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March 2017


Contents Editor’s Letter3

Short Getaway A short getaway and up the highlands in Pahang from a crowd city during a summer heat


island- galore


Island, island and island. small deserted small pool of sand in the huge blue ocean that quench our summer vacation needs.

Historic 101



A short dejavu back to the past and learn more about the history of wonderful coloured city of Malacca

Advice 20

Solution to your problemfor travelling from How ? What?Why?Where? When?


A journey outside of the country. Is about other country trip and let the views filled your vacation dilemma.

Out & Beyond

Road Trip 23

A journey made by cars and bus, Excitement and unexpected joyness in this trip.

Editor ‘s Letter We do a lot of lists in this magazine. Some are exhaustive, drawing on a survey of thousands of readers. Others are purely subjective. The Hot List, which covers 33 of our favorite new properties selected from a pool roughly 15 times that number, falls into the latter category and, not for nothing, is a year in the making. Though the methodology and standards are no less rigorous—as editors John Wogan and Hanya Yanagihara can attest—the criteria are often much more ephemeral. Beyond the requisite consideration of bed linens, uninterrupted views, and the nuances of hyper-attentive (yet nearly invisible) service, the Hot List sparks conversations around our offices that sound more philosophical than practical. Answers to questions like how to define luxury now—a critical topic in determining relative “hotness”—deal not only with the quality of craftsmanship used to build and decorate a property but also with its ethos and spirit of generosity. Debates about the relationship between pampering and price point gave rise to a whole new category dedicated to bargains, precisely because a great hotel stay has as much to do with incalculable qualities like the emotional intelligence of the staff as it does with the painstaking restoration of gilded coffers in a centuries-old lobby. As for whether hotels, more than homes we see in magazines, have the power to define good design, our response is a resounding yes. In fact, we dedicated an entire section to the topic: accommodations whose design expresses the best of a culture. By virtue of the fact that they let you “live” in a borrowed space for a period of time, hotels go beyond decorative fantasies. They are places where you get to try on a new identity—a lifestyle or a persona far different from your own. You may have a house filled with French Second Empire antiques but love spending a few nights at the monastic Temple Hotel in Beijing because it’s an aesthetic departure from your regular life. And the Segera Retreat on Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, a testament to the owner’s sense of refinement and adventure, might make you fasttrack your plan B for a more nomadic life. I love the idea that Hanya recently floated of parking a photographer in the lobby of a high-end city hotel to capture guests swanning down the runway, as it were (see The Chedi Andermatt in Switzerland). Granted, some of our favorite hotels are decidedly unfashion-y, but the notion reminded us that luxury hotels are in some ways a last bastion of glamour, tradition, and good old-fashioned manners. Or maybe a hotel lobby is more like an Italian piazza—the place where pairs of friends, siblings, or spouses stroll arm in arm to see and be seen. If the first half of this issue is a love letter to our favorite new hotels, the second half is an ode to those undiscovered places whose charms exist in the absence of hotel infrastructure. In Paso Robles, on California’s gorgeous but unsung Central Coast, one of the popular places to stay costs just $65 a night, yet the area has some of the most exciting food and wine in the country. Similarly, Waiheke, an island off the coast of Auckland where the good life still exists with incredible beauty and simplicity, preserves its under-the-radar status with a long-standing tradition of inns and rentals. It goes without saying, however, that we’d be the first to book a room if a great new hotel opened up in either place.

Oliver Te



Go Straight March 2017

Short Getaway

Colmar Tropicale Colmar Tropicale Colmar Tropicale Colm ar Tropicale Colmar Tropicale Colmar Tropicale Colmar Tr

Colmar Tropicale C

olmar Tropicale is a picturesque French-themed resort with fantasy-like surrounds, settling at 2,700 feet above sea level amidst 80 acres of natural rainforest in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. This village, situated in verdant highlands in Kuala Lumpur, is modelled after the lovely 18th century city of Colmar in Alsace, France and houses quaint French cafés, art galleries, lively street performances, and plenty of exciting activities for visitors of all ages – great for a short weekend getaway from KL city.

A medieval French village in the middle of a Malaysian rainforest, Colmar Tropicale features a castle drawbridge which leads to a massive cobblestone courtyard filled with colourful flowers, park benches, a water fountain, wishing well, and an intricate cuckoo clock tower that’s inspired by France’s Riquewihr Tower. Offering a day of fun-filled activities for kids, Colmar Tropicale has a children’s playground and playroom, arcade machines, clown performances, and street performances by local and international artists. There are also plenty of retail stores in the main courtyard, where guests can purchase unique handicrafts for loved ones back home while adventure seekers can participate in various recreational activities such as horseback riding, jungle trekking, paintball, mountain biking, water volleyball, and archery.


The resort comprised of 235 rooms and suites, offers 8 food & beverage outlets / lounges with food variety ranging from local & international cuisine to an authentic French fine dining restaurant.

how to go Located approximately 48 km away from Kuala Lumpur, Bukit Tinggi is easily accessible from Karak Highway via a 45 minutes drive by car.Alternatively, just in case if you have no intention to drive, Berjaya Group also provide daily shuttle bus services that run daily from Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur to Colmar Tropicale, Berjaya Hills at the scheduled timing.

As if it wasn’t baffling enough to find a French village in the middle of a Malaysian forest, a tranquil Japanese village can be found a short distance down the road. Part of the same attraction, it features an authentic Japanese tea house and restaurant, spa centre, and a botanical garden. Visiting families can also visit over 200 rabbits, deer, and donkeys at Colmar Tropicale’s mini animal park. Berjaya Hills is the ideal setting for inspiration and renewal.This enchanting and refreshing haven draws many with its combination of historical themed attractions with cross-cultural influences from France and Japan.This resort, settled at 2,700 feet above sea-level amidst 80 acres of rainforests, includes an international championship golf course, Colmar Tropicale (a French-themed resort) and a Japanese Village with a typical Japanese Tea House Relish in century old Alsace charm. Let the medieval French village and picturesque surroundings bring you back to an era steeped in culture and romance.

For dining, Colmar Tropicale has seven French-themed eateries that cater to almost every budget level. La Cigogne is a fine dining restaurant that serves authentic French cuisine while La Boulengarie is a French bakery with homemade sandwiches and freshly-brewed coffee. Great for laidback evenings, diners can enjoy a wide range of imported wines at Le Vin Wine & Cigar Bar or enjoy fresh pizza and pastas at La Flamme.


“A French -themed resort”



how to go On Penang and Langkawi you can book a trip to Payar at your hotel, resort or at the small travel agencies. Don’t be surprised about the enormous cost. A trip to Pulau Payar will cost around RM250 at the tour offices at Penang and Langkawi. This includes pick up/drop off at your hotel (on Penang or Langkawi), lunch and the use of snorkel equipment. From Penang, it will take the boat 2 hours to get to the island, from Langkawi about 45 minutes. You will not be able to go to Payar by yourself as private transport is not possible; the island can only be visited as part of a tour. It is one of the only locations at the west side of the Malaysian peninsula where you can snorkel and dive. Besides that, you can also feed the fish. However, we do advise not to participate in that, because it is very bad for the fish and eventually it harms the coral as well. The underwater world around the island often attracts very big kinds of fish, because of the enormous amount of algae in the water. When you obtain your PADI diving license on the island of Langkawi you complete your dives within the marine park. The best snorkel location with the marine parks is near ‘Coral Garden’. Update: Coral Garden is currently closed to the public to give the coral enough time to restore.


d n a l s I Payar

The island is a protected area as the coral has to be preserved. Fishing is absolutely prohibited within the marine park. If you are not going to the east side of the Malaysian peninsula (i.e. Perhentian, Redang or Tioman) or to the beautiful islands around Borneo during your trip through Malaysia, then this is one of the few places where you can encounter the beauty of a real coral island.

On the southeastern side of the Peninsular Malaysia there is a group of 64 islands, of which Tioman Island is the biggest one (+/- 350 km2). Other known islands in this region are: Seri Bulat, Sembilang, Tulai, Sibu, Chebeh, Labas and Renggis. Tioman lies about 56 kilometers of the coast in the federal state of Pahang. Together with Perhentian Island and Redang Island, Tioman is the most popular island on the eastern side of the peninsula. The island is especially known for its wonderful diving and snorkeling possibilities. There are many resorts on the island, catering for every type of traveler. Tioman is a duty-free island, which means some items are much cheaper compared to prices at the mainland. This especially goes for alcohol; which is clearly cheaper compared to other tropical island (only a few ringgits for a beer or cocktail). Around the villages of Tekek and Salang you will be able to find some nightlife; as there are numerous nice bars. Overall the island has a very tranquil atmosphere. The inland of Tioman is covered in thick jungle; the edges of the island are populated. Because Tioman is part of a Marine Park, all visitors have to pay a marine park entrance fee of RM5 upon arrival. The best time to visit Tioman is between March and October. The northeast monsoon transforms this tropical gem into a desolated place between the end of October and the beginning of March; many resorts are closed during this period. Because of this monsoon the underwater world is a lot less beautiful; visibility is bad and there are currents so diving and snorkeling is not possible. Avoid the island during school holidays and public holidays; especially Singaporean school and public holidays as the island is very popular among citizens of Singapore. If you visit Tioman between April and October you will still have a chance that it rains; you are, of course, visiting a country with a tropical climate.

Tioman Island


A legend synonymous with the island is the tale of a beautiful dragon princess. On her way from China to visit her prince in Singapore, this fabled maiden stopped to seek solace in the crystal-clear water of the South China Sea. Enchanted by the charms of the place, she decided to discontinue her journey. The princess took the form of an island and pledged to offer shelter and comfort to passing travelers.

Perhentian Island Northeast of Peninsular Malaysia, nearby the city of Kota Bharu, there are two small islands that form the Perhentian Islands. The names are Perhentian Besar, the larger of the two and popular among couples and families with children, and Perhentian Kecil, the smaller island and very popular among budget travelers. Both the islands have plenty of accommodation available to stay overnight. This ranges from luxurious resorts that offer cabanas complete with air-conditioning, to simple lodges where you will have to do with cold water and a fan. There are no (internationally renowned) hotels. Perhentian is most popular because the great places for diving and snorkeling; in most cases you can enjoy the underwater world right in front of the resort. It is also very popular because the island is easy to reach; though during the monsoon season (October to March) practically the whole island is closed to tourists. As Perhentian Island is part of a marine park visitors have to pay a conservation fee of RM5. The island is situated about 20 kilometers off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

Within walking distance of Watercolours Dive School there is an amazing snorkeling site with barracudas, black reef tip sharks, humphead parrotfish, cuttlefish, blue spotted rays and green turtles. This great location, Teluk Pauh, is right in front of the Coral View Resort as well as in front of the Perhentian Island Resort (PIR). Right in front of the beach of PIR there is a small strip with underwater sea grass where green turtles go to for food. The chance of spotting a turtle over here is very big. We have been there many times and there wasn’t a time where we did not see a turtle. Sometimes you do have to be patient and do not get to close to the small jetty. The area where the turtles can be seen is marked by white floaters.



Mabul Island Mabul is a little island some 25mins by boat from Sipadan. Many who visit the area stay either at Mabul or at Kapalai. You may have found out by now that Sipadan no longer caters to overnight stays. All operators who had resorts on Sipadan have now relocated their operations elsewhere.Mabul itself is a small island, currently with 4 high end resorts in the area, 1 converted oil rig stationed just in the shallow waters off Mabul , a bajau fishing village, a mosque, a school and an admin centre for the village. However, in recent years there have been a few guesthouses that have mushroomed on the island. (Dive with them at your own peril) Just to the left of Sipadan Village Resort are several stalls selling all sorts of seashells.

“The island of Allure�

Please do not buy them as you may have been informed that it is an offence to take anything of this sort out of Malaysia and could be an offence to take them into your home country too. Just to the back of Borneo Divers Resort is the village. A stroll round showed us how basic their lives are out here in the vast Indo-Pacific Ocean. Mostly fisherman, the bajau laut has always been noted in history accounts of being hostile and were better know in the old days as sea gypsies. Sea Gypsies had a notorious reputation of being ruthless to visiting boats. Progress has changed all that now. Many have turned to living on land and making a life out of fishing. Even so, please as a visitor on the island do dress appropriately if you intend to visit the village. They are conservative and don’t take to visitors disrespecting their way-of-life much.

wHEN TO GO Rainy season is between mid December and mid February so bear in mind if you’re thinking of getting away during Christmas. The nice thing about going during these months is that the crowds are manageable. Sometimes it may just be you and the divemaster on a dive - no rush, no hassles. We went in early March and although the vis wasn’t too good and currents were pretty unpredictable plus the rains would catch up on us from nowhere, it was great for muck diving if micro is what you want. Good diving months are from months April till November. Best diving months is in July and August. The currents can be unpredictable and divers must at all times stick close to the divemasters. There have been cases of lost divers, only to be found a distance away or not to be found at all.

But Mabul has a beauty and it’s not the kind you may get at Sipadan. Having been quite used to diving on coral reefs, diving in Mabul is as much a WOW! as being on coral reef. At Mabul it’s called ‘muck diving’. Not familiar with the term, we were not too sure that we would actually appreciate wading and finning through muck. But once we got accustomed to the fact that we’ve hit rock bottom..the only way to go is macro. Apparently, ‘Muck Diving’ was coined by a bunch of divers on a liveaboard down in PNG (Papua New Guinea). We saw as many creatures muck diving as we did diving on the pristine coral reefs at Komodo/Flores and perhaps even more! It was simply amazing. And when muck diving, don’t shrug off debris on the beds, such as old tyres, concrete blocks, bottles etc. there may be lots of creatures taking cover.

Nothing to do in the evening possibly prompted an adventurous diver to jump off the boat and into the silty yonder just below the hull. Muck diving is usually in conditions where divers scour the silty, sandy shallow beds for the weird and wonderful creatures that hunt and breed and live in this seemingly barren area. Visibility is usually pretty poor but vis is not a priority in muck diving. Underwater photographers get to take their time taking as many pics as they like in conditions good for them and for the environment. No thrashing divers, no broken corals and no broken hearts.. (for the environmentalists at least)




History 101 “A city stuck in his own time and told story of its own”



he peacock of Malaysian cities, Melaka City is bright and loud and preens with its wealth of homegrown galleries, crimson colonial buildings and showy trishaws. The city’s historic centre achieved Unesco World Heritage status in 2008 and since then Melaka City’s tourism industry has developed at breakneck pace. Old shophouses and mansions have enjoyed makeovers as galleries and hotels and Melaka City’s kaleidoscope of architectural styles – spanning Peranakan, Portuguese, Dutch and British elements – is well preserved. Tourism has boomed, particularly on weekends when the vibrant Jonker Walk Night Market provides music, shopping and street food galore, but you’ll share the experience elbow-to-elbow with other travellers. Inevitably, a strong whiff of commercialism has accompanied this success. However, it’s easy to feel the town’s old magic (and get a seat at popular restaurants) on quiet weekdays. And Melaka City, as it has for centuries, continues to exude tolerance and welcomes cultural exchange.


Stadhuy & Christ Church Malacca ORIGIN Built in 1753 from pink laterite bricks brought from Zeeland in Holland, this much-photographed church has Dutch and Armenian tombstones in the floor of its rather bare interior. The massive 15m-long ceiling beams overhead were each cut from a single tree. Melaka’s most unmistakable landmark and favourite trishaw pick-up spot is the Stadthuys.

Melaka’s attraction is in its cultural heritage, around which a substantial tourism industry has grown. In 2008, Melaka was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status.If you’re visiting, a little knowledge of history will help you appreciate all there is to see.

Melaka was founded around 1400 by Parameswara, also known as Iskandar Shah in the Malay Annals, the earliest recorded history of Malaysia. He was a prince from Palembang in southern Sumatra who was chased out of his hometown by invading Majapahit conquerors from Java. After establishing a new base in Singapore (Temasek), he was found by the Majapahit, who chased him farther still up the Malay Peninsula. He settled in Melaka and established what would eventually become the region’s richest port city. As the site was in a favorable location to take advantage of the two monsoons that dominated shipping routes, Melaka attracted Arab and Chinese traders, both of whom maintained very close relations for trade and political advantage. It was the early Arab merchants who introduced Islam to Malaysia; after Iskandar Shah’s death in 1414, his son, Mahkota Iskandar Shah, converted to Islam and popularized the faith throughout the area.

During the 15th century, Melaka was ruled by a succession of sultans who expanded the wealth and stability of the economy; built up the administration’s coffers; extended the sultanate to the far reaches of the Malay peninsula, Singapore, and parts of northern Sumatra; and thwarted repeated attacks by the Siamese. The success of the empire drew international admiration.

In the hands of the Portuguese, the port became a sleepy outpost. The new rulers struggled in vain to retain Melaka’s early economic success, but their staunch Christianity alienated the locals and repelled Arab traders. In 1641, the Dutch, with the help of Johor, conquered Melaka and controlled the city until 1795. Like the Portuguese, the Dutch were unsuccessful in rebuilding the glory of past prosperity in Melaka, and the city continued to sleep. In 1795, the Dutch traded Melaka to the British in return for Bencoolen in Sumatra, in line with their interests in Indonesia. Melaka became a permanent British settlement in 1811 but by this time had become so poor and alienated that it was impossible to bring it back to life.


Jonker Street

Melaka City’s weekly shopping extravaganza keeps the shops along Jln Hang Jebat open late, while trinket sellers, food hawkers and the occasional fortune teller close the street to traffic. Unashamedly commercial and attracting hordes of tourists, it is nevertheless an undeniably colourful way to spend an evening shopping and grazing.

History 101

Porta de Santiago History 101

A Famosa, or “The Famous” in Portuguese, is one of the oldest surviving remnants of European architecture in Asia. Once part of a mighty fortress, this tiny gate (called the Porta de Santiago) is all that history has spared.In 1511 a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Alfonso de Albequerque. His forces attacked and successfully defeated the armies of the native Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albequerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea. Albequerque believed that Melaka would become an important port linking Portugal to the spice trade from China. At his time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as Macau, China and Goa, India in order to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to China and returning home to Portugal.

The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers. One was a four-story keep, while the others held an ammunition’s storage room, the residence of the captain, and an officers’ quarters.As the plan below shows, most of the village clustered in town houses inside the fortress walls. As Melaka’s population expanded it outgrew the original fort and extensions were added around 1586. Throughout this time, the walls of the fort repeatedly withstood large attacks by native elements. The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch successfully drove the Portuguese out of Melaka. The Dutch renovated the gate in 1670, which explains the logo “ANNO 1670” inscribed on the gate’s arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company. The fortress changed hands again in the early 19th century when the Dutch handed it over to the British to prevent Melaka from falling into the hands of Napoleon’s expansionist France. The English, knowing that they would have to return the fort to the Dutch at the end of the Napoleonic wars, were determined to make the city as useless to the Dutch as possible. They planned to relocate the population and demolish the fort. This nearly happened, but Sir Stanford Raffles (the founder of Singapore) persuaded the English to let the residents remain and also prevented the total obliteration of the fort by convincing the English to let one gate remain for history’s sake. It is quite possible that in doing this, Raffles spared the remaining historical monuments of Melaka as well.

The St Paul’s Church was built by Duarte Coelho, a Portuguese Captain in 1521 AD. The church was formerly a chapel for the Portuguese and was named as ‘Nosa Senhora’ which means Our Lady of the Hill. Although what remains of the church are now only ruins, the strong and thick bricks are a reminder that this chapel used to be a magnificent piece of architecture at that time

However, much of the fortress has been demolished. As you move on from the A Famosa, you will see a white flight of stairs along the slope. These are the stairs which will take you to the St Paul’s Church. The church can be reached easily by climbing up the stairs for about 5 to 10 minutes depending on your speed of walking. Upon reaching the top of the St Paul’s Hill, you will be blown away by the breath-taking view of the city of Malacca and its coastline.


St. Paul ‘s Church

Making your way to the St Paul’s Church on the St Paul’s Hill may take much longer than you have anticipated. You will be easily distracted by the various museums along the way up to the church. As you proceed with your journey up the hill, you will pass by the Architecture Museum Malacca, Islamic Museum of Malacca and the Stamp museum Malacca. Beyond these museums, you will come to the historical monument of Malacca which is the Porte De Santiago or more commonly known as A Famosa among the locals. The A Famosa is a fortress which was used in the war last time and has many historical values.

Chinese Temple

Cheng Hoon Teng

History 101 Like most Chinese temples that can be found in Malaysia, China and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Cheng Hoon Teng Chinese temple also was built with modest proportions, and was expanded in the succession of centuries. The temple, which was built according to the principles of Feng Shui, it has a courtyard just past the entrance, that separates this from the various prayer halls, of which the main one is dedicated to the goddess of mercy, Kuan Yin bohdisattva, divinity applicant in Chinese-Buddhist pantheon. To his left there, but Choe Poh, patron deity of seafarers (significant when you consider the origins port of Malacca and the path that the Chinese had to make to get there by sea).

The deities that are above the altars are enclosed behind glass to protect them from the fumes of incense and candles. The other rooms and sections of the temple are dedicated to other Buddhist deities of Chinese folk tradition of wealth, longevity and fertility, or ancestor worship, with ancient tablets. About the latter, the temple still houses the mortal remains of two of the first three captains who contributed to the construction of the temple in the seventeenth century. In addition, one of the oldest tablets, bearing the name of the Chinese captain Lee Wei, mentions that these donated a plot of land for the construction of a Chinese cemetery – probably the tablet refers to the cemetery at Bukit China. Unlike other Chinese temples in Melaka, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple has no doors protected by the gods. The gates are guarded by the famous Taoist monks, the Eight Immortals. At the entrance of the main hall, the Eight Immortals are not shown in human form, but rather symbolized by dragons with four claws. The temple walls are all painted with a white made of lime. In the past, lime was used instead of cement and was derived from oyster shells and coal. Opposite the temple, on the opposite side of the street is a Chinese opera (the current era contemporeanea) on which are staged traditional Chinese works to the Chinese public of the city. Often – almost always – the shows are free.


Pack a Bag 1

e l y t s r e k c a p k bac

Pack from the bottom up

Pants and socks - Can either be put in a drawstring bag and so laid flat all the way across the pack (and so make another 'layer' or ' false floor' - again see diagram below), which is a bit more organised so that you know where they are and don't end up with a search harder than for The Holy Grail when you need a clean pair of 'Y's'! Or, as I normally do, use the pants and socks to fill in the cracks and empty gaps here and there. Imagine it's the cement for the wall... and if you've seen my pants, that's not hard to do.

T-shirts - These are best rolled. Think of a Swiss roll and attempt to make your T-shirt look like it. How do you do this? Easy: -Fold the arms in to make it look like a rectangle -Fold it in half across the middle and half again -You should then be left with a long, thin rectangle -Turn it around and then roll tightly from one end to the other If you do this with all your T-shirts you'll be left with loads of Swiss roll shape things that can be stuffed down the sides and into holes here and there that need filling.When you come to use them they should be fairly crease free if rolled properly.T-shirts can also be flat packed, again adding to the layered effect in the pack if you prefer this method. The only problem with doing this, if you give it a go, is that you're left with annoying gaps at the side that can end up as wasted space.


Sleeping bag - This needs to go in a position where it can be accessed easily, i.e. every night! Usually there is a place in the bottom of your backpack which is accessible with a zip, where it can be stored (see diagram below). This bottom section of your pack is normally separated with a string drawn ‘false bottom’. You can either leave this open and have one big deep pack, or draw the string up and have a pack with two compartments. I always split my pack into two. This bottom section is where I keep my sleeping bag and the things I don’t usually need, i.e. jumpers, smart clothes, etc. They can be tucked away there and left until you need them. They also form a firm base at the bottom of the pack - a kind of false floor if you like that is closer to the surface, so that if you do need to find things, you don’t need to delve down really deep.

always pack to the corners! This is crucial here as you'll be surprised how much extra space you'll have if you get things squashed into the deep corners.


Packing the area behind your back You'll soon realise when you try the thing on that it's important to pack the stuff that's going to be directly behind your back correctly. If, when turned around for a side view, it has the 'smooth' consistency of a rocky volcanic beach and the sexy appeal of a barbed wire fence, making you wince at the thought of touching it, let alone putting your back against it, then think again. Bear in mind what I have said before about getting a pack with solid back supports as opposed to the trendy little numbers that can be turned into a holdall.

3 Finally, the top Over the top of all of them, I put my towel and sarong. These cover over everything and help you to pull the drawstring on the top of the pack tight, without things poking out and getting caught. It also means that, if you get to a place and you know that your towel is still wet and minging, or that your sarong needs a damn good airing (as there is a rumour going around that you’re in fact carrying a dead sheep in your pack, hence the smell...) you can whip them out straight away.

The rolling and coiling technique Imagine first thing in the morning after a particularly fibrous meal the night before! (or, slightly more tasteful, imagine putting a dead snake in your bag... alive ones are only for the harder readers out there!) This is an interesting technique that a couple of people I have met do to fill their pack.Basically it works on the principal of creating a whole series of snake like things which you can coil into your bag. With everything from T-shirts to jeans, shorts, shirts and underwear just roll them up to be long and thin and then coil them into your bag. If done properly it does cut down on creases.


Extras Camera film - These can be put into freezer bags and so rolled into a long snake which can be put anywhere in your pack. The freezer bags will keep them dry, and, combined with the little plastic containers they are in, they will be nicely protected. Travel saucepan - I always travel with one of these. In terms of packing it's always dead useful to put small things in that maybe you'll need to find in a hurry, things that need to stay dry, or other bits and pieces that can be easily damaged. Mine would contain my knifeforkandspoon set, my travel adapter (for plug sockets), Swiss army knife, matches / lighter, torch, small pots of curry and chilli powder and spare pair of pants (in case of dire emergency of course - have to be whipped out and exchanged with great speed!)

Road Trip


Cameron Highland

A visit to the tea plantations, local flower nurseries and organic farms are a must-do, and are especially popular with families and children. For nature lovers and adventure seekers, Cameron Highlands has trekking trails, with plenty of guesthouses in Tanah Rata who can arrange for local guides.

Cameron Highlands is one of Malaysia’s favourite hill resort holiday destinations, popular for its tea plantations, strawberry farms and cooling climate. Located in the state of Pahang along the Titiwangsa Range, the highlands are situated 5,000 feet above sea level in the heart of the Malaysian peninsula. With average temperatures at a cooling 10°C to 21°C, the lush valleys and hillslopes are the perfect setting for a nature retreat. Situated about a 3-hour drive from Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands is popular with visitors who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The main townships of Tanah Rata and Brinchang are the gateways for visitors to explore the region, with its many valleys, peaks, mountains and plateaus.

Today, Cameron Highlands is Malaysia’s most popular holiday destination, with agriculture and tourism as its main economy. Despite the large number of hotels, resorts and apartments providing accommodation to visitors, the pleasant landscapes and natural surroundings makes Cameron Highlands one of the best places to experience Malaysian countryside at its best.


Agro Technology Park

The agrotechnology park is divided into six main areas: the English Garden, Herb Garden, Orchid Garden, Rose Garden, research centre and an information centre, where tourists can also buy souvenirs. Mardi’s Agrotechnology Park is home to 40 varieties of roses, 10 strawberries, 100 citrus fruits, at least six types of anthuriums, four varieties of apples, and pears and persimmons. The Park is home to 40 varieties of roses, 10 strawberries, 100 citrus fruits, at least six types of anthuriums, four varieties of apples and pears as well as persimmons. The RM8 million 42-hectare park has six areas C Rose, orchid, English, Herb and Orchid Gardens and a research and information centre where tourists can also buy souvenirs.

The Park was launched on June 14. The brainchild of Malaysian Research and Development Institute (MARDI), the Park received 100,000 visitors annually. The idea to turn the former research station opened in 1926 by the British to an agrotechnology park came from the Agriculture Minister Datuk Dr Effendi Norwawi three years ago. The British handed over the park to MARDI some 22 years ago. The Park is actually MARDI’s oldest research station in the country and since Cameron Highland is a popular tourist destination, MARDI has followed through on the idea to turn it into an Agrotechnology Park.


Road Trip


T ea


Highlands is the largest tea-growing region in Malaysia - home to vast plantations of this valuable crop that carpet the valleys in a lush sea of bright green. Tea was also one of the precursors to its development as a hill station, before its transformation into a major tourist destination. Today, the many tea plantations that dominate the valley are instrumental in drawing the multitudes of visitors Cameron Highlands receives each year. The various estates are mostly owned by Boh, the larger group established since 1929 by colonial owners; and Bharat, a slightly more recent local company that only began full-scale operations in the 1950s.

The tea plant (Camellia sinensis) is actually a tree rather than a bush as popularly regarded by most people. If left to grow in the wild, tea can grow up to 16m in height. The current method of pruning tea plants leaves them at a manageable size for ground-level harvest, while allowing for higher yield through a more compact arrangement of bushes. The same plant is used to produce different types of tea; each undergo a different oxidation process and blend that result in their unique flavours, aroma and colour. In Cameron Highlands, black tea is the most popular variety of tea produced, followed by Oolong and green tea. The dark tint of tea is the result of its chemical compunds, chiefly being tannin leached into the water by heating. While tea produced from Cameron Highlands is not particularly exceptional, they make extremely popular products and souvenirs by value of novelty, especially when bought while visiting shops at tea plantations or neighbouring towns. Boh has the largest tea estates, covering a total 3238 hectares, with plantations and factories open to visitors at Habu in Ringlet and Sungai Palas in Brinchang.


Gunung Berinchang



he mossy forest is a natural environment that grows only at the highest elevations of Cameron Highlands and other mountain ranges across Malaysia. At such heights, low-level clouds in the sky driven by winds, blanket the forests with constant mist and moisture - creating an ideal biotope for moss, ferns, lichen and orchids. This moist tropical evergreen forest is also a rich repository for a varied set of montane creatures, encompassing insects, snakes, frogs, birds and mammals unique to this chilly atmosphere.

Road Trip Visitors can explore the mossy forest through a boardwalk 2km before the peak of Gunung Brinchang, beginning from a clearing along the main road.The series of wooden platforms winds for about 150m through the mossy forest, but is slippery when wet, though there are rope railings for a light measure of safety. In this chilly environment, stunted stumps, wrinkled leaves and gnarled branches of oak trees clump together, forming dense crowns that portrude furiously from the ground like mushrooms. As you turn around, look at the rich layers of moss that drape the tree trunks and butteresses, infusing them with a soft, green appearance. Meanwhile, vines, orchids, pitcher plants and other fascinating epiphytes hang loosely from the canopy, perched silently on branches and stems in this chillingly quiet labyrinth.

“Moutain in the clouds�








capital of Japan and of Tokyo preTokyo, fecture, E central Honshu, at the head of Tokyo Bay. The Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan area is the world’s most populous metropolitan area, with over 28,000,000 people. Tokyo proper consists of an urban area divided into wards, a county area with farms and mountain villages, and the Izu Islands stretching to the S of Tokyo Bay. Tokyo prefecture (1990 pop. 11,854,987), is governed by a popularly elected governor and assembly. The wards and other subsidiary units of the city have their own assemblies. The city of Tokyo is the administrative, financial, educational, and cultural center of Japan and a major industrial hub surrounded by numerous suburban manufacturing complexes. Tokyo is also one of the world’s most important cities in terms of economic power and influence, and it serves as the corporate and communications hub for the E Pacific Rim. Frequent rebuilding in the wake of disasters has made Tokyo one of the most modern cities on the globe. Because space is so precious, it is also one of the most crowded and expensive cities in the world. And within Tokyo, like many other capital cities of Asian countries with a long history, there is historic neighbourhoos, revealing glimpses of vanishing traditional Japanese culture. And please do not forget to visit the Hakone resort area outside Tokyo, showcasing the splendour of Mount Fuji.

Japan 29


Although its history stretches back almost 1,500 years, Osaka first gained prominence when Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the most powerful lord in the land, built Japan’s most magnificent castle here in the 16th century. To develop resources for his castle town, he persuaded merchants from other parts of the nation to resettle in Osaka. During the Edo Period, the city became an important distribution center as feudal lords from the surrounding region sent their rice to merchants in Osaka, who in turn sent the rice onward to Tokyo and other cities. As the merchants prospered, the town grew and such arts as kabuki and bunraku flourished. With money and leisure to spare, the merchants also developed a refined taste for food.

Today, with the legacy of the city’s commercial beginnings still present, Osaka is known throughout Japan as an international and progressive business center and is the mover and the shaker of the Kansai region. Capital of Osaka Prefecture and with a population of about 2.6 million, it’s the third-most populated city in Japan (after Tokyo and Yokohama). Osakans are usually characterized as being outgoing and clever at money affairs. (One Osakan greeting is “Are you making any money?”) It’s also known for its food, castle, port, underground shopping arcades, and bunraku puppet theater, and boasts the oldest state temple in Japan, one of the nation’s best aquariums, and the only Universal Studios outside the United States. Because of its international airport, it also serves as a major gateway to the rest of Japan. Indeed, some travelers base themselves in Osaka, taking day trips to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, and Mount Koya.



Hokkaido, which means “North moun-

tain road” is made up of exactly 1 prefecture: Hokkaido. Hokkaido is the largest prefecture in Japan. However, as of 2010 Hokkaido has been divided into “sub-prefectures”. Hokkaido has 9 of these subprefectures which are overseen by “general subprefectural offices” as well as 5 “subprefectural offices” which are located in major cities. The Hokkaido subprefectures are Sorachi, Shiribeshi, Iburi, Oshima, Kamikawa, Soya, Okhotsk, Tokachi, and Kushiro. Major cities in Hokkaido are Sapporo, Ashikawa, and Hakodate.

“Land of white during winter season”


Being so far north, Hokkaido has a much cooler climate than most of Japan. The average summer temperature is about 20 degrees, and winter temperatures are generally about -5. The city of Niseko, west of Sapporo, is on record for getting the second highest average snowfall on the planet, so needless to say, skiing and snowboarding is great. In February every year Hokkaido’s capital city, Sapporo, holds a big snow festival that draws thousands of tourists from Japan and abroad. Particularly noteworthy is the ice-sculpture contest.Finally, one can go to Pirka Kotan, also in Sapporo city, to see Ainu houses and storehouses. There are many other opportunities to see Ainu culture in Hokkaido as well. Hokkaido is a great place to visit. It has modern cities like Sapporo and Hakodate, it has farming areas and massive orchards, it has Japanese cultural events, and it is one of the few places in the world where ancient Ainu culture is on display.

Seoul Centuries at the center of Korean politics, business and art have made Seoul a traveler’s paradise. Seoul is home to some of the nation’s most elaborate palaces and temples, including popular Gyeongbokgung. Fine art fills the galleries of the Samcheongdong district and the Seoul Museum of Art, while traditional Korean dance graces theatres across the city. Of course, Seoul’s younger residents love pop culture, fashion and nightlife as much as anyone. You’ll find trendy cocktail bars and even Irish pubs attract as many Koreans as international travelers.

what to do

Having been the capital of Korea for centuries, Seoul is riddled with elaborate palaces, each adorned with gently-swooping eaves and intricate red and green floral paintings. Gyeongbokgung is one of the largest and most famous. See how ordinary Koreans lived at Namsangol Hanok Maeul, a village of traditional Korean houses relocated to form an open air museum in Seoul. Delicate celadon porcelain, jewelry and textiles reveal Koreans’ artistic traditions at the Seoul Museum of Art.


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A special feature of Namiseom Island is that there are no telephone poles. This is because all electric wires were built underground to keep the natural feeling of the landscape. The island is 553,560 square yards with chestnut trees and poplar trees throughout.

Namiseom Island was formed as a result of the construction of Cheongpyeong Dam. It is a half moon-shaped isle, and on it is the grave of General Nami, who led a great victory against the rebels in the 13th year of the 7th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Sejo (reign 1455-1468).

In the middle of the isle, there is a grass field about 316,320 square yards. It features education and training facilities and camping sites. The island also has a swimming pool and water-sports facilities for motorboats and water skiing, as well as a theme park with a merrygo-round, shooting range, and roller skating rink. Lodging facilities such as resort villas and bungalows are available for visitors to stay on the island.

Namiseom Island is 63 km away from Seoul in the direction of Chuncheon, and is famous for its beautiful tree lined roads. The island is 30 minutes away from Chuncheon and an hour away from the suburbs of Seoul. Since it is not far from Seoul, many couples and families come to visit.


a bustling city of approximately Busan, 3.6 million residents, is located on the

Busan Korea

southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. The size of Busan is 769.82km² which is only 0.8% of the whole landmass of the Korean Peninsula. The natural environment of Busan is a harmonious relationship of mountains, rivers and sea. Its geography includes a coastline featuring superb beaches and scenic cliffs, mountains which provide excellent hiking and extraordinary views with hot springs scattered throughout the city. Busan enjoys four distinct seasons and a temperate climate that never gets too hot or too cold.

Busan is the second largest city in Korea. Its deep harbor and gentle tides have allowed it to grow into the largest container handling port in the country and the fifth largest in the world. The city’s natural endowments and rich history have resulted in Busan’s increasing reputation as a world class city for tourism and culture, and it is also becoming renowned as a hot spot destination for international conventions. Because Busan grew up along its coastline, the city is unusually long in shape -- as a result, it has more than one city center. The area around Busan’s ports bustles with energy as boats arrive daily from all over Asia, and nearby Nampo-dong is home to the massive Jagalchi seafood market. The tourist center of Haeundae boasts some of the country’s finest resort hotels, while the Seomyeon neighborhood is a paradise for shoppers. The old city center, Dongnae, in the north toward the mountains, is a great place to experience hot springs and Korean-style bathhouses. It can thank its major international port for its modern growth, and its cultural festivals and natural seaside beauty for its attraction as a major tourist destination. I hope you’ll enjoy not just the beaches and cafe culture here, but the genuine warmth and hospitality of the people.


A Final Year Project done by final year UTAR student, Oliver Te. A travel magazine about distinctive places of Malaysia and other country. T...