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Serious About Travel

Traveller's Tales
Zurien Onn
Sharifah Sakinah New York

Malaysian actress SHARIFAH SAKINAH shares with us her bucket list as well as what was the best thing to have happened to her while on holiday in Greece

The youngest sister to famous Malaysian actresses Sharifah Norhaslinda and Sharifah Shahirah, as well as another sister who is a scriptwriter, Sharifah Sakinah is no stranger to the entertainment industry. The Malaysian actress got her start in the KRU Studios movie Ular, an action-thriller reminiscent of Anaconda, where she was the second character to die, but at least it got her foot in as an actress.

Since Ular, it hasn’t always been smooth-sailing for Sakinah, despite her sisters’ big names. She maintains that she has never used their influence to get her jobs, and she certainly seems like one who would only be content if her achievements were to be attained purely from her own efforts. It was definitely through her own comedic tendencies and entertaining personality that bagged her the award for Most Popular Female Comedic Artist at Anugerah Lawak Warna 2014, an awards show focusing on comedic acts.

Sharifah Sakinah Dubai

Recently diagnosed with ADHD, Sakinah admits that it hadn’t often been easy for her to get acting or game show gigs because it would be really hard for her to focus. It was director Michael Ang, intrigued by her vivacious personality and sense of humour, who took a chance on her by pairing her with characters well-suited with her working style - Sakinah does not memorise dialogues, as she has problems with focusing, but instead digests the gist of the scene and acts out what is required of the character. She says that exercise helps her focus before starting a shoot, as she dispels the extra energy and reigns in her attention when working.


One of her most well-known works with Michael Ang is on the comedy series, Girlfriend Aku Dari Neraka (My Girlfriend Is From Hell), with Sakinah playing the hellish girlfriend. The role was basically an exaggeration of Sakinah if she was the crazy girlfriend type, and it was so well-executed that it grew her fan base and made her a household name. However, far from being typecast, Sakinah has also acted in movies of other genres including romance, horror, and thrillers.

Sharifah Sakinah Dubai
Sakinah was taken in by how cosmopolitan Dubai is, during her shoot for AXN.

More recently, fresh off her appearance on the short-form action reality show, Dubai Ultimate Challenge, for TV channel AXN Asia, Malaysian actress Sharifah Sakinah shares with us about her travels, acting projects and side projects.

What is your idea of THE perfect vacation?

When you’re not jet-lagged, and you’re not arguing about different travel plans, so you have more time to enjoy everything.

What was your favourite holiday destination overseas, and why?

It was to Seoul, Korea, where I loved watching them live their lives so systematically. I love their architecture and their mega buildings, and feel like its a more modern version of New York. The food - you know it’s been prepared well, and hygiene is maintained, so you’re not wary when eating their food. They do everything properly, and are so respectful towards others. And Gangnam was exactly like the song! I’m amazed at how they would have a sort of “uniform” face, uniform style, and they even dance the same way. And if you’re still hanging out with them at 4am, that’s when their alter ego comes out, and it’s very interesting to watch their nightlife and get a view of their people.

Where is your favourite local destination, and why?

Definitely Sabah! I love flying into Kota Kinabalu because it has both beaches and islands for relaxing and exploring sea life, but it’s also close to mountains and national parks like the Tun Fuad Stephens Park and, of course, Mount Kinabalu. You will definitely find me hanging out at the Breeze Beach Club at the Pacific Sutera Hotel where the chillaxing level is just out there, or at the Pasar Philippines stocking up on dry salted seafood including salted fish and dried squid.

What are the top 3 destinations on your ‘Bucket List’?

I can’t wait to go to San Francisco and Los Angeles, India and Nepal, and Shanghai, and Sweden. That’s four, but these are all must-visits for me! In fact, I have packed luggage filled with clothing for a snow holiday ready to roll out, parked near my front door, should the opportunity suddenly present itself to go for a last-minute winter trip.

What is the one destination that you reckon everyone must visit at least once if given the opportunity?

That would definitely be Annapurna in India, which I have yet to go to, but I think that it is such a beautiful place.

You’re known to be active and always keep fit no matter where you are. How do you recommend travellers keep fit while on vacation and sightseeing?

The trick for me is to stay at a hotel that has a treadmill, at the very least. In fact, I love booking stays at hotels that have the best gyms, which I will definitely use as I need to exercise to stay focused throughout the day. I also get into vegan mode when travelling, so that takes care of halal-food concerns when visiting a non-Muslim majority country. And, of course, sightseeing is also exercise.

Sharifah Sakinah Bali
Sakinah loves how sustainability is being practiced on a big scale in Bali.

Where is your favourite place to visit where you can workout or get active as well?

Bali, where it’s just a pleasure to run or jog or do your training in such a calm and tranquil setting. And it’s just very holistic, especially because sustainability is very big there.

Sharifah Sakinah Bali
Finding time to stay fit while on holiday is not a problem for Sharifah Sakinah.

What do you love most about travelling?

People watching. Even going to Mekah, it’s very interesting to watch Muslims of different ethnicities and nationalities and how different we all are to one another.

And what do you hate the most?

When you have to choose between different options in where to spend your time and money because it’s just impossible to do it all in one trip! Sometimes, you feel like you want to visit another place again on the same trip because you had such a great time there, but your husband goes, “Why do you need to eat shrimp there, again?” Things like that!

Holidays are often peppered with memorable episodes. Share with us ONE such memory … something you still talk about to this day.

When I went to Mykonos, Greece with my husband, we would rent an ATV to travel around as neither of us had a motorcycle license. But we had to put that to a stop when I found out that I was pregnant - I was positive after checking an at-home tester, and at a clinic. And that’s why our daughter’s name is Anais - after the hotel we were staying at during the time, the Anais Inn. And thus, after that, we scaled down on the strenuous activities.

Sharifah Sakinah Mykonos Greece
Mykonos will forever hold a special place in Sakinah's heart as this was where she and her husband found out she was pregnant.

When going through KLIA or klia2, what services and facilities do you find most appealing?

I have to shout out to their customer service staff who are always nice and try to be as accommodating as possible. I also like that klia2 is doing a really good job of keeping designated smoking spots quite separate from the general public. So, well done!

How do you keep yourself occupied on long layovers or when there’s a flight delay?

I love getting massages at KLIA, not just during delays, but even before meeting up with my husband, who is a pilot. The elderly massage therapists are locals from around the area, and they would share interesting stories about their experience working at the airport.


All photos copyrighted to and courtesy of Sharifah Sakinah.

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