All posts filed under: Travel

Islanders yearn for development

[Above picture taken by NSTP/Khairull Azry Bidin] NOTE: Article written during the Sandakan parliamentary by-election coverage ****** A JETTY with a rundown bridge that connects the docking platform and the shore of Kampung Pulau Berhala greets visitors as they arrive at the small forested island near the Sandakan city centre. One can see wooden beams protruding from the eroded cemented walkway. With cracks everywhere, it appears to be a matter of time before the bridge gives way, endangering visitors and locals alike. “Slowly, one at a time,” said one villager as a group of media practitioners treaded carefully on the rickety bridge. Along the walkway are wooden stilt structures used to hold small boats and unfinished houses. According to Kampung Pulau Berhala chief Junior Jikirin, the 100-metre long cemented walkway was built five years ago during the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, with no maintenance work carried out since. This, he said, is the only jetty for the villagers. There is also another jetty, but it connects to the Joint Task Force base on the far …

The young porter of Mount Kinabalu

[Above picture] Mount Kinabalu porters taking a break after completing the 6km trek from Timpohon gate – the starting point of the climb – to the Panalaban base camp. – Pix by NSTP/Khairull Azry Bidin NOTE: From April 1-2, I climbed Mount Kinabalu and had the chance to talk to some of the most inspiring individuals, the mountain porters. Here’s what I learned. ****** STANDING at only 160cm and weighing 52kg, one would be forgiven for doubting Jvy Mius’ ability as a porter, carrying heavy loads up Mount Kinabalu. However, the sight of his lithe frame springing from one rock to another as he treks his way up to the Panalaban base camp of Malaysia’s highest mountain is a marvel to behold. Depending on the weight of the load, the 22-year-old Dusun lad from Kampung Waang in the highland district of Ranau can reach the base camp, located 3,272m above sea level, in under two hours. “That is if I am carrying light objects. If the loads are heavy, then I will reach the camp …

Being a tourist in Sandakan

My weekend was well spent, playing tourist with mom and my six-year-old nephew. We went on a short city break to the east coast district of Sandakan, for an overnight stay. A night is a very short break indeed. But enough to explore the different sights of Sabah, and indulge ourselves with nature and wildlife, which Sandakan is known for. I often fly to the east coast for work purpose. But having to visit Sandakan as a tourist, I am slowly learning to love this quaint district. Our stay in Sandakan was great. If only it was not raining. We stayed at Nak Hotel, just a five-minute walk to the waterfront and the Habour Mall – Sandakan’s only biggest and grand shopping mall. The mall. Nothing much to browse or be excited about, except for the Popular bookstore and the Mc Donald (which my nephew was pretty much amazed.) It drizzled when we landed Sandakan Airport at 9.50am. We picked our rental car and headed to the Bornean Sunbear Conservation Centre (BSCC) – the only …

Travelling with minor to Philippines

Waiver of Exclusion Ground (WEG). If I had known this, I would have prepared PHP5,240 for extra fixed expenses during my travel to the Philippines and not be shocked by the sudden big amount of pesos I had to spend upon arriving at the airport. In Ringgit Malaysia, that would be about 400! On Dec 13 last year, I flew to the Philippines with my two nieces – aged 10 then – and my mom. It was a relaxing aeroplane journey until we had to go through immigration at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). It was 11.08pm then. Tired and couldn’t wait to go to our hotel. “Daughters?” asked the immigration officer as he skimmed through my passport and my nieces’ passport. “No. My nieces. I’m their aunt.” “Their parents, ma’am?” “Parents not travelling along. I have the authorisation letter.” The immigration officer took the letter and skimmed through. He then said something foreign. “Sorry? I don’t understand.” “Waiver…need to pay immigration, ma’am.” *** One important thing I learnt upon our arrival at NAIA: Non-Filipino …

Where have I travelled in the past two years?

In November 2015, I told myself I would put travel plans to rest because I needed to save money for Iceland in winter the following year. But Iceland never happened in 2016, for reason I couldn’t recall, and I remember telling myself I would make it happen the following year. After 16 months of not travelling, I flew to Luang Prabang – a city in north central Laos – for a short trip in April/May 2017. I lost my wallet (USD100, RM300, credit/debit cards, identity card, medical card etc) upon arriving Luang Prabang but survived on emergency stash and fell in love with the small town, the people, and the food…ah yes, the food. Le poisson grillé avec un bol de riz gluant et une bouteille de Beerloa by the Nam Khan river. It was vividly delicious. Then came December 2017. I travelled to Manila, Philippines with my mom and two nieces. Food was not so great but we had amazing experience touring Corregidor Island – second most bombarded island during the World War II and …