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?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

CNY @ Penang

We travelled back to my in-laws place on the 2nd day of CNY. As usual, we got stucked in jams at Seremban.

On the 4th day, we left for Penang. If I'm not mistaken, my last visit to Penang was 4 years ago.

We decided to use the ferry to get into the island. We arrived at noon. We hang out at Taman Kota & Fort Cornwallis before heading to Lorong Selamat for it's famous Char Kuey Teow. At the shop, there are varieties of food, including Prawn Noodles, Popiah, Soup Noodles, Lobak and Muar Chee. I did not notice that the Char Kuey Teow wasn't the once famous Sisters Char Kuey Teow. The Sisters CKT has moved to another shop all by themselves, selling nothing but their CKT. Nevertheless, the CKT that we had tasted good as well.

After lunch, we headed to buy some Tau Sar Pneah. The famous one is made by Him Heang. It's a white building, opposite Hotel 1926. There are many copycats with the same 'Heang' at the back....eg. Gee Heang, or some other 'Heang's but Him Heang's is still the best.

After that, we headed to the famous temples. I never knew that there are 2 temples opposite one another. One is a Burmese Temple with a Standing Buddha, while the other is a Thai Temple with a Sleeping Buddha.

Since we still have time, we went to the Khoo Kongsi. I used to be quite familiar with Penang roads, but I have to admit that this Khoo Kongsi is very difficult to find. We were rounding inside Georgetown for about half an hour. We almost gave up until we met a traffic police who showed us directions to the Khoo Kongsi. Luckily, we managed to arrive before 5pm as the ticketing counter closes at 5pm sharp. The entrance fee is RM4 for adults and RM2 for children. After looking at the architecture, the design of the main hall and all the wall paintings, I was so impressed.

As we exited the Khoo Kongsi, there was another temple nearby. This temple is called the Yap Kongsi. I believe during the earlier times, there were many families or clans who tried to make a name for themselves. But not many prospered like the Khoo family.

That night, we had seafood at Teluk Kumbar. It's a restaurant by the sea, called Hau You (Good Friend). Unlike it's name, this place isn't so good to us after all. We were slaughtered horribly! A steamed grouper the size of my palm cost RM65. A kilo of meat crab (small size - half my palm size) costs RM60. We didn't mind paying a bit more as it's CNY, but the price is really too much.

The next morning, we went to Penang Hill. It's quite warm up there due to the crowd that gathered since as early as 7.30am. Nothing much to see, except for a view of Georgetown from the hilltop.

After Penang Hill, we went to Kek Lok Si. At the foot of Kek Lok Si, we had our lunch. We had Asam Laksa. Although it looked the same, the taste has changed. It doesn't taste that good anymore.

From the foot of Kek Lok Si, I can see that there is construction of pillars and roof to cover the Bronze Statue of Kuan Yin. The pagoda remains the same.

Along the stairs up the hill, there are many small traders doing their trade. After some bargaining, I got myself some colourful T-shirts for RM10 each. Cheap isn't it?

It's hard to believe how commercialise Kek Lok Si has become. Going up to the Kuan Yin Statue, one need to use the cable car. It's RM4. Going up the pagoda, one has to also pay the same amount. According to the temple authorities, all profit goes to the temple. It also surprised me to see a monk standing behind the cash machine as cashier. I do not mind giving donations or some token of appreciation but seeing them imposing fee for this and that, it made me shake my head in disbelief. It's supposed to be a place of worship but now it has become a tourist attraction. There are also monks on loudspeakers asking devotees to donate by writing their names on tiles which will be used to cover the Kuan Yin Statue. Apart from that, one has to also pay to write their names on colourful sheet of tiny paper to hang on the wishing tree. Sigh....

At night, we had our dinner at Gurney Drive. It has changed a lot too. There are more stalls and are more clean and organized.

As we passed by Gurney Plaze, we noticed there were some drums along the main entrance. I guess it's for the celebration of the Jade Emperor. Hence, we took some photos. The drums were really nice.

Our visit to Penang ended on the 6th day of CNY. Instead of heading home, my wife and I went up North. Check out where we went in the next post. Tata.