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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Places of Interest-Malaysia

PERLIS • This tiny northern state of Peninsular Malaysia shares borders with neighbouring Thailand. It is the departure point to the famous island resort of Langkawi. The town of Padang Besar is an important entry point by rail for visitors from the north. Among the attractions of the state are Gua Kelam (Dark Caves), Perlis Snake and Reptile Farm and the Wang Kelian State Park.

KEDAH • The Rice Bowl' state of Malaysia is characterised by a landscape of vast paddy fields and lush greenery. Alor Star, the administrative and commercial centre is the site of many well-preserved historical landmarks with Moorish, Thai and colonial influences. The international resort of Langkawi consists of 99 islands shrouded in fascinating myths and legends. Its breathtaking scenery, rustic ambience, enchanting marine life and spectacular limestone formations make it an ideal holiday destination. Langkawfs duty-free status offers attractive shopping opportunities.

PENANG • The 'Pearl of the Orient' is famed for its lovely beaches, colourful history and rich potpourri of cultures. Georgetown, the bustling state capital and port city, combines the best of East and West as evident in its numerous heritage buildings. This food paradise tempts the palate with a mouth-watering array of local cuisine. The island is connected to the mainland by a vehicular ferry service and the magnificent Penang Bridge.

PERAK • Perak in its heyday was synonymous with the nation's flourishing tin mining industry. Its claim to fame today can be attributed to its charming tourist attractions. Alluring Pangkor Island is the location of the award-winning Pangkor Laut Resort. 1poh, the state capital, and Taiping with its picturesque lake gardens, still retain a strong semblance of the British era. The royal town of Kuala Kangsar, Gua Tempurung's fascinating limestone formations and mysterious Kellie's Castle are other attractions.

KUALA LUMPUR • This vibrant capital of Malaysia had its origins as a tin mining outpost in the Ins. The hub of commerce, politics. culture and education. KL's skyline is a striking contrast of ultra-modern structures and charming heritage buildings. The imposing Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest twin structures, is a major draw for most visitors. KL's fascinating sights, irresistible shopping, endless festivals, exciting nightlife and gastronomic delights make it an exciting holiday destination.

PUTRAJAYA • Situated 25km south of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya is the futuristic administrative capital of the nation. Hailed as an 'Intelligent Garden City', this model township is a proud symbol of Malaysia's aspiration to be a developed nation. The focal point here is Putra Square, the stately Prime Minister's Office and the aesthetically­plcaniug Mosque. Another impressive feature is the uniquely designed bridges that span the various points of the sprawling Putrajaya Lake.

SELANGOR • Selangor is the main gateway for visitors to the country. Attractions in the state include the unique Kampung Kuantan Fireflies Park, the magnificent Batu Caves, fabulous theme parks and great shopping. An annual sporting highlight is the action-packed Formula One race held at Sepang International Circuit. Shah Mam, the state capital, is the site of the splendid Blue Masque with the tallest minarets in the world.

NEGERI SEMBILAN • The pervasive influence of the Minangkabau culture is a distinct characteristic of the state. Its flourishing capital of Seremban has several interesting historical and cultural sites. Seri Menanti, a royal enclave, is home to Malaysia's largest traditional timber palace. Port Dickson is a popular weekend retreat with its long coastline and wide choice of resort accommodations. Homestays offer an authentic experience of the local 'kampung' or village lifestyle.

MELAKA • Its long history has made Melaka a veritable treasure trove of the past and a cultural melting pot. Tourists are inevitably drawn to its historical precinct, containing the well-preserved 17th century Dutch Stadhuys and the remains of the Portuguese A' Famosa. Of interest here are several museums, a replica of the Melaka Sultanate Palace and the Independence Memorial Building. The Baba and Nyonya Heritage Museum provides insights into this unique community. Nearby Ayer Keroh and A' Famosa Water Park provide numerous sightseeing spots and recreational activities.

JOHOR • Peninsular Malaysia's southern gateway state offers tropical island escapades. recreational forests, waterfalls. historic spots and superb golfing. The islands of Sibu, Rawa, Besar and Pemang,gil in the South China Sea beckon with a range of water sports and underwater attractions. Trek into the pristine Endau-Rompin National Park for a refreshing jungle adventure. Johor Bahru is a popular weekend shopping and recreational spot for neighbouring Singapore. Another highlight is the lively and intriguing cultural performances
the state.

KELANTAN • Kelantan's appeal lies in its laid-back lifestyle, tranquil countryside scenes, rustic fishing villages and a wealth of cultural activities. Traditional pastimes such as giant kite-flying, top-spinning competitions and silat. the Malay art of self-defence are among the interesting sights. Kelantanese are gifted craftsmen and many cottage industries producing silverware, textiles, kites and brass work can be found in Kota Bharu. the state capital.

TERENGGANU • Terengganu is blessed with captivating island retreats of soft white sand, crystal-clear waters and prolific marine life. The islands of Redang and Perhentian attract lovers of the sun and sea from around the world. Boat-building and traditional handicraft activities such as batik-painting and songket-weaving can be observed around Kuala Terengganu, the main town. Tank Kenyir, the largest man-made lake in Southeast Asia, is a haven for freshwater fishing and eco-adventures

PAHANG • The largest state in Peninsular Malaysia is the location of Taman Negara, Malaysia's premier national park as well as the peninsula's highest peak, Gunung Tahan. The popular hill resorts of Genting Highlands, Cameron Highlands, Bukit Tinggi and Fraser's Hill are major tourist attractions here. Cherating is the site of Asia's first Club Mediterranean and off the state's coastline is the island gem of Tioman, voted as one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

SABAH • Sabah is a paradise for nature lovers. Major attractions here are Mount Kinabalu located in the Kinabalu National Park, a world heritage site. Its cluster of islands, Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and Sipadan, a world-class diving destination, offer a wealth of eco­treasures. The state capital of Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to Sabah's many tourist spots. The 32 ethnic groups in the state, such as the KadazanDusun, Murut and Bajau make up the colourful tapestry of Sabah's culture.

SARAWAK • Situated on the northwestern coast of Borneo, the "Land of the Hornbills" beckons visitors with its pricrine rainforest andthe diverse lifestyles of its indigenous people. The magnificent Mulu Caves, Sarawak Cultural Village and the state's national parks rank among its major attractions. Go on a river cruise adventure to visit the numerous ethnic groups with their colourful customs and traditions.

LABUAN • Located off the west coast of Sabah, Labuan is a paradise for wreck diving and international deep sea fishing. The annual Labuan International Sea Challenge is an exciting water sports event for enthusiasts. The island is the site of several World War II memorials.

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