Sunday, October 10, 2010
Kuching is the capital and largest city of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak and the district of Kuching. Once the capital of the White Rajahs of Sarawak, now with a population of some 600,000, Kuching is small enough to walk around but interesting enough to keep you there for several days, and a good base for exploring Sarawak. It's safe and relatively clean.
The name of the city, Kuching, is thought to derive from the Malay word kucing, meaning cat. Many of the locals refer to Kuching as the "Cat City" but it more likely comes from the Chinese word for port ("cochin") coupled with the Malay name mata kucing (cat's-eye) for the longan fruit, a popular trade item.
Labuan is an island that is located approximately 8km off the coast of the state of Sabah at the mouth of the Brunei Bay. It comprises of one main island and six smaller ones, thus covering an area of 92 sq. km. It is also centrally located in the middle of the Asia-Pacific region. Labuan's inhabitants are very cosmopolitan. They come from all walks of life and from various regions around the world, thus creating a diverse and stimulating society.
Once a part of the Sultanate of Brunei, Labuan was ceded to the British in 1846. It remained under the British rule for 115 years except for the three years when it was under the Japanese occupation. With the increasing change in colonization, Labuan was ceded to the state of Sabah in 1963. Subsequently, its administration was handed to the Federal Government of Malaysia in 1984. Recognizing Labuan's strategic location and proximity to major shipping routes and offshore oil and gas fields, the Federal Government launched a long-term development program to jump-start Labuan's stagnating economy and to encourage the influx of both domestic and foreign investments. As Malaysia's only deepwater anchorage, Labuan is a free port, a Federal Territory, and an International Offshore Financial Centre (IOFC).
Kota Kinabalu , formerly Jesselton, is the capital of Sabah state in Malaysia. It is also the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. The city is located on the northwest coast of Borneo facing the South China Sea. The Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park lies on one side and Mount Kinabalu, which gave the city its name, is nearby. Kota Kinabalu proper has a population of 579,304, while the larger urban area has an estimated population of 700,000. It is the largest urban centre in Sabah and the sixth largest in Malaysia.
Kota Kinabalu is often known as K.K. within Malaysia and internationally. It is a major tourist destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu National Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many tourist attractions in and around the city. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combine to make Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia.
Kangar is the state capital of Perlis, Malaysia. It has a population of 48,898 and an area of 2,619.4 ha. It is located in the northern most point of Peninsular Malaysia and is situated by the Perlis River. The center of Kangar is Sena Province, which is referred to by few locals as 'Uptown Sena'. The town is the smallest in Malaysia and its inhabitants are mostly farmers and civil servants.
Alor Setar, known as Alor Star between 2004 and 2008, is the state capital of Kedah, Malaysia and Kota Setar District's Administrative Centre. It is also a distribution center for manufacturing and agricultural products such as paddy, and the royal seat of the Kedah state since the establishment of this city. The city, which has an urban population of approximately more than 300,000, is one of the region’s oldest cities.
The capital of Kedah is approachable from all parts of the Peninsula by all transport means. Alor Setar has many modern structures and shopping complexes of historical significance. Its long association with Thailand is evident in the Thai temples around the city. Nonetheless, it is still very much a Malay city with fewer Chinese and Indians than other west coast cities.
For most of the well informed tourist, they may already know that Georgetown is the state capital of Penang. In addition to that, Georgetown is also the center stage where some of the major attractions here in Penang can be found. The first impression that Georgetown gives to the eye of the beholder is that Georgetown remains as a slightly rugged antique as this city pretty much reflects the colonialist’s era. There are quite a number of historical monuments here in Georgetown, some of these historical monuments include Fort Cornwallis, Sri Rambai Cannon, Victoria Memorial Clock Tower and the Khoo Kongsi clan house as well. Besides these historical monuments, there are also some religious monuments located at around Georgetown, some of these religious monuments include the Taoist Goddess of Mercy Temple, the Hindu Maha Mariamman Temple and the Muslim Kapitan Kling Mosque.
Ipoh is the state capital of Perak, on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. Ipoh developed into one of Malaysia's main cities due to the booming tin mining industry around the turn of the 19th century. During the British colonial era, Ipoh was Malaysia's second city for administration purposes. There are several notable buildings from the British Colonial era such as the railway station and the town hall. The population of Ipoh is about 70% of Chinese origin.These days Ipoh is perhaps best known for its excellent restaurants, hawkers, and famous local dishes.
Shah Alam, Selangor's state capital, is a modern township surrounded at its periphery by Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, and five other major townships including Klang, Bangi, and Kajang. It enjoys a vantage location being ideally located halfway between the national capital, KL, and the viable Port Klang.
Hailed as one of the most well-planned cities, Shah Alam has most of its residential area on one side of the Federal Highway and industrial zones on the other. Hence, Shah Alam has been constructed according to a blueprint drawn up with the environment at the forethought of the planners. It has become a showpiece city of the future, free from the inherent problems of haphazard development and shanty towns found in other major growth centers.
Seremban, the capital of Negri Sembilan was initially provided with two roads to serve the needs of the mining community. The town's quaint Railway Station was built in 1924 also to transport tin to ports nearby. The infrastructure of old Seremban was centred around transporting raw materials and tin ore and the community, mainly Chinese traders built their lives around the mining industry. Today, the tin mines have all but disappeared. Seremban is now the main transportation town for Negri Sembilan and the community serves the light and heavy industrial parks that have sprung up to replace the disused tin mines.
One can still trace the outlines of colonial town planning that once made Seremban a popular town with the English. The gardens, the train station and administrative buildings retain a small section of its history.
The Lake Gardens attract nature lovers with its trees and gardens, a popular place for families in the weekends. Plans have been laid out recently to upgrade and beautify the shrinking gardens to better serve the community.
There are a few good choices to tour around Bandar Hilir Melaka (Malacca). For young and fit people, walking around in Melaka town or Bandar Hilir will be the best choice to view the this historic city. At the same time, you can capture your favorite shots of various angles or poses at your leisure. To get a good map, go to tourist information counter. An up-to-date Melaka map is available at RM3. However, for those folks who are prefer not to use too much of leg muscles or perhaps physically challenged, there are other alternatives to get around and seeing Melaka as well.