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Street Food Friday / Food Travel / Malaysia Travel / Southeast Asia Travel / Borneo Travel / Kuching Travel / → All Tags
In a new weekly Friday column, we'll explore street food and other culinary specialties from around the world. Last week, it was Trinidad's roti, shark, and doubles. This week, we shoot across the Pacific to Malaysian Borneo to see what's cooking.
Last month, we spent close to two weeks in Kuching on Borneo, hiking through the surrounding vacant national parks and tracking down human skulls in the rainforest. But as any western traveler can tell you, the traditional food in Asian countries is one of the biggest treats. You can go out on a limb and try delicacies like python, but noodle-based street food dishes are the thing to try in Kuching.
Southeast Asia Travel / Malaysia Travel / ATF 2014 / ASEAN Conference 2014 / Indonesia Travel / Kuching Travel / Brunei Travel / Cambodia Travel / Laos Travel / Myanmar Travel / Philippines Travel / Singapore Travel / Thailand Travel / Vietnam Travel / → All Tags
Last month, the 33rd annual ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) was held in Kuching, Malaysia (Borneo) and drew delegates from around the world. The ten member countries - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - were all represented by their ministries of tourism. The conference takes place each year but its location rotates through the member countries. This year’s host, Malaysia, opened the gathering by highlighting ATF’s vision of “Ten Countries, One Destination.”
“I hope that this forum will chart the strategic directions to expedite the growth and development of tourism in ASEAN and enhance our collaboration towards projecting ASEAN as an attractive and multi-faceted single destination,” said Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Many of the projects discussed at this year's Asian Tourism Forum, such as the high-speed rail between Malaysia and Singapore, are aimed at making travel between the ten member countries more fluid.
Given the great distance that has to be traveled to get to Southeast Asia, satisfying the American market means making it easy to country hop. As is the case with Europe (which is less than half the travel time for most), your average American ponying up big bucks for long flights will understandably want to see as much as they can -- or at least more than one city -- in one trip.
Although it is slowly developing from a small town to a small city as far as opportunity and entertainment go, Kuching's best quality hands down is its proximity to the island's national parks and rainforests. With approximately a half dozen parks within a two-hour drive, getting out into the natural world that surrounds the city is a must, as it is there that you will experience what makes Borneo, the home of one of the world's biggest rainforests, so special.
The Largest Flower in the World
The Rafflesia arnoldii is the largest individual flower on the planet, measuring in with a diameter up to 3 feet and weighing up to 20 lbs. It's pretty at first glance, but its fowl odor (rotting flesh) and parasitic nature quickly squash the fairy tale. Still, it's a special thing when you see it, as the flower blooms and withers within a matter of days. Your best chance to see it is at Gunung Gading National Park.
Borneo Travel / Malaysia Travel / Southeast Asia Travel / Kuching Travel / Adventure Travel / → All Tags
As we told you yesterday and as you'll see in stories to come, the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia is one of the lungs of the earth, supporting lots of beautiful wildlife and adventure travel opportunities within the world's third largest rainforest.
Our coverage is focused on the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, which together make up 26% of the island. But before we dig deep into what there is to see and do, we think it's appropriate to take a moment and catch up on a major current and future reality: The issue of chronic deforestation that's stripping the country of its natural beauty. The logging and palm oil industries have benefited the local economy, but there certainly has been a price of doing business.
We boarded bus K21 in the Kuching City Center ($1.33) and rode out to Kubah National Park, arriving about an hour and a half after the gates opened at 9:30 a.m. When we approached the hut at the gate to pay the entry fee (approximately $6) and were asked to sign in, we noticed that our name was the only one on the sign-in sheet.
An avid hiker, this couldn't have pleased us more, the thought of having the whole park to ourselves. We went off into the jungle wilderness for the next few hours, hiking to and swimming under waterfalls, spotting pitcher plants, ekor buaya palm trees (which are used to make roofs), and stingless bees. But the biggest surprise came when we exited the park later at 2 p.m. -- we were still the only person in the park!
Jaunted Reporting Live / ATF 2013 / ASEAN Conference 2013 / Southeast Asia Travel / Singapore Travel / Malaysia Travel / Penang - Singapore High Speed Rail / → All Tags
One of the major current and long-term goals of ASEAN is to further connect the ten member countries, marketing the region as "ten countries, but one destination" for travelers. Considering the long travel time, visiting multiple cities across a handful of countries makes total sense for those coming to Southeast Asia from the States.
Jaunted Reporting Live / ATF 2013 / ASEAN Conference 2013 / Southeast Asia Travel / Malaysia Travel / Airport Openings / KLIA2 / Kuala Lumpur / → All Tags
After experiencing delays last year that pushed back its opening date, Tourism Malaysia's Director General Dato' Mirza Mohammad Taiyab confirmed this week that the new international airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur, KLIA2, is on track to open this spring on May 2nd.
The new terminal will have 60 gates and 344,445 square-feet of retail space and the capacity to accommodate 45 million passengers a year. The big three airlines in the terminal will be AirAsia, Lion Air, and Zest Airways.
Contests / Travel Contests / Air Asia / Air Asia X / Malaysia Travel / Liveries / Airbus / A330 / Airline News / LCCs / → All Tags
Here's another chance to haul out those giant markers and brush up on your airplane designing skills. The scarlet low-cost airline, AirAsia, is giving fans a chance to paint one of seven new aircraft. And while it's super cool to be able to walk through an airport and say, "see that plane, I designed that!," the grand prize is even better than just having your art taking to the skies.
The Asian LCC is calling on its most creative passengers to come up with a new livery for its newest Airbus A330s. Each of the seven birds are already named and the paint job should reflect that theme, but with names like XKLusive, Xiao Long Bao, Xeoul Mate, Xiaolin Spirit, Xcintillating PhoeniX, Harmonious DiverXity, Xakura Blossom, the creativity will be free flowing. The winner of the best livery will not only have their design on the side of a plane, but be flown to the Airbus factory in France to see where these babies are born.
Travel Alerts / Pollution / Singapore Travel / Malaysia Travel / Kuala Lumpur Travel / Travel Tips / → All Tags
For the past week, Singapore's skyline has been hidden by a cloak of smog due to forest fires over in Indonesia. Fortunately for Singapore, Monday has brought some relief and sunny skies as winds blew all the smoke up to Malaysia, but they're not quite in the clear yet.
Officials are warning Singapore's residents and visitors not to bet on better weather, as the situation can easily go pear-shaped again as the smoke relies on weather patterns. With this in mind, here are some tips for braving the poor air quality in both Malaysia and Singapore:
Kitty cats. They rule the internet and, whether we realize it or not, pretty much the world too. Ever noticed how cats sometimes stake out the coolest spots in a city? This new featureTravel Catfocuses on exactly that. Submit a photo to be featured by tweeting or Instagramming it to us (details below).
Travel Cat spotted in: A mangrove swamp in Malaysia
This week's Travel Cat comes from Michelle & Ed of West By Sea. This inspirational traveling duo recently had their Kickstarter project fully funded, with the goal of sailing around the world in 104 days and turning their voyage west from Australia into a "treasure book."
They're off and sailing, and already reached Malaysia as we can see from this shot they sent along from a mangrove swamp. Check out those cat eyes!
Airline News / Airline Food / Malyasia Airlines / Malaysia Travel / First Class Travel / Business Class Travel / → All Tags
Now that Malaysia Airlines has become a full-fledged member in the Oneworld Alliance, they've enhanced the experience for hungry premium passengers by letting more people in on the Chef-On-Call service.
Originally only for Platinum level frequent-flyers in their Enrich program traveling in first and business class, the perk was eventually offered to all who could pay the big bucks for a first class seat. Now, the folks in the business class cabin get to pick their meal before flying. Unlike the chef programs of a few other airlines, however, there's not actually a chef on-board.