Friday, October 16, 2009

Perhentian Island - 4th to 6th Oct 2009

It was supposed to be our lovey-dovey husband and wife outing cum my birthday celebration in July, as we booked this 3d/2n island getaway package during the February Matta Fair. However, we got our much awaited good news of our new offspring in March, hence the trip was postponed to Sept, and then again to Oct; while we look for interested friends to fill the void.

The price of this package by Bubu Long Beach Resort never interested any of our friends. We got it for RM544 per pax after discount. We were willing to let it go at a much cheaper rate but many still find it expensive. Since we bought it during the Matta Fair, they do not allow us to carry forward the trip to next year. I had opted not to go in the first place. However, May insisted I go with my brother. In the end, May had to see me go for a holiday without her, for the first time since we got together.

Our July return flight ticket was bought for a mere RM120 for both of us, but when I rebooked it this time, it costs me almost RM400.

We (my brother and I) started our journey on an early Sunday. We took a cab to KL Sentral, had our breakfast, and then boarded the Skybus to LCCT. Everything was on schedule. We arrived at Kota Bahru at noon, and took a cab to Kuala Besut Jetty. The taxi ride costs us RM78. An advice to travellers to Kuala Besut, if you are going to Bubu Long Beach, just pay RM60 for their to and fro van service. If you are not in a hurry, take a bus. You get to see more of the countryside.

Our package includes the boat ride from the jetty to Long beach. It took us 30 mins to reach Long beach. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a beautiful young lady and delicious lunch! I thought she is a Malay but after speaking to her, I found out she is Phillipino. There are indeed many Phillipino working at Perhentian Island.

Bubu Long Beach Resort

Office of Bubu Long Beach Resort at Kuala Besut

30 mins boat ride to Long beach

We had salad with salmon for our starter. Then we were served grilled beef as our main course and ice cream for dessert. I never thought the 3d/2n full board package will be like this. I had earlier expected simple local delicacies like fried rice, fried noodles, etc but when we saw our meals coming, I thought to myself....the amount paid was worth while. No wonder my friends say the Bubu package is expensive!

The room condition is much better compared to chalets. If i were to backpack here, I'd also chose to stay in a chalet. After all, you don't spend much time in the room except for sleeping. As I've initially wanted to bring May here, we opted Bubu because we knew we are going to get better food, better room, better services and get to go home with a broad smile in our faces. However, she did not get to come... poor May....hehe.

Our room

View from our room

3d/2n itinerary

After lunch, we got ready for snorkelling. The downside about this is that we have to RM30 per pax for the snorkelling equipments. Bubu really cut our throat! Elsewhere, you only need to pay RM5 or max RM10. Here, it's different. Nevertheless, we paid and went for our first snorkelling trip, 100m from our resort. They call it 'house reef'. We call it 'below the jetty'. There's not much fish there. Maybe it's because I was expecting something better, so I did not bother to swim further.

At the same time, my brother Lim was having a tough time dealing with the snorkel mask, as we thought. It was his first island trip, and his first time snorkelling. We tried to teach him to inhale and exhale with his mouth, but to no avail. In the end, we found out that he's actually afraid of the water! He can't swim. And the waves made him lost his balance. Even with the safety vest, his whole body was so tense as if he had a cramp. He decided to take a rest. Well, if a person is afraid of the water, it is definitely not a good idea to force him to snorkel. We don't want anything bad to happen, so we just let him 'enjoy' the hot sun by the beach.

As usual, the east coast of Malaysia will be hit by strong monsoon winds and thunderstorm at the end of the year. That is the reason why Pulau Perhentian, Redang, Kapas and others off Terengganu are closed to visitors from November to February yearly. The weather there already started to swing like a woman's mood, as bright hot sun could suddenly turn into black clouds in easily 10 minutes. We were lucky to have a bright sky that day, and we went for sunset viewing at Coray Bay. Coray Bay is at the opposite side of Pulau Perhentian Kecil. With a little hiking and jungle trekking, we managed to get to the other side in 20 mins.

Not wanting to hike back to Long Beach in the dark, our tour guide, Ali managed to get a hitchhike boat trip back to Long Beach. It was an interesting powerboat ride, with much splashing and bumping. The excitement and heart thumping is just like getting on the rollercoaster, except that we do not know when to expect another big wave coming. I could imagine if May was here, our baby would have come off naturally!

Our dinner was quite normal, rice with curry chicken and mixed vege. Then, we were served with BBQ squid, sausage, fish and beef. I rarely eat beef, but this time, I finished the beef immediately. It tasted very good.

After dinner was a normal scroll along the beach, looking for a happening place for some beer. Unfortunately, we couldn't find one. Maybe it's due to the low season. My friend told me when he went there in July a few years ago, there were so many people on the beach, topless and sunbathing. At night, the pubs will be full of Angmohs dancing and drinking. I was dissapointed as I did not get to see even one topless Angmoh on this beach. We went back to our room at about 9.30pm. I couldn't sleep because it's too early. Then I went for a walk to the grocery shop to get some water. I found out that Bubu did show live football telecast on a big screen. I immediately called my brother to join in. That night, we saw Arsenal won 6-something....can't remember against who. The next match was a nightmare! Liverpool lost to Chelsea 2-0. Sigh....

Morning started at 7.00 for me. It's natural that I wake up early whenever I go for vacation. I would not want to spend lots of time sleeping and missed out on the beauty of the place that I visit. Mornings at Long Beach seemed very quiet. No doubt the Angmohs who came to Malaysia love our sunny weather. They would sleep till almost noon, then when it's hot enough, they would lie down on the beach with their bikinis or shorts with a book in their hands. They would stay there till the sun goes away, and then party at night till way past midnight.

As for me, the 2nd day is the only full day that I have in Perhentian. We went snorkelling at 3 places, Fish point, Shark point and then Turtle point. Oh yea....I managed to see all of them.

We came back to our resort at about 2pm. We had our lunch and then went for another scroll along the beach to take some photos.

At 4.45 pm, dark clouds suddenly appear. However, there were not much rain or thunderstorm. It only drizzled. We were hoping that the clouds would go away, so that we could continue with our hybrid park adventure. Nop, the sky stayed gloomy the whole evening.

That night, we had the almost same food as the day before. This time, it's rice with beef curry and mixed vege. Later that night, my brother woke up at 5.00 am and vomitted. It continued for a while, then finally he managed to sleep again. In the morning, he had diarhoea and constant vomitting. Luckily the groceries there do sell some medication. I bought some panadol, some 'pou jai yuen' and ENO for the stomach. He took the ENO to get rid of all unwanted stuff in the stomach. Then took the 'pou jai yuen' to stabilise the stomach condition, plus 2 tablets of panadol to avoid pains.

I managed to grab some little bottles with "Pulau Perhentian" writings as souvenir. I have to fill in with some sand before giving to others as souvenir tho'. This is the only thing I managed to buy here, as all the other souvenirs are sold out. Even postcards with the words 'Perhentian Island' are nowhere to be found.

Our hybrid station trail was carried out on the 3rd day morning. Luckily we had clear skies. The walk took us 30 mins. It's a worthy walk, as we get to see the island from the 2nd highest point of the island. The hybrid station is actually a power generation station. It uses wind and solar to generate power for the consumption of the resorts in that island.

Blue Lagoon

After a 15 mins break, we took off and head back to our rooms. We packed and soon, got ready for the 11.00am boat ride back to Kuala Besut. Each day, there are 3 trips to and from Perhentian Island. Boats from K Besut leave at 10am, 1pm and 5pm. Boats from Perhentian leave at 8am, 11am and 4pm.

My brother's condition got better. As planned, we were to take the 11am boat ride, then we would hang out at Kota Bahru the whole afternoon. Since we arrived at K Besut quite early, we decided to take a bus to K Bahru. When we arrived at Kota Bahru town, we feel as if we were back to our hometown Melaka, but somewhere 10 years ago. The bus station, wet market and shopping malls like Parkson are all within walking distance. There's nothing much to do here, except to shop for souvenirs. We couldn't get anything. In fact, we were actually craving for the famous nasi dagang which is purple in colour. We walked into many shops but were given the same answer, "datang besok pagi". I finally understand that they only serve nasi dagang in the morning, just like nasi lemak in KL.

As evening approched, we took a bus and headed off to the airport. We flew back on time, took the skybus to KL Sentral and got a close friend to send us back home. When we got home, it's already 12.30 pm. Phew.... although tiring, it's a good experience for us.

I will definitely return to this island, maybe to Perhentian Besar. I may opt to stay in chalets in my next trip, because a chalet for 2 costs only as low as RM50 per night during the low season. And maybe....just maybe, I shall pamper myself with some diving action! Open water courses starts at RM850. I thought to myself, "Why not!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Little Nyonya

Lately, I have watched this Singaporean drama called The Little Nyonya. Everyone who knows me knows that I'm not a fan of series or dramas, but this one really caught my attention. I first watched it when I was back in KL during one of the weekends and accompanied my wife watching it. I was hooked ever since then.

This tale begins in 1930. It is about this pretty little Nyonya, Juxiang (played by Jeanette Aw), born into a rich Malaccan Peranakan Huang family, where her mum was the mistress, but she was deaf and mute. She got bullied along the way. When she was forced to marry as a mistress to a rich Singaporean businessman who is also a sex-craze, she ran away. Right before the Japanese Occupation in Malaya, she gave birth to a girl, Yueniang. Unlike her mother, she was normal. The Japanese Occupation did took her dad's and mother's life. Since then, Yueniang went back to the Huang family and stayed with her grandma. Tian Lan. And so the the tale continues, as Yueniang grew up, got bullied by the Huangs again and again, encountered so much difficulties during her teenage years, until she finally got married... Her destiny did get better in the end, as the Huangs fell apart and went bankrupt. She would be the one who finally saved enough money to buy back the ancestors house and took care of the whole family.

Along the journey, one could see them serve delicious Nyonya delicacies, like the Babi Pongteh, Asam Ikan, Sambal Udang, and some deserts like the Popiah, Rempah Udang, Ang Koo Kueh, Yam Cake, Bubur Cacar, etc. I would say the these food too has played a significant role in making me continue to watch and finish this series in less than 3 days! Altogether it has 34 episodes.

The shooting took place at 3 locations, Penang, Singapore and Malacca, my hometown. One could recognize the shooting location in Melaka if they have been to Malacca lately. One of it is Hotel Puri, where they used it as the house of the Chen family. If you were to visit Malacca, you wouldn't miss the Jonker Walk, a night market on Jonker Street on Fridays-Sundays. Several scenes took place there, and also the street next to it, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. I used to stay at one of the houses when I was small. The house is about 20 feet wide, but it is soooo.... long. In front of the house, above the door, there would be a plaque with 2 Chinese characters, symbolizing the family/ancestor name. You can only find this unique feature in an old Baba Nyonya / Chinese house thesedays.

Sometimes, while watching the movie, I would think of my mom. It really brings back old memories... good old memories.... I bet Malaccans who watch this series would be touched. It is indeed a highly recommended drama. Go get it....

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What's Wrong with the Spaniards?

I can't believe my ears when I heard Xabi Alonso will be moving to Real Madrid. LFC and Real Madrid have reached an agreement on the transfer. It is believed the transfer fee is around £30 mil.

I can't help but be so annoyed when a player rather sit on the bench in Spain than to play first XI in England. With names like Guti, Christiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Wesley Sneijder, Lassana Diarra and Fernando Ruben Gago in the list, how would one expect to be in the starting line-up? You don't have to learn your lesson by falling victim to some lies...you can always learn from the past. Look at Michael Owen, David Beckham and Steve McManaman. They were shining in England before going to Real Madrid, where after 1 season, they would try to pick up the pieces of their football career once again after failing miserably to perform. They would soon loose their places in the national team, and sunshine will never be the same again!

The new season starts in 10 days, Liverpool play away to Spurs. I'm figuring what kind of starting line-up Rafa is going to introduce. He's been an unpredictable guy, putting players of sorts, who can't perform. And yet, you can see the same name in the next game.

Getting Glen Johnson to Liverpool for £17 mil and selling Alvaro Arbeloa for a mere £3.5 mil, is something a kindergarten kid would think stupid to do. Yet, Rafa has done it once again. No one buys a defender for that much money. Arbeloa has proven to be a key figure in the 2008/09 season, and yet is sold to Real Madrid. Maybe his heart is no longer in LFC, and wants to in his home nation. But £17 mil for a defender?

I am starting to believe there's some kind of conspiracy going on with the Spaniards. Very soon, Fernando Torres will leave Anfield, and by then, Rafa will spend another £20 mil on some old and ineffective striker. Believe me, something is really wrong in Anfield...right from the co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to the manager, to the players.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom...We love you...and we always will....

It's MOTHER's Day again...and it still reminds me of the day we all stood by her side in the hospital bed...the day she left us....

Not much can be said now...it's been the same every year, and it will be, year after year.

I've got the time today, so I googled 'BEST WORDS TO DESCRIBE A MOTHER'. Guess what I found. Very interesting words and phrases.... I'll share it with all of you.

Skyadamani : Mother is a lively invention of god. Who takes lots of pain to give birth to us. Stands by us when we are in trouble.

Sridharan : Mom is a Visible God. She is the one who gave birth to us, teaches us, built us in the right way without expecting anything back from us.

Queen_13 : Silly! Because she works too hard to get jobs done around house.

Megamaster : Hero! She is my role model. She's been with me through my whole life, supporting me and helping me. I only wish i can be like her when i grow up

Luv2cut : Bestfriend" because she is always there for me when I need help, or talk to someone and gives me advice..... She will never let me down! Thanks Ma.

Desertkid : Compassionate! She always understood what was going on in my life and would listen to me rant and rave or laugh and giggle. She also had a wonderful sense of humor! I miss my mom

I say : Mom...you are all of the above. How I wish you are still here with us right now. Nevertheless, the least I can do for you right now is to fulfill my promises to you. Happy Mother's day mom....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Where's My Inspiration?

I have not updated my blog for over a month now. Somehow I just don't feel like there's anything to write here. I have lost the interest to blog. I don't know why. Maybe I'll pause for a while...until I find the inspiration again.....

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hail The Kops

I seldom watch Liverpool games live, but I'm glad I did today. They were superb, trashing Man Utd 4-1, at Old Trafford. They beat Real Madrid also by 4 goals on Tuesday.

Torres showed that he's the better player against Vidic, by over running him for the ball and scored the first goal. Gerrard scored the second thru penalty. Then Fabio Aurelio scored from a freekick after Stevie was taken down by Vidic, which earned him a straight red card. Guess what, the 4th goal was scored by Andrea Dossena, a late substitute by Rafa Benitez. If I'm not mistaken, it's his first touch. He must have been the luckiest person on the pitch, after scoring a similar late goal against Real Madrid the other day.

So, end result, Man Utd 1, Liverpool 4.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Chilling Out with my Buddies @ Langkawi

There was supposed to be 5 of them, but one couldn't make it, so 4 of my bestest buddies managed to get away from their busy working life to chill out here in Langkawi. It was indeed a long anticipated holiday for all of us. We've been talking about this trip since the first day I came here in March 2008, and finally they came, after 11 months!

I believe many Malaysians have never been to Langkawi before, and many more prefer to go to other islands like Perhentian, Redang, Tioman, Lang Tengah and Pangkor. Even Penang Island has much more visitors than Langkawi. I'm surprised! Langkawi has an international standard airport, nice sunny beaches, varieties of chocolates, delicious seafood and of course CHEAP BEER/ALCOHOL.... Even for my 4 friends, this was their first time here.

Since I'm familiar with this place, we only went to several nice spots. We did not rush as we knew we are not here to cover all the tourist recommended destinations. Most of our time were spent drinking, eating and sleeping.

On the first day, everyone was so exited. We did managed to cover a few nice spots and took some nice pics. Second day was tiring, lots of travelling and shopping, and most of us got drunk at night. Third day was relaxing. Less travelling, but we had a nice time in the pool catching up with the good old times. I can see that everyone was happy. I enjoyed myself too. Hopefully we are able to get together again very soon.

After dinner, I sent them to the airport and waved goodbye. Their flight was delayed for one hour. Jason and Mike managed to reach KL around 2am, but Zach and Fab reached Melaka at about 3.30am. Phew.....poor thing.....

Happy Birthday Dad

I'd like to wish my dad a Happy Birthday. He's 57 this year. Time really flies.
He's in Perth at the moment, so I'd better go to sleep now so that I can give him a call in the morning.

"Happy Birthday Dad!"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day to my dear wife, and to all my friends. May you be blessed with love throughout the day...and NIGHT...until the next morning!

This year is very special, V-day falls on a Saturday. It's just PERFECT....for couples who are together. For couples who are far away, too bad... but do not worry, for distance makes the heart goes fonder. Is it true? For a short period, yes, but not for too long.

Just like myself, I have some friends who are away from their partner. Here, I'd like to share a nice song by Jim Brickman and Martina McBride, 'My Valentine'. I couldn't get the original video clip by them, I only found the later live version by Jim Brickman and Olivia Newton John. So, enjoy!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Vacation in Langkawi

We boarded the 8am ferry from Penang and arrived at 11am, had our lunch, then headed back to my place to put our luggage. Our first destination was the Telaga Harbour. In Langkawi, there are 2 places where you can see a lot of yachts. One is here, another is near the Kuah Jetty. You'll see that in the later photos.

At Telaga Harbour, one can find several shops facing the sea. Most of them are restaurants which are very romantic especially at night. Also located here is 'The Loaf Bakery and Bistro' owned by Tun Mahathir.
From Telaga Harbour, we went to Tanjung Rhu. Tanjung Rhu has the best beach in Langkawi. The water is clean, the sand is white and fine and the scenery is breathtaking. At this point, you are nearest to Thailand!

This photo is taken at Tanjung Rhu Resort. If you plan to have a quiet holiday, this is the place.

We had our dinner at Palm View Seafood Restaurant. In my earlier posts, I did mention that the price of seafood here is reasonable. Most of the seafood here are fresh and swimming, unlike the other shops that sell dead seafood displayed on ice cubes. If you are unlucky, you'll get those that are not so fresh.

Our second day started with an island hopping trip. First, we went to Pulau Dayang Bunting. It's an island that looks like a pregnant maiden. There's a fresh water lake in this island.

Our second destination is somewhere near a group of islands where we saw our boat commander fed the eagles. There were about 30 eagles flying above us waiting to be fed.
After that, we were taken to another island, Pulau Beras Basah. Nothing great here, but you can go for a parachute ride and play the banana boat. If you come with the snorkelling goggles, then you snorkel with the colourful fishes.

After the island hopping trip, we paid a visit to 2 temples, Loung Phor Khun Temple and another Wat Tham Kisap.
Our 3rd day was spent shopping. You know la....girls like shopping. Even when they are on vacation. We managed to finish shopping in about 3 hours because the shopping mall here IS not as huge as those in KL (Thank God!). Soon, we found ourselves at the Royal Langkawi Yacht Club, another destination for the yachts.
Since we still have time before the sun sets, we went to The Westin Resort for a stroll on the beach. Aiya, who says only unmarried couples can walk hand in hand on the beach? My personal opinion, this is the best resort in Langkawi.

Our day ended with a takeaway pizza with a bottle of champagne by the sea. Well, sounds simple but she did love it. So do I. An advice to married couples, try something different every now and then. You'll be surprised by how your spouse react to it. That's what that keeps the affection going on and on....
You may wonder why we did not go to those tourist destinations as promoted on websites and brochures. Well, this is her 2nd time in Langkawi. The first time, we managed to cover almost everything on the brochures but we were quite dissapointed with the outcome. I'm sorry to say this but they are all a waste of time and money. Who would want to visit the Mahsuri Mousoleum or Beras Terbakar? A vacation on an island means you should be under the sun, in the water and playing with sand with your loved ones, ain't it?