I must admit it was quite a new experience for me, a city kid through and through, to be boarding a train heading to the rural areas in the northern state of Kelantan for my first homestay experience. As a young adult relishing the comforts of a modern world, I wondered how I’d fare in the absence of an internet connection, flashy restaurants and bustling roads.
Nevertheless, my anxious spirits were slightly elevated as I travelled with other Singapore tourists wanting to check out the Malaysia homestay experience as well. Seeing the excitement portrayed on their faces, I thought that perhaps, like them, I should see this as a good opportunity to get away from city life and enjoy the pleasures of simple living for a little while. So I threw my concerns out the window and resigned myself to the experience as I boarded the train.
Silence hangs heavily in the air. The sun is just rising on the graves of 3,908 soldiers at the Labuan Commonwealth Cemetery.
Located along Jalan Tanjung Batu, the cemetery, also known as the World War II Memorial, was constructed and is maintained by the Commonwealth Graves Commission.
It honours men of the Australian land and air forces, as well as the local forces, who died valiantly during operations for the recovery of Borneo. Some were prisoners of war in Borneo or the Philippines.
The scent of freshly cut jasmine wafts through the air. The kolam decorated intricately with rice powder is a riot of colours. Deepavali treats such as murukku, omapoodi and sweetmeats are prepared for guests.
Preparations are under way for the big celebration of Deepavali in households throughout Malaysia.
Drop by Kampung Siasai in Kota Belud, on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu to learn more of the ancient traditions of parang making in Sabah. The village is famed for its handmade parangs by the Bajau community.
A parang is a medium-sized tool or weapon, or better known as a long blade or machete has been handmade by the Bajaus in Sabah for generations. It is used for clearing land, cutting meat and also as wall decorations.
Place: Marine Ecology Eco Research Centre (MERC)
Location: Gaya Island, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Where: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
“This is called the chocolate chip starfish. Look at the brown spots on its skin!”
“Looks very much like chocolate chips!”
Sarah, a volunteer at the Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC), held the starfish firmly in her hand.
We were at the touch pond at MERC, where a collection of sea creatures are put on display for visitors’ to get up and close on the conservation efforts carried out here.
There comes a time in every urbanite’s life when you grow sick and tired of the burger and fries, the instantly prepared mee goreng from the mamak, and the quick pizza delivered to your home in less than 30 minutes. There is simply a craving from your taste buds for more, a longing for an elaborately prepared dish, spiced with that personal touch and effort that only a home-cooked meal can offer.
This is why I’ve come to relish Raya holidays and the rare opportunity it provides for me to indulge myself in a myriad of culinary experiences back in my hometown in Sabah. Every Raya holiday, my mother would cook a huge batch of food for the benefit of guests, and this Raya proved no different. My hometown retreat this Raya was stocked from the more typical hallmarked foods such as ketupat and rendang, to the more atypical variety such as the lada putih & kacang panjang, ikan sambal, and other sugary Raya treats like the kuih makmur.
i-City is the latest tourist spot in Shah Alam, Selangor. Dubbed the City of Digital Lights, it is reputed to be the first lightscape tourist destination in Malaysia.
This Ramadhan, try out the berbuka puasa spread at StarPoints Hotel Kuala Lumpur. Just a stone's throw away from bustling streets, shopping centers, and stunning historic landmarks in the city centre.
Offering a tantalising feast of International Ramadhan delicacies, prepared by StarPoints Hotel guest chefs from Pakistan.
In need of a break?
Try out Terengganu's latest hotel and apartment, Sumai Hotel Suite. It is located in Kuala Terengganu close to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital, University Darul Iman Malaysia Kota Campus and nearby the Terengganu International Airport.
The hotel has several types of apartments: Sumai Suite Apartment (3 units), Superior Apartment (37 units), Deluxe Apartment (9 units), Standard Apartment (9 units). They also offer studio rooms (9 units) and Suite Room (9 units).
Dubbing itself as a 'home away from home' place, visitors' can stay in a convenient and accessible hotel.