Posts by Maurina

I am a blogger from the sleepy and peaceful Brunei where nothing ever happens. Or so u think... The fundamental thing about Brunei is the fact that it is full of unexpected treasures. So while you are here, live by it. Expect the unexpected. :)

Passport, Bag & No Idea Where I was Going

Would you go to a destination you know nothing about?

Few months ago, Emma Good Egg forwarded us a link to a website that organises “surprise trips”. I thought: wow!

How can I travel and not know where I’m going? Well, it involves a secret destination, all accommodation arranged for you as well as airfares.

All you need is a date.

That scares me to no end! What if I dont like the destination they chose? What if they put me up in a yucky hotel? What if my roommate is a cockroach? What if there’s no halal food? What am I going to eat?

I followed them on Instagram.

I thought it was crazy scary, and yet, genius.

Stalked them obsessively, kept on talking about it at the office and asking everyone would they do it?

Eventually I had enough: I had to try it.

“Ching wanna go on a trip with me next month?” I asked my colleague, sitting next to my table. She was typing furiously on her computer, chasing a deadline.

“Huh? Erm ok I guess?” She said absentmindedly.

“Ok u owe me $300. We’ll find out where we are going by mail.”

Bewildered, and feeling conned (again) my colleague agreed.

Few days later, received this:

Omg sport shoes 😧

What is “thin long pants”???

Are we going to climb Mount Rinjani???

Scarier and scarier!!!

Date loomed closer and fear turned to worry when the mail did not arrive. WHERE ARE WE GOING????

2 days before the trip I emailed the Anywhr team and they promptly emailed us our tickets and itinerary.

I now know where we were going,

But guess who printed everything out and recreated the Anywhr envelope?

Me.

And guess where we were going?

Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Where?!

Check out my journey here:

So would you go travel to somewhere you know nothing about?

YES.

Did I enjoy it?

IMMENSELY.

Will I do it again?

ABSOLUTELY.

Do I recommend it to u?

YES YES YES!

Advertisements

When Girls Travel: 5 Things about Hua Hin

During the fasting month, I travelled with my bestfriends to Hua Hin, a fancy schmancy getaway town frequented by Bangkokians and the Royal Thai family.

It’s just a quick drive away, you can just rent a super comfy van or simply buy a train ticket from Bangkok all the way to Hua Hin.

Usually I’d go through the trouble of going via train, but hey it’s the fasting month so I arranged everything to be as easy as possible – HAHA. The van picked us up at the hotel and we zoomed to Hua Hin.

FYI I booked a van from 12goasia, which basically is a booking engine for vans, taxis, busses, ferries, trains. First time trying them and we were quite pleased!

Anyway, here are 5 things about Hua Hin!

1. It is a beautiful and quiet beach town!

Me and my girlfriends spend whole days just hanging out at the beach!

2. So many affordable beachfront resorts and gentle waves!

This was very evident in the booking process! There were so many good deals around and we were super spoilt for choice!

We love the resort we were staying at, but it was just the tip of the iceberg! There were so many to fit your budget, your group, or your requirements!

All resorts were designed to be super private, safe, and surrounded with security (humans and strategic foliage) to ensure that we don’t have to worry about a thing!

Our resort, The Crest Santora, was located I suppose on the main resort belt, and was a beachfront property. The room can comfortably fit us 5, and as u can see, more!

The area is so beautiful and tastefully designed too!

3. People come here to play pretend!

Hua Hin is full of themed malls, parks and gardens and it is such a joy to take photos in! In fact, we took so many pictures! Until I wanted to pass out from the heat!

See below!

Pretend you’re in Santorini

Pretend you’re in Venice

Pretend you’re a mermaid

Pretend you’re in Holland? Swiss farm? (This one a bit confusing)

Pretend you’re upside down

The above all taken at the:

The Venezia Hua Hin

Santorini Park

Swiss Sheep Farm

4. They preserve their heritage in new and interesting ways!

I love the way they try to incorporate the old and the new – like the beautiful Plearn Wan an open air mall/shopping village, which was actually like a living museum.

Then there’s the railway station which I think is the most beautiful train station I’ve ever seen in my life! It is maintained so well and is extremely clean. Some railway staff were even wearing old vintage uniforms and really brought in an awesome vibe.

i

5. Delicious seafood!

The thing about travelling while fasting is u really only have 1 meal at sunset and plenty of snacks only at night.

Also, you are super hungry so you cant really judge if the food is genuinely delicious or you’re just super hungry 😂

However i reaaaaaaaaaally enjoyed the meals we had! It could be the fasting, it could be the food or it could just be the company! I love all the meals we had and i love that Hua Hin is halal friendly with an abundance of seafood! Have fish will eat!

Here we are at a seaside restaurant recommended by our taxi driver ❤️

And here’s one meal we had at the night market before shopping!

I recommend Hua Hin to people of all ages and highly recommend it for best friend trips, couple trips, family trips and especially if you are the type who looooooooves to take photos! 😂

However, I don’t really recommend this place for fasting month hahahahah. Theres so much delicious food and outdoor activities that you don’t wanna miss! For us we were too exhausted and thirsty to do anything! 😂

Hua Hin is easily accessible from Bangkok. Royal Brunei flies to Bangkok daily.

The end!

How to Renew Your Passport

As a Bruneian, we have one of the stronger passports in the world – ranked 23rd by Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index. As such, we are eligible for visa-free travel to a total of 151 countries including US (only ESTA needed), the EU. So I'm super psyched to be a holder of one 😂

However, call me weird but one of those things that gives me terrible anxiety are stuff like renewing passports.

On the night before I usually obsess about how I need to be there at 7am before they open so that they don't run out of queue numbers, terrorise everyone about why can't I do this online? Why this? Why that? People are going to stare at me cause I dunno anything, will there be labels telling me where to go and if I'm in the right place? 😂😂😂

Introvert problems.

So today I finally went to renew my passport and it went really well, haha!

However, for people with the same kind of documentation anxiety as me, I've compiled a step by step guide on how to do it.

STEP ONE: Make an appointment.

Did you know that you now can make an appointment for passport renewal?

All you have to do is simply call their number at 2381856 or 2382257 between 830am to 1130am to book a slot convenient for you.

Remember though:

– Call at least a day earlier
– Come 15 minutes before your appointment
– Have all documentation ready

OR

STEP ONE: COME EARLY

HOWEVER! If like me, you didn't know about this whole appointment thing, don't worry!

Walk-ins are welcome too!

BUT! COME EARLY!

How early is early? Well, depends on you haha.

I came at about 840am on a Saturday and my number was 56. My friend was there at 730am and his number was 10. When I sat, he was just leaving.

So the earlier u are, higher chance u have of completing the process faster!

Note: There is a quota of how many walk in customers they can accept per day so on certain days if you come late, there may be a chance of u not being entertained.

STEP TWO: Make sure all your documents are ready

All you need is a:

  • Form – duly completed and signed (You can get this at the venue itself but if you like to fill them in early, you can download the forms available here)
  • Copy of IC
  • Copy of Passport
  • BND60

STEP THREE: Submit your form & then wait in line

The place to submit your form is at the Third Floor, the room on your far left.


There is a counter, and a friendly and helpful man who will assign u a number and assist you.

After that, you sit and wait for your name to be called.

Bring books, powerbank, knitting kit – the wait can take from 30 to 90 minutes or in my case, 1 hour.

STEP 4: Get your photo taken!

This part is le simple. The lovely staff will assist you.

First, you record your fingerprints on their digital scanner, and then, photo time!

FYI, the photo needs to have your ears visible and hey, smile!

STEP 4: Payment!

There will be a counter for payment and they will provide a receipt with pickup date.

STEP 5: Finished!

The passport will be done in 3 days. HOWEVER!

Look what came in by SMS at 422pm 😂

Well done to the Department of Immigration & National Registration for being awesome and efficient. 🙂

Hope this article helps you a bit with your passport renewing anxiety. 😂

Penang I Love You: Two Nights, Delicious (Halal) Food and The Most Beautiful Hotel Ever

 

Penang is one of my most favourite destinations.

Before, when I visited for the very first time, I keep on telling my husband that he would love it there. I’m so happy that finally he is here and I was right – he absolutely finds Penang so wonderful!

From all the vintage finds, the restored buildings, the delicious RICE (he is a big fan of rice), and zipping around the city to see Penang’s sights and sounds, he declared – “Sayang, I love Penang.”

As two people who most of the time don’t see eye to eye (we generally clash opinions on pretty much everything) – we recognise how rare this is  that we actually agree on this hahaha.

As we came here to chillax, we have the most relaxed itinerary ever!

DAY 1

Took the ETS from KL Sentral to Butterworth. ETS is the new electronic train system that is supposedly the fastest in South East Asia. From KL Sentral to Penang, it took us 4 hours.

I bought our train tickets here at BusOnlineTicket for RM79 (BND25). What a deal!

IMG_8559.JPG

I love train travel. As much as possible, whenever there’s a train option, I’d always opt for it. They are cheap, very comfortable, and always comes with food! Hehe.

FullSizeRender 5.jpg

However, it was SO COLD. Prepare to bring a jacket hahaha.

IMG_8562.JPG

Arrived in Butterworth! This is also called “mainland” for the locals. From Butterworth you take a ferry or drive up the Penang Bridge to get to Georgetown.

So we walked to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal, located right next to the Butterworth Train Station. Ask around if you are not sure. 🙂 People around this area is super friendly!

IMG_8568.JPG

It’s a short walk to the right, after you exit the train station.

The ferry ride costs RM1.20 (BND0.40) which is like SO MURAH hahah.

IMG_8582.JPG

Recommended! Scenic and beautiful – not the fastest way to get from Butterworth to Georgetown but certainly one of the more interesting.

IMG_8591.JPG

Upon arrival, we planned to get a taxi to our hotel. But guess what? No taxis wanted to take us! We said Love Lane and they all were like mehhhh… How rude!

So I opened my phone and tried checking where it was – 10 minute walk away. Is that why the taxis didn’t want to take us? I don’t really know till this day. Haha.

So we just walked!

Good thing we did too. Eventhough the weather was blisteringly hot (it was noon afterall with not a cloud in sight!), the walk took longer than 10 minutes because we keep on stopping for pictures!

IMG_8601.JPG

Checked into the most BEAUTIFUL hotel ever! Everything from the layout, to the hotel staff, to they way they talk to us – made us feel the Penang magic!

Highly recommend this hotel to everyone! It’s called 23 Love Lane and it is a bit on the lux side but completely worth it.

The hotel is a refurbished home, and as I entered in for the first time, they greeted us and served us with an icy drink and helped us with our luggage and I felt really at home!

After checking in, we decided it was too hot outside to explore. I had the most delicious cold shower and actually NAPPED!!!!!!!! We switched the aircond off and with the Adabi style windows open and the wind blowing in…. WOW!

You all know I never nap in the afternoons, but that was so fabulous! ❤

Later, after my shower, and nap. I put on my face again and we enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea at the Lobby.

IMG_8602 2.JPG

I tell you this hotel is so intuitive heheh.

After, we sort of set out to explore the neighbourhood on foot and see see. We saw a couple of local tourists (Malaysians but not from Penang) negotiating and then riding scooters. We realised that the scooters were for rent.

Curious, we asked how much. RM40 (BND12) per day.

YES PLEASE!

 

We were sold!

All we had to do was leave 1 passport and payment upfront.

5 minutes later we zipped along Penang towards Penang Hill. Well actually we didn;t have plans so we didnt really know where to go so I just randomly chose Penang Hill – which coincidentally the Scooter Guy mentioned during his “safety briefing” haha.

Funny bit was since this was a split second decision made when we were already on the bike, it was not communicated to Marul.. So while I navigated with Waze – he just followed us  for 20 minutes trying to figure out where we were going HAHAHAHAHA.

SO FUNNY! So much trust he puts in us hahahahahaha.

IMG_8641.JPG

So Penang Hill we ended up and I realised Penang has definitely invested to upgrade their tourism infrastructure!

We rode the funicular – which was not like how I remembered it – the wait was very cooling so I was not tired – plus there were seats provided!  Last time, it was a slow train – with a very uncomfortably balmy wait, now it went up so fast and there was aircond and fans provided.

IMG_8646.JPG

Siuk jua tu!

On top of Penang Hill, there is a fabulous panoramic view of Georgetown. We gazed jealously as we saw a drone zipping around on the hill, imagining what fabulous videos the owner must have.

IMG_8652.JPG

Penang Hill is a must go if only for the view!

Then, I was sort of wandering around… as I usually do (I always end up separated from the group when I travel somehow – hahah I guess I’m a wanderer) – I saw some poorly written ad. Flying video.

I realised the drone we saw earlier was for rent!

I quickly went to find Marul and told him! We were so excited hahahahaha – and guess how much it was? An affordable RM80 only and we even get to keep the pendrive it came in haha.

Check out our video below.

When we finally came down it was dark.

IMG_8661.JPG

We met up with Amir – my family in Penang!

It was so FUN! Why? Because he was also on his scooter so we did a scooter convoy and he brought us for NASI KANDAR!

Nasi kandar is my ultimate favourite in Penang. SERIOUSLY I can eat it morning nooand night all day everyday hahaa. I dont know what it is about Penang nasi kandar that makes it so NYAMAN?????? Sedappppppppp….. It really is the water I think.

I ate so much. We also just realised it’s our first real meal of the day. HAHA.

After all that food, u would think we would waddle home.

We didnt.

It’s called SSEAYP revenge. You feed your guests until they wanna pengsan hahahahahah. Amir brought us for rojak at the Esplanade!

IMG_8671.JPG

IMG_8672.JPG

Both kinds were so SEDAPPPPPP.

THEN barutah balik hahahahahahahahah.

DAY 2

Day 2 in Penang began with breakfast. At 23 Love Lane, the breakfast icomes complimentary with the room. You order off a menu and there’s a bread, fruit, jam and cereal buffet as well.

Here are my Eggs Benedict and here is the most beautiful photo di dunia. Hahahah! Kabus!

IMG_8684

After, we decided to go konon mural hunting. For some reason, GD and Marul think we shouldn’t use the scooter, and rent a bicycle instead – cause supposedly it’s “easier” to manoevre.

I don’t know why they have such high regard of my cycling skills. They just want to torture me.

Anyway so we set about looking for bicycle for rent (dan mesti yang lawa).

FullSizeRender 8.jpg

We found this one place that has bicycles but actually not for rent hahaa. Also not for sale. Saja collection!!! The owner we spoke to said they used to rent bicycles out but the cost of maintenance was too high so they don’t do it anymore. Now he reproduces his father’s beautiful paintings of Penang onto magnets and sells those for RM5 each.

SO interesting people’s stories are I feel.

Anyway, finally managed to rent a bike for RM10 (BND3) for 24 hours (seriously!?) and off we went for mural hunting.

SO FUN! FYI, all the murals are also Pokestops haha. Also, you tend to bump into the sme people also doing the same as you so u end up making friends too! #siukbekenalandanmencarijodoh

Some information about these murals, they’re created by Ernest Zacharevic

Ernest Zacharevic was commissioned in 2012 by the Penang Municipal Council to create a street art project in Georgetown called ‘Mirrors George Town‘ which consisted of painting several large scale murals in different location of the old town.

(Source)

I find it so fascinating since Penang is a UNESCO Heritage Site so Zacharevic must have needed to create artworks that enhances that the local culture and lifestyle sama semuanya ani inda boleh di padam! Must have been so challenging!

Mural hunting somehow brought us to the Chew Jetty.

Isn’t it so reminiscent of old school Kampong Ayer? GD said it really reminded him of his childhood when he went to Kedai Anak Yatim to buy tikam tikaman, and keropok!

For me I find it so quaint!

IMG_8782.JPG

Also here we had the most fabulous Durian Icecream, with real durian! A MUST HAVE on a hot day such as this.

We were feeling a bit FRIED also from the sun so we decided to take a breather. Back to the hotel we went! Unfortunately Penang is not suitable to explore during noon lest you get sunstroke!

I’ve never taken so many showers in a day hahaha.

Anyway, once refreshed, we emerged from the airconditioning HUNGRY!

IMG_8823.JPG

Sheesh I never learn. Kabus!

Hungry means HAMEEDIYAH RESTAURANT!!!!! This is one of the must go restaurants in Penang, even locals say so!

Off we went on our scooter.

IMG_8812.JPG

And the place is just 10 minutes away. FYI I am the navigator as I’m the only one not driving and able to hold a phone.

IMG_8824.JPG

Macam makan 10 orang.

After a big meal, what does one do? DESSERT OF COURSE!!!!

The quintessential dessert in Penang is the Penang Road Teo Chew Chendol. NYAMAN BERABIS DI DUNIA.

IMG_8837.JPG

IMG_8839.JPG

IMG_8840.JPG

I still have intense cravings for this chendol to this day.

Also, how crazy fast are those aunties making the chendol!?????

IMG_8847.JPG

Nyaman berabis!

Next activity of the day involves going to the highest building in Penang – KOMTAR!

KOMTAR building actually had a super epic glass bottomed rainbow skywalk  at the 68th Floor which public can go up to see. You buy tickets at the Level 5 (I think) and you get to choose if you want to just go up there or want to go up, and have dinner at the restaurant also.

It is open from 10am-6pm but after 6pm you have the following options:

  1. Diners – RM138 / RM168 /RM198 (each tier pricing with an option for main course top-up)
  2. Diners Child – RM98
  3. Non-Diners – RM118 (inclusive of a glass beer, house pouring red or white, soft drinks or chilled juices + 2 sticks of satay with peanut sauce, onion, cucumber & nasi impit)

We chose the most expensive option cause WHY NOT? RM198 (BND66) comes with an 8 course degustation menu and we haven’t had fine dining yet this trip! 🙂

But first, it was a sunset that we were after – on the skywalk.

Here are the boys.

And here is me.

IMG_8877.JPG

SO SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_8874.JPG

But my appetite remained intact.

Semua nyaman!

Another night of waddling home!

DAY 3

This morning we woke up FULL OF PURPOSE.

IMG_8913.JPG

We had a few goals in mind and the all involve FOOD!!!!

1. ROTI BAKAR HUTTON LANE

That runny egg, the charcoal toast. NYAMAN.

2. PENANG CHAR KWAY TEOW

IMG_8982.JPG

This is like…. omg how can we go to Penang without having Char Kway Teow???? We had this at Bee Hwa Cafe, located not far from the Roti Bakar place.

After that we went to tapau more chendol at Penang Road and set back to the hotel for check out uwaaaaaaa…

We grabbed a cab to drop us off at the Ferry Terminal. As we were waiting we were wondering where to pay for ferry and rupanya free! Guys they don’t charge money for all rides from Georgetown back to Butterworth but there is a wait hehe.

Like I said earlier ferries are not the fastest way to get in and out of Penang.

IMG_8992.JPG

Back on the mainlaind we had 10 minutes to spare to go on the train (sikit  lagi nda sampat – we had to run a bit – but we made it and we were sweating buckets hehe!).

IMG_8996.JPG

IMG_9010.JPG

Siuk!

I love Penang.

Thank you to my travel buddies for being so awesome as well. Next post – Kuala Lumpur!

Check out also Marul’s Vlogs below cause sometimes I steal his phone and take videos too hahahahaha:

5 Travel Tips for Choosing and Booking Accommodation

Something I get asked a lot about travel is HOW DO I CHOOSE HOTELS?

FullSizeRender 4.jpg

Stargazer Full of Stars Tents at Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp, Jordan 

A hotel can make or break your holiday. Choose the wrong one and you can end up miserable, unrested or worse, homeless. But when you choose the right one, it can be the hub from where you launch your adventures and recharge after a full day of exploring.

IMG_2154.JPG

Beautiful outdoor toilet at my villa in Ketapang Indah Hotel, Banyuwangi

So aside from the obvious: air conditioning, cleanliness, wifi and no shared bathrooms (ew!), below are 5 things I consider when booking holiday accommodation.

1. CONFIRM THE HOTEL BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

There are plenty of search engines for checking out hotels. Some very very common ones are:

I use them all interchangeably  EXCEPT for booking.com. Unfortunately, I have had a few bad experiences with booking.com. Because it’s only a booking engine, they don’t really confirm your booking and the hotel reserves the right to give away your room to other people who walk in – without notice.

This actually happened to me twice – but on the first time I was lucky, the hotel managed to find me another room so crisis was averted. Second time it happened, I just arrived from a delayed flight and it was 11pm at night.

Me and my travel buddies actually had to walk out at that hour, drag our luggages, and find another hotel! I can never forget that night!

Can u imagine doing that if you are travelling with children? Or elder members of your family?

As I also sometimes travel solo, I want to avoid this situation of having to be homeless so I MUST MUST MUST confirm the hotel before I arrive.

IMG_2360.JPG

Sheraton Bandung Hotel & Towers – one of the few luxury chain hotels that I’ve stayed in – beautiful and fantastic stay – especially the marshmallow beds ❤

My personal favourite is actually Agoda -reliable and you pay for your room before you arrive so it’s confirmed.

Sometimes, I also use Airbnb. Some lovely apartments available and it’s a plus if they come equipped with a washing machine.

IMG_9204

Successful Airbnb booking – an apartment in MyHabitat, just off KLCC

This however, I use with caution and only if I am confident with the country I am travelling to. Some apartments are near to main attractions but located in ghetto neighbourhoods which may not be suitable for lady travellers.

In this case research is very important. I also always keep comparing Airbnb with a hotel to see if the price is similar, but usually, I almost always prefer staying in a hotel over an Airbnb.

2. CHECK THE REVIEWS

I cannot stress the important of reviews, and plenty of it. I tend to avoid chain hotels to be honest and love to opt for boutique hotels, villas, restored homes. They have more character, value add, and often, the operator of the hotel is the one greeting you at the reception.

IMG_1044.JPG

Villa Dreams II in Selcuk, has the most fantabulous host! He is also the restaurateur, the driver, porter, concierge as well as the receptionist. All in one haha. We loved our stay here!

So for me, reviews are super important! The more reviews a location has the better, and the more 5 stars it gets the better.

Pay attention to things that matter to you but rarely gets mentioned under amenities:

IMG_4710.JPG

Bedouin Tents equipped with SEVEN layers of blankets ensure we never become cold in the dead of winter at Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp.

If you are like me: I check for reviews on friendly hosts, helpful staff, bum sprays haha, if the hot water is hot enough and if the internet is fast. I used to require elevators, but now since I carry a backpack that doesn’t really matter.

If you are a parent: check for stroller friendly elevators, if they can assist you to store your breast milk.

Also the location – which brings me to the next point.

3. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

IMG_9203.JPG

Our Airbnb in Rome, was located above an LV boutique and barely 2 minutes walk from the Spanish Steps!

This is so important OMG!

 

Make sure you are in a location where if possible, you are within walking distance to stuff like 7-11, restaurants, malls, and if possible – main attractions! This will ensure the place is siok and you don’t need to travel much to  eat and see the sights and sounds of that destination.

IMG_0127.JPG

Flora Hotel Apartments in Dubai, one of the more affordable stays in the city, located smack in the middle of Deira area and 2-3 minute walk to the Baniyas Square Metro Sation.

Aside from landmarks, depending on your travel style, you may want to choose a hotel that is near public transport such as LRT/MRT. Or if the hotel is easily accessible by car so you can easily Grab or Uber.

IMG_5189.JPG

The Holiday Inn Express Siam in Bangkok is a short walk away from the BTS Station – National Stadium and you can even see it from the window haha.

Otherwise, choose a hotel that offers value add services like bicycle for rent, or shuttle services to the nearest attraction/mall, or perhaps it just needed to be located nearby a scooter renter.

17309556_10155092800554715_8488636707429454074_n.jpg

Woke up fresh and early at 23 Love Lane (my current favourite hotel EVER) and now off to explore Penang on our scooters! 

4. AMENITIES

IMG_1154.JPG

A must in Cappadocia – staying in a cave hotel. In my case, this stay in the Elif Star Cave Hotel was one of my most memorable stays!!!!

Just because you are staying in a cave hotel doesn’t mean you cannot have WIFI. Check the amenities they provide like laundry, hot water (a must for me!), parking (if you have your own vehicle),

Or if you are a parent with small children: maybe a baby cot?

If it’s a country where halal food is not readily available, perhaps a kitchenette is  required?

IMG_9208.JPG

A room equipped with a kitchenette at the Isabel Garden Hotel in Manila for a short stay in Manila

Perhaps it’s an island getaway so you wanna be sure what sort of facilities they have once the sun sets and you just wanna chill?

IMG_1843.JPG

Outdoor movies for nights you don’t want to hang out at the club at Hotel Ombak Sunset, Gili Trawangan.

Perhaps you have plans of monging around at the pool so that’s another thing to consider.

1098414_10153180070125510_1359160161_n.jpg

Pool overlooking the hillside at our honeymoon suite in Sea Pearl Villas, Phuket.

5. DON’T STAY IN ONE PLACE

Who says you have to stay in one place?

Found 2 hotels you like? Stay one day there, and one day another place. Sometimes this method is quite a rewarding way to experience a country.

IMG_9207.JPG

The Everly Putrajaya, located right next to Alamanda Shopping Centre, was my hub to exploring the administrative capital on my final day in Malaysia. It was a luxury hotel but extremely affordable. 

Want to stay in a fancy hotel/villa but can’t afford it for the whole duration of your holiday? Then book your final night in a fancy hotel, and stay in a more affordable hotel for the rest of your trip.

IMG_9794.JPG

Awesome campsite experience in AZ Back to Nature in Temburong

Or maybe you want to try a homestay or a campsite experience but don’t think you can handle “culture” or nature for more than 1 night? Who says u have to? Hahaha.

Yes it is slightly inconvenient to move hotels but it can be quite fun as well!

For example, during my trip to India, we took the famous Konkani Express  (train) and saved 1 night of hotel by taking the night train.

Furthermore as it was super comfortable, we arrived at our destination fresh as a daisy! ❤

***

That’s the end guys, hope u guys found this guide useful. All in all, don’t rush to book, they require just a little bit of research and reading,  but don’t leave it to the absolute last minute or you will feel anxious about choosing the perfect one.

Remember, it’s all about the journey not the destination! 🙂

48 Hours in Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Kuala Lumpur

Some people say, in travel, the first 24 hours will mark the tone of how your trip will be.

Is that true?

Day 1

8am

Arrived at the Brunei International Airport.FullSizeRender.jpg

Breaking into my AWESOME 44L Military Cabinzero. I have to say at first when I received it, I was skeptical. I am used to my Karrimor, with all the compartments, and fancy features. But boy was I wrong!

This bag  was really amazing! It simplified my travel, was sturdy but ultra light, and best of all was cabin sized so I never had to check in any luggage!

I could fit all my clothes, all my toiletries, all my makeup, my brushes, my bag of chargers and everything I need for 7 days of travel (plus extra space for my Uniqlo shopping too!).

930am

Left Brunei via Royal Brunei! I can see my office!IMG_8107.JPG

IMG_8111.JPGI love the timing of this flight. Arrived at 12pm and just in time to explore!

12pm

Or in my case, drive to Melaka!

IMG_8602.JPG

Here we are in Dahlia’s car. (WHY DID WE FORGET TO TAKE GROUP PHOTO?)

Dahlia is a friend I met during SSEAYP in 2008. Been to KL many times, but since I always come impromptu or for transits, we never got the chance to do an overnight roadtrip. This is the first time we ever went somewhere really far together and I daresay this won’t be the last!

1pm

Lunchtime!!! On the way to Melaka, we dropped by Negeri Sembilan (N9).

Best part of travelling with a local is that we get to try local haunts! Dropped by Aunty Aini’s Garden Cafe, which is known for their local dishes in the style of Negeri Sembilan.

According to this article, Anthony Bourdain has actually been here! Haha.

Negeri Sembilan’s food is known for being creamy and spicy – one signature dish is the daging salai masak lemak cili api.

IMG_1BDC68504DF8-1.jpeg

We had: kuih keria, daging salai masak lemak cili api, kailan ikan masin, sotong goreng kunyit, udang masak sambal petai and the telur itik masak lemak cili api.

NYAMAN! All the food were balanced, bursting with flavours, spicy but not overly spicy, and all around very sedap.

For dessert:

IMG_8174.JPG

Tapai Pulut with Vanilla Icecream!

OMG.It’s true what people say, keep cool after eating tapai (jangan bejamur karang mabuk)..

I definitely became mabuk cause immediately after, I felt so dizzy and 30 minutes after that dessert, VOMITED IN A PLASTIC BAG INSIDE A MOVING CAR!!! Hahahahahahahahah!!!

Oh dear. Luckilly an R&R was nearby so we stopped to freshen up. Immediately after, I felt well again.

So heed elders advice. LOL.

5pm

Arrived in Melaka! Checked into The Baba House, on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, just parallel to Jonker Walk. ❤

IMG_8200.JPG

I love the vintage, baba nyonya charm of the place.

More importantly we love the location. Definitely a good choice as it was walking distance from all the main attractions in Melaka!

6pm

It’s chendol time.

IMG_8243.JPGIMG_8242.JPG

This chendol is located near the big tower clock and the fountain. It was ok but very refreshing on a hot day like this!

630pm

Then off we went to explore Jonker Walk.

Things like antiques, food, durian puffs, beca and aunties karaokeing! It’s like… Portobello Road – anything and everything  a chap can unload is sold off a barrow in Portobello Road.

9pm

It’s dinner time. And when in Melaka, you eat ASAM PEDAS.

Highly recommended was this place right in front of Casa Del Rio called Hajjah Mona Asam Pedas. Value eats! For RM5 u get a big plate of rice, ikan kembung asam pedas, telur masin and taugeh!

IMG_8327.JPGIMG_8326.JPG

Also cause there was a satay cart, we can’t resist!

IMG_8324.JPG

Sedap and so cheap!

Dahlia mentioned that her Melaka uncle said here the asam pedas is really close to the authentic Melaka asam pedas.

10pm

IMG_8175 2

Back to the hotel to recharge for the next day!

Day 2

9am

Check out from The Baba House and left our stuff at the hotel.

IMG_8333.JPG

915am

A hunt for breakfast down on Jonker Walk can turn up so many awesome finds. #distracted

10am

Stop at Mamee Jonker House!

Who doesn’t love Mamee Monster!!!

IMG_8400 2.JPGIMG_8405 2.JPG

We enjoyed our time at the Mamee Museum and to our delight theres also a cafe at the back serving yummy food!

IMG_8395.JPG

They serve really nice chendol gula melaka! Nyaman!

So enjoy here!

11am onwards

After breakfast we managed to visit these monuments:

Malacca Port

IMG_8416.JPGIMG_8427.JPG

Tourists on the loose.

Flor Del Mar

According to Wikipedia:

Flor Del Mar was a Portuguese nau (carrack) of 400 tons, which over nine years participated in decisive events in the Indian Ocean until her sinking in November 1511. Nobleman Afonso de Albuquerque was returning from the conquest of Malacca, bringing with him a large treasure trove for the Portuguese king, when the ship was lost off the coast of Sumatra.

IMG_8439.JPG

So interesting! Read here.

Sungai Melaka

IMG_8438.JPG

Cruise down Sungai Melaka down the city

IMG_8443.JPG

This is when we saw many interesting sights.

A Famosa

IMG_8468.JPG

A Famosa was a Portuguese fortress located in Malacca, Malaysia. It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in south east Asia. The Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, is the only part of the fortress which still remains today.

(Source)

Independence Memorial

IMG_8501.JPG

Ok by this time it was like 1pm and SO FREAKING panas berabis so we decided to go back to the car and leave for KL. But first:

Lunch at Jom Coffee

We badly needed airconditioning so we simply went inside the mall infront of the Independence Memorial and had a meal at Jom Coffee.

2pm

Headed back to KL, but first, we dropped by the Freeport A’Famosa Outlet.

IMG_8500.JPG

3pm

Cendol Bakar!

No it’s not burnt cendol but actually Bakar is the name of the person who made the cendol. Haha saspen! All the same we enjoyed lovely R&R here perfect before our trip back to KL.

8pm

Arrived back in Kuala Lumpur at 8pm and believe it or not, after all the food we ate that day, we were famished! So guess what we did. Yes. Dropped by Publika to EAT.

Eat we did at Ben’s General Food Store. So fun! We get to choose our meats from the butcher and the restaurant actually grills them for u. NYAMAN!

Also we saw Mira Filzah shopping for groceries – she must be staying around the area.

10pm

IMG_8530.JPGThe night ended at Dahlia’s house. I slept like a baby after taking this panoramic view outside her apartment window. Haha!

Further reading (HAHA):

Next post: PENANG!!!

Positively Fat

I am size 16 so I am what you call, fat.
I admit it’s completely my fault. Haha. I eat decadent things and find exercise extremely tedious.

However, sometimes people use my size as something to make me feel bad about myself. 

The thing is I was once skinny, but the same people deride me for being short. When I wear heels and look and feel taller, those same people will find offense in my voice, or teeth, or hair.


So as you can see, you cannot please people. 

You see, you can be perfect, and people will still find some way to make you feel bad. 

In fact, you can be perfect and YOU yourself find ways to make YOUR OWN SELF feel bad.

So I’m not entirely sure when, but about 10 years or so ago, I decided, enough. 

I may be fat, but that is not a reflection of my heart, all the good things about myself, or all the awesome things I’ve done and am capable of.


The more I observe the more I realise how people who call u names are more insecure about their looks than u are of yours.

I am what you call, confident. 

Why? Because I am relatively highly educated, laugh wholeheartedly every single day of my life, can eat exclusively delicious things, can travel wherever I want, doing what I love and have awesome friends & families who supports everything I do. 


If I ever have advice for u it is this: SNAP OUT OF IT.

Other people have absolutely NO, NIL, NADA, right to judge u and call you names. They don’t know how hard u work to look and be how u are today.

You don’t need negative voices telling u that you are fat, ugly, dark skinned, short. 

Even if u are all of those combined, remember that is not all you are – who says u can’t be smart, sexy, funny, generous, amazingly awesome and happy?


Trust me when the looks go, guess what – ur smartness, sexiness, generosity, awesomeness —- they’re here to stay!