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Author Topic: Malaysia pilgrimage  (Read 934 times)

Finca La Isla

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Malaysia pilgrimage
« on: September 04, 2018, 10:35:46 PM »
My son and I recently made a trip to Malaysia, something Iíd been contemplating for awhile.  Thereís a lot to experience and  I wanted to prioritize learning about growing fruits from people who have been growing them for generations, see the fruits in the markets, then eat the food, see some nature...
With this thread Iíd like to report on this trip over the next days  and hear from others, share their experiences from S.E. Asia..
The first day we met up with Lindsay who was guiding another forum member, Micah and his wife Nicole.  We were East of KL in Hulu Langat looking for wild durians.  The area is hilly and replete with small durian farms. The locals bring durians out of the hills loaded in baskets on the back of motorbikes.  There are several fruit stands along the winding roads offering mangosteens, Langsat, durian, etc.  As soon as the durians come in they get sold by the piece to people like us or by the pickup load to an intermediary.
Besides D101 we had some nice kampung durian and a good amount of durio oxyleanus and durio lowianus.
This was the perfect start to our more tha 3week trip.  In KL we were still getting used to the 14 hours of difference between Malaysia and CR when we headed up to Penang.  We had been told that the durian season was finished in Penang but decided to go anyway.  Over the course of this trip we were advised off and on by Lindsay and we connected with her friend Eric at Greenacres farm on Penang for an extraordinary day sampling fruits at his place.  Besides excellent pulusan and one of my favorite durians of the trip, Goldfish, he had some interesting concoctions, many made from nutmeg husk.  A nutmeg cold drink, a cider, etc. 
From Penang we rented a car to drive across the peninsula to the east coast, looking for more fruits. That report to come...






Ethan

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2018, 11:43:01 PM »
Wow, what an exciting time, safe travels!

Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2018, 03:03:28 PM »
In Malaysia thereís lots of great food but thereís a special prepared fruit dish called Rojak.  Itís a bowl of fresh fruit cut into bite sized pieces that is covered with a spicy sauce based on tamarind and chiliís. Then they sprinkle course ground peanuts on top of that,
After our bowl of rojak we hit the road especially keeping an eye out for roadside fruit stands.  It wasnít long before we saw something worth stopping for, tampoi, our first on this trip.  Driving along to the east we saw lots of signs cautioning us to be careful about tapirs and elephants.  Unfortunately we werenít that lucky. Lots of durian as always.  From a distance the forest in Malaysia looks a lot like in CR until you get up close and see how different the individual trees are. 
Later heading down the east coast we found garcinia forbesii.  They are beautiful little trees with bright red fruits that are sweet with a decidedly apple like taste. At this point we were also seeing a lot of salak for sale by the side of the road.  Interestingly salak, longan, and even mata Kuching were more expensive than mangosteen and lansium.. Iím going to try and post a pic of the g. forbesii.
Peter


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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2018, 06:59:34 PM »
Excellent. The only downside to my trip this summer was no one with me to share fabulous durian with. Kampung durian were excellent.

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2018, 09:44:45 AM »
What an amazing place Malaysia is.  It becomes nonstop action packed adventure, especially if you are Lindsay Ďs itinerary. 
We enjoyed so many fruits on my bucket list.  Many that we grow...now I know how they really taste and Iím happy to have some of them in the earth and picking up speed.
Durio lowianus many types, D kinabaluensis, D kutejensis, D  zib tekka being a new favorite for me, D graveolens yellow,orange,and red, Magnifera wani, M pajang, Garcinia mesta, G forbesii, Dabai ( wow!!!), enkala, many chempedaks (I agree, winner),  Bauccarrea sp 3types. 
We ended up going to Borneo.  Got to visit a jungle lodge and saw many monkeys, elephant  , many bird types, and orangutans at the sanctuary . 

That was great to meet you Peter and enjoy some durians with a fellow fruit grower.  The fruit world seems is kinda small.  Who wouldíve thought Iíd meet a felllow forum member across the world , away from both our homes.
I was happy to see your son with you sharing the enthusiasm, hope my kids will carry on the legacy here.
Aloha!

Future

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2018, 10:28:14 AM »
Curious as to your return itinerary. If passing through Singapore, do stop at Durian Mpire 717 at the airport.

Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2018, 03:51:11 PM »
Leaving peninsular Malaysiaís east coast we crossed from Kuantan, Pahang towards KL.  This crossing, much further to the south than when we first went east  is more densely populated and full of orchards.  Unfortunately most of those tree crops are oil palm but it is impressive how much land is dedicated to growing durians, especially. Also we drove past large mangosteen plantings and lansium.
What we heard is that most export durian comes from Thailand because of the way itís harvested but that with a new quicker freezing method Malaysia is about to break in to the durian export business in a big way, especially to China with Musang King.  Talk is that oil palm is already being converted to durian!
Anyway, central Malaysia already has lots of durian planted and you see projects with young grafted trees.

We passed up Sarawak and went directly to KK in Sabah.  We stayed at a place called Sugar Hill Borneo that is a homestay on a hobby fruit farm.  Super nice people with lots of different durians, different Borneo mangoes, the usual mangosteen, lansium, even for a surprise, Brunei Cherry!
We had rented a car again at the Kota Kinabalu airport and so off we went to Keningau and Tenom. Super beautiful.  We visited two durian farms with a guide recommended by Lindsay and that was a great experience.  Lots of durian and we ate the best musang king of the trip there.  Like some other farms we visited some of the trees are being top worked to convert to musang king and black thorn.  Keningau and temon get two harvests a year and seem like particularly good places to grow these fruits.
Iíll post photos of this farm that was difficult to get to.  Itís on the edge of the wilds of Borneo!  We also got a grafting demo on this tour.  In the photos youíll see the topworked tree and the guys grafting technique.









Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2018, 08:07:30 PM »
Tenom hosts the Borneo agro Park.  We went twice to see this immense collection of fruit trees in production.  The first day we spent about 4-5 hours walking around then went back the next day to have a tour conducted by the fruit tree curator, Mathew Clarence.  We saw so many different trees and were able to collect a lot of seeds.  We saw durio testudinarium flowering, ate an amazing d. Kutejensis.  Collected weird stuff like Nam Nam, got an improved quality of governors plum.  Many garcinias Iíd never heard of, some strange ones with fruit thatís not bad, g. Cambogia. The guy wanted to share and he had some stuff from here that he wasnít sure about.  We showed him how to eat Akee, how to pick Black sapote and Mamey sapote, etc.  What a place!
After Tenom we went to Sipitang which is on the Bay of Brunei.  Sipitang is known for durian and we found the best d. Oxylianus of the trip.  I was looking for a couple of things like baccaurea angulata and some others that we missed but I canít complain.  Probably better to leave something for another trip!
Iím going to post a pic of my son with Clarence and the d. Oxylianus.






Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 10:05:09 PM »
So, getting lots of views here but not so many comments.
Sabah, Borneo is great for traveling in.  Itís cheaper than CR, safer, and thereís lots to see everywhere.  Back in the rental car, driving on the left, we made a long trip back through Kota Kinabalu to Ranau which is at about 600m, 2000í on the lower skirt of the very impressive mt. Kinabalu.  Ranau is very good for durian and we found good kampung durian as well as other durio species at roadside stalls.  Ranau is also where we eventually saw the rafflesia flower.  Lots of good stuff!
We took a few days for eco-tourism towards the end of the trip.  The fruits can get overwhelming and the seed collection more than what was practical to work with.  Thereís lots of stuff to do and the highlight for us was the area near Sandakan, the old colonial capitol.  We focused on Sukau, a river town with a few small lodges that specialize in boat trips on the river to see wildlife.  We saw, in the wild, orangutans, Borneo Pygmy elephants, about 8 different primates, great birds including eagles, two kinds of hornbills, and on and on. 
We didnít summit the peak of Kinabalu but hiked trails on the lower mountain and visited their botanical garden.  Weíve been back for a week and continue to talk with everyone about what a worthwhile experience this trip has been.

Iíve been to a lot of countries and Malaysia certainly stands out as visitor friendly.  That we have in Latin America too but itís safer than countries in the Americas and really has terrific fruits and food.  Have to go back!!
Saludos, Peter







Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2018, 10:08:51 PM »
Photos there, my son at 'Durian way'
Selection of durians at a stand outside Ranau.  Graveleons, zibethinis, and lowianis, I think
Wild elephant at the river.  Itís a member of a group of 60 individuals.

fsanchez2002

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 10:35:06 AM »
Tenom hosts the Borneo agro Park.  We went twice to see this immense collection of fruit trees in production.  The first day we spent about 4-5 hours walking around then went back the next day to have a tour conducted by the fruit tree curator, Mathew Clarence.  We saw so many different trees and were able to collect a lot of seeds.  We saw durio testudinarium flowering, ate an amazing d. Kutejensis.  Collected weird stuff like Nam Nam, got an improved quality of governors plum.  Many garcinias Iíd never heard of, some strange ones with fruit thatís not bad, g. Cambogia. The guy wanted to share and he had some stuff from here that he wasnít sure about.  We showed him how to eat Akee, how to pick Black sapote and Mamey sapote, etc.  What a place!
After Tenom we went to Sipitang which is on the Bay of Brunei.  Sipitang is known for durian and we found the best d. Oxylianus of the trip.  I was looking for a couple of things like baccaurea angulata and some others that we missed but I canít complain.  Probably better to leave something for another trip!
Iím going to post a pic of my son with Clarence and the d. Oxylianus.






Peter: Thanks for the reports; I've been following these and really found them useful/exciting. Seriously. I've been planning a trip to Indonesia and Malaysia hopefully next year. A couple of questions:
1. What's a reasonable amount of time to get to know the entire country reasonably well (including Sarawak which I think you didn't visit). Would 1 week be too short, 2 weeks?

2. Sounds like August is prime time for Durians, but would September or May have good amount of fruits?

3. Do Malaysian customs have any objections to people taking seeds with them out of the country?
4. Did you get to visit any nurseries and do you think it's viable to get grafted plants to be shipped outside Malaysia?
Federico
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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 04:30:29 PM »
Sanchez

In my view you need two weeks. Even if durian isnít your thing, there is lots else to eat. If it is, you are in heaven. Note on visit duration, it is a big country with regions varying quite a lot. Penang has a double  peak this year - early season still around and late season varieties starting in July. Yearofthedurian blog has detailed app showing typical seasons across Asian. We shipped seeds via courier (take your passport) which lead to agents calling others and asking if it was allowed. It was and I found it simple to take the receipt from my first shipment (Penang) when doing a second (Sarawak). The agents were comforted by it and just sent them. We also carried some seeds without issue.  I did see trees for sale but not sure if they were grafted or not and no idea on shipping.

DurianLover

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 07:14:51 PM »
I think live plants out of Malaysia is a bit grey area. As far as I know not allowed,  but law not enforced. However carring any plant material, including fruit or seeds from West Malaysia into Malaysian Borneo states or vice versa not allowed. Around $2500 fine. Whichever part of Malaysia is your departure point,  that's where you have to get your plants.

Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 09:29:48 PM »
Good questions Federico. 
I visited a nursery just outside KK in Sabah, but the best looking material I saw for transporting was in Tenom.  Seemed like a very professional fruit tree nursery brought a lot of trees to a Thursday farmers market.  Iím sure they have a facility locally but I saw them at that market.  Very nice looking material in good soil that would be easy to wash away and prepare for shipping.  Lots of premier grafted durian priced from about $6-$15 depending.  Other grafted fruit trees as well.  That was the best I saw although there are lots of places all over, I understand.  Some more expensive as well as some subsidized nurseries that are cheaper.
There are formalities going between the peninsula and Borneo states, etc.  I never saw anyone checking bags or anything, but we all take our chances.
The time to spend is also a hard one.  The trip is so far and you could need adjustment time for jet lag, etc.  We spent 3 weeks without going to Sarawak.  We were 4 nights in Penang and maybe 3 places that we were 2 nights and the rest one night everywhere.  We could have cut out the eco tourism part and done Sarawak instead but...3 weeks we budgeted, a beautiful trip.
We carried the seeds in carry on through security, those guys arenít looking for that stuff.  Coming through customs the seeds stuffed in all our cargo short pockets.  We purposely flew through London with no stop in the US due to the seed issue.  CR doesnít allow seeds but they just confiscate them and give you a scolding, no fine.  And they donít put you on a list either!  We sailed through.😅

Future

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2018, 04:36:57 PM »
I think live plants out of Malaysia is a bit grey area. As far as I know not allowed,  but law not enforced. However carring any plant material, including fruit or seeds from West Malaysia into Malaysian Borneo states or vice versa not allowed. Around $2500 fine. Whichever part of Malaysia is your departure point,  that's where you have to get your plants.

I checked regulations for transporting fruit from mainland Malaysia to Sarawak and found while there are some restrictions, it is allowed. Would need to search for the site again. I wanted to be able to take Durian, not expecting to find it due to season in Sarawak.  I did notice, only on arrival, stringent regs on things like herbal supplements...which makes sense once you realize there is the death penalty for illegal drugs...

Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2018, 05:42:47 PM »
I guess youíre talking about taking durian in checked luggage? Because you wonít get far trying to take it in the cabin.  Besides hotels, rental cars also ban durian and you can see why.  We had some durian in the car and the smell stubbornly stayed for a few days.  We were wondering who could get the smell out but eventually it went away after about 3-4 days.
You also are not supposed to take mangosteen into hotels or in cars. We figure because it stains. Saw an elevator with a sign banning durian, mangosteen, and terap!
About durian in Sarawak, it could be that while there arenít durian in Kuching there is in Miri.
Peter

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2018, 06:14:07 PM »
Sounds like a great trip, a trip of a lifetime, Peter and Micah. Thanks for all the reports and photos Peter. Did you get to see the Tropical Fruit botanical garden in Penang. They had a pretty interesting collection and a food shop with lots of items made with the fruits.
Never been to Borneo, but would love to go. Definitely number one on my fruit safari list. Been trying to get Lindsay to do a Borneo tour for the longest time. She claimed maybe this December? But never got a definite from her.
Oscar

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2018, 08:50:30 PM »
I guess youíre talking about taking durian in checked luggage? Because you wonít get far trying to take it in the cabin.  Besides hotels, rental cars also ban durian and you can see why.  We had some durian in the car and the smell stubbornly stayed for a few days.  We were wondering who could get the smell out but eventually it went away after about 3-4 days.
You also are not supposed to take mangosteen into hotels or in cars. We figure because it stains. Saw an elevator with a sign banning durian, mangosteen, and terap!
About durian in Sarawak, it could be that while there arenít durian in Kuching there is in Miri.
Peter

Yes checked luggage.

fsanchez2002

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2018, 09:49:28 PM »
Good questions Federico. 
I visited a nursery just outside KK in Sabah, but the best looking material I saw for transporting was in Tenom.  Seemed like a very professional fruit tree nursery brought a lot of trees to a Thursday farmers market.  Iím sure they have a facility locally but I saw them at that market.  Very nice looking material in good soil that would be easy to wash away and prepare for shipping.  Lots of premier grafted durian priced from about $6-$15 depending.  Other grafted fruit trees as well.  That was the best I saw although there are lots of places all over, I understand.  Some more expensive as well as some subsidized nurseries that are cheaper.
There are formalities going between the peninsula and Borneo states, etc.  I never saw anyone checking bags or anything, but we all take our chances.
The time to spend is also a hard one.  The trip is so far and you could need adjustment time for jet lag, etc.  We spent 3 weeks without going to Sarawak.  We were 4 nights in Penang and maybe 3 places that we were 2 nights and the rest one night everywhere.  We could have cut out the eco tourism part and done Sarawak instead but...3 weeks we budgeted, a beautiful trip.
We carried the seeds in carry on through security, those guys arenít looking for that stuff.  Coming through customs the seeds stuffed in all our cargo short pockets.  We purposely flew through London with no stop in the US due to the seed issue.  CR doesnít allow seeds but they just confiscate them and give you a scolding, no fine.  And they donít put you on a list either!  We sailed through.😅
Thanks guys, great information! Sounds like it's an ideal destination and requires a good 2 weeks, but well worth it. In the ideal world I would combine with a fruithunting trip to Thailand. Sounds like fruit season in Thailand is may-Jun and Malaysia maybe more Jun-aug, so maybe late june is ideal?
Federico
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Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2018, 10:16:13 PM »
Timing is tricky and is the random factor for fruit hunting.  First off it depends on what fruits you are looking for.  June would probably be very good for Penang which is convienent to Thailand and a great place to spend time.  Penang has good durians but nowhere has it all.  Borneo can probably be divided into 3 areas that have different seasons.
For durians Lindsay's page, year of the durian, will post predicted harvest times based on her experience and constant consultation with her numerous sources.
Some places, not Penang, have two seasons a year.
Peter

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2018, 08:48:22 AM »





palmcity

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2018, 10:26:30 PM »
So, getting lots of views here but not so many comments.
Great review of trip. I really enjoyed reading.




Finca La Isla

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Re: Malaysia pilgrimage
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2018, 09:20:38 AM »
Thanks a lot, we really enjoyed the trip, it especially made a profound impression on my son.  Iím a little hard pressed to come up with something at least as good for the future. Weíre still talking about it every day!
Peter

 

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