Friday, April 18, 2014

Teaser | #TravelholicAwesome + Friends trip to Royal Belum

Yes, some of you guessed it right, we went to Royal Belum, Perak and it was super fun! I would like to express my utmost appreciation for Belum Outdoor Adventure in hosting us crazy bunch of travel bloggers and accommodating our last minute request and silliness, we enjoyed ourselves to the fullestestmest.

For those interested in experiencing Royal Belum, you can try Belum Outdoor Adventure, click HERE for more detail. Meanwhile, enjoy this teaser photos and snapshot of what we experienced there...

Ice-breaking session with new friends joining the trip, also to discussing on car-pooling, food and CSR activities. 

We got a 'cilik passenger' in the car entertaining us with songs from ABBA to Frozen. You all ada?

Superheroes! Tapi karam dilautan tasik mahu sorang tuh, hahahhaha.... 

We have we us :
VWman - The Titanic photographer (a.k.a rakit karam man)
Batman - The night doctor
Whitestripe - The holyman (ustaz lah tuh)
Captain America - The president
*Mereka sedang kempis kan perut tuh tau... perasan tak? kan?

Learning 'the rule of third'. 

Jahai Tribe of Royal Belum.

Together but alone.

LOB (Life On Board) photography class. Memang class.

Want to know more? Wait for my next week's entry *smile*.

Friday, April 11, 2014

1st #TravelholicAwesome + Friends Trip!?!?!

Day 1b - Things To Do in Mysore - Mounted Police/Mysore Palace/Government House/Masjid-e-Azam/St Philomena's Church

This wasn’t part of our plan but as usual, if I see any weird or interesting building I will shriek and Mr. Tuk-tuk driver will stop, this happens in every country I visited. I am beginning to think all the tuk-tuk drivers have notified each other of this lunatic girl (read : me/Lily) arriving in their town. Hahahaa…. 

Earlier post

What actually sparks my interest was the big statue outside and the signage saying Commandant Mounted Company Mysore. My first thought was ‘mounted’? Then the tuk-tuk driver said ’mounted as in horse but we can’t go in’, my second thought ‘joykiller’! Anyway, he stopped so that I can take a picture, sweet I thought. The mounted police previously served the royal family of Mysore from 1952 and said to be one of the few cities that still mobilizes mounted police. You can also see a special group that takes part in (i) Riding Dress for Mounted parades, (ii) Khaki Tunic Dress for Guard Duties and (iii) Full Dress and Summer Dress for ceremonial Parades and Escorts.

Just my luck, the palace was closed during our trip as the king just passed away.

Amba Vilas Palace or Mysore Palace is the residence of the former royal family of Mysore, what I’ve learnt during this trip is that Mysore is also known as City of Palaces and after seeing Lalitha Mahal and Amba Vilas and soon a few more, I can truly understand why. Its distinctive Indo-Saracenic architecture; a blends of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic is to die for, I would really be happy if I could visit the inside. Another time perhaps.

Mr. Tuk-tuk told us that there would be a food ‘donation’ or something being held the next day, I was so curious and pestered him to explain more but he wasn’t able to tell me much. Told him I want to go and take pictures of this unique ‘scene’, however he advised us against it as the road will be blocked and the place will be packed with sea of human; our safety was his ultimate concern. We obliged. Sweet heh.

To know more on Mysore Palace, click here and here.

Built in 1805, this Government House maybe the pit-stop for this race. #eh. Did I sound like The Amazing Race? Hahhahhaha…

This Government House of Tuscan Doric architecture once used to be the guest house for dignitaries visiting Mysore during the rule of British empire, now it is open as a guest house. This is a great old building that is still standing strong, aged gracefully as time passes by.

This beautiful Masjid-e-Azam cum Azam Baitul Maal is a place of worship for the Muslim, aside from this, it also act as the main place to assist poor and deserving persons in their educational and marriage, runs a library, hidayat center etc. Established since 1974 and founded by Late Dr. M. Naseeruddin is aimed at eradicating the socio economic & educational backwardness of Muslims. Grabbing passersby’s attention with its white and green, and its post Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, one just can not miss it. 

More on Masjid-e-Azam, click here.

St Philomena's Church is built in Neo Gothic style in the loving honor of St. Philomena. It is understood that the original church was constructed 150 years ago and that the current church was erected in 1933 to fulfill the expatriate population during British empire. The best thing about this church is that there is an underground catacomb which is located near the congregation hall. Somehow this church remaindered me of Sagrada Familia is Barcelona, a scale down version that’s is. 

The beauty about all these places I shared is that they are all located on the same street (mostly), and that it wasn't part of our scheduled places, we just ask the tuk-tuk driver to stop for us to look around and take some pictures etc. I guess that is why I always prefer to charter the tuk-tuk for the whole day - time saving and convenient, and you’ll get educated too. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 1a - Things To Do in Mysore - Chamundeshwari Temple/Chamundi Hills/Lalitha Mahal Palace

With no expectation, I venture into Mysore.

The day started on a bad note, called upon our arrival to inform that the room was double booked and recommended us to try their other options. Alhamdulillah we got a kind tuk-tuk driver that helped us in calling and getting an accommodation at the same price and better location hence we forego’s options. The issue was settled within half an hour.

Travel tip : Book (pau) the tuk-tuk for the whole day to cover popular places especially since if speaks English really well and know the historical facts. This will save on time and you’ll gain additional knowledge too.

We have done a little research on Mysore and identified few must visit places, however the driver obviously know his city better and countered offer us with a better proposal, a very hard to decline proposal which we immediately said yes. Oh yah! We settled at INR300/RM16.28 for the whole day for 2 person, pretty good deal I thought.

There’s a few things I noted in Mysore, the people here are extra friendly, the weather is perfect, the standard of leaving is average and halal food is easily accessible. Little left to complain, more reason to fall in love.

Chamundeshwari Temple

Located 13km from the city of Mysore on Chamundi Hills, raising high in bright yellow is the Chamundeshwari Temple or also known as Durga, the fierce form of Shakti; a tutelary deity. It is said that Hoysala rulers built the original shrine in the 12th century where else the tower was built by the Vijayanagar rulers in 17th century. Raising at 3,489 feet, one can drive, ride a public bus to Chamundi Hills or even take a flight of 1000 steps there. This beautiful decorated temple with its intricate carvings is the centre of worship to the Mysorians, fleet of buses from nearby states come to visit this stunning Chamundeshwari Temple daily shows how significant it is to them. The deity of the goddess inside is said to be made of gold of which I did not manage to pay a visit due to the overwhelming crowd.

Monks queuing.  

Chamundi Hills

Aside from Chamundeshwari Temple, on the way down you can see Nandi (the bull mount of Shiva) made from granite (located on the 800th step of the hill). At over 15 feet high, and 24 feet long, this statue of Nandi that carries bells around his neck was installed by a local monarch Dodda Devaraja in 1664, the same person who also built the steps. One can view Mysore panoramic view from here and it said to be one of the scenic area in and of the city. Stone carvers are seen by the street leading to the entrance selling miniature Nandi, gods and goddess at an affordable price.

Miniature Nandi.

Lalitha Mahal Palace
One can easily see Lalitha Mahal Palace from Chamundi Hills, built in 1921 by Maharaja of Mysore is the second largest palace in Mysore, this is also where the Maharaja receive elite guests from all over Europe. This elegant palace is base on Renaissance architectural style have been converted to an exclusive hotel in 1974.

Unfortunately it is not open for public hence one have to take an extra effort to view the Lalitha Mahal Palace from front of which my darling tuk-tuk driver did. 

An effort to take a close-up view. 

While taking us around, we were told the history, the culture and folklore of each places by our knowledgeable tuk-tuk driver. Stopping every time hearing me shriek and ask whether I want to stop to take some pictures which normally ended with a ‘yes please, can we?’. And he’ll smile and say ‘take your time, enjoy my beautiful Mysore’.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Terengganu International Squid Jigging Festival 2014

No, you don’t say ‘I want to catch a squid’ or ‘fishing for squid (!?!)’, instead you say ‘I went squid jigging’. The one and only sea activity that makes you sound like the hot Will Smith (dancing to the song 'Gettin' Jiggy Wit It'). 

‘Candat’ is the Malay word for ‘jigging’ which not many locals know it too, just like me, many of us can’t even imagine how one jig a squid. Being my curious self I went over the moon searching and researching on squid jigging; from the squid jig to the boat to the ideal time to squid jigging. I’m now a virtual Squid Jigger. Ahaks!

I’ve learnt that…
  • Three main important species of squid (well, at least in East Coast of Malaysia) – ‘Sotong Torok or Sotong Ketupat’, ‘Sotong Jarum’ and ‘Sotong Mabang’.
  • Squid jigging season is from March to September (coinciding with spawning season).
  • The chances of catching a squid are better during high tide on a cloudy or rainy night (Hemm…).
  • Squid changes its colour according threat or the presence of a potential mate.
  • Squid defense mechanism is their dark ink.
  • Fisherman uses fluorescent lamps to attract squids.

Feel smarter now? *wink*

Note :

Terengganu International Squid Jigging Fest 2014 or Pesta Candat Sotong Antarabangsa Terengganu 2014 is sponsored by the state government of Terengganu, this annual squid jigging carnival aims to introduce as well as relive the old tradition that was once livelihoods for many along the coast of Terengganu between April and August each year. It has since taken on a role as a recreational activity loved by people of all ages. This year’s event will also witness foreign participation from across the region. Various activities have been lined up and include cooking demonstrations and competitions, exhibition stalls, food stalls and the likes centered about… squids. The 1Malaysia Green 1Malaysia Clean campaign that runs concurrently is aimed at promoting the beauty of the state’s coasts, beaches and islands.

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