The Federal Territory of Labuan comprises Labuan Island (75 km²) and six other smaller islands which are Pulau Burung, Pulau Daat, Pulau Kuraman, Pulau Papan, Pulau Rusukan Kecil, and Pulau Rusukan Besar.
Facing the South China Sea, Labuan is situated south-west of Sabah and to the north of Brunei Bay. One can visibly see nearby Sabah and Brunei which is accessible via ferry service.
It is one of three federal territories in Malaysia. The others are Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, located in Peninsular Malaysia. Labuan is recognised as an international offshore financial and business centre.
It is said that Labuan is derived from the Malay word used at the time, labuhan, which means port.
Offering a host of amenities, Labuan has become a popular island for tourists foreign and local. It boasts world-class resorts, sandy beaches, duty-free shopping, wreck-diving, golfing as well as several important World War II Memorials.
I was tempted to dive right in to the awesomely inviting turquoise waters as we arrived at the dock. The tranquil natural surroundings were reminiscent of an idyllic setting for a summer romance. The bright blue sunny sky, though scorching, was welcomed with much pleasure. We had in fact prepared for the worst after being informed that the past few days were cloudy with torrential rain. Sheer tranquillity, along with sun-drenched pristine beaches, is of the essence on an island escapade. Pulau Tiga, it seemed, had already fulfilled my simple desires.
The feeling of weariness I had earlier slowly dissipated. Somehow, the sound of crashing waves always has the miraculous ability to calm my senses. Any complaint suddenly became trivial. Now, I wasn’t exactly being grouchy but seriously, travelling over five hours in three modes of transportation in a hot and humid day can somewhat sap one’s strength, not to mention enthusiasm.
Pulau Tioman is said to be a real treasure as it has colourful coral reefs and marine life such as anemones, starfish, limpets and thorny sea urchins. There are more than 20 diving spots around the island; among the best are Pulau Tulai and Pulau Renggis.
Here, in vast gardens of hard corals, cuttlefish, angelfish, barracuda and turtles await divers. Deep diving enthusiasts will love Pulau Chebeh, the site of several giant manta sightings.
Located in Penang’s ‘Little India’, in the capital city of Georgetown, the Sri Maha Mariamman temple reflects the city’s rich cultural heritage.
This tropical island of Penang, lies in the Indian Ocean, just off the north-west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Penang’s rapid growth as a trading hub in the early 1800s, especially in commodities such as nutmegs, cloves and pepper attracted traders from Europe, America, Arabia, India as well as China.
Has Langkawi become an annual pilgrimage destination for me? It seems that way since the past few years, I have never failed to visit the isle of legends at least once a year!
But who can blame me. After all, I think it’s one of the destinations in Malaysia that is perfect for any occasion or anyone. I’ve been to Langkawi for work and for leisure; been there as a single woman and as a married couple (for my honeymoon, in fact), and have also enjoyed it as a mom with extended family in tow!
Sipadan Island, Malaysia’s only oceanic Island needs your votes!
Situated off Semporna, in Sabah, Sipadan Island is in the running to be listed as one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’. This worldwide competition is organised by the New 7 Wonders of the World Foundation, based in Switzerland.
The trees bristle violently in the chill wind.
A large orange nose peers shyly from the tree tops. Wide-eyed with weary lines under its eyes, the proboscis scans the horizon.
Another tiny face peers from the leaves. It’s a tiny, baby proboscis, hanging tightly onto its furry mum.
Excitement coursed through my veins, as my small feet lumbered nimbly up the steely white stairs.
The ascending air was getting chilly, and the bright sunshine glared brightly as I treaded gingerly.
I was making my way, alone, up the eighty-odd steps of the famed Fort Cornwallis Lighthouse, situated on the northeast side of George Town, Penang.
Trying my best to not look downwards I held tightly onto the railings. A camera balanced menacingly around my neck, I whispered a silent prayer.
I guess every country has its own cure-all – a panacea for all manner of complaints, whether physical, emotional or, even, mental!The French swear by their distilled lovely-scented lavender flowers. The Chinese have their ginseng. The Japanese love their green tea. A German family I know reaches for their chamomile on every occasion, and not just for afternoon teas. Most recently, the acai berry has taken the US by storm for its ability to fight cancer, help in weight loss, and combat pre-mature ageing.
I myself have a first-aid kit filled with some of my own magic potions collected from all over the world – eucalyptus oil, Bach flower remedies, Echinacea liquid, and the usual assortment of cartoon-character plasters.
My husband scoffs at me (despite being run down by a severe cold) when I offer him a swig of my natural antiobiotic that is the Echinacea. Instead, he prefers to swallow his brand of remedy, the Malaysian gamat.
My husband is possibly the biggest fan of gamat there ever is. In our home, we have gamat in every form and consistency available – sweetened jellies, balms, creams, syrups, liniment, etc. It is his preferred antidote for everything!
An island holiday that's perfect for moms, dads and babes-in-tow!
It was supposed to be a three-day vacation but we packed like we were going away for three weeks.
Well, I guess that’s what happens when you go on your first-ever holiday with a baby in tow! Our luggage literally burst at the seams with baby stroller, baby food, favourite toys, baby bottles, a “lifetime supply of diapers” as hubby joked, and such. I guess, if we had more space – and a bigger budget – I would have packed my nanny in as well, but hubby said it was strictly a family affair!
Little Moses was not yet a year old and it was our first vacation together, so naturally, I had some trepidation – and some specific demands – about the trip:
1. Location, location, location
First, we had to decide where to go. I had some pretty good ideas of where we were not going – any place that was off-the-beaten track and anywhere that required some form of exertion to get to, i.e. mountain climbing, jungle trekking, river rafting, etc.
My dream vacation had a personal butler in it, but, oh, well…At the very least, our destination had to be both baby- and parent-friendly, easily accessible with modern conveniences, and fun, too!