Friday, 21 October 2016

Great Family Retreat at Resorts World Kijal with Turtle Hatching experience

As an avid diver, I have always enjoy watching big huge turtle swimming majestically underwater or laying peacefully on the coral bed. A sea turtle has a lifespan of more than hundred years old. However, not many turtles able to live that long despite having such a lifespan. This reptile has to go through a lot of survivor challenges right from when they are still an egg.
There are many turtle hatching locations along the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The most famous one will be at Rantau Abang, Terengganu. However, after a long successful project done by Resorts World Kijal at their private beach, this place has become a new spot for the sea turtles. For your information, the type of sea turtles that is commonly found in our country is the Green Turtle. There are 6 other types of sea turtles which are Leatherback Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Flatback Turtle and Kemp's Ridley Turtle.
The effort is simple which is releasing baby turtles from the same beach and the turtles will definitely come back to the same beach to lay their eggs. Even though the effort is simple, the process is extremely long. It takes more than a decade for an adult turtle to come back again and provided those baby turtles able to survive. However, it does not make Resorts World Kijal to give up their numerous of attempts and continue to be hopeful that their effort will be relished. 
A few years ago, their wish has finally came true when they started to see their released baby turtles has grown up and started to come back to the beach to build their nest. They are getting more and more turtles coming back each year and it is enough to start attracting visitors to come over to their resort to witness the turtle hatching experience.
The size of the egg is exactly a size of a ping pong ball! The most popular program is the turtle hatchling program where the hotel will call to your room to inform you if there is any turtle started to land on their beach to lay eggs. This is only happens at night and it can be in the middle of the night too because mother turtle will only comfortably lay eggs in a quiet and dark environment. It is not 100% guarantee you will be able to witness this amazing experience. It is really depend on your luck and the season too. The best season will be from May to July. 
The whole experience is really mind blowing to anyone who has witnessed it. You will be watching how hard the mother turtle crawling up the beach. The mother turtle will make a few stops to rest for a while before continuing her journey to her desired spot to dig a hole. She will use her hind legs to dig a foot deep hole before she started to lay her eggs in it. This is the time you will see the mother turtle begins to drop its tears. There will be at least 40 -70 eggs laid each time. She will use her front legs to cover back the hole before going back to the ocean. Every time when I had witnessed this experience makes me love my mother, love the nature and learned to treasure everything around me.
If you do not able to see the turtle hatching program, please do not be disappointed. Resorts World Kijal is very thoughtful enough to prepare another program for you which is turtle egg planting program for you. Abang Lan is the authorized person in charge to take care of the turtle along the Resorts World Kijal's private beach by Jabatan Perikanan Malaysia. He will be the one who will watch out for any landing turtles and collecting eggs along the beach to keep away from being eaten by monitor lizards or stolen by human. The eggs will be well kept in the turtle conservation center.
Actually, by removing the eggs from the original nest is disturbing the ecosystem whereby eggs, hatched or unhatched, and hatchlings that fail to make it into the ocean are nutrient sources for dune or beach vegetation from causing erosion. However, in order to increase the chance of the baby turtle's survival, this has to be done. Anyway, the next morning, the eggs will be brought out for visitors to plant the eggs into the man made 1 foot deep hole. We are being educated by Abang Lan not to twist and turn the egg which will immediately kill the potential baby turtle in it. 
How we lifted it and that is how we will put it inside the hole for incubation. The turtle gender is determine by the sand temperature while the egg is incubating. The higher the temperature, more female will be produced. It will takes about 45 to 60 days for the egg to hatch by itself. It is indeed a very long process. However it is just the beginning for the turtles.
After they are hatched, they need to climb up vertically out from the 1 foot deep hole. I do not know how a turtle can climb but they just simply did it. It is really amazing. Only the baby turtles that successfully climb out from the hole will be considered as survive. Others that remain in the hole will be announced dead. The survival rate is just at least 70%. So out of the minimum 40 eggs, only 28 might survived.
Resorts World Kijal is creative enough to allow their visitors to have a chance to adopt a turtle nest with a fee which will be donated to the turtle conservation fund. When the eggs are hatched, the adopters will be informed and they will be invited to come over to Resorts Awana Kijal again within 7 days to join their turtle releasing program. If the adopters unable to make it, Resorts World Kijal will give that opportunity to their visitors to do so. 
The turtle releasing program is only happens at night after your luxurious dinner in the hotel. The reason it is only releasing at night is because the baby turtle is depending on the moon light to guide them into the sea. If during the day, they are unable to find the sea. 
I am actually having a dilemma if I should be releasing them into the sea. It is like sending them to death because out of a nest of turtles, there will be only 1-2 will make it to the adult stage. However, this is the ecosystem either we like it or not. All I can do is to wish them all the best in their survival.
We are all given two or three baby turtles in a small basket before we releasing them together to let them crawl to the sea. We are not allowed to use flashlight to take the picture of the baby turtles because this action will blind them and immediately cut their chances of survival in the sea to zero. So we are highly depending on torchlight for the lighting.
These young ones are really strong. I really cannot imagine with just the flippers that they got, they are able to climb out vertically. They have shown me that they are ready for the big vast ocean and anything in there that they might be facing.
Holding the little ones makes me feel good to be alive and proud with myself able to go through all the struggles that I have been so far and I am ready too with whatever is ahead of me.
Off they go and crawling as fast as they can to the ocean. It was quite an emotional moment for me to see them being taken away the sea waves while I was waving goodbye to the little ones. Their predators in the sea are many which are seagulls, jellyfishes, crabs, larger fishes and including turtles themselves. Once they are adult, they will face a bigger threat from the sharks and crocodiles. Actually not many turtles able to survive more than 100 years old even they could.
You can basically spot many stalls in the wet markets in Terengganu are selling turtle eggs. So even we as human is the threat to this species. The turtle eggs are sold at RM5.00/pc and imported eggs from Sabah or Indonesia will be sold cheaper at RM3.00/pc because of the freshness concern. I was told that the turtle eggs contains high protein nutrition that will maintain a youth of a woman and brings sexuality strong for the man. I believe we as a human got other better solution than eating a turtle egg.
Human hunts sea turtles for their shells but not the meat. Sea turtle shells are oftenly used as traditional medicine to some countries while others will use turtle shells as ornament. No matter what reason it is, I do believe it is our responsibility to protect this endangered species. The best way is to start educating our young ones is by bringing them to programs that are organized by Resorts World Kijal.
This 5 stars hotel is offering 3 type of packages which promise excitement. The packages are namely Kijal Weekend Promotion, Kijal Weekend Golf Package and Turtle Watching Package. The Turtle Watching Package offers a 3 Days 2 Nights stay in a Premier Seaview room, breakfast for two and a one-time turtle watching session for two. In the event, the turtle is not sighted at the hotel beach due to any unpredictable nature, guest will get to experience the turtle egg planting at the hotel hatchery or release the baby turtle hatchling to the sea.
For a weekend of golf along with the hotel stay, the Kijal Weekend Gold Package is value for money at RM276++ (RM138++ per person), The offer includes one night stay in a deluxe room ( aunique work of art deco of bathtub) and one round of 18-hole course golf for two person. There's also value added Kijal Weekend Promotion for those simply wanting a break. A night stay with wide spread of buffet breakfast in Deluxe room @RM199++ or Premier Seaview room @RM249++
Resorts World Kijal have 340 rooms inventory, falling under different categories to satisfy various needs, namely Deluxe room, Premier Seaview room, Deluxe suite & Premier suite are design to transform to Duplex room or sold separately, Anjung and Putra suite are with majestic style setup. The garden view is tag under Deluxe room and facing the magnificent sea are the Premier rooms measuring 383 sq ft each and are designed to provide a high level of comfort. They offer 12 TV channels (8 satellite TV and 4 Vision Four channels), minibar, coffee and tea-making facilities, safe box and laundry and express dry-cleaning facilities.
The suites offer a private Jacuzzi bathtub right in the garden with an entrance to the beach. There are 7 units Deluxe suites and 7 units Premier suites, all measuring 929 sq ft each compared to the Deluxe and Premier rooms that measure 383 sq ft each. Catering to families are connecting rooms with a total of 90 rooms making up 45 pairs and there are also two rooms specially designed for the handicapped.
The kids'pool covers 5,600 sq ft while the pool for adults covers 11,000 sq ft. Not only is the pool one huge playground; there is also the uniqueness of the Sunken Bar with its Waterfall Cafe that is one metre in depth and covers 1,440 sq ft. The pool is complimentary to the hotel guests but walk-in guests are also welcome with a fee of RM30 (adult) and RM20 (kids) to enjoy the pool.
To those who prefers to play in the salt water, you are always welcome to challenge their adrenaline rush sea sports activity such as Jetski, Banana Boat or Towables (airhead/poparazzi/bandwagon/grandstand chariot). 
Either you are here as walk-in or hotel guests, the charges still the same which are Jet Ski 1500cc @RM120 & RM220 (supercharged) for 15 minutes, Banana boat @RM15/person/ride and Towables @RM25/person/ride.
You do not have to be wet to feel the fun at Resorts World Kijal. You can have plenty of fun by staying dry too. One of the activity is cycling. You have to try their big tyre bicycle which is really an amazing ride. The charges is RM10 (small) and RM15 (standard) for an hour ride.
You have an option to try their tandem bicycle too which is just RM25/bicycle for a 60 minutes ride. All their bicycles are in a very good condition. This is the one of the very few hotels that still maintain their bicycles very well.
Yes, you see it right! They do have ATV (150cc) here too @RM40 for 15 minutes. Other than that are Buggy ride @RM50 for 15 minutes and 2-wheel electric scooter @RM30 for 10 minutes.
Table tennis, tennis court and a pool table are available too. There is also a children's playroom which is open from 9.00am - 9.00pm for the little ones to get busy and find their own fun in there. 
There are two other unique activities that other hotels might not have is this giant chess and batik painting activity which starts from 10.00am - 5.00pm. 
The gym is not really big but it is well equipped with all the necessary equipment in it. 
The ultimate way to pamper oneself during a vacation is heading to a spa for a therapeutic session. At Taman Sari Royal Heritage Spa, many holistic spa and massage packages are offered including traditional Javanese massage and Balinese massage. One can enjoy body scrubs, body wraps, bust care, facial treatment, hair treatment, hand and foot treatment and manicure and pedicure. The Ancient Healing experience offers value for money at RM275++ for two hours while Javanese massage costs only RM132++/hour and facial deep cleansing costs RM110++/hour.
Guests may just want a hair wash and blow dry (RM27.50 - RM38.50 depending on hair length) or a manicure @RM66/hour. Whatever service they seek, they can expect their visit to the spa to be a relaxing and enjoyable one.
For those into golfing, Resorts World Kijal's 18-hole championship golf course has a par of 72, and consists of the Palma and Rimba Nines. It is not only open to hotel guests but also welcomes wal-in guests. For hotel guests, fees vary from RM70 (weekdays) to RM80 (weekends or public holidays) for a nine holes course, RM100 (weekdays) to RM110 (weekends or public holidays) for a 18 holes. Walk-in guests pay only RM75 (weekdays) and RM85 (weekends) to enjoy a round of golf.
Guests who forgot to bring their golfing equipment will be happy to note that golf sets are available for rental. A full golf set @RM50, a half golf set (for driving range only) @RM30 and golf shoes rental @RM30. There are no entrance fees to use the driving range but the driving range balls cost one token for 50 balls where RM7.00/token. As for walk-in guests will be paying RM10 instead.
Food, of course, figures prominently on every guest's list and good food would complete a good stay. There are four outlets at Resorts World Kijal that ensure quality and with variety, namely Kampong Restaurant that serves buffet. Kampong Restaurant is a hive of activity during meal times as its sumptuous buffet spread is always irresistible. It opens from 6.30am - 10.30am and for dinner from 6.30pm - 10.30pm.
Waterfall cafe with an excellent all-day dining menu that include homemade Pizza and also not to forget that Kijal is located just next to the sea so their seafood is guarantee the freshest. Resorts World Kijal is following the recent trend in Klang Valley which is providing Louisiana Cajun style seafood. This is the latest trending style where all seafood is packed in a plastic bag and boiled. After that it will poured over the dining table and you will have to dig in with your bare hand. The seafood must be fresh enough to do this way. Without a doubt, Resorts World Kijal can do it easily.
Hainan Express, on the other hand, has a "kopitiam"concept and serves Hainanese cuisines and traditional dishes like Nasi Lemak, Chicken Rice and Nasi Dagang. There are also western sweets and savories for smaller appetites or for those who love desserts. This outlet opens from 10.00am - midnight.
The most popular restaurant is got to be the Oasis Beach Bistro (OBB) facing the magnificent sea, serve western food and BBQ during the weekend, free flow bottle beer and live performance.
If you are coming here in bigger group such as in a tour group or with your company, Resorts World Kijal is more than happy to customize the whole dinner session according to your desire way. You can also leave it to them to cater for you. You need to inform them in advance so they will prepare special seasonal food for you such as durian.
They even can hire a master teh-tarik to perform his skill in front of you. They are many other specialty to be listed but most notable ones will be the satay, durian crepe, boiled seafood, Nasi ulam, Nasi Kerabu, roti jala and laksa Terengganu.
A dinner is never complete if there is no live performance especially from this amazing sweet couple band, Remix Band Rony. She is not just can sing but she can sing a lot of other type of languages' songs such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Thai, Indonesian and many others too which you need to ask her to discover more. Nevertheless, she is one of the best live band that I have known of so far.
The attraction around Resorts World Kijal is worth to give some attention too. Especially the Kemasik Fisherman Village which is located 10 minutes away from the resort. You will get to witness the life of the fishermen and what they do everyday.
Do not miss the amazing landscape at the Kemasik Fishermen Village. It is a natural rock standing tough against the tide and rough waves especially at the monsoon at the end of the year. This two gigantic built rocks are the defense for the fishermen boat from getting crushed by the high waves. 
Before you leave Kijal, do not forget to buy their freshly caught fish back home. They are all just caught those fishes in the early morning. 100% guarantee fresh.
At the coordinate 4°34'27.6"N 103°27'17.2"E, you will see a row of oil refineries at both side of the road. These refineries belongs to Petronas and located north of Kerteh town. During at night, you will get to enjoy the scenery which they called "the road with a thousand lights". Fire from both side of the refineries lighting up the whole road. The scene is totally bizarre and indescribable. You won't get this experience anywhere in Malaysia except here. The best part is it is free and you can watch as many times as you like.
The combination of sun, sand and sea does work wonders as an antidote to stress but only if modern facilities are accessible to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free holiday. And this is where Resorts World Kijal delivers. A wonderful hotel in a picturesque setting with land of endless virgin beaches that meets the needs of travelers, whether they are business people or leisure seekers on holiday with their family or friends.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Noor Arfa Craft Complex, Kuala Terengganu

Noor Arfa Craft Complex (NACC) was once known as just Noor Arfa in 1980 with just RM1000 as initial capital. From a sole proprietor to partnership in 1982 and private limited company in 1991 called Noor Arfa Batek Sdn Bhd. In 2010, they change their domain again to Noor Arfa Holdings Sdn Bhd. I just cut short their wonderful long history but in the nutshell, this is one of the incredible home grown company that Malaysia should be proud of.
Standing strong throughout these years delivering our best local product which is the batik. They even have school to teach enthusiast to master the skill in batik making and continue this traditional batik making process.
This is one of the process in making drawing batik. First, you have to stretch the cloth real tight before you can start drawing with the hot wax on the cloth. This needs a lot of patience and precision. A slight mistake will ruin the whole thing.
After that, this is the fun part which is coloring the batik. Once the color is dried up, the cloth will be soaked to permanently embedding the color and continue to boil the cloth until no more discoloration.Lastly, it will be put to dry up but not under direct sunlight.
This is the most complicated process in the whole batik process which is making the batik block. All the patterns are hand drawn first before starting to cut the bronze plate according to it. This process needs to take more than a month for a block. The more complicated patterns will requires even longer. There are blocks took up to 6 months especially the one at the bottom right. 
Olaf from Frozen! This is the easiest which just required 2 weeks. The most tedious part is constructing all the small parts by soldering them together. The moment I saw the students doing it, I really put my hats off to their tremendous amount of patience. 
This wax are really hot and it is used for the batik block to stamp on the cloth to make their desire pattern. Once the desired pattern is made, they will start to dye it with the color they want. 
They need to wash the dyed cloth with clean water for two times. However in between, they need to soak the cloth in a chemical contains Sodium Hydroxide which is more known as Caustic Soda. Same like drawing batik, in the end you need to dry the cloth up but not under the direct sunlight which will damage the color.
This is the weaving batik. The process is very sophisticated and it require months to complete. First they need to dye the thread with the color based on the design which they need to plan earlier. Next is installing the thread on this weaving machine before she starts weaving. 
This is also a weaving method which is not using any machine but bare hand. The material used is not thread but pine leaves which has soaked with respective colors on it. This old lady will use his years of creativity to start weaving to any desire design that comes through his brain. Truly a remarkable old lady she is.
This is one of the sample which is a fan that she did. She can weave a lot of other stuff such as mat, basket, handbags and many more.
Sand which has burn in high temperature to become amazing handmade glasses.
Look at the this complicated ship design which is 100% made from glass. It is really fragile but it looks really amazing. It is surely an item which is worth to be collected as decoration at home or office. The price does not comes cheap at all too but it is well deserved with the quality made.
You can choose to make an easier one like this to put on your office desk.
After watching other people creatively making the batik, songket and handmade glass, it is time for use to make one too. We chose to color the batik which is much more easier.
Look at this auntie who is giving his very best to start making her masterpiece. We are given with just 3 prime colors which are red, blue and yellow. Other colors will depend on our creativity to mix and match them. It is really a fun and intersting activity either for the old ones or the young ones.
This is my personal masterpiece. I am not sure what I am doing but it does look a little messy here and there due to time constraint. Anyway this activity just cost RM12 for 7" x 7" and additional RM7.00 if you want to buy their frame.
There is a mini funland inside NACC where kids will get zero distance with the friendly animals such as rabbits, birds and chicken. 
This funland is not free. There is an entrance fee required which is RM10.00 (adult) and RM6.00 (kids). If you are holding myKad/myKid, you will get 50% discount off the published price.
You can experience to feed the rabbit by buying their carrot @RM2.00/pc. The other activity in this funland is tasting their genuine honey which is charged separately @RM5.00/person.
Overall, I really learned a lot from this wonderful place. I find this place is also very useful for kids to know about what our country really famous for and train their patience and creativity in designing their own batik.
Noor Arfa Craft Complex
Lot 4153, Kawasan Perindustrian Chendering, 
21080 Kuala Terengganu, 
Terengganu, Malaysia
Tel: 09-6179700
Business Hours: 8.00am - 6.00pm (daily)