Labis boys set up travel agency to highlight eco and cultural attractions

  • Focus
  • Monday, 09 Apr 2018

Dino has no regrets about returning to the village he grew up in.

AFTER having experienced city life in Kuala Lumpur, going back to the village and having to take up two jobs is not a life many would choose.

However, Dino Yap, 29, is doing just that and thoroughly enjoying it.

When he is not showing visitors around as part of his tour guide duties, Dino helps his fishmonger father Yap Hon Yau, 59, at the market in Kampung Baru Bekok in Labis, Johor.

This was not something the business graduate had planned when he packed his bag and headed home after four years of working and living in Kuala Lumpur.

At that point, he only had one thing on his mind – to take care of his 49-year-old mother Wong Siau Lian who was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Dino took up the responsibility as his eldest sister was in Taiwan while their two younger sisters had left home to work and study.

A year after he moved back, his mother died but Dino decided to stay on and be with his father.

Three years later, another villager who left to further his studies, CJ Teo, 25, returned with a hospitality and hotel management degree.

The two then set up a travel agency called Village Fun Enterprise to draw visitors to their village.

Teo (left) with some tourists at Taman Negara.
Teo (left) with some tourists at Taman Negara. 

Dino said about 90% of the tourists were from Singapore and Malaysia, while the remaining 5% came from various parts of the world.

Kampung Baru Bekok indeed has what it takes for eco and cultural tourism.

From the village, tourists have access to Endau-Rompin National Park.

The one-hour journey by road is where the adventure begins, passing through oil palm estates, fruit and vegetable farms as well as traditional villages.

It is a unique experience, especially for foreigners.

Kampung Baru Bekok also has a railway station which is a plus point for tourism.

Dino says he and Teo found satisfaction in seeing their guests have a good holiday.

“Our village history is dated as far back as 1886,” he said and was visibly proud that visitors found the village and their way of life there interesting.

“It is in the village that one can see how a close-knit community has evolved over the decades and remained strong,” he added.

Dino said tourism has rejuvenated the village and preserved its heritage at the same time.

It has also generated business and job opportunities for villagers.

Dino admitted that while he did miss the city life, he was glad he chose to remain in the village and help make a difference.

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