Archive for the ‘Tips & Reviews’ Category

Langkawi Island

March 19, 2014

We decided to go on an impromptu trip to Langkawi after we had yearly dim sum session at Mandarin Oriental in December. We went there 11 years ago! In fact, this was the first time I flew from Langkawi to KL! Thanks to AirAsia! We took the 8-hours back breaking bus rides to Kuala Muda, Kedah to catch a ferry to the island. This was where I slapped a man’s head really hard as I mistaken him for the girls. They were sitting in front of me in the ferry before I dozed off and decided to change their seats after the air conditioner above them was leaking. Yes! It was a hilarious moment and till today, the girls are laughing at me!

These bunch of girls were my main hang when I first started working. I was poor because I just started working and didn’t have much money to spend, so we usually would go on local weekend getaways. I am blessed to have known these girls. They are truly good friends I met from work.

I actually wrote a long post earlier in my gmail but couldn’t seem to locate it! So, this shall be a short post.

Just a few pointers on what to do in Langkawi.

1. We stayed in Resorts World Langkawi at Tanjung Malai. It doesn’t have its own beach but close enough to the waters to have nice view of the sea and a small jetty, for island hopping purposes.

DSC_8804aResorts World Langkawi

2. Resorts World Langkawi has a special package – Chillax package at RM296nett per person for 3D2N stay (Garden view), and comes with 3 options of freebies – RM100 dining voucher at Yellow Cafe/Sagar restaurant/The Cliff or island drop at Beras Basah Island with packed lunch (towel provided as well) or free flow drinks throughout your stay at the hotel (alcoholic and non alcoholic). We decided to choose the dining voucher at the Cliff, which the reception graciously assist us to make a booking for us for dinner and the island drop the next day! Value for money! This package is valid till end of this year.

DSC_8872aBeras Basah Island

3. Since we have been to most places in Langkawi during our first trip 11 years ago, we decided to skip Mahsuri’s tomb and Burnt Rice area (which to me are nothing much to see). This time round we wanted to go to the expansion bridge and cable car but unfortunately, I heard it has been closed for 22 months! A quick check on the internet though – it seemed somebody went there 2 weeks before us. Ah well.. forget it! Places of interests normally closed by 6 pm so be early if you want to visit places of interests.

4. Since it was off peak season this time, we managed to rent a Suzuki SX4 at Rm150 for 3 days. MyVi was priced at Rm140 for 3 days. You can get your cars at the arrival hall before going out of the airport.

DSC_8922aBlack Sand Beach/Pantai Pasir Hitam

DSC_8932aPantai Pasir Hitam

5. I really like the Black Sand Beach. I wish I had more time to lurk around snap photos here. It seems, when it rains, you will get to see the black sand. Otherwise, Langkawi was in a hot spell like KL the past one month and there wasn’t much black sand. We were lucky because it rained the two days when we were there.. so we managed to have a closer look at the black sand beach! The old jetty at the end of the shore has character and good for photo-op. This is where you buy fresh ikan bilis (anchovies) from the sea. Apparently, the fishermen would get a bulk of ikan bilis from the sea, placed them in a hot steamer in their fishing boats to cook them. When they arrived at the shore, the ikan bilis would be placed in oven to dry them up. You can either purchase ungutted ikan bilis without cleaning or if you have no time – you can purchase a pack of gutted ikan bilis  at higher price.

6. Langkawi Saga Shopping centre sells the cheapest chocolates!

7. We were introduced to myriads of beer brands from all over the world and spoil for choice! We ended buying Pelican vodka, Corona, Hoegaarden and Chang beer. Also, we bought some Taiwanese fruity beers which are rather good as well – lychee and grape flavor!

DSC_8864aGrilled seafood platter

8. Most restaurants we went didn’t serve really good food. Probably we have too high anticipation. The only place that did not disappoint us is the Cliff. The grilled seafood platter is really delicious! Also, our hotel serves really good spread of breakfast as well! And I simply love the packed lunch of turkey ham sandwich and grilled drummets for our island escapade! Not to mention the first lunch we had when we landed. We had some nasi goreng ayam paprik, mee goreng, mee bandung and nasi goreng kampong at Bella Restaurant along Cenang road.

9. Langkawi has changed so much since. It was a rather dead place with basically nothing much to eat but now, there’s plenty of shops along the busy Pantai Cenang road. It looked like Phuket really – with less crowd, cars and of course, dingy massage parlour!

DSC_8846aView from the Cliff restaurant

10. I wish I could spend more time on the beach! Other than Beras Basah Island, there’s actually a small stretch of beach right at the junction from Resorts World Langkawi before turning into Pantai Cenang road. We managed to take a look at it on the last day of our stay. Unfortunately, it was too hot to even get out from the car, so we simply stare at the beach in our air conditioned car! Haha!

11. There’s a new hang out place named Harbour Port, near Pantai Kok. The place is rather dead too… but there’s the famous bakery there – The Loaf where they also served food like pastas and sandwiches.

DSC_8993Idyllic life at Kuala Cenang

12. We chanced upon Tubotel hotel along Kuala Cenang during our aimless driving before going to the airport. I think it was a rather unique hotel, despite the rather secluded place! The water there is crystal clear! I don’t think I would stay here as I couldn’t stand the heat! I think it’s a place for young people to mingle.. and am too old for this!

Online Shopping

December 5, 2012

darth-yoda

Recent purchase! Yoda and Darth Vader flash drives!

I’ve been purchasing plenty of things from online that I guess, I should keep my credit card in the freezer like Becky Bloomwood did in “Confession of a Shopaholic”. The thing is, even if I were to freeze my credit card into a block of ice, all I need for online shopping is my credit card number and the CVV code.. and I am good to go! So, it won’t work! Help!

I remember writing a paper on online shopping some years ago for college on online shopping. 10 years ago, I didn’t believe it would materialize. Further, I wouldn’t bring myself to buy anything online. Even though I don’t really like shopping in general, I still think there’s a need to go to the shopping all, look at the thing physically before considering to purchase the item.

That was 10 years ago. Who would have thought, online shopping would be an in-thing now. I have so far bought bags, baby clothes, soaps, tech stuffs, t-shirts, shoes from online. Then, came all the discount websites. Everybody just hop onto the bandwagon and started the buying frenzy. I’ve seen a few blogs lamenting on spending unnecessarily and some even ended not going to the restaurants which they have purchased vouchers due to time constraints. Some restaurants needed a few days in advance to book a place, just to eat the food. I find it simply annoying. I did bought groupon for scones once because I was really craving for scones. The restaurant needed two days advance booking, which I did promptly. The thing is, when I was there, there weren’t anybody in the restaurant except for us! Since the food was not bad, I decided to go again, and pay full price to try other food on the menu. It was utterly disappointing!

I also have friends who gave me last minute Photobook vouchers because they couldn’t finish making a book on time! I am blessed actually! LOL! Another friend of mine, ended printing the same two books because lack of time and they actually submitted their photobook on the last day of the valid date! One for themselves, and one for their in laws. Haha.

After I had a few encounters with some not so good restaurants, I decided not to buy anymore and delisted all auto mailing lists. Now, I would only purchase Photobooks and maybe, thumb drives. I have also stopped buying t shirts from Threadless because the quality of the cloth is getting worse. So far, I think I’ve bought no less than 20 t shirts from Threadless. There are also some shopping websites which didn’t send things that you have bought. In our time now, info and knowledge are all within our finger tips and just a few taps away. Before you buy things online from a website, do a thorough background check. Facebook is actually a good place to start – that’s where you get all the dissatisfied customers complaining on the wall of the said vendor! Some comments and complaints were rather alarming but, thankfully, I managed to get what I bought after I call them up before the expiry date of my voucher. I guess I was one of the luckier ones. So, I stopped buying from those websites which have integrity issues. Those in my facebook list would have known how I whined and complained about these websites. Haha!

Since I’ve become a “hermit” (I simply dislike going to the shopping malls, caught in a jam, then further jam in the parking lots, risked being mugged or robbed), I feel online shopping probably could give me the retail therapy I needed from time to time without stepping out from my house! The downside is, sometimes, certain things are not as good looking as they could be in photographs, so you have to really know what you are getting yourself into, before keying in your credit card numbers!

Little Town Called Tawau

July 21, 2012

I was thinking I should write a little about Tawau, eventhough we just spent a day here. I was lucky because I have an ex colleague working in Tawau, eventhough he doesn’t remember me. Hahaha! So, I just sent him a message to ask for tips on how to go about Tawau and he just offered to take us around when we decided to drop by!

After a great relaxing trip in Sipadan Water Village, we put up a night at MB Hotel in Tawau. After resting for a bit, my friend came to pick us up. He took us to Good View Restaurant. I reserved my comments on Good View because, I remember I read in blogs that this place actually ain’t cheap at all. But since he will be buying, I let him choose the place lah. Haha!

He has been working here for the past 3 years, so he basically knew where is best to go. He usually takes his clients and friends here, so he chose Good View over Kam Ling. Both restaurants served equally good and fresh seafood – so take your pick!

We let him did all the ordering since he’s familiar and here were some of the dishes.

Steamed fresh prawns

Steamed flower crabs

Steamed 7 star garoupa

Midin

Seaweed kerabu

Also, we had avocado juice! It proven to be a good choice because it wasn’t sweet or too creamy as I thought it would be. It was soothing.. like liquid yogurt. I was surprised to find that, Tawau actually grows Avocado commercially. We didn’t buy any back because, it wasn’t the season so, the avocado that we had, might be imported from Indonesia – according to my friend lah. If he bullshit me also, I won’t know! Haha!

It was indeed a good dinner, totally fresh seafood. And we had the 7 star steamed garoupa – it seems, this type of coral fish can only be found in Sabah, hence the cheaper price as opposed to eating in back in West Malaysia.

The next day, he took us to the wet market in Sin On. He briefed us a little on history of Tawau. We would have thought it was the Chinese who came and made the place economically prosperous but we were wrong. It was the Japanese. I read on Wikipedia, it was said that – the Japanese were in the fishing business, canning and exported the manufactured goods back to Japan, so he was right in a way. He told me, they were in seaweed business. Hence, there were some roads like Kuhara and Kubota named after the Japanese. After World War II, the Japanese lost to the Allies, the rule of any war is that, if your country lost the war, you have to uproot yourselves from the colony and return to your own country. So, dozens of Japanese had to forsake whatever they had painstakingly build in Tawau and return to Japan. See, you gain nothing in wars, only more destitution.

Coral fishes

Pasar Sin On

During the short visit to Sin On market, we got ourselves some coral fishes, lobsters and sea cucumber. Sea cucumber went as cheap as RM50 per kg, lobsters, Rm70 per kg, coral fishes ranging from RM50 to Rm90 per kg. So, my friends were right when I asked for things to do in Tawau – everybody actually ask me to buy seafood! That is why I saw many people bringing their own ice box on the plane! It is not allowed to check in your seafood, so be prepared to hand carry them. On our way back to KL, we saw many people carrying ice boxes!

Pork noodles

Then, our friend took us to this shop selling pork noodles. For the life of me, I cannot remember the place name! Haha! But the pork noodles is good. I regretted for not asking for intestines and pork balls, just meat. The pork balls are crunchy and they stuffed some fried squids inside made it all chewy!

After breakfast, my friend has to get back to work, so he dropped us at our hotel. Since he had a flight at 1 pm later that day, we bid him good bye and went loitering around Tawau on our own. It was nice to walk to the jetty to see the things going on. It was funny to see how the islanders roll the gas tanks to the jetty to be transported to other islands and also Kalimantan! Our friend advised us to be careful when walking around town because there have been many cases of robbery,well, doesn’t make any difference walking in KL then? So, we just be extra alert and careful.

We had a huge lunch at this place nearby our hotel called Kedai Kim Kim. Here, they served variety of tongshui and leong char! My favorite red bean soup was good! So was Jasmine’s bubur cha cha. You should try the herbal chicken with rice. I overheard many people ordering salted chicken, so I guess you could try to order that too! We also tried the siew mai and pai kuat. Well, it was mediocre but it does make you feel like you are eating at home.

Siew Mai & Pai Kuat

Red bean soup

View of Tawau waterfront

Old shoplot

We went for last minute shopping for dried seafood – shrimps and prawn/fish crackers called amplang. It was delicious! I think if we had planned properly earlier, then we would have bought even more things! We stopped by Wukka Cafe for tea break before heading back to our hotel, to get to the airport.

There isn’t much to do here in Tawau, but seafood is rather fresh and cheap! And sea produce are cheap too!

For other photos, click here!

Mabul, Sipadan & Kapalai

July 20, 2012

Couldn’t seem to find time to do a write up on these beautiful islands since I came home on Tuesday night! I was busy meeting up with friends from the islands trip and also meeting my Tawau host who happened to fly to KL on the same day as us.

Well, as you can see from my three posts on the islands and photos, there is no doubt that these islands are the most beautiful islands that I’ve ever been to! I’ve been to most islands in Malaysia, and Sabah truly has the most beautiful islands! It’s too bad that, we couldn’t hang out long enough in Sipadan Islands beach. I am not so much of a snorkeler, more of a beach bum.. so it’s a bummer that the Mabul does not provide a good beach to hang out or laze the day away.

I did post something on Conservation at Pulau Mabul earlier but decided to take it down because I saw the efforts that Sipadan Water Village (SWV) is doing in order to preserve the coral reefs along the shore and also around Pulau Mabul. That alone deserves recognition and respect. It’s most unfortunate that they couldn’t take hold of the entire island because there are other operators around the island and some of them are just plain irresponsible! Throwing rubbish everywhere! I hope that they will clear the unsightly rubbish on their part of the beach!

For some of our newly found divers friends, they find that Sipadan is kinda overrated. But for us, it was good! It’s famous for muck diving – where you could not see much reefs because of the murky sediments consist of dead corals but, more variety of species of fishes, turtles, sharks, cuttle fishes, squids, nudibranchs, starfishes, seahorses etc. If you want to see more reefs or macro fishes, it’s best to do shore dives. I saw pictures taken by my friends underwater and they are fabulous! My diver friend told me that, in Sipadan, if you get to see bumphead parrot fish, barracudas and jackfish, then your dive is complete! I think we got to see more!

As for me, the reluctant snorkeler (LOL!), I was equally excited to see the barracudas, jackfishes, bump heads parrots, sharks, turtles (mating some more!!), moray eels, colorful fishes (some even have pink colored tails, and they moved ever so gracefully , like ballerina in the water!), etc. We were caught in the middle of a school of jack fishes and barracudas that, for a brief 10 seconds in my life, I wanted to take up diving! Haha! But … no lah. The moment I jumped into the water, I was greeted by a dark blue bottomless sea! It was so scary that I have a picture of Great White Shark coming at me! Haha! I know there is no Great White Sharks in Malaysia! But then, we will never know! They now have piranhas in China rivers!

I have nothing much to say about the trip, apart from I tremendously enjoyed a totally relaxing holiday, staying in Sipadan Water Village, with top notch dive centers and ever engaging dive instructors, really good food and comfortable stay. We were very lucky to have gotten the place during their peak weekend because of the Conservation Marine Day, which is annually held in the middle of July. This is the time when the patron of this noble day, Dr Hayashi is here, with his entourage, to conduct underwater study on the reefs they planted since 15 years ago! Every year, this time, they would plant more coral and this time, we were lucky enough because, snorkelers get to participate too! It was such an honor to have your name put beside the coral you help to plant and you will get e-mails notifying the progress of your planted corals!

All in all, it was a great trip with even greater friends! Here are some of my favorite pictures from this trip, and more here.

Boy from the sea

Mr Crab fighting over territory

Double rainbows!

Sunrise at 5.30 am

Sunrise at 6.13 am

Little sea gypsy

Tips/Advice/Information

1. Air Asia offers flight to Tawau, 2x daily. Try to catch the morning flight as there will be no boat ride to SWV after 5 pm.

2. Flight would take 2 hours and 50 minutes. A bus tide to Semporna jetty takes about an hour and another 40 minutes boat ride to reach SWV!

3. Every Friday at SWV is BBQ night, so you get to sample arrays of good and fresh seafood!

4. A diving/snorkeling trip to Sipadan Island is very limited, subject to availability. Those staying more than 3 nights would be given priority. Entrance to Sipadan is not included in the scuba package. A levy of Rm40 will be charged.

5. As SWV is rather earth friendly, there is no air conditioner in some rooms. For me, it was okay because, afterall, we are at a beach! What air cond??? Haha! Also, there is no tv in rooms – so, you are rest assured with total relaxation. Also, water is provided in 2 jugs 2x daily, you should bring your own water bottles too if you like to drink more water.

6. Maxis seems to have a good internet and line coverage here.

7. Wifi is available too.

8. Some friends bought fresh fishes and lobsters from Tawau and get the chefs in SWV to cook, subject to a fee. Do try the steamed lobster with egg white. Super awesome! Otherwise just buy from the dining hall itself, the lobsters are awesomely fresh! Look for Ah Keong!

9. It’s good for seasoned divers – most newbies would find it rather daunting as the Barracuda Point current could be very strong. So, if you are still very new and fresh, you would worry more rather than enjoying yourself, looking at the many species of fish that Sipadan has to offer! So, dive more to practise before coming here!

10. My friend’s dive instructor recommended us to stay at SWV because the dive masters/instructors here are very experienced and they are very professional and willing to share knowledge with you on your dives and the sea. It is true!

11. Bring old clothes of children to be given to the children of the sea gypsies, rather than giving them money. I gave them some biscuits and sweets I prepared for them prior to the trip. This only applies if you stay in Pulau Mabul. Because there is no sea gypsy in Kapalai. Nobody is allowed to stay in Pulau Sipadan – it’s only for snorkeling and diving purposes.

12. Bring your sunscreen, swimsuit and just chill out! I spent most of my time, sitting on the sun deck, overlooking the very crystal clear blue sea – reading, drinking my coffee or milo.. and just sleep in!

Vary Beauty Skin Solution

April 16, 2012

I visited my beautician on Tuesday and was amazed on the transformation of the place. Jovy first started her business in Plaza Mutiara back in 2002 and came a long way since to who and what she is today. I am proud and delighted that her hard work paid off and exemplary visionary leadership that bring her business to this level, as well as created opportunities for young girls to learn entrepreneurship from her. This year, she celebrated her 10th anniversary in the beauty business and renamed her business Vary Beauty and she has two successful salons in Kepong and Puchong respectively. Check out the newly renovated salon!

Apart from supporting her business as a friend, I am also a satisfied customer since 2002. In fact, I recently signed up another package with this beauty salon, which is tailored made to suit my skin conditions. My skin has changed over the years, from oily with blemishes to combination skin, and sometimes dry skin. This bound to happen as we aged because of hormonal changes as well as our lifestyles. Instead of just signing up for a standard skin solution, I got mine tailored made to suit the needs of my skin, meaning, there would be days where I spent too much time in the sun, hence I would need the skin to be rejuvenated with additional moisturizers or masks, or on good days, I would be able to pamper myself with a nice and long facial massage which I enjoy the most! I kick myself for falling in a blissful sleep (some more snoring away! OMG!!!) whenever the consultant massages my face! I want to enjoy also cannot! Hahahaha! But really, the facial massage is THAT comfortable and soothing.

Visit Vary Beauty at Facebook, like the page, leave your name, IC and contact number to get yourself a complimentary eye mask treatment worth RM169!

Vary Beauty Skin Solution
17-1, Jalan Puteri 2/7,
Bandar Puteri Puchong,
47100, Puchong ,
Selangor Darul Ehsan.

Tel : 03-80653384
Fax : 03-80623384
Email : enquiry@varybeauty.com

30 & 30-1, Jalan Medan Putra 3,
Medan Putra Business Centre,
Bandar Menjalara
Kepong, 52100 Kuala Lumpur

Tel : 03-62771804
Fax : 03-62621804


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