Lanjut EcoVillages * Malaysia

Lanjut EcoVillages ... Put very simply, the idea of an "EcoVillage“
is a Community whose Members try to provide a high quality lifestyle without taking more from the Earth than they give back!

Friday, August 2, 2013

World's Best Beach Hotels- Page 3 - Articles | Travel + Leisure

World's Best Beach Hotels- Articles | Travel + Leisure:

'via Blog this'

World's Best Beach Hotels

Courtesy of La Casa Que Canta
How to explain the difference a beachfront hotel makes? “More than unobstructed views, it’s about the freedom of not having to look both ways to cross the street before feeling sand between your toes,” says Matt Thomson, founder of, a surfing-focused vacation rental company.
That’s the thrilling sense of liberation that comes with a stay at properties like Lizard Island Resort in Australia, where your suite’s private terrace overlooks the Great Barrier Reef, with only the occasional yacht breaking the kaleidoscope of blue and green waters.  
Travel + Leisure readers were so taken that they voted Lizard Island Resort the No. 3 best beach hotel in the world, as part of our annual World’s Best survey. The top-scoring hotels and resorts all offer a captivating beach setting, yet they are also culturally and architecturally distinctive. They span 13 countries and islands on four different continents, and their interiors range from minimalist to cozy and traditional.
At the historic Ocean House in Rhode Island (No. 13), for example, formal Victorian rooms have fireplaces, upholstered chairs, and Doric-columned terraces overlooking the wild Atlantic bluffs. Guests in thatched-roofed bungalows at the Four Seasons Bora Bora (No. 8), on the other hand, have direct access to Pacific waves via private decks.
Modern Mexican craftsmanship—woven palapas, cool Saltillo tiles, and a saltwater pool filled by the sea—is on display at the romantic La Casa Que Canta (No. 12) on Zihuatanejo Bay. In contrast, rooms in the rock-facedLodge at Doonbeg (No. 10), located on Ireland’s windswept West Clare Coast, are snugly outfitted with argyle wool blankets and floral-printed curtains.
Keep in mind that not all beach hotel rooms are created equal. “Avoid partial view or ground-floor rooms that may have obscured lookouts due to vegetation or shrubbery,” reminds T+L A-List agent Manny Beauregard. Or simply go with the guarantee of the Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai in Hawaii: all 228 rooms overlook the Pacific.
Read on for more inspiring hotels, starting with the No. 1 beach vacation pick.
Stirling Kelso

Friday, July 19, 2013

GREEN: Home green home - Live - New Straits Times

GREEN: Home green home - Live - New Straits Times:

GREEN: Home green home


How can you green your home and lifestyle? Aneeta Sundararaj finds out

WHEN someone tells you he’s modified his house and made it “green”, what is your reaction? Boon Che Wee, 48, chairman of Green Building Index Accreditation Panel says: “Many times, when people hear the word ‘green’, they are either fearful (perhaps of the costs involved) or they feel guilty. Personally, what we should have is hope. We have the knowledge, the technology and now the opportunity.”
Nodding, Louise Chua, 44, Business Development director and project director of Reed Exhibitions adds: “This means that there must be a change in people’s perception of what they have to do.”
Koh Lin Ji, 56, group director of International Development Group, Building and Construction Authority Singapore, also agrees.
Together, they introduced Build Eco Xpo Asia, which is going to be held Sept 11-13 in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands. Participants will get to see that the island republic’s efforts to reduce her carbon footprint, and improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality have helped to ‘green’ the Singaporean lifestyle.
Boon is very keen for Malaysian house owners to take on board the ideas about environmentally-free solutions that he shares. However, one of the problems, he says, is that, unlike Singapore and Australia, for a long while, Malaysia doesn’t have a benchmark to measure any effort that have been made.

In early 2009, together with other volunteers, Boon set up Greenbuildingindex. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia and the Association Of Consulting Engineers Malaysia administrate accreditation for Green-rated buildings (GBI) and training of GBI facilitators and certifiers.
He says: “We looked at Singapore’s Greenmark and Australia’s Green Star to help us create and develop our rating tool. It was created to promote sustainability in buildings and raise awareness of environmental issues among developers, architects, engineers, planners, designers, contractors and the public. GBI is designed specifically for the Malaysian climate, which is hot and humid. This is because we recognised that what applies in another country  may not apply here.”
A perfect example of this is the orientation of a house. In the west, it makes sense to have the windows of a structure face the morning or evening sun. It’s cold in those countries and the absorption of heat will help keep the room warm. Trying to heat up an already hot room in the tropics makes no sense. As such, Boon says it’s wiser to have a house built in such a way that the windows are in the north or south. “That way, there is no direct sunlight coming into the home.”
Koh then interjects, adding: “Here, those who built kampung houses had the right idea — they are built above the ground so air can circulate beneath the building. Then, there’s a veranda all around. These are all passive design elements that help conserve energy.”
“I’ve even seen one person make the house smaller,” says Boon. “He realised that he didn’t need so many rooms. So, he made the house smaller and the garden bigger. He didn’t use paints that could harm the environment and he made sure he had a rain-harvesting system.”
Boon shakes his head at the mention of householders who buy a piece of property only to cement the whole garden because they can’t be bothered to cut the grass.
“They can make cutting the grass a family activity. Or they only need to pave the part of the driveway where the tyres go. Leave the rest as grass.”
“It’s the small gestures that count,” says Koh. “Switch off the mains, buy energy efficient appliances, use green paints that have less volatile organic compounds and start composting.”
Chua  says that in Singapore, most hotels now maintain the temperature at between 22 and 25 degrees Celsius. “It’s no longer the case where you have to take a sweater to go to a conference or work.”
“It’s like what Chua said — just a matter of perception,”  says Boon. “Look at us now. We’re slowly adjusting our idea of creature comforts. For instance, there was a time when people would not eat outside. But now, you see more people eating al fresco.”

Still, all three admit it remain an uphill task and give a very pertinent example. “In the international schools,” says Chuah, “you will have expatriate children who can play out in the sun. But the children of local rich parents will complain and ask questions such as ‘Why are your walkways not shaded? Are you expecting my child to walk in the sun?’.”  
But, says Boon, since the GBI rating system was introduced, the response of all Malaysians has been positive. He is optimistic that his desire to ensure that Malaysian homes will conserve energy resources and be friendly to the environment will bear fruit soon. “We’ll do it one building at a time.”

BOON Che Wee, chairman of Green Building Index Accreditation Panel, refers to the material available on the website and  highlights six key areas where Malaysians can acquire and practise “green” living habits. They are:

We are sourcing for increasingly depleting natural resources that will lead to further damage to sensitive environments. This can have a negative impact on our environment through greenhouse emissions that contribute to climate change. As such, we should take the following steps so that we don’t waste the energy:
• When not in use, turn off all the lights, air-conditioners and televisions.
• Use energy-efficient appliances.
• Use fans and open your windows for cross ventilation.
• Insulate the roof and walls of your home to keep it cool.

Improving the way we go about our daily lives can reduce fuel use, which decreases pollution such as smog and greenhouse gas emissions, while reducing household costs and saving time.
• Walk to your destination, cycle or use public transport as often as possible.
•Try to carpool with friends or co-workers.
• Consider the option to live, learn, work and play within the community or locality of your home.
• Consider buying a fuel-efficient car and service it regularly.
• Consider living in an area that has public transport options.

Keep in mind the three Rs — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Proper disposal of waste also helps keep our surroundings clean, healthy and beautiful.
• Avoid excess packaging and use a reusable bag when shopping.
• Recycle packaging and bags.
• Donate unwanted items to charities.
• Use compost systems or worm farms for food scraps and garden waste.
• Correctly dispose of hazardous waste such as batteries.
• Do not litter or discharge waste into the waterways and surroundings.

Using water wisely helps to maintain adequate fresh water resources for the community and the environment.
• Don’t throw rubbish into drains and waterways.
• Take shorter showers and install taps that turn off automatically.
• Fix faulty plumbing.
• Consider changing appliances such as washing machines and toilets to those that use less water.
• Install a tank to harvest rainwater for use in the garden or external cleaning purposes.
• Implement soil erosion and proper drainage to areas where the soil has been disturbed to prevent siltation of waterways.
• Preserve and maintain water catchment areas.

The group director of International Development Group, Building and Construction Authority Singapore, Koh Lin Ji, says that there are studies that show that those who work in green-rated buildings are more productive. They also adopt a lifestyle that is healthy, and this has translated into a positive contribution to the community’s health and sustainability.
• Change to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
• Exercise regularly or play a sport.
• Get to know your neighbours and help keep your community safe.
• Visit your doctor for regular check-ups.
• Think about sustainability when purchasing or improving your home.
• When you can, buy locally made goods and produce.
• Adopting the attitude of life-long learning and developing new skills are great ways to challenge yourself and meet other people.

A healthy sustainable environment creates and allows its communities to recreate in it. It is an important heritage to be kept for future generations.
•Join activities to clean your environment.
• Report illegal dumping, open burning, logging, mining or destruction of the natural environment to the authorities.
• Enjoy the natural environment and recreational areas through healthy activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, climbing, boating, swimming, snorkelling and diving.
• Be responsible to help preserve local flora and fauna.


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Malaysian Beaches On CNN Top List

Malaysian Beaches On CNN Top List:

Malaysian Beaches On CNN Top List

Saturday, 20 July 2013 10:16

Juara Beach in Tioman Island brings an all-natural and quiet vibe to the beach experience. The StarJuara Beach in Tioman Island brings an all-natural and quiet vibe to the beach experience. The Star
 Three beaches in Malaysia have recently made it to the top 50 beaches of the World’s 100 best beaches survey conducted by international news network CNN.
Making the list are Perhentian Kecil Island in Terengganu at 13th place, Juara Beach in Pahang’s Tioman Island (21) and Tanjung Rhu in Langkawi (49).
The list, which is compiled from various sources, takes into account feedback from travelers, colleagues and readers as well as on-site visits and research, CNN said on its website.

It said that most tourists in Langkawi flock to Cenang Beach but Tanjung Rhu has an earthy beauty and serene atmosphere.

The long beach in Tanjung Rhu is surrounded by ancient limestone caves, rippling waterways and dense mangroves.

“We love Langkawi for the breathtaking view atop Gunung Mat Cincang, one of the island’s highest mountains,” it added.

As for Juara Beach, it was less developed and less polished than Thailand, but it brought an all-natural, quiet vibe to the beach experience.

“This isn’t a place for parties or nightlife, unless you like your parties hushed and your nightlife non-human,” quotedCNN.

Tioman Island is a great place for adrenaline junkies who want a rock climbing challenge at Nenek Semu­kut Mountain.

The highlight of Perhentian Kecil Island is its blue waters, which invariably contain turtles and small sharks.

However, Tourism Malaysia gave a different set of best Malaysian beaches according to locals.

The best beaches and islands are Sipadan Island, Mabul and Kapalai in Sabah, Tourism Malaysia said in a press release.

Sipadan is an internationally famous dive site surrounded by the Sulawesi sea and the geographic position of Sipadan at the Indo-Pacific Basin (the centre of the richest marine habitat in the world) makes it a paradise for divers, it said.

The seascape is decorated with huge gorgonian sea fans, barrel sponges and gigantic soft tree corals.

To preserve the delicate ecosystem, accommodation is only provided at the neighbouring Mabul and Kapalai islands and tours must be pre-arranged.

“Malaysia has hundreds of island dotting its waters and some of the world’s best islands and beaches can be found here,” said Tourism Malaysia.

In Peninsular Malaysia, Cherating Beach in Pahang, Redang Island and Lang Tengah Island in Terengganu, and Pangkor Island in Perak are the most popular among the locals, it added.

- Loh Foon Fong / The Star

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

EASY ECOTOURISM TIPS: 10 Simple Steps To More Sustainable Travel

Make Your Travel More Eco-Friendly

 Easy Ecotourism Tips

Whether you call it ecotourism, green travel, responsible travel, nature travel or ethical travel, the ethos oftraveling more sustainably is becoming an increasingly hot topic in the tourism industry. But if people seem to have a difficult time figuring out which name to call the “take only pictures, leave only footprints“ approach, they seem to have an even harder time figuring out practical ways to do it.

The truth is, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to become a more eco-friendly traveler. In fact, becoming more conscious about HOW you travel can actually save you money! Better still, when responsibly applied, the principle ideals of ecotourism can stimulate financial growth in developing nations, strengthening the global economy.

Individually, one person taking these baby steps to going green might not seem to make much of an impact. But if we all take simple strides towards being more conscious of our impact in the planet, collectively we can make a world of difference. Here are 10 easy ecotourism tips so  you can travel more responsibly and sustainably, not just for Earth Day but for EVERY day!

ExOfficio Clothes

1.  PACK LIGHT-  Lightening up your load saves money on baggage fees and increases plane fuel-efficiency. Pack items that can be washed in the sink and are quick drying so they can be worn multiple times during your trip. We recommend (but do not receive compensation from) the ExOfficio brand, and wear it everywhere we travel.

2.  SAVE WATER-   Take shorter showers, turn off the faucet while shaving and brushing your teeth, and re-use towels for multiple days. And NEVER use the hotel laundry, as they typically wash each guest’s clothes separately, even if there are only a few items.

3.  SAVE ENERGY-   When you leave your hotel room, turn off the lights, heat/AC and TV. Consider leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so that the housekeeping staff won’t clean your room every day, which will save on harsh chemical cleaning supplies and the electricity of vacuuming and washing bed linens.

4.  REDUCE/REUSE/RECYCLE-   Take a BPA-free water bottle you can refill, use just one bar of soap for both sink and shower, return brochures and maps once you’re finished using them, and hold on to your trash until you find a place to recycle it.

Learning Mayan Pottery In Coba

5.   BUY LOCAL-  Seek out indigenous artisans and learn about their craft. When we were in the Riviera Mayanear Coba, we saw tons of assembly line art, but wound up buying from a man who taught local children and tourists the ancient craft of Mayan pottery and distributed profits equally among families in his village.

6.  LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS-  Stick to marked trails to avoid harming native flora, and consider taking a bag to pick up trash along your journey. Not only is it a great way to help keep the outdoors beautiful, but it also protects wildlife that might eat or get tangled in the garbage.

7.  BE A TRAVELER, NOT A TOURIST-  Take time to immerse yourself in the local music, art and cuisine. Embrace the cultural differences that make it unique. Get to know the locals and how they view life. You might be surprised at the things you learn when you open your mind to new ideas!

8.  HONOR LOCAL TRADITIONS-  Some cultures have very different traditions from yours. Women are forbidden to show skin in some Muslim countries. For some, being photographed in like having your soul stolen. Understand and respect these traditions, or risk offending the people whose culture you’re there to experience.

International Expeditions Donates School Supplies in the Peruvian Amazon

9.  GIVE BACK-  Developing nations are badly in need of basic necessities most people take for granted. Traveling gives you a unique experience that stays with you for the rest of your life. In return, consider giving something back, such as bringing school supplies on tours in which you know you’ll interact with locals.

10. SHOP SMARTER- Read labels, and ask questions like “What is this item made from?” All over the planet people sell items made from non-sustainable hardwoods, endangered species, and ancient artifacts. It may be alright in their country to sell them, but you can still vote with your wallet by refusing to buy them.  –Bret Love
If you liked Easy Ecotourism Tips, you might also like:

Thursday, May 30, 2013

World's 100 best beaches - 3 from Malaysia lah! ...

World's 100 best beaches -

(CNN) -- Is it possible to rank the world's best beaches?
Of course it is. This is the Internet.
Will everyone agree with our ranking, murmuring respectfully among themselves about how perfectly accurate every placement is?
Maybe not. This is the Internet.
But that's why we've scoured the planet, demanded answers from our most well traveled friends, colleagues and cohorts, absorbed passionate pleas from readers, researched, investigated and examined the evidence then finally tipped the sand from our shoes, washed the brine from our eyes and put together a pretty good guide to the best beaches on the planet.
Now we turn it over to you.
Consider this list a premise, a platform from which you can jump into a dazzling, turquoise ocean of "further recommendations."
There's a comment box down below -- use it.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Polls boost sale of 'udang galah' - New Straits Times

Polls boost sale of 'udang galah' - General - New Straits Times:

TASTY DELICACY: Giant freshwater prawns draw politicians and supporters from all sides to Rompin

ROMPIN: THE sweltering heat, from both the scorching sun and the election campaign, has also increased the sale for udang galah,  synonymous with Rompin town.
Although it is not the prime season for the giant freshwater prawns, politicians and supporters from both sides continue to enjoy udang galah dishes, mostly available at the rustic restaurants at Leban Chondong here.
Handling the live prawns at his family restaurant, Rosdan Rawi said customers, including those from Singapore, always stopped by to purchase the live prawns or enjoy the special dishes here.
"Party workers also come here frequently for the prawns. It's a prized catch nowadays as the main season ended in March," said the 25-year-old freelance electrical engineer.
In the past few weeks, he said his restaurant could only get between four and eight live prawns daily.
Pointing to pieces of shredded prawns at the bottom of the holding tank, Rosdan said male prawns were cannibalistic in nature and would turn on each other if they are hungry.
"Once I received 10kg of live prawns. By the next day, only 9kg were left, with pieces of prawn meat in the water," he said, adding in jest that the prawns were acting like political rivals.
Barisan Nasional candidate for Muadzam Shah state seat Datuk Maznah Mazlan said the udang galah here were more succulent and best served in sweet and sour sauce.
"Those caught in Sungai Rompin have a distinctive taste and I was lucky to have sampled some at an eatery in Leban Chondong last week."
Her rival from PKR, Muhamad Nordin Pa' Wan Chik, admitted that he frequented Leban Chondong to purchase the prawns.
"My wife cooks it in curry and serves it for the whole family," said Nordin, who would normally buy 2kg of the medium-sized prawns.
Fisherman Mohd Hanipah Abd Manan, 49, said he sold the A grade live udang galah (about 150g each) at RM45 per kg, while the B grade (between 40 and 150g per prawn) was sold at RM33 per kg.
The restaurants here would normally sell the live ones at between RM48 and RM68 per kg and the frozen ones at between RM30 and RM60 per kg. Customers preferring the cooked prawns would have to pay between RM55 and RM75 for each kg, depending on the size of the prawns.
"Whatever the outcome of the election, udang galah will continue to bring people of different backgrounds and political inclinations here," said Hanipah, who has been catching prawns and fish in Sungai Rompin for 32 years.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Main - Travel - Top eco-friendly luxury hotels @ Sun Apr 21 2013

Main - Travel - Top eco-friendly luxury hotels @ Sun Apr 21 2013:


Top eco-friendly luxury hotels

APRIL 21, 2013
Laguna Lodge Hotel, Guatemala.SYDNEY, April 21 — A resort in Australia that helped bring a species of tree back from the brink of extinction, a lodge in Guatemala that’s completely off the grid, and a Japanese oasis that offers guests luxury eco-tours are being called some of the top, green yet lavish hotel stays in the world.
It sounds like a contradiction in terms: opulent hotels that provide five-star service and amenities while respecting the environment.
But according to, helmed by a travel journalist and an environmental consultant, the two concepts don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
As the world fetes the 43rd edition of Earth Day on April 22, globetrotters with deep pockets are encouraged to consider spending their money at eco-responsible properties that offer luxury experiences, guilt-free.
Just an hour outside Tokyo, for example, guests can find a secluded, mountainside spa resort that harnesses the power of the area’s geothermal energy to provide a luxury hot spring experience which is said to have skin-healing properties.
Hoshinoya Karuizawa, styled after traditional Japanese inns or ryokans, also offers guests award-winning eco-tours on foot and on bike that explore bird wildlife sanctuaries in the day, flying squirrels at night, and operates a black bear conservation program.
Similarly, the resort is powered by hydroelectricity generated by the area’s fast-moving streams and rivers in the mountainous surroundings, while foods are sourced from local farmers, reports
Here are a few other picks for the greenest luxury hotels in the world, as chosen by
Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa.
Laguna Lodge, Guatemala
Set in the lush, tropical jungles of Guatemala, the five-star boutique hotel offers sweeping views of Lake Atitlan and a trio of volcanic peaks in the distance. Suites are carved out of the area’s volcanic stone, adobe and palm and decorated in indigenous Mayan antiques. The lodge is also powered entirely from renewable solar energy and is off-grid, reuses grey water, collects rainwater and grows organic vegetables. Meals are meat-free.
The Scarlet, Cornwall
Set along the Cornish coast, the airy, seaside British resort is pitched as an Ayurvedic-inspired spa that tries to echo the rugged surroundings into its design. In addition to offering classes like ‘laughter yoga’, transformational dance, surfing and horse riding, the wellness retreat also offers day-long sustainability courses. Eco measures include the harvesting of water, the collection of rain water and the use of solar energy.
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia.
Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australia
Deep within the Greater Blue Mountains, three hours from Sydney, guests staying at the Wolgan Valley Resort choose from 40 luxury suites styled after traditional, rural Australian homesteads, each with its own private terrace and swimming pool. Billed as Australia’s first luxury conservation-based resort, the property is also the first to achieve internationally accredited carbon neutral certification through cabonNZero which it’s maintained for three years in a row thanks to its rehabilitation programs and use of renewable energy. By the end of last year, more than 200,000 trees were planted in wildlife corridors, for example, including the reintroduction of the Wollemi Pine, one of the world’s rarest trees, which was thought to be extinct.
Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa
A luxury safari sanctuary that promises intimate wildlife encounters with four of the five iconic African land animals, Garonga is glamping at its finest. Guests stay in spacious, airy tents outfitted with wooden decks, hammocks, large, draped beds and indoor and outdoor showers. Activities include safaris, spa services, wilderness walks, outdoor bush-baths and sleep-outs. Ssustainability measures include the conversion of food and natural waste into natural gas, which is used to power the kitchen stove. The site also harnesses solar power, harvests grey water and grows its own vegetables while its fleet of vehicles is powered by biodiesel. — AFP/Relaxnews 
The Scarlet, Cornwall.