Fraser Hill – Pahang

Fraser Hill – Pahang

Bukit Fraser is on the Selangor / Pahang border approximately 103km north, or two hours drive, from Kuala Lumpur, but almost all visitors come through Selangor, and the state border actually cuts through the station at Fraser’s Hill. This hill resort was named after an English adventurer, Louis James Fraser, an ore-trader and mule train operator. However, he disappeared during the first decade of the 20th century and was never seen again. In 1910, Bishop Ferguson-Davie from Singapore came looking for Fraser, and recognized the area’s potential as a hill station. Today, Fraser’s Hill is home to modern resorts, satellite television and the cellular phone.

Of all the hill stations, Fraser’s Hill retains the most colonial charm, and is a quiet and relatively undeveloped place. The station, set up at a cool 1524m altitude is not the easiest place to get to without your own transport. One of the main delights of a visit to Fraser’s Hill is to be able to explore the splendors of nature with a trek through the many well-marked nature trails or tracks, and indulge in bird-watching activity. There are a great variety of birds residing in the area and because Fraser’s has been gazette a protected area for a while now, the birds have become more approachable. A trip to Fraser’s Hill would not be complete without having a picnic at the Jeriau Waterfalls which is about 5km from the town centre.

Bukit Fraser can be done as a day trip from Kuala Lumpur, if you travelling by car to Bukit Fraser, but it’s best to take it easy and book into one of the charming-state-run stone bungalows for an overnight stay. An overnight stay is almost a definite must for those who wish to reach Bukit Fraser by bus, alternatively take a taxi from Kuala Lumpur Puduraya bus station.

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Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

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Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Located 20 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu and named after the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park comprises of a group of five islands – Pualu Manukan, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Sulug and Pulau Gaya. Spreading over 4,929 hectares, two thirds of which is sea, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a State Park created to protect the natural environment which includes the coral reefs, marine life, the fauna and flora. The reefs lie in shallow waters with little current making it an ideal location for novice divers; however, the diverse and sometimes rare marine creatures also make it an interesting dive location for experienced divers and underwater photographers.

1bTun Abdul Rahman Park

All five islands can be visited all year round; temperature here ranged between 23.8 – 29.4 degrees Celsius and humidity remains high.

The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is popular for activities such as sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, diving, barbeque, bird-watching, nature walks along guided forest and mangrove trails, beach fishing (only hook and line permitted), outdoor camping (only on Sapi and Mamutik, with prior permission from the Sabah Parks office or the Park Ranger at the islands. Cost is about RM5.00 per person per night), water sports such as windsurfing and kayaking and recently parasailing which offers visitors a great bird’s eye view of the islands and Mount Kinabalu.

The Islands

1cPulau Manukan

PULAU MANUKAN is the second largest island of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and the island with the most complete facilities: Tropical timber chalets managed by Sutera Sanctuary Lodges, restaurants, swimming pool and tennis courts, and infrastructure support water, electricity, desalination plant, sewerage system, and even a solar powered public telephone are provided. Visitors who wish to stay overnight at the chalet can make their bookings through local tour operators. One of the star attractions and must see on Pulau Manukan is the fish feeding at the jetty where large school of fishes have made their home.

1dPulau Mamutik

PULAU MAMUTIK is rather underdeveloped but is still accessible by jetty. Its 15-acres make it the smallest of the 5 islands of the Park. Rich coral life surrounds the islands. Facilities include changing rooms, toilets, picnic shelters, tables and barbecue pits. Chalet can be arranged with Sabah Park if you don’t wish to camp. Visitors staying at the resthouse must bring their own food, as there are no canteen facilities on the island. This little island of slightly bigger than a football field is very diver friendly. Most open water courses are done here, visibility varies from 4m to 10m. PADI Instructor Examinations are also conducted here. Lifeguards are on patrol during the day.

PULAU SULUG: Farthest away and relatively undeveloped is the 20-acres Pulau Sulug, visitors can opt to camp if they wish to stay overnight. Changing rooms and toilets, picnic shelters and tables are provided. Supply of fresh water is available. The island is inhabited and dive operator have daily trips there for diving off the corals on the northern shore as it is one of the best site around in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

PULAU SAPI: A small island of 25 acres, Pulau Sapi has one of the nicest beaches in the Park – its clean white sand and crystal clear water and coral reefs fringing the shoreline makes it ideal for swimming, snorkeling and diving. Day use facilities include a jetty, picnic shelters, barbecue pits, tables, changing rooms and toilets. Camping is allowed, with the permission of the Park Warden.

A sand-bar connects Pulau Sapi to Pulau Gaya, and it is possible to walk across in shallow water at very low tides. This is also one of the best spots for swimming and picnicking and it is very popular for island BBQ tours. They are no overnight facilities available on this island but during week-ends light refreshments are sold, and snorkeling gear is available for rent.

PULAU GAYA is the largest island of the Park. Water at Police Beach is crystal clear, up to 50 feet and it is a great place to dive and snorkel. Pulau Gaya has 16 miles of shoreline with beaches ranging from fine white sandy to pebbly, and mudflats, mangrove and sandstone cliffs. Remember to bring your own food, drinks and gears, as there are non for rental.

How to get there

It is best to try and go to these islands during the week as the islands are a popular destination for locals and it can get busy during the weekend. It is also advisable to go before noon as the boat operators usually fill their respective boats up before leaving the jetty.

Go to the Sabah Parks Jetty just right at the end of Jalan (about 8-10 mins walk from Trekkers Lodge Kota Kinabalu) to purchase your ticket. Tell the staff at the ticket counter which island you wish to visit, and what time you want to be picked up. Please note that the boats leave the KK jetty from 7:00am onwards, and the last boat from the island departs at about 4:00pm. Boat ride takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending of which island you are visiting and most boats accommodate up to 12 passengers.

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Eating in Ho Chi Minh City – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Eating in Ho Chi Minh City – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. It was known as Prey Nokor before being annexed by the Vietnamese in the 17th century. Under the name Saigon , it was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina and later of the independent state of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1975. In 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding province of Gia Định and was officially renamed Hồ Chí Minh City (although the name Sài Gòn – formally known as District 1 – is still commonly used.)

The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60 kilometers (37 mi) from the South China Sea and 1,760 kilometers (1,094 mi) south of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.

The metropolitan area, which consists of Hồ Chí Minh City metro area, Thủ Dầu Một, Di An, Bien Hoa and surrounding towns, is populated by more than 9 million people, making it the most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam and Indochina.

The Greater Ho Chi Minh City Metropolitan Area, a metropolitan area covering most part of Dong Nam Bo plus Tien Giang and Long An provinces under planning will have an area of 30,000 square kilometers with a population of 20 million inhabitants by 2020.

Post-Vietnam War and today

At the conclusion of the Vietnam War, on April 30, 1975, the city came under the control of the Vietnamese People’s Army. In the U.S. this event is commonly called the “Fall of Saigon,” while the communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam call it the “Liberation of Saigon.”

In 1976, upon the establishment of the unified communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the city of Saigon (including Cholon), the province of Gia Ðịnh and 2 suburban districts of two other nearby provinces were combined to create Hồ Chí Minh City in honour of the late communist leader Hồ Chí Minh. The former name Saigon is still widely used by many Vietnamese, especially in informal contexts. Generally, the term Saigon refers only to the urban districts of Hồ Chí Minh City. The word “Saigon” can also be found on shop signs all over the country, even in Hanoi.

Transportation

Tan Son Nhat International Airport, a joint civilian and military airport, is located 4 mi (6 km) north of the city center (District 1). The Tan Son Nhat International Airport located in Tan Binh District. The government expanded the Tan Son Nhat Airport in 2007, with improvements to the international airport. Taxi and bus services are available for travel to and from the airport and within the city . Because of the rapid growing number of air-passengers and Tan Son Nhat Airport’s proximity to the center of the city, the Vietnamese Government has prepared to build a new international airport near Long Thanh Township, Dong Nai Province about 25 mi (40 km) to the northeast.

Ho Chi Minh city’s road system is in improvable condition. Many of its streets are riddled with potholes. This is especially true of the city’s numerous back streets and alleys, which are sometimes little more than dirt paths. City buses are the only public transport available, although the city is seeking financing sources for building metro (subway) and elevated train projects, including the Ho Chi Minh City Metro planned for completion in 2020.

Recently, the number of motorcycles has increased to about 4 million. There are also over 500,000 automobiles, packing the city’s arterial roads and making traffic congestion and air pollution common problems. While Beijing used to be called “the City of Bicycles”, Ho Chi Minh City is “the Capital of Motorbikes”. Motorcycle-taxi (xe ôm) is a popular means of transport; foreigners are often greeted with the cry, “Motorbike!” Visitors should consider the city’s streets as dangerous due to the motorists’ lack of behavior and the city’s lack of traffic law enforcement.

Drivers can be seen driving the wrong way up one-way streets, ignoring red lights, not stopping for pedestrians on marked crossings and driving on the footpaths. From 2008, this has improved somewhat, with more traffic lights, greater adherence to traffic light signals, and motorcycle helmets being worn.

The city is the terminal hub of the North South Railroad of Vietnam. Passengers can travel to Hanoi and the Chinese border, about 1,212 mi/1,950 km to the north. There are many harbours along the Saigon and Dong Nai Rivers, such as: Saigon Port, Newport, Ben nghe Port and VICT Port. They account for the annual 40 percent export-import cargo output of Vietnam.

From Ho Chi Minh City, one can travel to many places in Southern Vietnam and to Cambodia by road or waterway. The city is linked to the Central Highlands by National Highways 14 and 20, to the Central Coast and the north by National Highway 1 and to the Mekong River Delta by National Highways 1 and 50. Two expressways are being built to connect the city to Can Tho, the capital of the Mekong River Delta, and to Dau Giay Township, Dong Nai Province, 70 km to the northeast.

Landmarks

Today, the city’s core is still adorned with wide elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings.

The most prominent structures in the city center are Reunification Palace (Dinh Thống Nhất), City Hall (Ủy ban hân dân Thành phốn’), Municipal Theatre, Ho Chi Minh City (Nhà hát thành phố), City Post Office (Bưu điện thành phố), State Bank Office (Ngân hàng nhà nước), City People’s Court (Tòa án nhân dân thành phố) and Notre-Dame Cathedral (Nhà thờ Đức Bà).

Some of the historic hotels are the Hotel Majestic, dating from the French colonial era, and the Rex Hotel, Caravelle hotel some former hangouts for American officers and war correspondents in the 1960s and 1970s.

The city has various museums, such as the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Museum of Vietnamese History and concerning modern history the Revolutionary Museum (Bảo tàng cách mạng) and the War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh City). The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens dates from 1865.

Sister cities

There are sister cities of Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Flag of the Republic of China Taipei, Republic of China
  • Flag of South Korea Busan, South Korea
  • Flag of Japan Osaka, Japan
  • Flag of Russia Moscow, Russia
  • Flag of Russia Saint Petersburg, Russia[33]
  • Flag of Canada Toronto, Canada
  • Flag of the United States San Francisco, USA
  • Flag of the People's Republic of China Shanghai, People’s Republic of China
  • Flag of Iran Tabriz, Iran
  • Flag of Turkey Istanbul, Turkey
  • Flag of the Philippines Manila, Philippines

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