Five places to escape to
MALAYSIANS, you don’t have to splurge and blow your budget to have a great vacation! There are many interesting places in our country that you may not know about ... yet. Here are the five places to check out.
1. Kampung Sumangkap Gong Factory, Kudat, Sabah Listen to the beat of the gongs in this gong factory in Sabah’s northern town of Kudat. Located 140km ( or two hours by road) from Kota Kinabalu, this village provides insight into the gong- making process, with various workshops organised by the skilled Rungus craftsmen of the village.
Visitors are free to walk around the village to observe the gong- making process. While you are there, don’t forget to take a photo with the biggest gong in Malaysia located at the entrance of the village! Besides self- drive, visitors can also get to the village via public transportation from Padang Merdeka, KK. Visitors need to inform the driver of the drop- off point.
Open daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm, including public holidays.
Admission fee is RM5 ( adults), RM3 ( children), and free for children below six years of age. 2. Kedah Paddy Museum, Alor Setar, Kedah Located in the Rice Bowl state of Malaysia, this is the only padi museum in the country. Located on Jalan Gunung Keriang, Alor Setar, this three- storey museum has unique architecture with repetitive padi stalk motifs on the building’s roof. It is a tribute to the history of padi cultivation in Malaysia and countries around the world. Visitors will also learn about the taboos and legends of padi- planting.
The museum’s highlight is the rotating viewing deck for the murals painted by Korean artists.
Open daily from 9am to 5pm ( closed noon to 2.30pm on Fridays). Admission is RM3 ( adults), RM1 ( children from seven to 12). There is an additional charge of RM2 for the use of cameras. 3. teluk Bahang Forest Park, Penang
This forest park is approximately 40 minutes’ drive from George Town, with views of the sandy beaches of Batu Ferringhi along the way. You can enjoy a relaxing stroll on the footpaths provided by the management in this serene forest.
If you are game for something more challenging, you can go on the hiking trail that will lead you further into the forest of Penang Hill. After a tiring hike or walk, you can soak in the refreshing pristine pool and waterfall in the park.
Other facilities in this park are campsites and picnic areas. The park is accessible via public transportation from George Town on Bus 101 from Komtar Bus Terminal.
The park is open daily from 9am to 5pm ( closed noon to 2.45pm on Fridays).
Entrance to the park is free.
There are a couple of places that are well- trodden in Terengganu but not many give Besut the time of day. We thank Star2 reader Alia Hazmin for this tip- off. Beaches? Try Pantai Dendung, a pebbled beach, or five minutes away Pantai Bukit Keluang where there are water sports or hike up to Bukit Keluang for fantastic views of the place.
You can have breakfast at Nasi Ayah Su Jat located at Kuala Besut Jetty with great views of the boats sailing past and street art in the background. At Pantai Air Tawar, lunch awaits you at Pak Awie Nasir Air where the traditional porridge called Nasi Air is supposed to be scrumptious.
Interestingly, the old film Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa was filmed on the golden sandy beach here. 5. Gunung Gading National Park, Lundu, Sarawak Located in Lundu, 32km from Kuching, this park was named after the legendary and mythical Princess Gading ( one of the guardians of three mountain peaks here). If you are lucky, you may sight the world’s largest flower, the Rafflesia.
This park is also home to a wide range of wildlife, such as wild boars, monkeys and porcupines.
Adventure- seekers may want to hike along any of the three nature trails to enjoy the beauty of the Malaysian rainforest. The waterfalls are another attraction.
Visitors who wish to stay overnight should book the hostel accommodation prior to arrival.
General admission fee is RM10 for Sarawakians and RM20 for non- Sarawakians. Open from 8am to 5pm. The park is accessible by car from Kuching, a journey of about two hours. Or take a bus from Kuching Sentral via express bus to Lundu, and then take a taxi to the park.