Saturday, December 26, 2009

Siam Reap October 2007

Day 1 : Hit the ground running

As we walked out of the Siam Reap International Airport arrival gate, we were greeted by throngs of tour guide/hotel personnel waving the namecards of their guest. Due to overlooked the time zone difference, our tour guide was nowhere to be seen as we hv told him we will arrive at 11am but actually that will be an 1hr later. While waiting, a few tour guides who could not find their guests approached us in an oh-so-very polite manner to which we clarified in oh-so-very polite way as well. =) After a while, Mr Heunh (will be calling him Mr H in future) approached us and introduce himself. We carried our bags and head to the green van waiting at the parking. A huge relieved indeed!

Once in the van, Mr H, a professional tour guide, start narrating about Siam Reap history and geographical location. He speaks very fluent English! Along the way, we noticed that bicycle is the main form of transportation and the cars is driven real slow while motorcyclists don’t really wear helmet except for Tuk Tuk driver! We reached Angkor Star hotel which is in the city, checked in (nice room with 3 singles bed!) , rest for a while and return downstairs to recap our itinerary with Mr H. The first thing to do is MAKAN!! After rounds of searching for Halal food, we settle for nasi Briyani at an Indian restaurant. Nyummy!

Wood and Stone Carving Center (Artisan Angkor) was the first place to visit. Accompanied by a tour guide who speaks fluent French and Spanish beside English (!!), we were walked thru the background of this institution. We then make a round visiting the students finishing their tasks (some of the students are deaf/mute) , and ended the tour at the souvenir shop of course. I bought a “kipas” for 4 dollar. Later, I found out that it was sold for 1 dollar at the market. But I don’t really mind anyway… as the tour is for free…. :)

Next is Floating Village! It's a long way as we need to past thru many villages and lakes. Along the way, we noticed that their version of mamak stall is a small shop with big compound filled with “buaian gantung” which is very cool relaxing place. There was a special religious celebration on that day. Many people seen climbing the stairs to the top of the hill for prayers. There is also a small fun fair at the bottom of the hill. We then made a stop and get on the boat which cost 15 dollar per person. Saw a kid who hv a snake coiled around his neck. He kept saying "1 dollar" while his mother points to the banana. =(

Friday, December 25, 2009

Siam Reap Day 2

Despite the promise we made with Mr H to depart at least at 5am, we are ~20mins late. I still feel sleepy as we climb into the van. We stopped at a place to buy tickets(dun remember where, TBD) and after quick calibration to buy a 1 day ticket(20USD for 1 day, 40USD for 3 day, 60USD for 1 week) we head to the first destination - Angkor Wat. It was still dark as we passed a big lake. After the van made a stop, only did I realized we have reached to one of the 7 wonders of the world. Yeay!! We are here! We are finally here!

As we made our way inside, Mr H starts to narrate all the stories. Along the way, we passed many groups of tourist lead by their tour guide. Personally, I was attracted with the Cambodian tour guides who speak fluent Japanese. Kawaii!!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Hi, my name is Zue.
I fall in love with travelling ever since my 1st ever backpacking trip to Singapore in 2006. Along the way, i continue to meet people who share the same passion. Thus, the never ending journey.Now and then, friends will ask for the trip information as a guidance to plan their travel which is the reason i came up with the blog as a medium to share the stories. The blog will also be very transparent in terms of budget being used. The budget varies according to the locations and travel partners. It is purely as a guidance for your budget planning. If you find better options or any idea, feel free to share via the comment section. ;)

Other than that, i might occasionally write on my other passions, reading, movies and eating. Especially Penang food!

If anything, i can be contacted at zuraini83ATgmailDOTcom.Have a Nice Day!

Sabah August 2009

click the pic to enlarge

Day 1
There is only 1 Air Asia flight from Penang. Depart at 10.15am and arrive at 1.05pm.
The whole clan consist of 7 adults, 1 children and 2 babies. Thus, we chartered 2 MPV. Lucky for us, we found a good driver cum tourist guide, SARJAN (R) AHMAD ISMAIL a.k.a Abg Mat (016 804 0591) and his apprentice En Mat Noor. So, we used their service for the whole trip. ;) We made a stop at Restoran Sempelang. I had Nasi Ayam for RM5.90. Not really recommended, but you can go there if you are Super Hungry. :P After 3 hours of scenic ride, we finally arrive our 1st destination at Zen Garden, Kundasang.
Zen Garden website is super bombastic. But the chalet itself is not really up to the standard. However, the view is breathtaking. ;) Since we arrived Zen Garden at around 6pm-ish, we just stroll around the chalet and have a good rest that night. They have a very well equiped resaurant, so we just had dinner inside, albeit a little pricey. I forget the price, sorry.
Restoran Sempelang, Innova Cab, Zen Garden Chalet, Zen Garden View

On day 2, we went to Poring Hot Spring. It is around 1hr drive as there will be a lot of lorries along the way. They slow you down. Personally, i feel that Poring Hot Spring is so-so only. There is no privacy at all to the open pool and if you book the room, the pool is so small that only 1 person could fit 1 tube at a time. RM15 for 1hr. If you have gone to a Hot Spring before, you can skip Poring. :P Done with hot spring, some of us head to canopy walk. We need to go thru a short hike before we reach the tree top walk. It was nice!

Due to time limitations, we need to head back as we need to go back to KK and check into an apartment there. Along the way, we made a stop at Kundasang Town to buy all those unique fruits, especially buah Tarap. It's like jackfruit, with a stronger smell. After that, we stopped at Kinabalu Park for some photoshoots. Finally we reach our next stay in KK, Mutiara Court Resort Condo around 6pm. It is very near to Warisan Square & Filipino Market. So, we just walked there for dinner. Again, the food are quite pricey. Probably i am already used to good Penang food with reasonable price. :( So, you might want to find a different place for dinner other than Filipino Market.

Today is the day we go snorkelling! So, off we go to Pulau Manukan via a speedy boat! This mark my 1st snorkelling experience! I love it to bits. We snorkel for >2hrs non stop and only stop for lunch. Then, we made a stop at Pulau Sapi, but unlike Manukan, it is not as windy,and apart from the jetty we can't really see the fishes there while snorkelling. We don't stay long and dashed back as there are some shopping to do! So, my advice is, one island is good enough. ;)

So, the rest of the day was spent shopping at Filipino Market and Warisan Square. Almost all the shops sell the same thing. So, do bargain well and go from shop to shop to get the best price. ;)

We head to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. If you had children with you, and they love Zoo, then, this is a good place to visit. If not, you can skip this place. :) For lunch, we made a stop at Halal Indian Restaurant. This place is very very recommended! (Forget to venue, will update later)

Wake up at 4am. At 5am, we depart to the aiport for our 7am flight. Bye Bye Sabah. Till we meet again. :)

Info Sharing

  1. Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia. So, there's no way you can explore everything in just 5days. Almost all the cool attractions are very far away. Example KK and Kundasang is ~3hrs, KK to Kudat, also 3hrs. Kundasang to Kudat, ~4hrs.
    Gunung Kinabalu is in Kundasang while Filipino Market/Jesselton Point in KK.
  2. If you can get a good cab driver, thats the best. By saying cab, i mean Toyota Innova. Personally, i think the price is not bad considering the taxi driver act as tour guide as well. We did surf for tour packages and it cost around rm650-800 per person(Not inclusive of meals/tickets). Example price:- KK-Kundasang(3hrs) -RM200. Kundasang - Poring - KK - RM 300. Apartment - Airport (15mins) -RM30
  3. The lodge at Zen Garden cost RM520/night. The Mutiara Court apartment in KK cost ~RM300/night. Both lodge and apartment comes with 3 bedroom, kitchen and living room, which is perfectly comfortable. But at Kundasang, we notice a few other nice lodging such as PineView and Celyn. Not sure if they have 3 bedroom lodge, but you can survey if you want to go in big families.
  4. Boat for the whole family(RM250). Entrance Fee Manukan(RM3), Sapi(RM6). Snorkelling gear, extra budget. You can rent it at the Jettty or once u reach the island.
  5. To me, the food is expensive. It's good if you can prepare your own meals to save budget. As the distance is not so baby-friendly (kene cross the road, jalan2 etc), we only eat outside once a day..and prepare meals ourselves/tapau instead. So, make sure you plan in your internaries where to eat and how to get there or else, do plan to buy roti/telur/sardin/etc.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Singapore - Dec 2006

Once we reached Singapore, we immediately took a cab from bugis to Sentosa Island. The fare was reasonable. There, we went to Underwater World & Dolphin Lagoon. The Underwater World was OK, but the Dolphin Lagoon is Super Fun!

Took a cable car to cross back and then head to hotel right after that by MRT. Oh ya..the cable car is not for those who fear height! Poor Aida was trembling all the way. :P

The exit at Chinatown MRT is a very fascinating one i must say. We were greeted by olden days buildings that is truely covered in the chinese heritage. I remembered almost 4 of us saying "wow" after we emerged from the mrt station. It turns out that the hotel is very nearby.
Tip --> go to Chinatown to buy souveniers!

Next, after failed asking for kiblat directions, we headed to the nearby mosque to perform our prayers. One thing about sg that we noticed: everything is tourist-friendly. even the religious places. phamplets and seating area greeted us.

Next is the most exciting journey- walk to merlion! Yeah. Yes, we walked! After getting to the nearest mrt of course. Another good thing about Singapore : map is waaaay accurate and easy to read.

The walk although a bit tiring was good. As we are able to take a closer look at all the very unique buildings along the way. I enjoyed the walk at Clarke Quay the most. The view is simply spectacular. Modern & Traditional blend so well together. We finally reached merlion and snap photos despite the cat&dogs rain.

Right after that, we walked our way to the nearest mrt that take us to Orchard Road. I actually thought orchard road was something like chowkit road! But how different it is with all the complexes arranged so near to each other! And throngs of people flooded the place. Its full of Indonesians, mat salehs, Fillipinos, Malaysia of course and others.

the scenery did not quite meet my expectation, as i was hoping to see santa with his elf but to no avail. The road is filled up with lights that i wished i had a nice camera to capture all of it. At the end of the day our foot ache so much that dayah & i walked like an old lady.