Apple Vacations & Chef Wan – A Perfect Combination of Travel-Gourmet Explore Uzbekistan 2020

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 11 – The dazzling celebrity Chef Wan and Apple Vacations signed a MoU at the Uzbekistan Embassy today, 11am 11th November.

2nd from right – Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Malaysia, HE Ravshan Usmanov.
from left – Uzbekistan Airways GM Sherzod Akmalov, Chef Wan and Lee-san.

Apple Vacations & Chef Wan
A Perfect Combination of Travel-Gourmet Explore Uzbekistan 2020

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 11 – The dazzling celebrity Chef Wan and Apple Vacations signed a MoU at the Uzbekistan Embassy today, 11am 11th November. Collaborating with Apple Vacations, Chef Wan will explore this mystical Central Asian country with foodie travellers!

Regardless of whether you are a foodie or not, Malaysian food ambassador and international celebrity chef – Dato Redzuawan bin Ismail or fondly known as Chef Wan is a certainly household name to us. Taking off on March 18, 2020 Chef Wan is set to lead a 10 days 7 nights culinary tour to this exotic place. Besides visiting the famous attractions, the group will get to savour the flavours of local cuisines which includes a Nowruz celebration (the local New Year celebration which means “new day” or “new light”), hands-on cooking class, Uzbek Ikat fashion show, exploring the ancient city of Bukhara and more.


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The Darvaza Gas Crater is one of the top places to visit in Turkmenistan. — Photos: CLIFF LAI


The most mysterious of the “stan” countries,

Turkmenistan is a destination worth checking out.

Stepping into the 126th country of my travels, I’m once again struck by the world’s diversity.

Turkmenistan is a country that carries the historical burden of wars and natural disasters. But God has also bestowed upon it a wealth of resources in the form of oil and gas. Throughout the years, the country has learnt to embrace change and progress in urban aesthetics. We may think that Turkmenistan is very different from our own country, but it is this uniqueness that makes it a destination worth visiting.

Turkmenistan is a pivotal station in the Silk Road of Asia and Europe, with an area of 440,000sq km. They have a population of six million people, of which 97% are liberal Muslims. It is a republic that practically rebuilt itself from the ground up after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in 1948 wiped out almost 2/3 of its population.

In addition to that disaster, the country also lived through 66 years of socialist rule under the Soviet Union.


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The Nazca Lines in Peru are one of the world’s unsolved archaeological mysteries.

The Nazca Lines in Peru showing shape of a monkey.


LEGEND has it that there was once an angel who loved to draw everywhere she went. One day, she flapped her wings and descended upon Earth to explore its secrets. To celebrate her visit, she left hundreds of graffiti etched on Earth’s surface.

Despite being created more than 2,000 years ago, and having gone through countless storms and other bad weather, it is rather strange that the lines and shapes left by this “angel” have not diminished. They are still clearly visible on this rocky surface, thus leaving us to wonder how they got there. I am talking about the Nazca Lines of Peru, a Unesco World Heritage Site (since 1995) that features these interesting geoglyphs.

While the story of the angel is only a myth, it nevertheless lends a mystical sense to the Nazca Lines. Who exactly made this artwork? As I waited for my team of 15 travellers to set off to the other side of South America, I pondered over the recent succesful landing of the Chinese spacecraft Chang’e 4 on the far side of the moon. I felt like we were going on our own mission to explore the unknown.


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It’s hard to imagine there’s a salt flat 16 times the size of Singapore on the Andes Mountains, South America.

The Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia is simply breathtaking.


Slipping on my rubber boots, I step into the big pool that has a depth of about 8cm. Standing between the never-ending sea of white, I seem to have lost my bearings.

When the ripples on the pool stop and form a mirror, the water, blue sky and white clouds meld together, producing a paradise where the heavens and the Earth are connected. At this moment, I feel so close to the sky that I can reach out and touch it. How exhilarating!

My breathing accelerates; I’ve forgotten I’m 3,656m above sea level, where the oxygen is only 60% of the air. No wonder I’m dizzy.

It’s hard to imagine there’s a salt flat 16 times the size of Singapore on the Andes Mountains, South America. The area spans about 250km from east to west, around 100km from north to south, for a total of 10,582 sq km. It’s full of quality rock salt. Welcome to Bolivia’s Uyuni, the largest salt flat on Earth

After our 4WD cruised for 90 minutes on the flat, and the GPS started to lose track of our location, it really felt like being isolated from the world. In that moment of peace, take time to reflect and find yourself.

The white ground and blue sky seem to fuse into a seamless expanse. Is this the appearance of the legendary mirrored realm?


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The inaugural MATTA Awards 2019 presented the trophies to 8 winners and 1 lifetime achievement award on 30 June 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. The awards were presented by MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang and accompanied by Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, YB Tuan Muhammad Bakhtiar bin Wan Chik and Tourism Malaysia Director General Datuk Musa bin Yusof.

From Left: Datuk Tan Kok Liang, Dato’Sri Koh Yock Heng, YB Tuan Muhammad Bakhtiar bin Wan Chik and Datuk Musa bin Yusof.


Best Tour Operator (Outbound)
Apple Vacations & Conventions Sdn Bhd
Dato’ Sri Koh Yock Heng, Group Managing Director:

We give thanks to all the customers who have continuously supported us as we value their patronage and confidence in us. I would also like to thank all the “Applenian” who played their roles in a responsible, accountable manner.


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More people are looking to Okinawa in Japan for a well-rounded holiday… and tips for longevity.

The writer (right) with folks from Ogimi Village, the world-famous Longevity Village in Okinawa. Photos: LEESAN


Twenty-four years ago, Miyazawa Kazufumi composed and wrote Shima Uta (Island Song), a sanshin (three-stringed instrument) performance accompanied by Natsukawa Rimi’s vocals. Thanks to its relaxing melody, sad yet rhythmic lyrics and its sense of “lazy leisure”, Shima Uta became a beloved folk song in southern Japan.

Around the same period, Li Manting wrote the Chinese words to Hua Xin (Flower Heart) which was composed by (Okinawa folk legend) Shoukichi Kina. It was sung by (HK pop star) Wakin Chau. The song shook the Chinese world, unexpectedly initiating the “Okinawa heat flow”, and spurred the idea of going to Okinawa to find love.

Okinawa is part of the Ryukyu Islands, a chain of islands that sits between the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea. Perhaps the waves of the East China Sea swept island tribes from the Philippines many years ago to the Okinawa Islands, making this the “root” of the big island?


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Eight months of working at a foreign kitchen, I started to build up a firm relationship with Mr and Mrs Toyota, and over the next five years……

1991 spring, I arrived in the megalopolis of Tokyo alone without any knowledge of the Japanese language. There were fewer than 80,000 foreigners or foreign students in the whole of Japan back in those years, while the number of foreign tourists was just around two million.

Even though there were not too many foreign students in Japan, the convenience stores, fast food restaurants and other more formal restaurants refused to hire us as workers.

I still can remember that most foreign students could only manage to find some odd jobs at family-run factories, or collecting garbage behind garbage trucks, door-to-door delivery of morning newspapers, or cleaning up offices after dark.

Back then the seniors would tell us, go around your neighborhood to try your luck, perhaps some yoghurt factory would need a couple of hourly workers.


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Seoul (23 September, 2019) –Korean Air organised World Cleanup Day 2019 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, on September 21.


Located on the northern tip of the island of Borneo, Sabah has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for South Koreans. In 2018, South Korean tourists accounted for the second highest international tourist arrivals in Sabah at 24.8%, an increase of 8.5% compared with 2017. Currently Korean Air has two daily codeshare flights operated by its sister company, Jin Air, connecting Seoul-Incheon and Kota Kinabalu.

In the spirit of giving back to the local community, employees from the Korean Air Kuala Lumpur office, along with Trash Hero Borneo, organized the World Cleanup Day 2019 event in Tanjung Lipat Beach in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. More than 1,000 volunteers participated in the event, which was organized for the second time in Sabah.

Besides government agencies, those from non-government agencies (NGO), schools and individuals joined the beach cleanup, collecting trash washed up on Tanjung Lipat Beach. “Through this cleanup activity, we hope to raise awareness for environmental protection. With joint efforts, we can preserve the beautiful beach of Sabah,” said Mr. Jeon Young Do, the Korean Air Country Manager for Malaysia, Brunei and Bangladesh.


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Actually, there are many tribes that live along the Amazon River, and they lead very normal lives just like us, although they tend to encounter more real piranhas than we do.

There are many tribes that live along the Amazon River. — Photos: LEESAN


Whenever the craftsmen of the Amazon River in South America are asked about the online “Amazon”, they turn shy and bashful. The fact is, they probably did not expect that their personally hand-crafted handicrafts can be sold to the world easily through a shopping site that shares the same name as their beloved river and home.

Of course, the Amazon’s terrifying piranha and anaconda, two popular “characters” in numerous thriller or horror movies, have also helped catapult the place to fame although perhaps in a more negative light. Most people are fearful of these animals, and therefore, they are fearful of the Amazon. When I told my friends I was going there for a visit, many asked me if it was a safe place to go. “Is there nowhere else you can go?” they asked.

Actually, there are many tribes that live along the Amazon River, and they lead very normal lives just like us, although they tend to encounter more real piranhas than we do.


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Promoting Taiwan tourism at the recent MATTA Fair were (from left) Ye, her husband Steve Lin, Teng and Chiu.

We will look at how the Taiwanese do it.

Promoting Taiwan tourism at the recent MATTA Fair were (from left) Ye, her husband Steve Lin, Teng and Chiu.

Jaden Teng, the owner of the Long Yun Leisure Farm in Yilan County, Taiwan, said with the transition from summer to autumn, the weather is cooler and suitable for people to have outdoor barbecues.

“During Lunar New Year people have the reunion dinner indoors and during mid-autumn, it is time to be outdoors and enjoy the cool autumn air,” he said.

As for its origin, Teng said it started as a commercial gimmick where barbecue sauce manufacturers promoted outdoor barbecue during the festival and it later became customary.

Shinny Chiu said for the Taiwanese, the Mid-Autumn Festival is the second most important festival following the Lunar New Year.

“It is a public holiday and some would take a few days off work.

“The preparation for the Mid-Autumn Festival starts days before the actual day,” she said.

Unlike the new year where the adults, especially housewives, decide the menu for the reunion dinner, for the Mid-Autumn Festival she said the children have a say in the selection of ingredients to be barbecued, be it meat, seafood or vegetables.

“Preparation for the barbecue was a family affair. Housewives and mothers cook all year long, now is the time for others to share the burden.”

Teng is the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association former chairman while Chiu is the association’s vice-chief executive officer and international marketing chief operating officer.

They are part of the team from Taiwan that were in town recently to promote tourism at the recent Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) fair.


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