Cameron Highlands Trip

It’s been awhile since I last visited Cameron Highlands. In fact, I think I’ve only been to Cameron Highlands once in 2007. And now, this is the second time, I stepped foot at Cameron Highlands. Many of my friends commented that, it’s no longer cooling in Cameron Highlands, found it to be dusty and dirty and too packed with holiday makers. Well, against all good intention advice, I planned my family trip up there anyway, since my third aunt – who is a “tai kam cher” and she has been going to Cameron Highlands numerous times for work and never pleasure, I thought it would be a good time to bring her there. Also my sister has promised to take Ern Ern for strawberry plucking. And it’s my sis’ birthday!

We chose to go on a Sunday as we were trying to avoid the crowd on Friday to Saturday. Well, it proved to be a good choice. But then, on Sunday, most of the holiday makers were making their way home, and there were some jams near the pasar malam curved road. After that, it was all smooth going.

02 Lata Kijang

Lata Kinjang, the waterfall before reaching Tanah Rata

03 Lata

The crystal clear waters!

We went in two cars as Ern Ern has a class at 3 pm. So they joined us later after that. Since we were early, we decided to check out some of the places of interest so that, we would be able to save time tomorrow. At the same time, we picked up a strawberry strudels from Strawberry Moment shop, nearing Simpang Pulai. The Strawberry Moment’s cafe in Brinchang is already closed so, the only place you could get the strawberry strudels is from the main manufacturing shop located on the way towards Simpang Pulai.

01 Cameron Bharat

 We stopped by this beautiful Cameron Bharat tea plantation and had tea before going to our apartment.


 Saw these lovely hydroponic vegetables at Avant Chocolate – Strawberry Moments

I’ve listed numerous restaurants for our meals there. The restaurants are not very packed but unfortunately, we couldn’t get parking spot. We ended cooking most of our meals in our rented apartment at Iris House. It was a good thing we brought along our own steamboat pot and ingredients!
We rented an apartment in Iris House – named Teaz Apartment, which is privately owned. It’s clean and the owner is clear with his instructions. So, I think if I ever go to Cameron Highlands again, I would rent the same apartment.
When we were there, it was quite cooling as it rain a little. It was nice to sleep at night because it was cooling without air conditioning. I stood out the balcony for awhile to breathe in all the good fresh air that we city folks are lacking!

I guess one do not need a map when in Cameron Highlands. Basically, it’s just one road from the winding road up from Tapah and going down to Simpang Pulai, another winding road. We didn’t go to cliche places like Time Tunnel because I think my late grandma’s house has more old antiques compared to the shop. Haha. We just went to Healthy Strawberry Farm to pluck some strawberries, eat strawberries popsickles – God! They are delicious!


Lovely cactus at Strawberry Healthy Farm near our apartment


 Boh Plantation, endless greenery!

We visited the Boh Plantation at Sg. Palas – which is quite a nice place to visit – unfortunately it rained while we were there.. and I made it just in time to the top before it started to pour!

A tip though, if you have elderly people above 60 visiting Boh Plantation, you will be allowed to drive up to the station directly and skip the 10 minutes walk up the stairs. We didn’t know, so my mom and my third aunt decided to sit this one out. The climb wasn’t too bad.. if a buffalo like me can climb uphill, I guess you could too!

Also, due to lack of tea produce – must be due to the torrential rain, the manufacturing plant is closed. We still could go in to see how tea leaves were being processed but we decided to skip it because of the rain. After that, we visited the “Bee Farm” opposite the road.. which is such a run down place.. and basically, there’s nothing there to look at. Since it was already late afternoon, we decided to go for early dinner.


 Utmost favorite.. flowers at Kea Farm, Brinchang


 Cheap strawberries… Rm18 for 2 boxes at Kea Farm Brinchang

On our way back to our apartment, we stopped by Kea Farm. I remember coming here the last time and we rather fascinated with the freshness of the vegetables. This time round, the corns on sale didn’t look as appealing as they were many years ago. In fact, we bought some corn from a trader and somewhat got cheated because the corn cobs he was selling were not fresh at all! I miss the really colorful flowers in pots. Probably went to the wrong side of Kea Farm.


 While waiting for dinner to start in an hour’s time… kill time taking photograph


 This is really good! Pumpkin with butter crisp.. at Golden Ship Restaurant, Ringlet

Oh well, we went to Ringlet to have our early dinner. Since the restaurant was not open yet, we waited till 6 pm for the restaurant to open. We could have gone on a ride to Ringlet to check out the roads that our company built – the Ringlet. But it was raining, so we just had some snacks and coffee at the food court nearby before dinner. After dinner, we went back to our apartment to rest.

15 Daisies

I love gerberas!

Next day, upon checking out, we went to the Avant Grand chocolate farm again – where I got the strawberry strudels. They have hydroponic plants there, which are as pretty as a big green rose. There is a small flower farm there so we took some photographs here. We also stopped by the Lavender Park. Entrance fee is RM5 for adults and RM3 for children below 12 years old. Senior citizens get in for free! After a short visit, we headed to Ipoh for late lunch before we parted ways back to Kuala Lumpur and to Taiping – to send off my aunts back to Port Weld and heading back to KL again there after..  that explained the backache I am having right now.. the long road rides. Sigh.


 We stopped by Ipoh for lunch, before parting ways to KL/Taiping


 Eating nga choi gai!


Taiping’s Cashier Market


 My favorite order in Taiping Cashier Market, the teow chew styled fishball char kueh teow!

Renewal of Passport Malaysia

I finally dragged my lazy ass to the immigration today. I took a short notice leave since my boss is not in town. Been searching on another place to renew my passport as I was told, the Wangsa Maju branch is always packed now. Not sure if it’s because so many people went there after reading reviews on blogs.

Here’s a really good write up on the renewal of passport Malaysia by Ciki of CCfoodtravel. However, as of March 2014, there’s no need to take photographs anymore. It will be like applying for a new IC. Our photos would be taken on the spot! How nifty is that?

I read on when to avoid applying for passport and it was mentioned to avoid Mondays, Fridays, eve of Public Holidays and a day after Public Holidays and during school holidays. Since today is the eve of Wesak Day, I was apprehensive to go. But I’ve been having nightmares literally every night… dreams of not having valid passport to travel (I am traveling to Bandung this July) and also, immigration dept is closed down forever.. So, I guess I have to go today to avoid all the nonsense nightmares. Haha.

I arrived at the turning into KDN at 6.35 am and found a long stretch of cars lining up to go into the gate. I haven’t been to this place before so I drove up to check it out only to find that, there were so many cars stopping in front of me, so I shouldn’t be cutting queue and double parked my car. So, I took a U Turn from the Istana at the end of the road to go back to the line behind all the cars. I asked an immigration officer on a motorbike what time the gate would open, he politely told me 7.00 am and told me to queue up.

Since I was wee early, I just sat in the car, enjoying the air conditioning and praying really hard that nobody would come and hit my car on the back.. since I was already at the junction of the very long “car” queue! So I put on double signal to alert passing cars that I am stopping at the edge of the junction.

Thankfully, at 6.50 am, they opened the gates for us. We just followed and tailed the cars to go inside the main complex. It was a good thing that Ciki took photo of the building so I could identify the building. I parked right in front of the building. As I was parking, I could see people literally RUNNING to the main building! It felt like a movie – some disaster movie or some kind of Hunger Games going on. Haha.

So, I also ran like the rest.. more like took hurried steps into the building. I knew the immigration dept is on 1st floor so I went straight to 1st floor. I was shocked to see the beeline of people and cursed myself silently for not taking advice on the internet seriously on not to go on Monday! A girl in front of me asked a lady if the line was to apply for passport. The lady said no and told us to go downstairs. So I followed the girl downstairs. Mana tau… we bumped into two other ladies who also asked around where to go to renew passport and was told to go up to first floor again!

We followed the two other ladies to go upstairs. True enough. We should go to the other office right opposite the beeline of people! Am so glad that it was still empty! There were only a handful of people as opposed to the beeline of people who are there to renew their foreign workers visa!

So people, at the escalator from the main door, just go up first floor and turn left. You will get to the immigration door!

I waited there with others, lining up when a gentleman and a lady came to line up behind me. They asked if they should get photographs after taking number or would they need a photocopy of IC? Is there any forms required? I told them, you don’t need such things anymore. You only need:-

1. Your IC.

2. Your old passport.

3. RM300 cash (for 5 years and RM100 for 2 years).

Thanks, Ciki!! It’s good to come prepared!

So we chatted while in the line till we get our respective numbers. I got number 1006! Way to go! Number 6!

By the time we got our numbers and seated, it was already 7.41 am. I think the office opened a little late today. There weren’t many officers working as I guess they probably took the day off as well to get a long, extended weekend till tomorrow! So I prayed that this won’t hampered the flow of the service.

I got all things done by 8.03 am – Get ready your passport, your queue number, your IC and the officer would processed your application. NO NEED to fill up any forms. They used your passport and IC to verify your identity, get your both thumbprints and then, automatically, they printed out the application forms with your photo on your IC together with a new photo taken with an attached camera at the counter! One downside though… you will guarantee looking like crap! I think 9/10 of my friends complained about their new passport photographs. Haha!

Please note to wear dark colored clothes – since the background would be white. Those wearing head scarves and tudungs, should be wearing darker colored ones as well. They provided a dark colored tudungs for you if you are not prepared. They even have a mirror at their desk for you to check out your hair or for you to freshen up! Haha!

And then, the payment counter was opened and numbers were called rather swiftly to pay. After payment, they would return your IC to you and told you to come back in a hour’s time to collect your passport. So, I went to the cafeteria with my new friends and had a good chat about travels, cultures and traditions. It was quite a good thing to learn from others. How time flies. In about 40 minutes, we decided to go back to check on our passports. Indeed, I managed to collect my passport by 9.10 am!

All in all, it was indeed a good experience today at KDN Hartamas. The parking was rather full today. So I guess it’s true that many people would come on a Monday… so if you want to get your passport faster than me – perhaps you can try to go on non peak seasons like middle of the week or after school holidays! Good luck!

For more read up on terms and conditions, you can check out this website.

Langkawi Island

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

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


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

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.



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!