Posts Tagged ‘cuti-cuti malaysia’

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!

Kangar & Hat Yai

October 28, 2012

I guess you can see from my previous posts on Hat Yai on where to go. I was in Hat Yai end of last month. The family went there after all of us attended our cousin sister’s graduation from Universiti Malaysia Perlis in Kangar. Kangar itself is quite a dead town. But it has breathtaking scenes. This is where the local Chinese production filmed their movie – Tian Tian Hao Tian. I’ve been to Kangar twice – once during a short holiday sometime this year and last month, was my second time. So, I get to witness two scenes – once with the vast green paddy fields and the second time, harvesting – where all paddy had been harvested and second time, only left plots of watery and muddy lands. I guess if you want to see Kangar, you have to see it when the paddy are still green or ripening.

Sunset at Kg. Wai, Kangar, Perlis

The set where local production shot the movie, “Tian tian hao tian”

Sunset at Kg. Wai, Kangar, Perlis

What I want to highlight this time, is the Hat Yai night market, I believed is called Suntisuk Night Market. I think I haven’t been there eventhough I’ve been to Hat Yai twice. Both times, we were too busy watching Simon Cabaret or Thai Girl show. Haha. Well, this time round, we didn’t intend to watch any shows so our driver took us to the night market. If you look at the map, the market is rather near Lee Gardens Hotel. Two blocks away. Here -especially girls, you will go CRAAZZZZYYYYY over shopping. Even my sister – the most thrifty among us went crazy. She ended buying two pairs of shoes – one for only 100 baht and 130 baht, some clothes for Ern Ern and Sasha. As for my cousin sisters – they went crazy buying dresses at only 99 baht each! However, for dresses, you couldn’t try though so you have to estimate if you could wear the dresses or not. As for me, sure no size lah. Haha. So I just bought 6 pairs of slippers (Ranging from 49 baht to 79 baht each!) and a small bag for 150 baht which is now my favorite bag. I kinda regret for not buying more though!

The Elephant temple, Hat Yai

Other than dresses, shoes and girly stuffs, you can also get a tattoo here, phone accessories at really dirt cheap prices, pets (though I don’t think you can get them out undetected.. also, I do not support buying pets, adopt them!), etc. Another thing is the food being sold here! They have all sorts of food from Thai to Western to Japanese. They have stalls of pretty little sushis on sale. We ended eating chicken rice – sold by a Muslim lady. The chicken was crispy and nice! We also went to try other stalls of food – pork rice with siew yok. We could have spent more time here.

The temple on highest point in Hat Yai

Another place you should be shopping is at the Tesco Lotus. You wouldn’t believe that the groceries there – biscuits, instant noodles, canned food, etc were so much cheaper. If you like bread sticks, they have other flavors as well which we couldn’t find here in KL. I love Meiji Panda vanilla biscuits, if not mistaken, in KL, it’s priced about RM3.50 per packet. But in Hat Yai’s Tesco, you can get it for only 19 baht. So you imagine how crazy we went in Tesco. Even aunty-ish stuffs like washing detergent and fabric softener are dirt cheap! The only thing we regretted is we didn’t drive a lorry to Padang Besar to cart all our things back to KL! Haha! I told my friends, in Hat Yai, not only you will go shopping.. you will go sapu-shopping! Everything on the shelf – you just sapu!

The floating market – Khlong Hae

Oh yes – we were staying in Kangar earlier, so we went into Hat Yai via Padang Besar’s entry point instead of the usual Sadao. Sadao is normally more packed compared to Padang Besar. In fact, I think we were the ONLY tourists when we were checking at the Padang Besar checkpoint. It was strange because we were at the check point on a Sunday morning, there weren’t many people going into Hat Yai via Padang Besar.

Another thing I want to highlight about Hat Yai is probably the chicken rice we had on the last day when we were there. It’s Jae Toi’s Hainanese Chicken Rice along along Prachatipat Road, right opposite one rather big 7-11! The chicken rice is made from Siamese fragrant rice. We doused generous servings of fried garlic onto our rice before we tucked in! It was heavenly! I think it’s open everyday from 7 am to 5 pm. Tel: 074-238915

Here’s a big map of Hat Yai for you to plan your trip. Also, check out my earlier posts on Hat Yai.

For more photos, click here.

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!

Good Sunday!

July 15, 2012

image

Finally, manage to wake up early to snap photos of sunrise. The day before, it was raining, so I thought it was too cloudy.

Today’s sun was big and bright! Hopefully, the water remains calm for easier snorkeling.


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