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The mobile way to explore Malaysia Truly Asia

Tourism Malaysia has launched “Malaysia Trip Planner”, a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices that puts a complete travel guide into visitors’ hand

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The NTO’s director general, Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, said the app was to meet the demands of today’s travellers who want tourist information in an innovative way at their fingertips.

“Mobile platforms have gone beyond traditional advertising, and are an excellent way to showcase a country’s diverse tourism offerings.”

Taking the app for a spin, I found navigating through the various sections fast and hassle-free largely due to its no-frills and easy to use interface. On launch, the homepage displays what the app offers – “Explore”, “My Itinerary”. “What’s On” and “Nearby Attractions”.

“Explore” has 38 pages listing attractions throughout the country. Click on a chosen destination, like Langkawi, and I am taken to a  detailed description of the island resort complete with a colourful photo. At the bottom of the page is “Nearby Attractions” with a map showing their locations and distance from where I am.

A “+” sign on the top of each page adds the attraction to the “My Itinerary, which is a compilation of the places and events we have visited or plan to do so.

“What’s On” is a listing of events taking place at time of visit. Clicking through the calendar I find events a few years beyond 2013.

Of course, no app is complete without the sharing function. I can choose to share my itinerary (if I draw up one), places or events over Facebook or Twitter.

Verdict: This is more of a mobile travel guide with its comprehensive information on places, events and itinerary planning feature, the latter especially for travellers who may want to translate it into a blog on their return or share their travels with their loved ones and friends to keep track of where they are.

However, I find the listing of places under “Explore” not user friendly as they are arranged randomly in no particular order or according to states or categories such as culture, nature, beach, cities etc.

For example, on the first page the five attractions are Sipadan Island (Sabah), Petrosains -The Discovery Centre (Kuala Lumpur), Gunung Mulu National Park (Sarawak), St Paul’s Hill (Melaka) and Langkawi Island, which are in different parts of Malaysia and of various interest. If the attractions are grouped according to states or under specified categories, it will be easier to search for or browse a destination without having to flip through page after page or use the “Search” function. Categorising the places of interests will also  help to make planning the itinerary easier.

What I find lacking in the app is essential information on Malaysia. A section that includes useful information like weather, currency, moving around by public transportation, Tourism Malaysia offices/visitor centres, important numbers such as emergency/help hotline, location of hospitals and medical services, foreign embassies and related, is most helpful to visitors especially first timers to the country.

Perhaps in a future upgrade of the app, Tourism Malaysia could include traveller’s essentials, as well as categorise the places of interests. This will make the app an even more indispensable tool for visitors exploring Malaysia on the go.

• The app is a free download from Apple iTunes Store and Google Play.

Further details kindly refer to http://www.webintravel.com/news/the-mobile-way-to-explore-malaysia-truly-asia-_3859

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