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By: Abdullah Malik

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Saturday, 24-Nov-2007 02:53 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Pangkor escapades 2007

Things to buy
ferry ticket
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Pangkor Island 24-27 December 2007

We left KL by car in the early morning of 24 December 2007 for our holiday. I have been to Pangkor Island many times and this was my wife’s third visit and each visit we stayed at different hotels or chalet. We had lunch in Lumut near the newly constructed multi-level parking complex, we managed to park our car at the ground level. After lunch we proceeded to the jetty, bought our tickets and waited 15 minutes before boarding the ferry.

After landing at Pangkor jetty, we took a mini-bus to Teluk Nipah for RM 10. Luckily our hotel was very near to the main road. Do you want to know how I got the hotel ? This time I searched the net and ended up with Nipah Bay Villa at Teluk Nipah. You may find it at http://pangkornipahbay.com for details. Was the hotel nice ? For me, I have only one complain, no breakfast provided during our stay, they said the cook went back to her village..balik kampung la tu…. Anyway, there are plenty of accommodation nearby, all within walking distance, mostly chalets, such as Pangkor Indah Beach Resort at http://www.pangkorindah.com , Lyana Villa 605-685 3393, Ombak Inn, 605-9585223, Suria Beach Resort 605-6853922, Hornbill Resort 605-6852005, Palma Beach Resort http://www.palmabeachresort.com.my , Florabeach Resort http://www.florabeachresort.com , Pangkor Bay view http://www.pangkorbayview.com , Lala Chalet 605-6855112 and Mizam resort http://mizamresort.com , basically they are the same, price wise a variation of 10-15% ..some charges RM 100, others maybe RM 110 !

So, what do you do in Pangkor Island in 4 days and three nights ? For me, I jumped into the sea during low tide…and cycle around the island when I am not in the water ! That was what we did, only we used a scooter for RM 30 a day and made many trips to different parts of Pangkor. For meals, we had many meals at Teluk Nipah itself and at different shops in Pangkor town and Pasir Bogak. I enjoyed swimming and indulged in water sport activities during the day and enjoyed the grilled fish in the evening. Grilled fish or ikan bakar was expensive… but tasty !

Wednesday, 12-Sep-2007 09:19 Email | Share | | Bookmark

Town view toward the stadium
Town view towards Mekong river
Masjid Jame
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I forced myself to do a new entry today after months of trying and after visiting so many countries after my last entry last year. Well, I have just visited Laos PDR last week and took a boat along the Mekong river to Pak Lay about 300 km upstream from Vientiane. The trip upstreams took us 4 hour 40 minutes and returned in 3 hour 25 minutes. So I was on the boat for about 8 hours...great view and got sunburned too!

It was rainy days in Lao PDR and the water level in Mekong was high, there were rapids though...the trip definitely not for the soft-hearted. We have lunch, fish of the Mekong river, we had fried fish and fish soup and some vegetables...nice and cost us Laos KIP 206,000, about RM 60.00. The boat rental cost us THB 8,000 or RM 830 for round trip.

In Vientiane we stayed at the Lao Plaza Hotel, nice and clean for USD 68 per night including breakfast. There were many Hotels in Vientiane, Novotel, Samsenthai,LV City Riverine, Park View, Doungsilipanya,Phoxay,Don Chan Palace, Dansavanh and Mekong etc. Meals not a problem for Muslim like me, there were three Indian Muslim restaurants near the hotel, Rashimi, Nizam and Fatima etc. Also Masjid Jame near the fountain..about 100 meter from the hotel. There are many local restaurants at the Mekong river bank..also Italian and French restaurants. There were also two golf courses....one near the dam and casino resort at Tulakhom District and one near the Friendship Bridge in Vientiane. Hope to play next time...

I took the Thai Airways from KLIA at 1.20 pm and the evening flight 7.20 pm by Thai Airways to Vientiane. There was a transit time of about 5 hour at the new Bangkok Suvarnabume airport. I reached Vientiane at 8.30 pm local time. If you are departing from KLIA, you can also go to Vientiane through Phnom Penh or HoChiMinh city...

First day (6 September) in Vientiane, went to the riverside restaurants near Mekong river and checked out the nearby attractions. Nothing much, a lot of young foreigners in the city just lazying around in their backpacks. ..

Second day (7 September) we went to Ban Phonesawat, Tulakhom District up North of Vientiane to check out the Dansavanh Golf Course and the Casino Resort near the Dam. Both were beautiful sights...and along the way we visited a furniture factory that manufactured wood carvings and furniture from Rosewood. By the way, the Resort was called Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort overlooking the Nam Ngum lake. Well, what's you gonna do ? A lot, namely 24 hour casino, lake tour, golf, video game arcade, disco and karaoke bar, shooting range, nature trekking and water theme park...

Third day (8 September) we hired a boat to go to Pak Lay, a small town about 300 km by boat upstream. The journey was a bit scary as the boat was travelling at 80-90 km per hour. Most of the way Mekong river was the international boundary between Lao PDR and Thailand, so it would be better to carry your passport along ( just in case you have engine trouble and the boat drifted into Thailand...) and we stopped twice to go to Hong Nam...(wash room!). Yeah..learn a bit of Lao and Thai language...[i]where is the toilet? in Lao...hong nam ju sai? In Thai..hong nam ti nai? Anyway at about 2.30 pm we started the journey back to Vientiane...before it got too dark

Fourth Day (9 September) we took a flight to Pakse about 685 km from Vientiane near the Cambodia border using Lao Airlines, cost USD 95 each for foreigner. The flight was at 6 am so we left the hotel as 4.45 am. We stayed at the Champasak Palace Hotel, only USD 30 per room including breakfast. We have rooms overlooking the river...very nice. Since we left early...everybody went to sleep in their rooms until lunch time. We eat at the floating restaurant, fish again...and quite nice. For Dinner we went to a restaurant at the town center for a full session of reflexology..or foot massage. ( 2 hour for RM 24). Four persons eating fish, vegetable sour, telor dadar and fried shrimps..with white rice, only RM 47.

Fifth day (10 September) we visited some woodworking factories operated by Lao Government and private sector. Then we went out to have lunch at a place called Ban Moaung some 30 km from Pakse...along the route to Cambodia, very famous place..plenty of restaurants, we have raw fish and salad..steamed fish etc. and makan buah teratai...

Sixth day (11 September) we crossed the border at Van Tao (Thailand) and spent the night at Ubon Rachathaniin Thailand and stayed at the Nevada Grand Hotel for RM 100 a night. The town looked like auto city where showrooms after showrooms were seen along the road. We took the Thai Airways to Bangkok and then connected to another flight to KLIA. Take note that from Don Mueang airport to Suvarnabhume airport in Bangkok will cost you THB 600 for metered taxi and tolls. If you want to save some money...pay exactly to meter, taxi drivers always said no small change...penyamun!

The Bangkok new airport was really huge...and impressive. We boarded the aircraft Boeing 777 and took 1 hour 38 minutes to KLIA. Reached airport about 11.20 pm and waited for luggage for 20 minutes, finally I reached home about 1.00 am.

Wednesday, 15-Aug-2007 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Hatyai - revisited

Hatyai town
Paradise hotel
Muslim mosque
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My colleague and I went to Hatyai, Thailand recently. The town was quiet and not much foreigners to be seen in town. We stayed at the Hatyai Paradise and Resort Hotel, somewhere at the old town, away from the town center.

We have local friend to take us around for shopping and dining, there were many muslim restaurants around and tomyam were aplentiful! I have previously stayed in many hotels in Hatyai, Novotel, Golden Crowne and Lee Garden Plaza are the better choices for their location. For now, off-season rate are cheap, room rates were about RM 75-95 per night.

We were there during fruits season...WOW, cheap..cheap fruits everywhere! Rambutans was RM0.50 Sen per kg, Dukong also same price..freshly harvested maybe RM 2 per kg and Matakucing for RM2.50 a kg.

We went to Songkla for a short visit and enjoy the South China Sea breeze..small city but lively with local visitors, mostly school children from rural areas. The visit would be less perfect if you don't have a photo session with the Mermaid....at the beach. At the end of our trip, we had Suki dinner at a friend's restaurant, just opened a few weeks earlier opposite the Hunza Entertainment Center.

The next day... was a long journey to KL.

Saturday, 17-Jun-2006 14:08 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Bandung - Good, Bad and Ugly

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Just wanted to share my experience in Bandung last week. With an officemate Nazry, boarded AirAsia flight AK966 to Bandung. We were at the LCC Terminal as early as 0600 hrs., just produced our Passports and got our Boarding Pass. Flight was smooth and arrived Bandung 2hrs. 05 minutes later.

The airport was small and crowded. While we were waiting in line to clear immigration formalities, most of the passengers baggage were already on the conveyor belt and ready for pick-up. So keep an eye on your bags !

Outside, there wasn't any Hotel Reservation kiosk, so make ur hotel booking in advance! We took a taxi to town center, the driver asked for IDR75,000 (RM30) which was expensive! We eventually paid him IDR60,000 at the hotel. Normal rate was IDR40,000. By the way, Bandung airport is located within Bandung town. He took us to a hotel frequently visited by Malaysians but it was fully booked for the weekend. Favourite Hotels for Malaysians are Royal Dago Inn, Jalan IR H Juanda, Royal Merdeka at Jalan Merdeka and Royal Palace Hotel at Jalan Lembong and Bumi Asih and all are 2** hotels. Of course for the elite group of Malaysian, Hyatt Regency, Sheraton Inn and Preanger are also good choice! When we looked at the Bandung map, the hotels looked near each other but mind you, Sheraton Inn is 2 km from Holiday Inn! Jayakarta was also further and believe me, the hotel was not located next to Dago Indah Golf Course!

For us we chosed Anggerik Golden at Jalan Martadinata, rate IDR 300,000 weekends with breakfast and IDR250,000 weekdays. That is about RM 320 for 3 days single occupancy! The location was good, within walking distance to Bandung Indah Plaza, Dago Plaza and Bandung Electronic Center(handphones - second hand and new)! Nearby hotels are Hyatt Regency (adjacent to BIP), Hotel Santika (IDR 590,000) just across the road and Holiday Inn (USD 73). Our daily breakfast was Nasi Goreng, Nasi Bubur, Roti and Keju and telur goreng...everyday was the same!

First day 17 June 2006

Just walked around the hotel, 1 km each way to gauge our location and be familiar with the landmarks. Factory Outlets are everywhere, they are also called Distro (Distribution Outlet) where u can buys reject merchandise at bargain price...that's why Bandung is popular with lady tourists! For lunch and dinner we eat ikan Gurame bakar and sop buntut!

Second day 18 June 2006

We rented a car for IDR425,000 for 10 hours witha driver. It was a Suzuki Panther with AC, roamy enough for 4 people. At 0800hrs we took off to Gunung Tankuban Perahu..meaning an upsidedown perahu, that was the view from Bandung, you can see a panoramic view from Alun-Alun in Bandung. The trip took between 45 minutes to 1 hour along a long and winding road towards Lembang. Enjoy the scenery especially the tea plantation. At the entrance of the crater, you have to pay IDR 10,000 entrance fee per person and IDR7,000 for the car. If you come by FWD you can park right at the top of the volcano. If you go by bus, they park slightly below and you have to walk 1.2 km up to the crater.

Once you get down from your vehicle, you are bound to be surrounded by lots and lots of souvenirs sellers, they were like a pack of wolves hunting their prey, they never leave you alone...that's a hazard. There were 800 of them selling key chains, necklaces etc.. If eventually you got fed-up and have to buy, stamp your feet on the price, you may get 25% of their starting price, don't go for 50%, they would be too happy to sell them! I ended up buying postcards IDR30,000 for 20 cards (RM12).

We took a guide (compulsory!) going down the trail from Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater) to Kawah Domas about 1.2 km away. The guide rate was IDR60,000 per hour plus tips (they always asked for tips). The walk was worth it especially when you see the beautiful mountain vegetation and flora such as the Manarasa trees. The kawah Domas itself comprised hot boiling water and hot steams shooting from the ground, be careful..the water and steam are very hot, no less than 90 degrees. Of course they sell egg for you to boil!

After that we drove down to Sari Ater, a natural hot water spring and river. We were there on Sunday, my god it was like `Pasar Malam' , the place was packed! The entrance fee of IDR10,000 per person and IDR6,000 for car would have to be paid. So we moved on to return to Bandung and stopped at a Sunda restaurant called Sindang Reret, lots of people. We eat Sunda traditional food like ikan Gurame (again!), sayur asin, telur dadar with petai and cumi pedas, for RM52.

We moved on to Bandung and along the way, saw Ms.Megawati residence on a 10 ha. site! Stopped at some factory outlets to buy golf T-Shirts, Nike, Callaway, Ashworth and Greg Norman for a fraction of the normal cost! Overall the price for collared T-shirt was IDR59,000 (RM24).

At about 5pm local time we visited Dago Indah Golf course and Forest Hills Golf course, beautiful course, the later was only 4 months in operation, so in tip-top condition. Reached hotel at about 7pm and called it a day! Capet Pak! Green fees at Dago Indah about IDR150,000 for 18 hole and IDR 214,000 for 9 holes at Forest Hills.

Third day 19 June 2006

We took Angkutan Kota (Green Colour) with `Stasiun-Dago' sign and paid IDR1,500 (RM0.60) each instead of taxi (IDR20,000) and stepped down at Pasar Baru, a retail center. You must call `kiri-kiri' to the driver to stop. The Pasar Baru complex is a 7 storey building and much bigger than Pasar Baru in Jakarta, goods are much cheaper also! The shops are similar to those at ITC and WTC at Mangga Dua in Jakarta. We bought some shoes and bags.

We returned to the hotel at about 4 pm. At night we went to Bandung Indah Plaza to eat at the food court, Pampet Palembang was good! and bought cheap VCDs and MP3 there from the vendors outside the mall and they also sell exotic pets like Persian cats (toby and Garfield look-a-like), snakes, lizards,chameleons,dogs etc.

4th day 20 June 2006

Time to go back, our flight AK967 at 0905hrs local time. Arrive KL LCC at 1210 hrs. Paid parking fee RM 102 for 3 days and 6 hours. Our taxi from Hotel to Bandara (Bandar Udara) was IDR40,000 only.

EVER WONDER why there was no photos posted here? BECAUSE my camera was stolen at Pasar Baru! BEWARE of these people, they can `pukau' you and you didn't know you have lost it until the kaki pukau had left you, and you are out of their range! If they are around you, near you their spell is still strong, once they walked away you will `wake-up', good luck. I reported the lost to the security office and according to them many Malaysian suffered the same, some lost their digicam! So beware of them when you are in shopping mall in Indonesia, be it Jakarta or Bandung. Most of the operators are ceweks...yes, when I looked at the suspect photos showed to me by the office management, they were mostly girls..watch out. At Pasar Baru beware of Dasar 1 and Dasar 2 area, these are `kawasan maling' and dangerous place. Just shop at Lantai 1 to lantai 4, more safer.

So anybody in Bandung who was offered cheap Konica Minolta DiImage x-50 with 512MB SD card, that could be my lost camera! However this is a lost-lost case, once the battery expired, there is no charger and no spare battery, the camera is deemed useless! So camera, come back to me!

I was in Bandung last year 2005, so I have last year photos...

I will continue with my golf outings experience...

Thursday, 25-May-2006 06:40 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Kuching - Golf & Seafood

Kelab Golf Sarawak
Kamal and Roslan
me and HJ
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Kuching town - didn't see any cats during my 5 days in town. Took MAS flight to Kuching and stayed at Holiday Inn by the river, nice n comfort room with good breakfast. We were off to Damai Golf and Country Club the same afternoon, perhaps 50 minutes from the hotel. Four of us Kamal, Roslan. Sanuri and me played 18 holes. The view were breathtaking...the last few holes,14-18 have the ocean on our left and tropical trees on our right, the charms of Santubong! We played Damai Golf 2 times and Kelab Golf Sarawak (KGS) 2 times. At KGS, Mazlan joined us and he hit huge drives...he is my schoolmate from STAR, Ipoh. Thank you Lan...you were great as our host! The courses at KGS were very well designed, the index holes (golfers will understand) were superbly designed and these holes played to their degree of difficulties! Congratulation KGS for well-kept courses. We sure would like to come back and challenge the course again...

Beside golf, food was also good in Kuching and cheaper than KL by 20% perhaps! After the Damai game we stopped at Buntal for seafood delight..no complain. We also took a boat ride across the river to eat there during the evening. We took the RM 120 seafood package that included sweet n sour crab, butter prawn, Pakis Sarawak, sotong halia and ikan steam ...go for it!

The Waterfront is a good place to meet friend and have Teh Tarik or Teh Dangdut (must try!) nice place but beware of `Kaki Pukau' and `Conman' , they were out there! Once they touch you..you would be under spell already (most of the time) and probably unable to say NO to whatever they ask you...good luck, my friend lost his HP there!

You also chould go to `Little India', a place like KL Petaling Street to buy sourvenirs like Pasu or Tembikar and the famous Tikar Sarawak. Before you leave Kuching make sure You buy some `Terubok Masin' , go for the largest fish you can get and fresh ones too..the big ones start at RM 10 per fish.

As you can see from the photos the riverside really is beautiful...nearby hotels are RiverView, Hilton, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Riverside (Hotel & Apartment).

Enjoy the photos...

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