Thursday, June 27, 2013

(NEW 2013) Japan Visa for Malaysian holding Biometric Passport

** Above for those too lazy to click on the link given on Facebook or Twitter **
Exemption of Visa for Malaysian Nationals holding biometric passport with an embedded microchip that is compliant with ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards starting from 1 July. ~25 June 2013~

1. From 1st July 2013, the Government of Japan has decided to abolish the requirement of short-term visa for Malaysian Nationals who hold ordinary biometric passports with embedded microchip that is compliant with ICAO standards(issued since February 2010) who wish to enter Japan for short-term stay.

However, this visa exemption only apply to Malaysian Nationals holding ordinary biometric passport with embedded microchip that is compliant with ICAO standards. Malaysian Nationals who do not hold ordinary biometric passport with embedded microchip that is compliant with ICAO standards are remain advised to obtain a visa to enter into Japan.

When you plan to visit Japan, please kindly check if your passport is a biometric passport with embedded microchip that is compliant with ICAO standards.

For checking method, click HERE or picture sample below (Please check you passport before booking your flight ticket).

2. In accordance with the above visa exemption, the duration of stay in Japan to be given to Malaysian Nationals at that time of entry inspection will be for maximum 90 days. (Those who plan to stay for more than 90 days or work in Japan, remain requested to obtain a visa as before.)

3. When you enter into Japan, your entry permit will be issued at the entry point by the Japan immigration (This is the same for those who enter into Japan with a valid travel visa). Please take note that you might be asked about your purpose of visiting Japan or requested to submit necessary documents (For example: Return flight tickets & etc.).

Please be aware that you might be denied entry if you are entering Japan for short-term stay but the total duration of your stay in Japan in a year exceeds 180 days.

4. If you have any enquiry, please contact the consular section of Embassy of Japan in Malaysia at the phone number below.

Consular Section, Embassy of Japan in Malaysia Tel: 03-2177-2600

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Girl Guides Association of Thailand (Bangkok)

This entry is dedicated to Diana Teo of Travel & Living Journal of DT

I walked past this area a million times and never once I noticed this building. Perhaps I was focusing (rushing) on the shop(ping) or time. Either way, I overlooked this small building every time.

But somehow, that particular day I decided to look down, not see but look - really look.

That is when I notice that it is The Girl Guides Association of Thailand headquarter, and yes; Diana was the first thing came to my mind. I immediately look for the next staircase down.

You see, I always read Diana tweeting about her girl guide activities (and she is one of the committee in Girl Guides Association of Sabah, don't play play [popular blogger too]) and being a girl guide myself (was), I have the highest respect for her and the fact that she continues being active even after school (unlike me).

And while in Bangkok for the umpteenth time, I was wondering to myself; what to get this lady - postcards (overated - from me/Bangkok)? Journal/diary (bought that on previous trip - forgot to post)? Food (ship all the way to Kota Kinabalu? Aiyooo)? Magnets (too many of Bangkok/Thailand probably)?

Then it hit me, this is a sign!!! I must go in and get her something from Girl Guides Association of Thailand, well... at least a badge or something.
Picture taken via iPhone; to excited, didn't realised it is shaky.

Guess which one I got for her?

I was in Sunflower Patrol. I think.

Kind and motherly looking heh.

Guess what? The door was locked, obviously I got panic as it was my second last day in Bangkok and the next day in a Saturday, they might be close on weekends. Yet... yet I see guiders inside, and I start circling the building (yup, I did that. Kiasu right) and found out that they close the main doors and the entrance is only from back door. Ahhhh...... Phew!

Pushed the door open, took off my shoes, tip-toed to the shop quietly like a mouse. Not sure why I need to do that, not like I am going to rob the shop, hahahahaha.....

I asked (in English) on whether I can purchase any of the stuff, they said yes and looked at me curiously. The lady asked where was I from, I said "Malaysia and I use to be a girl guide too (the need to point it out and show off - drama Lily!)". Continued "I want to get something for a friend, she is still very active in girl guide". The friendly guider asked whether I was from Kuala Lumpur and I said yes, told her that my friend is from Kota Kinabalu (macam ler dia tahu kat mana). Then I said Kota Kinabalu is in Sabah, located in Borneo; "ahhhhhhh..... Borneo!", that got their attention alright :)

I took 20mins or so choosing the stuff and requested to snap a few photos. Permission granted.

It has been long since I last visited Kuala Lumpur headquarters, maybe I should just...

Those that wishes to drop by, take note of the opening time.

Diana is also an avid travel blogger (the kindest and sweetest) and always remember to send me a postcard *hint hint wink*, I managed to get her 2 souvenirs from here (kinda proud moment), take a guess what are they. Muahhahahhahaah... *evil laugh*.

For those who wanted to drop by, it is located near (1 min walk) the Victory monumemt BTS Station (walk towards the monument itself).

Thursday, June 20, 2013

#TravelTips | Japan - Flower Power

So, Flower Power huh.

Bet you guys (note the word guys not gals) is kinda curious when I say flower power, is it gonna be about FLOWER or GIRLS?

And if it is on girls, is it going to be on girls or GIRLS *hint hint*? Right right right? Well, it is actually about flower. Iyeee... BUNGA!

With Malaysia Airlines ongoing 24hours Osaka flight promo, I thought I should share with you the Furano flower season in Japan for those interested and kinda wanna leverage on this promo/trip.

Malaysia Airline Promo, click HERE.

Furano Tourism link, click HERE.

This is what Furano famous for.... flower power. (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Please take note that FURANO is NOT located in OSAKA nor KYOTO.
You can fly to Hokkaido via Air Asia Japan from Narita or Nagoya.
Current (todate) promo for flight to Sapporo, Hokkaido via Narita is Y4680 = RM153
By then, I believe visa is no more required to fly to Japan (click HERE for The Star online news on Japan Visa)

So, where is this Furano place right?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hotel Review | Mandala Boutique Hotel Vientiane, Laos

3 days planning time.

The hotel that I wanted was not available and I was pretty depress over it especially since I kinda like the sound of its review plus I really wanted a chillax trip with no plan on sightseeing until we arrive Vientiane. With the hotel running full house, it is not helping my then present state.

In the heart of bustling Vientiane stands a remarkable hotel. Built in the early part of the last century, circa 1932, and painstakingly restored to its former imperial glory, the Settha Palace Hotel serves as a testament to the long lost era of classical elegance, gracious service and French colonial charm. 

Once more owned by the same passionate family that ran the hotel in its heyday before the change of regime to Communism in 1975, no stone has been left unturned and no expense spared in the quest to bring this Vientiane landmark back to life.

Yes. I have a fetish for old architecture buildings. I am weird like that.

Lo, and behold!
(Let's just stop at that, creating the element of suspense [konon])

My earlier entry : Pha That Luang & Patuxai In Vientiane, Laos (UNESCO)

Mandala Boutique Hotel. It doesn't sound as impressive but it'll do (since we have 3 days to plan and the hotel I wanted is not available). We secured the room and pack our bag, hoping for the best.

My very first glimpse; so far so good I told myself. Colonial, clean and looks welcoming, now lets hope that the service live up to its first impression. (pray hard).

Vietnamese decor with a tinge of British flare... That's it, love at the first sight. Seriously, I can fall in love with a decor easily, like really easily. And the service? Fantastic!

The front desk was entertaining a guest hence we decide to roam for abit. 

Love. Love. Love.

The reading area, cozy.


Out door hang-out area.

I brave myself and sneak upstairs.

Upstairs is where the 'expensive' room is located, it felt abit like Carcosa Sri Negara. Really.

Common balcony.

And then we learn we get to stay at the extension part of the property; the unglamorous part of it. Again, another disappointment. Sigh.... Maybe I should just call this trip the 'The Disappointment Trip' (slapforehead).

Lo, and behold!


Oh yah! The bathroom, have no door; ONLY curtains. Sexy!

And another thing, note on the moon-roof. (sexy habis!)

Path way to the open air dining area. The only dining area.
(The package from agoda comes with breakfast)

This is my room view, the dining place. I kinda like it :)

Didn't I tell you earlier?
It's fantastic!

The Mandala Boutique Hotel is located in a small side road away from the busy streets of Vientiane, but within walking distance to the city centre and just a 15-minute drive from the airport ~ From Mandala Boutique Hotel website.

Address :
MANDALA Boutique Hotel
Baan Phiavat
33 Unit 10, Sisattanak District
Vientiane, Laos
Phone: +856 21 214493

** This is not a paid advertisement/review

Saturday, June 15, 2013

To FLY or not to FLY? [Paragliding]

To FLY or not to FLY? 
That is the worry. Well, aren't you?

That was one of my first keek I think, very excited as you can see...

My awesome view, wanna take a guess where this place is? 

Hands-on training session/briefing.

We were taken here to watch some of the videos of other participants.

This is the 'baggage' you have to wear, it is to support you while flying as you will be seated and of course during landing if you choose to land on your butt lah. The best is to run as you about to land.

So, did you manage to guess...?

Friday, June 14, 2013

#TravelTips | I see. I shop. I'm BROKE! [Platinum Mall Review]

I see. I shop. I'm BROKE!

That is exactly what people do in Platinum Mall or Chatuchak or Bangkok. They (or should I say we or maybe I) shop as if General Zod gonna kill Man Of Steel and destroy the earth or something. Not only the price here is cheaper than those in Malaysia, the fact that if you purchase 2 or 3 and more, the price drops even further thus would be a great joy-killer if you were to only purchase one or none, right? Right? Right?

Hence, shop we shall.

Sharing glimpse of what they have/sell here :)

Ah.... Platinum Mall. Heaven to girls, Hell to boys (wallet).

For those with extra cash I would recommend 2 nearby hotels for you to stay. One would be the Amari Watergate Hotel and the other would be Novotel Platinum Hotel, the great thing about this 2 hotels is it allows US GIRLS to shop and dump our goods at the concierge and continue shopping, after all it is just 15 steps away. Easy Peasy! 

Platinum Mall consist of 7 floor and this is later split into 2 zone which I can't see the different except that it burnt a hole in my wallet but anyway...

One should check their time and wallet before starting their Amazing Shopping Race. That is the only advice I have, and oh yah! Wear good shoe, a VERY GOOD WALKING SHOE. You won't regret this.

This is how the female 'lane' looks like. I also suggest you go in orderly and systematically fashion to avoid 'accidentally' repeating the same lane as this would mean you would miss on other 'important lane' and shopping time. We don't want that, do we? Hehhehehheee.... 

The current summer 2013 trend. Kinda cheap, around RM30-50 mebbe. 

Other fancier dresses available... there's an option for everyone. Not to worry.

Man section are not too bad either, if Iron Man and Hulk can wear it, so can you.

Man do shop too, just that the lane are not that crowded *wink*.

Some cuter shirts on Man's floor, errr... boy's floor.

 Kids, kids, kids....

And more kids.

Accessories floor is a killer too, love some of the shawl or head scarf.

Ahh..... in trend too right. 

Nonsense stuff, my favourite; spent 45 mins of nothingness and came out with..... NOTHINGNESS. Just browsing, hahahhahahaaa.... 

Wanted that Stitch bag so badly but clueless of what to do with it. Sigh... 

Platinum Mall food court provides halal food, however there's only 1 halal stall (I think, and I forgot to take a pic of it, duh Lily!).

And 1 vegetarian stall, pick your choice. 

And as usual, it's coupon system.

Aside from Platinum Mall, there are Ladies Wholesaler Mall and another fashion mall next to it, you can always spend some time here too. Ladies Wholesale Mall is much cheaper I heard but I suggest you check-it out yourself.

There's shops outside this Ladies Wholesale Mall as well, make sure you cover all perimeters. 

This is the other fashion mall located next to Platinum Mall, on the right hand side, there's Starbuck.

And if you overshop, it's ok! Just go get yourself a beg pelarian to stuff your goods! Hehehhehhehe.....

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