Nick's Travel Bug http://nickstravelbug.com Live Vicariously Through Yourself Tue, 16 Dec 2014 00:18:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Magnificent Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/petronas-towers-kuala-lumpur/ http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/petronas-towers-kuala-lumpur/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:49:53 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5681 One of the icons of Malaysia are the magnificent Petronas Towers in the center of Kuala Lumpur. At a height of 1,483 ft (452 m), they are currently the tallest twin towers in the world. Standing at the base almost makes them seem unreal.   Touring Inside the Towers I enjoyed the view of the … Read More

The Magnificent Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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One of the icons of Malaysia are the magnificent Petronas Towers in the center of Kuala Lumpur. At a height of 1,483 ft (452 m), they are currently the tallest twin towers in the world. Standing at the base almost makes them seem unreal.

Petronas Towers Daytime

 

Touring Inside the Towers

I enjoyed the view of the towers the most at night (obviously), but took a tour and went up in them during the day. The tour started by going up to the Skybridge at about 558 ft (170 m). The bridge connects the 2 towers between the 41st and 42nd floors. While there are actually 88 floors, the 86th floor is as high as you can go and where the Observation Deck is. The 2 upper floors are for maintenance, antennas, etc. You can really see how hazy the city is when you’re all the way up there. I’d only recommend doing the tour on a pretty clear day so you can see further.

Tower Observation Deck

 

Night Time at the Towers

Night time is the best time to go and see the Petronas Towers. I honestly couldn’t take enough pictures of them at night, so here are a few of my favorites.

Petronas Towers Side View

Top of the Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers 2

Have you visited the Petronas Towers? If so, what did you think? If not, they are definitely a site to see in Kuala Lumpur.

Disclosure: This trip and the tour were sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. However, as always, all opinions are my own.

The Magnificent Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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Having A Heart2Heart With the Orangutans in Sarawak http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/heart2heart-orangutan-sarawak/ http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/heart2heart-orangutan-sarawak/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:55:33 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5640 Just outside Kuching in the Borneo region of Malaysia lies a wildlife sanctuary for one of the most intelligent primates and one of our closest ancestors…the orangutan. The word ‘orangutan’ is derived from the Malay words ‘orang’ meaning ‘people’ and ‘hutan’ meaning ‘forest’. So orangutans are known as ‘people of the forest’, and rightly so, … Read More

Having A Heart2Heart With the Orangutans in Sarawak is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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Just outside Kuching in the Borneo region of Malaysia lies a wildlife sanctuary for one of the most intelligent primates and one of our closest ancestors…the orangutan. The word ‘orangutan’ is derived from the Malay words ‘orang’ meaning ‘people’ and ‘hutan’ meaning ‘forest’. So orangutans are known as ‘people of the forest’, and rightly so, because the males are the largest tree-dwelling mammals in the world.

First and foremost, this wildlife centre is NOT a zoo. Contact with the animals is kept to a minimum in order to reduce the dependence they place on humans and ensure they have every chance of survival when they are released back into the wild. The main objectives of the Heart2Heart program are as follows:

  1. To raise additional funds for Orangutan conservation and rehabilitation works
  2. To extend ownership of the program to other citizens of the world
  3. To disseminate information on Orangutan conservation efforts done in Sarawak

I was lucky enough to be able to spend a half-day at the Matang Wildlife Centre learning about this endangered species and the orangutan conservation efforts currently ongoing throughout Sarawak. Orangutans are on the brink of extinction due to poachers as well as their natural habitats being burned and/or cut down.

Orangutans are brought to the centre through a few different channels. Some are captured when they are found injured in the wild. Some are confiscated from their owners while attempting to be smuggled out of the country. The children are sometimes found abandoned when the parent(s) have been shot by poachers. If they are not rescued, there is an extremely high chance that the orangutans would die or be killed in these situations.

Baby Orangutans

The Rehabilitation Process

The rehabilitation process for young orangutans recovered in the wild goes something like this:

  • Admission and background investigation
  • Quarantine: The orangutans go through a health check before being integrated with the other animals. Special dietary and medical requirements are determined.
  • Training Stage 1: This is the initial training where the young primates are taught basic skills like tree climbing, food gathering, and social interaction in confined areas of the centre. They are closely monitored as they are typically with the mother for the first 7 years of their life.
  • Training Stage 2: This would be considered primary school and the orangutans first exposure to the forest. Again, they are still closely monitored at this point.
  • Training Stage 3: This would consist of more advanced deep forest skills training.
  • Release and Monitoring: Once the orangutans have successfully mastered the required skills, they are released into the forest. The staff from the centre still monitors them to ensure proper assimilation (usually for a week or so). If everything goes well, then the animal is left to live in the wild from then on. If any skills still appear to be lacking, they will be taken back and the training will continue for a bit longer before another release attempt.

In the rare case of a permanent disability or other failure to assimilate into the wild, the orangutan would continue to live at the wildlife centre indefinitely to protect them from harm in the forest.

Orangutan Cage Cleaning

Getting our hands dirty

Getting Involved

During the half-day visit we learned a lot, but were also able to get involved in the day-to-day care and maintenance for the orangutans. We began by cleaning and scrubbing down one of the large cages for Peter, the most senior male Orangutan at the centre. Next was preparing the enriched food for the animals’ lunch. The meal consisted of some greens, nuts, and honey, all blended together. Each of us stitched together a cloth bag, stuffed it with the mixture, and stitched the bag closed. Figuring out how to open the bag provides a bit of a challenge for the orangutans and stimulates their brain. I think Peter was getting a bit antsy while we were preparing the food.

Peter the Orangutan

He was probably a bit happier after I gave him his food bag.

Feeding the Orangutans

Orangutans are incredibly intelligent creatures and it was a wonderful experience to be able to aid in their conservation efforts at the wildlife centre. While the half-day program was a great introduction, I hope to go back and volunteer for 1-2 weeks at some point in the future. Only then can you really start to get a feel for their everyday lives.

Orangutan Dancing for Food

Thanks so much to the Matang Wildlife Centre for giving us this great experience and I highly recommend visiting if you are in the Sarawak region of Malaysia.

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. However, as always, all opinions of the trip are my own.

Having A Heart2Heart With the Orangutans in Sarawak is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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Celebrating the Deepavali Festival in Malaysia http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/deepavali-festival-2014/ http://nickstravelbug.com/malaysia/deepavali-festival-2014/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:32:31 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5595 On my recent trip to Malaysia I was able to attend the celebration of the official Deepavali Festival in Melaka, just a couple of hours south of Kuala Lumpur. Dignitaries and ministers from the country were all in attendance. In fact, I was seated at a table next to the Malaysian Prime Minister! Background You might … Read More

Celebrating the Deepavali Festival in Malaysia is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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On my recent trip to Malaysia I was able to attend the celebration of the official Deepavali Festival in Melaka, just a couple of hours south of Kuala Lumpur. Dignitaries and ministers from the country were all in attendance. In fact, I was seated at a table next to the Malaysian Prime Minister!

Background

You might be wondering what the Deepavali Festival is. Let me explain.

Deepavali (also known as Diwali, depending on the region) is a ‘Festival of Lights’ celebrated by those of the Hindu religion. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness and goodness over evil, marking the beginning of the Hindu New Year. In preparation for the festival, people go out and buy colorful new outfits, decorate their homes, and prepare a feast for their family and friends. As Malaysia is a cultural melting pot, the holiday has become an occasion for people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds across the country to share meals and develop friendships with each other.

Pre-Festivities

The day began with some pre-festivities in a small village called Bukit Katil. The village is known for its use of bullock carts, which are used to transport paddy and other goods from the nearby rice paddys. Here we were welcomed by a group of children playing some traditional songs for us.

Bullock Cart Village Children Singing

After this we journeyed out into the rice paddys, wading through knee-deep muddy water in some parts. Check out this video if you’d like to see the proper technique for this.

 

As I was beginning to wade out of the paddys, a few local kids were holding a thick rope. They pointed at me and made the gestures for tug-of-war. Of course I want to play tug-of-war in muddy rice paddys! So I gathered a team and we took on 10 or so kids. Now either the kids were abnormally strong or maybe just more adept at holding your ground when your feet are sliding through mud. I’m going to go with the latter, but nonetheless, we all had a great time.

Video courtesy of Arienne at http://seeyousoon.ca/.

The Deepavali Festival

After cleaning up a bit, we headed back into Melaka for the official Deepavali Festival celebration that evening. On the way, I couldn’t help but notice that even the tuk-tuk drivers decorate their vehicles. I wonder if they were having a competition because some of them were decorated really well.

Decorated Tuk-Tuks

Once we arrived at the festival site, I was seated fairly close to the front. However, it was still somewhat tough to see the performance stage because it was lower than the platform we were sitting on. So after the first couple songs, I decided to get a bit closer and join the local journalists and TV media that were down on the floor. This turned out to be good and bad. It was good because I was able to get some really good photos of the performances, but bad because I couldn’t go back to my seat as secret service was apparently on strict duty not to let anyone back up on the platform. There were a series of speakers and when the Prime Minister was giving his speech I went back to my table and was finally able to eat dinner.

Here are a few photos from the performances and the vibrant costumes.

Deepavali Festival 2

Deepavali Festival 4

Deepavali Festival 6

Deepavali Festival 7

Deepavali Festival 8And finally, THE FINALE!!!

Deepavali Festival Finale

Do you celebrate Deepavali in your culture? If so, what are some of your traditions?

Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by Tourism Malaysia. However, as always, all opinions of the trip are my own.

Celebrating the Deepavali Festival in Malaysia is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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FotoFriday: Statue at Batu Caves http://nickstravelbug.com/travel-photos/fotofriday-statue-batu-caves/ http://nickstravelbug.com/travel-photos/fotofriday-statue-batu-caves/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 14:17:53 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5602 This week’s photo is of the statue at Batu Caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur. The statue of Lord Murugan is 140 feet tall and the tallest in Malaysia.

FotoFriday: Statue at Batu Caves is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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This week’s photo is of the statue at Batu Caves just outside of Kuala Lumpur. The statue of Lord Murugan is 140 feet tall and the tallest in Malaysia.

Statue at Batu Caves

FotoFriday: Statue at Batu Caves is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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FotoFriday: Spooky Street Art http://nickstravelbug.com/travel-photos/fotofriday-spooky-street-art/ http://nickstravelbug.com/travel-photos/fotofriday-spooky-street-art/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 21:52:01 +0000 http://nickstravelbug.com/?p=5592 In honor of Halloween coming up, this week’s photo is of some spooky street art taken in Lisbon, Portugal. Don’t start having nightmares about this skeleton now.  

FotoFriday: Spooky Street Art is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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In honor of Halloween coming up, this week’s photo is of some spooky street art taken in Lisbon, Portugal. Don’t start having nightmares about this skeleton now.

 

FotoFriday: Spooky Street Art is a post from Nick's Travel Bug

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