On its fourth edition, ASEAN Celebrity Explore Quest (ACEQM) is back again this year with the theme ‘ASEAN in My Heart’. This programme aims to provide delegates from the 10 ASEAN member countries comprising celebrities and media members to experience and promote a selection of Malaysia’s tourism products of choice, besides helping to raise awareness towards Visit ASEAN@50 campaign. Gaya Travel team was part of this trip together with the participants to discover the culture, people, nature and food in two selected territories: Kuala Lumpur and Sabah.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, is a highly developed multicultural urban centre that is rich with tourism offerings that include iconic monuments, lush green parks and forests, vibrant shopping malls, variety of entertainment spots and bustling street markets from travellers from all around the world to experience. This world’s top 10 most visited city was a destination for the first leg of ACEQM when participants explored several hotspots within and close to the city.
Marvel at the Iconic National Monument in Kuala Lumpur
Full of historical significance, the National Monument or locally known as Tugu Negara is an iconic statue that commemorates the struggle in maintaining peace throughout the land by our brave soldiers during World War II. Commissioned in 1963 by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister, this national monument is one of the largest bronze statues in the world and was inspired by the Marine Corps War Memorial. During the visit, we had the opportunity to learn and understand the history of this monument and have a photograph with the statue of Malaysia’s national heroes.
Opens daily between 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
GPS: 3.149562, 101.683737
Wet and fun adventure at Sunway Lagoon
Being one of the biggest and exciting water theme parks in Malaysia, Sunway Lagoon offers more than 90 attractions across six parks that makes for a memorably exciting experience. One of our favourites was the long suspension bridge that cross over the seemingly endless pool, which allowed us to catch a cool aerial view of the entire water park. Besides the gigantic pool and suspension bridge, there are also several heart-pumping attractions and rides that travellers should try at the water park such as the Vuvuzela, launched from an 11-storey high tower and Congo Challenge, which requires travellers to slide down head first.
Opens daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Entrance fee: MYR150 (Adult) and MYR120 (Children)
GPS: 3.071533, 101.605167
Join the Laser Battle and get thrilled at Berjaya Times Square
Looking for a great place for indoor activity in Kuala Lumpur? We highly recommend you to try Laser Battle, another exhilarating attraction in the city. Being the best and most advanced arena in Southeast Asia, Laser Battle features multiple LED colours, bright green laser lights, vibration sensors and sound effects to inject realism to the experience. Each of us were buckled up with a battle vest that become our opponent’s laser gun targets. Truly an entertaining and fun-filled sweat-out session!
Address: Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall, 7th Floor, Entertainment Podium, No. 1, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
Price: MYR48 (Two missions) and MYR58 (Three missions)
GPS: 3.142422, 101.710604
Mind-challenging Escape Room at Berjaya Times Square
If you enjoy challenges and solving puzzles, this is definitely the right one for you. Besides testing our stamina, the Escape Room offered a different in the sense that it features a game that challenges our creativity and analytical thinking skills. The participants needed to find clues based on various story lines to solve the live puzzles in order to escape from the mysterious room within 45 minutes. There are different type of rooms to choose from such as ‘Dutch Lady: The Great Chocolate Vault’, ‘The Cage – Of Death and Mystery’, and ‘The Haunted House’. It is hard for us to deny that the questions were harder than we thought. Totally recommended for those who would like their brain to work extra hard.
Opens daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:55 p.m.
Price per room: MYR38.20 (Normal), MYR33.90 (Offpeak), and RM38.00 (Public holiday).
Adress: Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall, 7th Floor, Entertainment Podium, No. 1, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.142422, 101.710604
Home to the third highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu, Sabah is blessed with natural wonders, from beautiful islands to pristine rainforests, heritage architecture, charming culture and unique culinary offerings that make this state one of the most visited destinations in Malaysia. Besides Kuala Lumpur, the participants of ACEQM also experienced the gems located close to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s state capital.
Getting to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airlines flies 70 times weekly between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. Highly recommended for travellers wanting to experience authentic Malaysian hospitality during the journey.
Learn Unique Borneo Culture and Lifestyle at Mari-Mari Cultural Village
The 41-minute drive from the luxurious Magellan Sutera Resort took us to Inanam, a town that renowned for Mari Mari Cultural Village. Situated amidst a remote rainforest atmosphere and away from crowd, this fun and interactive hub showcases traditional homes, culture and lifestyle of five of Sabah’s major ethnic communities: the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun.
After arriving at the village, we were divided into several groups, each assigned to one tour guide who gave a comprehensive and informative commentary about Mari Mari Cultural Village. On top of that, we also witnessed and tried our hand on several activities such as cooking linapak (a popular dish cooked in bamboo and banana leaf) at the Dusun house, learning how to start a fire using bamboo at Rungus house and jumping on the bamboo trampoline at Murut house.
A visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village was indeed an enriching experience that it felt like stepping back in time and voyaging through the time when Borneo was just discovered by the British explorers, an exotic and primitive land that was full of wondrous secrets.
Tips: Travellers are advised to wear comfortable clothing and footwear for leisure walking. Since Mari Mari Cultural Village only accept cash as payment for entrance and retail, travellers are expected to bring along extra cash for contingency.
Contact: +6 016 821 5689 / email@example.com
GPS: 5.973696, 116.202720
Adrenaline-pumping White Water-Rafting on Kiulu River
With its varied and often challenging environment, Sabah has countless spots that are ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking up the majestic Mount Kinabalu, jungle-trekking, diving, parasailing, and definitely one of our favourites: white water-rafting. There are two main rivers suitable for rafting activity, which are Padas and Kiulu. According to the local guide, Padas River (difficulty level 3 to 4) is ideal for experienced rafters while Kiulu River (difficulty level from 1 to 2) is best for beginners and all ages.
We had the chance to participate in white water-rafting along Kiulu River located in the northwestern region of Sabah, an hour’s drive to Kampung Pukak Kiulu. The adventure begins with a safety briefing conducted by professional raft guide to ensure that all participants remain safe during the rafting. The journey covers between seven and 15 kilometres (taking approximately two hours, depending on water level and rafting pace), passing by breathtaking and refreshing lush tropical greenery.
Recommendation: Gaya Travel recommends that travellers do this activity with River Bug Asia, one of the white water-rafting specialists in Sabah. This company provides other activities too such as a visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village, Sepanggar Island, Mantanani Mari-Mari Dive Lodge and more. Visit www.riverbug.asia to find to know more about the services.
Contact: +6019 820 4921 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the sun and breeze on Manukan Island
Should travellers look for an island getaway, this is the right place to be. Widely known as a ‘Maldives of South East Asia’, Sabah has astounding array of stunning islands off the eastern and western coastlines. During the programme, we were taken to one of the largest islands that is part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park called Manukan. It is generally the most visited island due to its accessibility from Kota Kinabalu city.
We started off our day by taking a 15-minute boat ride from Sutera Harbour Marina Jetty to Manukan Island, a charming location that tugs the hearts of many. Travellers may try various activities while being on Manukan such as snorkelling or diving should they wish to admire adorable marine creatures up close. For those who prefer picnicking, there are plenty of spots for travellers to enjoy while savouring food and beverage family and friends, including traversing the 1,500-metre trail on foot to take in Manukan’s natural beauty.
Getting there: Travellers may visit Manukan Island by purchasing a ticket and take a boat ride from Jesselton Point, located close to Kota Kinabalu city centre and a stone’s throw from Suria Sabah shopping mall.
Gaya Travel extends our heartfelt gratitude to Tourism Malaysia for allowing our team to participate in this wonderful event, including the chance to experience the best of what Kuala Lumpur and Sabah have to offer.