Results tagged “borneo” from Discover Borneo: Blog

Planning an Event and Want to be Original?

Try private charter cruise with the classic yacht RAJA LAUT. Raja Laut is an exceptional venue for Day and Sunset Cruises - Birthdays 
- Company Events
- Meetings - Team Building - Engagement Parties
- Weddings - Photo Shoots - and many other special events!

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From her home port of Kota Kinabalu, Raja Laut will sail to the nearby marine park where 5 idyllic tropical islands await. The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park makes Kota Kinabalu a great location for organizing day cruises, sunset cruises, corporate sailing events, and hosting parties for special occasions, such as a birthday cruise, wedding cruise, or honeymoon cruise.

Business & Meetings in Kota Kinabalu - Both comfortable and elegant, what better place is there in Kota Kinabalu to spend quality time with important clients or colleagues than during your very own private meeting on the yacht raja laut?

Corporate Events & Incentives in Kota Kinabalu - Teamwork, communication: sailing is team building! The yacht Raja Laut can accommodate groups of 10 to 5o people for a day featuring created themed programs guaranteed to delight and inspire your group. The challenge maybe a treasure hunt or a «goodies hunt», on an island or underwater. Using a compass and a personalized roadmap the teams follow an exact itinerary to their way point on small vessels before returning to the Raja Laut for a reward ceremony. A course filled with enigma, riddle and quiz requiring collective effort.

Weddings in Kota Kinabalu - A unique setting for a unique day. Transcend your wedding pictures from normal to magnificent, taking advantage of the sea view lighting and Raja Laut's authentic classic feel. The deck area made of Burmese teak is large and uncluttered and can accommodate up to 50 people for a wedding ceremony or just for a shooting.

DJ/Live Music in Kota Kinabalu - Rock the boat, literally and metaphorically! Transform the deck into a dance floor and you have the scene and setting of an amazing party while cruising in the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Kota Kinabalu.

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Why is Raja Laut so special?

On a classic cruise with the yacht Raja Laut you are transported not just to the islands near Kota Kinabalu, but also to an experience of a bygone era, thanks to the unique setting of a classic yacht, which are very rare today. Her friendly crew will make you feel at home and ensure that your day will be one of the most pleasurable of your holiday.

The cruise will stop in the islands for swimming, snorkeling, waterskiing or fishing. Here a buffet lunch and drinks will be served aboard or if you prefer barbecue may be set up on the beach.

The spaciousness and comfort of Raja Laut's deck means that you can relax in the shade or sunbathe, and enjoy stunning scenery. At sunset cold drinks and delicious snacks are served in tranquil surroundings of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park!

For more information see : www.rajalaut.com

Where is Borneo?

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It is not so surprising that some do not know where Borneo is or if it even exists. The idea of Borneo as an historical land of myths and legends is prominent and has been ever since the time of Sir James Brooke and the "White Rajah's". Some great writers have had Borneo in their imagination - for instance Borneo the backdrop for at least 4 of Joseph Conrad's novels.

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Today, the name "Borneo" applies as a Geographical name to the entire island - Borneo the 3rd largest island in the world. However, the island of Borneo is divided into 4 different states, belonging to 3 different countries.

- Sabah (Malaysia)
- Sarawak (Malaysia)
- Kalimantan (Indonesia)
- Brunei (Brunei)

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This might be one of the reasons that people wonder if Borneo is a real place or if it is an imaginary land from a novel!

It is not that surprising that many people do not know where Borneo is. One of the reasons for this is because today, the island of Borneo (the 3rd largest island in the world) is divided into 3 different countries:
- Brunei
- Malaysia
- Indonesia

Further confusion is added by the names of the individual states:
- Sabah (Malaysia)
- Sarawak (Malaysia)
- Kalimantan (Indonesia)

These state names have become well-known in their own right, a bit like California or Florida - everyone knows these are states that exists in the USA, which is a country in North America (North America includes Canada and the USA).

So here, for example, I personally live in Sabah, which is a state in Malaysia, which is on the island of Borneo. Sabah was formerly known as North Borneo. This was during Colonial times, but the name North Borneo is still often used, especially in tourist literature.

The other Malaysian state on the island of Borneo is Sarawak. There are 11 other states in Malaysia, all of them located on the "Peninsula" - an area of land just south of Thailand, and just north of Singapore.

As for the questions "where is Borneo?" Since I live in Sabah, I this is what I told my friend:

Draw a triangle over Southeast Asia, right in the centre of this triangle you will find Sabah (Malaysian North Borneo).

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The success of Sabah as a modern state, and as a tourism destination, is closely linked with this location. Being in the centre of South East Asia means that Kota Kinabalu (the international airport) is just a short flight from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Taiwan, Manila, etc.

Another effect of the location: this is where 3 seas converge together around 1000's of islands: the South China Sea, the Sulu Sea, the Celebes Sea. It is for this reason that this area is widely known to contain the worlds greatest underwater biodiversity.

There are many more facts like this to discover about Borneo, so many interesting things to know once you start looking into the geography, history of a place. In the end, the question "where is Borneo?" was a good one as it really made me think.

See www.discoverborneo.com for more information about Malaysian Borneo

Kuala Lumpur: ALeqM5hoe50Z0T7H1ekbwWYedXX4VYXCRw.jpg An endangered pygmy elephant calf that was rescued on Borneo island early this month has died, a minister said Sunday.

Masidi Manjun, eastern Sabah-state tourism, culture and environment minister said the two-year-old female calf died from severe internal bleeding.

On June 4, the wildlife rescue unit saved the highly dehydrated pygmy elephant from a moat at an oil palm estate. She was one of two calves found starving in Sabah.

"The lesson we learn from this tragedy is that the best place for the animal to survive is in its natural habitat and not in human captivation," Masidi said.

Pygmy elephants on Borneo form a sub-species of the Asian elephant. The creatures have a rounded appearance and are smaller than their mainland cousins.
Authorities say there are around 1,500-2,000 left on Borneo island.

Wildlife activists have warned that Borneo Pygmy elephants are fast losing their natural habitat to deforestation and human encroachment.

Source: AFP

rhino.jpgKota Kinabalu: WWF-Malaysia's Borneo Species Programme team has captured images of a female Sumatran rhino believed about 20 years old in the Heart of Borneo, further strengthening the need to sustainably manage the forest in this part of the region that is shared by Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia.

Raymond Alfred, Senior Manager of the programme, stressed the importance of strong and coordinated enforcement in the forest reserves involving the Forestry Department, Wildlife Department and Sabah Foundation, with the support of the police, to ensure the survival of this endangered species.

The current enforcement and survey work in this area is supported by Honda Malaysia. Consistent monitoring of the rhino population here has so far identified the presence of two rhino calves.

Raymond said the future of the rhinos in Borneo now depends on how serious the forest reserves could be managed sustainably and how the enforcement and monitoring could be carried out effectively and be supported with appropriate activities.

WWF-Malaysia is now looking into how Forest Management Units (FMUs) could be sustainably managed since the forest stand and condition in most of the FMUs in Sabah are poor.

He said based on long-term field survey data, the rhino monitoring and survey activities in other forests by the programme shows that the home range of the rhinos is also affected by oil palm expansion near the eastern coastline of Sabah.

(Daily Express)

Continue reading Heart of Borneo needs extra monitoring

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Nevio (centre) tries out the kulintangan while Claudine (right) decides to beat on a traditional drum when they dropped in at the Kota Belud House during the festival.

KOTA KINABALU: A couple from the grand duchy of Luxembourg in Europe arrived in Sabah for the first time recently and was impressed not only by the natural wonders of the state but the Kaamatan festival which unites the many ethnic groups in celebration.

"We are happy to be here not only because we have the chance to visit many beautiful places like Mount Kinabalu and the orang utan sanctuary in Sepilok but also to have met friendly people.

"The Kaamatan festival is a truly exciting event. You should be proud to have this kind of celebration which brings together all the ethnic groups in the state in a joyful atmosphere," said Nevio Salciccia.

He commended the state government in its effort to preserve the cultural heritage of the people.

Nevio and his wife Claudine came to know of Sabah through the social networking website, Facebook.

Their decided to take time off from their busy schedules to meet their new friend Mama Anne who is the caretaker of the Bukit Harapan charity home in Inanam.

(New Sabah Times)

Continue reading Facebook brings couple to visit Sabah

etnik2.jpgKota Kinabalu: Eastern Europeans are taking notice of Sabah, if the presence of Warsaw-based photographer and travel writer, Edyta Buchert, is an indication.

Polish media making the beat in Sabah is rare.

But Edyta was clicking and shooting away the diverse cultural faces and costumes at the Sabah Museum's Heritage Village Sunday afternoon in conjunction with Sabah Fest 2009 events themed "Mystical Sabah - A Cultural Experience."

"Peoples are the essence of a country," said Edyta who writes for the Polish magazine named Shiat Podsoze i Kultura.

(Daily Express)

Continue reading Mystical Sabah - A Pole's surprise encounter

Sabah a satisfying experience

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tradisi2.jpgSABAH is a "very satisfying" place to visit, according to pharmacy students of the International Medical University who stormed Sabah Muesum's Heritage Village, Monday.

"This is my first visitÉmy first experience to see these unique ethnic tribes and they are so friendly," said Kwan Zuan Ur, after having a whale of a time dancing with the Papar Kadazandusun cultural troupe, including Minister Datuk Masidi himself.

Asked how they got to know the Heritage Village, she said: "Our driver brought us." Apart from culture, the other memorable aspect of Sabah was the seafood.

"We were in Sandakan the last couple of days and practically gorged on lots of seafood because it's so nice, so fresh and yet so cheap compared to KL where it's so hard to get, so expensive and not fresh," she said.

"The scenery is fantastic, the beaches pristine. Here you have fresh clean air, KL is polluted, Port Dickson's beaches are polluted," Zuan Ur continued.

Sepilok differed from what she had "visualized" she noted.

"Only two Orangutans came out but they looked natural and much slimmer than the big bloated ones we had seen KL zoos."

"We are very curious especially about Mt Kinabalu. We want to climb it," Zuan Ur said.

"Sabah is good fun," said Yun Lee, classmate of Zuab Ur. "What makes Sabah very special is its wealth of unique cultures which we cannot see in KL so I am very happy to have seen them."

(Daily Express)

Pirates Part 2... of Borneo

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Well ok, this wasn't quite "Stagnetti's Revenge" guys, but maybe the closest thing we've got here in Malaysian Borneo: lots of hot chicks swinging from the rigging on a classic yacht !!?!!

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As you can see it was beautiful day to be sailing in the South China Sea... the skies blue azure, sun shining bright... too strong maybe, for even our local Borneans were left with reddish-pink noses at the end of this rather lovely day of sailing, diving, eating and drinking... The yacht in question is Borneo Tall Ships' very own classic yacht Raja Laut (www.rajalaut.com) which is currently berthed in Sutera Harbour, Kota Kinabalu - her "home town marina"...

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Borneo is Raja Laut's birthplace, her spiritual home. The classic gaff schooner was built on these shores.... and with it a dream of exploring the magnificent cruising grounds of Southeast Asia!..

The clue is right there in the name "Born(eo)"! True to this name Borneo is the birthplace of lots of inspiring, impossibly romantic, sometimes very real adventures...
a conclusion the writer Joseph Conrad must have come to having traced the paths to Borneo many times both as a sailor and novelist...

The great writer did more than any other to make Borneo legend, and we like to think of the journey from the Andaman sea to Borneo, and then onto Bali as "Conrad's Passage"!

For much of the world, and for Conrad in particular, interest in Borneo began with the "White Rajah" of Sarawak - Englishman James Brooke, who sailed from Singapore, armed with a 100ft schooner called the "Royalist" (not unlike the Raja Laut itself), and an inheritance, to take on the feared headhunters and pirates of Borneo, claim the Kingdom of Sarawak and found a dynasty that lasted from 1860 to 1940.

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But these are stories for another time. Today, the nearest thing you're going to find to a pirate in Malaysian Borneo are the pirated DVD makers me thinks.

Embarking at Sutera, we headed out to Pulau Sapi, the smallest island in the marine park but also the most popular because it is well sheltered by the bigger Pulau Gaya. Arriving near the Sapi-Gaya channel this crazed dreadlocked pirate on Ed's boat got his grappling hook on us... but it only turned out to be international travel photographer Suchen - plug time ! (www.suchen.com)

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Six of us elected to go for a dive, and Raja Laut's lovely PADI Dive Instructor got us all setup with new scuba gear for the yacht's dive store, so all we had to do is slap some sun cream on and get into the tender.

Here's Narvin demonstrating a nice backward roll out of Raja Laut's diving RIB. Thats Gav going the other way (as usual).

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Unfortunately no whalesharks were spotted (April is whaleshark season in Sabah) but we were pleasantly surprised by how the dive turned out: good visibility, healthy coral, and lots of fish, some rays, a moray eel, several species of nudibranchs which are always a welcome find...

After the dive we returned to the yacht for some lunch, prepared by Raja Laut's very own gourmet chef, weighed anchor and set sail around the north of Pulau Gaya.

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We stopped again in Gayana Bay for some wakeboarding in the bay's flat calm waters, and some kayaking too.. Its a 2-seater kayak but evidently Mr Aping wasn't going to let that stop him from joining in..

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As the sunset we entered the old port and ended the cruise at the Waterfront in downtown Kota Kinabalu, anchored right in front of Bar Su, using the RIB to go ashore we had Pizza ordered from Toscani's to be brought over to the Raja Laut...

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The sunset really was out of this world and we have the pictures to prove (thanks Suchen! - plug ! - www.suchen.com)...

A little champagne for starters... Well, I reckon it just doesn't get any better than this...

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I think Gavin was thinking the same thing... Looks like he probably had a few too many though...

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For more information on the Raja Laut visit www.rajalaut.com + or download by clicking on this link

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah which is rich in wildlife, plants and marine diversity, can serve as a model for other states in Malaysia and countries in the region for its conservation projects, a US government official said.

Impressed with what she has seen during three visits, Kuala Lumpur-based US State Department environment, science, technology and health officer Alice Chu noted that Sabah was carrying out conservation projects with non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to preserve its biodiversity.

"The US government is trying to partner with the local state governments of Sabah and Sarawak and their partners such as NGOs to preserve biodiversity in a sustainable manner.

"Malaysia is a leader in this and Sabah is a great model for other states in the country and other nations in the region to follow.

"The local government and NGOs know what the pressing issues are," said Chu, who will soon leave Malaysia to take up another posting, after spending half a day at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park here yesterday.

(New Strait Times)

Continue reading US official: Sabah a model for conservation

Vote for Sipadan Island

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vote-sipadan.jpgKOTA KINABALU: Sipadan Island, Sabah's pride with its amazingly diverse coral and marine life, needs votes to ensure it is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

The island off Semporna has already passed the first round when it earned national qualification on Dec 31, 2008.

It was selected from a pool of 261 entries from 222 participating countries.

The second round of selection from January to 7 July 2009 will see qualified entries divided into seven categories. Each category will have 11 nominees. Currently, Sipadan is in the 17th position for the island category and requires more votes to make it to the top 11.

The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment is therefore appealing to Sabahans to help place Sipadan Island in the list of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

At a press conference yesterday, Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said with the help of government agencies and travel companies, they hoped the island would garner enough votes to be included in the list.

Together with the Sabah Tourism Board, the ministry will embark on a "Vote for Sipadan" campaign to urge people to vote for the island.

(Source: New Sabah Times)

Continue reading Vote for Sipadan Island

Voting is easy and no charges are involved. Anyone above the age of 13 can cast their votes by simply visiting the websites www.sabahtourism.com or www.new7wonders.com/nature.

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NATURAL WONDER: One of the many large cave passages in the Whiterock area of Clearwater Cave. - Photo by Robbie Shone

KUCHING: Sarawak's giant Clearwater Cave in Gunung Mulu National Park has moved up the rankings to eighth longest in the world from 11th place and could also be the largest in the world by volume.

This latest discovery was made during the just completed 14th Anglo-Sarawak Caving Expedition to the park.

Based in the Melinau Gorge, the expedition was in the field between Jan 16 and March 12.

Tim Allen, from the United Kingdom, led the team of 18 which consisted of experienced Mulu cavers, young speleologists, a research scientist and an ecologist from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

The team was closely supported by the national park management and staff, as well as local organisers and labour, according to a press release yesterday.

The expedition focused most of its attention on the Whiterock area of the Clearwater Cave system.

(Source: The Borneo Post)

Continue reading Mulu's Clearwater Cave eighth longest in the world

Sabah_SipadanIsland.jpgKOTA KINABALU: Sipadan is now officially eligible to be considered for nomination as a Unesco World Heritage site.

The nominee for the World's New Seven Wonders of Nature is famous for its abundance of turtles, schooling barracudas, white tip reef sharks, bumphead parrotfish and its teeming reef.

The island will be judged by a scientific panel alongside other world-renowned diving destinations, such as the Raja Ampat, Banda islands and Bunaken National Park in Indonesia, the Tubbatha and Apo Reefs in the Philippines and hundreds of other islands in the world.

A special panel headed by Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin submitted an entry about a week ago.

Continue reading here

Kota Kinabalu: A total of RM520,000 was raised Tuesday at the Bornean Rhino Alliance's "Rhino Rescue Lunch" at the Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa - surpassing the original target of RM500,000.

The single biggest pledge came from the State Culture, Tourism and Environment Minister when Datuk Masidi Manjun announced it would give RM100,000!

Another RM100,000 came from two US Non-government-Organisations namely Shared Earth Foundation represented by its President and CEO Caroline D Gabel who pledged RM50,000. The other being SOS Rhino US which also pledged RM50,000 through a distance phone call from its CEO Dr Nan Schaffer from Bali.

Singaporean Datuk Edward Ong of Sutera Harbour Resort Sdn Bhd made his presence felt for the tourism sector with a RM50,000 pledge.

Eight Wildlife Department Bird's Nest Concessionaires from Sabah's East Coast represented by Awang Hohd Sah B Arsad sprang a surprise with a combined pledge for RM50,000.

Another RM50,000 came from oil palm plantation group Wilmar International Limited represnted by its Group Head-CSR, Jeremy Goon.

The group which owns a large plantation that borders the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, has been helping out on anti-poaching activities since 2002 with some 20 honorary wildlife wardens of their own.

(Article is taken from DailyExpress)

Continue reading Sumatran rhinos conservation effort raises RM520,000

Sabah wants Ramsar site No 2

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insidepix1.jpgKOTA KINABALU: Barely five months after having its first Ramsar site, Sabah is lobbying for a second Ramsar site in the 24-ha Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre.

The state government will support efforts to apply to the international Ramsar body soon.

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said he would support the move to ensure the city had ample green lungs and also to provide more recreational activities to the urban population.

"The move will also cement Sabah's excellent track record in conservation," he said at the launch of World Wetlands Day here yesterday.

The proposal was mooted years ago along with the Lower Kinabatangan-Segama Wetlands, which has been recognised as a Ramsar site on Oct 28 last year.

(Article is taken from NewStraitTimes)

Continue reading Sabah wants Ramsar site No 2

Sabah to woo French tourists

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PARIS: Sabah is going all out to increase the number of tourists from France.

And, the Malaysian Embassy here has pledged to give its fullest support to help realise this endeavour.

Speaking to Malaysian journalists during a dinner reception for French major tour operators here recently, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said France was a potential market which has yet been fully tapped.

"Because air connection is the major factor, the Malaysia Airlines has also agreed to play its part to ensure more arrivals to Sabah," he said.

Masidi added that he met the Malaysian Ambassador Datuk S. Thanarajasingam and senior MAS and Tourism Malaysia officials based in Paris during a luncheon held at the embassy and their discussions yielded positive results.

"I have also offered to send our cultural dance group to perform at any roadshow to attract the French people to visit Sabah," he said.

According to Masidi, many French people who visited Malaysia would end up touring only Kuala Lumpur "but I am confident they would love to visit Sabah if MAS could provide easy flight connections to Sabah"

(Article is taken from NewSabahTimes)

Continue reading Sabah to woo French tourists

swak_smiles.jpgSIBU: Sarawakians, famed for their great smiles, friendliness and hospitality, should preserve these natural traits zealously to ward off the onslaught of 'imported' negative cultures.

Minister of Urban Development and Tourism, Datuk Michael Manyin Jawong, said this "great culture" of the locals must be preserved because, among other things, tourists were attracted to visit the State as it was hard to find such natural smiles and friendly people anywhere in the world.

"Smiles, friendliness and great hospitality are, first and foremost, one of the most important attractions which impress tourists so much that they want to visit this beautiful land of ours.

"Recently, for example, I met a Singaporean and he told me that if you happen to be visiting a longhouse, and you are hungry, you can just walk into any of the bileks (room) and get some food...for free!," he chuckled.

Manyin pointed out that the friendly nature of the locals had been passed down from generation to generation, and as such should be preserved for posterity.

(Article is taken from Eastern Times)

Continue reading Smiles - Sarawak's potent tourist attraction

sbh_fav.jpgWASHINGTON: Sabah, known for its diving, golfing and green tourism, is the favourite Malaysian destination for American tourists after Penang, Salahuddin Mohd Ariffin, Vice-President and Director of Tourism Malaysia in New York disclosed this here Sunday.

"They seem to be attracted to nature, adventure, diving, golfing, and MICE meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions," he said.

"Arrivals of American tourists in Malaysia went up nine per cent to 220,000 in 2008 from 2007 despite the gloomy economic scenario, he told Bernama at the closing of the two-day "Adventures in Travel Expo."

"More than 55 per cent of the American tourists were in Malaysia for leisure, while the rest came for business," he added.

The outlook looks good for the immediate future for the Malaysian tourism market. Tourism Malaysia had projected 15,000 tourists to arrive from the US for January this year.

The number surpassed Malaysia's expectation and it showed an increase of 10 per cent in January 2009 to 17,000 arrivals, compared with the same period in January 2008.

According to research conducted by Tourism Malaysia, most of the US tourists came as independent tourists, 95 per cent of them made their bookings using the internet, while the rest came to Malaysia on travel packages using travel agents.

(Article is taken from NewSabahTimes)

Continue reading Sabah a favourite place for American tourists

Borneo's forest largely untouched

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KOTA KINABALU: Borneo still enjoys a friendly and beautiful environment because of its large area of untouched forest, which is a contradiction to a claim by a foreign non-governmental organisation that almost all of its forest has been cleared.

Minister of Tourism, Culture & Environment Datuk Masidi Manjun said such claim was totally inaccurate because it was made by people who had not seen by themselves the real situation in Borneo.

He said this when met after clarifying the matter to Marta Szigeti Bonifert, the executive director of Regional Environment Centre (REC) based in Hungary, at the Luncheon Talk entitled "Transition to sustainability through cooperation" at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa yesterday.

"I feel happy that today we have the opportunity to explain to Bonifert on claim that almost all forest in Borneo had been cleared or deforested. I had explained to her that in fact, 53 per cent of Sabah has been gazetted as forest reserve and wild parks for near extinct animals.

"The map on Borneo that she claimed to have received from an NGO showed almost all parts of Borneo had been cleared but I dare to say that 80 per cent of Kalimantan has not been explored, what more to say about clearing them for development," Masidi said.

(Article is taken from The New Sabah Times)

Continue reading Borneo's forest largely untouched

Borneo, wet and wild

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By Paul Si

I cannot speak for the rest of the world but 2008 was a good year for me. I got to tick off several boxes on my to-do list, including driving a topless Lamborghini through the hills of Bologna and bit of backpacking in Italy with my wife, all without any work involved. (If it sounds like I'm rubbing it in, sorry.)

But the highlights came towards the end of the year, when I got to indulge to the max in my passion - 4X4 adventure.

There was a bit of worry, initially. It looked like nature was going to pour cold water on my plans to enjoy Sabah's famous Borneo Safari, with a weather alert warning of heavy rainfall towards the end of October.

[Fast and furious action by a Borneo Safari competitor.]

Fast and furious action by a Borneo Safari competitor.
The expected deluge might cause "flash floods and mudslides in low-lying areas and river banks", the met boys warned, in "Sabah's coastal areas and the interior". (Call me an alarmist but wouldn't that description cover the WHOLE state?)

This was to be a homecoming of sort for me because I had lived in Sabah for several years in the early 1990s, and the 1992 edition of the Borneo Safari was my induction into the world of hardcore 4X4 (followed by the inimitable Camel Trophy of 1993).

In this hobby of "challenging nature", rain means tough trail conditions. But that's regarded as a promise, not a threat. It is something to welcome, not to dread.

But, there can also easily be too much of a good thing. Memories were still fresh of the watery disaster of 2007 edition of the Malaysian Rainforest Challenge in Terengganu, forcing participants to abandon nearly 50 vehicles to the rising waters and flee in rescue boats sent in by the authorities.

(Article is taken from TheMalaysianInsider)

Continue reading Borneo, wet and wild

The Sukau Experience

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Hello all, so I'll just quickly introduce myself, my name is Will Berry and I have been out in Borneo now for about a month doing a bit of work for DiscoverBorneo. It's mostly office based so when Ritch, one of my friends from England came over to Borneo, it was a brilliant reason to go off to the jungle, so here is the tail of our trip.

Getting there was really very simple, just a very quick ride in the taxi to KK airport. We arrived, with just enough time for a quick coffee for breakfast. Then up up and away for the 40 minute flight to Sandakan. If you go try to get a window seat you can get some really good views of the jungle, again very simple to get out of the airport, internal flights really could not be simpler.

So out in to the blazing sun of Borneo again we were picked up from the airport and taken down to the pier for a fast speed boat journey up river, here we meet John who had just taken his yacht up river to have a little snoop around, he could not get that far apparently because of an overhanging power lines but his description of the river was definitively interesting. We could not wait to get started!!!

As we started to leave Sandakan bay we must have passed over a huge school of fish since they started to jump up out of the sea flying in all direction and then we were in to the Kinabatangan itself a really broad river, as you travel up you can see civilisation begin to disappear the villages get further and further apart, the jungle get thicker and the trees taller.

There was another group of five heading up the river with us, so we chatted about what we hoped to see and how we had come to be in Borneo. The guide was really friendly and always kept an eye out for wildlife thought he explained that most animals slept during the mid day heat, the speed of the boat was keeping us nice an cool however. Just before we reached the lodge the driver suddenly cut the power to the engines and there just beside the boat was a 3 meter Crocodile he was only there a few seconds but he was a very beautiful animal, this gave us some really high hope for what we would see in the evening.

Then we arrived at the Melapi Lodge here we were welcomed with a cool glass of juice and a simple buffet lunch, then off to our cabin, much better than I had been anticipating for the middle of the jungle air conditioning, and a lovely veranda on watch the sun setting over the river. They have a big central lodge where they serve food and then there a reasonably well stocked bar and very friendly staff, nothing nicer then a cold beer after a hard days animal watching.

So now on to the important bit seeing the animals, this is all done by boat, our tour only included an afternoon trip for about 2 hours, but you can book morning and night trips when your there, just make sure you take enough money ATMs are a little hard to come by in the jungle. In total we took 2 afternoon, 1 morning and night time tour. This was just about perfect for us but then again we did get very lucky.

The boats are traditional long boats with a fifteen horse power engine on the back, when full they can fit about 6 people sitting two by two and then there is the guide and the boat driver. They have plenty of life jacket which you can us or not depending on your preference. On our first outing we saw a small herd of pygmy elephants just down by the water our guide had in the pasted work for WWF and pointed out the radio collars around some of the elephants necks, they were meant to allow WWF to track their movement but apparently deep in the jungle they where next to useless !!! The only way is the more advanced but more expensive GPS tracking. We stayed with the elephants for about 10 minutes, time for everyone to get some good shots and just admire this creatures apparently the reason they so small is evolution.

The big elephants in Africa don't have to worry too much about their size since they just have loads of open space but in Borneo big elephants would find it just about impossible to move around the jungle, so they shrunk.

The next animal we encountered were the hornbills now I' am in no way a twitchier, really I love the undersea world being a marine biologist, but these are some really spectacular birds with their massive beaks, we saw in the space of five minutes 3 different types of hornbills .

So then we headed of down a small tributary that lead off the Kinabatangan river this is where the jungle closes in a bit more, and you really feel inside the jungle. There are loads of Macaques all over the place, travelling around in there troops, mothers carrying little babies and grooming each other all very cute.

Then we encounter the one bad thing about the trip, lots and lots of other boats, some sitting six people per row and having six rows, we nick named these boats busses, how any one got to feel the remoteness of the jungle on these things is beyond me. There were a load of other small boats there as well it was like a traffic jam, this was where I really appreciated our boat driver he just zoomed passed all these boats and head off far up stream. It turns out that the boats from Melapi Lodge try to leave about half an hour earlier than all the rest of the boats and are not as concerned about using a little more fuel, to get you back to the peace and tranquillity of the jungle thank you thank you thank you, it really was these little touches that made the trip so good. Having left the gaggle of tourist well in our wake we could proceed to get back to watching the jungle.

Next on the list was a bird that I think no one could fail to be amazed by, kingfishers, they have 7 or 8 different type in Borneo depending on who you speak to , but that's not the point they are just magnificent birds, a real startling blue offset by a really powerful and vivid orange very very beautiful and the look so elegant, when they dive for a fish great just great birds. Then there are the fly catchers very very fast birds all I ever saw was a small black blur but apparently that what it was ( this is why I'am not really a twitcher). Then we came upon some quite extraordinary bridges these where actually crossing points for the orangutans, built from donated Japanese fire hoses to allow orangutans to cross the river, they really don't like to get wet apparently. I really really wanted to see an orangutan in the wild but I was not going to get my hopes up, since they are so rare.

So we crossed under the bridges which was swarming with Macaques and pushed a little further up river we had been going for about two hours by now and the sun which had been clear in the sky when we set out was now rapidly sinking over the horizon, the guide and boat drive were happy to go on looking for wildlife a little bit long, which was lucky because then we saw the proboscis monkey, which you can only see here in Borneo. They were having great fun jumping from tree to tree with the massive long white tails and let's face it really ugly noses, then we made an about turn and headed for home, really very pleased with ourselves for getting a really impressive haul of animals first time out. So that is enough for now watch out for more about this trip later.

Exploring Borneo Tropical Rainforest

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by Jayden Yap

The Tropical Rainforest is earth's most complex biome in terms of both structure and species diversity. It occurs under optimal growing conditions: abundant precipitation and year round warmth. There is no annual rhythm to the forest; rather each species has evolved its own flowering and fruiting seasons. Sunlight is a major limiting factor. A variety of strategies have been successful in the struggle to reach light or to adapt to the low intensity of light beneath the canopy.

The Tropical Rainforest has always been one of the most mysterious and adventurous place to visit. Throughout the whole world, only a few tropical countries are lucky to have tropical rainforest with them, these are Amazon tropical rainforest, Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia.

When travelling in the tropical rainforest, it's adventurous and mysterious; we definitely want to think about our own safety. Amazon and Africa Tropical rainforest system are similar to the one in Malaysia and Indonesia, but for safety reasons, we always encourage visitors or tourists to visit the 3rd largest island in the world - Borneo.

Continue reading Exploring Borneo Tropical Rainforest

North Borneo Railway

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train.jpgConstruction of the then North Borneo Railway began in 1896 under the command of civil engineer Arthur J. West. It was originally intended primarily for the transport of tobacco from the interior to the coast for export. The first line built was a 32km track from Bukau River, north to Beaufort, and south to the port of Weston. This was then extended with a further 48km route in 1903 to Tenom, the works for which was completed in 1905. The line was extended again in 1906 with a further 16km from Tenom to Melalap.

At the same time as this work, was work on another line from Beaufort to Jesselton) (now known as Kota Kinabalu) which was completed in 1903, running mostly near or beside the coast. With the completion of these works the network routes covered some 193km. However the network was almost entirely destroyed during the Second World War.
train02.jpgIn 1949 then North Borneo Railway embarked on an ambitious programme to rehabilitate the network and improve service, and once again in 1960. However in 1963 the decision was taken to close the Weston branch line, and in 1970 the Melalap extension from Tenom was also closed to traffic. The high costs of operation of the lesser used routes and the competition from the many new built roads made their situation increasingly untenable. In 1974 the main part of the line was also cut from Kota Kinabalu back to Tanjung Aru.

The line has been closed during 2007 for maintenance and repair. Papar to Beaufort is expected to be open end of 2007 and Papar to Tanjung Aru in May 2008. There are no updates from the Sabah National Railway, but the Leisure Train Company, 'North Borneo Railway' does mention this on their website.

(Article is taken from Wikipedia:Sabah State Railway)

Borneo Marathon

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This one is for all you runners out there. The 2008 Borneo Marathon, the first marathon to be held in Kota Kinabalu in over 20 years, is the perfect opportunity to combine a holiday and get another marathon, or half marathon/10km (depending on which event you choose) under your belt !

Have a look at www.borneomarathon.com

10% of the entry fee will go to local charties, and you are encouraged to choose the one you want to contribute to specifically.

The race starts early in the morning on Sunday, the 12 of October, and I will be there !

I have entered the half -marathon part of the race (I am not completely nuts!).. although this running thing is not something I would normally do... Don't get me wrong: I love sports and I love the outdoors and that's why I live here in Borneo. But I'm not as fit as I used to be and running 21 km in the tropics... well I have visions of my face turning red, my head throbbing with heat, and my mouth and lungs sucking in air like vacuum cleaner when you accidentally get chunk stuck in it !

However, once my friend and colleague, William Dickens, had decided to take up the challenge it was only a matter of time before his enthusiasm and relentless badgering persuaded me to join too...

Its gonna be a hard 'road' ahead. If anyone else out there is running this I look forward to seeing you there at the start, and hopefully at the end too.

Onwards !

Ywan

Ps. Any tips from you experienced runners on how to train properly for the big day ?

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