Archive for the ‘Travel’ 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!

Port Weld aka Kuala Sepetang

January 28, 2014

As you know, I was back in Port Weld last weekend. So, I went around snapping a little bit of photos, which had been shared on my instagram. For the benefits of people who didn’t have time to look at my instagram, here are some shots taken in Port Weld.

Ever since the bridge was built to the other side of the river, which could only be reached via sampan earlier years, I finally had the chance to cross the river to the other side of the fishing village. I went a little to every nook and cranny. It was fun.

Hawker Stall

My aunt and uncle’s hawker stall selling refreshments

Hot Afternoon

View in front of my late grandma’s house – it was a hot afternoon!

All in a day's work

A carpenter dropped by to fix my uncle’s wooden cloth bed

The vast river

View from the newly built bridge of the river

Hello kitties!

Cute little kittens

Way to home

A villager’s home front yard

You jump, I jump!

You jump, I jump!

Guardians of homes

Guardians of the homes

Relaxing

A villager hanging out in front of her porch

Lady with an old storyHaving a chat with my aunt’s hair salon 80 year old customer

Short trip to Bangkok

July 19, 2013

I made a short trip to Bangkok last weekend. It was a nice but not so relaxing trip. There’s been the usual shopping spree. Unfortunately, MBK is no longer my favorite shopping place. Everything seemed to be more expensive this time round. The traders there don’t even want to do your business. They just look at you with their sour faces and trying hard not to roll their eyes when you are choosing your things. Well, fuck them. Am never going to step into MBK… ever again.

Went to Platinum Mall. Didn’t know there are actually two buildings. One with more confusing escalators offers pricier things. So, we gotta go back to the “old” building, where there are more cheaper bargains. They really stick to their wholesale price and you can no longer bargain for more discounts. I think it’s rather fair since if you buy at whole sale, it’s already a lot cheaper.

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Maeklong railway station

Things to highlight is probably the trip to Maeklong train market, which is situated some 80km away from Bangkok (about 1.5 hour by car). I guess by going there and witness for yourself how the markets fold up whenever the train is passing through is rather exhilarating! There were rather plentiful of tourists, with their cameras and camcorders all ready for the train. Find it rather amusing as all the Angmohs were standing at the stalls, as if they were manning the counters. The locals are really nice lot. They offer smiles generously even if you don’t buy things from them.

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Train coming through!

We managed to buy some dried goods here, as they were way cheaper compared to Bangkok. We could get about a kilo of flavored anchovies snacks at only 75 baht.

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Floating market

Then we went to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, about 30 minutes away from the Maeklong railway market. Well, it’s cliche to the max lah this trip. I didn’t like small boats, especially getting in and out of it since I am such a clumsy person! Luckily I didn’t tip over the boat and fall into the opaque river!

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Scorching sun at Ancient Siam!

Lastly, we visited Ancient Siam, about an hour and a half from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Our driver, unfortunately didn’t buckle his seat belt and got pulled over by the police and was issued a summon of 400 baht on the spot. Rather cheap if you ask me.. compared to our RM100 or RM300.. and if you prefer RM50 duit kopi.

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Old barber shop

We could have taken the golf cart if we knew the way but decided against it and hopped on the tram instead. The guide spoke mainly in Thai but since there were more foreigners, she tried her best to speak in her halting English. We asked questions and she managed to answer us in her limited English.

However, the trip was sort of marred by this family of five, parents with three young children. Since the boys were rather boisterous, the father got really irritated and kept shouting at the children, while the mother was all being patient with them. The father kept scolding the two boys for dropping the camera and walking to and fro the tram or even played with the garbage bin. He even scolded his wife. I think our tour guide got a little fed up with them and asked them, “This one monkey or children?” HAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAH. That shut the dad up real good. Even the kids seemed to be behaving after the remark in broken English. I think I laughed really loud when she made the remark. LOL!

This is probably the first time I took BTS train all the way around Bangkok. I hardly took the train whenever I am in Bangkok but this time round, I did so in order to save some traveling time – since BKK is the biggest parking lot due to the terrible jams.. and also to avoid bumping into aggressive tuk tuks which took you for a ride to get their petrol allowances. Haha. I still remember wasting almost 45 minutes going from shops to shops before reaching our intended destination which is just 10 minutes away.

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Asiatique

Ah! There’s this new shopping place as well by the river – Asiatique. It’s a really nice, charming place. I find the industrial design of the place made it sort of unique. It’s rather popular even with the locals. Since Suan Lum night market has been closed some years ago, they decided to bring it back. So, they have it here at Asiatique. To get there, just take the BTS to Saphan Thaksin and take the free ferry. There will be touts asking you to pay 20 baht to skip the queue, which took us almost 30 minutes just waiting for a ferry. Anyway, since we have time, we just waited like the rest of the people to get on the ferry.

We managed to meet up with friends in Bangkok. It was really pleasant to meet friends from Singapore and Hong Kong too. So happened, they made a trip there and we found out we were going to Bangkok at the same time, so arranged for a dinner meet! What a small world! What a coincidence!

All in all, it was a good trip, with good food and bonding time. For more photos, check out my instagram!

South Korea – Finale

June 3, 2013

29th April 2013
Monday

We were supposed to go to Jamsil street where the sakuras in full bloom could be seen. Unfortunately, it was raining the entire morning till around 11 am, exactly as the weather forecasted! So, I think the sakura blooms were all over the ground when we visited the place. So we didn’t get to do much on a Monday, we ended it by shopping since we have waited long enough for a shopping spree!

Jamsil stop is just nearby Lotte World and Lotte Mart. So we went to buy some stuff at Lotte Mart before we leave. So we packed on souvenirs for our colleagues and family members from Lotte Mart.

It was still early in the afternoon, so we decided to go back to our hostel with our purchases and take a short rest. It’s so tiring. I guess, since we have been traveling non stop the past one week, we suddenly feel our bodies couldn’t take it anymore. So decided to relax for abit before we continue.

After a short rest, we went out again to Myeongdong. So again, we shopped till night. There’s plenty of shop selling skincare products here. Go wild!

30th April 2013
Tuesday

Momiji leaves

We went to visit Changdeokgung temple in the morning. It was a smaller temple compared to the grander one as we heard that is closed. I am more attracted to the flora and fauna found here. You can see a blend of maple leaves, with gingko and pine trees in one photo. How often can you find such photogenic plants in one shot??

Gingko, momiji and pine leaves!

After visiting Changdeokgung, we made a brief stop and had lunch at Insadong, the so called Art Street in Seoul. It like 798 I visited in Beijing but, with more things to buy and more people. We just soaked in the camaraderie of the people here, eating their street food and of coz, do a little shopping there and then.

View of Namsan tower

Since one of us would be meeting a friend in Gangnam later, the rest of us decided to go to Namsan Tower to kill time. It was clearly a good choice because the moment we were on the hilly slope towards Namsan, we were awed by the many sakura trees! It was like a photo, painted with snow capped trees, which are actually white sakura flowers. The bus stopped at the top and won’t make any stops in between the slope. So, we walked down to the platform overseeing the city. It was so windy and nice. We enjoyed the scenery tremendously.

Place for lovers to hang out

We ended the night nearby Hongdae where we had some really good, less oily fried chicken nuggets and pint of beer. After which, just as when I thought, nothing could top the dramas in all my trips, the engine on the train we got on exploded twice! It was really a night to remember! You can read them here.

This sums up my trip to Seoul-Jeju-Seocho-Seoul. If you ask me, I would definitely visit Seoul again. I love the sights, the night scene, the efficiency, the food, the shopping – eventhough it’s rather expensive except for socks and ear rings. I think many countries should emulate Seoul – it’s highly developed, convenient and rather a safe place to travel. For the first time, I don’t have to worry about my backpack strapped on my back due to pick pockets. I could just walk freely without behaving like some phobic person!

For more photos, click here!

Naminara Republic

May 27, 2013

28th April 2013, Sunday
Nami Island

We were supposed to walkabout Seoul but then, decided to go to Nami Island on Sunday instead as the weather forecasted rain for Monday. So we switched going about Seoul on Monday and Nami Island on Sunday.

We checked out from Boa Guesthouse and took the subway to Ann’s Guesthouse, which is situated right above Hongik Station 1. I guess many would prefer to stay here due to the fact that, the train to the airport stops here at Hongik. A good choice of stay, I might say.

We took the subway to Sangbong station (reachable via Subway Line 7). Then, change line to another line bound to Gapyeong Station. It will take about 1 hour ++ from Sangbong Station to Gapyeong Station. Once you reach Gapyeong, just walk towards the bus/taxi stand and take a 10-minute cab ride to Nami Island port.

Once we reached there, we looked for a place for lunch. We tried the dak-galbi. It’s a big pan of uncooked chicken, vegetables and potatoes. We need to stir the pan ourselves. Again, we kept our jackets in the bag because the smell might stick to them.

After we finished the hearty lunch, we proceeded to buy our ferry tickets to Nami Island. It is only some 5 minutes ride across the river to get the Nami Island. Once we got there, we were greeted by picturesque scenery. We spent about 3 hours here. It was such a beautiful place. No wonder so many visitors both local and foreign like coming here. I guess it’s good to bring your picnic mat, some food and drinks and plonk your ass under a cherry tree for a nice, relaxing picnic. Seriously, we wish the day would never end.. I want to spend the rest of my life here!

Here are some shots of Nami Island.

Cycling is a good activity here!

So many lovers!

Family day out

Many beautiful trees

After a trip there, we made our way back to Seoul. I guess it’s important to find out the time to go back to Seoul as the train ride took about an hour, so it’s best to go on weekdays to avoid the hiking crowd on weekend. We saw many elderly people in their colorful hiking gears and it put all of us to shame! Koreans lead such a healthy lifestyle. Most of them exercise a lot so it’s really rare to see fat people in Korea!

We ended the night, having dinner at Sindang which is famous for its toppoki. We met up with Patricia who is already working in Korea the past two years. After a short chat over dinner, we headed back to the hostel.


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