Apr 22, 2011

Warm Reception at Malaysia Tourism Office in Kelantan

From Malaysian Tourism Office

A month ago, I went to Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan, Malaysia. It was to be my last solo overseas mission for a very long time. My primary objective was to check out the Japanese landing site around Kota Bharu; that the Pacific War broke out first with the Japanese invasion of Kota Bharu (and not the bombing of Pearl Harbor) made it a very special place, not that many people can appreciate the historical significance. I also made it a point to check out this city on the east coast - the trip was my first visit to an east coast state - led by the opposition PAS party.

I will leave the blogging of my "WWII mission" and (self-conducted) city tour to another time. Stay tuned!

In Kota Bharu I was a little surprised to find, among other things, the Malaysia Tourism Office. I actually found two of them in Kota Bharu, housed in quaint and probably historical buildings. Kota Bharu is not exactly a tourist magnet like Melaka or Kuala Lumpur but facilities like this make it quite tourist-friendly. Our neighbour across the causeway must be taking their tourism figures very seriously. Do you know in 2009, Malaysia was the 9th most visited country in the world?

The office was manned by, if I remember correctly, two or three Malay staff in tudung. I went for the brochure display carousel and picked up the three booklets and brochure map (see top of article).

Fun and Fantasy in Malaysia
Content page for Fun and Fantasy booklet. How many of the 15 attractions can you identify?

When I flipped the Fun and Fantasy booklet covering on theme parks, I was awed by the number of entries in it. Most Singaporeans would be hard-pressed to name even 10 out of the 15 theme parks listed. Most can remember the parks in and around Kuala Lumpur and Melaka: Genting, Sunway Lagoon, A'Famosa and that indoor theme park in Times Square which I just found out is called Cosmo's World Theme Park.

Berjaya Hills
Berjaya Hills, a French-style village in Malaysia

As an example, there is this Berjaya Hills, described as a "French-style village" which I have not heard before. It is located at Bukit Tinggi, Pahang, the name of the hill a hazy memory from my reading of a Malaysia map. I did not know a hill resort existed on it. Genting, Cameron, Fraser and Maxwell were the notable hill resorts from my memory. Coincidentally Bukit Tinggi is near Genting Highlands and also takes around 45 minutes to reach from Kuala Lumpur. There are three daily departures from Berjaya Times Square Hotel and costs RM 55 nett for two-way transfer [info].

The attraction is promising, at least from the photos, and I have put it in my "To Visit" list for Malaysia. Let me awe you with the introduction and two photos from their website:

Relish in century old Alsace charm at this French-themed resort, settled at 2,700 feet above sea-level amidst 80 acres of rainforests. Let the medieval French village and picturesque surroundings bring you back to an era steeped in culture and romance. From families and groups, to honeymooners and the pure romantics, Colmar Tropicale beckons you with enchanting grace and hospitality.

I moved away from the brochure display carousel and towards the reception counter. I had a shock when one of them spoke in impeccable English (no English accent, just natural to my Singaporean ear), "How do you find this place?" She might have said or asked something before this. I was taken back because I had expected them to bochup me or ask the standard service question, "How may I help you?"

As far as I remember, nobody has asked me that question before in Malaysia. I suspect they stopped the question (if they intended to ask it) after realizing I am from Singapore. Not that I confessed my nationality at the beginning of the conversation. In contrast, I was asked not once but many times by different people the same question in Indonesia.

In quite broken English and probably stuttering but hopefully not stammering, I told her the place is clean and people friendly (both are true, I did not make them up). In short, nice place!

I must have impressed her with my reply. Dutifully, like a teacher rewarding her student for the "correct answer", she handed me the following "Malaysia Truly Asia" quadrilateral package. "This is for you," she looked at me grinning.

Once again, she took me by surprise.

Your Free Copy
My gift from the Malaysia Tourism Office! What is inside this quadrilateral package?

Malaysian Tourism Office Postcards
There are 8 quadrilateral postcards made from cardboard material inside the package by the Tourism Office.


oceanskies79 said...

The Japanese landing site around Kota Bharu is something revealing to me. Thank you for this information. I look forward to your blogging of you WWII mission.

Icemoon said...

Thanks. I hope will get to blog about that soon. Backlog too long. My mission in Singora Thailand another famous WWII landing site is still awaiting my attention.

Andrew said...

My wife would be keen to know of the hidden marvels in msia. :D

peter said...

How did you get to Kota Bahru? Fly? Train? Condition of travel?

Icemoon said...

Take bus from JB.

Dimpy Roy said...

Lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing. You guys had a great time there. Check out best Malaysia tour packages also.