Profit Blogging Bootcamp – Malaysia’s blogging workshop

Steven Wong, one of my good friend, who is also a co-founder of the first ever Blogging Seminar in Malaysia which started in July 2007 came up with their series of blogging workshop here in Kuala Lumpur. Steven made a podcast with me in August 2007, in which he is using my website and blog as their teaching tools to their students on how you can earn a living by blogging online.

This time – again – this blog and my website will be featured in his workshop. It is an honour for this blog to be the example, in which I don’t think it deserves it, as there are so many other blogs that earns more than what I have earned right now.

I think this workshop is suitable for you if:

  1. You are looking for an option to earn additional income to cover your ever increasing expenses, day in-day out by blogging.
  2. You have a blog, but still do not know how to correctly monetize your blog.
  3. You have a non-Wordpress blog, but want to know the powerful features in WordPress which could drives your blog to the next level.

You will be teach on:Steven Wong

  1. Step-by-step instructions and hands-on guide to help you setup your first blog;
  2. How to look for good themes which are free, to make your blog more presentable and professional;
  3. What are “plug-ins” and how to find useful plug-ins to enhance and optimize the functionality of your blog;
  4. How to legally find and post beautiful images, hot videos and music on your site for FREE
  5. How to legally get content for your blog without you ever having to write a single word.
  6. How to drive visitors to your blog and legally steal traffic from other blogs.
  7. How to attract free natural search engine traffic.
  8. How to optimize your site and get indexed by Google and other search engines in the next 48 hours.
  9. How to maximize your profit from your blog, and discover the best monetization methods available to you
  10. How to build a passive or constant stream of future cash flow of income

I must say that anyone of us can have and write a blog, but not all of us know how to make the blog “work” for you. Most of us “work” for the blog to earn money…

So, if you are living near Klang Valley (sorry Sabahan in Sabah!), try checking out Steven’s official page on the promotion. It will surely add value to your blogging carrier.
http://AsiaOnlineMastery.com

Reader’s Mailbag: Climbing Kinabalu with children

I received another email this morning. Patrick asked me about climbing Mount Kinabalu with his children. If you have climbed Kinabalu with your children before, please share with us your opinion. Here is his email:

Hi Ruhaizad

Thanks for the Kinabalu newsletter that I have just received, it was very helpful. I am climbing Mount Kinabalu at the end of July with 3 children aged 10 and 11, I wonder if you could help me avoid any serious mistakes and help me improve our chances of reaching the summit, please? A little about ourselves…

I’m 52, British, married to a Malaysian from Sarawak. The children are my son, 11, daughter, 10, and a niece, 11, from the interior. I attach a photo to help you see (I’m standing with my wife and son, and my daughter has black hair).

All 3 children are fit (though not particularly trained in endurance), especially my daughter and the niece. I have been training since November and now consider myself quite fit, by UK standards anyway. None of us have any medical issues, except my son is quite prone to nosebleeds… I would appreciate your comment as to whether you think this could be a serious issue at higher altitudes.
It is good for you to exclude other medical problems that related to your child’s nosebleed with you family doctor. Some illnesses that are related to easily bleeding (such as platelet problems and haemophilia) may become worsen in high altitude due to increasing external stressor. If all other things excluded and your child nosebleed is nothing more than Little’s area capillary fragility, then it would be safe to climb with some precaution of recurrence and the simple treatment during the climb.

We have been to the base of Kinabalu before and stayed for a few days, we understand the need to acclimatise, so plan to stay at Kundasang for 2 1/2 days before starting the climb.
Generally, climbers of Kinabalu do not have to acclimatise at Kundasang, as the altitude is not that high for training. Acclimatisation will usually occurs along the way up the mountain, with most climbers will feel some changes at the level of Pondok Mempening. You just have to climb slowly, and most climbers have sufficient time acclimatising at Laban Rata.

The week before last we climbed 3000′ up one of the UK’s highest mountains, and managed that OK – 2 weeks before we come we will repeat that.

That’s the positives! The negatives include the fact we havent booked accommodation yet, either on Kinabalu or Kundesang, nor booked a guide. Wonder if you could advise on these, please? We stayed at Pine Lodge in Kundasang before, which was fine, though there were roadworks there then and the walk from the market to Pine Lodge was rather difficult especially at night. My wife is not joining us for the climb, she will wait for us in Kundasang. I have read the Sutera site – is that the best (or only?) place to book?
Yes, unfortunately, Sutera Sanctuary Lodges is the only accommodation provider for Mount Kinabalu climbers – at least for the ordinary climbers. However, if you are adventurous enough, Mountaintorq is another option, in which you have to take their via ferrata package to get up the summit.

Although we are from UK, we come to Malaysia in order to see relatives (rather than as tourists) and need to work on a fairly small budget. Though obviously without compromising safety, and without making it so difficult that we noticeably reduce our chances of reaching the summit.

Do you have any advice for us? Hope to hear back from you soon, please use ‘reply-all’.
Most of the advice on climbing Kinabalu is here in this blog and my website. I hope you will find it helpful.

Thanks,
Patrick

Anybody wants to give opinions?

Reader’s mailbag: An email from Deric on Kinabalu

I received an email this morning from one of our readers who would like to know more about the mountain guide fee for his climb. Deric sent his email with an attachment from SSL website’s information on the guide fees. My comments & answers will be in purple.

Hi, I’m Deric from Penang.
Actually I have tight budge.. so thinking of save as much as possible.
I would like to get some advice from u.

I plan to book Airasia ticket round trip which cost RM200 and Tune Hotels in Kota Kinabalu for 3 nights for RM90 in this September.
While staying in Tune Hotel in Kota Kinabalu may save you some cost for accommodation, the distance from Tune Hotel to the city center may cost you some money. For your information, Tune Hotel is about 12km away to the outskirt of Kota Kinabalu. So, you may have to take a bus (in which, they may provide) to get to the city center for your sightseeing. 1Borneo, a new & modern shopping complex which is adjacent to Tune Hotel is also not that cheap.

And for sure, I plan to have Kinabalu mountain climbing. But I would like to know about how much I have to pay 🙂

I visited http://www.suterasanctuarylodges.com/ and find out the price list.

As show below:
2. Mountain Guide Fees
Timpohon Gate / Peak / Timpohon Gate
1-3 Climbers – RM70.00 per trip
4-6 Climbers – RM74.00 per trip
7-8 Climbers – RM80.00 per trip
Timpohon / Peak / Mesilau Trail
* Starting and ending at different point
1-3 Climbers – RM80.00 per trip
4-6 Climbers – RM86.00 per trip
7-8 Climbers – RM92.00 per trip
Mesilau Trail / Peak / Mesilau Trail
1-3 Climbers – RM84.00 per trip
4-6 Climbers – RM90.00 per trip
7-8 Climbers – RM100.00 per trip

What are differences within these 3 packages?
As it stated there, you will start and end at different places, according to the packages. Most first time climbers will take the Timpohon / Peak / Timpohon, in which the shorter trail compared to Mesilau / Peak / Mesilau. The price for each package is also tailored to their respective distance; the shorter the distance, the cheaper it is.

Do I need to sum it up to make me reach the summit?
No. But it will be cheaper for you if you climb in a group. Bigger group will save some more.

I calculated other payment as listed in website and it costs RM50.
Is there any other hidden charge that I need to know?

All the charges will usually be stated in SSL website, and you have to contact them directly to get the information. However, the other additional costs would be the climbing permit, entrance fee, insurance, transport (from Kinabalu Park to Timpohon Gate), certificate and porter (optional).

Perhaps if u know what is usual cost to if want to reach the summit?
I used to pay less than RM250 couple of years back, but with SSL’s new systems, you need to pay more than RM500, I think…

Pls share with me…..

Thanks a lot!!!!

Anymore suggestion of answers?

I need your help… I am writing a book on Mount Kinabalu

Yes. I am writing a book about Mount Kinabalu. A true physical book, that you can own, read and write on it. Not just some online PDF copy of an ebook. I did published an ebook about climbing Kinabalu 2 years back which you could get it for only USD7 (donation), but think I it needs a revamp and updates.

I am planning to publish the best few selected post from this blog to be included in the book, mainly on the tips and guidelines which will benefit any climbers who planned to climb Mount Kinabalu.

I will also includes some of the important information on climbing Mount Kinabalu which are in the website. But I will not mention anything about how sucks it is with the booking process.

It will just be a writing of how-to guide to prepare the climb, without mentioning any issues, as I think by the time this book is widely available, the issues should be resolved.

If you don’t mind, I would really love to hear some feedback and suggestion from you regarding my intention.

  1. Are the articles on the climbing tips enough or do I need to write some more? (You may check the articles from the Articles page).
  2. If not, what are the areas that I should cover?
  3. What would be the suitable book title for it? Can “Kinabalu Blog” be a book title?
  4. Should I add Kota Kinabalu and my background Rungus extended family to be featured inside the book?
  5. Do you have your own personal opinion?

I am also looking for a local publisher to help me on this book project, as getting some online publisher to do the task seems costly. Do you have any suggestion on any good publisher here in KK?

The aim of the book is to be the most lightweight and handy travel guide book on climbing the majestic mountain of Borneo.

Anybody knows what does the climber’s insurance covers?

For those who have climbed Mount Kinabalu before: Did you notice that you paid RM7 (USD2.15) for an insurance coverage?

And do you know what does the insurance covers? Against injuries? Bad weather? Cancellation?

It struck me yesterday when I received an email from one of our readers, Tan Boh Seng. She was asking about that insurance issue, and I personally did not realize it as an issue until she gave me her story.

Hi,

I hope you can enlighten me on the insurance coverage which everyone has to pay to climb Mt Kinabalu. What does it cover?

Recently (about 1 week ago), my sister-in-law fractured her ankle on her way down from Summit to Sayat-Sayat. She has to pay RM100 for a porter to carry her down to Laban Rata and the following day she has to pay RM800 for 5 porters (taking turns) to carry her down (piggy back) to Timpohan from Laban Rata. Her ankle is now being treated in Kuala Lumpur and in cast.

She appears blur about the insurance coverage. I could not locate any FAQ on this topic. I would appreciate your kind feedback.

Thank you.

Tan Boh Seng

I could not answer her question at this moment, because I don’t have any clue. I replied to her about it, and will be searching for an answer in the next few days.

If you have any, just drop us your comment.

Please help Kristina & her daughter…

I actually received Kristina’s email 9 days ago. However, my life has been really occupied for the past couple of weeks. And for some other reason, I missed her important email.

When I did some cleaning of my inbox today, I found her email in my draft box. In short, she is looking for her memory card and possibly her digital camera, in which, she left the items in a taxi.

If anybody could help, please drop your comment in the comment box below. This is her email:

Hello! Me and my daughter Karin stayed and climbed in Mount Kinabalu park between 22-24 of may. We were in your reception this saturday, 24th, about 5 pm, to take a taxi to Kota Kinabalu. We used your luggage room several times.

We went with one of the taxis outside your office. We forgot a camera in the taxi and wonder if you have any possiblity to ask the driver if he have seen our camera. The camera brand is Vivitar in a black case. We just want the memorycard, the camera is not importent. We are mother and daughter from sweden, we hope you remember us.

If you find it PLEASE send the memorycard to:
Kristina Carlsson
Gladhem
61032 Vikbolandet
Sweden

Please send an email, we can pay if anyone fund it.
gladhem(at)hotmail.com
phone: 0046709561108
or 004611344166

Thanks
Best regards
Kristina and Karin

Try booking your Kinabalu climbing package through Kumuka

Hmm… Long list of disgruntled climbers jot down their comments in few of my blog post about how sucks it is to contact SSL directly to get a place to climb. It has been few months since my post about Kumuka.com, one of the international tour and travel provider whom seems to be able to pre-book Kinabalu climb for 5+ people each months.

Oh wait… They actually have 5+ availability each months for their 2d1n AND the same availability for 3d2n trip. That makes them having at least 10+ beds at Laban Rata.

I don’t know how did they manage to do that. If you can look into the screenshot below, they even have their own pre-booked dates up until JUNE 2010.

If you check from Kumuka.com website (my affiliate advertiser), they put USD315 for 2d1n and USD370 for 3d2n. If you convert it to RM, you may have to burn RM1128 for 3d2n or RM967 for 2d1n packages. That looks like overpriced, but you cannot complain when the service provider is an international company.

The 3d2n packages will include 2 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, all activities and entrance fees as per itinerary, local guides, mountain guide, park naturalist (I have never heard about park naturalist before. But I hope they meant Sabah Park Renjers). On this trip you will stay in twin bedded cabins (read: not the ordinary Medang and Menggilan Hostel) at Kinabalu Park, and in Laban Rata Guesthouse on Mt Kinabalu.

The 2d1n packages will include 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 dinner, all activities and entrance fees as per itinerary & guiding on tour with mountain guide. Accommodation on this tour is at Laban Rata Guesthouse on Mount Kinabalu.

Sigh… It looks overpriced for an average Malaysian climbers, as I spent less than RM300 (~USD95) in my last climb up the mountain couple of years back.

But, if you don’t mind forking out some money for a trip of a lifetime (or could rob a bank to get that much money), try booking your trip with them. So far, nobody emailed me anything about this international services. No feedback received for their good or bad services. No news at all.

So, I would suggest climbers, international especially, to try and book your climbing package through them. It may saves you some money making international call to SSL, in which sometimes your call will be ignored.

Help me by booking through my affiliate link here:
http://tinyurl.com/6cmb98

You will then be directed to a new window. All you have to do then is click “Asia”, and you will be shown a whole lot list of Asian tour packages. Scroll down, until you see Mount Kinabalu climbing packages, with the code of ASB7 and ASB8.

Click “More info”, and you will be directed to their description page. Read it carefully and scroll down until you see their Important Information (typed in RED):

Any references to availability or non availability of tours which include the trek to the summit of Mt Kinabalu, listed beside the departure dates on our website, should be treated as a guide only. Whilst Kumuka endeavours to keep this information as current as possible please keep in mind that the availability of beds at the Resthouses on the mountain is limited, and can change rapidly, and we cannot guarantee availability for the trek.

So, it seems that they also have minor issues on the availability of the beds in Laban Rata, heh?

Anyway, after scrolling down some more, you will then see the “Departures” start and end date. See which dates that you intended to go, and look at the “Availability”. Click “Book Tour” if you have find the dates that you planned to go.

Just get ready with your credit card. I really hope that you can book and secure a bed up in Laban Rata.

My opinion?

If you are an international climber (means non-Malaysian, or even Singaporean, Brunei or Indonesian), it is a good option to book from them. Yes, it is slightly overpriced, but for the packages and the services, we could not complain much.

If you are a Malaysian, then try to contact them by phone directly. It seems that the administration for SSL is currently held by Sutera Harbour. They claimed that their services are improving. You may want to proof that they are right. Google their link and get their phone number from there.

Again, here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/6cmb98

Good Luck!

Kinabalu National Park Headquarters Trail Map

I received an email form one of our readers regarding other trails in Kinabalu Park. Swen Vetters wrote:

We (3 adults and 1 child) would be interested to visit the Mt Kinabalu Park just for some trails around the headquarter and maybe a transport to the end of the road just to some view points, but not climbing to the peak.

Are there trails around the headquarter to lookout points ? Is there a possibility to drive just until the end of the road, where the climbing usually starts ? What are the fees to pay for the before mentioned ?

Thanks in advance for your kind feedback

Best regards and have a nice day

In fact, there are other trails in Kinabalu Park Headquarters for those who would like to explore. All of the trails are situated inside the park and they will not leads you to the Summit Trail which is the main trail to Low’s Peak.

The forest around the Kinabalu Park Headquarters is always beautiful, whether it is lit by the first rays of the sun over the eastern ridge, shadowed by passing clouds at midday or veiled in drifting mists at evening.

A number of walking trails have been developed around the Park HQ ranging in length from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours. These trails are marked on the trail maps (below) available at Park HQ. Remember that times given are approximate and vary greatly depending on how fit you are and how often you stop.

The trails around the headquarters can be divided into two basic groups – Ridgetop Trails and Streamside Trails.

Kinabalu Park Headquarters Trail Map

RIDGETOP TRAILS

Kiau View Trail (estimated time: 90 minutes one way)
This starts by the entrance arch into the Kinabalu Park and comes out just after the 1.5km (1 mile) mark on the Power Station road opposite the entrance to the Silau-Silau Trail. A wide undulating ridge trail with several shelters and good views looking down to the west coast, it is excellent for familiarizing yourself with the most typical trees of Kinabalu’s mountain forest.

Pandanus Trail (estimated time: 20 minutes to Kiau View Trail)

This is part of the route for the World Mountain Running Trophy Race that took place at the Kinabalu Park in September 1999. It starts just opposite the entrance to the car park at the Administration Building, zigzagging up the side of the ridge to reach the Kiau View Trail at the ridge crest.

Bukit Ular Hillside Trail (estimated time: 30 minutes)
A fairly steep trail that contours around the side of Bukit Ular near the top end of the Power Station road. It starts about two-thirds of the way up the Power Station road coming out just behind the Power Station itself. A steep 30 minutes detour just below the Power Station leads to the top of Bukit Ular with excellent waterfall and mountain views.

Bundu Tuhan View Trail (estimated time: 7 minutes to the ridgetop shelter; 25 minutes to Liwagu Trail)
Starts from the loop road below the staff quarters near the Conservation Center. The trails leads up to a shelter on top of the ridge above the main highway to Ranau which gives good views of Bundu Tuhan village and a panorama of the southern mountains, including Trusmadi (2642m), the second highest peak in Sabah. Then continue down the side of the ridge to the Liwagu Trail.

Bukit Tupai Trail (estimated time: 25 minutes)
A short trail that starts near the Multipurpose Hall, crosses the Silau-Silau stream and trail goes straight up to the ridge crest and the Bukit Tupai shelter. Excellent views of the HQ complex, the tree canopy and in clear weather outstanding views of Mount Kinabalu. At the ridge crest it joins the Mempening and Bukit Burong trails.

Bukit Burong Trail (estimated time: 10 minutes to Silau-Silau, 25 minutes to Bukit Burong)
Starts from the road, first crossing the Silau-Silau stream and trail, then going gradually up the ridge side to the Bukit Burong shelter at the top. The trail connects to the Mempening Trail via the Bukit Tupai shelter. They are favorites with visitors because of the variety and convenience, combining hill forest, cool stream valley and dry ridge tops. Bukit Burong shelter gives five panoramas of Kinabalu, the lower Liwagu valley and the HQ area.

Mempening Trail (estimated time: 30 minutes from road to Silau-Silau)
Another ridgetop trail starting about half way up the Power Station road and leading down the ridge through dense oak-chestnut forest to Bukit Tupai and the Silau-Silau stream. Good views of the Park HQ complex and the Liwagu valley.

STREAMSIDE TRAILS

Silau-Silau Trail (estimated time: 50 minutes from Power Station road to Liwagu River)
This follows the cool and mossy Silau-Silau stream for nearly all its course from its source below the Kiau Gap right down to the junction with the Liwagu river near the overhanging rock of the Liwagu Cave. Many visitors enjoy walking this trail in conjunction with another one such as Bukit Burong or Kiau View. A detour joining the Bukit Tupai Trail is made in one area to avoid the Mountain GArden. Short cuts back to the road can be taken near the twin-bed cabins and where the path joins the Bukit Tupai and Bukit Burong trails.

Liwagu River Trail (estimated time: 3 hours from Power Station down to Silau-Silau junction)
The Liwagu Trail starts near the Kinabalu Basam restaurant at Park HQ and leads down to the Silau-Silau stream but does not cross it until the junction with the Liwagu river. From here the trail follows the Liwagu river upwards, sometimes almost along the river bank, at one time on a high bluff, until it joins the Power Station road near the Timpohon Gate. This is a varied trail with ridge forest, cool stream valley, feathery rattan palms and the deep green gorge of the Liwagu itself. The trail is steep and narrow in places but there are several plants not found on other trails.

The best way to walk it is to get a lift to the Power Station and then follow the Liwagu Trail down. Because of its length the trail is not much used and visitors should check to see if there have been any tree falls or landslides recently.

Image courtesy of MySabah.com
References: Globetrotter Visitor’s Guide Kinabalu Park (Globetrotter Visitor’s Guides), by Anthea Phillipps

Upgrading Kinabalu Blog from WordPress 2.1.3 to 2.5.1 completed

The upgrading process of this blog has been long delayed due to some problems. I have been running this blog using WordPress version 2.1.3 for the past 18 months.

Few attempts to upgrade this blog to version 2.2 and 2.3 few months back failed and I had to call Exabytes support to revert the installation. The attempt was done through Fantastico (an automatic web application installer) that was pre-installed into my webhosting server.

I was really tempted to upgrade earlier, but because of the few failed installation before, I did not dare to upgrade, as this blog could go wary again. I was really afraid to loose my blog.

On the other hand, not upgrading to the latest version of WordPress could leads to even nastier outcome, as you can read from around the blogosphere, security issues is the main concern on blogs that runs on old version of WordPress. I don’t want this blog to get hacked.

Luckily today, it occurred to me that all the failed upgrading attempt on this blog was made WITH ALL MY PLUGINS ACTIVATED.

So, I decided to deactivate all my plugins and just do the upgrading. I also switched the blog theme to WordPress Kubrick default, in case the theme gets in the way.

I also made a database back-up, in case anything goes wrong.

I prayed hard, and clicked the “Upgrade” button in my cPanel Fantastico Home for WordPress (from 2.1.3 to 2.5.1) and waited…

To my surprise, my blog came through the upgrading process safely. Although it is using the default theme, I was in a huge relief.

After that process, I activated my plugins – one by one. I noticed that half of the plugins that I had were incompatible with version 2.5.1. Some plugins just did not work, with some others produces gibberish php code on the blog header.

It took me the whole morning getting through the plugins and themes. Hopefully all can be settled in the next couple of days.

Have you upgrade your WordPress?

What have Kinabalu Blog tried to be?

Yes. I sometimes wonder, what have I done to the online Kinabalu community, for the past 3 years mount-kinabalu-borneo.com went online?

I started a website about climbing Kinabalu nearly 3 years ago, just out of curiosity on “making money online” in addition to my personal satisfaction on giving people the information in the internet on how to go about climbing Kinabalu.

At the time when I started the website, no relevant information on climbing Kinabalu was around, apart from the Wikipedia and scattered information on climbing packages in travel & tour websites.

Nany in hospitalIt was a huge decision back then. Going from a medical background, without any ideas on computer, internet & website creation, I joined thousands of other “newbie webmasters” creating another website. It was hard, but it was worthwhile.

Years have passed. The impact of having mount-kinabalu-borneo.com online, and Kinabalu Blog a year later, have been really tremendous to me personally. I did not expect the impact to be this big, but I was really glad that it did.

At least, climbers from all over the world will get the true pictures of Kinabalu from my own personal experiences.

What have I tried to be?

I have been trying to be an insider. Giving you the info on things that is going on here in Kota Kinabalu & Mount Kinabalu, which you would not get it from anywhere else.

I have been trying to be the guru. I have written articles and teaches climbers mountain climbing tips, specifically for Mount Kinabalu.

I have been trying to be the saviour. Telling people on how “human greed” could destroy the majestic mountain in just a very short while. Saving the mountain would take ages and a lot of effort have to be put in.

I have been trying to be a climber’s friend. Telling stories about the mountain as if you are my very close friend. I just want my friend to experience the mountain like I did. So, I am telling you everything that I know. There is nothing for me to hide.

I have been trying to be a reporter. Some of you will not know that there are people who can climb up and down the mountain in less than 3 hours, with a total distance of 21km.

I have been trying to be a promoter. I fell in love with this place not long after I arrived here, 8 years ago. And end up married one of their gorgeous girls. I surely love to promote this place to each and everyone of you, to come and see it for yourself. Gone are the days when people from the peninsular thinks that Sabah is a place to avoid.

I am just trying to be me. With bits and pieces of my personal story, in which, trying to be more “personal” with you, so that the barrier between the you and me is really, just your computer screen…

Have I tried enough?

Photo caption: My daughter, Nany was admitted to Likas Hospital last week for 5 days due to pneumonia. Praise the Lord, she is now recovering well.