What Malaysian brands are doing to spread light this Deepavali

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Deepavali, or Diwali, is one of the important festivals of the year in Malaysia, especially among the Hindus. The festival of light which embraces family reunion, is a great occasion for people of all races and religions to come together and celebrate the rich Hindu culture.

Small clay lamps will be beautifully lighted to signify the triumph of good over evil and these lights will be kept on during the night. The Hindus will also perform spring cleaning for their homes prior to the festival in welcoming the goddess Lakshmi.

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This year, some brands and agencies are taking the chance to spread the messages of love, happiness and unity in our multi-racial country in conjunction with the Deepavali celebrations tomorrow.

Check out some of the interesting spots for this year’s campaigns that capture Malaysia’s multi-cultural diversity and values that make up the country’s unique social fabric.

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Borneo Sabah Trip

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Roadtrips have become a popular way for travellers to explore Malaysia, and Borneo is an amazing region. While traveling along the highway you’ll encounter cities full of culture, mountainous terrain, tropical rainforests, and relaxing beaches. If you are up for an adventure, read our guide to the ultimate ten-day road trip through Borneo.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque – Atkinson Clock Tower – Petagas War Memorial – Night Food Market & Sinsuran Night Market

Begin your journey in Sabah by taking a two hour flight to Kota Kinabalu from Mulu Airport, and spend a day there. Explore the majestic Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, which is surrounded by a beautiful lagoon. The mosque has similar features to the Nawi Mosque in Medina, including a blue and gold dome. Take photos of the Atkinson Clock Tower, the oldest structure in Sabah and looking across the city. Visit the historical Petagas War Memorial, commemorating the soldiers who died defending Sabah during World War II.

End your night by savouring street food and seafood at Kota Kinabalu’s Night Food Market and/or Sinsuran Night Market.

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Begin your island-hopping adventure at Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, which consists of five islands: Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Manutik Island, and Sulug Island. Take a ferry from Jesselton Point. You can also book an island tour to explore the islands. Play exciting beach activities or go snorkelling or diving by the sandy beaches and tranquil, crystal clear water. The price for island hopping depends on how many islands you plan to visit, but ranges from RM33 – RM53 (USD 8 – USD13) for adults and RM28 – RM48 (USD 7 – USD 12) for children.

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Take an 88.9km drive (about two hours) down to Kinabalu Park, one of Malaysia’s World Heritage Sites, where you will be able to see the Mount Kinabalu from afar. Discover various flora and fauna in the rainforest, including Rafflesia, the biggest and smelliest flower in the world. Stay a few days at Kinabalu Park if you plan to climb Mount Kinabalu. Be well-equipped for hiking the highest mountain in Malaysia.

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Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre – Gomantong Caves

It is time to visit your orangutan friends at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a 229km drive (about four hours) from Kinabalu Park. Founded in 1964, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre supports 60–80 orphaned orangutans. See how these orangutans are taken care with tender love and care in their natural habitat. A boardwalk leads to a viewing gallery and feeding platform, where orangutans are fed with milk and bananas twice a day by the rangers.

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Visit the Gomantong Caves to learn how bird nests are harvested by the farmers. You can watch the harvesting at Simud Hitam (Black Cave). Simud Putih (White Cave) has the more valuable bird nests. You are required to make arrangements with the guide to further explore Simud Putih. Swiftlets, bats, serpent eagles, bat eagles, kingfishers, and a few orangutans can be seen at these caves.

Tun Sakaran Marine Park

This is the final day of your roadtrip. Time to celebrate on the calm seas and islands at Tun Sakaran Marine Park. Drive for five hours to Semporna (304km) and take a boat ride to visit the marine park. It consists of eight islands and two reefs, including Bohey Dulang Island and Mantabuan Island. There are plenty of stilt houses and house boats as the nomadic Bajau Laut (Sea Gypsy) community live in the marine park.

Go island hopping to discover each island’s uniqueness. Bohey Dulang Island is great for hiking and bird watching. Visit the Bajau Laut Village to catch a glimpse of their everyday life, and maybe get the chance to chat with the locals.

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Sipadan is one of the most beautiful scuba divingspots in the world. Sipadan is the only oceanic island in Malaysia, the huge pillar that forms the atoll functions as a shelter for many sea animals and fish. Furthermore there are only a few places in the world that have such a concentration of sea turtles. Sipadan is not easy to visit; you can only stay at the surrounding

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islands Mabul and Kapalai. The permits these days make it even harder to dive at Sipadan; because only a handful of people per day may dive at the small island (regulations permit 120 dives per day). Accommodation at Mabul or Kapalai is not that cheap. Budget travelers that find Mabul or Kapalai too expensive (or when the facilities are fully booked) could opt to stay at the village of Semporna. This fishing village mainly serves as a gateway to Sipadan and other great scuba diving spots as Mabul, Kapalai and Mataking. The several fish restaurants in Semporna offer great food, though the village itself is often described as a bit dull.

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Permit based scuba diving

The permits were introduced in 2005 by Sabah National Parks to minimize tourism ‘footprint’ on the pristine scuba dive destination. It was the second step to ensure travelers could enjoy this fabulous scuba diving spot for many years to come. The first step was closing the resorts on the small island. Sipadan used to have some small resorts but to protect the environment these were closed. Nowadays tourists cannot just travel to Sipadan and get a permit on the spot; you have to reserve your stay beforehand and even then there is no guarantee you will eventually be able to dive at Sipadan. Permits are not for sale up front, they are distributed among the surrounding resorts (dive schools) and they are given out some days or the day before your dive. We have met people that did not make any reservations and ended up by not diving at Sipadan. There are also stories of travelers that just went there and did manage to get a permit. Diving at Sipadan normally is the goal of the whole trip to the area, but diving at surrounding dive spots around Mabul Island, Kapalai Island or even Mataking Island is (almost) just as great (especially if you fancy muck diving; smaller marine life like nudibranches).

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Permit based scuba diving

The permits were introduced in 2005 by Sabah National Parks to minimize tourism ‘footprint’ on the pristine scuba dive destination. It was the second step to ensure travelers could enjoy this fabulous scuba diving spot for many years to come. The first step was closing the resorts on the small island. Sipadan used to have some small resorts but to protect the environment these were closed. Nowadays tourists cannot just travel to Sipadan and get a permit on the spot; you have to reserve your stay beforehand and even then there is no guarantee you will eventually be able to dive at Sipadan. Permits are not for sale up front, they are distributed among the surrounding resorts (dive schools) and they are given out some days or the day before your dive. We have met people that did not make any reservations and ended up by not diving at Sipadan. There are also stories of travelers that just went there and did manage to get a permit. Diving at Sipadan normally is the goal of the whole trip to the area, but diving at surrounding dive spots around Mabul Island, Kapalai Island or even Mataking Island is (almost) just as great (especially if you fancy muck diving; smaller marine life like nudibranches).

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creatures that you might encounter under water when diving at Sipadan. Among the species are schools of big-eye trevallies, many turtles, tornado-like formations of barracudas, schools of humphead parrotfishes, giant mantas, eagle rays, schools of tunas, many species of sharks including schools hammerhead sharks, (sometimes even) whale sharks and thousands of other species of fish (mostly big pelagic fish as Sipadan is known for this). Diving rates are pretty high compared to other dive destinations within Malaysia (usually over RM120 per dive). Do not dive with diving schools that operate without proper permits. Diving at Sipadan Island is possible daily from 6am to 4pm. No night dives are allowed.

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Best times to visit Sipadan

Diving at Sipadan Island can be done throughout the year as there is no real low season. During the months of January to March weather can sometimes be a bit unsettled so divers can expect more currents during their dives. Between April and June you can enjoy visibility up to 50m. Between May and August turtles often lay their eggs on the beaches of Sipadan.

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