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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Teluk Bahang Penang National Park

The park is a good example of nature preservation in Penang.

There are two ways to explore the park further: by boat and hiking. When I visited we took a boat in the fishing village. The sea here is quite dirty, but it's mostly because of the fishing boats coming on and off.

A small boat which can contain up to 10 people brought us away from the village. Soon we saw locals fishing from the shore. We passed rocks with imaginary names as Crocodile Rock and Turtle Rock. With some imagination you could see the shape of those animals.

Getting there

With your own transport, car, motorbike or bicycle, it's easy to find Teluk Bahang. Follow directions in Penang to Batu Ferringhi and continue following to Teluk Bahang as there are road directions. The road is small, busy and goes up and down with some bends which do not give a lot of sights on the road.

You can also take a bus. The RapidPenang 101 or KGN (blue bus) starts from Penang ferry terminal or Komtar. It will take about 1.5 to 2 hours (25km).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cherating Beach

Less than 50km north of Kuantan is Cherating. Cherating is the perfect antidote to frantic city life. Here, wide gently sloping sandy beaches, lined with casuarinas trees, extend as far as the eye can see.

The enamored and fabulous sparkling seas, pristine beaches and cool breezes made Club Mediterranean open its first Asian venture here, on a private beach. The main Cherating beach is the location of many hotels, reboots and chalets, catering for all budgets.

First popularized by the backpackers, Cherating is now popular with many visitors who came to enjoy the beach, sea and sun. Handicraft shops and cultural establishments have been established, and many visitors enjoy making their own batiks. Batik painting and pandanus handicrafts remain popular souvenirs from Cherating.

Cherating also offers you the chance to shop for handicraft and see cultural performances. Village maidens nimbly weave the "pandanus" leaves into mats, hats, bags and other inexpensive lightweight souvenirs. Cultural shows include wayang kulit (shadow play) and silat (the Malay art of self-defence).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mount Ophir (Gunung Ledang)

The legendary beauty of Mount Ophir (Gunung Ledang) has made it one of Johor's most popular attractions for hikers and birdwatchers.
There two known ways of reaching the summit. One is from Sagil, a town in Johor, the other is through Asahan, Melaka. The shorter route is from Asahan. Gunung Ledang ( or Mount Ophir as it is otherwise better known ) is the most visited mountain in Malaysia. It is not peculiar to find people who has climb the mountain more than 10 times.

The reason being, the place is easily accessible and suitable for beginners who wants to feel what mountains in Malaysia are really like. Some groups are using this mountain as a training ground for other challenging venues.

The Ledang trail starts from Gunung Ledang resort, near Sagil village is close to the Malacca and Johor border.
The other way of reaching the summit is through Asahan trail in Melaka, an easier route.
The paved road starts besides the river leading and leads towards a few staircases till an open gate, where the real climbing begins.

If you want to trek up Gunung Ledang, it's about five hours to the summit from the park. Alternatively, one can arrange a 4WD transfer for a quick and easier trip which interestingly, offers an equally beautiful view of the surrounding Sagil area and a breathtaking sight of Gunung Ledang Dam.

Gunung Ledang is believed to have the richest flora species in the world.
It has a 50 metres high waterfall with a wide drop of 50 metres.
It has icy cool waters charge down upon large boulders, then break into rushing rapids before plugging into the large sandy pool below.

This waterfall, discovered some 50 years ago, is name the "Puteri Waterfalls"
Over the period it has witnessed thousands of tourists almost every week, picnicking, backpacking or just bathing in the refreshing water of the pool.
You'll see giant butterflies, brightly coloured spiders amidst wild tropical flowers of bright yellow, crimson and orange.

Crickets and frogs singing song of the jungle, chirping sounds of birds become the music of this tropical wonderland.
The summit was just beyond the boulders. There's a flat ground revealed at the summit of Gunung Ledang at 4187ft. Wide and flat, mystical and lovely. I can get a panoramic view of Segamat and Jementah town of Johor, and the historical Melaka.

According to the legend, the princess was of slim build and medium height and had a stunning beauty. Further, she was also endowed with a sinuous movement, that accentuated every curve of her little body.
Men were naturally attracted to her but amongst the many, she was claimed to have spurned was the Sultan of Melaka.
The legend tells us, that the princess eventually married one Nakhoda Ragam, a hero whose name unfailingly struck terror into the hearts of those, who had dared to oppose him.
ut this hero was later to die at the hands of his princess-wife.
Ragam was found of tickling the Princess's ribs and one day, in an uncontrollable burst of reaction. The Princess stabbed her husband in the breast with a needle she was handling.
Therefore the Princess returned to Mount Ophir and vowed never to set eyes on another man.
Ragam's boat, not long after, was crushed during a storm and legend tells us that the debris of the wreck transformed into the present six islands off Melaka

Height: 1276 meters (Highest in Johor State)
Location: Asahan, Melaka
Summit temperature: 10-20 degrees Celsius

Gunung Ledang Resort, Tangkak
Bt, 26 Sagil, 84900 Tangkak,
Johor, Malaysia.
06-977 2888

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Pulau Kapas means Cotton Island and is located about 5 nautical miles or 6km off the shore of Marang, Terengganu. This island is a place where many locals and backpackers go due to its fast accessibility from the jetty. You will be able to reach the island in 10 minutes time by speed boat from Marang Jetty. Marang is located 18km south of Kuala Terengganu, the capital of Terengganu state. Do not confuse this Marang town with Merang town. Merang town is located north of Kuala Terengganu.

The activities that you can do on this island are swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing, fishing, kayaking. Motorised activities such as bannana boats are not allowed here. As you dive or snorkel, you will be able to see colourful fishes, corals, turtles and other marine creatures within the vicinity of the island. The Duyong was once spotted on this island as well. Divers, take note that there is a World War II shipwreck north of Gemia island where you can go for your diving activity.

Best Time To Go

If you would prefer to have a time of tranquility and peace alone on this island, the best time to go is during the weekdays when most of the locals are working. Due to the monsoon season, most resorts will be closed from November to February. Hence, the best time to go will be during the months of June, July, August and September.

A smaller island beside Pulau Kapas, called Pulau Gemia or Gem Island is located just north of the main island. There is only one resort in Gem Island known as Gem Island Resort. The standard room rate starts from RM207 nett per night onwards depending on the seasons and time of your booking. This is an exclusive island and the facility here are only accessible to those who are staying at the resort.


As it only takes 10 minutes by speed boat from Marang Jetty, most of the locals just go for a day trip to the island. If you do not want to rush, you can stay at the resorts in the island. There are about 9 main resorts in Pulau Kapas and 1 resort in Pulau Gemia. Chalet, dorm and room rates ranges from RM20 to RM300 per night.

The 9 resorts at the main Kapas Island are:

Turtle Valley Chalet
The Light House
Duta Puri Island Resort
Kapas Island Resort
Kapas Beach Chalet
Makcik Gemok Beach Resort
Qimy Chalet
Kapas Garden Resort
Harmony Camp Site

The one and only resort at Gemia Island is Gem Island Resort & Spa.

Getting Here

If you are driving from Kuala Lumpur, use the Karak and East Coast Highway and go towards Kuala Terengganu after you exit the Highway. Follow the coastal Highway 3 and you will pass the town of Kemaman, Kijal, Kerteh, Dungun, Rantau Abang before reaching Marang. The journey will take you 7 hours. Once you are in Marang, follow the sign board Jeti Marang and you will arrive here in 5 minutes. There are plenty of car park bays available for your use.

The speed boat transfer cost RM30 for a return trip. The main service provider is Suria Link which has an office just by the jetty. Schedule of boat tranfer:

Marang Jetty to Kapas Island

9:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm (1:00pm service not available on Friday)

Kapas Island To Marang Jetty

9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm (1:30pm service not available on Friday)