Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Couchsurfing and the Azan

I accepted a couchsurfing request sometime last week when I didn't know things were about to get crazy for me after that. I didn't foresee my 'lill sister was coming to stay with me during the same weekend my couchsurfer from Ukraine was coming. And I certainly didn't foresee that my parents were also coming a few days after for a heart operation at Institut Jantung Malaysia (Malaysia's Heart Institution).

Even after knowing all of these things were gonna happen on the same week.. I didn't have the heart to cancel the couchsurfer's request and just allowed her to come. At that time, I probably had thought of a dozens of excuses to cancel the request but it never fall through. Haha. And so she came and I was hoping that she wouldn't mind being cramped in a small room with my sister and I.

Thankfully... all my housemates were not home during that long Thaipusam weekend except for one girl. And my sister was being very hospitable. Since it was a public holiday, I was free to bring my guest around KL for some sight-seeing without being tied up with office work.

One funny moment happened that washed away all my doubts in hosting couchsurfers. An adorable moment. My guest heard a loud sound through the loudspeakers in my neighborhood and the conversation started like this :

Guest : Did you hear that? What is that man singing about?
My sister : Oh, that's the azan. A calling for prayers.
Guest : Azan?
My sister : We Muslims are being called five times a day to pray by this "singer". It's like a reminder so that we don't forget. 
Guest : It sounds lovely. I never been to a Muslim country.

I smiled when I heard their conversation. And this is why I love hosting and being hosted on couchsurfing.com. I get to share my culture and the way of living of a local with foreigners. Let them know... hey.. Malaysia is a beautiful country and yeah, we're not terrorists! Hahaha!

With my guest, Lika at KLCC.
My head and heart lightened up after that and I continued to be the gracious host despite having doubts of hosting when times were getting tough. I shall not forget the reason why I joined couchsurfing in the first place as I believe in the site's aim in creating.. “a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection”.. Praise thee god for the life given.  :)

PS: The news about guests being raped is shocking! I hope I won't have such experience when I couchsurf!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Trekking to Pisang Waterfalls via the Twin Drains

Who would've known that there's a waterfall just within Kuala Lumpur.. Situated in Gombak, Pisang Waterfalls is fast becoming popular among waterfall hunters and also a perfect place to escape the hustle-bustle of the big city.

Some time last year, I was hosting a couchsurfer from Philippines. She had another local friend in KL and the three of us altogether decided to trek to Pisang Waterfalls. I never heard about this place until that day her male friend told us about it.

So it happened like this.... her friend would pick us up from an arranged spot and he will drive us to the starting point of Pisang Waterfalls trail. I was surprised to know that it was very close to KL! Our driver parked his car at the side-road, paid a parking fee of RM5 and a nominal entrance fee of RM1 per person,.. and off we go!

We got our stuff that consist of extra clothing, towels, water and packed lunch, and started our trek, with our male friend leading the way.

And to where first?

To two HUGE DRAINS with water going through it!

The famous twin drains that will lead us to the enclosed Pisang Waterfalls.

Friday, January 23, 2015

6 Things To Do in Batam That You May Not Know About

My office did an office trip to Batam sometime last year and about 40 people joined with the exception of me. They didn't actually sleep there, but made it into a daytrip from Johor into Batam via ferry.

Almost all of my office-mates told me that there was NOTHING to do in Batam except do some shopping. So why stay longer? OK, I got the longer part and decided to prove them long by spending one fine weekend in Batam.

Did I do any shopping?


With a struck of good luck, I happen to know a good friend in Batam named Mukhlis whom I fortunately met during my backpacking trip to India the year before and decided to pay him a visit.

Hold on... you might be actually asking yourselves.. is there really ANYTHING to see in Batam? Lemme give you a teaser picture before I continue on with this blogpost.

Guess where this is? Nongsa beach at Pulau Purti Batam. Pictured with Mukhlis. Spot at number 3 in the list!
I really didn't have much budget planning for this trip so I only set aside about RM200 for my personal expenses (if any), excluding the ferry and bus tickets as blogged already here..

Monday, January 19, 2015

Trekking to Rainbow Waterfall, Sg Lembing, Pahang

My traveling partner in crime to Sg Lembing has blogged about our trip here...

Zilla booked a night at the famous Time Capsule Hotel in Sg Lembing and advertised on her facebook wall, looking for a travelmate to share the room. I immediately messaged her, telling her I wanted to join! Hahaha!

And so off we went to Sg Lembing. Me, from Kuala Lumpur while Zilla was coming from somewhere in Pahang. The best thing I liked about Zilla is that she likes using the public transportation as much as I do. It's an adventurous trait that I  find it rare among Malaysians

Trekking to Rainbow Waterfall is an easy task. You could easily book at any homestay/hotel/hostel operators in Sg Lembing. There are an abundance of them. If you ask any locals there, they'd surely direct you to the correct person. Zilla and I just booked the trip for RM40 (transport, maggi cup, guide) with our hotel.

The trip starts as early as 5:30am. A 4WD will pick us up from the hotel and send us to have breakfast (self-paid) in Sg Tembeling town. A mosque is a walking distance away, where Zilla and I did our prayers. It was around 6:35am that we headed to the waterfalls area... with 12 other people.

The 4WD drive through mud and lush rainforest. Picture taken from Zilla's blog
I'm not sure how long we were on that bumpy ride to the waterfalls. More than an hour perhaps? All I remembered as we were seated at the back, was the jumping all over the place and us holding tightly to the rails around us. Some might say it was impossible, but I did however got some eye-shut. Hehehe.