Tag Archives: recreation

18th Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival, Johor, Malaysia – Feb 19-24

The 18th annual Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival will be held from the 19th of February until 24th February, 2013 (schedule). The kite festival draws enthusiasts from around the globe with competitors from over 20 countries. Videos of kites flying at the 2011 festival:

Video showing some scenes from the 2012 festival:

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The 9th Johor Bahru Arts Festival Packs the Calendar Events For the Month of September

JB Arts Festival includes many events during the full month of September. Most the events are free, some require purchased tickets. It does take a bit of work to find out what you want to know using the web site, but it looks like it is worth the effort.

A calendar of events lists the events by day (it is a bit hard to read – just a jpg image file so it doesn’t increase in size very well). Separate pages provide details on the many arts related events (but those pages don’t tell you when or where the events are). Some highlights:

photo of dancers for Culture Malaysiana
Culture Malaysiana showcases and represents the vibrancy and richness of the Malaysian community, and truly achieves unity through the arts. The seamless transitions between the many dances are also representative of how elements of each culture are mixed together to create a unique Malaysian culture, a whole which is truly more than the sum of its parts.

Maskara Shorties is a marathon screening of short films curated amd selected by Sindiket Sol-jah. Sindiket Sol-jah is an arts activist group based in Rumah PENA (Persatuan Penulis Nasional Malaysia / National Writers Assosiation Malaysia). The event will showcase rarely-seen short films for your viewing pleasure produced and directed by passionate filmmakers from Malaysia and Singapore.

photo of 24 Festive Drums

The inspiration for the 24 drums was based on the 24 festivals in the Chinese lunar calendar throughout the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, which has guided the traditional Chinese agricultural community for thousands of years. A full troupe therefore consists of 24 drums, each bearing two bold Chinese characters representing each of the 24 festivals. The music and choreography are arranged to harmonise gracefully into a performing art that depicts the cycles of the 24 seasons in music, calligraphy and the rhythm of life.

From its humble beginnings here in Johor Bahru, the 24 Festive Drums has garnered recognition and acclaim both locally and internationally. The performing art is not only popular in Malaysia, but has also become popular and gained a following in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States

photo of Akasha (Malaysia music group)

Using various instruments, Akasha ventures into many different genres, including blues, bluegrass, latin, bossanova, middle eastern, classical, old western and Irish.


AkashA is a 7-piece Malaysian band, playing world fusion music with a distinctly Malaysian twist. Like Malaysia itself, AkashA is a fusion of four cultures – Malay, Indian, Chinese, and Western. Watch YouTube video highlights of an AkashaA performance.

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Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The Kuala Lumpur Birdpark is in downtown Kuala Lumpur right next to the Museum of Islamic Art.

It isn’t very obvious how to walk from one to the other but I was able to do so. I would guess I walked maybe 2km – the problem is getting to the entrance of the bird park (I think the properties actually touch each other).

photo of pathway in Kuala Lumpur Birdpark

Kuala Lumpur Birdpark

All of the photos in this post were taken by John Hunter and can be used with a link back to this post.

Crested Goshawk

Crested Goshawk (Lang Sikap)

If you like seeing birds and you have time in Kuala Lumpur I think the birdpark is worth a visit. But it really isn’t so special and other things may be a more valuable use for your time. If you have time and want an outdoor activity though it is fine (for example if you are living in Kuala Lumpor or staying for an extended period). The park is a bit run down and it is a bit sad how small the enclosures are for some of the birds.

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Basketball Courts In Johor Bahru CBD

It has taken me a while to get around to figuring out the basketball court situation here. There are neighborhood associations that have what amount to neighborhood parks. Some of these have basketball courts with roofing. I imagine the courts are used for other events and the roofing really helps given how much rain there is (it also keeps you in the shade).

I wasn’t really sure if these were closed parks, or what. But the best I can tell they are basically open to the public. That is what people seem to tell me. One of the things I have noticed, after a bit of time here, is the English pronunciation is much better than English comprehension. The lack of comprehension is exacerbated by people being polite and smiling and indicating they understand when I now see they may not. So that is why even after several people saying the parks are open I am not 100% sure. Several of the parks are complete surrounded by fences (which adds to the air that they are not public).

Anyway I am glad to have been able to get some exercise myself, just shooting around. I also have once played some pickup games. I’ll try to get in a few more pick-up games.


View JB CBD basketball courts in a larger map

Dewan Serbaguna Dato HJ Mohamed Khaled Nordin is what the sign in Taman Century says at the covered court right next to KSL Mall. The other one only a couple blocks from the other side of the mall is a bit smaller but also covered.

In Permas Jaya there is a recreation association court (this place even has a pool). I tried to find out if I had to pay. The board seemed to say you did, but their was also information on annual passes. After quite a bit of time I still couldn’t figure out what pay was required for. I am not sure if it was required just to reserve the court for private play, or what. If I remember right it was something like RM 4 – 8 an hour? The court is not covered. It is a maybe 2 or 3 km from Straits View Condo, Jusco Mall is on the way between the condo and the court.

Related: Swimming is Good ExerciseBig Lizards in Johor Bahru CBDJohor Bahru Zoo

Johor Bahru Zoo

Photo of Kuching batu

Kuching Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis). There are 12 species of leopard cat, one is found on Borneo and another on peninsular Malaysia.

The Johor Bahru Zoo offers the chance to see quite a few animals but has an obvious problem with funding. In the last couple of decades small zoos are losing out as the costs increase and people’s expectation for the treatment of animals has been raised. Even very expensive zoos with lots of money and relatively nice enclosures have serious questions to answer about whether locking up animals for our recreation is acceptable. Small zoos have been closing and zoos that remain open have been increasing the quality of spaces for animals and funding research as a way to feel better about what we do.

photo of the chimpanzee Enclosure at the JB Zoo

Chimpanzee enclosure at the Johor Bahru Zoo. The Grand Palace is visible in the background.

The Johor Bahru Zoo is still small and obviously not very well funded. The enclosures are small. I talked to several of the people that work there and they were very nice and well intentioned, it seemed to me. But there is no denying the zoo has too little funding to provide what is expected in many places today (I didn’t talk to the people that work there about funding I just observed the conditions – also the entrance fee is only RM 3. The Singapore Zoo is hailed as a wonder and the entrance cost is about 40 times as much (and I wouldn’t be surprised if the attendance was 40 times as high). You can certainly make things look nice for 1,600 times (40 * 40) as much money (plus I would imagine corporate sponsorship, members… give the Singapore zoo even more).

photo of a lion cub at the Johor Bahru Zoo

Lion cub, Johor Bahru Zoo. The lion enclosure is the similar to the one for chimpanzees. All the photos are by John Hunter.

The zoo was built by Sultan Ibrahim in 1928 and was was opened to the public in 1962.

I can understand people feeling bad for the animals at the Johor Zoo. I also can believe kids may well very much enjoy it (many were as I was there). It does seem to me, if they intend to keep the zoo, they really should look at ways to increase funding by a factor of at least 50 – 100. And then look to decrease the number of animals and give those that remain larger and more interesting enclosures. But that is just my opinion, others are welcome to their own opinions. I am sure, some people know they wouldn’t want to see a small, older zoo. But if you don’t feel that way, I think the zoo is one of the more interesting tourist attractions in Johor Bahru and worth a visit.

Related: Tourist Stuff in Kuala LumpurVisiting Lizardphoto of the Johor Bahru Zoo in the 1970sSnow Leopard Playing in the Snow in Ohio Zoo

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Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur

photo of a beautiful chess set

Beautiful chess set at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

I visited the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia while staying in Kuala Lumpor a few months back. It is a modern museum with clean lines and lots of open space.

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia houses more than 7,000 artefacts, as well has an exceptional library of Islamic-art books. The art objects on display range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The aim is to create a collection that is truly representative of the Islamic world. Instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, IAMM also puts the emphasis on Asia. China and Southeast Asia are especially well represented. The third component of the Malaysian melting pot is India, which is also given special status.

View of gallery inside Islamic Arts Museum

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia has a open and attractive floorplan

I thoroughly enjoyed the visit, it did not seem as large as you might expect. If you are like me and enjoy visiting museums and learning I think it is worth a visit when you are in Kuala Lumpor.

You might also enjoy the bird park (which is nearby). The bird park isn’t really fantastic: in my opinion, it could be skipped without missing too much (but I like seeing animals and did enjoy it though it did seem a bit overpriced and under maintained).

Related: Tourist Stuff in Kuala LumpurDreams and Reality: Museum D’Orsay Exhibit at the National Museum of SingaporeHotels and Accomations for Travelers in Malaysia

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Zee Avi to Perform in Kuala Lumpor, Kuching, Penang and Singapore

Zee Avi posted her music to You Tube from her home in Borneo and was spotted and signed by a producer based in the USA. She is back in Malaysia on a tour and will be performing at the following locations:

  • Rock Corner, The Curve Shopping Mall, Kuala Lumpor, Nov 16th
  • KL Live, Kuala Lumpor, Nov 17th
  • Straits Quay Convention Center, Penang, Nov 19th
  • TAB, Singapore, Nov 22nd
  • Damai Central, Kuching, Sarawak Nov 26th

From her bio:

just four years ago, Avi was a former art student in Kuala Lumpur who posted a song on YouTube to catch up with a friend and was quite surprised to find herself the toast of the Internet when thousands of strangers discovered her effortlessly stunning voice. Literal overnight success can easily poison young minds, but Avi is no ordinary mind — while critics were comparing her chilled-out, jazzy, ukulele-based songs to Billie Holiday and Cat Power she was continuing to make visual art and remaining her buoyant, whimsical self. “I’m 25 going on 12 and a half on a good day,” she laughs, flipping through a notebook filled with colorful drawings and lengthy notes.

via: Capturing Penang

Related: Tourist choices in KLLooking into Kuching, Sarawak, MalaysiaHollie Steel

Exercise: Swimming

Over the years I have thought about taking up swimming to get some healthy exercise but I never do. When I start swimming I am so lame I can barely make it a few laps. And I had to go to a pool, get changed, swim (for a few minutes before I was too tired), get changed, go home… So I never did keep it up.

Now I have a pool an elevator ride away. I have been swimming several times a week for a few weeks now. I still can’t get very far. Which is good in that I get an aerobic workout really quick, because I am such an inefficient swimmer. But also bad in that I get don’t a very long aerobic workout without risking swallowing large amounts of water. Today I made 10 lengths (5 laps, if a lap is back and forth) for the first time (maybe the pool is 20 yards long but maybe a bit shorter – about 15 meters, maybe a bit longer?).

It does seem like this will be a way for me to get some exercise though, so that is good. And hopefully I can add on the laps over the weeks. Hopefully I can find a place to play basketball, historically my main exercise. I will also look to see about tennis or badminton. I am still looking for the best places in Johor Bahru to participate though. Let me know, in the comments, if you have suggestions.

As I let the sun dry me after the swim a swallow (or some similar bird) buzzed the pool very close to the water. Which was cool, but I figured the bird was out of luck. I guessed it was looking for insects to eat and the chemically cleaned water didn’t support insects. But it dipped in and caused a small ripple and I figured maybe it caught something or more likely thought it would and tried. But over the next 2 minutes it dove into the water a bit more and at least 10 more time. I would zoom along, fold in its wings and then plop into the water causing quite noticeable ripples. It could just basically bounce off and be flying again. It either had to be playing or cleaning itself I think. It was fun to watch.

In Johor Bahru, most of the condos that expats chose have pools. Some are larger (Straits View seemed the largest to me) and some are pretty small (usually at the condos without too many units).

Related: Bakery, Downtown Johor BahruAndroid Mobile Phone Options in MalaysiaMegazip Adventure Park, Sentosa IslandRegular Exercise Reduces Fatigue