OCTOBER 2019 | ISSUE 41
HOMESTAY IN KAMPONG
5 ON THE RADAR
7 OUT & ABOUT
8 TALES ON TRACK
Art of Rangoli
Spotted: Asia in Film
Mehrangarh Fort, India
For the Greener Good
Home Away From Home
20 TALES ON TRACK
BuJo: Solution for Life Chaos
Halal Food in New Zealand
24 FOOD FOR TALK
Sweet Colours of Deepavali
Road Less Travelled:
Read our magazine exclusively in Aerobus airport shuttles or bring home a copy of GOASIAPLUS with
you at these pick-up points below:
AIRPORT SHOPPING MALL
INFORMATION COUNTER AT
DEPARTURE MAIN TERMINAL
& SATELLITE BUILDING
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to the World
As one of the largest airport
operator groups globally, Malaysia
Airports played no small role in
cementing Malaysia across the world’s
web of connectivity. Channeling on
the country’s strategic location, Kuala
Lumpur is now known among the key
regional destination for tourism and trade
with KL International Airport (KLIA)
paving the way to more success.
First started in 1991, Malaysia
Airports is now a proud portfolio
owner of 39 airports; comprising of 5
international airports, 16 domestic ones
and 18 STOLports in Malaysia and an
international airport in Turkey. The
well-anticipated opening of klia2 in 2014
not only encouraged high passenger
growth from the rise of budget travel,
it has enabled KLIA to accommodate a
combined capacity of 75 million passengers
Time and again, Malaysia Airports’
efforts in strengthening Malaysia as
a frontrunner in the global network
connectivity has marked a growth of
international airports in the country and
boosted inbound tourism tremendously. Its
Joint International Tourism Development
Fund with Tourism Malaysia also hit
a record with airlines, tour operators,
charterers, travel management companies
and travel agencies.
Therefore it comes as no surprise
that Malaysia Airports has garnered a line
of international awards under its wings,
including the Routes Asia 2018 Marketing
Awards for outstanding marketing services
of new air routes and development of
existing services, Best in Customer
Experience Engagement at the Social Media
Excellence Award, National Energy Awards
(NEGTA 2018) for Category I: Energy
Efficiency (Large Building) for sustainable
practices at Kota Kinabalu International
Airport, and was named Best Malaysian
Company for Investor Relations at the IR
Magazine Awards and Conference South
East Asia 2016 held in Bangkok, Thailand.
KLIA International Airport bagged
the World's Best Airport for Immigration
Services Award at the 2017 Skytrax
World Airports Awards in Amsterdam,
Netherlands, and was named Platinum
Winner for airports with 25 million
passengers per annum and above category
at Asia-Pacific Green Airports Recognition
2017 by Airports Council International ACI.
As for the business direction set for
the year 2019, Malaysia Airports embarked
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“Airport operator creates
joyful experiences by
and businesses. ”
on "Happy Guests, Caring Hosts" service
culture transformation programme where
the airport community aims to make guests
feel welcomed and happy whenever they
travel and go through our airports.
Apart from that, there is a strong
culture of corporate social responsibility
(CSR) within the company, with Malaysia
Airports investing in CSR practices which
are holistic, structured and measurable.
These includes elevating community
livelihoods, micro industry development,
and environmental initiatives as a form
of community enrichment.
Malaysia Airports is not just all
about flying. Besides the aeronautical
industry, the group also has a strong
hand in airport-related commercial
activities that help create memorable
experiences, offer lifestyle choices and
support seamless journeys. Malaysia
Airports directly engages in duty-free
operations, rental and airport retail
outlets as well as acquires non-airport
related revenue from its hotels and oil
Moving forward, Malaysia Airports
is actively running optimisation works
for all airports under its management–
to maximise operational efficiency
and improve customer experiences.
In the face of digitalisation, the group
is positive to host an ecosystem of
intelligence to predict customers’ needs
but does not compromise the security
and privacy of its customers.
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The past month has been tough to all Malaysians,
Indonesians and the entire population who are affected
by the haze in the region. Starting out a new day and
a new month with blurred vision, polluted air and limited
outdoor activities remind us how invaluable our environment
is for good quality of life.
Thus, being responsible and aware of the global state
of our environment and climate can help to improve the
circumstances that are drowning us. Environmentally friendly
travel is among the essential ways to make sure our planet is
sustainable in the long run. From page 11, we take you to the
green hotels around Asia.
Cultural wise, Malaysia is uniquely beautiful with the
coexistence of multiple cultures and religions in this small
country. For this month, we bring to you the art of rangoli for
the festival of lights (page 8).
Wishing Happy Deepavali to all our Hindu friends!
GROUP HEAD & BRANDS
NG SHEN LEE, FRANCIS YIP,
& KYO HOOI
COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP
PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.
NO. 83–1, JALAN MEDANG SERAI, BUKIT BANDARAYA,
59100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.
PERCETAKAN TURBO SDN BHD
NO. 8, JALAN SEKINCAN 26/9,
SEKSYEN 26, SHAH ALAM 40000, MALAYSIA
FOLLOW US ON
The views expressed in the articles published are not
necessarily those of Publishcom Asia Sdn Bhd (963236–P).
While every reasonable care is taken in compiling the
magazine, the publisher shall not be held liable for any
omission, error or inaccuracy. Please notify the publisher in
writing of any such omission, error or inaccuracy. Editorial
contributions are welcome, but unsolicited materials are
submitted at the sender’s risk. The publisher cannot accept
any responsibility for loss or damage. All rights reserved
by Publishcom Asia Sdn Bhd (963236–P). No part of this
publication may be reproduced in any form without the
publisher’s permission in writing.
KDN PP 19019/05/2016 (034482)
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ON THE RADAR
GET UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST HAPPENINGS ON
TRAVEL, HOTEL OPENINGS, FOOD OFFERS AND
TRENDING FASHION AROUND SOUTHEAST ASIA
FIRST COOKIE-THEMED SUITE AT DOUBLETREE
There’s no better way for DoubleTree by Hilton to celebrate
the brand’s 50th anniversary by turning its iconically delicious
DoubleTree Cookie into a first-of-its-kind Cookie Suite.
Guests may book the “Cookie Suite Experiential Package”
to stay in the King Deluxe Suite filled entirely with cookie
goodness-from a bar with freshly baked cookies, special flat-lay
corner for photo enthusiasts, cookie-scented candles and body
scrub amenities in the bathroom, customised cookie bathrobes
and plushies as well as an
exclusive beach kit.
The immersive package is
only available in the brand’s
newest resort destination
in Phuket from now till 31
DoubleTree by Hilton
Phuket Banthai Resort,
FLY DIRECT FROM KUALA LUMPUR TO BELITUNG
AirAsia would be the first airline that connects Kuala Lumpur
to the idyllic island of Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra,
Indonesia. Belitung is an island getaway surrounded by more
than 100 small islands with breathtaking beaches and clear
waters. This new route will commence starting 2 October
2019 and offer four times weekly direct flight.
BIJI BIJI X TSYAHMI KLFW
Biji Biji, Tsyahmi and Nakakoma
Orimono came together for KL
Fashion Week 2019 Collection
to transform the perspectives of
the fashion industry. The main
idea is to repurpose unwanted
materials into a colourful line of
androgynous wear. The designs
of this collection shows a
fusion of Nusantara Pahlawans
and Japanese Samurais and
Geishas in celebrating antique
alternative materials into
modern style and wear.
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PLAZA PREMIUM LOUNGE WELCOMES TRAVELLERS TO CEBU
Guests to the 24-hour lounge can find relaxation and comfort in their range of services and
facilities offered in the Spanish-inspired lounge space. The lounge dining boasts of signature
dishes like “When Adobo Met Patis” (Pork Adobo) and “The Filipino Affair” (Coconut Curry
Chicken). Plaza Premium Lounge at Domestic Arrivals of Mactan Cebu International Airport
can be experienced with an online opening offer of 25% discount with promo code PPLCEB25.
Offer is valid from now until 31 October 2019.
Plaza Premium Lounge, Domestic Arrivals,
Terminal 1 of Mactan Cebu International Airport, Philippines
HYDE KITCHEN + COCKTAILS TO OPEN IN PERTH
Set to be Perth’s hottest spot in town, HYDE Perth Kitchen + Cocktails is a laid-back jazz age
inspired venue with onsite outdoor pool, sun loungers and DJ decks to look out for other than
its pool bar and dining options. Familiar favourites like its pizzas and bottomless fries menu
known from its celebrity-packed venues in LA, Las Vegas and Miami can now be tasted in The
Adnate, Perth’s new hotel.
HYDE Perth Kitchen + Cocktails, Level One, The Adnate, 900 Hay Street, Western Australia
HINTS OF LOCAL CULTURE
IN ANDAZ SEOUL GANGNAM
The vibrant Apgujeong
neighborhood in Gangnam now
welcomes the fifth Hyatt brand
hotel in South Korea; Andaz Seoul
Gangnam is a testament of fusing
traditional local culture and
creative modern living in its space.
The 241 contemporary guestrooms
is decorated with bojagi patchwork
and artworks featured in the hotel
is created by artists from Seoul to
nurture local talents. Whereas for
dining, guests will arrive at Jogakbo
to explore a variety of creative
locally inspired cuisine.
BEN & JERRY’S FIRST SCOOP SHOP IN MALAYSIA
The Scoop Shop brings shoppers an exciting menu of sixteen ice cream
flavours, including Ben & Jerry’s global best-sellers–Cherry Garcia, Chocolate
Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, New York Super Fudge Chunk, Triple
Caramel Chunk and Tonight Dough, alongside new shakes, sundaes, ice
cream cakes and other merchandises. The brand is popular for using only
non-GMO and Fairtrade-certified ingredients to support values-led sourcing.
Ben & Jerry’s, Sunway Pyramid (Central Avenue), Selangor, Malaysia
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OUT & ABOUT
LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF
THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND
SHAWN MENDES THE TOUR
This Canadian-born pop artist is on the rise with
his world tour in support of his self-titled album.
Mendes’ 3rd album debuted at the top of US Billboard
200 and was nominated at the Grammys for “Best
Pop Vocal Album”, led by top singles “In My Blood”,
“Lost in Japan” and “Youth”.
Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
11 OCT - 2 NOV
Surrounded by the crisp cooling weather of Genting Highlight, join the open
air festivities with movies under the stars, music, live performances, gourmet
food trucks and carnival games for all ages on every Friday, Saturday and
Halloween night. Special bands will be flown in for the carnival including an
Century Lake Park, SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting, Pahang, Malaysia
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY BY
ST. PETERSBURG THEATRE
11 - 12 OCT
World renowned St. Petersburg
Theatre Russian Ballet presents
the classic fairy tale of “Sleeping
Beauty” in such distinguished
choreography that the dance is
referred to as the “encyclopedia
of classical dance”. Composed
by Peter Tchaikovsky and
choreographed by Marius Petipa,
the performance is a treasured
work of hundreds-year-old
Plenary Hall, KLCC,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
ESCAPE: PSYCHO CIRCUS KOREA 2019
25 - 26 OCT
Taking the Halloween spirit to the next level is
Southern California’s annual “Escape: Psycho Circus”
electronic music festival. The twisted wonderland
makes its way to South Korea for the first time with
international headliners like Marshmello, Galantis,
Jauz and Kungs. Freaks, geeks, contortionists and
bizarre characters will haunt this place like no other.
Seoul Grand Park, Seoul, South Korea
THE GOSPELLERS LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2019
Their big debut in 1994 with the single “Promise” has seen similar
success over the years with hit albums like “Soul Serenade” and
singles such as “Towa ni” and “Hoshikuzu no Machi”. Recognised
as one of the pioneer vocal groups in Japan, The Gospellers are
celebrating their 25th anniversary with fans in Japan and across Asia.
Drama Centre Theatre, Singapore
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TALES ON TRACK
Art of Rangoli
POWDERED RICE, CHALK POWDER AND COLOURED SAND DREAM UP THE AUSPICIOUS
ART OF THE RANGOLI IN SIGNIFICANT OCCASIONS FOR THE INDIAN COMMUNITY.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos ADOBE STOCK
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TALES ON TRACK
Kolam would be more familiar on
the ears when used to describe the
colourful intricate pattern as seen
on the ground during religious festivals
and ceremonies for the Hindus in Malaysia.
Deemed as an artistic expression, this
cultural art is customary at the time of
Deepavali, Pongal, weddings, birth and
milestones as it not only perks up the
surroundings, rangoli designs are believed
to signify luck, fortune and divine blessings.
Many Hindu households look forward
to the making of rangoli where the entire
family can get together and take a role in
preparing the folk art at home. But fret
not as here in Malaysia, the traditional
art form is skillfully rehearsed in major
shopping malls, buildings and down to the
streets to observe the festival of lights.
If you are in Kuala Lumpur, talk a walk
down to Brickfields and take delight in the
merriment before Deepavali falls on 27
October this year. October th
It is essential to note that materials used to
make rangoli are accessible throughout the
community and can be found in the homes
of both the rich and the poor–rice flour,
leaves crushed to powder, charcoal, dried
soil and sawdust. Well-to-do households
would also fashion fresh flowers, turmeric
powder, fruits and nuts.
Although coloured sand with synthetic
paints is popularly most used, natural
ingredients is still preferred because rangoli
is made to not harm the insects, rodents
and birds which feed on the designs after
the occasion is over.
DESIGN AND LEGACY
Rangoli designs has its own personalisation
in each household and the auspicious
symbols are passed down through
generations. Diversity in shape, design and
materials in rangoli may be motivated by
traditions in different regions. Nevertheless,
the admiration remain unchanged when
one notices the time-consuming task that
perfected the symmetry, complexity and
precision in rangoli.
For Deepavali, practitioners are drawn
to use symbols like diya (the clay-made oil
lamp), deities Lakshmi and Ganesha and
flowers in the craft; Lakshmi is the Goddess
of wealth and prosperity while Lord
Ganesha is God of intellect and wisdom.
Lotus flowers, fish, parrots and peacocks
are also commonly spotted.
Rangoli is mostly created by the altar or
outside the house. The traditional charm
believes that the intricacy of a rangoli traps
negative energies and keep evil spirits from
entering the house while the colourful
drawing is a welcoming sign for deities and
guests to the house.
The beauty of this art form has inspired the
evolution of the craft with introduction of
stencils in shapes of lotus flowers, deities,
footprints and sanskrit script in the market.
Easily sprinkle the stencil with coloured
sand or flour for an artistic result.
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SPOTTED: ASIA IN FILMS
Mehrangarh Fort, India
Text NG SHEN LEE • Photo ADOBE STOCK
Jodhpur in Rajasthan is a city
on the fringes of India’s Thar
desert. Here in the “Sun
City of India,” a city of faded
blue buildings beckons travellers,
while magnificent palaces and
forts pepper the land.
Against such an array
of attractions, none would
argue that Mehrangarh Fort
is Jodhpur’s most distinctive
landmark. Situated on a tall rocky
outcrop in the heart of the city,
the fort is one of the largest in
the whole of India. It overlooks
the famed “Blue City”, and stands
imposingly as a monument of
Mehrangarh Fort’s history is
closely intertwined with that of
the city it lies in. It was built in
the 15 th century by Rao Jodha, the
founder of Jodhpur city.
Meant as a formidable fort
that would withstand battles,
within the fort’s walls lie
expansive courtyards and
ornate palaces open for
viewing. These include the
Pearl Palace (Moti Mahal) and
Flower Palace (Phool Mahal).
Today, these attractions
serve to draw in tourists
from across the globe, never
failing to wow them with
its exquisite architecture,
palanquins and museums.
Most hauntingly is a stone
which features the imprints
of women who died by sati–a
now-banned funeral custom
where wives would follow
their husbands to the afterlife
by burning themselves alive
on their pyres.
The fort is no stranger to
media publicity either, with
a portfolio more impressive
than most other forts in India.
Commercials by Sprite, Visa and
Pepsi come to mind, along with a
brief cameo in the 2012 blockbuster
“The Dark Knight Rises”.
In the film, Christian Bale
as Bruce Wayne escapes an
underground prison pit and
emerges to find himself in a desert
just outside Mehrangarh Fort.
Though brief, this little cameo
has since put Jodhpur on the map
and propelled it onto the lists of
many as a must-see shoot locale.
Bale vividly recalls the
experience filming under the
relentless heat. “The locals thought
we were nuts. We were out in
The fort has also served
director Stephen Sommers in his
1994’s rendition of “The Jungle
Book”. In the film, several scenes
feature Mehrangarh, including
one where a courtyard is
transformed into a magnificent
flourishing as an attraction
and thriving even as a filming
location–Mehrangarh fort is a
prime example of a historical
landmark which manages to
retain its glory instead of just
crumbling into memory.
Legend has it that a man
named Meghwal is buried
alive under the citadel’s
foundations to deter a
curse cast upon the fort.
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For the Greener Good
AS THE GATEWAY TO ENJOY SOME OF THE MOST BREATHTAKING NATURE, IT
IS LITTLE WONDER HOTELS AROUND ASIA ARE TAKING THE LEAD TO MERGE
WITH THEIR COUNTERPARTS AND LIVE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLIER.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos ALL FEATURED HOTELS AND RESORTS
The uptrend for green produce,
upcycled and sustainable products
have been a commercial hit lately.
People are becoming more conscious
and environmentally responsible for
their choices and actions–authoring the
new lifestyle cult for sustainable living.
In tourism means, hotels are upping
the ante for people who are actively
seeking out authentic travel in unspoiled
destinations, and adventures without
compromising nature. Regardless of big
or small efforts, every step makes up for
a responsible holiday starting with these
eco-retreats around Asia.
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THE TONGSAI BAY
Koh Samui, Thailand
Nature is left untouched on this beachfront
resort since its opening 30 years ago.
Lush greenery and tree tunnel await for
afternoon walks along with sightings of
wildlife around the resort. The founder,
Khun Akorn Hoontrakrul, became
the pioneer of sustainable tourism in
Thailand when he see to it that no tree
is compromised in the development of
his resort. Till today, Tongsai safeguard
its surroundings from pollution, and
harmful emissions while managing efficient
energy saving system and proper waste
management on grounds.
Recycling is a huge project to create
compost for its onsite organic garden;
it supplies vegetables and natural-based
products for the resort. Among others,
the home-grown supplies are made into
fruit-extracts cleaning agent for the
guestrooms. The slow wafting relaxing
scent of citronella around the resort is also
an organic product from the garden. Other
than that, The Tongsai Bay keeps its reef
and bay welcoming to marine creatures by
ensuring only non-motorised water sports
are allowed as well as restricting only
electric-powered vehicles on its property.
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makes up for
ALILA HOTELS & RESORTS
Across four flagship properties in Bali,
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Alila Ubud, Alila
Manggis and Alila Seminyak are now fully
self-sustainable for its waste management
following its launch of “Zero Waste to
Landfill” initiative in 2016. Guests to these
Indonesian island resorts can be clear that
their wastes are channeled into recycling
through the resorts’ onsite laboratory.
The “Integrated Sustainable Resource
Recovery Facility” (iSuRRF) manages the
waste to be reused as building materials
and recycled. Using simple engineering
systems, one of the wastes such as plastics
are converted into light crude oil before
it is distilled to produce diesel, kerosene
and gasoline for usage in hotels while
plastics, glass and ceramics are shredded
and crushed to be upcycled into green
The environmental effort see to it
that each hotel also has a composting
section and organic garden that grows
food for the kitchen. For a larger zero
waste effort, Alila works with local
villagers for waste collection and hosts
classes for guests in building their own
permaculture garden at home.
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PULLMAN LUANG PRABANG
Luang Prabang, Laos
It is perhaps the only hotel in Asia with
a full-scale terraced paddy fields that
produce rice harvests for the restaurant and
distributed to the local community. For the
last decade, Pullman Luang Prabang has
steadily received multiple awards for its
sustainable practices in the UNESCO World
Heritage Site-occupying 16 hectares of
greenery, lake and mountainous views.
The recently opened onsite organic
garden not only bountifully supplies the
resort’s restaurant, it aimed to significantly
lessen the carbon footprint in the formal
royal capital. Indeed, this initiative is more
than just a vegetable garden, the farmstead
includes a fruit orchard, tropical garden,
greenhouse nursery, a buffalo pasture, duck
pond, and even an area housing chickens
and goats. The all-rounded eco-tourism
encourages guests learn about the rice
cultivation process by helping to plant
and harvest the rice, animal feeding, egg
collecting, fruit picking and buffalo milking
in the resort.
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Within Phuket’s tropical woodlands,
Keemala is a garden of bliss inspired by
nature and Buddhism at its best. The all
pool villa resort is a concept of dharma
(truth) in Buddhism and tammachart for
nature, reflecting its commitment to nature
and the local culture. The distinctive fish
coop architecture of Keemala’s villa reflects
its design to protect the existing ecosystem
and reduce environmental impact. As
part of its green initiative, the luxurious
eco-friendly resort purposes textile and
recycled paper for its toiletries packaging
and pushes for a plastic-free venue with
paper straw and glass-bottled water.
Waste from the hotel is then turned into
bioorganic fertilizer for the garden which
grows various vegetables and fruits for the
resorts’ farm-to-table project. Guests are
assured to taste only sustainably-sourced
produce and fresh ingredients from the
local market and fishing village in Phuket.
EAST, HONG KONG
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
As a voice of change in the concrete
jungle, EAST has taken measures
to give an environmentally-friendly
experience to its guests to be one
of its core values. The new in-room
water filters encourage guests to drink
purified local water from the tap in
reducing bottled water. This effort
could reduce up to 180,000 bottles of
water per year. Down to the restaurant,
FEAST, has introduced more plantbased
menu to minimise carbon
footprint from livestock and use cagefree
eggs in support of animal rights.
The change includes the use of paper
wrapping to eliminate aluminium and
plastic waste in the restaurant.
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ROAD LESS TRAVELLED
TUCKED AWAY IN THE EAST COAST OF
SUMATRA IS INDONESIA’S HIDDEN GEM.
SIMILAR TO ITS SISTER ISLANDS LIKE BALI
AND LOMBOK, BELITUNG PACKS A PUNCH
WITH ITS PICTURESQUE BEACH AND
Text JESSY WONG
Photo ADOBE STOCK
HOW TO GET THERE
Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport has several
aircrafts to Tanjung Pandan in Belitung daily. Across
international waters, AirAsia is the first flight to
connect Kuala Lumpur to Belitung directly. You can
also get there from the nearest port at Pangkalpinang
in Bangka islands; it takes 4 hours on a speedboat.
WHERE TO EAT
Mie Belitung is a savoury gravy noodle dish topped
with vegetables, potatoes, shrimp and keropok
(chips). It is the island’s specialty dish and can be
found in most eatery places. Coffee aficionados must
try a cup of the local brew at Kong Djie–a famous
coffee house on the island.
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WHAT TO DO
Belitung makes up a splendid list of beach and island
hopping destinations. Tanjung Tinggi beach is in the
backdrop of one of Indonesia’s highest grossing film–
Laskar Pelangi–recognisable for its extremely clear
blue water and pristine sand.
Lengkuas Island is a popular stop for its 19 th
century antique lighthouse–visitors may climb the
lighthouse to capture the perfect panoramic scene.
Additionally, check out the conservation center at
Kepayang Island and cave at Kelayang Island.
As a previously abandoned white clay mine,
Danau Kaolin has turned into a pictorial lake today.
The gorgeous scenery is often likened to a volcanic
crater minus the sulphuric air. Batu Baginde is worth
the trip for hikers to trek and climb the giant granite
rocks. Culturally, Museum Kata Andrea Hirata is a
local rainbow-coloured literary museum for fans of
WHERE TO STAY
BW Suite Belitung is located in Tanjung Pandan
town center with close proximity to attractions.
A more secluded option would be Hotel Santika
Premiere Beach Resort Belitung, a beachfront resort
with convenient access to Tanjung Kelayang beach.
Renting a car
or motorcycle is
for ease of travel.
Taxi Belitung is the
only licensed taxi
service on the island
operating on meter.
Belitung as a
island after the story
of his childhood
adapted into a movie
of the same name.
Home Away from Home
THE SERENE AND SCENIC KAMPONG WITHIN AN ORCHARD DRAWS
CITY GUESTS TO BE ACQUAINTED WITH A HUMBLE VILLAGE LIFE
AND BOUNTIFUL HARVESTS AT KAMPUNG RAGA IN KEDAH.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos JESSY WONG & KYO HOOI
Opting for a homestay in Kampung
Raga will definitely etch a permanent
smile on your face.
While hotels provide various facilities and
amenities for comfort, the often overlooked
choice such as homestay promises intimacy
between people and finding delight in simple
yet genuine activities. Just minutes away from
Mount Jerai, villagers of this small orchard
colony in the Yan district of Kedah open
their doors to guests and share bits of their
Kampung Raga has possibly the most
welcoming entourage for their homestay
guests–my travelling group was received with
a traditional ceremonious parade into the
village with flutes and drums. The village’s
origin, which can be tracked since hundreds
of years ago, is a typical Malay settlement in
Malaysia with semi-traditional houses and rich
orchards from the repeated findings of durian,
rambutan, mangosteen, star fruit and coconuts
in Kampung Raga. It can be easily noticed that
locals here have a strong community bond
after multiple generations and they take pride
in showing guests their idyllic kampong life.
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THINGS TO DO IN KAMPUNG RAGA
Horse Stud Farm
The “Ultimate Horse Training and Stud
Farm” in the village is a horse breeding
and training center. The farm also
provides horse therapy session for health
improvements–targeting back aches and
core strengthening. You may watch their
feeding or try riding polo horses.
Making Kuih Karas
Learn to make this traditional Kedah
snack from one of the kampong local who
uses a coconut husk to strain the rice
flour mixture for deep-frying. The making
of this tasty tea snack is carefully taught
by Mak Norfishah who encouraged guests
to take a turn in cooking.
Crafting Bunga Telur
Artful people can showcase their
talent in making bunga telur–a cultural
ornament popular in malay wedding.
The materials of bunga telur is prepared
by the villagers using leaves from rubber
tree which are soaked for a month then
sun dried before it is used for crafts.
Visiting Honey Farm
“Mukas Stingless Bee Farm” is a familyrun
business that operates from their
house. Visitors can interact with the
swarm of stingless bees buzzing up close
and taste honey directly from the hive
box. The honey’s many health benefits
may tempt you to buy several bottles of
organic honey at the farm.
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Meal time was a feast in Kampung Raga as
our visit were in time with the harvests of durian,
rambutans and other local fruits. Orchard owners
in the kampong gracefully laid out their yields to
be shared with our lot. Their modest and charitable
lifestyle extends to my lovely host, Mak Nor Fatimah,
who kept herself busy during my stay by preparing
handmade pisang cekodok (deep-fried doughball
stuffed with banana) and karipap in the wee hours of
morning for breakfast.
To top things off, the setting is endlessly filled
with nature's music from the sound of a rooster
crowing in the morning to crickets chirping at night.
When the surroundings are peacefully calm, the
thuds of durian falling to the ground calls us for a
We return not only with pleasant memories but
were surprised with a bag full of freshly plucked
fruits; it goes to show the locals’ continuous candid
generosity to us, from letting us into their houses to
gifting their harvests to strangers without hesitation.
If I could add, the homestay in Kampung Raga is
perhaps the best unassuming reflection of a warm
Malaysian hospitality in our tourism industry.
1 A clear skyview to observe
stars at Kampung Raga 2
Horse-riding with a guide for
beginners 3 Self-made kuih
karas to enjoy after class 4
Entrance to Mukas Stingless
Bee Farm 5 Early steps in the
making of "bunga telur" 6-7
Harvests from the orchard is
sold in the village 8 Hearty
breakfast by Mak Nor Fatimah
9 The cool running river in
HOW DOES HOMESTAY WORKS IN KAMPUNG RAGA?
If you are travelling in a large group, you will be assigned in pairs to live in different houses for the duration of your stay.
You will share the common space (eg. living area, dining room and kitchen) with your host family and occupy the guest
room in the house.
Although guests are free to walk around the kampong, avoid trespassing unfamiliar houses and reaping harvests in the
orchard unless you are given permission to do so.
For booking and enquiries, call +6013-4668191 or visit Homestay Kampung Raga on Facebook.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 19
TALES ON TRACK
BuJo: Solution for Life Chaos
SHORT FOR “BULLET
JOURNAL”, THE NOTEBOOK-
ORGANISATION METHOD IS
A TREND THAT IMPROVES
DAILY PRODUCTIVITY AND
AGENDAS. IN SHORT,
A LIFE PLANNER SYSTEM.
Text JESSY WONG
Photos JESSY WONG & SUMMORIE
Draft ahead in what to cook for the
week and curate a wholesome grocery
list. The functional list helps to save
time in grocery trips and prevent
overlooking items while shopping.
t is not just a diary; BuJo has the pages to
reminiscence the past, plan for the future
and all the while managing the present.
To ease the chaos (that is life), people who
keeps a BuJo have start to discover what
they need and don’t need for optimal life
efficiency. The New Yorker likened the
result of bullet journaling to “Marie Kondo
for the notebook”. To clear the confusion
in the air, BuJo is not keeping multiple
notebooks for organisation–it is lots of
different planning occuring in one journal.
The most important element in the journal
will number the pages to track down the
notes and tips you are looking for. Index
can be colour coded or categorised and it is
updated by degree as you progress.
Daily, weekly or monthly spread helps
to plan your life in details for schedule,
appointments, deadlines, goals and
important information to remember.
Clear outlook to exercise routine and
overall direction in achieving goals.
By listing things down, the ability of
crossing it off the list upon completion–
even the smallest matter–gives an
indescribable sense of control and
fulfillment in life.
It enhances the focus in financial
planning to travel, do the things you
want in life and save money for bigtime
purchases. The spread in money
planning can help to visualise the
TO GET STARTED
Finding the right journal is pivotal
for one to enjoy the process of bullet
journaling. Summorie–short for
summarising memory–is a Malaysian
start-up modern stationery brand.
Summorie notebooks and planners are
customisable from its covers, papers
and made-to-order personalisation. The
quality-grade notebooks ensure a lasting
condition for day-to-day journaling.
Besides, the minimalist and aesthetic
design has unique text pages that
inspire starters to begin the note-taking
journey. Check out https://summorie.co
for its practical notebooks and other
20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM
Halal Food in New Zealand
TUCK INTO THE LOCAL DELICACIES
WHEN YOU TRAVEL AROUND THE
SOUTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND.
THE ONLY DILEMMA IS DECIDING ON
WHICH NATIVE CUISINE OR ETHNIC
FOOD TO HAVE FOR DINNER.
Text JESSY WONG • Photos ADOBE STOCK &
TOURISM NEW ZEALAND
Kiwi Muslims may just made up 1%
of the population in the southern
country but fret not, the diverse
food offerings gives a big edge for
Muslim travellers to taste the culture
and authenticity at its finest. Food in
this country is heavily dependant on
locally-grown ingredients and through
New Zealand’s history and roots, the
south island colour the town with
contemporary ethnic cuisines.
Once settled in New Zealand, people
from various backgrounds brought
forth cuisines from their cultures and
introduced a spin to their comfort food–
with no shortage of halal eateries at all.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 21
The freshest sea produce can be found
among the favourite staples of groper,
gurnard, tarikihi at Dux Dine. As you pick
from the long inventive food list, this
seafood restaurant also prides itself for
harvesting vegetables from their organic
garden for the vegetarian dishes. That
said, their menu is updated regularly based
on the seasonal catch and ingredients
availability so there might be something
new on your each visit.
Halal status: Not halal-certified as
some dishes are prepared with alcohol.
Recommended to consult before order and
dine at your own discretion.
Dux Dine, 28 Riccarton Rd,
There’s an idea for rabid lovers of rice in
New Zealand. Christchurch’s to-go place
for Moroccan food serves up fresh and
flavourful Moroccan dishes. The signature
Morrito Bowl is served with an option of
basmati steamed rice, couscous or brown
rice for a change, completed with aioli,
hummus and tzatziki on your choice
of protein from grilled chicken, beef to
Halal status: Muslim-owned
Dubba Dubba, 11B, Waimairi Road,
Upper Riccarton, Christchurch
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“Food in this country is
heavily dependant on
KOTANE HĀNGI DINNER
Hang out and experience a traditional
Māori dinner after the South Island’s
only indigenous cultural performance
at KoTane. Māori are the indigenous
Polynesian people of New Zealand and
“Hāngi” refers to the cooking method
of Māori people using heated rocks in
an underground pit oven. One-of-a-kind
Hāngi dinner is part of KoTane Māori
Experience package and advance booking
is required for halal meat options.
Halal status: Although the kitchen serves
pork, halal meats are wrapped and cooked
separately to prevent cross-contamination.
Advised to dine at your own discretion.
HIGH COUNTRY SALMON
Framed by the mountains and a lake,
this fish farm makes a perfect road stop
between Christchurch and Queenstown
to taste and purchase some fresh and
high-quality salmon. The viewing station
on farm let you see and feed the salmon
up close before hitting their cafe and
restaurant for some seafood chowder,
salmon burger and sashimi.
KoTane, Willowbank Wildlife Reserve,
60 Hussey Road, Christchurch
Halal status: Not halal certified but the
food prepared here is mainly seafood and
vegetarian except for pastries (which are
made by various outside suppliers and not
made in the kitchen)
High Country Salmon,
2602 Twizel-Omarama Rd, Twizel
This article is made possible by Tourism New Zealand.
WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23
TALES ON TRACK
FOOD FOR TALK
Text & photo FRANCIS YIP
eepavali in Malaysia is
celebrated by the Hindus with
prayers, family reunion, cultural
activities and of course, colourful
sweets or “mithai”. The sweets come in
all shapes and colours; most are rich in
sugar, milk and coconut. These sweets
are normally served before dinner. In
fact, there is an Indian saying, “People
will eat half of their foods and keep
some space for desserts.”
1 MURUKKU (not pictured)
Murukku in Tamil means twist. This
crunchy dough made from rice flour
and urad dhal flour, ghee, water, cumin
and salt, is one of the most popular
Deepavali delicacies. According to Rita
Seetha Devi, “Hindus believe murukku
when fried in deep oil helps prevent ill
luck in the family.”
I love laddu. It is a sphere-shaped sweet
and made from flour, ghee, sugar and
other ingredients. Laddu comes in all
types. In fact, there are laddu recipes
using Ayurvedic medicinal ingredients.
Adhirasam is believed to be a Tamil,
Karnataka and Telegu dessert. It
is shaped like the typical Western
doughnut but it is made of rice flour,
jaggery, butter and pepper. This sweet
is often made as an offering to the
When I first saw palkova or milk kova,
I thought it was a big butter cookie.
Apparently, palkova is made of cow milk
and lots of sugar and tastes fudgy.
5 MYSORE PAK
This is a sweet syrup dessert made from
ghee, sugar, gram, flour and cardamom. It
was first prepared by the head chef of the
Mysore Palace to the Maharajah. He loved
it. So do I!
This sweet dessert is made by deep-frying
flour battered in pretzel or circular motion.
Before served, it is soaked in sugar and
syrup. Jalebi is served in many ways across
South Asia and the Middle East.
7 COCONUT CANDY
Coconut candy comes in all kinds of colour
although the one I took was pink. Made
from condensed milk, this sweet candy with
grated coconuts added on its surface makes
the candy coconutlicious!
Halwa is a sugary and sticky sweet. It was
wrapped in a plastic by the seller before
serving it to me. Halwa is made of custard
powder, saffron strands and sugar. I find it
extremely sweet and not used to the sticky
Coated with a thin layer of vark (edible
metallic leaf), Barfi is a condensed milk
dessert and often topped with fruits and
nuts. It is not crunchy and melts perfectly
in my mouth.
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FRANCIS YIP loves to eat and will always go find the best food in every nook and cranny. He is passionate to share his food journey and
may spark a storm in the teacup too. After all, no food, no life.
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