Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Malaysian Rainforests: A Paradise for Adventure and Nature Lovers

Malaysia’s beautiful rainforests with its glorious vistas, verdant undulating terrain and varied tropical landscapes offer vast possibilities to adventure and nature lovers. From challenging rock climbing to cross-jungle trekking, from rafting in frothing rivers to canopy walking 100 feet above the earth, Malaysia’s rainforests have it all.
The tropical rainforests in Malaysia were blessed with a location far from the ravages of the earth’s ice ages that they developed much earlier than the other equatorial rainforests in Africa and South America. More than half of Malaysia’s 329,758 sq km surface is covered by tropical rainforests. Evolving for over 150 million years, they display an amazing diversity of flora and fauna, some rare and endemic.
The Malaysian rainforests are indisputably the oldest in the world and its national parks are treasure troves of its natural heritage. Endowed with high and even temperature as well as abundant rainfall throughout the year, it is the perfect haven for plant and animal species including approximately 210 mammal species, 620 bird species, 250 reptile species and 150 frog species.
From the primordial rainforest of Taman Negara to the wildlife sanctuaries at Danum Valley and the Kinabatangan flood plains in Sabah, Malaysia’s ancient forests offer nature lovers a wealth of experiences.
Taman Negara, in Peninsular Malaysia, is the largest national park in Malaysia at 4,343 sq km. The forests of Taman Negara are reputed to be the oldest in the world and were already flourishing when the world’s tectonic plates were still moving fast, forming the continents that we now know.
Today, Taman Negara is well established as one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Malaysia. It attracts thousands of local and international travellers who love wildlife viewing, jungle trekking, hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing, camping etc.
With a tropical, humid climate and temperatures averaging 30°C, Taman Negara is open throughout the year. It is home to some rare mammals including the Indochinese Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Malayan Gaur and Asian Elephant. Some must-do experiences here are the canopy walk, a trek on Bukit Teresek, a visit to the Lata Berkoh Park and a cave exploration of Gua Telinga.
The states of Sabaha and Sarawak in East Malaysia occupy about 26% of the island of Borneo. The vast rainforests of Borneo are an intriguing world of animal kingdoms, mystical prehistoric caves, lofty mountains and amazing underwater gardens.
Known as the Land Below the Wind, much of Sabah remains forested. Kota Kinabalu, the capital, is a vibrant city on Sabah’s west coast and the gateway to eco-adventures like mountain climbing, white-water rafting, caving, diving and river cruising. The Kinabalu National Park, located in northwest Sabah, is Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to the 4095-metre Mount Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest peak, it has one of the world’s largest collections of flora and fauna.
Sarawak, the Land of the Hornbills is the country’s largest state and is characterised by distinctive ethnic groups, many of whom still live in riverside settlements. Kuching, the capital, is located on the Sarawak River. The waterfront and Main Bazaar features old shop-houses selling local pepper, artefacts, antiques, birds’ nests and exotic forest products. Sarawak’s verdant jungles are strewn with massive natural formations, the world’s largest cave chambers and vast endemic flora and fauna. The Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of vertical cliffs, jagged limestone pinnacles, intricate cave networks and over 20,000 animals and 3,500 plant species.
Among the best periods to go trekking in Peninsular Malaysia is the ’dry season‘ from March to September when the rainfall is low and best time to visit Sabah and Sarawak is the ‘wet season’ which is from July to October.
Discover, enjoy and release your stress within the most amazing beauty of nature. Explore the wonder of nature in Malaysia and enjoy the adventures that unfold. The 150 million years old virgin rainforest awaits you.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top 10 things to do on a rainy day

Here is my Top Ten Things to Do when it Rains….
  • Go see a movie with friends or rent one and make some popcorn as it will be a whole lot cheaper and you can talk during the movie. 
  • Go to the mall and spend some cash.  Nothing passes the time for me better than shopping    Try not to spend too much money on things you don’t really need like I do.
  • Go to your nearest bookstore and pick up a book that you have been wanting to read.  Go home.. light a candle and relax with a warm throw blanket, your robe and the fireplace on.  If you don’t have a fireplace then buy that video that looks a fireplace on your tv
  • Watch TV… I know you probably do this all the time and you want some different ideas but I had to throw this one in there.. Try watching a different station than you normally watch
  • Play an indoor sport with some friends like racquetball or table tennis.  Throw a few beers in the mix and you have hours to act goofy and have some fun
  • Play a board game or work on a puzzle.  Nothing says fun like a bit of Scrabble
  • >Add yourself to some new sites.  If you’ve never gone on Ebay and seen what it was about.. Sign yourself up and do a little browsing.  You can also go on Facebook, Twitter, UStream, Youtube,MySpace or millions of others.  Try adding random people and maybe you might meet your new best friend
  • Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you have to stay inside.. Put on some waterproof gear and bring your camera to take pictures of the creepy crawlies you don’t see when it’s sunny outside.. Bring a friend along and compare pics.
  • Go on a hike if you like that sort of thing.  I personally don’t… well it’s not that I don’t its just that I’m lazy..    Pack a lunch and a friend and make
  • sure to dress warm.  This way you don’t get too hot and there won’t be many people on the trail.
  • Have a tent party!  Ask your friends to bring over their tents, sleeping bags, tarps, food and b.y.o.b and pitch your tents in your back yard if you have one.  If you don’t then just make some blanket tents and lots of pillows.. You could play some bored games, video games, paint each others toe nails, play drinking games, watch scary movies or just talk about old times..

If you have any more suggestions on what you can do in the rain we would love to hear it… Please leave a comment below..

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monsoon Getaways

Is the rain-soaked countryside your idea of a beautiful landscape? Do you think an invigorating trek in the hills interspersed with gushing waterfalls is the perfect monsoon break? Is sipping a hot cup of tea at a roadside eatery as raindrops gently caress your face just what you want to do this monsoon?
Read on to know where you can indulge in all this and more at 10 of the best monsoon weekend getaways near Mumbai.
  • Karnala: Lush greenery dotted with gurgling streams and waterfalls await naturalists and picnickers just 60 km from Mumbai. “The panoramic view of the rain-drenched Sahyadri Mountains and waterfalls from the Karnala Fort are a sight to behold. We rounded off our trip with a visit to the Karnala bird sanctuary!” says Rishi, a software consultant who has lived in Ohio for five years and visited Karnala for the first time.
  • Mulshi: A quick getaway that’s a three-hour drive from Mumbai, Mulshi Dam and its scenic surroundings are the perfect destination in the monsoons. Indulge in a trek in the Hattihant and Pagota hill ranges, drive around or enjoy boating in the Mulshi Lake.
  • Malshej Ghat: “Explore the Sahyadri Mountains at Malshej,” says avid trekker Prashant, an accountant residing in New York for 10 years. “If you’re lucky you could spot rabbits, peacocks, leopards and the elusive tiger. A visit to Khireshwar to see the flamingos and climb the famous Harishchandragad Fort make for an exciting fun-filled weekend in the rains,” he adds.
  • Lohgad Fort: Take a train to Lonavala and another one from there to Malavli to head for Lohgad Fort, an absolute trekker’s delight. The view from the top includes the Tung and Tikona hills, Duke’s Nose and the Pavana Dam. “You are literally swept off your feet at The Wind Spot, at the entrance of the fort! Two days spent on the Visapur trek exploring the Karla and Bhaje Caves make it an action-packed weekend,” says Sneha, a lawyer and travel aficionado for whom Chicago has been home for three years now.
  • Kashid: Located on SH60 is a sleepy village town where silken sands of an arched shoreline, nestled in the hills against a blue-white facade await you. A stroll on the beach as the gentle drizzle comes down, doing nothing else but indulging in delicious seafood – monsoon weekends at Kashid are that lazy and laid back.
  • Lonavala: If you’re looking for a walk in the clouds in the monsoons without getting too far away from Mumbai you should head for Lonavala. The MTDC Resort at Karla is a comfortable place to stay at a reasonable price. Be prepared for a madding crowd at the Koraigad Fort on a rain-drenched Sunday after splashing about at the Bhushi Dam on Saturday.
  • Matheran: A mere 100 km from Mumbai this picturesque hill station is a delight to visit. Panorama Point, Porcupine Point and One Tree Hill offer some picturesque views of the surrounding hills and valleys. A boat ride in the Charlotte Lake and a trek up Mount Berry are other things you can do.
  • Murud-Janjira: A drive along picturesque beaches and palm fringed pathways, followed by a jetty ride – and the historic Janjira Fort stands before you. Explore every nook and cranny for it took 22 years to build, and don’t forget to stop at the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary and the Nawab’s Palace!
  • Kihim Beach: A fun-filled weekend in the rains at this spot includes exploring the Kankeshwar Temple and the Colaba Fort, playing cricket and beach volleyball, and indulging in a little bit of lazing around. Stay away from swimming though.
  • Nagoan: A 120 km from Mumbai is an excellent weekend getaway option. Strolling on the beach, lounging around and feasting on healthy organic food amidst lush greenery, Nagoan is the stuff restful weekends are made of.
The monsoons are considered off-season on the tourist circuit, and you can get some great deals at this time. Do you enjoy traveling in the rains? Have you been on a scenic, monsoon getaway from Mumbai?