Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Western Australia Part 8: The City of Perth

Selfie much? 

Perth: Isn't It Time You Really Get To Know Me
So that was the catchy slogan displayed on an ads in the middle of Perth city. We've had our wonderful moments up, close and personal with the local nature landscape (Yanchep National Park, Serpentine National Park, Kings Park), historical spots (Fremantle Prison, Round House etc) and suburbs area (Fremantle). But the place of modernisation and urbanisation in the Perth City itself should not be left aside. 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Western Australia Part 7: Mandurah the Heaven for Retirees

Mandurah the Blue
It was said that Mandurah originated from the word 'Mandjar' which means meeting place by the Noongar people. But Mandjar and Mandurah are obviously a remote connection in terms of spelling and pronounciation, so I assume Mandjar became Mandurah was because of mispronounciation by the English people who came later inhabited Perth. As the second largest city in Perth, Mandurah is definitely a place to drop by. But given Mandurah has became a city with the least affordable houses and premises, I do not think staying a night in Mandurah is a great idea especially those who are on budget. 

Western Australia Part 6: Serpentine National Park

A Drive to Serpentine National Park (Opens 8:30 am to 5:00 pm daily)
It was not just our luck to experience close encounter with any of the local animals like kangaroos or koalas. But this was not the case with Serpentine National Park. The 50 km drive that took about one hour and a half was definitely worth it. With minimal fee of AUD 11 per car, Serpentine National Park is one of the ideal picnic spots in Western Australia. 

Western Australia Part 5: Yanchep National Park

The lake at the Yanchep National Park

A Drive to Yanchep National Park
My youngest sister-in-law nicknamed Acha wished to have a close encounter with a kangaroo. So I attempted to sell an expensive idea of Caversham Wildlife Park which almost cost about AUD 24 per person. It was unsuccessful. My father-in-law was thinking of somewhere off the popular path, and most importantly, more economic. And he stumbled upon an advertisement in the tourism brochure, promoting Yanchep National Park. AUD 11, per car, not per person. So I rest my case. Yanchep better be good, I hoped. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Western Australia Part 4: Doing Time in Fremantle Prison

“No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet." - Patrick Rothfuss.

It was not just about remembering the mistakes done by the people before us, but rather, it was a journey to learn not to repeat the same mistakes again. 

This is the story of the Fremantle Prison: Doing Time.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Western Australia Part 3: The Historic Harbour Town of Fremantle

Dawn in Fremantle. 

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Why Fremantle?
Fremantle (or referred by some as Freo) is like a KFC combo set, where you can get cool things all wrapped into one set. From historical site to modern life leisure centre, Fremantle is not just a suburb area and a dream town for pensioners, rather it promises a great deal of potential to be commercialised. A day in Fremantle will never be enough. Never.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Western Australia Part 2: From Black Swan to Kings Park of Perth

The Black Swan

"All journeys have secret destinations of which traveller is unaware..." Martin Buber.

I've learnt that sometimes by getting lost, you would discover the best spots which was originally out of the must-go list. Do not restrict yourself to the research you've done. Sometimes you just have to relax your mind and follow your heart.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Western Australia Part 1: Experience the Australian Immigration

Australian Immigration: Up Close & Personal 
Many gave an impression that Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) are tough and difficult. But I still believe that if I remain completely honest and cooperative, things would definitely be smooth and easy. Just follow the procedure and things would be alright. After all, you are entering someone else's country, so it is reasonable to assume that you need to comply with their regulation. Here, let me share some things you need to prepare and do before entering the beautiful country of Australia. 

About Perth, Australia

The Swan River. And the city of Perth.

Perth: Where It Began
For thousands years, the aboriginal people of Noongar inhibited the land for generations. The day Captain Stirling set his foot in the 19th centuries mark the significant changes to the history. The beginning of development was rather slow. Even when the convicts were sent to increase modernisation and build infrastructure, the population was still crawling bit by bit. Only when gold was discovered, the settlement became attractive and promising. However, this was somehow perceived as disadvantageous to the people of Noongar themselves. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Melaka Part 4: A Walk in the Red City

After reminiscing the past at the A Famosa, we decided to continue the journey on foot to the popular cendol stall by the river for evening meal. Bandar Hilir was not that big, I guess. Even though there are various mode of transportation to bring you to your desired destinations around town, the best mode would still be walking on your own. On the way to the Dutch Square, we encountered numerous museums located as tourist attraction sites, with minimal fee as low as RM 0.50 per entry, ranging from Islamic museum to architectural museums. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Melaka Part 3: The Ruins of the Portuguese

From the history of the great Malacca, we strolled down to the next important phase in history i.e the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century. Next to the Istana Kesultanan Melayu Melaka, the remaining of Portuguese empire stood still – A Famosa. 


While remaining ruin of the entrance to the fortress as per the pictures was actually called Porta de Santiago or Gate of the St. James, it was erroneously referred to as A Famosa, even by some reference, text books and even the tourists brochures. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Melaka Part 2: Melaka Sultanate Comes to Life

1. Istana Kesultanan Melayu Melaka
The fact that this building was built based on original techniques with no use of nails at all render this place as one of the must-visit location while you are in Melaka. No, this is not the original palace of Sultan Mansur Shah, but rather it was erected as an honour to the glory of the Malay Sultanate centuries ago and to document the history of the glorious Melaka. With minimal entrance fee of RM2, it was worth the visit. 

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Melaka Part 1: How I Spent 3 Hours in Bandar Hilir

The Revelation for a Historic Mission
It was Wesak Day. In Malaysia, Wesak Day is considered as a public holiday. This is one of those instances where living in a multicultural society is indeed a blessing in Malaysia i.e. having multicultural h.o.l.i.d.a.y.

But I need a quick get away. Without hesitation, I chose Bandar Hilir. Together with my wife and my friend, Herman, we set our journey on Wesak Day to Melaka.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Bangkok Part 5: Taxi Driver in Bangkok - Up Close & Personal

Bangkok Taxi Drivers - Up, Close and Personal... Well.. Sort of... 
BTS and MRT would definitely be my first choice of travelling around in Bangkok. Like Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, they are efficient, convenient and safe. However, there are instances where I had no choice but to flag a taxi on the Bangkok road and take a chance. Many drivers were known of hidden and suspicious agenda, but there were also friendly and nice taxi drivers who truly reflect the real culture of Siamese. 

Here, I would like to share some observations based on my readings in comparative to what I've experienced during my trips in Bangkok.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

USA: Visa Application Tips for Malaysian

Before boarding a plane to New York, eating peanuts while watching some movies on your seat and singing Alicia Keys version of New York out loud, you need to ensure some basic knowledge are fully furnished. 

And I am writing in the context of non-immigrant visa, because I do not have the intention to leave my beloved country at all. This checklist is very useful to all bimbos and himbos who may need help:

Friday, 10 May 2013

Siem Reap Part 5: The Remaining Temples on Bike

Wish Us Good Luck
A nice visit to Angkor Wat marked the smooth beginning of the day. Our target is to set our foot to ten temples. Or include other monuments or historical building as well. On bike, with one whole day pass (we need to return our bikes by 7 pm anyway), the goal was indeed a challenge. Let's see whether we were able to finish up all ten temples. 

One down. Nine to go!

Siem Reap Part 4: Angkor Wat on Bike

The Plan
Woke up at 6:00 am. Depart from Hotel at 6:30 am on bicycle. 7:00 am watched the sun comes up at the Angkor Wat. And enjoy the day, ahead of everyone else under the sun. Sounds nice? Again, that was the plan.

The Actual Event
Woke up at 7:00 am. The first ray of sunlight had penetrated the earth. One word. Late. We got up and quickly prepared ourselves for a long adventurous day. Well, better be late than never, right? Backpack, food, mineral water, torch light, guide books, sunglasses - checked. Let's go. 

We aimed to set our foot to ten temples. Sounds ambitious? We'll see!

Siem Reap Part 3: Journey to Chong Kneas Floating Village

Journey to Chong Kneas Floating Village
Chong Kneas taught me a significant lesson of life - that you can be happy by being thankful for what you have now. 

And how did Chong Kneas taught me so? By observing how happy these people could be despite the hardship they have to go through, to be resourceful as they could be in order to survive and eventually to be adaptive to dramatic seasonal change twice a year. 

Siem Reap Part 2: Wat Thmei and Silk Farm

Mr. Vannak. Driving his Tuk Tuk
Down The Lane of the Cruel Past: Wat Thmei 
At 12:00 pm, Mr. Vannak was already waiting for us in front of the hotel. We requested for him to bring us to any grocery shop nearby. At the grocery shop, we bought some biscuits and bread for ourself and for the local kids we would be meeting along the three days journey.

If you had been following my previous post, you would notice I've visited a related place named Killing Field of Cheong Eak in Phnom Penh. Wat Thmei is among hundreds of killing fields discovered in Cambodia.

Other than operating as worship place, Wat Thmei also housed a stupa erected as a symbol to honour the innocent souls who had to face the gruesome regime of nasty Pol Pot and also as a reminder to the next generation so that they would not repeat the same mistake ever again.

Siem Reap Part 1: Siem Reap Again?

Siem Reap again?
You can buy money. 
But you can never buy time and youth. 

The return ticket was around RM 455 (KL - Siem Reap). No promotion available. 
But I was so determined to go. 

I am looking forward for two things in Siem Reap. 
One, cycling around Angkor Archeological Center. 
Two, buying Cambodian men's trousers.
I am going to make both happen this time. This trip.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Pahang Part 2: Tea Party in Cameron Highland!

Welcome to Cameron Highland!

One of the Coolest Place in Malaysia
Let's face it. Whenever it is not raining, Malaysia is hot. So hot, that you would sweat, seconds after you got out of shower. And there are few places where you can at least get a 10% feel of London or USA or wherever cool enough for you to strike a pose in your nice sweater and jacket - Cameron Highland, Genting Highland, just to name a few.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Pahang Part 1: Cameron Highland - The Chronicles of Roses, Strawberries and Tea

A video I made on our trip in December 2012.

Hairi Tahir

Selangor Part 1: Tips to Climb Broga Hill

Broga Hill. The first peak.

About Broga
A small town situated 50 km from the city centre of Kuala Lumpur, whereby it sits in between the border of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan. Why the name is Broga? "Broga" was believed to originate from the word "Buragas", a mythical creature living in the forest. 

Sumatera Utara Part 1: Medan, Exploring the Sleeping City

Medan... Finally!
After a journey of two hours and a half from Berastagi, we were finally in the city of Medan. As the fourth biggest city in Indonesia, Medan is also synonym to traffic congestion problem. We were trapped in the traffic for about half an hour before arriving at the Danau Toba International Hotel.

Route Not Taken
I've been arranging itineraries for Medan prior to the trip, including Maimoon's Palace, Masjid Raya of Medan, Tjong A Fie Mansion, etc. However, it later occurred to us that the two-day trip in Medan demanded both of us to trash the itinerary out of the window and get to know Medan, up close and personal. 

My wife said, "Let's just... walk."

So we checked in, had light lunch, freshened up, and headed to the main road. 
Where to go? 
We didn't know and we didn't plan at all.

Sumatera Barat Part 5: Sipisopiso and Berastagi

Arrival in Parapat
One thing about Parapat was that there were more than one jetty receiving ferries from Samosir Island. 

And one thing about the jetty in Tomok was that there was no specification as to which jetty in Parapat they would stop by. 

You may not end up at the same jetty you were before i.e. when you were boarding the ferry to Samosir. Luckily the ferry dropped us at a jetty, which was not that far from the P.M Raja Taxi Station. But still, walking with 10 kg backpack on my back was not that convenient.   

Sumatera Barat Part 4: Pangguruan - The Best View of Toba

View of Lake Toba from the balcony of our hotel room

Bus Hunting?
On foot, we headed to the main road, particularly to the spot where the becak motor driver dropped us few hours ago. My back was aching so badly, but the thoughts of leaning my back against the bus' comfortable seat surpassed the torture. 

We really hoped that the beauty of Pangguruan worth the trouble. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sumatera Barat Part 3: Secrets of Ambarita

Journey to Ambarita
We were on the becak motor for about 10 minutes, enjoying each and every sights caught by the glimpse of our eyes. Paddy fields were lined up along the narrow small streets where lots of motorcyclists were honking to one another. Either as a friendly sign or an adversarial reminder, I am not pretty sure. All I know, Samosir should be left the way it is today, because this is where I see nature has been preserved accordingly. Green land and blue sky. Simple combination isn't it?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Sumatera Barat Part 2: King Sidabutar - Up Close & Personal

Parapat. Early in the morning.

Horas! Good Morning Parapat!
We woke up to the sound of the cockcrowing early in the morning. 


The last time I woke up to the sound of cockcrowing was 23 years ago, where we still had some chickens at the back of the house. It seemed that in Medan, the first ray of sunlight had been penetrating the earth even before the clock read 6:30 am. After Subuh prayer, we went out to witness the view of Lake Toba from our hotel. Sunrise and sunset are among things listed in my “must-do” list while traveling in a particular country.


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Lepas Ni Abang ke

1. New Zealand | South Island
2. London | UK

3. Solo & Jogjakarta | Indonesia

4. Surabaya (Semeru & Bromo)
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