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Book Review: Enchanting Borneo

He could be called a professional wanderer, but for David Bowden, travelling the world with a pen in one hand and a camera in the other is a labour of love. Join Chad Merchant as he flips through the beautiful pages of the new book from his talented travel writer

The latest entry in John Beaufoy Publishing’s Enchanting series of travel books – which also includes editions covering Borneo, Singapore, and Thailand – award-winning travel photojournalist David Bowden’s Enchanting Malaysia is a remarkable collection of photos and information about this amazing country.

Incredibly well-travelled and possessing a keen photographer’s eye, David arrived in Malaysia some 20 years ago. Though he’s Australian, he considers Malaysia home and returns to his native land only as a tourist these days. Having spent so much time living in and exploring this country, David was a natural choice for the authorship of Enchanting Malaysia.

He explained: “During all my years in Malaysia, I have been photographing and recording my journeys. I have been lucky to have travelled to many parts of both West and East Malaysia, but on every journey, I discover and learn something new about the country. This is the beauty of travel here; no matter how many times you retrace your footsteps through previously travelled parts of Malaysia, there is always something new to see and learn. Enchanting Malaysia is as much a chronicle of my travels as it is a guide to what other travellers will see and experience.”

The 80-page, image-driven book covers every corner of Malaysia and offers visitors an insider’s perspective on the country’s main tourist attractions, as well as a few sights that aren’t quite as well-known. The diversity of Malaysia is well-captured in the pages of Enchanting Malaysia, from its landscape to its wildlife, to the people and cultures that make this tropical country so unique.

David first visited Malaysia as a consultant to the World Wide Fund for Nature, and I asked him about his inspiration and his passion for the country – particularly East Malaysia – which is evident throughout the book. He answered, “You know, the East Malaysian state of Sabah was the first part of the country I got to know when I arrived here 20 years ago. I just loved its raw energy, and found it so fascinating.” He continued, “I eagerly photographed all this and was then lucky to continue returning to Malaysia regularly to do more of the same and to learn more about the place. There are still places here that don’t get visited too often, especially over on Borneo.”

Indeed, for a lover of scenic beauty, bucolic rolling hills, pristine islands, or even vibrant cityscapes, Malaysia has much to offer. Particularly for visitors to the country, Enchanting Malaysia serves as a marvellous photographic reminder of a trip to a place renowned for its food, its nature, and its people. As David said, “The book is well-priced so that visitors will want to buy copies on their way back home to show their family and friends where they have holidayed. As such, I think there is a multiplier effect with books like this in that they will encourage others to visit what is now my home.”

Enchanting Malaysia is David’s third entry in the 10-book series, and he will follow this book up soon with Enchanting Langkawi, offering a look at one of Malaysia’s most popular island destinations.

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For more information on David’s books, you may contact him at [email protected].

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Source: Senses of Malaysia Jan-Feb 2013

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