Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pontian - Where The Southernmost Tip of Continental Asia Is

Pontian was transformed from the word Perhentian meaning a place to stop. Those days this area had been a stopping place by merchant ships and also pirates plying the Straits of Malacca. It is a small district on the southwestern part of Johor is 60 km (37 miles) from Johor Bahru city and the journey between both location takes about 1 hour through Lebuhraya Skudai- Pontian. It is also reachable from Batu Pahat using route 5 of Federal road.

Pontian has two towns that used the same name Pontian Besar and Pontian Kechil and the latter serves as tha administration centre for the district.

The capital was formerly a fishing village which has developed into a small town and has a few attractions worth to visit. Development in the district started as early as 1878 by an Arab Merchant Tuan Syed Mohamad Syed Alsagoff.

Being situated by the seaside, Pontian is noted for its variety of seafood which is sold at a reasonable price. Visitors from neighbouring towns and Singapore regularly visit Kukup, a fishing village about 20 km from Pontian Kechil. Notable national parks in Pontian include Tanjung Piai, the southernmost tip of continental Asia.

Pontian Kechil is situated 1.5 hours (via bus) from Johor Bahru (Capital of Johor State) via Lebuhraya Skudai-Pontian.

Especially along coastal areas, Pontian is populated by Malays of Bugis and Javanese descent. The Chinese community in Pontian predominantly belongs to the Fujian (Hokkien) dialect group.

This town is also site as the observatory to look for the crescent moon to mark the beginning of Muslim month of Ramadhan, Shawwal, and Zulhijjah, to celebrate fasting month of Ramadhan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Raya Aidiladha.

Tourist who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life can visit the attractions that Pontian has to offer. There are reasonable number of hotels, chalets and homestays for visitors to spend their holidays.

Hotels in Pontian

Hotel Pontian (+607 6861000) www.hotelpontian.com
Hotel Garden (+607 686 1001)
Hotel Travel  (+607 686 9800)
Hotel Pontian Seaview (+6019 7764822)
Hotel Sunflower (+607 6871111) www.sunflowerexpress.com
Hotel Princess (+607 6871811)

Chalets/ Resort

Kukup Golf resort (+607 6960950)
Tanjung Piai Resort (+607 6969000)
Wednesday Ditch Farm Resort (+607 2419455)

Homestays

Kg Permatang Sepam (+607 4258081)
Kg Puteri Menangis (+6012 7575217)
Kg Tanjung Piai (+607 6960220) nadzri_nafaz@yahoo.com

What To Do?

There are many activities for visitors and for those who want some adventure can opt for a visit to a Kelong away from the shore. Else there other attractions such as the Traditional Bugis House, Ramsar visit at Tanjung Piai, golfing at Kukup, Muzium Nanas, Bugis Museum, Nictar Eco Farm and Stesen Nanas Alor Bukit etc.

Transportation

Pontian i reachable by private cars, Express Coach or Taxis or car rentals. Visitors going to Kukup National Park can take a ferry at the Kukup Ferry Jetty.

For further information about visiting Pontian, you can contact:

Jabatan Pelancungan Negeri Johor,
Suite 4-5, Bangunan Jotic,
Jalan Air Molek,
80000 Johor Bahru

Pontian District Office
+607 6871322

Tourism Malaysia (Johor)
+607 2223590/1

Pineapple Trail - Nictar Eco Farm - Where Everything Is Recycled

After our visit to Stesen Nanas Alor Bukit, we stopover at another pineapple plantation managed by a private company, Nictar Eco Farm. It is located at Parit Sikom in the Pontian in Pontian Kechil. Nistar Eco Farm is operated by JL Natural Resources Sdn. Bhd. and I'd like to share this information copied from the company's Facebook page:

Nictar Eco Farm is a theme farm, with objective to educate the public about nature, ecology and farming activities. With 11 years of beekeeping and farming experience, we able to share in depth knowledge about bees, nature and environment issues.
Mission
We aimed to create traffic congestion in Pontian area.
Description
We provide opportunities for visitors to experience nature environment that are very precious to human being today. Our core business is beekeeping, but we had go beyond that by organizing tour which we provide facilities and instructors for visitors to experience more.
General information

List of activities:
a. visit pineapple estate (1300 acres) to learn about pineapple
b. visit bee farm to experience beekeeping and learn about insect life.
c. visit mini horse farm for fun riding, ostrich and goat farming
d. visit mangrove tree forest to learn about natural habitat
e. visit coffee bean processing factory
f. overnight at keelong for offshore life
g. climbing Gunung Pulai etc


Again our arrival was served with pineapple juice before a short briefing by the manager and owner of the farm, Mr Haleem about how he operates the farm with eco friendly activities. There is a row of Italian bee in a top bar hive and he gave a few of us the experience of touching a bee on their comb without getting stung.

Mr Haleem explained to us that his farm is eco friendly since he do not use any chemical but natural farming procedures. He rear chickens on the farm to help picking up grass keeping the area around the pineapple tree grass free. These chicken are fed with pineapple waste and chicken manure is used as it  adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity. In short Nictar Eco Farm concept is what comes from the farm goes back to the farm.

 Photo above from Nictar Eco Farm Facebook page

During our tour on the plantation, some of us had the opportunity to taste fresh pineapple plucked and peeled on the spot. Well, of course the taste is better since its fresh. 

Nictar Eco Farm also has their own array of honey products such as the Bgreen Durian Raw Honey, Bgreen Pineapple Raw Honey and Bgreen Melaleuca Honey. Besides honey they also produce Bgreen Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly. Bgreen Brazilian Green Propilis is also available.

A visit to Nictar Eco Farm opens up more knowledge to me when there are also foodstuff called Honey Apple Cider vinegar when all this while I just thought household vinegar are just plain vinegar.

Before our departure we were given a gift of pineapple chili sauce
Nictar Eco Farm accept tour groups or individual visitors.

Nictar Eco Farm is managed by
JL Natural Resources Sdn Bhd.
Outlet : 175,Jalan Rawa, Taman Perling, 81300 Johor Bahru
Farm  :  PTD 2103, Parit Sikom, 82010, Pontian, johor
Enquiry : enquiry@nictar.net
Website : www.nictar.net
Hotline : +6012 700 2235

I think schools can organise trips to visit Nictar Eco Farm so that they can learn hands on experience of pineapple farming and also how to be bee friendly.

Pineapple Trail - Stesen Nanas Kampung Alor Bukit

It was very hectic for us who join the Sahabat Media Cuti-cuti 1 Malaysia organised by Tourism Malaysia, mmode sdn. bhd and Santai Travel Magazine since we have to rush here and there fulfilling the hosts' needs. However at the end of the day it ended with full of satisfaction and fun when we finally arrive at Star rated hotels to freshen up, rest and sleep before continuing with the following day itenaries.

If the conclusion of the FAM trip does not end up with satisfaction, many will just give up after their first expereince but most of the member of the group are repeaters. I myself has not missed any of the trip since I join them for the Ipoh trip in May 2014. However in appreciation for the organiser and our host we are required to write and share our experience. This trip is in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2014, VMY2014.

From 12 to 14 August, I joined the trip to Johor and our first stop was at the Stesen Nanas Alor Bukit in the Pontian district.
We arrived at about 1.30 just nice for lunch of Nasi Nanas served at the Balai Serbaguna Janaplasma, Stesen Nanas Alor Bukit hosted by Bahagian Pembangunan Teknologi Nanas (BPTN) of Lembaga Perindustrian Nanas Malaysia

Arriving Stesen Nanas Alor Bukit on a hot sunny midday, it was so refreshing to be greeted with chunks of succulent Nanas, so juicy.  

Pineapple was first cultivated in the Malay Peninsular by Mr Lee Kong Chian (now Tan Sri Dato' Dr) who is also the owner of OCBC Bank. This first pineapple farm is still operating at Parit Sikom in Pontian Kecil and we saw the farm from far when we visited the Nictar Bee Farm (more on this in another post).

At the pineaple farm we were briefed by Encik Adiasrol who told us that the 300 acre farm is the largest peat soil research site in the world. Out of the area, 260 acres were used for pineapple research while the other 40 acres still under oil palm. Pineapple is one of the most popular exotic fruits used in cocktails, appetisers and desserts.

Most of us too were surprised that there are actually 80 varieties of pineapple and all the varieties and most them are planted on the research site. Read more about this compound fruit HERE.

Bahagian Pembangunan Teknologi Nanas also had successfully grow a new species named Nanas Manis MD2  a new variety hybrid and sweeter than the popular Josapine vareity. Nanas Manis MD2's skin golden yellow when ripe. The fruits is uniform weight of between 1.3 - 2.5 kg and 5cm - 10cm in size.This species is less fibruous, sweeter and can fetch a market price of RM5.00 a kilo. We were then given the opportunity to taste the sweet and juicy Nanas Manis MD2 and many of us eat until we felt the stinging effect on the tongue, a normal reaction if we eat too much pineapple. 

There was a lesson that we learn about the effect of the stinging sensation from Mr Haleem of Nistar Bee farm. The cuplrit is Glomalin . 


What is more interesting is that I has the opportunity to take home a souvenir in the form of the MD2 crown and hope to plant it on home ground. 

Well, our first afternoon can be considered Kembara Nanas since it was all about pineapple from the time we disembark the comfort of the airconditioned coach into the hot sun at Stesen Nanas Alor Bukit until we reach Hotel Double Tree in Johor Bahru City.  

The pineapple research station is open to knowledge seeking visitors and you can contact: 
LEMBAGA PERINDUSTRIAN NANAS MALAYSIA
Wisma Nanas, No 5, Jalan Padi Mahsuri,
Bandar Baru Uda,
81200 Johor Bahru
Tel: +607 2361211 /012 / +607 2351337 / 587
Fax : +607 2365694
email : umum@mpib.gov.my

A visit to any pineapple farm can be another tourism product that can be promoted by tour operators. Tourist not only can savour the fresh juicy pineapple right from the plant itself - hot from the farm. It is also part of marketing and can help pineapple farmers make some extra income. 


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