Did you know that there are two parts to Malaysia? I didn't until we moved to Singapore and started learning our SE Asian geography. There is Peninsular Malaysia (that houses the main cities like Kuala Lampur and Penang) and there is Eastern Malaysia occupying part of the island of Borneo (which is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei).
This month, our virtual travel is inspired by actual travel. In the middle of the month, we will be taking a trip to Malaysian Borneo, just an hour and a half from our home in Singapore.
For our Kenya visit, a quick Amazon search and a visit to National Geographic's website were a big leap to get us on our way. For Malaysia, it's been much harder to find books, photos and resources. Considering that Malaysia is our neighbor to the north, only a 30 minute drive away, I was surprised by how difficult it was.
But the good part was that it made me reach out into different communities. I've come across some great family travel blogs and reached out to those travelers. I've been in touch with local book stores to see what they have to offer. I've contacted some other bloggers who write about children's books in Asia. (see favorite links in the sidebar). So what seemed like an uphill battle at the beginning has turned into a rewarding search. We like to get off the beaten path when we travel, so it's exciting to get a little off the beaten path in our Whirls and Twirls travels too.
Here's the tentative plan for this month's trip. The reading will be ongoing and the other activities we will do throughout the month, posting about them as we go. To find links to each activity, check out our Malaysia album.
Reading: Our 5 children's books and 1 grown-up book are picked and in hand.
Field Tripping: Trip to Borneo (orangutan reserve, national parks and cultural center) and the Singapore Orchid Garden
Cooking: Pandan Chiffon Cupcakes
Making Music: Dikir barat
Crafting: Collage, Kid-friendly Batik, 3-D Rainforest Collage, leaf stamping, proboscis monkey puppet, and rhinoceros hornbill paper craft
Giving Back: Donation to Orangutan Foundation International, an organization working to save the orangutans, whose Bornean and Sumatran habitats are in grave danger.
We're packed and ready to go! Here's some photos of Malaysia to get us excited for the trip:
(from our own photo library of previous trips to Malaysia)
(and the following photos courtesy of National Geographic)
*Map graphic from worldatlas and flag graphic from The World Flag Database