Upcoming Event: Holi Festival 2015 in Kuala Lumpur

One of the things we love about Kuala Lumpur is its multi-ethnic character. Each group has its own traditions, events and celebrations. This of course also includes the Indian community which celebrates the annual Holi Festival this coming Saturday, 21 March.

For those who are not familiar: Holi is an ancient Hindu spring festival, also known as the festival of colours and the festival of love. Today it is not only celebrated in India and Nepal but also in other parts of the world wherever you find Indian communities. Celebrations start with a traditional fire called “Holika Dahan” which symbolises the burning of devil. On the following day the actual carnival of colours takes place. Participants chase and colour each other with dry powder and coloured water. Singing and dancing underlines the cheerful character of this event.

Here in KL the Holi Festival is organised by SDS Youth, a local youth organisation. Its members have been working hard to make the 2015 Holi celebrations the best ever and we have no doubt that they will achieve their goal. If you want to participate in the festival, make sure you go there early as the number of participants is limited to 3,000 people. For more info and FAQ go to SDS Youth’s event page on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/929302317102022/

We wish everybody a cheerful Holi Festival 2015!

 

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The sky is the limit – at the 7th Intl Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Putrajaya

P1060082Hot Air Balloons are one of those things that have fascinated us since childhood. In our imagination they are the thing that comes closest to a ride on the magic carpet. And we dream that one day we will cross the Alps and the Pyrenees, fly over the Lake District and Cappadocia. Even though the annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Putrajaya does not offer this possibility, nothing could stop us from getting up early, very early, to watch 19 hot air balloons take to the skies.

P1060066Coming from Kuala Lumpur it took us no more than 40 minutes to reach Putrajaya around 7am. With seven years of experience, things here are well organised and convenient. We instantly found parking just across the launch area and were able to identify a spot with great view. While the support crews were busy preparing the balloons for their morning flights (or rides, to be correct), we had our first coffee. Others brought a full breakfast and enjoyed an early picnic in the park. Above us a mini Zeppelin (we termed it “the support ship”) circled in the air. Why don’t we have wings? Finally, around 7.30am it was all “action” and the first hot air balloon took off. Perfect timing, beautiful light and striking colours. Soon all hot air balloons were up in the sky moving gently across Putrajaya lake in north-eastern direction.

We decided it was time for a proper breakfast. So we got into our car and drove over to Cyberjaya for Nasi Lemak and Nescafe Ice. Perfect morning. Mission accomplished. Of course we will be back next year. We still haven’t watched the “Night Glow” of the hot air balloons which is always accompanied by beautiful fireworks. This is an event not to be missed. Just google the Night Glow pictures and you will understand. We can’t wait to take you there πŸ™‚

A road trip to Genting Highlands & Resorts World Genting

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Has it ever happened to you that you miss out on a destination somewhere close by simply because you are telling yourself that you can go there any time anyway? Well, we hadΒ this experience before and it looked like eventually we would have to add Genting to our list of blank spots. The fact that things turned out differently is thanks to dear friends who helped us make “Project Genting” come true.

So on a recent Sunday afternoon we finally left Kuala Lumpur in north-eastern direction. Traffic was light and hence the city gave way to the rainforest in no time. A moment of bliss! After passing the “Genting Skyway” station (see TIP) we stopped at the Chin Swee Caves Temple.

The construction of this Taoist temple was initiated by Genting founder Lim Goh Tong who picked the most scenic spot of the Genting Highlands for this place of worship. It took 20 years to complete this project because of the steep and rocky terrain in this area. If you are not in a hurry, a stop is highly recommended. Don’t miss the beautiful view on clear days!

From Chin Swee Caves Temple it is another 10-minute drive before you reach Resorts World Genting. The name, we thought, may easily trigger too high expectations, especially with those who know Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore (both are operated by the Genting Group). Unfortunately, Genting’s age (the first hotel opened in 1971) shows and you wish that somebody came up with the idea to give the entire resort a facelift. We know, people do not come here for architectural beauty but for entertainment. But with big new entertainment resorts being currently developed all over Southeast Asia, an optical upgrade – especially of the facade of most buildings – seems mandatory.

To be fair, we understand that renovation works are on-going. It is also important to mention that Genting is in the process of building the world’s first 20th Century Fox World theme park which is scheduled to open in 2016. Undoubtedly, this new attraction will have a rejuvenating effect on the resort.

Optical aspects apart, Resorts World Genting offers entertainment both for adults and children. It houses Malaysia’s only land-based casino which attracts both a local as well as an international crowd. And for kids and families there are attractions like SnowWorld, a Video Games Park, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and more.

As we are neither into gambling nor able to call ourselves kids any more, we are not in a position to report back to you on these things. But guess what, we still had a great time! There are many restaurants to choose from, it’s fun to just stroll around and watch things happen around you and then there is one thing you won’t find on Sentosa – the fresh, crisp air. When you are used to KL temperatures, 19C just feels sensational! All in all we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, not least because a visit to Genting Highlands means to do something of the extraordinary and to take a break from everyday life. We promise to be back in 2016 once the 20th Century Fox World theme park is open. And just in case, if you have wondered: the Bentley below is not ours. Well, not yet πŸ™‚

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tip drop shadow 2Tip: If you go to Genting Highlands by car, you should calculate roughly one hour for the 55km journey. Alternatively, there is a convenient bus service between downtown KL and the resort. Coaches depart from Puduraya bus terminal. The cheap tickets include a ride on the Genting Skyway cable car. If you decide to go for a ride on the 3.5km long cable car (which is fun), the tradeoff is that you won’t get to visit the Chin Swee temple.