Malaysia : Truly Asia!! Selamat Datang!

IMG_6145When you talk about Malaysia, you think of Kuala Lumpur and when you think of Kuala Lumpur soon the  Petronas Twin Towers come to your mind.IMG_5937

Malaysia is an amazing country to discover with prehistoric rainforests and a melting pot of cultures.  Consisting of two regions separated by the South China sea: Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia located in the north part of Borneo. Malaysia is a multi ethnic, multi religions federation of 13 states and 3 federal territories.FullSizeRender

Kuala Lumpur, also known by locals as KL,  is the capital of Malaysia, with boasting gleaming skyscrapers, colonial architecture and many natural attractions.  It is divided into numerous districts, but the main one is the Golden Triangle.   KL  main attraction is of course the Petronas  Twin  Towers, but also the Batu Caves, Sultan Abdul Samed Building and the National Monument are worthwhile visiting.   And for the shopaholics a must visit are the Pavillion and Suria KLCC shopping malls.FullSizeRender (5)IMG_6503

The Petronas Twin Towers,  called in local language “Menara Petronas” are located in KL city center, they  are 452 mt. high and considered the tallest twin towers in the world.  The 88 storey chrome and steel towers are joined at the 41st and 42nd floors (175 mt above street level) by a 58 mt long double decker sky bridge.IMG_5935IMG_6536

A view from above:  Set on level 86 there is the Petronas observation desk where you can get a close up view of the tower’s spire as well as an exhibit of the tower’s history.FullSizeRender (4)

From the double deck skybridge you can enjoy amazing views of the city.IMG_6523

Just outside the Petronas there is a beautiful park ideal for jogging, walking paths and water fountains and relax before having a drink or dinner in one of many restaurants in the area.FullSizeRender

The Batu Caves are located 11 km. north of Kuala Lumpur.  Is a 400 million year old limestone hill best known as the place of the annual Hindu festival of Thaipusam.  The celebrations, which take place at the end of January, attract thousand of visitors who come to see the colorful spectacle of devotees, making it one of the largest gatherings in the world.FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRenderIMG_6699

Sultan Abdul Samad Building  is one of the city’s most important tourist attractions and also an historical landmark in the city.  The Building, once the Secretariat for the Colonial British Administration, features strong gothic, western and moorish style influences with imposing porch, arches and colonnades.  Nowadays home to several Ministry Offices and used as location for Annual Independence Day parade.IMG_6755

But if you are tired of the city and  looking for a jungle escape, get on a car and drive to  the Taman Negara National Park (originally named King George V National Park) which is considered the oldest rainforest in the world estimated to be 1300 years. The abundance and diversity of nature is phenomenal being one of world most rich ecosystems.IMG_6793

Located at 4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur plus 3 hours boat,  Taman Negara is the best place to have a natural forest experience.  There are many activities to do in the park, such as: day and/or night walking excursions under guide accompaniment, fishing, river cruises, rafting and canopy walks in 510 mt long suspension bridges between tree tops, where you can enjoy spectacular views at 45 mt. height.FullSizeRenderIMG_6812FullSizeRender (2)IMG_6808

The SABAH region is located in the Borneo Island, bordering with Sarawak, it is known also as “the land below the wind”.  It’s landscape is a mix of thick jungle, sun-kissed lands, towering mountains and undulating valleys.   It’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu, is a friendly city and offers a variety of places to visit.  Among those, the Mount Kinabalu National Park.  Mount Kinabalu is considered the highest peak in South East Asia, 4,095 mt.   The Park itself  offers nice trekkings for the  nature and bird watching lovers.

In the heart of Batang Ali Lake, in the SARAWAK region, we pay visit to the IBAN people, a community known for being headhunters in past times.  The IBAN is the largest tribe in Sarawak.  We are invited in their longhouse which is located along the lake.  In fact, many factors are taken into consideration when choosing a site where to build a longhouse: water, farmland, transportation and jungle resources.IMG_7097IMG_7098

Longhouses are traditional dwellings to almost 150 people and may contain thirty family rooms. The RUAI is the long covered gallery that runs the length of a longhouse and is the place where family members gather to do some works or simply to have a chat together outside their private rooms.IMG_7099

The TUAI RUMAH is the head of the longhouse. We are introduced to him as soon as we enter the longhouse and we are offered with a traditional drink called Tuak, a sort of alcoholic drink made from rice.FullSizeRender (1)

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We gave him our gifts (biscuits and dried food) which were later distributed to each family member living in the longhouse.  In return, they danced for us  traditional welcome dances  in their local costumes and we were asked to join the dance.

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Our local Guide, together with IBAN ladies, cooked lunch for us using one of the family’s fire.  We had roast chicken, rice and vegetable, fruits and tea to end our meal.  We all sit in the kitchen floor together with other family members and enjoyed our food very  much.IMG_7103

The Semenggok – Orang Utan   wildlife Center is the biggest rehabilitation center in Sarawak  to host wild injured Orang Utan or any adult or adolescent who need particular care.  Currently there are about 25 Orang Utans living in the forest within the nature reserve and they return to the Center at the feeding time.  This is the best opportunity to see them close, hanging and swinging on tree branches, mums and babies playing while eating their food.  Semenggok  has now become also a center for the study of Orang Utan (literally: “person of the forest”) biology and behaviour.

MALAYSIA:  a country of fascinating contrasts, worthwhile visiting,  in one word: Astonishing !!!

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I want to close quoting these words of a famous past times traveller Ibn Battuta:

“TRAVELING – IT LEAVES YOU SPEECHLESS, THEN TURNS YOU INTO A STORYTELLER”

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