , worth not more than RM500)

 

The above goods can be imported and are exempted from customs duty if these conditions are followed:-

1

The goods are imported together or in visitor’s baggage.

2

Goods are for personal usage and used regularly.

3

Visitors can convince the Customs Officer that they are not Malaysian citizens and are only planning to stay in Malaysia for less than 72 hours.

4

For Malaysian citizens, they have to convince the Customs Officer that they have left the country not less than 72 hours (for Labuan Federal Territory - 24 hours and Langkawi - 48 hours).

Malaysian citizens or visitors who carry goods exceeding the stated duty free limit must pay full tax for the excess with a ratio of 30% from the worth of goods.

Tourists are free to bring in any amount of foreign currencies or traveler’s cheques. However, tourists would be required to seek for approval if the amount of foreign currencies including traveler’s cheque to be carried out exceeds the amount brought into Malaysia and if the amount to be taken out of Malaysia is more than the equivalent of USD2,500. Tourists must also obtain permission and declare the amount of Ringgit Malaysia in excess of RM1,000 being brought into or out of Malaysia.

All airports in Malaysia and other destinations impose domestic and international departure taxes. Do keep local currency or (where appropriate) USD available, as these taxes are not included in your tour package prices.

Note: These information provided are correct at the time of composition and may subject to change.


AIRPORT RESTRICTION
As effective on 21 May 2007, a new security regulation on hand luggage has been set for all international passengers departing from or transiting (changing planes) on commercial flights (incl. charter flights) at all International Airports in Malaysia. Passengers can hand carry only small quantities of liquids, gels or aerosols items of not more than 100ml each with a maximum total capacity not exceeding 1 liter, using only one small size, transparent and re-sealable plastic bag. This rule also applies to all International-bound passengers departing from our Domestic Airports. The re-sealable plastic bags are available at information counters, check-in counters and boarding pass check points.

The specified items cover liquids such as water, drinks, soups, syrups and other beverages, gels (including hair and shower gels), pastes (including toothpaste), mascara, lip gloss, creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, sprays, liquid/solid mixture, contents of pressurized containers (including shaving foam and deodorants), aerosols and other items with a similar consistency.

Passengers may take extra liquids, gels or aerosols on board aircraft which are purchased from Airport Shops/Duty Free outlets in the security restricted areas of the terminal on the day of travel. However, these items must be placed in standard Security Tamper-Evident Bags (STEBs) provided by the shops, with receipt attached to it as Proof of Purchase.

Other extra liquids, gels or aerosols should be kept in checked in baggage.
Medicines, baby food/milk and special dietary requirement required on board during the flight are allowed (must be verified by airport security) and do not need to be carried in the transparent, re-sealable plastic bag.

 

GETTING AROUND
Malaysia has excellent domestic air links and a well developed and effective public transportation system served by buses and taxis. Trains and LRT are available in some larger cities. Rental car is usually hirable at airports or through travel agency. Transfers in a tour vehicle will be provided by us for those who purchase our tour package.


BANKS IN MALAYSIA
Both international and local banks operate in Malaysia. A number of merchant bankers, finance companies and offshore financial institutions are also established here.

BANK HOURS (generally)

States of Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu

Sat - Wed

9:30AM - 4:00PM


Thurs & Fri

CLOSED

Other states

Mon - Fri

9:30AM - 4:00PM

 

Sat & Sun

CLOSED

 

CURRENCY USED IN MALAYSIA
The currency used in Malaysia is Ringgit Malaysia (MYR or RM). Foreign currency and traveler’s cheques can be converted to Ringgit Malaysia at banks, most hotels and licensed money changers. Foreign currencies are normally not accepted in most shops. International credit cards (Visa/Mastercard) and American Express are acceptable in most hotels, restaurants and many shops.

Most foreign currencies are exchangeable in banks. However, it is advisable to shop around, as money-changers may sometimes offer more favorable exchange rates. Passports must be presented when cashing traveler's cheques at banks and a certain amount of commission will be charged. When travelling to smaller towns, ensure that you carry enough Ringgit Malaysia.

 

ADVENTUROUS HOLIDAYS
If you are planning for an adventurous holidays, you should check your fitness level before attempting a new or unfamiliar activity, be it climbing Mount Kinabalu, scuba-diving off Sipadan, or even gentle rambles in the National Park. Malaysia's heat and humidity can rapidly drain energy level of travelers from temperate regions.

MEDICAL MATTERS
VAC Health standards in Malaysia are ranked among the highest in Asia. When travelling in Malaysia, it is advisable to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Tap water should not be consumed directly without boiling. We advise consumption of drinking water provided by the hotels or bottled water available for purchase in many shops. Do avoid iced water from roadside hawker stalls which may be unhygienic, except for canned drinks.

If you require medical attention, please contact your hotel reception for information on the nearest clinic or hospital. In case of emergency, call 999 for emergency ambulance. If you are on medication or have asthmatic problem, don’t forget to pack your medicine and puffer along.

In Malaysia, exposure to the sun may cause sunburn very quickly, even in cloudy weather, especially at beach resorts. Do avoid prolonged sunbathing and use plenty of high factor sun block. Water-resistant cream is vital if you are swimming or diving. Wear sunglasses and a sun hat if possible. If you are jungle trekking, it is recommended that you take anti-malaria tablets for precautions - your doctor will know which type is suitable. Insect repellents, mosquito coils and nets may be necessary at night if overnight in the jungle. Treat open cuts and scratches immediately as infection in humid climates can delay healing. Do not touch fish, shells, snakes or other marine life near coral reefs as some can be poisonous. Wear plastic shoes or flippers while exploring reefs.

If you are arriving from an area in which yellow fever has been reported, you will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination. Contact your nearest MTB office to research on the specific areas that fall into this category.

CLOTHING & WHAT TO BRING TO MALAYSIA
Winter clothing like gloves and scarf are never required in Malaysia, not even a thick jacket. Lightweight, washable, casual clothes are the order of the day in Malaysia - cotton or cotton-rich or synthetic mix (preferably the former) is recommended. A light sweater is a good idea for cooler evenings and on highlands. Branded clothes as well as cheap clothes are sold everywhere. We also recommend our traditional batik shirts which are colourful and cool.

Most hotels provide laundry service and there are also many laundry shops around in town. However, do bring along enough clothing for changing as Malaysia’s weather can cause heavy perspiration.

For formal or semi-formal occasions, often men can opt for a long-sleeved traditional batik shirt. Topless sunbathing is not acceptable at the beach or poolside. Check the required dress code before entering any place of religious worship.

Camping gear is often available for hire in national parks but it is likely to be in great demand. Appropriate clothing and footwear is recommended for different activity you are attempting. There are generally no worries about leaving items behind when you come to Malaysia as toiletries, medicines, suntan lotion, insect repellents, sun hats, etc are available for purchase in most places. In remote areas power cuts can occur and a torch can come in handy. In some locations, you will not have the luxury of a shaving point but disposable razors are sold widely in towns and cities.

 

ELECTRICITY & VOLTAGE IN MALAYSIA
The Voltage used in Malaysia is 220 - 240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets are used. Most hotels can supply an adaptor for 110-220 volt appliances upon request.



FOREIGN DRIVER IN MALAYSIA
We can pre-book a hire-car of your choice for all or part of your stay in Malaysia. In most cases, car rental with unlimited mileage is offered. Fuel is at own cost and many petrol stations are open 24 hours. All Malaysian cars are right hand drive and we follow the British system of Highway Code. Generally speaking, traffic is relatively well-disciplined but do watch out for the F1 wannabe cars, motorcycles, long distance bus (locally known as express bus) and the aging trucks/lorries. In big cities such as Kuala Lumpur, traffic congestion can be anuisance, do avoid hitting the road or expressway during peak hours, normally around 7-9am and 5-7pm. In certain big cities, tolls may be payable on expressway.

An international or full UK driving licence is required to drive in Malaysia. Generally the hirer and any additional driver must be over 23 years of age, with at least 1 year driving experience. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are obliged to lodge a report at the Police Station within 24 hours. This is very important, should you need to file insurance claims.

 

TELEPHONES & INTERNET
Malaysia's telephone system is reasonably simple to use. Making local calls from public payphones, whether coin or card operated, costs 10 cents for three minutes. Making international calls, inter-state calls or calls to mobile phones will cost more, depending on the location of the receiver. Coin phones permit calls within Malaysia only. Phone cards of RM5, RM10, RM20 and RM50 are easily available from airports, petrol kiosks, most 7-Eleven stores and many other outlets, and at Telecom offices. IDD call cards are also available which offer cheaper international call rates. There are also credit card operated phones at most tourist spots or you can use 'Home Country Direct' at selected Telecom service outlets (calls are charged to the receiver). To make an International Direct Dial (IDD) call, dial Malaysia's access code 00, followed by the country code, area code and telephone number. Most hotels provide IDD service, facsimile and internet service. Some places provide free wireless internet access (normally with a “Free WiFi” sticker). If you didn’t bring along your laptop or PDA, you can always go to the cyber café for using the internet, which is normally charged by hours.

 

TIPPING & SERVICE TAX
Tipping is not customary in Malaysia. However, in international and large hotels, bellboys, room service staffs and porters do expect tips, say around RM5, depending on the service rendered. A service charge of 10% and government tax of 5% are normally levied on food, drinks and room rate in a hotel. Some restaurants also levy these charges.

 

PREGNANCY NOTE
Some airlines do not accept pregnant passenger who will be 28 or more weeks into pregnancy on the return date of travel unless she presents a letter of consent from the doctor. Please always check on the restriction with the relevant airline before making your bookings and as a precaution, obtain clearance to fly from your doctor.



TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Always be sure to carry your passport, air tickets and any other relevant travel documents with you and never pack them in your check-in baggage. Also be reminded to check your flight schedule on your air tickets, as these may be different from your original booking request. We recommend checking in at least 2-3 hours before take-off to avoid any last minute unforeseen circumstances.

 

UNUSED SERVICES
We regret that we cannot obtain refunds on pre-booked meals and services not actually used, unless these are caused by delays to travel arrangements, whereby you have taken an alternative meal or arrangement in compensation.

DO’S AND DON’TS
When visiting Malaysia, visitors should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:-

 

*

Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge an introduction to a gentleman with a nod of her head and a smile. A handshake is only to be reciprocated if the lady offers her hand first. The traditional greeting or “salam” resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The Muslim man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend’s outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest which means “I greet you from my heart”. The visitor should reciprocate the “salam”.

*

It is polite to call before visiting a home.

*

Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.

*

Drinks are generally offered to guests. It would be polite to accept.

*

The forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers, folded under is the preferred practice.

*

Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission first.

*

Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia.

*

The country’s large Muslim populations neither drink alcohol nor eat pork. Never offer them those.

USEFUL TOURIST INFORMATION LINKS

 

http://www.tourism.gov.my

http://www.allmalaysia.info

http://www.sarawaktourism.com

http://www.gov.my

http://www.sarawak.gov.my

http://www.sarawak.com.my

http://www.sarakraf.com.my

http://www.airasia.com

http://www.malaysiaairlines.com

http://www.sarawakforestry.com

http://www.sedctourism.com

http://www.permairainforest.com

http://www.royalmuluresort.com

http://www.mulupark.com

http://www.scv.com.my

http://www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com

http://www.kln.gov.my

http://www.xe.com/ucc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiHYKxgdGdY


LOCAL TIME (MALAYSIA TIME ZONE)
The Standard Time in Malaysia is GMT +8 hours.


CULTURE & CUSTOMS
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multilingual society. The population consists of 62% Malays, 24% Chinese, 8% Indians, with other minorities and indigenous peoples. Although Malay (Bahasa Melayu) is the national language of the country, English and Mandarin are widely spoken. Other languages are like Indian (Bahasa Tamil) and local dialects.

In this multiracial nation, freedom in religious beliefs is a direct reflection of peace and harmony. Malays are Muslims while Chinese are predominantly Taoists or Buddhists, though some are Christians. The majorities of Malaysia's Indian population are Hindu, though sizable percentages are also Muslims and Christians. Many indigenous tribes of East Malaysia have converted to Christianity although some still follow their animist traditions.

Although many religions are practiced freely, Malaysia is predominantly an Islamic country and rather conservative, thus observance of local customs and courtesy is appreciated. Modesty of attire in public places is expected.

During Ramadan, all Muslims will fast for one month before celebrating Hari Raya Puasa, which is one of the major celebrations in the country. Another major festival is Chinese New Year, normally falls in January or February, depending on the Lunar calendar. Open house is common during these two celebrations and visitors are served with traditional food, cakes and all sort of tidbits.


CLIMATE & WEATHER OF MALAYSIA
As Malaysia is located near the equator; the country experiences a tropical climate. At lower altitudes the weather is normally warm, humid and sunny all year round, with temperatures hovering around 32°C by day and 22°C at night. The seasons follow the monsoon winds. Rainfall comes at any time in quick, heavy downpours, followed by sunshine within the hour. On the west coast of the Peninsular, the peak rainfall is generally from September to December. On the east coast and in Sabah and Sarawak, the monsoon rains normally occur between October and February. Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. Worldwide climate changes can and do now affect these traditional patterns. An umbrella is always useful! At higher levels (in hill-stations, for example), much cooler temperatures is expected, with averages of 23°C by day and 10°C by night. The presence of insects such as mosquitoes in national park lodges and even occasionally in hotels can be a nuisance but is common in the tropics and not a reflection on standards of hygiene.


MAJOR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Hari Raya Puasa*
- Chinese New Year*
- Awal Muharram*
- Birthday of Prophet Muhammad*
- Labour Day (May 1)
- Wesak Day*
- Hari Gawai (Sarawak only – June 1 & 2)
- Agong’s Birthday (June 7)
- National Day (August 31)
- Deepavali*
- Hari Raya Haji*
- Christmas (December 25) 

Some public holidays are not applicable to certain states. 
* Subject to change.


ACTIVITIES
Malaysia offers you never-ending adventure, from mild to vigorous, land to sea. Challenge your adrenaline level with various activities such as cave excursions, rock/mountain climbing, jungle trekking, mountain biking, deep sea fishing, rafting, jet-skiing, paragliding, snorkeling or scuba diving and many more.

If you are looking for a relaxed vacation, check out the amazing beaches or the heavenly island resorts around the country. Or perhaps the mystical rainforest and the tranquilizing highland resort is your cup of tea for a complete relaxation. Also, you might not want to miss out the many choices of massage centre, reflexology and health centre in town. If you have great passion for history and art, there are many historical buildings or structures, monuments, museums and also special themed art galleries open for visitors.

For golf enthusiasts, be sure to give it a swing at numerous spectacular courses or driving ranges throughout Malaysia. They can be found located high in mountains, along seashores, on tropical islands, amidst towering rainforests or in the heart of cities.

Shopping fanatics can experience all kinds of different shopping spree in Malaysia, where many exquisite souvenirs, unique handicrafts and quality antiques can be purchased at good bargains. Also be spiced up by the amazing nightlife in Malaysia, from fun pubs to discotheques, music café, karaoke lounge, night market and famous night food hawker stalls.


GETTING THERE
The main gateway into Malaysia is through Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at Sepang, located approximately 50km south of Kuala Lumpur. Other major international airports which serve as entry points to Malaysia are Penang, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Langkawi.

The main entry point by sea to Kuala Lumpur is Port Klang, about 50km away from Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is also accessible by rail and road from Singapore and Thailand.


ENTRY REGULATIONS FOR MALAYSIA
Foreigner entering Malaysia must hold a passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of departure from Malaysia. Entry into Sabah and Sarawak requires separate customs formalities, both on arrival from Peninsular Malaysia and between the two states. It is essential that the name on your passport and the name on your air tickets are identical - especially important for newly-weds - you may not be able to enter if this is not the case.

Citizens of the United States do not need visas for tourism and business visits, and upon entry are granted a Social/Business Visit Pass good for up to 3 months. Citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom can also enter the country without a visa and will be granted up to 30 days pass upon entry. For other countries, please consult the nearest Malaysian consulate before your trip for visa regulations. Travelers holding Israeli passports are not permitted to travel into Malaysia.

It is your personal responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport and visa/permit (if required) to enter or transit any countries en route. Please note that possession of narcotics and other illegal drugs in Malaysia carries death sentence. Pornography, firearms and ammunition are strictly prohibited.


MALAYSIA CUSTOMS & TAXES
Customs Duty Exemption 1988, Clause 19 allows Malaysian citizens and visitors to import goods, provided they abide by the following conditions:-

Wine, Liquor / Liquor Malt

All not more than 1 litre

Tobacco

225 gm / 200 cigarettes / 50 cigars

Duty Food Item

Not more than RM75

Souvenirs/Gifts

Not more than RM400 (except goods from Langkawi and Labuan , worth not more than RM500)

 

The above goods can be imported and are exempted from customs duty if these conditions are followed:-

1

The goods are imported together or in visitor’s baggage.

2

Goods are for personal usage and used regularly.

3

Visitors can convince the Customs Officer that they are not Malaysian citizens and are only planning to stay in Malaysia for less than 72 hours.

4

For Malaysian citizens, they have to convince the Customs Officer that they have left the country not less than 72 hours (for Labuan Federal Territory - 24 hours and Langkawi - 48 hours).

Malaysian citizens or visitors who carry goods exceeding the stated duty free limit must pay full tax for the excess with a ratio of 30% from the worth of goods.

Tourists are free to bring in any amount of foreign currencies or traveler’s cheques. However, tourists would be required to seek for approval if the amount of foreign currencies including traveler’s cheque to be carried out exceeds the amount brought into Malaysia and if the amount to be taken out of Malaysia is more than the equivalent of USD2,500. Tourists must also obtain permission and declare the amount of Ringgit Malaysia in excess of RM1,000 being brought into or out of Malaysia.

All airports in Malaysia and other destinations impose domestic and international departure taxes. Do keep local currency or (where appropriate) USD available, as these taxes are not included in your tour package prices.

Note: These information provided are correct at the time of composition and may subject to change.


AIRPORT RESTRICTION
As effective on 21 May 2007, a new security regulation on hand luggage has been set for all international passengers departing from or transiting (changing planes) on commercial flights (incl. charter flights) at all International Airports in Malaysia. Passengers can hand carry only small quantities of liquids, gels or aerosols items of not more than 100ml each with a maximum total capacity not exceeding 1 liter, using only one small size, transparent and re-sealable plastic bag. This rule also applies to all International-bound passengers departing from our Domestic Airports. The re-sealable plastic bags are available at information counters, check-in counters and boarding pass check points.

The specified items cover liquids such as water, drinks, soups, syrups and other beverages, gels (including hair and shower gels), pastes (including toothpaste), mascara, lip gloss, creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, sprays, liquid/solid mixture, contents of pressurized containers (including shaving foam and deodorants), aerosols and other items with a similar consistency.

Passengers may take extra liquids, gels or aerosols on board aircraft which are purchased from Airport Shops/Duty Free outlets in the security restricted areas of the terminal on the day of travel. However, these items must be placed in standard Security Tamper-Evident Bags (STEBs) provided by the shops, with receipt attached to it as Proof of Purchase.

Other extra liquids, gels or aerosols should be kept in checked in baggage.
Medicines, baby food/milk and special dietary requirement required on board during the flight are allowed (must be verified by airport security) and do not need to be carried in the transparent, re-sealable plastic bag.


GETTING AROUND
Malaysia has excellent domestic air links and a well developed and effective public transportation system served by buses and taxis. Trains and LRT are available in some larger cities. Rental car is usually hirable at airports or through travel agency. Transfers in a tour vehicle will be provided by us for those who purchase our tour package.


BANKS IN MALAYSIA
Both
international and local banks operate in Malaysia. A number of merchant bankers, finance companies and offshore financial institutions are also established here.

BANK HOURS (generally)

States of Kedah, Kelantan & Terengganu

Sat - Wed

9:30AM - 4:00PM


Thurs & Fri

CLOSED

Other states

Mon - Fri

9:30AM - 4:00PM

 

Sat & Sun

CLOSED


CURRENCY USED IN MALAYSIA
The currency used in Malaysia is Ringgit Malaysia (MYR or RM). Foreign currency and traveler’s cheques can be converted to Ringgit Malaysia at banks, most hotels and licensed money changers. Foreign currencies are normally not accepted in most shops. International credit cards (Visa/Mastercard) and American Express are acceptable in most hotels, restaurants and many shops.

Most foreign currencies are exchangeable in banks. However, it is advisable to shop around, as money-changers may sometimes offer more favorable exchange rates. Passports must be presented when cashing traveler's cheques at banks and a certain amount of commission will be charged. When travelling to smaller towns, ensure that you carry enough Ringgit Malaysia.


HOTEL HOME TRUTHS
The hotels in our tour packages are selected to offer the highest standard within their respective categories. It is advisable that you discuss your specific requirements with us at the time of enquiry. Different sizes or settings can make a significant difference to the characters of two ostensibly similar properties in the same location. Many hotels offer a choice of room categories and upgrading to a superior grade room, for instance, can considerably enhance the pleasure of your stay. As the tourism industry is in a state of continuous development, especially in the cities, we regret that construction or renovation works can sometime affect the availability of facilities or cause some inconveniences and noises. In rural areas, noises can be generated by birds and other wildlife, by speedboats, calls to prayer and other customs and lifestyles of the local community.

Most hotels request an imprint of your credit card or refundable cash deposits when you register, to cover any personal expenses in the hotel. Normal hotel check-in time is 2pm on the day of check-in, and check-out time is usually 12pm. If your incoming flight is early in the morning or your homeward departure is late in the evening, it may be wise to pre-book your room for the night before arrival or after departure so as to allow uninterrupted occupancy throughout your stay. You may also request for early check-in or late check-out, but it will be at the hotel’s discretion and subject to availability, and extra charges may be incurred at your own expense.


ADVENTUROUS HOLIDAYS
If you are planning for an adventurous holidays, you should check your fitness level before attempting a new or unfamiliar activity, be it climbing Mount Kinabalu, scuba-diving off Sipadan, or even gentle rambles in the National Park. Malaysia's heat and humidity can rapidly drain energy level of travelers from temperate regions.


MEDICAL MATTERS
VAC Health standards in Malaysia are ranked among the highest in Asia. When travelling in Malaysia, it is advisable to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Tap water should not be consumed directly without boiling. We advise consumption of drinking water provided by the hotels or bottled water available for purchase in many shops. Do avoid iced water from roadside hawker stalls which may be unhygienic, except for canned drinks.

If you require medical attention, please contact your hotel reception for information on the nearest clinic or hospital. In case of emergency, call 999 for emergency ambulance. If you are on medication or have asthmatic problem, don’t forget to pack your medicine and puffer along.

In Malaysia, exposure to the sun may cause sunburn very quickly, even in cloudy weather, especially at beach resorts. Do avoid prolonged sunbathing and use plenty of high factor sun block. Water-resistant cream is vital if you are swimming or diving. Wear sunglasses and a sun hat if possible. If you are jungle trekking, it is recommended that you take anti-malaria tablets for precautions - your doctor will know which type is suitable. Insect repellents, mosquito coils and nets may be necessary at night if overnight in the jungle. Treat open cuts and scratches immediately as infection in humid climates can delay healing. Do not touch fish, shells, snakes or other marine life near coral reefs as some can be poisonous. Wear plastic shoes or flippers while exploring reefs.

If you are arriving from an area in which yellow fever has been reported, you will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination. Contact your nearest MTB office to research on the specific areas that fall into this category.


CLOTHING & WHAT TO BRING TO MALAYSIA
Winter clothing like gloves and scarf are never required in Malaysia, not even a thick jacket. Lightweight, washable, casual clothes are the order of the day in Malaysia - cotton or cotton-rich or synthetic mix (preferably the former) is recommended. A light sweater is a good idea for cooler evenings and on highlands. Branded clothes as well as cheap clothes are sold everywhere. We also recommend our traditional batik shirts which are colourful and cool.

Most hotels provide laundry service and there are also many laundry shops around in town. However, do bring along enough clothing for changing as Malaysia’s weather can cause heavy perspiration.

For formal or semi-formal occasions, often men can opt for a long-sleeved traditional batik shirt. Topless sunbathing is not acceptable at the beach or poolside. Check the required dress code before entering any place of religious worship.

Camping gear is often available for hire in national parks but it is likely to be in great demand. Appropriate clothing and footwear is recommended for different activity you are attempting. There are generally no worries about leaving items behind when you come to Malaysia as toiletries, medicines, suntan lotion, insect repellents, sun hats, etc are available for purchase in most places. In remote areas power cuts can occur and a torch can come in handy. In some locations, you will not have the luxury of a shaving point but disposable razors are sold widely in towns and cities.

 

ELECTRICITY & VOLTAGE IN MALAYSIA
The Voltage used in Malaysia is 220 - 240 volts AC at 50 cycles per second. Standard 3-pin square plugs and sockets are used. Most hotels can supply an adaptor for 110-220 volt appliances upon request.


FOREIGN DRIVER IN MALAYSIA
We can pre-book a hire-car of your choice for all or part of your stay in Malaysia. In most cases, car rental with unlimited mileage is offered. Fuel is at own cost and many petrol stations are open 24 hours. All Malaysian cars are right hand drive and we follow the British system of Highway Code. Generally speaking, traffic is relatively well-disciplined but do watch out for the F1 wannabe cars, motorcycles, long distance bus (locally known as express bus) and the aging trucks/lorries. In big cities such as Kuala Lumpur, traffic congestion can be a nuisance, do avoid hitting the road or expressway during peak hours, normally around 7-9am and 5-7pm. In certain big cities, tolls may be payable on expressway.

An international or full UK driving licence is required to drive in Malaysia. Generally the hirer and any additional driver must be over 23 years of age, with at least 1 year driving experience. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you are obliged to lodge a report at the Police Station within 24 hours. This is very important, should you need to file insurance claims.

 

TELEPHONES & INTERNET
Malaysia's telephone system is reasonably simple to use. Making local calls from public payphones, whether coin or card operated, costs 10 cents for three minutes. Making international calls, inter-state calls or calls to mobile phones will cost more, depending on the location of the receiver. Coin phones permit calls within Malaysia only. Phone cards of RM5, RM10, RM20 and RM50 are easily available from airports, petrol kiosks, most 7-Eleven stores and many other outlets, and at Telecom offices. IDD call cards are also available which offer cheaper international call rates. There are also credit card operated phones at most tourist spots or you can use 'Home Country Direct' at selected Telecom service outlets (calls are charged to the receiver). To make an International Direct Dial (IDD) call, dial Malaysia's access code 00, followed by the country code, area code and telephone number. Most hotels provide IDD service, facsimile and internet service. Some places provide free wireless internet access (normally with a “Free WiFi” sticker). If you didn’t bring along your laptop or PDA, you can always go to the cyber café for using the internet, which is normally charged by hours.

 

TIPPING & SERVICE TAX
Tipping is not customary in Malaysia. However, in international and large hotels, bellboys, room service staffs and porters do expect tips, say around RM5, depending on the service rendered. A service charge of 10% and government tax of 5% are normally levied on food, drinks and room rate in a hotel. Some restaurants also levy these charges.

 

PREGNANCY NOTE
Some airlines do not accept pregnant passenger who will be 28 or more weeks into pregnancy on the return date of travel unless she presents a letter of consent from the doctor. Please always check on the restriction with the relevant airline before making your bookings and as a precaution, obtain clearance to fly from your doctor.


TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Always be sure to carry your passport, air tickets and any other relevant travel documents with you and never pack them in your check-in baggage. Also be reminded to check your flight schedule on your air tickets, as these may be different from your original booking request. We recommend checking in at least 2-3 hours before take-off to avoid any last minute unforeseen circumstances.

 

UNUSED SERVICES
We regret that we cannot obtain refunds on pre-booked meals and services not actually used, unless these are caused by delays to travel arrangements, whereby you have taken an alternative meal or arrangement in compensation.


DO’S AND DON’TS
When visiting Malaysia, visitors should observe local customs and practices. Some common courtesies and customs are as follows:-

*

Although handshakes generally suffice for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge an introduction to a gentleman with a nod of her head and a smile. A handshake is only to be reciprocated if the lady offers her hand first. The traditional greeting or “salam” resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The Muslim man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend’s outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest which means “I greet you from my heart”. The visitor should reciprocate the “salam”.

*

It is polite to call before visiting a home.

*

Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.

*

Drinks are generally offered to guests. It would be polite to accept.

*

The forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers, folded under is the preferred practice.

*

Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission first.

*

Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia.

*

The country’s large Muslim populations neither drink alcohol nor eat pork. Never offer them those.



USEFUL TOURIST INFORMATION LINKS

http://www.tourism.gov.my

http://www.allmalaysia.info

http://www.sarawaktourism.com

http://www.gov.my

http://www.sarawak.gov.my

http://www.sarawak.com.my

http://www.sarakraf.com.my

http://www.airasia.com

http://www.malaysiaairlines.com

http://www.sarawakforestry.com

http://www.sedctourism.com

http://www.permairainforest.com

http://www.royalmuluresort.com

http://www.mulupark.com

http://www.scv.com.my

http://www.rainforestmusic-borneo.com

http://www.kln.gov.my

http://www.xe.com/ucc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiHYKxgdGdY


 

SARAWAK

Climate / Weather

On the whole, Sarawak has an equatorial climate. The temperature is relatively uniform within the range of 23°C to 32°C throughout the year. During the months of March to September, the weather is generally dry and warm.

Humidity is consistently high on the lowlands ranging from 85 per cent to 95 per cent per annum. The average rainfall per year is between 3,300 mm and 4,600 mm, depending on locality, and the wettest months are from November to February.

Government

Sarawak is presently divided into 11 administrative divisions – Kuching, Sri Aman, Sibu, Miri, Limbang, Sarikei, Kapit, Kota Samarahan, Bintulu, Mukah and Betong. Kuching is the seat of government for modern Sarawak and is home to some 458,300 people making it the highest populated city in Sarawak and the 7th highest populated city in Malaysia. Sarawak has a Chief Minister, which heads a Cabinet of Ministers.
The Chief Minister is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Negeri (or Governor), from amongst members of the State’s Legislative Council. Elections are held every five years. The present Chief Minister is YAB Pehin Sri Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud. Kuching is also where the Head of the State of Sarawak, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Governor) His Excellency Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng resides.

State Flag


Red symbolises the courage, confidence and sacrifices of the people in their efforts to achieve and maintain progress in the state. Yellow represents the supremacy of the law and the unity found amongst Sarawak’s diverse races. Black denotes the abundant natural resources of Sarawak: petroleum and timber. The yellow nine-pointed star represents the nine divisions and the aspirations of the people to improve their quality of life.

The Bunga Raya (Hibiscus) – the national flower appears on the right and left of the bird’s legs while the banner or ribbon on which the bird’s stand carries the new State Motto “Bersatu, Berusaha, Berbakti” (United, Industrious, Dedicated). Positioned on the bird’s chest is a shield bearing the state colours-black, red and yellow.

 

KUCHING

Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, is simply unique. No other city in Malaysia has such a romantic and unlikely history, nor displays its charms with such an easy grace. The residents of Kuching (pop. 650,000 approx.) enjoy living here, and take great pride in their fascinating city, which is reflected in their attitude to visitors. Kuching welcomes visitors warmly, but it does not put on an act for them. Instead it goes about its own business in a relaxed manner that hasn’t changed in 160 years. It is impossible to really enjoy Kuching from the air conditioned comfort of a tour bus. To make the most of your visit you must put on your walking shoes, take to the streets (and the water), and join in.

Like all towns and cities in Borneo, the focal point of Kuching and the reason for its existence is the river. Hiring a sampan to meander slowly up and down the Sarawak River is the best way to get your first impression of Kuching. From the river you will see picturesque Malay villages (kampungs), a golden-domed mosque, a Victorian fort, a whole street of 19th century Chinese shophouses and an imposing wooden-roofed palace, all set against a background of distant mountains.

Kuching’s city centre is well preserved and very compact; virtually everything that is worth seeing can be reached on foot or by sampan. The narrow, bustling streets are crammed with shops selling all manner of goods, from the mundane to the exotic. There are ornate Chinese temples, many fine examples of colonial-style architecture, a beautiful waterfront and a number of interesting museums, including the historic Sarawak Museum. There is an excellent range of accommodation, from luxury via boutique to budget, good restaurants, and nightlife to suit most tastes and pockets. You can try local delicacies such as deer meat and jungle fern, drink a glass or two of tuak (local rice wine), or feast on a vast array of seafood dishes Kuching has an unusual name – the word means “cat” in Malay. There are a number of stories as to how this name came about, but it is unlikely that it has anything to do with cats. The two more likely explanations are that it derives from the Chinese word kochin, meaning “harbour,” or that it is named after the mata kuching or “cat’s eye” fruit, a close relative of the lychee that grows widely here.

Sarawak is a unique and enjoyable tourism destination, and Kuching is the ideal base from which to go exploring. The nearby national parks include the famous Bako, home of the rare proboscis monkey, Gunung Gading, where giant rafflesia flowers bloom, Kuching Wetlands, which protects a fascinating mangrove ecosystem, Kubah, with its rare palms and orchids, and Semenggoh and Matang Wildlife Centres with their resident orangutans. Literally hundreds of Iban and Bidayuh longhouses are within easy travelling distance. Damai, on the nearby Santubong Peninsula is Sarawak’s main resort area, and many travel agents offer “two-centre” packages allowing you to explore Kuching, go on a longhouse trip, visit Bako and the rainforest and then relax on the beach after the rigours of jungle trekking.

Kuching is also the ideal base for visiting longhouses. Local travel agents have a variety of tours, ranging from half-day trips to nearby Bidayuh longhouses, to week long safaris to Iban longhouses on the Skrang, Lemanak and Batang Ai river systems.

History

At the beginning of the 19th century, Sarawak was a typical Malay principality, under the control of the Sultan of Brunei. Apart from occasional piracy on the coast and headhunting in the interior, Sarawak was peaceful. All of this changed when the Sultan of Brunei appointed a hugely unpopular Governor. The Malays and Bidayuhs of the Sarawak River revolted in 1836 and declared independence. An ugly guerilla war ensured, which continued until 1839, when James Brooke, a young, wealthy Englishman arrived on the scene in his well-armed yacht, the Royalist.

Brooke set himself up as a freelance adventurer and the Sultan’s uncle immediately asked him to help put down the rebellion. The spears and muskets of the rebels were no match for the Royalist’s cannon. As a reward, the grateful Sultan made Brooke the Rajah of Sarawak in 1841. Brooke was not content to rule over a small riverside town, and set out to pacify his new kingdom, with the help of British Navy. By the time of his death in 1868, Sarawak was a relatively peaceful territory covering the area between Tanjung Datu (now the Indonesian border) and Kuching.

James Brooke’s nephew Charles, who succeeded him, was not adventurer like his uncle, but an excellent administrator and politician. He set up a proper system of government, gradually expanding his area of control until it formed the present day Sarawak. His legacy is everywhere in Kuching. It was he who built the Astana, Fort Margherita, the Courthouse, the Sarawak Museum and other fine buildings. Charles Brooke died in 1917, and was succeeded by his son, Charles Vyner Brooke, who built on his father’s achievements and improved the general administration of the state. In 1941, he set up a State Council was short-lived, as the Japanese invaded at the end of the same year.

 

When the Japanese surrendered in September 1945, Sarawak came under Australian military administration. Vyner Brooke felt the state would be better off as a Crown Colony and ceded it to Britain. This move was very unpopular and resulted in the assassination of the Governor, Duncan Stewart, in 1949. Order was eventually restored and the colonial administration concentrated on preparing Sarawak for independence. On 22nd July 1963, Sarawak gained independence, then shortly afterwards joined with Malaya, Sabah and Singapore (subsequently expelled in 1965) to form the new nation of Malaysia on 16th September 1963.

 

SIBU

Sibu is the largest port and commercial centre in the Rejang Basin and the gateway to Central Sarawak. Located at the confluence of the Rejang and Igan Rivers, approximately 130 km from the South China Sea, Sibu is a thriving modern town with a vibrant centre and a bustling, crowded waterfront.

To visitors, Sibu feels more down-the-earth than relaxed Kuching. There is still something pioneer style about the town, and its people are direct, plain-speaking and assertively friendly. Of course, their smiles may be partly due to the belief that Sibu has more millionaires per capita than any other city in Borneo.

The mighty Rejang, almost a mile (1,600km) wide, is the dominant feature of the town, and a room with a river view is highly recommended for vibrant impressions of the waterfront life. The river is a source of constant activity, with ocean-going vessels manoeuvring delicately between speeding express boats, battered river launches and tiny sampans. Rejang sunsets can be truly spectacular.

Sibu is not only fascinating in its own right; with its excellent road, air and river transport links it is also the ideal jumping-off point for exploring the whole Rejang Basin, from the coastal town of Mukah to the furthest reaches of the Upper Rejang, over 600km upriver.

History

Until the beginning 19th century, Sibu was a sleepy trading settlement in the lower Rejang area, named for the rambutan fruits (buah sibau in the Iban language) that grew locally. The only significant population was a Melanau village at nearby Kampung Nangka.

Sibu’s transformation began in 1901 with the arrival of Foochow settlers from southern China, led by the Reverend Wong Nai Siong. Rev Wong, a Methodist missionary sought to find a safe haven for his followers, who were subject to religious persecution in China. He petitioned Charles Brooke, the 2nd Rajah of Sarawak, who offered land in the Lower Rejang to develop Sarawak’s agriculture. The first batch of 72 pioneers arrived in 1901, and by 1903 over 1,000 Christian Foochows had made their homes in Sibu. They were later followed by sizeable groups of Henghuas and Cantonese during the 1st World War period.

The early Chinese settlers planned to cultivate rice, but found that the soil was unsuitable for profitable rice farming and turned their attention to pepper, rubber and gambier (a sticky resin formerly used in place of rubber). Despite famine, fever, floods and other hardships, the early settlers eventually made their new home a success. They were capably led by the determined Rev. Wong, ably assisted by the Hoovers, an American missionary couple who played a major role in the development of Methodism in Sarawak.

By the mid-1920s Sibu had the appearance of a fully fledged town. However disaster struck in 1928, when a major fire destroyed almost all of Sibu’s predominantly wooden buildings. The hardly settlers simply picked up their tools and built the town all over again, but Sibu was once more devastated, this time by Allied bombing, during the WWll Japanese Occupation. Hundreds of local people were killed, not only by the bombing but also by savage Japanese repression of the local Chinese community, who were firm supporters of Chinese independence.

Sibu’s recovery began in the early 1950s, with the advent of mechanized logging. The town became the principal centre for the timber industry in Sarawak, and huge fortunes were made. From the 1960s to the late 1980s Sibu boomed along with the timber trade and downstream industries such as sawmilling, plywood manufacturing and even shipbuilding were established. From the early 1990s onwards, the timber industry in Sibu began a gradual decline as more sustainable logging practices were introduced and timber quotas imposed. However, the town continued to grow thanks to its strategic importance as a major port and commercial centre for the entire Rejang Basin.

 

MIRI

Miri is the second largest city in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo. The discovery of oil 100 years ago transformed Miri from a quiet fishing village into a wealthy city of around 300,000 people. The close proximity to Brunei makes Miri extremely popular with expats working for the oil companies. In recent years, Miri has become a major tourism gateway and the jumping-point for some of the Sarawak’s world-famous National Park, including Niah Caves, Gunung Mulu, Loagan Bunut, and Lambir Hills. Other interesting possibilities include the remote Bario Highlands and the mighty Baram River, as well as a number of excellent offshore dive locations.

Miri’s original population was primarily Melanau, but since the development of the oil industry people have flocked here from all over the states and Miri’s 300,000 inhabitants reflects Sarawak’s diverse ethnic make-up. Chinese, Ibans, Malays, Melanaus, Bisayas, Orang ulus,  (mostly Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabits, and Lun Bawang), Bidayuhs, Indians and Eurasians all make their home here, along with West Malaysians and a sizeable expatriate community.

The city is fast becoming an important tourism destination in its own right, in line with its official designation; "Miri  - Resort City". The city has an excellent range of hotels in all price categories and a wide selection of food outlets.

Combine this with vibrant night-life, bustling native markets, a number of popular beaches nearby and even a top class marina, and Miri makes a ideal base for exploring the National Parks, the offshore reefs and the other natural and cultural attractions of Northeast Sarawak. It is also a great place to relax for a few days after the rigours of jungle trekking.

History

The history of Miri is also the history of Sarawak’s oil industry. The area had long been known for black oil that seeped from the ground, as noted by the Resident of Baram, Claude Champion de Crespigny, in 1882. One of the Crespigny’s successors, Dr Charles Hose, persuaded the Anglo Saxon Petroleum Company, a British subsidiary of Shell, to conduct exploratory, drilling in the area, and on 10 August 1910, the first oil was struck on a hill overlooking the small fishing village of Miri, at depth of 123 metres. The well, subsequently christened the “Grand Old Lady”, continued to produce oil until 1972.

With the discovery of commercial quantities of oil, Miri was rapidly transformed from a sleepy fishing village to a booming oil town. By the mid 1920s it had become the administrative centre of the Baram region, and continued to thrive until the onset of World War 2. Shell staff did their best to sabotage the Miri oilfield, to prevent the invading Japanese forces from making use of it, but resourceful Japanese engineers soon had the field back to pre-war production levels.

During the late 1950s, the onshore oilfield began to dry up. Prospecting in remote peat swamp forest yielded poor results, so exploration moved offshore with the development of mobile exploration rigs. By the early 1970s, offshore production had reached 95,000 barrels a day, but the onshore field was now in terminal decline, and was closed down on 1st October 1972. At the same the support and administration facilities were moved to Lutong, just north of the town.

The move offshore coincided with a boom in Sarawak’s timber industry, and Miri became a major timber processing and transshipment hub, so the economy of the town continued to grow throughout the 1990s and 80s. The tourism sector also began to take off, fuelled initially by weekend visitors from nearby Brunei. Miri continued to prosper throughout the 1990s, and in recognition of its booming population and crucial contributions to Sarawak’s economy, was granted city status on 13th May 2005. 

 

ACTIVITIES

Sarawak is great for trekking, caving, mountain climbing, kayaking, biking, rafting and diving. 

The tropical waters of both Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo offer some of the world's best scuba diving. You can dive with whale sharks, hover around immense coral gardens and walls, or dive on ominous and hulking WWII shipwrecks. As there are hundreds of islands, the diving options are also limitless. 

A visit to the rain forest is on the priority list in the itineraries of all visitors of Malaysia. Malaysian rain forests are unique in the world and also the oldest on the planet. Plan a guided jungle trek (both day and night) to one of the famous national parks and experience the unique flora and fauna that will entice you in its beauty. 

Nature has been almost as generous to Malaysia regarding its caves as it has with the rain forest. Both the world's largest single cave chamber and the longest cave passage in Southeast Asia can be found in Sarawak's extraordinary Gunung Mulu National Park. In fact, almost every national park in Malaysia has a significant limestone cave system, and many of them offer guided tours, with varying levels of penetration.

 

FOOD

Malaysian food can be very spicy, likes fish head curry. If you like hot food, you will be completely delighted by what Kuching has to offer. Dishes are mostly based on rice or noodles and served in small bowls, along with a soup. For some dishes you take a small spoon (in your left hand) and chop-sticks (in your right hand). Typical dishes include: Kolo Mee, Nasi Lemak, Laksa (Laksa Sarawak/ Sarawak Laksa), Kopa Ayam (Chicken Wings, "ayam" being "chicken"), Chicken Rice, and Roti Canai. You can also enjoy unique longhouse-styled dishes - manok pansoh (chicken steamed in bamboo).

 

SHOPPING

Sarawak is a shopper’s paradise with a huge variety of unusual and interesting handicrafts, antiques and artefacts. Modern shoppers are equally well served with good quality malls, department stores, supermarkets and vibrant traditional markets.

Antiques, Handicrafts and Souvenirs

The picturesque waterfront street of Main Bazaar houses most of Kuching’s antiques and handicrafts shops – dark, cluttered spaces that look like Dickens’ The Curiosity Shop meets Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This is antique shopping at its finest, with superb bargains to be had. Outside Kuching, Jalan Bendahara and Jalan Yu Seng in Miri and Jalan Blacksmith in Sibu are good places to look, as well as the towns of Kapit and Marudi.

Food Items

Popular food items include birds’ nests, which are very affordable here, Sarawak pepper, said to be the world’s finest, and the much loved kek lapis (Sarawak layer cakes).

Books

Books on Borneo history, arts, crafts and society are available in the better bookstores, along with CDs of traditional music.

Shopping Malls

Sarawak’s upmarket malls offer genuine international designer wear alongside equally authentic Swiss watches and high tech items such as smartphones, i-Pads and personal computers. Many of these items are priced far lower than in Europe, Japan or North America, offering great value for money.

Markets

Every town and village in Sarawak has a market, where all manner of goods are offered for sale in a wonderfully noisy and bustling atmosphere. Those that should not be missed are the Satok Weekend  Market in Kuching, the Central and Night Markets in Sibu, the Town Market in Serian and the Pasar Tani (farmers’ market) and Saberkas Weekend Market in Miri.


WILDLIFE

 

The majority of the country is covered in rainforest, which hosts a huge diversity of plant and animal species. There are approximately 210 mammal species, 620 bird species, 250 reptile species, and 150 frog species found in Malaysia. There are few flora and fauna that can only be found in Malaysia.

 

Rafflesia Rafflesia

The Rafflesia is the largest flower in the World with recent flowers found measuring up to 95cm (3 feet) across. There are 55 species of Rafflesia, of which 9 are found in Borneo. The Rafflesia is a totally parasitic flower. The only visible part of the plant is a single flower that has no leaves, stems or roots. 

During this short blooming period, the flowers are assumed to be pollinated by blue bottles and carrion flies. These are attracted by the sight of the bloom and its smell, which resembles rotting flesh. Pollination has to take place very quickly, as the blooms do not last very long. For pollination to occur successfully, both male and female flowers must be in bloom simultaneously in the same area, so that flies can pass between them.


Orang Utan

The Bornean Orang Utan,  belongs to the only genus of great apes native to Asia. Like the other great apes, orangutans are highly intelligent, displaying advanced tool use and distinct cultural patterns in the wild. Orangutans share approximately 97% of their DNA with humans.

The Bornean orangutan lives in tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests in the Bornean lowlands, as well as mountainous areas up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) above sea level. This species lives throughout the canopy of primary and secondary forests, and moves large distances to find trees bearing fruit.

The Bornean orangutan is an endangered species, with deforestation, palm oil plantations and hunting posing a serious threat to its continued existence.

 

 

Hornbill

The hornbill is a common resident breeder in tropical and subtropical Asia from India east to Borneo. Its habitat is evergreen and moist deciduous forests, often near human settlements. It has mainly black plumage, apart from its white belly, throat patch, tail sides and trailing edge to the wings. The bill is yellow with a large, mainly black casque. Females have white orbital skin, which the males lack. Juveniles have no casque.

During incubation, the female lays two or three white eggs in a tree hole, which is blocked off with a cement made of mud, droppings and fruit pulp. There is only one narrow aperture, just big enough for the male to transfer food to the mother and chicks. When the chicks have grown too large for the mother to fit in the nest with them, she breaks out and rebuilds the wall, after which both parents feed the chicks.

 

 

 

Mangrove

Mangroves are various large and extensive types of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics—mainly between latitudes 25° N and 25° S. 

Mangroves are salt tolerant trees (halophytes) adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. They are adapted to the low oxygen (anoxic) conditions of waterlogged mud.

Mangrove systems support a range of wildlife species including crocodiles, birds, tigers, deer, monkeys and honey bees. Many animals find shelter either in the roots or branches of mangroves.

 

 

 

Proboscis monkey

The proboscis monkey or long-nosed monkey, is a reddish-brown arboreal Old World monkey that is endemic to the south-east Asian island of Borneo. This species of monkey is easily identifiable because of its unusually large nose.

The proboscis monkey is endemic to the island of Borneo and can be found on all three nations that divide the island: Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia. It is most common in coastal areas and along rivers. It favors dipterocarp, mangrove and riverine forests.

 

 

 

Malayan tapir

The Malayan tapir, also called the Asian tapir, is the largest of the five species of tapir and the only one native to Asia.

The animal is easily identified by its markings, most notably the light-colored patch that extends from its shoulders to its rear end. The rest of its hair is black, except for the tips of its ears, which, as with other tapirs, are rimmed with white. This pattern is for camouflage; the disrupted coloration makes it more difficult to recognize it as a tapir, and other animals may mistake it for a large rock rather than prey when it is lying down to sleep.

 

 

 

Pitcher plant

Pitcher plants are several different carnivorous plants that have evolved modified leaves known as pitfall traps—a prey-trapping mechanism featuring a deep cavity filled with liquid.

Foraging, flying or crawling insects such as flies are attracted to the cavity formed by the cupped leaf, often by visual lures such as anthocyanin pigments, and nectar bribes. The rim of the pitcher (peristome) is slippery, when moistened by condensation or nectar, causing insects to fall into the trap. The small bodies of liquid contained within the pitcher traps are called phytotelmata. They drown the insect, and the body of it is gradually dissolved. This may occur by bacterial action (the bacteria being washed into the pitcher by rainfall) or by enzymes secreted by the plant itself.

 

 

 

Rajah Brooke's Birdwing

Rajah Brooke's Birdwing is a distinctive black and electric-green birdwing butterfly from the rainforests. It is a protected species. It is the national butterfly of Malaysia.

The wings of males are mainly black. Each forewing has seven teeth-shaped electric-green markings, while there is a relatively large electric-green patch on the hindwings. The head is bright red and the body is black with red markings. The wings of females are browner with prominent white flashes at the tips of the forewings and at the base of the hindwings. The wingspan of Rajah Brooke's Birdwing is 15–17 cm (5.9–6.7 in).

 

 

 


Sea Turtle

Malaysia is home to all five sea turtle species - Green Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Leatherback Turtle and Loggerhead Turtle. All of these species are critically endangered worldwide and therefore the state government has set up a network of coastal and marine national parks dedicated to their conservation.

The habitat of a sea turtle has a significant influence on its morphology. Sea turtles are able to grow so large because of the immense size of their habitat: the ocean. The reason that sea turtles are much bigger than land tortoises and freshwater turtles is directly correlated with the vastness of the ocean, and the fact that they travel such far distances. Having more room to live enables more room for growth.

 

 

Malaysia had taken a few action to preserve the wildlife. The map below shows the location of 19 national park.


HISTORICAL PLACES OF MALAYSIA

 

Malaysia is a country of various spectacular places of historical significance. The historical places of Malaysia reveal the culture and tradition attached with the country.


 

A Famosa is a Portuguese fortress located in Malacca, Malaysia. It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in south east Asia.

It was build by the Portuguese in 1511. It is used to defend themselves. It suffered severe destruction during the Dutch invasion and what are left today are just the entrance walls.

 

 

 

St. Paul's Church is a historic church building in Malacca, Malaysia that was originally built in 1521. It is located at the summit of St. Paul's Hill and is today part of the Malacca Museum Complex comprising the A Famosa ruins, the Stadthuys and other historical buildings.

The chapel was deeded to the Society of Jesus in 1548 by the Bishop of Goa, João Afonso de Albuquerque, with the title deeds received by St. Francis Xavier. The chapel was then further enlarged in 1556 with the addition of a second floor, and a belfry tower was added in 1590. The chapel was then renamed the Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God).

 

A burial vault was opened in 1592 and many people of distinction were buried there, including Pedro Martins, the second Bishop of Funay, Japan.

 

 

 

The Stadthuys, also known as the Red Square, is a historical structure situated in the heart of Malacca Town. It was built by the Dutch occupants in 1650 as the office of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor. Its heavy door, red painted wall and dutchich design are the uniqueness of the buildings.

Situated at Laksamana Road, beside the Christ Church, the supposed oldest remaining Dutch historical building in the Orient, is now home to the History and Ethnography Museum. Among the displays in the museum are traditional costumes and artifacts throughout the history of Malacca, which makes it Malacca's premier museum.

 

 

 

The Astana is a palace in Kuching, Sarawak, on the north bank of the Sarawak River, opposite the Kuching Waterfront. It was built in 1870 by the second White Rajah, Charles Brooke, as a wedding gift to his wife, Margaret Alice Lili de Windt. The couple married at Highworth, Wiltshire on 28 October 1869 and she was raised to the title of Ranee of Sarawak with the style of Her Highness upon their marriage.

The name is a variation of 'istana', meaning 'palace'. The palace is not normally open to the public, although the landscaped gardens are, which can be reach by a boat ride across the Sarawak River.

 

 

 

The Cheng Hoon Teng templeis a Chinese temple practicing the Three Doctrinal Systems of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism located in Malacca Town. It is the oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia.

Built in 1645 by Kapitan Lee Wei King with building materials imported from China, Cheng Hoon Teng served as the main place of worship for the local Hoklo (Hokkien) community. The main hall was built by Kapitan Chan Ki Lock in 1704 and was rebuilt in 1801 by Kapitan China Chua Su Cheong, who contributed to the aesthetic and magnificent structural additions of the building.

 

 

 

Kampung Kling Mosque  is an old mosque in Malacca. It's a merge of Sumatran and Western architecture with a three tier pyramid roof which is a touch of Hindu influence perhaps and elegant Corinthian-styled columns support the carved wooden ceiling.

The original structure built by Indian Muslim traders in 1748 was a wooden building and in 1872, it was rebuilt in brick. The minaret, ablution pool and entrance arch were built at the same time with the main building. The kampung kling mosque is named based on the place where Indian traders dwell in that place called Kampung Kling.

 

 

Pasir Salak Historical Complex located in Ipoh, Perak. The complex pays tribute to warriors such as Dato' Sagor and Dato' Maharaja Lela, who led the locals against the forces of the British colonial administration. 


When the then British Resident of Perak, J.W.W. Birch was assassinated on the bank of Sungai Perak (Perak River), tension between the British colonial administration and the Malays rose. It escalated into open conflict which eventually led to the country's declaration of independence. 

 

 

 

The Maritime Museum is a museum in Malacca City. The museum main exhibits the replica of Flor de la Mar with 34 metres high, 36 metres long and 8 metres wide.

The work on the museum started in early 1990 and it was officially opened to the public by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on 13 June 1994. The phase two of the museum is housed in the old Guthrie building and was opened by State Committee for Tourism, Culture and Environment Chairman Poh Ah Tiam.