An excerpt from my feature on The Colours of Malaysia 2011 for asianTraveler magazine’s Beaches of Southeast Asia issue:
The merciless downpour wasn’t a welcome sign. After all, we were supposed to see an outdoor performance that night, and if being trapped in Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market–a mere 10-minute walk from our destination–was any indication, our evening sojourn was taking a turn for the worst.
And yet the streets of Malaysia’s capital were infectiously alive. The Central Market was abuzz with shoppers, and the dancing evening lights were oblivious of the rains’ gloom.
Trust the Universe to surprise you as it has always done in the past, I thought to myself. For the longest time, I had been raring to see Rio’s infamous Carnival. Thanks to a TV documentary I saw some years back, I had since been dreaming of flying to Samba country for the world’s biggest parade. But here I was, nearer to home than I could possibly wish for, about to witness an Asian Mardi Gras promising to be just as grand.
Next to this, the rain seemed such a petty concern from a 22-year-old.
Photos I took from the event are also available here.
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Redang Island, part of the state of Terengganu, is located off Malaysia’s East Coast. While this part of Malaysia is rather known for rough current althroughout the year, Redang is quite an exception. It joins equally well known Malaysian beaches such as Langkawi, Perhentian, and Pangkor Laut. Relatively uninhabited, this Marine Conservation Area is home to rich marine life akin to the Philippines’ very own.
Redang is one beautiful, beautiful island. I fell in love with it in the four or so days we were there, and I’m certain everyone else who has been there felt the same.
For this entry, let me take you to Redang’s Marine Park, the biggest and most popular snorkeling site in the island.
En route to the Redang Marine Park
The view from the jetty window of one of the limestone mounds abundant in the island
And this–one of my favorite shots.
One of the many boats going to and from snorkeling spots, transporting guests to and from their hotels
Redang Marine Park
You can’t have been to Redang and not have snorkeled.
I did, and thanks to the friendly Tourism Malaysia officer from Indonesia, I had my photo taken underwater by Laguna Redang’s photographer (by the way, the photographer, whose name I had forgotten, used an Olympus). I didn’t know your head was going to be shoved into the water to get this shot, and as I do not know how to swim, my head had to be repeatedly shoved underwater by the photographer’s kind assistant. But hey, it wasn’t that bad. All I did was to make out his English instructions on the poses I had to make, get my head shoved down the water, and try my best to smile in his direction without gulping seawater, or worse, fish.
For more of these beautiful destinations [including, of course, how to get there], please get your copies of asianTraveler magazine’s Beaches of Southeast Asia 4 (July 2011). You won’t be disappointed!
Citrawarna, or Colours of Malaysia, is Malaysia’s biggest annual tourism parade akin to New Orleans’ famous Mardi Gras or Rio de Janeiro’s many-times-bigger Samba parade, The Carnaval, every March.
On May 21, 2011, over 5,000 dancers from Malaysia’s communities—which include Siamese, Chinese, and Indian—performed at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, where the Malaysian flag was first hoisted to mark the country’s independence—but not before a heavy downpour drenched spectators and converted the covered performance area with puddles.
But it was a spectacular show all the same, ending in fireworks and everybody else dancing to that song that has made Malaysia famous as a tourism destination. What can I say—this country knows how to impress its visitors well.