Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kuala Terengganu

Kuala Terengganu is the State Capital of Terengganu. We visited there once together (Ling Shing went to KT several times from 2002 to 2007). We went to KT at 2004, for 4 days 3 nights trip, together with Ling Shing's family. We stayed in Grand Continental Hotel. The hotel is located at the middle of the city, facing South China Sea. The hotel was in good condition, the room and the bathroom was clean and tidy, we had no complain about the room service, and the breakfast, very nice as well.

Upon reaching KT, we took a city tour, by taxi, and most of the time, by feet. We visited China Town, Chinese Temple at the China Town, and took our dinner at the food court somewhere around the esplanade (besides the old bus station).

Great panorama from the window of our hotel's room, facing South China Sea.

Photo taken inside and outside Grand Continental Hotel.
We took a 1 day tour on the 2nd day at KT. 7 of us, in two Proton Waja provided by travelling company (under Cuti-cuti Malaysia Programme). The cars was good, driver cum tourist's guide, could speak in Malay and English languages. Both of them were polite, a little bit humorous, and proved very informative. They brought us to visit Kuala Ibai Mosque, Pulau Duyung, Batik Factory, University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), and lastly KT Central Market. We took taxi from Central Market back to our hotel.
Kuala Ibai Mosque, a white beautiful mosque built in a lake, looks like it's floating (in Malay, we called it Masjid Terapung). Pulau Duyung, a small fisherman village with very old hand-making fishing boat industry. We stayed there for 2 hours, looking at few carpenters (or boat makers) skillfully carving the outline of a fishing boat.
Clockwise from upper left: Old KT Airport; main entrance of UMT; Ibai Mosque; Sultan Mizan Hall (UMT), during my brother's convocation at 2005.
The last day in KT, we go out with a rented car (RM135 per day). We went back to UMT, visiting my brother's faculty, his house, the central market again, steakhouse, the palace, night market, and finally, rest in exhaustion.
Night view of the sultan's palace.

KT Central Market was really big with variety of local products, from fresh sea products, dried fish, fruits, kitchen wares, batik, local food stalls and so on. You can easily spend a whole morning time there, just shop and shop, making hard decision over the choices you have there. We didn't bought a lot, just few local fish biscuits, longan (fruits), dried fish, a batik cloth (really cheap with it's quality) and some local kuih-muih (anyone can help me to translate kuih-muih?).

Now, KT is enriched with many fast food franchisers and mega malls. Streets are getting busier. So, visiting KT will be more convenient to all of us now.
For more information about KT, log on to KT Official Tourism Site or Journey Malaysia website.

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Bukit Tinggi

Bukit Tinggi Resort (in Malay means high hill) is located in Bentong, Pahang State, about 2 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, and around 30 minutes drive from Genting Highland (I think most of you are more familiar with that place). We know the resort can be accessed through special arrangement by travel agents or by taxi or charterred car. We are not sure about the availability of shutter bus service from KL to the resort.

Bukit Tinggi Resort is divided into few parts, namely the Forest Park, Japanese Garden, French Park "Colmar Tropicale", Rabbit Park and the Golf Resort. Again, we have to admit that golfing is out of our interest, so we visited all the gardens except the golf. We went to Bukit Tinggi twice, with friends in 2003 and with family in 2004 respectively. One thing that we want to mention, the resort was well landscaped and perfectly maintained (even became better in 2004).

Forest Park (lower right) and Japanese Garden. Photo taken with Ling Shing's family (2004).

Forest Park, a park filled with a lot of tropical plants, from high canopical trees, shrubs, parasitic plants, grass, to moss, with the chirping birds and buzzing insects, we like them very much. By the way, there was no mosquito in the garden (maybe caused by regular fogging). Japanese Garden, a place with good landscape of waterfalls, streams, ponds with Japanese Cod Fishes, bamboos... indisputably Japanese styled.
Photo taken at the entrance of Japanese Garden with Sarawakian friends.

French Park consists a row of French themed shops, offering French styled food and souvenirs. There was a hotel there, but we didn't stay overnight there. We found most of the stuffs in the French Park were attractive, except the workers, they were locals without knowing a single French word. The food at the French Park was very expensive (compared to KL), as well as the souvenirs. However, that park drew our attraction a lot.

The "main street" of French Park.

The entrance of French Park "Colmar Tropicale". Photo taken with Ling Shing's family.

The last park, the Rabbit Park, contained hundreds of different species of rabbits, tamed with no fear of human. It was a great park for family with kids, we saw most of the children enjoy playing, chasing, patting the rabbits.

Overall, we put a high recommendation over Bukit Tinggi- ideal for a whole day or a 2 days 1 night trip. Early departure is required for one day tour. Visit Forest Park, follow by Japanese Garden. Both of the parks will take you 2 to 3 hours of relaxing tour. Then, proceed to French Park for lunch and little bit of shopping. You can stay there until 3 pm before move to Rabbit Park. The park is situated near to the entrance. You can travel back home from there after the visit.

Rabbits at Rabbit Park.
The cool environment, fresh air, quite surrounding were what we liked the most. The least- the price for the food, of course. How about a 50% discount? Or, you can bring your own lunch box and picnic basket (outside food was allowed).

More information about Bukit Tinggi, please visit The official site and Malaysia Vacation guide website.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

A' Famosa Resort

Well, we visited A' Famosa Resort for a few times, especially Ling Shing, as he visited the resort almost every year starting 1999-2002. We visited Water World, Safari, and Wild Wild West Park, all of them a few times. We had a great time there, on the first few visits. However, the poor maintenance was a big issue there. The parks looked old and dirty for the last few times of our visit (the most recent were 2005 and 2007).

A' Famosa Resort is 30 minutes away from the City of Malacca and Seremban, by car or bus of course (not within walking distance). The shutter bus service was available from the resort to all the theme parks (within 5 minutes of ride).

Photo taken in Wild Wild West Theme Park (2007). The park had a nice-looking outside but a little bit "unmaintained" inside. Anyway, the animal parade and fireworks at the end of the show were something worth the RM35 (per person at 2007) entrance ticket for.
Safari (animal world) was a place that both of us loved a lot, as we could see (and touch) a lot of animals inside. Safari was complemented with a few stage shows, such as "wild-wild West" and the "Bird Show". Wild-wild West staged the battle between a drunken cowboy with Red Indians, while the "Bird Show", ha, self-explained show, right?

Photo taken outside the Animal World, trucks that took us moving around the safari, and the "bird Show".
Animal feeding- primates, peacock, chicks, and ferry transferring us to the animal island in the safari.

A' Farmosa Resort, although we found it was not as attractive as it used to be, you still can visit it if you haven't being there before. 3 days 2 nights is more than enough for you to cover all the parks (in fact, 2 days 1 night is what we recommended). Call the resort, book you room first before your trip, and expect a big crowd of students and visitors during public holidays.

More information, visit A' Famosa Resort official website here. For our experiece in Malacca, click here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pangkor and Lumut

Pangkor Island, located in Perak. To go to the ferry point at Lumut, Perak, we took 2 and a half hours of bus from Kuala Lumpur. After we arrived at Pangkor, we were told that's a airport with a single flight a day as well.
Lumut (in Malay means moss) is small town at the west coast of Perak. During our visits (2003 and 2004), most of the people gathered around the ferry point with few rows of shops around the area. There were a wide guarded parking space for the visitors with their own transports as well (just 100 m away from the ferry point). A ferry trip to Pangkor took around 25 minutes (if not mistaken). Along the way was the Malaysian Royal Navy base on the left, which can be easily indicated by battleships and service depots. Again I noticed that the ferries were made in Sibu, my home town in Sarawak.

Betty and I at Esplanade Lumut, around 2 pm.

Photo taken at Esplanade Lumut, while waiting for the ferry.

We took a 3 days 2 nights visit to the island on our first visit. Together with our Sarawakian friends, we rented motorbikes for cruising (RM 10 per day, each bike carries 2 person). We stayed in Khoo's Holiday Resort, just beside Pasir Bogak Beach. The resort was quite a good place to stay, cheap, clean, and friendly staffs. With only RM 65 per room (for 4) per night at that time, we were quite satisfied.

Photo taken around 6:30 am at Pasir Bogak Beach, in front of Khoo Holiday Resort.

First evening, we visited the Dutch Fort and the rock with ancient written on it on the south. Then we went to the Nipah Bay. There, we took a boat trip (to Monkey Beach), played with the waves, snorkeling and had a lot of fun there.

Next morning, we took a trans-island trip with our bike, following the main road to the north at east bank, crossing the Pinang Rivers (with bridges) and went right into the forest reservation at Pangkor Hill. Then, we headed south at west bank, passing by Pangkor Island Beach Resort, Pangkor Airport, Coral Beach, Nipah Bay, and all the way back to our resort.
Dutch Fort and "The Rock".
From above: Photo taken a beach side somewhere around Teluk Baru, bike "gang" at Pangkor airport, and boat trip at Nipah Bay. We went for snorkeling after the boat trip.

Ling Shing went to Pangkor for the 2nd time with his family (2004), stayed in the same resort. Photo taken at Fok-Lin Temple, the miniature of The Great Wall (behind the temple), and the Ducth Fort.

We, indeed heard a lot of good things about the island. Anyway, we found that the island was not as good as it sounded. It was more likely a small fisherman island than a holiday resort. Anyway, the island is still worth at least a 3 days 2 nights trip (without snorkeling and golfing).

For more information about Pangkor, you can visit Pangkor and Official site for Pangkor.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Mines Wonderland

"Mines Wonderland" is a place that we want to mention. Why? It used to be a great place that everyone should not miss. But, that's history. Now, Mines Wonderland is badly maintained, poorly ran park (even hardly call it a park).

Photo taken around 2004. Mines Wonderland was filled with the Asian Wonders' Lanterns.

We put Mines Wonderland in here, we have a lot of good memories there. First time for us to watch the musical fountain, fireworks together, roaming across Ice Wonderland, taking garden boat trip, watch white tigers with vintage trains etc. It really really was a good place for us. Well, we did visit Mines Wonderland from time to time for different occasions. The last time was November 2008. That's the first time Ling Shing's younger sister visit the park. Nothing much left there, except the big coins and light decorations.

Go to Mine Wonderland with Ling Shing's younger sister and some friends (2008).

Took steamboat buffet dinner together in the park with friends (2008).

How to go to Mines Wonderland? Well, you can take the commuter service to Serdang Station, then take a 10 minutes walk from the station. If you don't want to walk from commuter station, then you can take a water taxi. Other alternatives, bus and taxi. Of course, you can skip Mines Wonderland and focus your visit on Mines Shopping Center. Mines Shopping Center is well maintained with middle-high class of shops. The shopping center is the one and only one shopping center in Malaysia with a river flows through it. Wow, amazing Venice like! More information, please log onto Selangor shopping guide to learn more about Mines Shopping Center (under guide to Selangor -> thing to do -> Shopping).

Photo taken in Mines Shopping Fair (Center) around Oct. 2009. The shopping center is well improved under new management of KapitaLand from Singapore.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Ipoh, Capital of Perak, is a modern town, with a lot of old buildings. The town is located along the North-South Highway, which we will pass by the town if we travel from Penang to Kuala Lumpur using the highway.

We went there for a 3 days 2 nights trip in 2007. From Kuala Lumpur, we took a 2 and a half hours driving to reach the town (with our own car). We stayed in the historical Majestic Station Hotel, which shared a same building with Ipoh Railway Station. The experience there was really unforgetable, as the hotel was a little bit too "historical" (built in 1917). Although the room rate is cheap, but we don't think we will go back to that hotel anymore.

Breakfast with Ling Shing's brother (younger) and our future sister-in-law. What else did we took? Famous Ipoh White Coffee, of course!

Ipoh is the home for many traditional chinese food, Ipoh Chicken Rice with sprout, toufu fa, and dim sum are few of them (we went to the most famous and original shop for those food). The chicken rice and toufu fa were really good. The dim sum, however, was not as good as expected.

The road system was simply confusing (even with clear road signs), a lot of small lanes and one way street. But, we managed to get a excellent tour guide for us (future sis-in-law). It is a very leisure place (dislike rushy KL), and worth a 2 days tour, aimly for food and beverage (don't ever forget to try Ipoh White Coffee).

These are some websites with useful information about Ipoh: Ipoh up close, Ipoh quick tour guide, and Hotels in Ipoh.

In fact, we had few more photos for this town, which were KIA during the reformatting of our laptop, we will post more photos in the future!

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Langkawi, the Island of Eagles, located at the north of Strait of Melacca, off shore of Kedah. We went there for 4 days 3 nights vacation around August 2005. It is a nice place for a short retreat, as well as a breathtaking adventure, or even a tour of discovering. You can go by air or sea- take a flight to Langkawi from Kuala Lumpur International Airport or take a boat trip from Penang.

Photo taken at Commonwealth Park.

We like Langkawi very much. There are many places of interest to visit. Underwater World, Bird Park, Telaga Tujuh Waterfall, Tanjung Rhu Beach, Lagenda Park (Park of Legends), Gunung Mat Cincang's Cable Car and Lang Square (Eagle Square) are just few of them.

We stayed in Eagle Bay Hotel for the first 2 days. The hotel posted 3-star, which for us, not reaching the standard. However, the RM80++ stay per night is over-worthed, as the location of the hotel is right in the middle of Kuah Town, which tax free alcoholic drinks and chocolates are available everywhere. The Chinese food is remarkably nice as well.

Photo taken at Lagenda Park, Paddy Museum, and Underwater World.
Clockwise from upper left: Photo taken at Lang Park, Mahsuri Tomb, Air Hangat Village (Hot Water) and Durian Perangin Waterfall.

After that, we switched to Helang Hotel, which was a 4-star hotel. The hotel, well, was more than excellent in design, as well as the buffet. The most spectacular part of it- RM90++ per night! Without hasty and fussy, we visited a few tourists' spots a day. The complete island map (available free at the airport) and helpful villagers make driving own rented car possible. Oh, an 1.3 cc Iswara sedan is about RM75 per day (non-peak season), considerably cheap for us, of course. If you haven't visit the island, well, we suggest that you can plan for a few days trip there. Besides all the great spots and tax free shopping, don't forget to discover the mysterious Legend of Mahsuri, which according to the local villagers, effecting their life until today!

Great sunset scenery at Tanjung Rhu beach.

We like Langkawi in the aspect of the interesting tourists' spots, tax free shopping, nice scenery, well developed. We dislike the artificial (man-make) elements in some nature sites. You can find information about Langkawi at Langkawi Online and Langkawi info.


August 2005, noon, we departed from Langkawi to Penang, Pearl of the East, and reached the airport 30 minutes later. As a matter of fact, both islands just 1 hours and 45 minutes away by speed boat (made in Sibu, my hometown, yeah!). Of course, you can follow us by air as well.

Anyway, Penang is easier to reach, compared to Langkawi. You can take a bus from any part of West Malaysia to Penang, or you can take a flight either.

Photo taken at Kit Lok Sik, Temple of the Sleeping Buddha, and Botanical Garden.

Penang is a multi-cultural land, thanks to her complicated history. Burmist, Thai, British, Chinese, Indian, etc. Just look at the temples, the cable car at Bukit Bendera (Flag Mountain), The Kit Lok Sik (The Temple of Ultimate Happiness), and Fort Cornwallis, you can name all the founders of the building without much hesitation (of course you might need a little bit of common knowledge as well).

Butterfly farm, Botanical Garden, and Batu Ferringhi complemented with Shopping malls, Penang Bridge (longest in Asian), Toy Museum, and above the rest-food, food and a lot of nice delicacies, make Penang a wonderful island.

The design of Burmist Buddhist and Thai Chayamangkalaram Temple (Both countries occupied the Island once upon a time).

We took a 3 days 3 nights trip(we departed from Penang Airport back to KL at 9 pm), with a stay at The Gurney Hotel, at the Gurney Street. The hotel, 5-star, was not as good as it sounded. RM200++ for studio suite, not a very competitive price. Failing safety box, partial functioning jacuzzi, and impolite receptionists, flawed the beautiful lanscapes, water park, swimming pool. However, the location is good- not far away from everywhere! Well, a 15 minutes walk to the Thai, Burmist, and the Sleeping Buddha Temples (at Burma Road), 10 minutes taxi ride to Comtar, shopping centers, and Botanical Garden. However, it will be a 20-45 minutes away from Kit Lok Sik, Feringgi Beach, Toy Museum, and butterfly farm.

If you have the chance to visit Penang, don't you ever miss their Char Kuey Tiaw (somewhere around Burma Street and Gurney Street), Asam Laksa (Ayer Hitam), Lok-lok and many-many other nice food (sorry, we cannot remember the location anymore). Don't forget, now, Penang is a World Herritage town! We have a very old but effective method to search for nice food around Penang- jump onto a taxi with a middle aged driver, ask him to bring you to the food stall. How about the Malay and Indian or Thai Food? You can try the same method as well (we got a lot of the info about the food from the taxi driver).

We really enjoy the food, multi-cultural herritage buildings, kind and helpful locals there, while dislike the Traffic, lowly maintained Bukit Bendera and Botanical Garden (2005).

For more information about Penang, log on to the Official Penang Website and about Penang site.

Water park at the Gurney Hotel.

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Malacca, City of History, founded by Parameswara in 13th century, is now a World Herritage site. Malacca can be reached by road. We drove there with our own car, 2 hours from Kajang (that's 2 and a half hours from Kuala Lumpur). We had being to Malacca for many times already, attracted by her uniqueness and, of course, historical auras. The Historical City, Jonkers' Street, a series of museums (Maritim, Baba & Nyonya, Cheng Ho, etc.), old churhes, A' Famosa Fort, old tombs of kings and heros, blended into the modern Mahkota Parade, Pahlawan Square (Warrior), and first class hotels, together with the Traditional Hainan Chicken Rice, Portugist Tarts, durian cake, Satay Celup and popiah... well, nothing better than "extravaganza" to describe Malacca.

Photo taken at Jonker Street.

Buddist temples along the Jonker Street.
Other places of interest, such as Malacca Zoo, Butterfly Farm, Bee Farm and temples of unique architecture designs are the places that we should not miss. (Just some personal point of views, you can skip some of them as well, such as the crocodile farm, eye of Malacca and Mini Malaysia). An early booking for hotel is necessary, unless you are a backpacker. We had tried Grand Continental (3-star), Tan Kim Hock Hotel (2-star), and Mahkota Resort (4-star). The first two were quite old and not well maintained. The Mahkota Resort is ok, RM180++ for a family suite (2006, credit card special promotion price) and the good location make it a good choice for us (5 minutes walking to Mahkota Parade and Pahlawan Square, 15 minutes to Malacca old town and 20 minutes Jonkers' Street).

Great landscapes around butterfly farm.
Yeah, after describing all the good things, now, the bad side- the traffic jam!! You will understand the true meaning of traffic jam if you visit Malacca during public holidays with your cars. "Holy Hainanese chicken rice!" We once caught by 2 hours of jam, just to enjoy a lunch of chicken rice. Horrible or not? Wanna take a try? The moral behind the story was: stay near to the heart of the city (such as the Mahkota Resort or some places nearby), and go to whatever place you can, possibly by foot.

2nd generation of old F&B industry, a brand of quality.
Well, we tried best ever tasted Hainanese Chicken Rice at "Chop Chung Wah", while the most advertised "Oldtown Chicken Rice" disappointed us most. Chop Chung Wah located at the entrance of Jonkers' Street (if you walk from the river side). The Portugist Tart, durian cake, and popiah are available along the Jonker Street. Besides delicious food, vast varieties of souviniors are available in Jonkers' Street as well.

A part of Malacca old town (Stadthuys) which was built around 1650.
Another place, which is nearby, is A' Famosa Resort- a name which combined Golf Resort, Water World, Safari, and Wild Wild West Theme Park. Interested? Then, let's go to A' Farmosa Resort, Malacca.

If you ask, would you visit Malacca again? The answer is certain, but not in peak seasons. For more information about Malacca, you can visit Malaysia Leisure, Malacca Net or any official results from the search engines.

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