Tag Archives: tourist

10th Annual JB Arts Festival, 6 September to 5 October

The 10th Annual JB Arts Festival kicks off September 6th and has events through October 5th.

Performances this year include:

AkashA

photo of Angels of the Hill dancers
Angels on the Hill – Angel Art and Dance Studio is an integrated art school equipped with innovative ethnic dancing skills, combining creativity with spirit and dancing principles. Established in April 2001, the school specialises and promotes traditional and cultural dance in Johor Bahru. They will be presenting 12 different dances, featuring 120 students ranging from the age of 3 to 21.

ASWARA – traditional and contemporary dances Malaysian dance company

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Pine Hill Trail, Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia

Pine Hill Trail is the longest trail in Fraser’s Hill. It is a bit difficult to find the trailhead, it was further along the road than I thought. They suggest letting your hotel or Inn know your plans (how long you plan to hike, when you should be back, etc.).

trees fallen across the trail

The trail was blocked in several places giving you the chance to climb over or around fallen trees.

I found it to be a wonderful hike. It is quite a bit of up at down at the beginning.

photo of the the trail through the forest

At one point I say a huge monkey swinging from banches high in the canopy but I couldn’t get a photo of it 🙁

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Penang Clan Jetties – World Heritage Site

enterance to jetty with hand painted World Heritage sign

There are 6 clan jetties in Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. The historic sites include housing built over the water, which continue to be lived in today. Old town Georgetown, including the clan jetties was designated an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008 (along with Melacca).

When the jetties were established in the mid-19th century everybody who lived on the same jetty had the same surname because they all came from the same fishing village in China’s Fujian Province. When they arrived they did not have money to buy land and so decided to build their own villages: the jetties. The families were used to living close to the water and most men who lived on the jetties worked as fishermen or as coolies in the port.

The UNESCO World Heritage status saved the jetties from planned demolition. The fact that the jetties now have heritage status guarantees that they will stay.

– Francine Linssen, Passage magazine, Friends of the Museums of Singapore, Jan/Feb 2012

View from Penang Clan Jetty with modern highrises in the background

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Bishop Trail, Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia

photo of trees along Bishop Trail in Fraser's Hill

Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia is a small town in the highlands (about 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur). There are quite a few nice trails that let you get a sense for a natural forest yet they are easily walked to from the many inns and hotels in Fraser’s Hill.

trees and trail on Bishop Trail, Fraser's Hill

The Bishop Trail is one of the longer trails with a few fairly difficult sections. I found it quite enjoyable, but be prepared for a couple sections that will challenge you to scramble across a creek bed or up a steep collapsed trail.

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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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Putrajaya Architecture

Putrajaya is the home of the Malaysian government. It sits approximately 25 km south of Kuala Lumpur, next to Cyberjaya. Planning and construction of Putrajaya began in the early 1990s. The seat of government shifted to Putrajaya in 1999, from Kuala Lumpur.

The area does include housing, which is wise, but is dominated by large government building, many with interesting architecture, and wide causeways. 38% of the city is reserved for green spaces (including waterways).

photo of Malaysian Prime Minster's Office Building

Prime Minster’s Office Building, Putrajaya, Malaysia

photo of the pink Mosque, Putrajaya

Putra Mosque, Putrajaya, which is adjacent to the Prime Minister’s Office Building.

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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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SE Asia Travel: Siem Reap, Cambodia

One of the many advantages of living in Malaysia is the number of great tourist destinations that are fairly easy to travel to. The plane trips are so much better than the horrible system now in place in the USA (much better service, no TSA security theater, many fewer delays…). Prices are reasonable also. I will gladly pay $50 US to fly on the airlines like Malaysia Airlines (which I flew this time) and Singapore Airlines over some of the budget airlines. I just don’t want to deal with companies that are going to try to rip you off any chance they get and have much less reliable flights (cancelling them more often, etc.). I will fly Firefly.

The flights from Johor Bahru are not very good, pretty much you have to go through Kuala Lumpor, which is fine, but you can be stuck with long waits which I don’t like. Still often it is preferable to flying out of Singapore (though not always). On this trip, to avoid that long delay I was able to fly JB to KL to Siem Reap and then on the way back fly Phnom Penh to KL to JB. These both had short layovers but Siem Reap to KL to JB had over 4 hours wait. I took the bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

photo of the outside of the airport at Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia Airport

The Siem Reap airport is nice, new and small. You need a passport photo for your visa (which I just happen to carry with me from my memories as a child of needed them, but I hadn’t read anything about needing them). Those with passports from many countries you can get a visa at the airport (you don’t need one in advance) but you should make sure this is true for your country in advance. The cost was $20 US. I would imagine that you can get the photo there (for a high price, I would guess) but even more annoying is probably the delay it would add of waiting in another line).

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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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