Wednesday, 22 February 2012

North Borneo Railway 15th February 2012

Happy belated Valentines everyone! A wee bit late, but I hope everyone had a good one :)

Just a day after V-day, James, Jennety, Sabrina and myself, went on board the North Borneo Railway (NBR) train courtesy of Sutera Harbour Resort. The NBR train is the oldest running steam train in Sabah and Borneo as stated in their website, but it looks magnificent inside. Yes, I meant that. MAGNIFICENT! ;)

Timeless, classic, vintage. Just three words that I can think of to summarize the train as a whole. With wood paneling, cushioned seats, a personal table and open air ventilation.. it can't get any better than this. As soon as you step into the NBR train, it just gives you that nostalgic feeling of old-school luxury. The look and feel of it made me think like I was in some old British movie, "Ah, yes please. A cuppa tea for me, and some scones too." *snickers*

Getting our passports stamped. :)

Before going on board the train, we were given a passport which we collected from the NBR office for stamping purposes. There are 5 stations altogether, the first station is of course Tanjung Aru Station. In the passport, there are several stamps that you will collect when passing each station. The stations after the initial one are Putatan, Kinarut, Kawang and finally Papar. How does it feel to have a passport on a train? Well, I felt like a tourist of course! Royalty~ :p

Open air ventilation.

The overall look of the interior.

The elegantly styled lamps and wood paneling.

The interior of the train, as mentioned earlier, looked really fancy and old-school. In a good way of course. I felt like I had to act all lady-like just 'cause, hehehe. As soon as we got on board, we were served with a refreshing glass of ice lemon tea. Then we were served with a light breakfast, which consisted of Danish pastries, croissant and a beverage choice of either coffee or tea.

After departing from Tg.Aru station, the next station we passed was Putatan and we stopped at the third station, Kinarut town. Before our initial stopover, we actually recorded a short clip to capture the sound and essence of the train. This was really funny, as I had to talk into the camera and I tell you I am a very shy person when it comes to recording videos. I shall upload the video in the next post. ;)

The train made a 20 minutes stop here, where all passengers were invited to visit the Tien Shi Buddhist Temple which was built by Chinese people who moved to Sabah during the olden days.

Tien Shi Temple

my failed attempt at imitating the statue's pose.

Inside the temple, Sabrina & Jennety looking on as the worker demonstrates how to rub the bowl & make the water splash inside the bowl.

After the 20 minutes was over, we resumed our ride to the next station, Kawang and then finally reached the last station which is Papar town. Here we stopped for about 30 minutes, as the train takes time to switch the engine from the front to the back of the train and the tables are being set up for lunch.

I took the opportunity to snap photos of the place and of course, what most people would normally do, camwhore (snap your own face with anything that represents the place) :p

I must say, the view was too nice to pass up camwhore photos, LOL!

vanity ;p

I made James pose as well, haha

James, Jual (Train Manager for NBR), Jennety & Mizan .

The Menu

Tiffin Lunch

Dessert! :D

Our hostess, Ms.Imelda Thadeus (Sales Manager)

I hope you enjoyed the photos, click on our STA Facebook account for more :)

For inquiries:
North Borneo Railway
Level 2, The Magellan Sutera Resort,
1 Sutera Harbour Boulevard,
Sutera Harbour,
88100 Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: (60 88) 308 500
Fax: (60 88) 311 136


Imelda Thadeus
Sales Manager
H/P: +60 17 813 9300
Tel: +60 88 303 202
Fax: +60 88 303 338/303 337

Chloe Tiffany Lee: The Pre-Beginning

“In this world, people always wanted to achieve something in their life. No matter it’s big, or small.” – Chloe

Sabah Young Tourism Ambassador is totally a new programme in the state to end the year 2011. The first introduction that I saw was on Daily Express where the organizer, Sabah Tourist Association advertised in. My parents encouraged me to give a try as I am into the Tourism Industry.

I applied without hesitation because I understand that this competition is different than the one I have joined before which was Miss Borneo Tourism Queen International back in 2010. Back then til now, I am officially the title holder of Miss Nature’s Guardian, Miss Charity, and Miss Popular. As the title holder, I am contributing back to the community and to protect the environment by organizing small events or activities.

Well, even though both are related in tourism but I believe I am able contribute more in the Tourism Industry as the Sabah Young Tourism Ambassador to promote our beautiful state with the help of our host. Without the hosts and sponsors, we can’t go further.

“Non-stop giving, my friend” – Chloe

Back, to the competition.
50 semi finalists were chosen through online applications and all of us met at the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. We had given a challenge to write a short article for the attractions in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. There is a limit of words for the article and we need to submit by noon.

As the day passes and all of us are waiting for that important call... Jennety, the Executive Secretary for Sabah Tourist Association and she’s taking care of us now in every trip, called me and told me the good news. I am overwhelmed and called my parents to share the good news.

After writing article on the spot, what is next? It’s the final interview.
10 finalists were called to have an interview at Pan Pacific, Sutera Harbour. I packed my bags from work, and head all the way to Sutera Harbour. Never expect to pick a number but I am number two in the first group since we have divided into two groups. It’s actually five finalists in a group.

Meeting the judges... on my birthday.
I can feel my heart is beating fast that moment as I am nervous sitting in front of the judges. They are the past and current president of Sabah Tourist Association, and the representative from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment and Sabah Tourism Board.

The rules are, “After you pick your number, you have to pick your question on the spot.” That’s even making us more nervous because we don’t know what is going to happen next.

The question that I picked without peeking was about the Cultural Villages that we had in Kota Kinabalu. Basically, I answered according to my experience and what I feel about because I have explored both Cultural Villages on a road trip, the Mari Mari Cultural Village and Monsopiad Cultural Village. I answered accordingly. Ops. Not to forget, the interview session is recorded and you can see all of us in sweat.

View full size at STA Facebook

After the interview, we felt relieved. Never expected, all finalists from the first group wished me “Happy Birthday” when one of them broke the news. *laugh*we took group pictures for great memories together.

Result is still a secret until...
16th December 2011, the Sabah Young Tourism Ambassador 2011/2012 Award Presentation and the Launching of Sabah Tourist Association Digital Map “The EYEs of Sabah”. That is when and where the announcement made. Datuk Masidi had given a memorable speech and we received the awards from Datuk.

Image by Mei Tzeu

How to end?
“I'm happy that Sabah has three Tourism Ambassadors now. Congratulations! Thank you to Sabah Tourist Association for organizing this event. It's a special gift to end this year and also a special gift to start next year. Now, we have responsibilities in our hands. Let's work together as a big big family!” – By Chloe, posted on Facebook at 16th Dec 2011, night time.
Chloe Tiffany Lee, Sign out.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Rafting! with Fastream Rafting :)

On the 11th of February 2012, SYTA ambassadors and finalists went on a little adventure! We headed all the way to Kiulu for some crazy fun activities, which included rafting, flying fox and paintball. However, I'll be sharing with you more about the rafting activity we did. Our rafting was sponsored by Fastream Rafting, thank you Fastream!!!! :)

So the usual drill, journey began early around 7.30am as we depart from our pick-up points. After we got everyone, we left at 8am and arrived in Kiulu around 9. Rafting was the last activity for the day, it started at 12. As we got all geared up, everyone was excited seeing as the water currents on that day looked pretty great especially for a Level 1 and 2 rafting site.

Briefing before the expedition began :D

One last group photo before we begin!

Shortly after briefing, we began the road to teaching Precious how to swim! *blows trumpet*

Fact about Precious: she does not know how to swim... AT ALL. Even with a LIFE JACKET ON! Dead serious about that, hehe. I  reckon I'd be the last reliable person to help anyone when it comes to being in the sea, etc. Regardless, our journey started off being bumpy and soon enough as expected, the weather changed and it began drizzling.

The gang! Marissa, Grolina, Chloe and myself. :)

Chloe still managed a big smile, after we got stuck on a rock. Lost track of how many times it happened though. hehe

Ladylike pose with Grolina, trying to look cool eventhough we were getting  really exhausted. 

Despite the exhaustion, we weren't slowing down. In fact, our guide made us row even faster! The rain started pouring heavily by then, making it all the more fun, quoting our guide, "Lagi kuat tu hujan, lagi siok ne!". Which in English, literally means, the heavier the rain, all the more fun we'll have rafting. hahaha

We reached the resting point, where our rafters, (there were two boats used that day), stopped and parked us on the side. Here we had a little bit of fun, and got in the water. It was freezing cold, but nice at the same time. We were even asked if we wanted to do body rafting, which we didn't do at first but did so at the end of our journey. More on that later.

body rafting on the side.

Queenie and Nicholas, clearly Nicholas is happy.

Nicholas and James already soaking themselves up before finishing the trip.

The journey towards the end was superb, I can't count how many times we almost slipped in the boat... all in the name of good fun! We had an awesome guide for our boat, friendly and easy to get along with. You would not regret going with Fastream Rafting. Funny guys, and both teams were competitive, splashing each other while racing to the ending point. A very memorable day I must say, I don't regret swimming (or rather walking? trying to walk?) in the water. :)

Grolina and Josia, the crazy duo who got me into the water! Loved it girls! ;D

Happy faces after completing an hour plus of fun in the rivers of Kiulu!
Marissa, Nicholas, James, Queenie, Jesseca.

Among the earliest to land. Great experience!

Once again, thank you Fastream Rafting! :)

photos courtesy of Marissa Wong

Fastream Rafting
Lot F-2 Block F, 2nd Floor, Tg. Aru Plaza, Jalan Mat Salleh,
88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Tel: 012-826 1506

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Green Connection 1st February 2012

Well hello friends! How has your February been so far? I'm sure everyone had a good start to this month of lala-love ;)

We here at STA had a great one, as we welcomed the new month with our first SYTA trip to Green Connection (click  to find out more) together with the finalists of SYTA. We arrived at about 10.20am and immediately started our day tour. Our guide for the day was Mr.Eric Yu, the acting Head of Education. A very friendly person, who has a vast knowledge of sea creatures and wildlife. 

Eric in action ;D

The tour began with the introduction of a little reptile friend, a Plumbeous Water Snake! 

Mildly venomous but according to Eric there is an antidote, rejoice! All is not forsaken. Next up was the Cave Fauna, a small man made cave with posters of various caves found throughout Malaysia and the type of insects we can expect to see inside it... now everyone say, "eeeewww~"... KIDDING! hehe.

Next up, the fishes! The tanks were a little gloomy (if you know what I mean) because it was already cleaned but fishes gotta do what they gotta do :p 

A variety of fishes of all sizes can be found in the aquariums.

Eric talking about the fish habitat and behaviours.

We had a friendly reptile to hang with us as well, or in my case, to scare me! FYI, not a huge fan of snakes and everything that falls in the same category. 

Meet Axel.

Le sssssnake~

What happens if Precious and Axel were put together? Lets just say, I will never do it again. Hmm.

We then went along to see the turtles, and more of the fish tanks. We had a fun time playing the "How many Nemo-like fish types can you spot?" in the round tank. Photos below.

Before the tour ended, we were treated to a fish feeding show, whereby a member of the Green Connection staff swam in a huge tank and fed the stingrays, fishes, turtles and shark.

According to Eric, these fishes travel in a circular motion. Their like a bus that goes from end to end, and repeats the same path every time.

Taking the No Shark Fin soup pledge. Boy, this was funny. :D


SYTA ambassadors & Gang :)

The tour ended with the last section of the aquarium, starfishes and a few other shelled creatures section. 

Bye-bye Green Connection, it was a very educational tour. Special thanks to Mr.Eric Yu, once again, for being an awesome guide. :)

Eric Yu
Acting Head of Education at
Aquatica Aquarium &
Discovery Centre Sdn Bhd
Kompleks Badan Sukarela

Lorong Bunga Matahari 2
Batu 2, Jalan Tuaran, Likas
88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Mobile: +6016 823 3850