Tuesday, January 26, 2010


From : http://travel.nst.com.my/Current_News/TravelTimes/article/TravelSavvy/20080803103440/Article/index_html

ZULKIFLI Ismail or Zack, has been in the travel industry for over two decades. He was bitten by the travel bug early in his life when he lived in Kuching, Sarawak (where his father served as an army officer), and he turned the huge State into his travel “playground”.

He spent 15 years in Malaysia Airlines and 7 years in other Airlines, working in inflight services, reservations, ticketing, controler pre- and post-departures,traffic and sales. Later he moved on to be assistant sales manager for the Royal Jordanian Airlines in Kuala Lumpur before plunging headlong into the tourism industry.

Running a programme called Continuing Tourism Related Education (CTRE) and doing product updates for over 250 members of the Malaysian Bumiputra Tourist Guide Association are currently his priorities.

He plans to set up his own travel agency consultant and a tourism school. It will be called Professional Tourism Academy and it will manage a training centre for professional tourist guides and others who wish to acquire skills like ticketing and reservation.

Tell us about your most interesting travel experience.
At a recent CTRE programme at Tasik Raban, Perak, 90 members went fishing and then grilled the catch on the spot. The siakap, toman, sebarau and a deer that we bought from the deer farm for BBQ were delicious,
Another trip was to Pulau Kapas for squid jigging. The sea was calm but many members were seasick.
We also visited a unique school for monkeys in Marang where Haji Lah trains them to pluck coconuts. The primates have a strange habit — after coming down from the tree, they would take a bath at a nearby well.

Have you ever had a really bad experience?
A near accident on a trip up north. A bus veered into our lane and missed us by a cat’s whisker. On another occasion, our bus broke down at 3am on the highway near the Rawang rest stop and we were stranded for five hours.

How best do you unwind on your holiday?
Relaxing in a cosy resort with a good view of the sea and sunset.

What type of holidays do you prefer?
The hills, a river cruise and island hopping.

Who do you usually go holiday with?
Like-minded colleagues who are not fussy about sharing costs.

What can’t you leave home without when you travel?
My camera, handphone, torchlight, medications and first aid kit etc.

Which is your favourite holiday destination in Malaysia? Does it also give you the best holiday memory?
Sarawak, where I met my Iban friends while studying at Penrissen Secondary School. I had a scare when a picture of me taken at the Bako National Park showed a being with long fangs standing behind me!

What’s the best hotel you’ve stayed in so far?
Nexus Carambunai Hotel in Sabah.

What or who do you miss most when you go away on vacation?
I miss my late parents.

What do you hate most while travelling?
Waiting in line, check-in delays and lack of service.

Where next would you like to go?
Definitely Sabah — Mt Kinabalu, the islands and Nexus Karambunai and Clubmed

Where would you recommend your friend to go?
Sabah and Sarawak. There’s more Nature there and varied ethnic communities.

What was the best thing you bought on your travel and where?
T-shirts with prints of nature photographs, a beads and pearls necklace at the Filipino Market in Sabah.

What was the best food you ever tasted during your travel and where?
Food at a seafood restaurant on the way to Pulau Gaya in Sabah. The prawns were very cheap. I also like salted ikan terubuk in Kuching, Sarawak.

Are you a compulsive traveller or do you follow your budget and itinerary carefully?
I may, at times, just get up and go on a holiday.

Any advice or tips for travellers?
Be careful with your valuables, including your wallet, cash and jewellery. Do your homework and know who you are dealing with when making tour arrangements. Don’t simply be sold by the hype.

Any comment on Malaysian tourism: places of interest, services, etc?
Operators and authorities should maintain a high standard of service like providing hygienic toilets and clean rooms. Signages should be accurate and clearly visible, not hidden behind trees.