GOASIAPLUS October 2019 - Issue 41

goasiaplus

It is time we take environmental matters seriously. These hotels around Asia set an absolutely inspiring example for households and offer a solution for green travel. For new experiences, homestay in a Malaysian kampong would be fresh change to sightseeing and museum visits. We also hope that you may find something you'd like in the Halal food in New Zealand feature.

OCTOBER 2019 | ISSUE 41

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

Eco-friendly Hotels

HOMESTAY IN KAMPONG

BELITUNG, INDONESIA


CONTENTS

5 ON THE RADAR

7 OUT & ABOUT

8 TALES ON TRACK

Art of Rangoli

10 TRAVEL

Spotted: Asia in Film

Mehrangarh Fort, India

11 TRAVEL

For the Greener Good

17 TRAVEL

Home Away From Home

20 TALES ON TRACK

BuJo: Solution for Life Chaos

21 FOOD

Halal Food in New Zealand

24 FOOD FOR TALK

Sweet Colours of Deepavali

16 TRAVEL

Road Less Travelled:

Belitung, Indonesia

11

PICK-UP POINTS

Read our magazine exclusively in Aerobus airport shuttles or bring home a copy of GOASIAPLUS with

you at these pick-up points below:

GATEWAY@KLIA2

AIRPORT SHOPPING MALL

KLIA EKSPRES

KL SENTRAL

KLIA

INFORMATION COUNTER AT

DEPARTURE MAIN TERMINAL

& SATELLITE BUILDING

KLIA2

INFORMATION COUNTER,

SATELLITE BUILDING &

INTERNATIONAL ARRIVAL

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ADVERTORIAL

Malaysia's Gateway

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

per annum.

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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ADVERTORIAL

“Airport operator creates

joyful experiences by

connecting people

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

palm plantation.

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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EDITOR’S NOTE

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!

John So

Publisher

COVER BY

KEEMALA RESORT

EDITORIAL TEAM

GROUP HEAD & BRANDS

JOHN SO

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

JAMIE SOO-HOO

SENIOR WRITER

JESSY WONG

CONTRIBUTORS

NG SHEN LEE, FRANCIS YIP,

& KYO HOOI

DIGITAL TEAM

WEB CONTENT

JESSY WONG

EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES

EDITORIAL@PCOMASIA.COM

COMMERCIAL & PARTNERSHIP

JOHN SO

JOHNSO@PCOMASIA.COM

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PUBLISHCOM ASIA SDN. BHD.

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59100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA.

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PERCETAKAN TURBO SDN BHD

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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

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NEWS

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

BY HILTON

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

December 2019.

DoubleTree by Hilton

Phuket Banthai Resort,

Phuket, Thailand.

DoubleTreePhuketBanthai.

com/promotions

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.

airasia.com

BIJI BIJI X TSYAHMI KLFW

COLLECTION

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.

www.bijibiji.co

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NEWS

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

www.plazapremiumlounge.com

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

www.hydeperth.com

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.

www.andazseoulgangnam.com

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

www.benjerry.com.my

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OUT & ABOUT

EVENTS

LOOK OUT FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED EVENTS OF

THE MONTH IN MALAYSIA AND BEYOND

SHAWN MENDES THE TOUR

5 OCT

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

www.myticket.asia

STARLIGHT CARNIVAL

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

Ompahpah band.

Century Lake Park, SkyAvenue, Resorts World Genting, Pahang, Malaysia

rwgenting.om

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

Russian ballet.

Plenary Hall, KLCC,

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

premier.ticketcharge.com.my

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

kr.escapehalloween.com

THE GOSPELLERS LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2019

24 OCT

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

sistic.com.sg

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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

is year.

MATERIALS

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.

SIGNIFICANCE

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.

MODERN DAY

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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TRAVEL

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

Jodhpur’s history.

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

120-degree heat.”

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

ballroom.

Balancing conservation,

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.

FUN

FACT

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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TRAVEL

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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TRAVEL

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.

www.tongsaibay.com.th

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TRAVEL

“...every step

makes up for

a responsible

holiday.”

ALILA HOTELS & RESORTS

Bali, Indonesia

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

building materials.

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.

www.alilahotels.com

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TRAVEL

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.

www.pullman-luangprabang.com

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TRAVEL

KEEMALA RESORT

Phuket, Thailand

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.

www.keemala.com

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.

east-hongkong.com

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TRAVEL

ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Belitung, Indonesia

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

GEOPARK EXPERIENCES.

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

Hirata’s book.

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.

GOOD

to

KNOW

Renting a car

or motorcycle is

recommended

for ease of travel.

Otherwise, Street

Taxi Belitung is the

only licensed taxi

service on the island

operating on meter.

Andrea Hirata’s

book “Laskar

Pelangi” pinned

Belitung as a

prominent tourism

island after the story

of his childhood

experiences are

adapted into a movie

of the same name.


TRAVEL

Home Away from Home

1

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

everyday life.

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.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 17


TRAVEL

2

3

4

5

“...from the

sound of

a rooster

crowing in

the morning

to crickets

chirping at

night .”

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.

18 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


TRAVEL

6

7

8

9

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

fruit hunt.

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

Kampung Raga

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

FULFIL GOAL-SETTING

AGENDAS. IN SHORT,

A LIFE PLANNER SYSTEM.

Text JESSY WONG

Photos JESSY WONG & SUMMORIE

Meal Plan

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.

I

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.

Index

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.

Time Logs

Daily, weekly or monthly spread helps

to plan your life in details for schedule,

appointments, deadlines, goals and

important information to remember.

Future Log

Clear outlook to exercise routine and

overall direction in achieving goals.

To-Do-List

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.

Money Management

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

process better.

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

miscellaneous products.

20 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


FOOD

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


FOOD

DUX DINE

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,

Riccarton, Christchurch

duxdine.co.nz

DUBBA DUBBA

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

Moroccan lamb.

Halal status: Muslim-owned

Dubba Dubba, 11B, Waimairi Road,

Upper Riccarton, Christchurch

dubbadubba.co.nz

22 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM


FOOD

“Food in this country is

heavily dependant on

locally-grown ingredients.

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

kotane.co.nz

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

highcountrysalmon.co.nz

This article is made possible by Tourism New Zealand.

WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM · 23


TALES ON TRACK

FOOD FOR TALK

Sweet Colours

of Deepavali

3

8

2

4

Text & photo FRANCIS YIP

D

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.”

5

2

9 9

6

7

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.”

2 LADDU

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.

3 ADHIRASAM

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

Hindu Gods.

4 PALKOVA

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!

6 JALEBI

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!

8 HALWA

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

surface.

9 BARFI

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.

24 · WWW.GOASIAPLUS.COM

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.

www.franciswriter.com franciswriterAd franciswriter

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