Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Harau Valley. Untouched wonder.

Untouched wonder.
Enough said.

Previous entry :
Harau Valley | Lembah Echo Homestay
Jembatan Akar (Root Bridge), Padang in Indonesia

In my earlier post on monkey invasion (here), you can already see it for yourself the beauty of Lembah Echo Homestay; the place that drew us to Lembah Harau or Harau Valley. According to my aunt, the name Harau derived from the word 'haru' or emotion/moved, due to people who visited the valley was 'moved' by its majestic beauty and grandeur. Even me, a not-so-much-into-nature-person fell in love with this place, so much so that I will revisit this place soon. Definitely. Very soon.

Arriving at sunset with no room booking was terrifying as we might spend a night inside the car (with this view, no one would mind I bet), torn (confuse) between taking sunset pictures at the same time awed by it and looking for a place to stay was to much for us to handle. All 3 of us. And as you've guessed, sunset pictures won by a landslide. Ahaks.

We first arrive at Sarasah Aka Barayun or in Malay language, Air Terjun Akar Berayun. Thanks to my mom Minang side (yup, from Padang), I am able to understand the dialect well... sufficiently. Cukup-cukuplah tuk nak hidup sini.

One thing I have to highlight, it is kinda chilly here - the morning breeze + the waterfall splash, and did you notice that the kids enjoying it too. Oh! Do take note, that the kids are actually on their way to school, stopping by for a shower - at the waterfall. Ko mampu? (gitew, kata budak-budak sekarang).

Farah saw the opportunity of taking kids picture and she is all game, so were the kids *wink*; loving their pictures being taken and appearing in 2 blogs *smile*.

Showing them their pictures. Some requested for more. 

The friendly kids cooperating well. Hiks.

Nampak? Siap shampoo rambut tuh.

Next we visited Sarasah Aia Luluih or Air Terjun Air Lulus (I think, let me double check), and this one is the best lah... great place for photo shoot. But the famous picture is with Ed Junaidi lah pulak, do go and check in his Instagram yah.

The tree on the left is the popular tree we kept posing non-stop for 15-20mins, hahahhahaaa.... sampai segan kot. Really, do check it out, it is amazingly beautiful. I was gawking whole time. Reminder : I don't fancy nature so much.

 Ahah! See..... crystal clear water and no human! Well, there's 2 kids lah but still... the whole waterfall is yours. Giler best kot!

Akak nak join boleh dek?

Sarasah Murai is very unique as it is the only one with sandy beach, kid you not. According to the locals, the reason it is called Murai Waterfall is because burung murai or robin (bird) usually mate here hence the name.

Clear water and sandy beach. Private.

Suitable for yoga mebbe? Yoga apa, senget jek... Hiks.

For those extreme sport lover, head to Sarasah Aie Angek. Here, you can get hanging bridge, flying fox plus some other fun bootcamp activities.

#TravelTips 1 : My advise and tips is to stay here between 2-3 days and take the rock climbing or trekking package where you will be lead by a guide to climb on top of the climb. The bird eye view from the top is awesome! Something that I plan to do.

#TravelTips 2 : If you wish to know how to get there, please click HERE for more info.

#TravelTips 3 : Most homestay offers hiking/trekking package or they can arrange one for you. DO check before booking your accommodation.

#TravelTips 4 : There are many homestays around the area at a fair price, you can either do a walk-in or book in advance. The latter will be a safer and better move.

Kalau nak pergi, ajak-ajak lah! *cheeky smile*

Saturday, December 27, 2014

My cold lonely white holiday in Oslo

All I wish was the sun.
Alhamudulillah.... am blessed.

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I can't remember what made us chose this area; Tøyen, but I am glad we did. It is surrounded with old colourful wooden houses. With the ray of sun shining and hitting the houses, pavement and the snow... I almost felt I just stepped into the cupboard, into Narnia. Magical.

You can have the snow everywhere and anywhere but only the sun can enhance it's beauty, that is what I always feel, don't you think so? Sun will never fail me, in fact I get excited if there's sun... I rushed everything in a trip to make sure I get my sun and blue sky, everything else there will be perfect.

Candy house? Pink and blue.... Hehehheheh... Not one of Wahidah's favourite but I insisted of taking it, with her in the frame.

Ask us how to get here, and we will say 'wander and get lost'. Ahaks. That is what we always do... we just follow whatever capture our eyes and head that way, we'll figure our way back once our heart is happy and satisfied. Normally it is quite easy.

Once we done with all the houses (there are more pictures, but I will share it on my Facebook Page) we start our walk to the park as it is the only one that should be open during this Christmas holidays. I guess, it is a park and rest day today.

We pretty much figure out some of the words, similar to English heh. Wanna take a guess too? Not that hard right? Hage? Hage is Park... We figure that one out ourselves after seeing a few playground hage. Hahhahahahahh....

Well, it might be Christmas but a walk in the park is a must for some of the locals here, not only that, I saw a few went jogging at around 10-11ish. Like seriously... Jogging at -22c. Giler ke apa? They were wearing normal jogging gear, nothing thick and from the look of it, it is a one layer jogging outfit. Oh yah! Did I tell you it is -22c HERE? It is!



NHM is Norway’s most comprehensive natural history collection. A selection of specimens are on display for the general public, in the Geological Museum and the Zoological Museum.  

Both are to be found in the beautiful Botanical Garden. Located at Tøyen in the east of Oslo city centre, the garden is not only popular for recreation, but a scientific collection in itself.

From Natural History Museum 

Would love to check the dinosour museum but it was close lah, aishh.... Not my luck.

Do you know I don't have much Norwegian krone as the money changer at the airport was closed by the time we touched down. Just my luck. Am surviving on this few cash I have... harap lepas.

The sun gives it a different fell kan.


The Munch Museum is a monographic art museum, dedicated to the life and work of the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. In our museum at Tøyen, we have the world's largest collection of Munch's art, with almost 28 000 works of art in addition to personal effects, tools and even Edvard Munchs private library.

From Munch Museum

As we were walking back to our hostel, we heard the sound of kids laughter and we drew to the area. We were not disappointed... the laughter and weeeeee sound was from them tobogganing the slope. And one kid was hilarious cos she was unable to control her toboggan and as it approaches a tree, she screamed ' DADDDDDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYY', we burst out laughing. The daddy tengok jer... (lagi kuat lah we all ketawa kan!).

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Harau Valley | Lembah Echo Homestay

Monkey invasion!

What do you do when you wake up at the sound of monkeys, open the door and see a troop of them just outside your door, staring at you, wondering why the hell you invaded their privacy (obviously you think otherwise lah, but due to communication breakdown we decided to blame each other).

I did the next best thing I know, ran in and take my camera and my phone - a live to tell experience. Planet of the Ape in the making (ok, part ni drama giler over-over sangat, mohon ignore).

But... you have to trust me, there were more than 3 monkeys, there were around 7-8 monkeys 'bertenggek-'ing outside the door. I could have sworn they wanted to take my laptop. Keh keh keh..... (excuse tak nak buat keje opis sebenarnya, patut I sua laptop tuh).

Just as I was getting excited over the little dawn 'invasion', I heard stomping sound on the roof and at the back door, and by back door I meant toilet! This is when I got really panic, becauseeeee... I so wanna do my small business and it is not helping with them troop looking at you while you 'performing' nature calls.

And yes, true enough, 5 monkeys 'bertenggek-'ing at the toilet. Oh yah! I forgot to tell you, the toilet? The jamban? The bathroom? Yuuuuuup, it's open air (close to the nature katanya). I have to say, I am impress with myself, where there's a will, there's a way. My way was to shoo them off but that was after waking up Farah telling her what happened, and she continued sleeping. Ek elaaaa.... hahahhahahhahah....

After done with showering, conference call, breakfast and all, I went to take a few pictures around the resort. Sumpah cantek. damai and tenang.

First Rumah Gadang
Room Number : 101 Rp. 390.000.- per/night
Room Number : 102 Rp. 390.000.- per/night
Room Number : 103 Rp. 390.000.- per/night
Room Number : 104 Rp. 390.000.- per/night

 This unit comes with a pool.

The pool is fairly new and I think it was a nice touch.

Surau or musoulah. 

And this is my room, Can you see the open air toilet? Hehehhehehe... scary heh. It's pretty ok and comes with attach toilet.

Single Room Cottage
Room Number : 801 Rp. 160.000.- per/night

The main building where we have our breakfast, event, hall and etc. Any events will be conducted here and team building at the field in front.

One of the living room.

The Black Cottage (left)
Room Number : 601 Rp. 540.000.- per/night

The Red Cottage (right)
Room Number : 701 Rp. 540.000.- per/night

Sample of the open-air bathroom/toilet, it's clean. Don't worry.


The bigger home have a proper bed and linen and TV too *smile*. 

North End Cottage
Room Number : 401 : Rp. 450.000.- per/night
Room Number : 402 : Rp. 450.000.- per/night

A hammock here would have been perfect kan. Hint hint. 

So, what do you think?
Will be sharing in my next entry where we covered when we were here at Harau Valley. 

And oh yah, by mid day, the monkey disappeared. Curfew kot?!?

Lembah Echo Homestay & Convention
Located at Harau Valley or Lembah Harau in Payakumbuh. Approximately 50 mins journey from Bukit Tinggi.

Email : finaldo_moechtar@yahoo.com
URL : http://www.lembahecho.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day trip to Lake Bled, Slovenia (did toboggan ride too!)

Castle, princess and fairy tales.

The biggest mistake I did was to give myself 2 full days to discover Slovenia. Worry not, this decision was made carefully after doing a few researches, having said that, I should know myself better; 3-4 days would be more ideal. Especially after seeing the landscapes we passed by during our journey to Lake Bled, I knew immediately this country will be a definite repeat (matilah kalau semua negara nak repeat), obviously with keywords such as castle, princesses and fairy tales *smile*.

A few things that I have taken note of, loads of outdoor activities that I would like and can experience here; white water rafting (WWR) for one, paragliding (with a scenery like this, it is almost a must), canyoning, trekking and so many more. Doesn't help when I kept seeing all the promos and rivers (turquoise blue mind you!) for WWR during our journey to Bled. Oh! Not to forget cycling at the country sites, I bet I will enjoy this too. Hem... a bucket list for Slovenia building up.

The journey took 2 hours or so, and the station was rather small. Just ask around and they will direct you to Lake Bled, almost everyone is heading to that direction. I will be superbly amaze if one got lost. Ahaks.

There is a shuttle at the train station and it'll lead you to the Lake Bled bus station, from there, you walk to your heart content. For me? Am heading to the castle lah (mana lagi yek). The bus journey takes about 10 mins the most.

#TravelTips 1 : Allow 1 full day for Lake Bled for those who love nature and walking, or some outdoor activities.

Can you see the castle? That's where I am heading *grin*.

#TravelTips 2 : Bring money, lots of them. Nahh.... not because it's expensive but because you would love to snack by the lack and enjoy the view, or swim by the lake, or go into the castle. 

#TravelTips 3 : They have hotels here and backpacker lodges too (nearby). That would be my next plan, stay here and experience everything.

I, again, walked up (did this in a few cities during this trip of mine, kurus few kilos kot). One thing I regretted is not having enough stamina, beginning to realise that this trip requires alot of walking, like a great lot!

#TravelTips 4 : Most Europe countries require alot of walking, my suggestion is to do a little bit of exercise before traveling, stamina building katanya.

We went up, took some pictures and we left. There is an entrance fee of EU9 for adult (RM40 dah tuh, leh kayap wor), so I decided to be abit 'jimat cermat' and forgo the trip inside.

Entrance fee details HERE.

I absolutely love the walk by the lake. Love. Love. Love, and Love.

Must. Come. Again.

Then we so this....

And this! 

For those who know me by now, I will lavish myself on a ride like this. Fun apa.... kannnnnnn! Sumpah lawa and best. SUMPAH.

Details on price HERE.

Chairlift + toboggan 1 ride = EU 8-9 (adult)
Chairlift + toboggan 2 rides = EU 11-12 (adult)
Chairlift + toboggan 3 rides = EU 14-15 (adult)
Chairlift 1 ride = EU 4 (adult)

The view while taking the chair-lift and tobonggan! Me loike!!!

You can get this view at the top of the toboggan ride, they have also prepared a 'frame' that focuses on this scene for your Kodak moment.

#TravelTips 5 : You can walk up just for this view (without paying nor playing the ride), personally I think the view here is nicer than the one from Bled Castle. Prepare to climb both hills heh!

That's the castle we climbed. Gigih dak? 

Cam nih lah I nak lepak lain kali, sambil makan eskrem. 

Some might wonder whether did I try to take any pictures during the toboggan ride, the answer is yes and the result is as below....

Melelong okayyyyyy.... Hahhahahhahah.....

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