Friday, 30 October 2015

ASEAN Media Bloggers Tourism Hunt 2015 Hosted by Tourism Malaysia JK1280

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Tourism Malaysia organised the inaugural ASEAN Media Bloggers Tourism Hunt 2015 from 16 to 21 Oct to promote Malaysia to regional travellers and to encourage visitors to explore Malaysia through self-driving holidays. The theme of the Treasure Hunt is "Fun and Enjoyable Drive to Experience Malaysia".

Forty media and bloggers from all 10 ASEAN countries took part in the Tourism Hunt. Proton provided the 25 cars for the event which spanned 3 days taking the media and bloggers from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya, Port Dickson and Malacca.

Kurt Ganapathy from Travelog and myself represented Singapore :-D

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All the media and delegates arrived in Kuala Lumpur on 16 Oct and Dato' Haji Azizan Noordin, Dy Dir-Gen of Tourism Malaysia hosted us to a rousing and warm welcome dinner at D'Saji Titiwangsa.

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View of Petronas Twin Towers from my Corus Hotel room

We rested the night at Corus Hotel under the lights of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

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The next day (17 Oct), Dato' Mirza Mohd Taiyab, Dir-Gen Tourism Malaysia welcome ASEAN Media Bloggers Tourism Hunt and Mega FAM delegates at the Sheraton Imperial in KL.

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Meeting my ride for the first time - blind date with my Proton Iriz 1.3:-D We will explore Malaysia together for the next 3 days :-D

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That night we were treated to the Citrawarna show at Merdeka Square which was truly a spectacular extravaganza. The one hour show showcased the culture, nature and future of Malaysia.

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The next morning (18 Oct) Tourism Minister Dato' Seri Nazri and Dir-Gen Dato' Mirza officiated the flag off at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTIC) in KL.

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Off we go on our amazing race, flagged off by Tourism Minister Dato' Seri Nazri and Dir-Gen Dato' Mirza.

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First stop - photo hunt at Dataran Putra. We were parked in front of the Prime Minister's Office :-D

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As we headed out to Port Dickson after the photo hunt, we paused a moment for a short photo session at the Palace of Justice.

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One hour later, we were at Port Dickson - our first stop was the Army Museum for "Explorace". Dashing through the outdoor displays and indoor museum in search of answers for the "Explorace", we learned about the fascinating military history of Malaysia from the Sultanate era to the present day.

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Before we set off for the "Explorace" we were required to paint ourselves with camouflage paint like soldiers. As I didn't know what to do, I decided to paint myself a beard and see how I would look ;-p That didn't take long and as I finished ahead of time, I used the spare time to paint myself a reindeer nose.

I looked "sad" because I am struggling to take a selfie with my phone and I am required to paint my face with camou paint - something I managed to avoid doing during my 25 years with the Singapore Armed Forces ;-p

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Another activity I didn't volunteer for, later that night at Port Dickson ;-p Each country was required to provide a representative for a cat walk contest at the welcome dinner at Grand Beach Resort Port Dickson.

Again, I didn't know what to do and so just did a parody of the Singapore manhunt ;-p Needless to say, I was unplaced though I had a lot of fun and I heard the audience laughed heartily ;-D

The plot got thicker and the action even more exciting the next day at Port Dickson PD Ostrich Show Farm (19 Oct).

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Station one at Port Dickson PD Ostrich Show Farm - "fear factor" challenge - steal an ostrich egg from an ostrich herd in their pen. It was heart stopping as I kept imagining the ostriches pecking at me and kicking me hard with their hooves when we try to steal their precious eggs right at their feet and under their beaks. Thank goodness, all of us retrieved the eggs uneventfully :-D

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Station two was the hardest. We each had to catch a goose. Before stepping into the pen, I kept wondering how am I going to possibly catch one? There was even the very real danger of falling into that dirty pond full of goose pee and poo ;-(

Maybe, looking like one may help? :-D

Fortunately, we all did managed to catch one goose each without them losing too much feathers.

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Feeding the ostrich was the easiest least hard station, especially when you are dressed up like one ;-D Hahaha this picture won me the second prize for the photo contest on Instagram :-D

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After feeding ostriches, it's time for us to taste ostrich satay :-D The ostrich meat was tender but the flavour was masked by the spices and herbs in the marinade. Still, the satay was tasty and I helped myself to quite a few sticks ;-p

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Ostrich omelette :-D Other than it's huge size, it didn't taste or felt too different from chicken eggs. 

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At the ostrich race, I was surprised to find out that ASEAN bloggers are pretty quick on two legs ;-D

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Next stop was Mini Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park Melaka.

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We had to do batik painting, scrap coconuts with a traditional scrapping tool, and spin a traditional gasing (spinning top) like a pro.

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Though novices, I think Kurt and I did a decent job of our batik painting :-D

After departing Mini Malaysia and ASEAN Cultural Park, we checked into Swiss-Garden Hotel followed by free and easy time in downtown Malacca. 

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With the view of the Malacca River like this from my room at Swiss-Garden Hotel, I just can't remain inside the room.

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We just had to get down and walk along the Malacca River. It's one of the nicest walks by the river banks that I have experienced.

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By the time we've done the river walk, most of the restaurants and shops were closed along Jonker Street. So, we just take our dinner at this random Chinese zhi char place beside the Chinese temple. The simple noodles we ordered turned out to be very good :-D

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Only the Geographer Cafe was still open when we finished our dinner and so we hung out here for a couple of drinks before calling it a night.

The next day (20 Oct) was the final day of the Tourism Hunt :-D

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My team partner Kurt Ganapathy and I riding through the historic streets of Malacca town in search of answers to the Trishaw Hunt.

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Photo Hunt through Jonker Street, followed by Treasure Hunt at Stadhuys Museum before we could even catch our breath.

Our late night romp at Jonker Street the night before came in handy as several of the Treasure Hunt questions were related to the shops and landmarks we saw the night before.

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Finally, all the 10 tasks and challenges of ASEAN Media Bloggers Tourism Hunt 2015 were completed :-D In 3 days we covered Putrajaya, Port Dickson and Malacca - exhausted but glad and proud that we all did it happily together :-D ASEAN media and bloggers bonded well throughout the Treasure Hunt.

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With my partner Kurt Ganapathy who was mainly responsible for our team emerging the winner of ASEAN Media Bloggers Tourism Hunt 2015 :-D

We were at Tourism Malaysia's head office at Putrajaya (on 21 Oct) to hand over the nippy Proton Iriz 1.3L which served us well throughout the (actually quite gruelling) Tourism Hunt.

Thank you, little green beetle.

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A waiting coach whizzed us straight to KLIA and we returned to Singapore the same afternoon, courtesy of Malaysia Airlines.

Thank you Tourism Malaysia for a great ASEAN Media Bloggers Tourism Hunt 2015. We enjoyed Malaysia and made lots of new friends :-D

Hope to be back next year ;-p

Date: 16 to 21 Oct 2015

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