Monday, January 31, 2011

Flood update Jan 31

*If you have pictures of the floods in Johor, e-mail them to

*Johor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang and Sabah hit by floods.

*TNB disconnects electricity supply to Segamat to prevent electrocution.

*KTM cancels many train services to the south.

More..The Star - Floods in five states, three dead, more than 46,000 evacuated

Floods disrupt train services to the east and south

As a follow-up to an earlier post on Flood situation in Johore, southern state of Malaysia, the latest report is that floods have disrupted train services to the east and the south.

As reported by The Star:

KUALA LUMPUR: Heavy rain has disrupted KTM’s intercity services to the east coast and to the south on Monday.

Flooding of the tracks between Bahau, Negri Sembilan (km11.75). Tampin, Negri Sembilan (km510) and Kluang, Johor (km652.25) has led to the cancellation of a number of train services, KTM said in a statement on Monday.

KTM intercity train services affected are as follows:

Ekspres Rakyat No. 1 (Kuala Lumpur Central- Singapore) - Service cancelled

Ekspres Rakyat No. 2 (Singapore- Kuala Lumpur Central) - Service cancelled

Ekspres Sinaran Selatan No. 12 (Singapore- Kuala Lumpur Sentral) - Service cancelled

Ekspres Sinaran Selatan No. 13 (Kuala Lumpur Central-Singapore) - Service cancelled

Ekspres Sinaran No. 14 (Singapore-Kuala Lipis) - Service cancelled

Ekspres Sinaran No. 15 (Kuala Lipis – Singapore) - Service cancelled

Shuttle No. 61 (Gemas- Kluang) - service only available between Kluang – Singapore.

Shuttle No. 64 (Kluang - Gemas)- service only available between Singapore-Kluang.

Services for the central and northern sector are unaffected, for now.

Affected passengers could change their travel date or get a full ticket refund, the statement said.

Related article:
Johor floods: Two dead and nearly 29,000 evacuated

Clouded leopards in East Malaysia

A big part of Borneo where East Malaysia is part of, is still primary jungle and teeming with wildlife including orang utan, gibbons, proboscis monkeys and elephants.

A sequence of 12 photographs showing a clouded leopard and her cub moving about in the lower Kinabatangan region in Sabah has strengthened calls among conservationists for the setting up of more wildlife forest corridors. More..

Flood situation in Johore, southern state of Malaysia

Water levels in Johor rivers are rising dangerously, raising fears of a repeat of the 2006 floods that left the state inundated and with damages worth millions in its wake.

The Meteorological Department warned late Saturday afternoon of heavy rain over Muar, Ledang, Segamat, Kluang, Batu Pahat, Mersing, Kota Tinggi, Kulaijaya, here and in the Pontian areas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Rock called RockHaven

Does this rock look familiar? It is possible if you have been to either Guilin in China; Halong Bay in Vietnam; or Phuket, Thailand.

According to The Star, this is a 280-million-year-old, 14-storey-high rock found right here in Malaysia, in Tambun, northern state of Perak.

The geological wonder is one of only four such formations in the world: the others are located in Guilin, China; Halong Bay, Vietnam; and Phuket, Thailand.

The rock has been given the name RockHaven. Learn how it got its name.

Image source: The Star

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Visit Turkey

How would you like waking up every morning to a view like the one in the picture above or have breakfast every morning with a postcard-perfect view? You can, if you are in Turkey.

I just watched a documentary on travel in Turkey and from friends who have been there, I'd say this country should be on everyone's travel list if it's not already there.

I believe a country as beautiful and as culturally-rich as Turkey is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. The best thing to do is to rent a holiday villa in Turkey's Mediterranean Coast, known as the Lycian & Turquoise Coast. Lycia villa rentals are available and available online.

There are lots to do, see and experience in Turkey. For nature lovers, there is a host of fulfilling outdoor activities. You can take nature treks or walk along their white sandy beaches and take in the beauty all around, go kayaking or yachting, swim, of course. Their thermal baths are not to be missed. They can be found right on the shore of Lake Köycegiz on the Turkish Lycian coast. Such a very hot (40C) thermal mineral pool is believed to benefit the skin. It’s apparently “radioactive, hyperthermal, hypertonic” - which means good for arthritis, rheumatism, and skin complaints. Or you could go for an old Turkish bath which is a fantastic place to be steamed, scrubbed and massaged.

If you enjoy museums, there's the Istanbul Modern, which is Istanbul’s equivalent to the Tate Modern in London. Just like you would visit the Eiffel Tower when in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York or even the Petronas Twin Towers when in Kuala Lumpur, the Blue Mosque of Istanbul is a monument not to be missed.

Turkey goes back thousands of years so there is a lot of history to be experienced. The ruins of Troy are not to be missed so is Cappadocia, an ancient region where buildings are rock-cut and cities are underground. A hot-air balloon ride is also available to take you soaring into the skies to have a bird-s eye-view of the fascinating landscape. The image below is of Cappadocia landscape courtesy of Wikipedia. Visit the site for more images and information on Turkey.

Food, naturally, makes up a big part of travel. Turkish cuisine is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines. Besides the kebabs, there are lots more to try when in Turkey. Must try their sweets too. They have a good selection. Great as gifts for friends and family too back home.

Here's another reason to visit Turkey. If you are in Britain (applicable to other countries with cold winters too) and we all know that winter in Britain can be extremely cold, ever thought about escaping the British winter and spending it warm and nice in Turkey basking in the sun or simply enjoying the serenity and splendour of lush tropical greenery and white sandy beaches? Visit Turkey.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thaipusam in Malaysia - Batu Caves (KL) & Penang

If you are a first-time visitor to Malaysia and happen to be here today, Batu Caves may be where you would want to be to experience a local culture.

Today is a Hindu festival of Thaipusam, celebrated all over the world. Here in Kuala Lumpur, the grandeur takes place at Batu Caves, on the outskirts of the city. Most Malaysian Hindus will be at Batu Caves and other Hindu temples giving thanks and fulfilling vows to the Hindu god, Lord Murugan. Below are photos at Batu Caves plus captions, courtesy of The Star.

Shankar and his family walking out of the temple after fulfilling their vows at Batu Caves. - 20 January, 2011

V. Chockalingam carries the kavadi as he makes his way towards the temple in Batu Caves. - 20 January, 2011

Holy procession: The crowd surrounding the chariot at Sri Maha Mariamman Temple Dhevasthanam in Kuala Lumpur. - 20 January, 2011

Hindu devotees making use of the weekend to visit the Sri Subramaniam temple complex ahead of Thaipusam at Batu Caves.

This year, many devotees began paying penance since Sunday. Some carry the kavadi (a decorated structure bearing the image of several deities including Lord Muruga) on their shoulders, some with skewers pierced through their cheeks, and some carry milk pots or pal kodum in the Indian language. It is at Batu Caves where these can be witnessed. An estimated 100,000 devotees are expected at Batu Caves comprising locals and tourists alike.

Just as this post is being put together, the five-tonne silver chariot bearing a statue of Lord Muruga, would have arrived from the Sri Mahamariaman Temple in Jalan Tun H.S. Lee, downtown Kuala Lumpur (somewhere in Chinatown). The chariot left at 12.20am this morning arriving at the Batu Caves temple by noon.

With the even larger crowds today, if you intend to go to Batu Caves, be advised to use public transportation to avoid the anticipated massive traffic congestion.

KTM Komuter is providing additional services on all sectors and shuttle train services between the Kuala Lumpur Sentral and Batu Caves stations from yesterday to tomorrow in conjunction with the festival.

Here's a short video of Thaipusam at Batu Caves last year.

And Batu Caves at its serene best.. preparations leading up to the event.

In Penang, Thaipusam is also celebrated in a big way with over 8000 locals and tourists partaking in this holy event.

Photos and captions courtesy of The Star

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Unrest in Tunisia

Western countries urged their people to avoid travel to the popular tourist destination of Tunisia due to the instability caused by unrest in the country.

A surge of anger in the streets over police repression and poverty swept Tunisia's veteran leader from power on Friday.

President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali stepped aside after more than two decades in power and believed to have flown out of the country. His exact whereabouts were unclear.

Full article...Veteran Tunisian leader quits after protests

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tigers in Malacca Zoo

If you would like to see a real tiger in Malaysia, zoos would be the place to go to. If you are in Malacca, head on over to the Malacca Zoo where there are 27 tigers with 12 of them born in captivity.

The tiger shown here is Nicky, the tiger cub that was saved from a cooking pot in 2005 and ended up becoming a top breeder under the Wildlife and National Parks Department’s tiger-breeding (Perhilitan) programme at the Malacca Zoo. Under this programme, 84 tiger cubs have been successfully bred.

Source: The Star..Natural habitat for tigers to be set up in Pahang

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

St Francis Institution (SFI) will not be relocated

Malacca: The state government has shelved a proposal to relocate the 131-year-old St Francis Institution, currently sitting within the Unesco World Heritage site, to Pulau Melaka.

Former Franciscans had campaigned against the idea of relocation on a Facebook page, We Dont Want St Francis Institution To Be Relocated, which garnered 1,000 responses in five days.

Continue reading..Malacca axes SFI relocation proposal

Kuching airport temporarily closed

According to The Star today, the Kuching International Airport has been closed temporarily Tuesday until further notice.

The temporary closure is due to an incident Monday night, when an AirAsia aircraft (flight AK5218 from Kuala Lumpur), skidded and veered off the airport's runway 25, when landing at 10.02 during heavy rain.

All passengers were evacuated safely from the aircraft. Only one flight was released for departure from the airport, flight MH2505 to Kuala Lumpur.

Related article:
AirAsia plane skids at Kuching airport

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Floods caused by the monsoon rains

Each year, the monsoon rains in Malaysia cause flooding in the northern (Perlis, Kedah) and eastern (Kelantan, Terengganu) states of the peninsula.

This year is no exception. In fact, the situation seems more severe this year. Below are updates from The Star on the situation in the different locations:

More evacuated in Kelantan but conditions in Pahang, Terengganu improve

Rising floodwaters force 16 schools in Kelantan to close immediately

400 evacuated after floods in three districts

Floods: Continuous rain in East Coast states, more evacuated

If you are planning a holiday to the east coast or the islands off Terengganu, including Pulau Redang and Pulau Perhentian, this time of the year is to be avoided. Club Med in Cherating, Pahang, is still closed until February (being closed from Sep end onwards).

Image source:

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Best Present Ever?

Guest post written by Chris White

This year, my kids gave their mother and me such unbelievably shocking news that I couldnŐt believe what I was hearing; I thought I might have had to purchase a new pair of Miracle Ear hearing aids. We were all sitting in the living room by the Christmas tree when my eldest son and two younger daughters announced that they wanted to give my wife and me a trip to the Bahamas! This year is our 35th anniversary, and they told us that they wanted to make it extra special and got us a joined Christmas gift and anniversary gift. We couldnŐt believe their generosity. They were all so sweet for working together to give us this tremendous gift.

We are going to set sail this upcoming Monday. We are leaving for Florida for a week long cruise, and we are going to fly back into Raleigh thereafter. We feel as though this vacation is going to be one of the most exciting times of our lives. The fact that it was made possible by our wonderful kids makes it that much more special for us.
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