Tag Archives: Malaysia

Embracing diversity with open hands, loving world my way!

Being born to a typical north Indian brahmin family is no mean task. There are many prejudices one gets to live with throughout their lives, there are so many strings attached and a long list of do’s and don’ts always hanging above your head. Many preconceived notions lay hidden under the skin and there is misconceived veil of purity always around. Everything making them misfit to be a world traveller.

We had been tourists since childhood owing to father’s railway job giving us privilege to travel and army postings of other relatives privilege to logistics. We were certainly not travellers. Sense of purity was always a hindrance to explore the world. There was indeed an ‘under the wraps’ attempt to ‘depurify’ us with an egg-curry by a then family friend but that didn’t help a lot. It turned out to be an pen and shut case. Things started changing only when I finally moved out of the house for my future endeavours.

Too good to be a food! Live food in Bali

But the first moment of truth arrived, when more than two decades ago, after completing a winter trek to Dalhousie and Kalatop, we decided to have a detour to Jammu and Patni Top. One evening after spending the day visiting temples of Jammu, we reached to a small restaurant for our meal. One of our friend wanted to have a chicken for food. Third friend was a brahmin and vegetarian too like me. He chose to sit on the other table, to not watch somebody licking a leg-piece. Somehow, I decided that I will not change the table and instead share the table with my chicken-loving friend. I not only shared the table, but also made no pretension to not notice him whatever he was doing. I enjoyed my dal-makhani but I also kept all eyes on his dish and actually enjoyed the way he was enjoying his food. That incident changed my perspective for good. It was a bold first step in direction of making me a traveller.

Too beautiful to be a food! Live food in Bali

I still had a long way to go. I was still a vegetarian and was still fighting some food prejudices. I can’t say, I have overcome them all, but I am sure I was on the right direction after that incident in Jammu. I remember that another day, too far at Sepang in Malaysia, where I was present as a sports correspondent to cover the inaugural season of A1 GP at the Sepang Formula 1 race circuit.

As an accredited journalist, I had the access to official food area. That was more than ten years back. After the Saturday free practice in the morning session, we were off to the lunch. And I had to admit that it was a huge shock for me, I had not been to any such place before. I had heard that Malaysia is a heaven for sea-food lovers, but I never expected to be at any place for lunch where all I could see around was crabs, prawns, and that too huge ones, hanging everywhere. Honestly, I was bit terrified at the onset, but than I worked upon my mind and instead of moving out to some other place for the lunch, I stayed there and managed my meal from whatever I could find for myself. I thought that incident to be as big as the Jammu one in my transformation towards a traveller.

Too cute to be a food! Live food in Bali

While I had adjusted to meat and chicken but fish was still a taboo because of its smell. That too was something for me to fight for. Time came for that too, when on a trip to Sri Lanka, we stayed for a night at Negombo. And our stay their also included a visit to the fish market in the early morning at the trading time. I still can’t believe I did that. But in an instinct I was inside the market deeper and longer than anybody else in our group clicking photographs while standing in the midst of piles of all types of fishes, prawns, oysters, crabs, and what not. And, to win a battle within, I didn’t even cover my nose. I kept talking to people in an attempt to know more about the market. But somewhere inside, I knew that I was doing it more for my own sake, to probably Say Yes to The World. And, I am glad, I did that.

Don’t you want to Say yes to the world? Why don’t you do it this way!

What was your moment of embracing this world? Please share with us all.

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Amidst MH370 crisis Malaysia allays fears for tourism

Tourism Malaysia roadshow in Delhi
Tourism Malaysia roadshow in Delhi

Despite worldwide concerns on whereabouts of a flight with 239 passengers on board, Tourism Malaysia went ahead with its road show to  attract more Indian tourists. Four city roadshow  started from Kochi on 12th March and ended at New Delhi on 20th March 2014. Although it was  a scaled down effort, owing to impending situation- mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on Saturday 8th March, with no signs whatsoever so far, even after two weeks. Malaysian tourism minister was himself to attend the event but he had to skip.

A few trade visits have been cancelled from India  after the incident, but Tourism Malaysia Director General Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab dismissed possibility of major impact on tourism arrivals in Malaysia.  Malaysia is actually celebrating its fourth Visit Malaysia Year in 2014. India tourists are among top 10 of incoming tourists in Malaysia.  Malaysia has been very popular among Indian tourists. This year almost 8 lakh Indian tourists are expected to visit Malaysia.

redang islandMalaysia is popular as a dream travel destination all along the world. It is among the top 10 most visited countries in the world and second in Asia after China. Malaysia was also ranked no 1 in homestay programmes by UNWTO. What may attract shoppers about Malaysia is the fact that whole of Malaysia offers duty free shopping except for three items- cigarettes, liquor and crystals. If this is not enough, it can be interesting to know that among the top 10 largest shopping complexes in the world, three are located in Malaysia.  On the Globe Shopper Index for 2012 Malaysia was ranked as 2nd in Asia-Pacific region. CNN survey 2012 also declared Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur as 4th best shopping city in the world.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is the defining authority in fashion, dining and urban leisure
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is the defining authority in fashion, dining and urban leisure

Well shopping is not the only reason to be in Malaysia. It is the only country in Asia to be listed in Top 10 of Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2014. Penang has also been named as the top culinary spot in the world for 2014. CNN’s list of World’s  100 best beaches for 2013 included three from Malaysia- Perhentian Kecil island, Terengganu at No 13, Juara Beach in Tioman island, Pahand at no 21 and TanjungRhu in Langkawi, Kedah at no 49.


Many tourists dead in road accident near Genting

Genting highlandsAt least 33 people were believed killed and 16 injured when a bus carrying tourists plunged into a deep ravine near the popular Genting Highlands resort in Malaysia on Wednesday, 21st August 2013. The nationalities of the victims could not immediately be ascertained though media reports said most of the passengers were Malaysians and some were believed to be from the Middle East.

The accident occurred on a steep and winding road when the bus carrying 49 passengers was going from Genting Highlands to Kuala Lumpur. The injured were taken to nearby hospitals. Genting Highlands, about an hour’s drive out of Kuala Lumpur, has a sprawling hotel, amusement park and a casino. It is a popular destination for almost all tourists visiting Malaysia.


For nine days from 22 to 30 June, the lakeside scene at Putrajaya in Malaysia will be transformed by shades of all colours as Putrajaya FLORIA returns, featuring over 5,000 orchids from different species at Precinct 2, Putrajaya. With the theme Orchid – Tropical Treasure, more than 200 cultivars, hybrids, and species of orchids will be used to landscape indoor and outdoor gardens of this much-anticipated event.

Orchids in Putrajaya
Orchids in Putrajaya

This year, Putrajaya FLORIA will feature 23 international participants from 18 countries, consisting of garden designers, growers, as well as the International Orchid Society. There will be indoor and outdoor garden displays from Australia, Chile, China, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and Vietnam – so lots of inspiring garden ideas will be in store for visitors!

Five landscape architects from the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM) will show off their creativity and talent in the ‘Designer Gardens’ exhibition. Also, see corporate gardens on display by some of the leading companies in Malaysia. Growers will also show their floral products, such as the orchid, heliconia, rose, bonsai, hibiscus and bougainvillea flower species at their respective garden exhibitions.

Other attractions at Putrajaya FLORIA include the Longest Landscaped Vertical Wall, Orchid Collection Exhibition and Orchid Flower Competition. See how gardens are designed according to specific themes — royal garden, innovative garden and tea party garden.

There will also be flower bazaars, an arts site, souvenirs and handicraft shops, as well as food and drinks for visitors. More than 200 activities and daily programmes are available throughout the nine-day festival, including gardening workshops, talks, flower arranging demonstrations, photography competitions, and other activities.

Putrajay Floria
Putrajay Floria

Visitors to Putrajaya FLORIA can also stay on till the evening to watch a parade of lighted and decorated boats floating across Putrajaya Lake at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s Magic of the Night event, held over the same period.

Organised by Putrajaya Corporation, and supported by Ministry of Federal Territories, Putrajaya FLORIA is a festive flower exhibition that has been organised annually since 2009, after its first outing in 2007.

Putrajaya FLORIA will be open to the public from 22 to 30 June 2013 from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm (Monday to Thursday) and from 9.00 am to 12:00 am (Friday to Sunday). Entrance is free.