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Pahang's Mossy Forest is one of the world's most Instagram-able forests : January 21, 2020

Hike up to the highest elevations around Cameron Highlands and you will come across one of the most Instagram-able forests in the world. The Mossy Forest, close to the peak of Mount Brinchang in Pahang, has been named the most Instagram-worthy jungle in Malaysia. This is according to the latest report by Taxi2Airport, which tabulated the number of hashtags per forest. With 64,564 hashtags, Mossy Forest is ranked sixth on the list. The Black Forest (Germany), Amazon Rainforest (Brazil), Sherwood Forest (England), Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (Japan) and Daintree Forest (Australia) are on the top five spots, respectively. Located about 2,030m above sea level, Malaysia’s fabled Mossy Forest is believed to be around 200 million years old and is touted as one of the oldest forests in the country.

It is famed among local and international visitors alike for its exotic flora and the verdant ground covered with a mossy carpet. In a travel piece written last year, The Star reporter Intan Farhana Zainul likened the forest to the setting for the moors of Maleficent or Fangorn Forest of the Lord Of The Rings. “The forest is damp, gloomy and chilly. Walking through it, all kinds of feelings emerge, from appreciating its beautiful landscape to feeling spooked at times. “It is uncannily very quiet here, and when the wind blows, it feels as if someone is whispering behind the trees, ” she wrote.

However, Mossy Forest’s popularity is not without its downside. Overtourism and the surge of visitors who came to see the forest’s mythical-like sceneries have caused it to lose its natural beauty. In the past, environmental non-governmental organizations had reported that the forest continued to degrade as a result of tourists stepping on the moss there. Some tourists were also seen climbing the trees when they should have just stayed on the boardwalk. In 2015, Mossy Forest was closed for six months to allow the mosses to regrow and recover.

Ministry to keep close watch on influenza cases to ensure tourism is not affected - Januari 17, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry is keeping a close watch on Influenza A cases in the country as the spread of infectious diseases could negatively affect the tourism industry. Its deputy minister Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said the ministry was working closely with the Immigration Department, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), and the Health Ministry. “We are monitoring the number (of Influenza A cases) and (entry points) closely to prevent the Influenza A virus from spreading. “We don’t know if there is going to be any negative impact on the tourism flow as of yet, but we will continue to monitor the outbreak closely. “I will get a hold of our counterparts in the Immigration department and MAHB to see if there is any decline in tourist numbers,” he told reporters here today after launching the “VM2020 Happenings@KL Sentral”.

Bakhtiar, however, said Malaysia recorded growth in tourist arrivals based on the number of airlines’ forward bookings in November and December. “I’m not sure whether there will be any impact on the number of tourist arrivals in January. We will monitor closely.” More than 120 cases of Influenza A have been reported in Penang, Selangor, Pahang and Negri Sembilan since the start of 2020. On Dec 8, Malaysia saw its first polio case in nearly three decades. And in 2017, the Health Ministry disclosed there were some 25,000 tuberculosis cases with more than 1,900 deaths. It was reported that an outbreak at any place must be seen as a threat to all countries, especially those that serve as popular travel destinations. This is significant for Malaysia, especially with Visit Malaysia Year 2020. With the visa waiver for Indian and Chinese tourists, some 30 million visitors were expected here. Health authorities have taken measures to protect Malaysia against viruses coming from beyond its borders. Thermal scanners have been installed at international airports and other entry points to ensure visitors undergo health screening. Quarantine sites have also been identified. Besides that, some 99,470 additional influenza doses will be brought in this month to meet the sharp demand for the vaccine. Source- NST

Gateway to east coast - January 11, 2020

KUANTAN: The Sultan Ahmad Shah Airport in Kuantan can become an important avenue to bring in more foreign tourists to Pahang and other east coast states if aggressive efforts are taken to promote it. State culture, unity, welfare, women, and family development committee chairman Datuk Seri Shahaniza Shamsuddin said it was possible and a good idea for the airport to receive more international flights. The airport recently began receiving flights from Singapore via a low-cost airline, Scoot, owned by Singapore Airlines. Shahaniza said the location of the airport, which is situated between the east coast and southern regions, was ideal for local flights from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching as well as countries within the Southeast Asian region. With its location, it was also possible to cater to flights from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and even South Korea and Japan.

“However, there are various aspects that we have to look into, such as the capacity of the airport, which needs further upgrading works, including the expansion of its runway and so on, ” she said at a press conference after receiving some 140 tourists from Singapore via Scoot recently. Shahanza was responding to a suggestion by a tourism operator to promote the airport. Also present at the press conference were Tourism Malaysia’s Asia and Africa international promotion division director Mohamad Taib Ibrahim, Tourism Ministry Pahang Office director Datuk Idros Yahya and Pahang Tourism director Datuk Ishak Mokhtar. Shahaniza said until September 2019, Pahang received 9,979,433 tourists and for this year, it was targeting 15 million visitors to the state. She said as for now, there were sufficient rooms in the state, with 32,109 rooms and 564 hotels.

In line with achieving targets for Visit Malaysia Year 2020, Shahaniza said the state-level tourism promotion had started since November last year with the launch of the tagline “Pahang Simply Awesome” and “Pahang Welcomes You”. She said besides aggressively developing the state’s tourist attractions, the government had also played an important role in managing the environmental aspect as both tourism and environment are inter-related. “It is pointless if we promote our products for tourists but at the same time, we spoil the environment, ” she said, citing the recent operations to clear illegal and polluting farms in Cameron Highlands as a positive move.

Source : The Star Online

#JOM Stay: Chill time for city folk - January 10, 2020

Longing for some ‘wintery’ weather, Loong Wai Ting escapes to the new Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences in Genting Highlands. IF you’re visiting Genting Highlands but want to stay away from all the action, the Swiss-Garden Hotel and Residences Genting Highlands make a great base. Located about 10 minutes away from the Genting Highlands Premium Outlets, you’ll avoid the usual holiday crowds while still enjoying the picturesque valley that the highland resort is famous for. Many visitors to Genting Highlands tend to stay close to the theme park for easy access but I prefer the peace and quiet here and the cool mountain air. 

A ROOM WITH A COOL VIEW

After a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur, I reach the brand new hotel at almost midday. To my surprise, the hotel is not as busy as I thought it would be except for the usual weekend holidaymakers of families with small children and a handful of guests from overseas. This makes the checking-in process a breeze. In no time at all, I am shown to my room — an Executive Suite on the 32nd floor of the Residences side. Settling my overnight bag on the grey sofa with its bright orange and yellow cushions, I walk towards the sliding door and slide open one of the clear glass panels. A blast of cool wind rushes into the unit and instantly lifts my mood. From here, I can see the valley stretch all the way till the horizon and the mountains seem to overlap one another. Clouds are gathering over the distant mountain tops and light drizzle begins to fall. Up in the mountain, the weather can be quite hard to predict. Right now, it’s sweater weather kind of day.

In the en-suite kitchen, I boil some water for tea, then check out the rest of my spacious and sunny unit. Next to the living room is a bathroom. Though it’s considerably cold, the bathroom’s rain shower still looks inviting to me. Adjacent to the bathroom is a smaller bedroom, enough for one adult or kid. A single bed is placed next to the window, which offers a view of the rolling hills. If you’re traveling with small children, make sure that you keep the windows locked at all times. The master bedroom is just next door, so it’s easy for the parents to check on their kids at night. For the convenience of guests sleeping in the master bedroom, there is an en-suite bathroom with the same facilities and amenities as the one adjacent to the kid’s room. There is minimal dècor in my unit but it is painted in a neutral palette. The living room is functional too, with a low coffee table and a huge LED TV. Apart from some stains on the floor, my unit is immaculate. The standout for me, without a doubt, is the spacious living room, which offers a comfortable space to read in. It’s no surprise that as soon as the sun sets, the temperature drops drastically.

WHAT’S NEARBY

Taking advantage of the nice weather, I head down to the lobby and register for a seat in its complimentary scheduled shuttle service to the Genting Highlands Premium Outlets. My plan is to walk across the mall and take the cable car up to the mountain top for some coffee at one of the outdoor cafès. The drive up to the mountain through the winding road can be notoriously congested on weekends or during peak holiday season, so it’s better to leave my car at the hotel and take the cable car up to the hill resort. At the top, nearly everything looks and feels brand new. There are many popular eateries and new sights to take in at Genting Highlands. Venture further and you’ll be greeted by more shopping outlets, although the prices may differ slightly. But if you don’t have plans to shop, there are plenty of nice cafes to choose from and people-watching is just as fun as shopping.

FAST FACTS- SWISS-GARDEN HOTEL & RESIDENCES, GENTING HIGHLANDS

Windmill Upon Hills, Genting Permai, 69000 Genting Highlands, Pahang Darul Makmur, Malaysia

TEL 03-9213 0777

EMAIL This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WEBSITE www.swissgarden.com/residences-genting/

STAY There are 561 rooms ranging from Deluxe to Premier Rooms, each offering a modern dÈcor and comfortable set-up. Catch up on some good night sleep on their high-quality signature bedding in their spacious rooms. If you’d like to catch up on some work, each room is equipped with a spacious working desk as well as coffee-making facilities. Don’t worry about incurring extra data charges on your phone as the property offers complimentary high-speed WiFi. There are also various facilities within the hotel that guests can enjoy. Take a dip in the heated pool and enjoy the picturesque view of the valley below. There are also outdoor Jacuzzis and sauna if you’d like to pamper yourself more.

EAT Both the hotel and residences share the same F&B outlet — The Garden Terrace Café on the fifth floor. The café serves a wide selection of local and international dishes.

DO Swim in the heated pool, of course! Or sweat it out at the gym overlooking the natural greenery below.

GO Shop till you drop at the Genting Highlands Premium Outlet (about 10 minutes from the hotel) or relax with your family and friends in Genting Highlands.

HIGH Nice surroundings and comfortable rooms.

LOW The staff could be more attentive.

Source : NST

Pahang gears up for more tourists in 2020 - Dec 7, 2019

KUANTAN: Pahang expects to see an increase in tourist arrivals thanks to the spillover effect from the expected 1.8 billion visitors to the Asia-Pacific region next year. State tourism, environment, and plantations committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin said Pahang’s easy accessibility, its wide range of tourist attractions and the 35,000 available rooms were all added value for visitors.

Sharkar said the Central Spine Road which connects Klang Valley to Kota Baru, going past Bentong, Raub and Lipis in Pahang, would also make it easy for tourists to visit the state. He said along the route, the tourist arrivals would boost eco-tourism clusters in the three districts and entry points of Taman Negara in Merapoh, Lipis and Kuala Tahan, Jerantut. “Some 1.4 billion tourists from all over the world visited the Asia-Pacific region last year and according to United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation, the number is expected to increase by between 3% and 4% to 1.8 billion.

“Pahang alone recorded 13.4 million domestic and foreign tourist arrivals last year. “Pahang has also recorded the most number of domestic tourists at 9.2 million. “As such, Pahang can be considered a top tourist destination, ” Sharkar said in his speech during the launch of the Pahang Festival and its new tourism motto “Simply Awesome” in Kuala Lumpur. Also present were Tourism Pahang general manager Datuk Ishak Mokhtar, Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry Pahang Office director Datuk Idros Yahya and other tourism agencies and operators from Pahang. Sharkar said as the biggest state in the peninsular, Pahang had various attractions to offer tourists such as highlands, beaches, islands, theme parks, and natural rainforests.

He noted that the development of information technology had a huge impact on the tourism industry where it had transformed and changed the landscape through apps that made it easier for tourists to plan their visits. He said the tourism authority in the state had already launched its application on PahangGo for easy access to all kinds of deals.

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