Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trishaw Rides at Georgetown, Penang.

When you are in Georgetown, Penang you cannot miss the Pedi cab, a three wheeled bicycle contraption where the passenger seat is in front and the Rider at the back. The passenger seat seats two. But for a typical American, they might occupy the whole seat.
Most of them are gaily decorated and brightly lit and there is the blasting stereo running off an automobile battery which seriously tests the limits of human hearing endurance and those passersby too. Well if are riding on one, you are sure to get the attention though.

It is a fun way to see and take in the sights of Georgetown. Daytime rides are excruciatingly hot unless you want a good sun tan. Night rides are cooler and more fun. A typical one hour rides can cover many of the heritage sites in Georgetown including the Esplanade or a ride around Gurney Drive and some heritage sites nearby. Bigger hotels organize trishaw convoys for their guests.
If are a single male passenger, you get all sorts of offers but beware, all this ruse is to go off the agreed route so you end up paying more. If you are couple you might get to hear some sob stories from the riders, again don't fall for it. Mind you all this time the rider is talking to you above the boom box music!
A typical ride costs about 10 ringgit to 20 ringgit, for a distance of 1km to 2km.
It is amazing how these riders can move 100kg to 200kg with such agility. Pedal power at its best.

Obeying traffic rules and lights are neither in their vocabulary or skill set. Taking a corner or junction without stopping, where every other car, bus motorbike vehicle screeching to a halt or apply hard braking is routine, bear in mind that you are the buffer between the rider and whatever that screeched to a halt in front. In between as you recall flashes of your life you get to see Georgetown sights. You would notice no car, bus or motorbike rider ever gets into an argument with a trishaw rider. The language they use would make a seasoned seaman blush and that includes the boys in blue.
It is fun exploring Georgetown in the trishaw plus it is Green technology. I recommend every visitor who comes to Georgetown to go for a ride on the king of the road but do check out the prices before you board the trishaw.

Ian currently resides on the lovely tropical Island Of Penang, Malaysia. He has traveled extensively in South East Asia. He is currently working on a travel and tours information website to South East Asia. His website is

The Kalimaran Festival

The Kalimaran Festival celebrated by the Murut tribes of Sabah is a festival to honor the Murut traditions. Talking to the local people, I was made to understand that Kalimaran, otherwise known as Pesta Kalimaran is akin to the Kaamatan Festival. The difference is the date it is celebrated and of course, the tribes involved. The celebration is held in the Murut Cultural Village in Tenom on 2nd to 4th April 2010, and it is a grand affair with the involvement of the entire Murut population in Tenom.
You might be surprised to hear that not many people in Kota Kinabalu and other parts of Sabah are familiar with Kalimaran. Truth be told, this was the first time I was really aware of it. The reason being this is festival was only highlighted on the Sabah festival calender recently, and is only the 8th annual Kalimaran.
The festival highlights the various sub-ethnic groups that make up the Murut population, their traditional handicrafts and their traditions, such as marriage ceremony, and other folk-lore. Handicrafts that are very popular with the native tribes of Sabah are beads, and the motifs that are found on the various costumes. Also on display are artifacts that are past down from generations, such as jars and urns which are used gifts, and weaponry of the Murut.
You will also have the opportunity to partake the local food and local brew, such as Tuak, a wine made of fermented rice, which comes in a huge jar and is drunk through a bamboo reed directly from the jar. I have had many occasions to sample the local wine and thoroughly enjoyed it. The style of drinking takes some getting used to, but the taste of that potent brew is quite pleasant.

Murut Maidens

Kalimaran Festival Tenom

Murut Folkore

The photograph above depicts the folklore of the man who turned into stone. The story was recounted by a friend of mine who attended the 2009 Kalimaran. The legend was told to him by the grandchildren of the man himself. If the stone and the legend was shown in the Kalimaran festival, it would suggest that the story is well-known and widely accepted. The size of the stone was about the size of a soccer ball.
If you are interested in local native traditions, a visit to Tenom during Kalimaran is well worth the three hour drive. It also makes for an incredible photography opportunity. You are encouraged to take photographs, and the people involved will happily pose for you. It is colorful, different and the Murut girls are beautiful.
If you miss the Kalimaran, you can catch the Kaamatan festival on 30th and 31st May 2010 in Penampang, Sabah.

The Pangkor Island

Pulau Pangkor is an island off the coast of Perak in north-west peninsular Malaysia, reached by ferry from Lumut (a small coastal town that links to Ipoh, or from Sitiawan). It has a land area of only 8 square kilometers, and a population of approximately 25,000 islanders. It is heavily promoted as a low-key tourist destination by the Malaysian government, but fishing and fish products remain major industries.


Historically, Pangkor was a refuge for local fishermen, merchants and pirates. In the 17th century, the Dutch built a fort in an effort to control the Perak tin trade. In 1874, it was the location of a historic treaty between the British government and a contender for the Perak throne (The Pangkor Treaty), which began the British colonial domination of the Malay Peninsula.
Pangkor is famous for its fine beaches and a mix of low budget to 5 star accommodations. Teluk Nipah and Coral Bay on the north west of the island is extremely popular with travellers from Europe. The quality of sand in the Pasir Bogak Beach is far superior to that elsewhere on the island. The sand is golden brown, quite similar to most leading prime beaches. There are a few resorts in Teluk Nipah or Nipah Bay.

Since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Indonesia, Thailand and to a lesser extent the West Coast of Malaysia in December 2004, there have been fewer local tourists visiting Pangkor.
In 2006, a biotechnology centre, a joint venture of Global Hi-Q Malaysia S/B and Hi-Q Bio-Tech International (Taiwan) Ltd began operations with initial investments of RM100million (USD30m). Their operations include fish farming and aquaculture, and the first harvest is expected in 2009.
Just next to island of Pangkor, there is a smaller island called Pangkor Laut Island.

Tourist Attractions
The main attractions in Pangkor Island are the beaches. Other attractions include:
  • Pangkor Town
  • Fishing Villages
  • Fu Lin Kong Temple
  • Kali Amman Temple
  • Batu Bersurat and Tiger Rock
  • Dutch Fort (Kota Belanda)
  • The Tombs
  • Tortoise Hill

Of all the Malaysian Islands, Pangkor Island has still some beautiful and quiet beaches. Here you can still find the peace and tranquillity many other beaches in Malaysia have lost. Teluk Nipah and Pantai Pasir Bogak have attractions as the banana boats, kayaks and jet skis available. Also it's possible to rent a boat to go around the island and do some snorkeling at Giam Island in front of Teluk Nipah.

Pantai Pasir Bogak (Pasir Bogak Beach)

Teluk Nipah (Nipah Bay)

Of all the Pangkor beaches, Teluk Nipah or Nipah Bay is the most popular with foreign travelers, although it is still predominantly Malaysians who frequent this area. This beach is located a few kilometers north Pantai Pasir Bogak. Unlike other beaches, it has corals, sea cucumber and bird lovers can find the hornbill (Burung Enggang) on this beach.
Conveniently people forget that Teluk Nipah is in fact 2 beaches: Nipah Beach and Coral Bay. Nipah Bay has a beautiful view on two small islands called Pulau Giam and Pulau Mentagor. Both of these islands are not inhabited although you might find locals willing to bring you there. It is said that when the tide is out you can even walk to Giam Island.
As of March 2011, the northern end of Nipah Bay was under heavy construction. A sea-wall was being erected along much of the beach, and a series of concrete shop houses were going up all along the seafront, obstructing the ocean view from the road and greatly reducing the amount of beach front available for recreation.
Giam Island is mostly interesting for snorkeling. The waters are shallow. There are lots of corals and fishes to see.

Accessibility and convenience of travelling by road and by air to Pangkor was progressively enhanced over the two years 2006-2008, because of the completion of the upgrading workings of Simpang Pulai – Lumut 4-lane dual carriage highway (which is nearing completion), the West Coast Expressway and the introduction of more flights, including AirAsia services. It is now possible to arrive at Lumut within 2 – 2 1/4 hours from Kuala Lumpur, and much less if it travelling by air.
Currently Berjaya Air is the only airline that is operating flights to Pangkor Airport (PKG), from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (SZB) with its 48-seats Dash 7 turboprop airliner. The aircraft are expected to be replaced by the ATR 72.
Buses from many parts of the country arrive frequently in Lumut at the bus station which is opposite the Lumut Jetty. Tourists are not allowed to bring their cars to the island; however, motorcycles and bicycles can be transported.
Ferry services are frequent (every 30 mins during the day, RM 10 for a return ticket). The ferry takes 40 minutes and stops first in Sungai Pinang Kecil. This has been well accepted as a special feature associated with commuting to and from Pangkor.
There are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland because there exists a policy to control the number of vehicles on the island, partly because of there being no real necessity for them and partly because of space constraints. All these have contributed to the preservation of wildlife in the tropical rain forest where many rare species still exist, including hornbills and monitor lizards.

Genting Highlands

Genting Highlands  otherwise known as Resorts World Genting is the flagship integrated resortdeveloped by Genting Group. It is nestled on a mountain peak (maximum elevation about 1760m) within the Titiwangsa Mountains on the border between the states of Pahang andSelangor of Malaysia. Resorts World Genting is operated by Genting Malaysia Berhad (formerly known as Resorts World Bhd), which also operates Awana chain of resorts & hotels. It is accessible by car from Kuala Lumpur in one hour, or also accessible by acable car called Genting Skyway (3.38 km)which at its opening used to be the world's fastest and South East Asia's longest gondola lift.

The idea of creating a hill resort located in proximity to Kuala Lumpur came up in the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong's mind during a business trip to the Cameron Highlands in 1964. He mooted this idea while enjoying the fresh and crisp air from the balcony at his hotel room.
Subsequently, a study of the maps and Kuala Lumpur’s vicinity located the ideal site - the 1,800-metre Gunung Ulu Kali, just 55 km from Kuala Lumpur. Amidst the dense virgin tropical jungle and rugged terrain, the task to transform a remote mountain into Malaysia’s premier holiday destination seemed impossible, but not for Tan Sri Lim.
A private company called Genting Highlands Berhad was set up on 27 April 1965, with the late Tan Sri Haji Mohammed Noah bin Omar, Tan Sri Lim successfully obtained approval for the alienation of 12,000 acres and 2,800 acres of land from the Pahang and Selangor State Government respectively between the years 1965 and 1970. An anomaly happened during the obtaining of the land approvals. While the Pahang state government swiftly approved a freehold lease, the Selangor state reluctantly approved a 99-year lease. 

As a result, Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong met the then Menteri Besar of Selangor, Dato Harun Idris and telling him that a freehold lease will be more feasible than a 99-year lease. Finally, the Selangor state government agreed to grant a freehold lease.
On 18 August 1965, a technical and construction team began the herculean task that would take Four years to complete the access road from Genting Sempah to the peak of Gunung Ulu Kali.
To ensure the sound and prompt construction of the hotel-cum-resort, Tan Sri Lim devoted all of his time, capital and resources, including the reserves of his family company, Kien Huat Realty Berhad towards the making of this "dream resort".
On 31 March 1969, the late YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister graced the official laying of the foundation stone for the company’s pioneer hotel, the then Highlands Hotel, marking the completion of the access road to Genting Highlands Resort. The Prime Minister was impressed that the private sector, without the assistance of the Government, could develop a mountain resort for the enjoyment of all Malaysians; subsequently a gaming licence was suggested to help accelerate the development of this remote area.
In 1971, the first hotel at Genting Highlands was successfully completed and was then named Highlands Hotel (now renamed Theme Park Hotel).
Since the opening of the first hotel in 1971, Genting Highlands Resort continued to grow from strength to strength. The development of the area continued to this present day to enhance Genting Highlands Resort as the premier holiday destination in the region while ensuring that the natural beauty of the rain forest is maintained.
To date, Genting Highlands Resort has six hotels (namely Maxims, Genting Hotel, Highlands Hotel, Resort Hotel, Theme Park Hotel and First World Hotel) and two apartment blocks (Ria and Kayangan Apartments) at the hilltop and Awana Genting Highlands Golf and Country Resort.
Together with integrated world-standard entertainment facilities encompassing various leisure, indoor and outdoor theme parks and gaming facilities, Genting Highlands Resort has become the "City of Entertainment" and Malaysia's Premier Resort.

In 1997, Genting Highlands Resort further boosted its facility attraction with Genting Skyway cable car system that provides a 3.38 km transport to the hilltop. Genting Skyway is also recognised as the "World's Fastest Mono Cable Car System" with a maximum speed of 21.6 km per hour and the "Longest Cable Car in Malaysia and Southeast Asia".

It is sometimes informally known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia, dubbed the "City of Entertainment" as it has the only legal land-based casino, Casino de Genting in the country and is run by Genting Malaysia Bhd, a subsidiary of Genting Group.


Resorts World Genting has six hotels. In 2006 Guinness World Records listed the First World Hotel as the world's largest hotel with a total of 6,228 rooms.


  • Bakery - Pastries, sandwiches & desserts
  • Coffee Terrace - Asian and Western buffet
  • Genting Palace Restaurant - Cantonese cuisine
  • Hainan Kitchen - Hainanese cuisine
  • Imperial Rama - Fine Dining Thai-Chinese cuisine
  • Ming Ren Restaurant - Xinjiang cuisine
  • The Olive - Fine Dining Western cuisine
  • VIP Restaurant - Thai-Chinese cuisine


  • Safari
  • Cloud 9
  • All Sports Bar
  • Patio Bar & Lounge

Theme Parks

Genting Theme Park
The resort has three theme parks which are Genting Outdoor Theme Park, First World Indoor Theme Park and Water Park. There are over 20 signature attractions which include:

Genting Skyway

Genting Skyway (Cabin View)
Genting Skyway, located at the Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor side of Genting, Malaysia, is a monocable gondola lift serving the Genting Highlands Resort. Its lower station is located nearGohtong Jaya, and its upper station is located at Highlands Hotel of Genting Highlands Resort.
It was officially opened in 1997 by the former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir bin Mohammad.


The resort has five performance venues.
  • Arena of Stars
  • Genting International Showroom
  • Genting International Convention Centre
  • Pavilion Hall
  • First World Plaza

Pavilion Hall

Pavilion Hall - the latest entertainment hotspot at Genting, is suitable for hosting dance performances and concerts as well as sporting events. It has a 2,000 stadium-style seating capacity and the whole Pavilion can be set up to accommodate more than 6,000 people.
Situated at the First World Plaza, the hall is easily accessible from any part of Genting and is located very near to all the conveniences and necessities. Shopping, fun and food is just a couple of footsteps away.
GLITZ , a brand new show event held at the Pavilion Hall, is offering an hour-long extravaganza bringing together internationally acclaimed performers in an East-meets-West concept from 1 November 2010 to 11 September 2011. Among the main acts featured will be the renowned magician, illusionist and escape artist – Charles Bach, the PuYang HuaChen Acrobatic Group and Daria Pushankina – the mistress of sand art.

Genting International Convention Centre

Genting International Convention Center or GICC is a favourite international destination for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).
GICC has one of the largest column-free Grand Ballroom in Malaysia with a total built-up area of 181,467 sq ft and is equipped with state-of-the-art audio video and information technology equipment. It can accommodate up to 2,000 delegates in banquet-style and 3,500 delegates in theatre-style seating, and the entire area can be split up conveniently into two to four sections according to clients' needs.
The 20,000 square feet Convention Halls is multi-purpose and can be used for any functions. It can cater up to 1,200 delegates in theatre-style seating. The hall can be split up into 3 smaller halls according to clients’ needs.
GICC features 87,400 square feet of Meeting Rooms space as well as additional foyer areas that can be configured for your needs. Our comfortable, distinctive rooms will add energy and style to any gathering. Our meeting rooms can accommodate between 10 and 500 people.
Located in the lower ground floor of GICC, the Business Centre provides full business facilities including secretarial services, fax, and phone and Internet access. Three discussion rooms and three boardrooms are also available for use at the Business Centre. Each discussion room has a capacity of up to 5 people while each boardroom can accommodate up to 16 people. Each boardroom is equipped with a 42-inch built-in plasma screen for professional presentations.

The Minangkabau Language

The Minangkabau language (autonymBaso Minang(kabau)IndonesianBahasa Minangkabau) is an Austronesian language, spoken by the Minangkabau of West Sumatra, the western part of RiauSouth Aceh Regency, the northern part of Bengkulu and Jambi, also in several cities throughout Indonesia by migrated Minangkabau, who often trade or have a restaurant. The language is also a lingua franca along the western coastal region of the province of North Sumatra, and is even used in parts of Aceh, where the language is calledAneuk Jamee. It is also spoken in a part of Malaysia.

Due to great grammatical similarities between the Minangkabau language and Malay, there is some controversy regarding the relationship between the two. Some see Minangkabau as adialect of Malay, while others think of Minangkabau as a proper (Malay) language.

Besides Indonesia, Minangkabau is also spoken in Malaysia, by some descendants of migrants from the Minang-speaking region in Sumatra (Tanah Minang, or Land of the Minang). Significant numbers of the early migrants settled in what is now the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan, which is kown as "Baso Nogoghi".  

The Minangkabau language has several dialects, sometimes differing between nearby villages (e.g. separated by a river). The dialects are Rao Mapat Tunggul, Muaro Sungai Lolo, Payakumbuh, Pangkalan-Lubuk Alai, Agam-Tanah Datar, Pancungsoal, Kotobaru, Sungai Bendung Air, and Karanganyar.In everyday communication between Minangkabau people of different regions, the Agam-Tanah Datar dialect (Baso Padang or Baso Urang Awak "our (people's) language") is often used and has become a kind of standard.

Example Sentences
Baso Minangkabau:Ba'a kaba?
Indonesian/Malay:Apa kabar? or Bagaimana kabar anda?
English:How are you?.
Baso Minangkabau:Lai baiak-baiak se nyo. Sanak ba'a?
Indonesian/Malay:Saya baik-baik saja. Bagaimana dengan anda?
English:I'm very well. How about you?
Baso Minangkabau:Sia namo sanak?
Indonesian/Malay:Siapa nama anda?
English:What is your name?.
Baso Minangkabau:Namo ambo John
Indonesian/Malay:Nama saya John
English:My name is John.
Baso Minangkabau:Tarimo Kasih
Indonesian/Malay:Terima Kasih
English:Thank you.
Baso Minangkabau:Sadang kayu di rimbo ndak samo tinggi, kok kunun manusia (expression)
Indonesian/Malay:Sedangkan pohon di hutan tidak sama tinggi, apalagi manusia
English:Even the trees in the jungle are not all of the same height, let alone the people.
Baso Minangkabau:Co a koncek baranang co itu inyo (expression)
Indonesian/Malay:Bagaimana katak berenang seperti itulah dia.
English:The way a frog swims, the way he does. (doing something without having a goal)
Baso Minangkabau:Indak buliah mambuang sarok disiko!
Indonesian/Malay:Tidak boleh membuang sampah di sini!
English:Do not dump rubbish here!
Baso Minangkabau:Ijan di pacik! Biko tangan ang kanai api.
Indonesian/Malay:Jangan disentuh! Nanti tangan kamu terbakar.
English:Do not touch it! Your hand will be burnt later.


Baso Minangkabau:



Baso Minangkabau:duo



Baso Minangkabau:



Baso Minangkabau:ampek



Baso Minangkabau:



Baso Minangkabau:



Baso Minangkabau:




Baso Minangkabau:salapan



Baso Minangkabau:



Baso Minangkabau:sapuluah



Baso Minangkabau:sabaleh



Baso Minangkabau:
duo baleh

dua belas


Baso Minangkabau:
salapan baleh

delapan belas


Baso Minangkabau:duo puluah

dua puluh


Baso Minangkabau:


one hundred.

Baso Minangkabau:duo ratuih

dua ratus

two hundreds.

Baso Minangkabau:


one thousand.

Baso Minangkabau:
limo ribu

lima ribu

five thousands.