Truly a familiarisation trip to remember

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Participants of the ‘Berambeh Ke Lembah Klang & Pantai Timur’ familiarisation programme gather for a group photo upon arrival at KLIA Terminal 2.

This is the first article of a six-part series on Tourism Malaysia Sarawak’s ‘Berambeh Ke Lembah Klang & Pantai Timur’ programme, running from Sept 9 to 14, 2023. 

IT had been a few years since I last set foot in Peninsular Malaysia.

So when I got the chance to go there again, I was very excited.

The opportunity that came knocking was the ‘Berambeh Ke Lembah Klang & Pantai Timur’ programme – a media familiarisation trip organised by Tourism Malaysia Sarawak.

My first thought was this could take me to areas that might not exactly be my usual cup of tea, but the thought of me immersing in such a distinct experience was too hard to resist.

The journey, for me, began on Sept 9 – 6am, to be exact – at Kuching International Airport, where I met up with Tourism Malaysia Sarawak officials and several Sarawak-based members of the media fraternity and social media influencers, before boarding an AirAsia flight bound for Kuala Lumpur.

The participants of this familiarisation trip also included those from TV Sarawak, Astro Awani, Borneo Digital, Cerita Sarawak Bah Jii, Cats FM, The Kayangan Hunter and Sarawak Edition, together with representatives from AirAsia and Tourism Malaysia Sarawak.

On board, we were treated to a mouth-watering serving of ‘Pak Nasser’s Plant-Based Nasi Lemak’ for breakfast, and later, each of us was given a cap sponsored by AirAsia – an experience that somewhat set the tone for our adventure ahead.

We arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Terminal 2 around 10am. The moment I disembarked, the ray from the morning sun kissed my face, and I could hardly contain my excitement.

‘Park of excitement’

The entrance to the Discovery Park @ Gamuda Cove in Banting, Selangor.

We got off to a great start right after arrival, where we later hopped on board a bus bound for the Discovery Park @ Gamuda Cove, in Banting, Selangor.

Opened to the public in January 2020, the 23-acre Discovery Park @ Gamuda Cove is hailed as a perfect ground for team-building activities and adventure seekers, where diverse interests converge. It offers everything, from trampolines to a magnificent carousel for younger children, and also boasts a slew of exciting activities like a record-breaking obstacle rope course, go-karting, paintball, and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) sessions.

The offerings extend to the Beach Pool Club, which is a modern oasis with a seaside-pool experience; as well as the Cove Aerobar, where guests can enjoy a 35m view of the entire Gamuda Cove Township.

Before we could all enjoy all of these, we were given a briefing by Gamuda Land staff members regarding the park and activities offered. This said, I felt that we were already getting the taste of what would come next, as the briefing took place at the Starbucks Coffee House in Gamuda Cove where we had lunch.

The writer (second left) and fellow participants in a photo-call, taken during the 35m ascent to the summit of the Cove Aerobar.

For me, the Cove Aerobar definitely made the list of all the trip’s highlights. The ascent took around five minutes, and once on the summit, we were treated to a breath-taking view of the entire Gamuda Cove development, where we stayed on for another five minutes before descending.

It was an exhilarating time during a session at the Goosebumps Ropes Course, certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as ‘Having the Greatest Number of Climbing Elements in Malaysia’. It was something I would never have imagined to ever be doing, and I felt elated to have conquered my fear of heights – all thanks to the sturdy structure of all the facilities at the course site.

Photo shows the Goosebumps Rope Course, a Malaysian Book of Records-certified attraction at the Discovery Park @ Gamuda Cove.

‘From X-sports to wetlands tour’

Our adrenaline-filled day continued on with participation in paintball shooting, go-karting, as well as a ‘Safari-Insta Tour’ and a boat cruise across the Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands.

During the ‘Insta Tour’, we travelled on board safari trucks across the 1,111 acres of natural wetlands, home to a diverse wildlife. We chanced upon seeing two hippopotamuses named ‘Lily’ and ‘Baby’, chomping down on some greens and fruits.

Lily and Baby, the two hippopotamuses spotted at the Paya Indah Discovery Wetlands.

Another amazing sight was a view of one of the largest lakes in the wetlands, covering an area of 800,000 square feet, surrounded by peat swamp forests, and having a depth of around 30 feet (9m). This body of water holds a fascinating story – dating back to the 1980s, it used to be a tin-mining site.

At the Wetlands Arboretum Centre, an edu-tourism and research hub for biodiversity research, forest fitness and educational programmes in Gamuda Cove, I had the opportunity to learn more about the wetlands and their diverse flora and fauna.

The participants being briefed on board the cruise boat during the journey across one of the largest lakes in the wetlands.

‘Klang’s new business hub’

As dusk fell, we made our way to Première Hotel at Bukit Tinggi Township, Klang’s new business and commercial hub with direct access to major city routes including those linking to KLIA Terminals 1 and 2.

Before checking into our rooms, which by then was already past 7pm, we were taken for a hotel tour. This was meant for us to learn more about the amenities at the establishment, including the service areas and also the types of rooms available.

More information about the hotel, including the room rates, can be obtained via https://www.premiere-hotels.com/.

After freshening up, we attended a networking dinner hosted by Tourism Selangor.

Now, for me, it was a very interesting affair in that it showcased a wide variety of food including the ‘Nasi 7 Negeri’ (Rice Dishes of Seven States) – as indicated in the name, it was a delectable line-up of seven rice cuisines originating from seven different states in Malaysia.

The dinner was a chance for us to connect with one another, sharing stories and forging new friendships.

The night was filled with laughter, great food, and the warmth of Malaysian hospitality.

As the clock approached 11pm, all of us retreated to our rooms.

It was an exciting beginning for this incredible six-day journey, and all of us were eager and ready for the next instalment of the adventure.

The participants gather for a group photo during the networking dinner at the Première Hotel in Bukit Tinggi Township. Joining them is Tourism Malaysia Sarawak director Nurul Ain Mohammed Yunus, who is flanked by Tourism Selangor chief executive officer Azrul Shah Mohamad (standing front, fifth left) and hotel manager Christopher Chan.

· The second article, to be out next Monday, will be about the activities carried out on Day 2 of this familiarisation programme.