Tag Archive for Malaysia

Kota Kinabalu Holiday (10th to 14th May)

Well I thought it would be good to schedule my third holiday for 2014 into my busy calendar.

A colleague from work and I decided a few options in Malaysia – all centred in Borneo. Miri was one option, Kuching was another (although I had already been) and so was Kota Kinabulu (KK for short). After much discussion, we set our mind on KK, noting that it was going to be a cheap and relaxing break away from Singapore and work, and where we can also have a bit of fun.

The Air Asia flight wasn’t too bad – priced at $241 – I guess it could have been cheaper on a promo, but we couldn’t wait any longer to book up. We looked at the various accommodation comparison sites (hotels.com, booking.com and the newest site that we also now use is wego.com) – and we found a nice place in the centre of KK called “Imperial Boutec Hotel Waterfront” – at Warisan Square. it cost us 30RM to get there from the airport via taxi. The area seemed okay, not too sleazy, and it was up on the 7th floor of the shopping mall, so away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping area. We were based very central within the town, near to the seafront / promenade and near to the night food market – which we went to a couple of times in the end.

We also went around the town – which was enough to get around with relative ease. We did find a nice quarter down Jalan Gaya which overlooked the Signal Hill Observation Tower. We visited a place called ‘Party Play’ which seemed to be an tourist expat type of place, but it was a nice spot to get out of the rain and chill over a beer or two, as we watched the world go by during one afternoon.

The key intention of our visit was to visit Mounta Kinabulu mountain…whilst we weren’t that keen (or possibly well versed) to do the actual climb (about 4,095.2m or 13,435.7ft above sea level), but we did enjoy the view from below 🙂 Haha! We went as part of a tour, so we had other groups come with us, it was a nice walk up, and the lunch time food was quite tasty.

We went to the Poring Hot Springs, which was pretty relaxing. The springs were pretty close to the Kinabulu National Park, so it was good to visit and relax before the next part of the walking trail. This also included a tree-top walk during the walk, it was very similar to the one in Singapore, and a nice relaxing walk up hill. The last part of the trip involved walking to the Waterfall, it is always amazing to see the great views of nature in all its glory.

We then ended the trip and headed back to KK town, and we decided to head out to get a drink after a long days walking – exercise is hard work remember 🙂

The next day, we decided to take a taxi to visit the Low Kawi Wildlife park, just to the south of KK town – however, it wasn’t that good to visit, although it was good to get out back and see some nature again. It just looked a bit run down.

On the last day, we just walked around the town again, and we decided to find a Buk Kut Teh place – and we decided to go with the herbal variety – and it was actually very refreshing indeed. We then ventured around looking for gift ideas, and enjoying people watching in and around the town.

we then went to Hot Rod nearby for our last dinner – this pub was quite nice, and we enjoyed the live music and the pool playing – ergh… and the drinks 🙂 before we headed near by for a nice seafood dinner, our last dinner as we ended our holiday. The next morning, we had a quick brekkie nearby, before we headed to the airport for our return flight back to Singapore…I would certainly recommend visiting Kota Kinabulu and would definitely suggest going up the mountain – as there is only a limited amount of things to see and down within the two itself.

Long Weekend Holiday in Penang

Having always intended to visit Penang, I finally decided to book-up a nice long weekend last weekend. I joined with a work colleague, and the two of us just wanted to enjoy the time away and have a good time eating, walking and drinking 🙂

The good news is that I managed to finally use the S$50 discount that I received from Tiger Airlines after my complaint following my trip to Hong Kong late last year, so it was pretty reasonable 🙂 The total cost of the flight was just over S$150 (so £75) – brilliant, hey? 🙂

We decided to leave late on Friday, 7th September after work, and we arrived in good time before the rush-hour. The flight left at 5pm, so it was a good time to leave. We both decided to use the Priority Pass membership to get into one of the Lounges. It was the Green Market in Terminal 2 – which basically was a loung with a Japanese restaurant. It was okay, wasn’t really what I expected, but at least the food and drinks were free. The flight was largely uneventful, and we arrived just over an hour and 15 minutes in Penang international airport. I booked a taxi pick-up from my hotel, and the taxi was waiting as planned. It cost 45RM (about S$17), which wasn’t too bad. I didn’t realised how far George Town was from the airport, the airport was on the South of Penang island, whilst George Town (hotel was just near to George Town) was towards the North of the island. We arrived in good time, and was welcomed into the hotel.

The hotel was actually very nice – a truly refreshing boutique Museum hotel – located a stone throw from the centre of George Town (just look for the Zurich Office landmark, located nearby to find your way back to the hotel!). It is a fascinating place, built as a colonial home, with plenty of antiques and artifacts on display. The service is excellent, the front desk and the lounge staff are truly pleasant, they certainly help out as much as they can.

While the breakfast choice is limited to 4 dishes, which you are required to order before 10pm the preceding day, it actually is perfect for my needs, although a little limited in terms of choice. They serve it with style and grace and it is top quality indeed, and you eat it in such a nice breakfast room, you just can’t help but chill and relax as you plan your day ahead. The front desk and staff really are very supportive and are keen to help you in any way they can, and are very pleasant, and are always smiling.

The next few days we spent walking around George Street, finding pleasant places to eat, places to relax and chill, and enjoy the sight and sounds of this delightful place. We managed to do quite a bit, and ate most of the key things that we had to eat in Penang, so a bonus! My friend left on the Sunday evening, whilst I took off Monday as well – and managed to do another walk around George street. I actually found a nice tea shop, which I found on Trip Advisor – Huang Chen Hao Tea Art Shop (also known as ‘Wuyi Tea Art Centre’), located on Jalan Campbell (Campbell Street), I ended up talking to the owner for about 2 hours, sipping the tea, and also made a purchase – as I found it sooo refreshing.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Penang – and I think about 3-4 days is just the right amount of time – but overall an enjoyable trip.

Extended Holiday in Langkawi, Malaysia

Well after the hard partying during the Indian Wedding, I decided to stay over in Langkawi for another week, so that I can relax, unwind and get some sunshine – rather than think of work again.  It was well needed, and I am so glad I decided to book the extra days off.

In fact with the Hari Raya (end of the Muslim fast) and the Singapore National Day scheduled together – means in total I only had to book 5 days to get 11 days off – nice!

I decided to book a hotel on the west side of Langkawi just south of the airport – this is the main hub of Langkawi Town, and my hotel was actually nicely located.  The hotel was simply but effective – it had a walk-in shower, it was a clean and spacious room, and actually for $50 per night (about £25 / night) – so it actually was exactly the sort of price I wanted to spend on a room – at the end of the day it is a clean air conditioned room with a shower!  Haha!

The Pantai Tengah beach was a short walk behind the resort, and it was separated by a hill at the north end of the beach from the more populous Pantai Cenang, but easy to get from the main road. There are plenty of eateries, drinking holes, mini-marts, and massage/spa places dotted around the area, so in theory, you have everything you need in one place.

I pretty much did the following: sleep, breakfast, beach, walk, lunch, beach, walk, dinner, drink, relax and sleep – and repeat 🙂 Haha…

Anyway, I do feel relaxed and caught up on my sleep – but I doubt that will last when I return back to Singapore.

Tropic Resort Langkawi
Pantai Tengah
07000 Langkawi
+(604) 955 4075
Email: rooms@tropicalresortlangkawi.com
URL: http://www.tropicalresortlangkawi.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tropical-Resort-Langkawi-Malaysia/158282904097

Neha’s and Neel’s Indian Wedding in Langkawi

It has been months in the planning, but we have all been anticipating the wedding of the year – with a good work colleague and her fiancé, inviting a number of her Amex colleagues to the Indian wedding located at the WestIn in Langkawi, Malaysia.

I knew it was a going to be a good, and I also knew it would involve a LOT of drinking and enjoyment, and it didn’t disappoint.

A core group arrived on Thursday 1st August around midday, with another group arriving on the Friday.  The Mehendi was scheduled for the Friday, 2nd August for the ladies, the Sangeet during the evening and the Wedding Ceremony was on the Saturday, 3rd August.  Basically 3 days of “hard work” 🙂

It was such a gracious ceremony, and it was a great location to chill, relax and celebrate a great wedding ceremony.

Congratulations to Neha and Neel – I wish you many years of joy and happiness together…

Booked a Long W/E Holiday to Penang, Malaysia

I decided that I should try to arrange a few long weekends before the year-end…not too many mind you, as I don’t want to use up all of my holiday too soon.

Anyway, I still haven’t visited Penang, so decided to go and visit there for a long weekend – leave late on Friday, and return Monday evening – so I can spend 3 days and 3 nights there. I think that should be plenty of time to admire the place, I just need to sort out a place to stay.

I decided to go and redeem by $50 voucher I had pending from Tiger Airlines (which expires on 31st July), so I think it was a good cost-effective choice 🙂

Holiday in Tioman Island, Malaysia

Well I decided that I needed a break from Singapore, so booked a spontaneous long weekend trip to Tioman Island. Tioman is renowned for being a Diving and Snorkeling location – so not being a diver, I would settle for a snorkeling session, as well as just eating, reading and relaxing in the sun 🙂 I know, I could probably do some of that (minus the snorkeling) in Singapore, but the view’s aren’t the same (if you know the Singapore horizon from the (man-made) beaches, you will know what I mean.

Anyway, I did some checks online, and decided that I would go on the 7th-9th June weekend. I know you can do a coach to Mersing and a short ferry hop across to Tioman, but I decided to go with the flight option – going with Berjaya-Air, which goes from Changi all the way to Tioman in 40 odd minutes – perfect! Compare that with a 6 hour journey each leg – which wastes the weekend really! I then went on booking.com, agoda.com, hotels.com, and noted that there was a couple of recommended venues on the West side – which seemed to have pretty good reviews from trip advisor. However, the sites were coming back with a pretty pricey mix, so I decided to check on the airline website to see if they had any package deals – I was going to give up the idea of a long weekend if the price wasn’t right, and then I found an okay bargain.  It wasn’t going to be a ‘cheap-cheap’ trip, but I just wanted a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the Singapore city-life.

The website had a good number of packages, and there was a couple that were All Inclusive, but these were limited to coming from KL, rather than Singapore.  I looked up the Singapore and there was a “3D/2N Free and Easy Summer Package Weekend from Singapore” listing.  This seemed to be be perfect and exactly what I needed – it was a package but with some flexibility – so the flight and accommodation would be sorted at least!  the offer price for any of the weekends in June was 888RM / person, but as I was travelling alone, the single traveller rate was 1248RM for the entire 2 nights stay.  Then you add the 205RM for the airport tax and airline surcharge.  I then added Renggis Island snorkeling which was another 35RM (which turned out to be 10RM cheaper than doing it at the hotel).  There were only 3 resorts on offer which ranged in price – Berjaya Tioman Resort (4*), Japamala Resort (5*) or Tioman Dive Resort (3*).  I decided to go with the mid-range, as wanted to ensure I was ‘comfortable’ too, during my stay.  According to Trip Advisor, Berjaya Tioman Resort wasn’t too bad…and it was a B&B rate.

The plane was an adventure – it was a Turbo Prop plane – on a really old plane.  But it worked, even though it was quite noisy and ‘old’ (and only supported 48 people).  I was shocked to see I had seat 1A on the outward flight, and no this wasn’t first or business class – ha!  It was actually a funny seat as was right in front of the partition wall diving the pilot cabin and the main cabin – and I was reverse-facing, so facing all of the other passengers – which was a first.  It felt really weird, actually…and is how the steward seats are on the modern Jumbo’s.  Anyway, the arrival hall was small and basic, but did the job.  There wasn’t a “baggage belt” at all – the luggage cart just turned up and everyone just pulled their luggage from the cart’s cage…funny…maybe Heathrow should do it this way…probably quicker and more efficient.  There was a 5RM wildlife sanctuary ‘tax’ which you had to pay on arrival, which wasn’t too bad, I guess.  Once I arrived, the bus transit arrived about 5-10minutes – which ferries people between the Airport and Boat terminal to the Paya Beach Resort and Berjaya Tioman Resort.  It was a 10-15 minute journey, and I arrived pretty hot and wanted to cool off with a nice relaxing shower.  My room was available straightaway, and I was pleasantly surprised how comfortable the chalet was.  It was basic and clean, but met by needs – it turned out to be quite spacious for me.

I then ventured out to the beach area and founded a nice secluded spot when I could relax, read a book and sunbathe – well it was only 3pm 🙂  After a couple of hours, I decided to find somewhere to eat, I found out that there was 2 places just outside of the resort – so I tried the one that had quite a few people there, and the food and service was actually pretty good.  The price was around 18RM.  The price in the resort was over double the cost of this place, so it was cheap, tasty, and probably more yummy that the resort restaurant. The next day, I ventured early to the beach – and then walked down to the Dive centre where the Snorkeling would also take place.   The boat takes you across the water for 2 minutes before you reach 2 man-made floating pontoons where you can relax and then jump into the water to snorkel.  This was Renggis Island – and I was subsequently told by a Singaporean family that there used to me a lot of Coral in the reef, so it is true that you can see the reduction quite clearly over the years!  The coral reefs and exotic fish were delightful – full of colour and amazing sights.  Certainly enjoyable.  I need to invest in an under-water camera for my iPhone – as really need to take some nice video’s of the underwater sealife.   Truly mesmorising!!

I settled back onto the beach after an hour or 2, and chilled for the rest of the day.  For lunch and dinner, I went back to the place outside of the resort – it was a buffet lunch, which was tasty and only cost me 15RM for lunch, and about 19RM for dinner.  Very nice!

The next morning, I checked-out and the bus took us back to the Airport, where we waited for the plane to arrive before heading back home to Singapore.  I was in 6B this time.  Someone actually told me that the safest seat is right at the back – hey-ho…I felt safe enough…hehe!

All in all – a very relaxing trip and I thoroughly enjoyed the island.

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