By JENA RAVI
The ringgit has jokingly been called the shringgit. But it’s no joke as our currency is facing a major devaluation against currencies like the US dollar, the euro and even the Singapore dollar.
That has made travel plans for Malaysians something of a nightmare. Who can afford to go overseas these days with the state of our currency?
Do do not despair. Now is the time to check out places in the country itself. There are so many places in Malaysia still to be explored and out of the beaten path. For starters let’s list just five of them.
1. Poring Hot Spring – Sabah
These man-made pools of hot steaming water, said to have therapeutic qualities, are 43km away from the Kinabalu Park. Other sights within the complex itself are the butterfly farm, tropical garden and the Orchid Conservation Centre; if you’re lucky you might even get to see the rafflesia flower, which is said to bloom in the area. The highlight of this complex, however, is the canopy walk that is 40m above the jungle floor, which provides a wonderful view of the place. The entrance fee covers most of the attractions, but there is a separate fee for an enclosed cubicle with a hot spring bathtub.
2. Chemerong Waterfall – Terengganu
The Chemerong waterfall, also known as Lata Chemerong, is located in the Pasir Raja Forest Reserve in Dungun District, Terengganu. It is the tallest waterfall in the state of Terengganu and quite easily accessible. Other than taking a dip in the cool and refreshing water, visitors can also go mountain climbing. Follow the forest trails and enjoy the gift of nature. For those who wish to stay the night, there are basic camping facilities like cooking huts and public toilets.
3. Gaharu Tea Valley Gopeng – Perak
This agarwood plantation has been turned into a tourist destination and is located in Gopeng, Kampar district, Perak. For a fee of RM10, visitors get a minivan tour around the estate. Just outside the plantation, there are shops that sell the product made out of Gaharu trees. Among those are Gaharu tea, cookies, soup mixes, fragrance and instant noodles. The highlight of this visit is the opportunity to hug the Gaharu Tree of luck.
4. Bukit Bintang agriculture centre – Perlis
The Harumanis mango and grape plantation is located in Sungai Batu Pahat, Kangar in Perlis. Although the mangoes grown here are amazing, the real star is the grapes. You don’t have to go Australia or France to visit a vineyard; you can see them right here in Perlis! You can stroll through as you observe the packaging and grading processes. While you’re in Kangar, you can also pay a visit to the Bukit Ayer recreational park and the snake and reptile farm.
5. Lambir Hills National Park – Sarawak
The Lambir Hills National Park is 32km from Miri and there are buses that visitors can take to Batu Niah, which stops at the Park. This park has one of the most complex and diverse forest ecosystems in the world. The forest is a home to about 237 species of birds, wild pigs, insects and other animals. The trails are mostly interconnected and it’s possible to walk a few trails in a day. Visitors can also stop at the many waterfalls in the park, the most popular one being the Latak Waterfall.
Lambir has a series of tree towers, and also a canopy walkway that would be a great way to view the forest.
Changing rooms, toilets and picnic tables are also available making the trip more comfortable. The entrance fee is RM10 for adults and RM5 for children. There are also accommodations for those interested to stay overnight.
The Malaysia Inbound Tourism Association (MITA) will be having the first-ever MITA Tourism Fair 2016 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from Jan 29 to 31.