Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hiatus in Hong Kong

Day 1 (23 December 2009). The long awaited break.

Been mind-drafting a lot on how to start this blog, not that easy it seems as this is not the normal trip whereby I either travel with Anna, Andrea, Grace or darling sis. This time around is with 9 other folks; basically my relatives and dearest sis ofcos (mana boleh tinggal dia kan). Yup! All 10 of us, it felt strange as the last time I traveled with relatives this big (Kak Za) with kids (me babysitter to them) was about 10 years ago and I was a mere follower, NOW; am arranging it... so to speak. A tiring task as there’s expectation to be met (macam keje kat office pulak, hehehehe....); a tough one as I was trying to enjoy my own holiday too, oh well… you can’t win them all lor hor I suppose.

Basically I have my cousins; Uni Sham with her 2 kids - Amira & Bang Cik, Uni Armi with her son - Danny, Tina with her 2 darling girls - Maira & Misha, then there’s Fatin (my sis) and MOI. Am quite thankful that all my cousins are independent, understanding AND a traveler thus making it easy peasy to coordinate… PHEW! Thanks guys!

We met up in LCCT at 4:30am in the morning, ate breakfast at McDonald (pancake yeay!), surfed and chatted - it is our first far away trip together gether (by plane pulak tuh and oversea!). We board the flight and 4 hours later we arrived in HONG KONG! First thing first - cold weather, KIDS LIKE! Adults also like very much! Hehhehe…. Felt very Mat Salleh minus the snow and asap keluar dari mulut. Secondly, HOW TO GET TO hotel? Hem…. Searched and tertanya tanya… a lady at a transport counter asked us whether we needed help, we enquired and she offered, and mini bus from airport to Embassy Hostel (guesthouse like) at HKD800 - 45mins ride. We figure it’s reasonable since we have HUGE luggage and there’s 10 of us, not that wise to take cab. All settled and we followed (obediently) to the bus station. We got a bus alright! A HUGE 30 SEATER BUS! Crazy shit! We were like 20 pax short! Hahhaha…. Told the kids we have to turn back home as I finished our “funding allocation” to charter this HUGE bus… YUP! Got the BAMBI eye look form them, hahahah….. Uni acah aje lar guys, hehheheh…..

Our (or more precisely 8 pax) hotel was located on Nathan Road (YEAY!), 2 shop lots to Jordan MTR Station (perfect!), 7-11 everywhere (even better!). Checking-in was tough and DRAMA, the lady that oversees it doesn’t speak a word of English, luckily I can converse well in Mandarin (studied them from Kindie to Form 5) and they don’t accept credit card or more like she don’t accept credit card. We managed to help, the machine not that hard to use as Fatin uses it often while working with Tix Access as a temp. Agreed to meet up 1 hour after (as I need to check in at “our hostel” pulak) to plan our journey to THE PEAK!

Timing perfecto mundo, reached Central MTR Station between 3-4pm, took plenty of pics along the way (macam tak penah tengok bangunan and buses), went up via The Peak Tram (very steep I must say); queued for 30 mins at least before getting the first taste of The Peak air.

WAX! WAX! WAX! Madame Tussaud! Took funny pics of us, weird, wacky, silly yadda yadda yadda… ehheheh…. We had a BLAST there!

Next - Viewing Terrace. Ahh…… As most people know, am GAYAT = SCARED OF HEIGHT; and the there escalator DOESN’T HELP. At 3rd last floor I chickened out (almost in tears), Fatin was nice enough to offer to walk down with me and give it a miss, but that wouldn’t be fair right. RIGHT! I asked her to proceed and I'll wait for her at the tiny platform WHERE all the passerby looked at me weirdly as I was half bending and REFUSE to look down or stand close to the railing. After about 15mins, I gather enough courage to take the escalator down (waited for large crowd to ease the fear) but not without half squatting on it. REALLY! That scared I was, kid you not! Now that I think about it, I must have looked SILLY!

I waited for a while downstairs and was bored like hell before I decided to go shop at Hard Rock CafĂ© Merchandise Shop (they closed the one in Kow Loon). Hello new HRC shirt - bye-bye old HRC shirt. The rest came down soon after, more snappy snap time. Took some of Hong Kong night shots…. BEAUTIFUL - to me at least.

Took the tram down, MTR-ed back to Embassy Hostel. Sis and me continued our journey to Ladies Market in Mongkok to get her a new pair of sneakers (she’s been complaining and wanting a new pair since FOREVER!) Took 1 hour to find one she liked, well…. She originally wanted a high-cut Reebok but the colours are not available in her size (sob sob), after much contemplating, she settled for Adidas black with colorful stripe. You’ll get to see in the next entry - DEFINITELY as it is ALL ABOUT her SHOE! I got me-self a Nike cross-training shoe, needed one for my brisk-walking activity.


Hong Kong = ecstatic
The Tram = great experience
Madame Tussaud = real
The Peak = fantastic view
Weather = cool
Shoes = perfect fit
Company = LOVE

Need we say more?

Tomorrow…. Disneyland!!!

Credits : Wikipedia, Adidas, Nike,
Reebook, Lonely Planet, The Peak, Madame Tussauds

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ubud Canyon Tubing

Day 3 (24 Aug 2008). Gurlie Adventure.

You may wonder what’s next with this gurl right, I mean, hopping from hotel to hotel daily, the sunsets, then the kecaks, and now; canyon tubing…. Well, that’s me lar I guess - crazy fun person, curious but coward at the same time. To be fair to me, this is my fourth trip to Bali, I need something fresh to “rejuvenate” me from the “sameplace, samething, what-else-is-new!?!” boredom. Hey! Don’t blame me…

Before we adjourn to another sightseeing-touristy venue, I found out that there’s a place for adventures same to those in Chiang Mai (not as much though, but good enough). I convinced them to partake so that I don’t feel all alone (layman lingo = coward), but me; knowing both Andrea and my sis well, I was darn sure they’ll be game, after all we all are travelholic and CRAZIHOLIC too here mah….

The arrangement is that the tubing company (PT. Bali Canyon Tubing Adventure) will pick us up, take us to the canyon, manage the tubing adventure, and Pak Dewa will pick us up as we need to adjourn to Bedugul followed by Taman Ayun before heading to airport thus ending the trip. Sounds perfect!

Woke up superbly early, waited for the operator, slept the whole 1 hour journey. Reached there, attended the briefing, signed the NDA form (yeah, we can’t sue them if anything happen yadda yadda yadda…), took the 4x4 to the canyon - 30mins ride or so. OK! I need to stop with this 4-words-story-comma-story-telling, I sounded tooooo boriiing. The ride was very… hem…. Interesting, we saw the villagers (or at least 3 of them) bathing in sarong IN the longkang, hem…. I guess hemm….hemm… Oh well… the longkang water was clean though. Took some before and after pics…too (of us, not the villagers!!! You guys! PLEASE!). Apparently there's a village in Bali whereby they still practice bathing in the river, IN PUBLIC, errr.... IN....errr... birthday suit. Hemm.... shocking but true. I even saw some bathing in the paddy field canal. Am having a little bit of a cultural shock!

First task, take TUBE DOWN to the CANYON BASE.

Then a short course on how to tube and if the tube capsize; what are we suppose to do etc etc… then… off we go - TUBING!

Reached a point where there’s a waterfall and we need to fly-fox to the other side, the landing platform? NO PLATFORM! Spiderman web ONLY! WOH….. Scary! Remember! Waterfall below!

The rest, just cruise our way for 2kmNICE! I LIKE!

Journey ends. Exhilarating. For those who wanted to try this while in Bali. Thought it might help.

PT. Bali Canyon Tubing Adventure

Jl. Wirasatya VI, No. 9X 80224 Suwung Kangin
Denpasar Bali Indonesia
0361 8080305 / 8080307 Fax 8080308

or call PT. Bali Quad Discovery Tours at 0361 - 720766

Pak Dewa came punctually came to pick us up to visit Bedugul, Taman Ayun and MASSAGE.

Bedugul = COLD! Why? Because… it is located 1500 m above the sea level, and having 2 lakes nearby - Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan makes it even cooler. There’s 2 reason why I recommended this place to Andrea and sis - Pura Ulun Danu Bratan water temple and great weather. Upon the lake water rises, the temple seems afloat which created a dramatic effect…. Ceh wah…. And you know lar my sis, snappy snap all the waaayyyyyy…..

Last stop, Taman Ayun situated in Mengwi where the Royal Temple of Mengwi Empire is located. The beauty about this place is that it is surrounded by a big fish pond and look like a drift on the water. It owns the beautiful temple building with multistoried roof and Balinese Architecture. I love the front courtyard which makes it feel welcoming to us visitors. By now, we were very tired already, all we can think about is BED. BED. BED!!!!!

The sun was about to set and we are about to end our journey. Sigh… sad to leave this cultural island… till the next trip. ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

Credits : Wikipedia, Bali Canyon Tubing Adventure, Bali Star Island,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kecak at Uluwatu Sunset

Day 2 (23 Aug 2008). Beyond everything…..

I’ve seen a few culture show or dance in many countries, in fact; I saw Barong Dance in Bali too; but somehow Kecak took it to the next level. And I’ve read that for you to "feel" it more, you must watch it at Uluwatu during sunset, other places won’t have the same impact. TRUST ME!

Let me “cut and paste” about Kecak Dance from Wikipedia before I tell you MY version, MY feel & MY experience. Jeng jeng jeng….

Kecak a form of Balinese music drama, originated in the 1930s and is performed primarily by men. Also known as the Ramayana Monkey Chant, the piece, performed by a circle of 100 or more performers wearing checked cloth around their waists, percussively chanting "cak" and throwing up their arms, depicts a battle from the Ramayana where the monkey-like Vanara helped Prince Rama fight the evil King Ravana. However, Kecak has roots in sanghyang, a trance-inducing exorcism dance.

Now that everyone more or less understood the dance ritual, here’s my experience of it.

Pak Dewa kept promoting Kecak Dance located in Uluwatu as to the those around town (I hereby AGREES with him 100%), maybe partly because I told him that I really love historical site and cultural stuff which I guess made him sure of himself that I would fall in love with this performance. YEAY for Pak Dewa.

The performance starts at around 6pm SHARP regardless whether the venue if filled up or not, they wait for NOBODY as the idea is to perform during the sun setting - crucial element of the dance. Pak Dewa drove us to Uluwatu half an hour earlier as he wanted to show us the cliff (I wonder why??! Big deal right!?) Well, he parked his van, we walked up the cliff and at the same time he cautioned us to be careful with our belongings as there’s a lot of MONKEY monkeying with tourist belongings. All website or tour guide would request the tourist in their care to NOT wear sunglasses, ribbons, glaring hairclips etc which attracts monkey attention. I thought he was kidding until I saw the monkeys, not just monkey nor was it monkeys. It’s more like…hemm…. MONKEYSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS (you get the drift).

Oh! Before I completely forgot, since it’s at a sacred place, one need to wear proper attire ie skirts/pants that covers you knee, if not; they will instead furnish you with cloth for you to wrap around your waist. And every one even those with right attire will be given a piece of long yellow cloth to be tied around their waist. I believe it’s a form of respect to the temple.

Pak Dewa took a short detour to the cliff he bragged about, we walked and I saw and guess what, seeing IS believing. It’s BEAUTIFUL! OK First, one thing you need to know about me is that am a scady cat, YUP! Really! I was like standing 20 meter from the cliff, Andrea and sis happily walked to the nearest edge and I here shouting to them to come back. Don’t be fooled by my smiley-happy-brave-looking-pic. I lied very well in pics - it’s a rare skill apparently. Hehhehehee….

We then rushed to registration site, even the walk to the registration site and towards the arena was exciting and YES! Monkey is still everywhere despite the crowds were by hundreds. I guess the monkeys do love thee attention. They even posed for us okay! Move aside Bubble! Hahahahaaa…

We were on time, the show was about to start, the sharman did his opening, the chanters gathered at the side, chillexing… and then at 6pm SHARP, the show BEGINS! The troupe went in chanting rhythmatically “chakka chak chak”, moving into circle; standing then sitting, the chant was somewhat soothing and calming, and your heartbeat seems to follow the rhythm pace.

Your whole body tends to follow the dancer move, swaying to left and right. Trance? Nah….. I was still alert, aware and busy takings pics (woman are good at multitasking so they say).

As they chant and before the main cast enters, the sun begins to set. this part I need to hijack the earlier trip pics as 3 of us did not manage to take any pic of the temple - too crowded. Perfect huh!

The main cast starts coming in narrating the story… of Ramayana.

It was very thrilling and they even add humour by bringing a 3 stooges act, hahahha… that was funny. The suspense part was when the Varana came to the rescue and they include a fire element into it ie REAL FIRE. WOW! HOT!

It ended shortly after the fire scene, we rushed for dinner as we were tooooo hungwyyyy then. Had dinner at Jimbaran - a must go place. Unfortunately no pics available as it was too dark and camera ran out of battery…. Sigh.

Tomorrow - a Tubing adventure.

Credits : My-Indonesia. Wikipedia

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adults Day Out in Bali

Day 2 (23 Aug 2008). Hey! What were you thinking…..heheheee….

We checked in the night before to a guesthouse in Ubud of which I (as usual, I failed to take a pic of the name nor remember the link). It was at reasonable price… find! I googled it now! I think it’s called Adi Cottage, the price is around USD30-USD40 per room. OK right…..! Since I split it into 3 person….ehheheh more people less share maah… smart neh! By the way, you guys do know I hyper link most of the places I visited right… I thought it’ll make everyone life easier as my aim if not to just blog for myself but to assist travelers like me (I know how tough it can be at times).

Anywaaaay….. Adi Cottage is fairly nice, nothing to shout about in terms of service or condition, I mean; let’s face it, you pay peanuts, don’t lah expect dinosaurs hor. But I have to admit, it’s cosier since it’s small, and more authentic. Definitely vast different from Le Meridien where we stayed the night before. Oh yah! During breakfast, we heard loud music playing in front of the guesthouse, apa lagi; we quickly finish our breakfast and dash outside to catch a glimpse of what’s going on before Pak Dewa arrives.

Ahh……. It was a group of young kids practicing and showcasing Barong dance. Buat panic jek. This dance is a classic example of Balinese way of acting out mythology, resulting in myth and history being blended into one reality (ehehhe….cam real, actually footen this from website). The kids are awfully friendly and got GUTS man! All the tourist busy taking pics of the kids dancing and "Barong"…(me included ofcos) even more then the adult performance, not because they were good, just CUTE.

Well, Pak Dewa arrived soon after and took use to Ceking Tagallalang and oh yah! We checked out at the same time or morning :p TOLD YOU it’s a weird trip! On Tagalallang; verdict = SCENIC, PRICELESS! Am sooo confuse, which pic lar to include here, almost all are good (perasan as usual lar), disclaimer : pic nice because of photographer NOT the scenary….Hahahah… KIDDING! Hemm…. Apparently my sis have eyesight problem here… definitely need to take her to see dentist, err..GP, err… what do you call them…? Ops

As usual, the drama side of me wanna have tea there lar ie overlooking the terrace paddy field but instead of Breakfast in Tiffany this would be Breakfast in Paddy Field lar…. heehehe…

This is the most interesting part as I have been to Bali few times, I have never come across this festival, thus I thought I should share lar hor… In fact, I have even forgotten what it is called, I have to refer back to my face book on this. Basically it is Balinese Hari Raya ie Galungan & Kuningan, a holiday that occurs every 210 days in the pawukon (Balinese cycle of days) lasts for 10 days. Kuningan is the last day of the holiday. Galungan means "When the Dharma is winning" During this holiday the Balinese gods visit the Earth and leave on Kuningan. Penjor was hung everywhere, even the Penjor has it's meaning.

What is Penjor you may ask? Penjor is made from a long bamboo pole about eight meter high with curved end, and decorated with palm leaves, rice paddies, corn on the cob, coconut, cakes, a piece of white or yellow cloth, etc. It is the symbol of Mount Agung and also as gratitude for the agricultural produce. The arched top of the bamboo pole represents Mount Agung, the body of the pole is a river that flows from the mountains to the sea, and along its route are the products of the harvest, tied to the pole (read here for more detail).That’s how detail the Balinese is. You will see more in my upcoming pics.

Next… next… next destination… jeng jeng jeng…. Volcanic Mount Kintamani, apparently there’s a package for you to hike to the top, a proper path they said with experience local hiker ofcos, hemm perhaps next time I gave it a try, any takers? One thing I like to tell most of my friend is about a village at the foot of this mount called Trunyan (not sure how far it is true though, you can google as well, there a pics on this). This is recommended by some guides but first hand reports are frequently negative and speak of some problems. This is an isolated community and one which is not particularly welcoming to tourists, despite relying on income from visitors. If you really must go, catch a boat at the lakefront in Kedisan (or you can charter a boat from Toyo Bungkah) and make sure the price is clearly understood before departing and that the entrance donation to the Trunyan villagers is included. When you arrive at Trunyan, the key attraction is the cemetery. Ancient customs retained by the Bali Aga here include the open burial of dead bodies in a pit covered by just some light cloth. If you want to visit a Bali Aga village though, then Tenganan near Candidasa is a far better option. And I asked before would the corpse smells (logically) since they left it under a huge tree (bare in mind that this has been the practice for as long as one can remembers, thus plenty of corpse around). And the answer was interesting, “NO! the corpse won't leave a scent” “Why?”…. Instead of cremating their corpses, the Bali Aga simply places them under this banyan tree. The odor is mysteriously masked by a special arboreal fragrance emitted by the banyan tree or Taru Menyan (Taru means 'tree' and Menyan means 'nice smell'. The name of Trunyan was also derived from these two words [in Malaysia, Malay calls it Kemenyan I think]). Interesting neh….. We were gawking when we heard the story. OK! Next…..!!!

Palipuran…. Not sure you guys visited this quaint Balinese Village before but we got to know that from historical point of view, according to the village elders, the words Penglipuran is derived from words Pengeling Pura means a holy place for remembering their ancestors. And the air is super fresh as it is located at 700 meters above seas level. Hemm…. Sigh….. I was reading the description of this village in Indonesia language which says that they remain its Bali original architecture of the door arch (angkul angkul) and that the government has gazette the WHOLE village for wisata purpose ie tourism since 1992 (Yeah! Am half Indon by the way). And the villagers would welcome you to visit (look see look see) the home and explain to you if need be. Cool huh!

Aaawww…. We finally checked in to our hotel Puri Santrian - which I highly recommend friends to go there just because of one thing - the CABANA or GAZEBO = FLOATING!!!!!!! SEXY!

What else I can share, hemm….spa by the pool, Seawalker point (I tried this too) , nice deck chairs, sea activities, night market just outside the hotel and etc etc etc. How PERFECT is THAT!! By the way, it’s located in SANUR.

Our day was about to get better as we adjourn to see the culture show… I share in the next post!

Credits : Wikipedia, Wikitravel, Adi Cottages,, Bali, Baliwww, Bali Star Island, Indonesia Tourism.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hei Bale Bale! Hei!

Am in dilemma… I went to Bali 3 times last year alone and am just not sure which trip should I blog about… ofcos; 2 out of 3 are on business trip lar…. Yeah! Yeah! Am soooo lucky to have/need to “work” in Bali, heard it a couple of times, BUT the thing is, it’s WORK! I mean, even if you are in Hawaii sekali pun, but if it’s on business trip, it WON’T be fun! TRUST ME! Sigh… Anyway, it’s only for 4 days - each trip, nothing great! Not as if I get to spend a month there right?! *hint* *hint* (boss MIGHT just be reading my blog, you’ll never know, hehehee….).

OK! Back to my problem(s), the thing is that all the pics from the 3 trips are nice (to me at least – yeah! Aside from being a drama queen, I too can be pretty vain [perasan max!!!] – I believed it’s the whole package thingy lar). Then ofcos, there’s the other problem, I have 18 days more to my year-end trip, I can’t be blogging those trips that take more then 5 days – don’t think will be able to complete it on time. After all, I NEED to take into consideration that I wish to blog “daily” in Hong Kong & Macau (there you go! DRAMA QUEEN again!). Hahhaa……


Day 1 (22 Aug 2008). Spa hunting and Bali Hai.

This is one of those weird trip, reason being that I have this silly “fantastic” idea > hotel hopping - by DAILY! YUP! You heard me alright, ...I did say WEIRD trip didn’t I!

First hotel – Le Meridien Tanah Lot – the name sells and tells it all. The differentiators would be :
(1) next to THE Tanah Lot
(2) Over looking the sea AND THE Tanah Lot

(3) Beautiful golf course by the sea [No! I don’t play golf, but it IS a sight to behold]

(4) Paddy fields and

(5) 3 swimming pools at least

We got our darling supirPak Dewa to take and show us around Bali – he is GOOD ie capital G.O.O.D!

Strangely and weirdly, we did not check out Tanah Lot (I have been here 3 times, but not Andrea and my sis). Thus, I have to include few of my earlier trip to Tanah Lot pics as a “replacement” – CHEATING abit lar… There’s a reason behind it I suppose, we checked out at 9am since we have much to cover (you heard me right! 9am MORNING). Oh! By the way, Tanah Lot is BEST visited at sunset. The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast.

We gotten Pak Dewa to drove us to nearby Melasti Seafood Restaurant, the ambience was al-fresco PERFECTO! The wind, breeze, view, Tanah Lot, paddy field, the whole deal lar… unfortunately, as I said; we were way tooo early (what were we thinking huh!). Next on our agenda…heeheheh, girls would LOVE this; SPA HUNT! Most of the high end spa are spa located in Seminyak.

(1) Semaya Luxury Beachfront Villas. It’s…. AWESOME! The cost of a room or should I say VILLA is USD 420.00 – we left the place IMMEDIATELY! Hehehheee… MAHAL!
(2) Villa Jerami – slightly humble spa versus the 2 I mentioned but equivalently good. And yeah! They have villas too. They even have coffee and strawberry scrub!

(3) Praha Spa At The Villas – this is abit…hemm… weird as it offers a spa package with the setting of Rajasthan-Moghul-Kashmir ambient…kinda hard to place the concept, but OVERALL, it’s a killer!

Done with the spa, next would be our LUNCH (hungwyyy) and off we go to the popular (I think) KETUPAT Restaurant. Love the place, love the food, love the location, so far; they haven’t failed me… YET.

After that we did a little bit of jalan-jalan before heading to Bali Hai cruise. Oh yah! This cruise DOES NOT take you to the sea ie middle of the ocean, just at the river mouth / delta for sunset view, they also provides show and live band and ofcos dinner.

Later that night, we hop to our next backpacker guesthouse in UBUD.

Hai Bali! What do you have instore for us tomorrow?

Credits : Wikipedia, Tanah, The Villas, Villa Jerami, Bali trips, Bali Hai Cruises

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