Saturday, December 22, 2012

11 Days in Delhi, India

I reached New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport on the night of 1st December 2012. I was with two others, an Indian and a Maldives that night and we were to attend a 9 day workshop on Radio Transmissions conducted by an organization under the Indian Government. (Yes, lucky me, this is another sponsored official trip. hehe) The other international participants were due to arrive the next day and so us three decided to tour around Delhi instead. =)

While walking to the metro, I saw these men walking briskly without a care of the world! 
Not knowing the area well, at least the Kingsway Road was a straight line. We could easily have taken a tuk-tuk but since neither of us had small change, we decided to walk from the hostel to the nearest Metro Station instead. It took us around 30 minutes to reach there! We definitely didn't repeat this ever again. Haha!

The things I've noticed right away during our first day in Delhi :-
  1. Every entrance whether it's into a shopping mall, a metro station or an open park, you'll need to go through a scanner machine and get a full body check by the officers in charge. Guess there are some cases of terrorist acts in the city perhaps? There are also GUNMEN at every metro station behind a barrack. Scaryyy... 
  2. No pictures are allowed in the Metro Stations. They'll snatch you and demands you to delete the pictures if you get caught (which is always! They are very efficient that way! The place must be swarmed by CCTVs!)
  3. Men actually pee where ever and when ever they like along the roads and streets of Delhi (and basically everywhere else in India). They PEE in PUBLIC! Thus a strong odor of urine will be smelt almost every minute. LOL.
  4. The Indians sure like to spit a lot. Huhu. Hak puiiiii!!!
  5. Roti or also known as plain capati is their daily grain intake. Indians can eat this three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's like what RICE is in Malaysia. 
  6. Hot tea is served with every meal. And served the minute you get up in the morning and also before you sleep! They sure drink a lot of tea!
  7. They actually drink tap water here. I tried it and thankfully have never experienced any tummy ache thus far! hehe. (Prays I didn't habour any worms in my stomach though! o.O")

Ok back to our first day trip to Delhi. We first went to Chandni Chowk to do some shopping. And then we went to the Underground Train Museum (free entrance), National Museum ( 300 rupees per entry) and the India Gate (as pictured below). 

A war memorial for those who died in World War I. Their names can be read on the walls.
I love referring to Wikipedia on the places I've visited because I'm not quite a reader before I go to these places. hehe.

The India Gate is the national monument of India. Situated in the heart of New Delhi, it was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The monument is inspired by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, which in turn is inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. It was built in 1931. Originally known as the All India War Memorial, it is a prominent landmark in Delhi and commemorates the 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who lost their lives in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War. It is composed of red and pale sandstone and granite. [Wikipedia]

My friends and I did a lot of walking that day. And it was nice to come back to the STI Hostel. The place we stayed at for 10 nights. =)

STI Hostel short for Staff Training Institute and only trainees and staff are permitted to stay here.
Guess I was considered as a staff for the Government of India? Hehehe.

Our official transport, in and around Delhi. Nice!
Here were my training mates for the past 11 days. I was the only female trainee. Haha.

The others were blurred to protect their identity. Aisehh!! Cam haremm! wakakaka!
For the rest of our training days, we didn't go out much. We did eventually experience the night market which is held every Thursday night on Kingsway Road. This is where we saw all sorts of things being sold at unbelievable prices! The guys did a lot of shopping that night! 

Me? I bought a very cheap, fake Converse shoes for 200 rupees (equivalent to RM12.00). Haha!

Sweaters, shoes and bags. You name it! They got it all!
And so that pretty summed my first week in Delhi. Our next weekend was more fruitful. The organizers had us ride on a tourist bus into Agra for Taj Mahal on Saturday. And on Sunday we went on a Hop on Hop Off bus to tour around Delhi.

Well... I'll blog about that in another post.

Cheers and travel safe guys! ^__^

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scams in India that you should know about.

I spent two amazing weeks in India early this month and I can't seem to get over it. I feel that two weeks is NEVER ENOUGH! Now I'm sitting in my office, back in Kuala Lumpur, reminiscing the wondrous time I've spent there and thinking, "wow, I have actually been to India?" I am still dumbfounded until this day. =)

So India.. what do Malaysians expect when they travel there?

A view from Naharghah Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan India.
1, Overcharged taxis. 

Be charged more than the usual price when you use the local road transportation vehicles there such as the Autos, Tuk-tuks, and taxis. Usually it costs only 5 rupees on an Auto to get from one part to another but for a foreigner they can charge you up to 30 rupees. Haha. The best bet is using a tourist bus provided by the local tourism center or via Metro (if you're in Delhi of course). Else be happy to spend more money!

2. Car Rental Scams 

Bought a train ticket? Was told that your train has left, delayed or canceled? These are all SCAMS! You'll be approached by men in the train stations and you'll think that they are working there. They'll help check your ticket, reads the train number and says your train has been canceled due to some track problems. If you go along with this scam, they'll ask you to go to a ticketing center to refund your ticket or find another way into the city you're heading to. And when you ask for other train tickets, they'll say the tickets are sold out and the only way is renting a CAR. 

Yes... they are actually car rental operators. Trying to scam you into renting a car into the places you want to go. Sadly though, these SCAMS are legit. The only thing you'll lose is your money and an AMAZING train ride experience. (Thank god, I didn't fall for this. hehe)

The Indian Gate at Delhi, India
3. Tour guides at major tourist attractions. 

They'll tell you that you can't buy a ticket using the local fare (which is way cheaper than foreign tourist fare).  For example, a local ticket into Qutub Minar in Delhi costs 10 rupees and for foreigners it will cost 200 rupees. Actually you can by having a local buying it for you. The officers at the gate hardly checks your tickets!!! The tour guides will ask for some payment to just bring you into the tourist attraction, explain some things, bring you to some local shops (which in the end will get some commission for bringing you there if you buy) and then out. Huhhh... really a waste of time and money. It is always better to explore yourself (for me at least). And you could always depend on the hearing aids the counters provide for a small fee. =)

4. Photographers. 

I dislike these people the most!!! They help take pictures of you in the places you visit with their cameras. Prints it out and asks you to pay for the pictures when you actually have no intention in buying! Worst still is when you requested a smaller, cheaper photo prints and they come to you with larger prints and expecting you to pay for them! Pffftt!!

Taj Mahal, Agra India. 
5. Overpriced Souvenirs. 

Postcards in particularly actually costs 15 rupees per set that has 12 postcards. They can cheat you in selling 150 rupees each though. And that applies to all the other touristy stuff they sell such as the fridge magnets (cheapest - 50 rupees each), colorful pens and key-chains (can get 5 rupees each!) . Be prepared to bargain. And bargain HARD!

6. Sold out train tickets.

Train tickets are always sold out if you buy at the counters of the train stations??? SO NOT TRUE! This is maybe the biggest WRONG information they feed to unknowing travelers like us. There are ALWAYS train tickets at the counters. You just have to fill up a form after knowing which train and class you want and queue at the counter. Buying tickets online and at other operator's counters are OK but there'll be EXTRA charges and the seat availability are always inaccurate. =)

OK.. that's all I can think of for now. Hope this info helps future travelers when they visit India. Hehehe...

Best regards,

Jard the cheapskate. =)

Friday, November 30, 2012

India Visa Application at IVS Global Kuala Lumpur

If truth should be told, this is one of the most difficult visas I've ever applied for. Reason being, I was not applying for a tourist visa (which is a very straightforward process) and reason number two, why the hell do they have so many TYPES of visa??? Hehehe.

The door to "India".
IVS Global India Visa Center
G-01, Ground Floor, Straits Trading Building, 
No. 2, Lebuh Pasar Besar, 
50050 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
Tel. No: 006 03 2692 2692 
Fax: 006 03 2698 2692
Oh ya, all the information could be read from this website.

I'll be going to India for training and so I stopped by IVS Global India Visa Center near the textile Museum on Lebuh Pasar Besar just to research on the application process. One of my bad habits is dislike reading and prefers asking from a direct source for information. Haha.

During my first time there, I had to queue up while an officer checks each application form and its supporting papers. If the documents needed are complete, he'll give you a number and your application is approved.
Your application form will be inspected first before you can hand in for visa stamping.
Unfortunately, my application form was faulty and I was told to pay RM20 to change the details of my application form (I didn't fill in my full name as stated in the passport and my type of visa was wrong). Arghhh..

The good thing about this center is they provide picture taking for visa, photostat service and form refilling for a fee. I went to change my form and then to the counter, hoping to finally get the "number", Again I was told that there's something wrong with the form and asked me to wait for their boss. Another arghhhh!!!

I eventually waited  a full hour. T__T

I met with the boss, a specky guy who has near-sighted problem (*haha. memandai je aku. bluekk) and visible white strands of hair among-st a mop of dark ones. Annoyed. Me. He was tall and had an air of superiority but that didn't scare me. I immediately went to him as I wanted this thing to be settled once and for all!

And after that dreadful long wait... ALL I had to do was change the type of visa to type "X". I'm not gonna pay another RM20 for another form and decided to fill it myself at home, print at the office and come again. Pffft!!

So fortunately, my second visit to the office was smoother than the first. And three days later... I collected my visa. *happy

Total damage:

Retyped Form - RM20.00
Visa "X" - RM313.56
Text Message - RM2.00 (I have no idea why they charge this. O.O")

RM335.56 for THIS........

Ps: Flying to India tomorrow. Bye guysss!

Muah! Muah! Muah!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Borrowed Men Sandals in Jakarta

I just came out from the fifth floor woman's toilet at some telco office building in Central Jakarta. Newly bathed and changed into clean clothes after 24 hours from my last bath, I came out feeling FRESH! I just spent the night before on a train from Semarang to Jakarta.

With rucksack securely saddled on my back, I was met with my friend sitting outside on a sofa with his hand-phone. (Later I found out that he messaged me but I didn't read it in time. So he must have opted to wait outside. haha.) He was also newly bathed and into different set of clothes from the last time I saw him.

"Done?" he asked.
"Yes, let's eat! Am hungry!" I chirped!

We went back to his office floor (ground floor) to place my bags for safe-keeping. Suddenly he asked the size of my shoes. I didn't respond but he guessed correctly on his first try and lent me a pair of men sandals. I was wearing my flippers which I always bring with me during my travels. I was hesitant to part with them just yet.

"Those slippers aren't allowed in the office. Wear these instead." He reasoned with me, handing me the sandals. Making a face, I obliged. Ok fine! I was too tired and hungry to start an argument.

Arghh! Men Sandals!
I wore those men sandals to the cafeteria behind the office to get a bowl of chicken rice porridge. (His treat. =P)\ Darn, it was DELICIOUS!!
Only in Jakarta. And so I was told. =)
Continued to wear those men sandals to Monas located just in front of his office building. It was also his place to jog in the mornings. Most probably in men sandals too. Lalala!

And those men sandals also accompanied me to the many museums of Kota Tua Jakarta which we traveled to via Transjakarta (an efficient city bus operator with designated road lane to avoid bad traffic jams). Bank Mandiri Museum , Bank Indonesia Museum, and Wayang Museum were the places we went to.

And still "comfortably" wearing those men sandals, I eventually forgot all about my flippers and wore them to my host's house for the night. My place to crash that night in Jakarta was provided by his female office-mate who lives nearby, Ehem.. =P

More often than not those damn men sandals caused me to trip a couple of times. It's got something to do with too much space in the toes' area. (oh god, I sound ungrateful. Hahahaha)

Nonetheless, nice to know that my shoe size is the same as his. LOL! *malu


Ps: His take on my visit to Jakarta can be read here --->

Friday, November 23, 2012

The 3 Men I Fell in Love With in Indonesia

Guy no. 1The guy I met on the airplane. =p

Seat 23E, my destined seat on a plane to Semarang, Indonesia from KL. It wasn't a seat I'd prefer but being a budget flyer, I dare not complain. I trudged along the aisle with my heavy rucksack to my seat and was met with two guys already sitting at 23 D and 23 F respectively.

I panicked. I'm gonna be sandwiched by guys!

The guy nearest to the aisle stood up to give way for me to get in. Once seated, I began fumbling with the magazines in the front pocket. I've read the inflight magazine so many times but to hide my discomfort, I began flipping through it anyways.

"Going back?" asked the guy on my right in thick Indonesian slang.
"Oh, sorry, I'm a Malaysian. On a holiday!" I flashed him a smile, glimpsing sheepishly sideways just to see how he looks like. He smiled back! *pengsan

I looked back at the magazine.

"Where to?" he decided to have small talk.
"Oh... somewhere. Hehe" I wasn't gonna share my travel details with no stranger!

Once in the air and in between dozing off and daydreaming, I heard him chuckle beside me. I got curious and asked him why. "The women at the back are Jawanese but they're conversing in Malay. Hehehe" he chuckled some more.

I began ears-dropping the conversation from the back seats and joined in the laugh! And that shared joke broke the ice between us. Next thing I know we were sharing details about our jobs in KL, places we visited and more. He conversed in good Malay with me and I was thoroughly impressed. (Aside him being extremely cute also helped. Haha!)

"Come to my kampung. I'll serve you some local dishes!" he invited when the plane was about to land. He even gave me directions on how to get there.
"You're cooking?" I asked.
"No lah, my mom! Haha!" Oh Em Gi!!! He's still single???!! Hyper mode on. LOL. I invited him to join me in Yogyakarta since he'll be in Indonesia for a month. So he left me his name and contact details.


I never did get back to him............. =P

Guy no. 2 - My wish is his command.

I slowly took out my camera after noticing a truck with a high load of cardboard boxes on it. "You wanna take a picture of that" the driver beside me asked in Indonesian. I nodded. I was never good with conversing and pretty much stayed quiet most of the time.

He slowed down and drove behind this truck so that I can snap a clear picture of it. ^__^
The Indonesian girls I was traveling with were fast asleep at the back seat. Which leaves him and me the only ones awake, threading through traffic to get to Kudus from Semarang. And the most natural thing happened. We chatted the whole way.

A supposedly 3 hours drive became only less than an hour and a half. He was a very FAST and CAREFUL driver. I dig guys who drives well. Hahaha! And realizing he was driving fast so that he can send me to the Semarang's train station before 8 pm only made me fall even harder!

His looks didn't help me either. T___T He's a young lad, artistically dressed and wore an amusing half hat. Imagine an Indonesian dressed as below.

And he was cheeky too! (Source of pic)
The turn-off?

He's not a muslim. Hehehehe. =P

Guy no 3 - Secret.

Ok Bye!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Disaster strikes on the road to Semarang, Indonesia

"Go back tomorrow lah, kak" persuaded my friend as I busied myself packing my stuff into my already heavy rucksack.
"Where you're gonna stay? Who's there to meet you?" He asked again for the up-tenth time.

I laughed and said that I'll think about it once I get there. It was 8:30 pm. My bus takes off at 9:00 pm. Time was running slim.

My friends weren't happy with my answer and tried to reason with me to stay another night and travel tomorrow instead. The thing is, I already bought the bus ticket and I had an early flight to catch tomorrow morning in Semarang which is about 3 hours and a half drive from the current place, Yogyakarta. Haha... okay, that's a bit far off.

The guys were swarming the room I was staying in. I had to drive them out with a blanket so that I can do my prayers in peace before I leave town. Unbelievably, these guys were my housemates the previous night. Hehe.

Once I was done and went into the living room, my friend Helga once again bombarded me with words of concern. "Did you pack all your stuff? Did you leave anything? Is your phone charged? Don't forget to whatsapp. Do you have your ticket ready?" He said these things repeatedly! R-E-P-E-A-T-E-D-L-Y!

Hahaha.... It was kinda adorable to see a man babble so much.

Eventually we said our goodbyes and I hopped on my host's scooter and we drove into the night. My host, Fauzan who owns the house we crashed the night at, sent me right through the bus station. He kindly asked the workers at the counter about the bus, seeing me getting settled before leaving me. Ahhh.. he's just so kind! #nangis

At that moment I saw the "free wi-fi" sign and immediately went online. =P

Minutes later I was on the bus. Sitting right next to the driver as I wish to sleep throughout the whole journey without being disturbed by a "seat neighbor".

And then.... three hours later.... KABOOMMMM!!

I was awakened by a load crash. The driver's arm was laying across my chest and to my horror the whole front window was shattered! Spilling small spikes of sharp shards all over my lap and shirt. In a split second I realized that my legs were imprisoned as the fronts of the bus crushed inwards, confining my legs in the process.

When I finally found my voice, I let go a scream for help.

"My leg is stuck! My leg is stuck!" I was petrified!

Indonesians came peering into the space that once hold the window and started pulling the ruins outwards. A rough voice from behind positioned his arms under my armpits and asked for my permission to pull me out. I only managed to shriek a weak "yes". A pair of legs suddenly emerged from above began kicking the bus ruins to make room to free my legs.

I was finally freed.

Miraculously I escaped with minor injuries. Can't say the same for some of the passengers who sat at the back. Huhu.

I have no idea who freed me. I saw nor remembered any faces. So I forwarded my THANKS to Allah for not ending my life just yet.

Alhamdulillah. ^___^

As I was warded at Hospital Kariadi Semarang, I joked with my friends back in Yogyakarta saying...

"See.. you don't have to worry about where I'll be staying for the night! It's for free and it's in a hospital! They even send me to the airport in the morning once I'm released!"

Hehe. So travel safe guys! Make sure the journey you're about to embark on is insured by the transport's agency. My story would've ended differently if I wasn't insured. =P

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Where I met @bdont @riekegvn @dinda_param . ^^

It's a long overdued post. I've been busy with work, life and travelling. Only when I'm about to fly to another destination was I able to overcome this writer's block. Hehe.

Bromo.... the most memorable trip ever where I backpacked with a very pregnant lady. Us both with Bromo in mind, but only one was allowed to climb it. Sadly, she had to stay back at the hotel due to her condition while I woke up at 4 am to start the journey.

We stayed at Yoschi Hotel at Probolinggo 
My only comment on this hotel, "it's shitty, expensive, with no hot water in-room and you can't even boil your own water!"

Ok, carrying on with my climb to catch the first rays of light descending on earth...

Since I was gonna be alone, I had to share a jeep with a whole lot of strangers. Seven ladies (including me) were cramped into this jeep below. I sat at the back. The jeep fee per person was only RP 125,000. If you want to rent a jacket, add another Rp 25,000. I actually did that and regretted it later! Much, much later. Haha! Read on to know why.

We went on this jeep. Walked and climbed about 2.5 km and did our subuh prayers right there and then! (seen at bottom right picture)
After we've done that, we waited with a whole bunch of others as the sun came onto the horizon. Spreading rays of beautiful sunlight onto the darkness below us. Suddenly everything became clear and I could finally see the surroundings!

Seen here were my new friends trying to get a better view while climbing onto some ledge. Hehe.
I was of course mesmerized with the view along with so many others and had to take a picture. Haha. *jakun wei!

Blissfully happy, even-though I had to carry dead weight. (the much unneeded heavy jacket I rented!)
Why unneeded? I was actually feeling feverishly hot during the climb and had to free myself from the jacket. Haha! And now I had to carry it everywhere I go! Pffft!

Oh well, at least the company was good. ^__^

Them, Indonesians students I came to get acquainted with during the climb. Lovely girls. Hehe.
Will continue with Bromo part 2.... soon hopefully. =p

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

HALAL Chinese Food @ Tung Yuen Chinese Restaurant, Grand BlueWave Hotel Shah Alam

"Hey, wanna meet up for some Chinese Food?"
"Is it Halal?"
"Why, of course, if not why'd I ask you in the first place"
"Nay, I'll pass. Sorry."
" -----------"

I always face this kind of scenario when concerning most of my Muslim friends. It's either they'll always be in doubt of the halal authenticity of the food or just don't like Chinese food. Either way, it's really a great loss to them.

What's not to like about Chinese food? It's healthy and speaks volumes of oriental culture. (I'm putting "words" here that I myself not sure if it means well, haha!)

Well, fear no more, I'm glad that more Chinese food based restaurants are putting in effort to gain the Halal certificate. And mind you, that's not an easy task. Now, muslims everywhere can be rest assured that Tuen Yuen Chinese Restaurant inGrand Bluewave Hotel Shah Alam is Halal certified. Hurrayy!!! ^__^

Taking on the buffet theme, this restuarant is now offering the All You Can Eat "Claypot & Sizzling" buffet! This special offer is held throughout the month of October and November seven days a week during lunch and dinner which will spoil you with choices of claypot and sizzling dishes together with selections of dim sum, soups, noodles, rice, meat dishes and desserts.

The best thing is, ALL dishes are HALAL and cooked  (yes, cooked not heated!) upon order so all diners will get to enjoy fresh and steaming hot delicacies.

Chinese Cuisine Chef Patrick Ng has prepared us quite a wonderful dining experience with his seven recipes of claypots and seven different sizzling dishes.

All dishes are prepared by Chef Patrick Ng, who has more than 20 years of cooking experience.

Lo and behold, below are some close-ups of the dishes being presented that night.

Prepared with perfection!
Clockwise from upper left (big pictures) : Fish Soup with Pepper and Herbs, Stir Fried Chicken with Dried Chilli and Onion, Pan Fried Prawn with Glass Noodle and Roast Garlic in Claypot. and Pan Fried Lamb Chop with Coffee Sauce.

I've named 4 dishes of the 14 dishes available. If you're interested to know more, go on and head to Tung Yuen Chinese Restaurant yourself! You won't regret it!

This promotion is priced at RM55++ (adult) and RM27.50++ (Children from 4 to 11 years old), available from 11.30am until 2.30pm (lunch) and 6.oopm until 10.30pm (dinner), 7 days a week.

Tung Yuen Chinese Restaurant Level 1,
Grand BlueWave Hotel Shah Alam,
Persiaran Perbandaran,
Seksyen 14, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor

For inquiries and reservations, please call: 03-5511 8811 ext. 2616

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Climb - Poring Canopy Walkway @ Ranau, Sabah

It was quite a climb from the entrance to the actual canopy walkway. And I did it in my flippers. =)

Place : Poring Canopy Walkway (as the title implies) 
Opening Hours : 8:00 am - 4:00 pm 

Fee per Person : RM3.00 (local), RM5.00 (non-local) 
RM1.50 (below 18), RM2.50 (Below 18 non local) 

Camera or Hand-phone Camera : RM5.00 
Video : RM30.00 

Special Request out of Opening Hours 
Group of 1 -3 people : RM60.00 
Group of 4 people and above : RM40.00

I went for a Sabah trip with four of my friends last July and the full Itinerary can be read here. We rented a car to cut costs and going to Poring Hot Springs was in our itinerary. This is my first time going here with friends from West Malaysia. My last time here was with family. =)

Two of my friends and I decided to trek up the canopy walkway instead of bathing in hot water.
I didn't know what to expect. I was not wearing suitable hiking shoes and was clad only in cheap flippers, blouse and jeans. I also didn't bring sufficient water supply (big mistake!). All that went through my head was to check out the Canopy Walkway.

Truthfully, despite the numerous times I've been to the nearby hot springs, I have never tried the canopy walk in my whole life! And so, I was driven and determined to try it that day. Boy, did I not realize that the path upwards was no EASY TASK.  #drama
I thought we'll be met with the walkway in a few minutes. Instead we had to CLIMB our way up!
At first we were walking in a fast pace, eager to reach the walkway.

The next ten minutes, we slowed down. The path kept heading upwards and upper away.... to our utter dismay. LOL!

I had that feeling, doubting that this path would ever END!
Huff and puff, we pushed our way upwards. Sandals and flippers and all! With HANDBAGS to boot! Kakaka!

And we met a stroke of relieve! The walkway at last!!!  ~ Half an hour later! Haha!
The weird thing is, the lyrics of Hannah Montana's song "The Climb" kept rewinding in my head through out the whole way. Motivational much?

I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never reach it"

Every step I'm taking
Every move I make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

This was a scary moment, being hundred feet above ground level kinda spooked me a bit. Haha!
I'm amazed at how strong these "bridges between trees" are. *mari kita bergoyang...

Life's a climb but the view is great!
I did it!! Flippers and all. Hahaha!

The narrow board-way is what separates me from a great fall below.
The experience sure was WORTH IT! Though next time I should really come prepared with enough water and breathable clothes. I was practically sweating like a pig once we reached the entrance.

I did it! They (kak Masy and kak Zonaku) did it!
We thought there was time to JUMP into a tub of natural hot water but our other two friends were already waiting near the car. HUH! I wonder how long it took us from the entrance to the canopy walk and then back?

I'll surely do this again but perhaps a different Canopy Walk? Danum Valley maybe. =)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Patpong, Fruit Market and a Very Generous Man - Part 4

Continuing my travelogue on my night at Bangkok during the holy month of Ramadhan. (Yes, I'm late in updating. hehe) It started with my Bangkok friend picking us up from New Siam Hotel at Khaosan Road and he brought us on a lovely night tour of Thailand.

By the way, Pipi is a broadcast engineer working for a local TV Station called "Thai PBS". He's happily married with a small son. ^__^

So after dinner, where else did Pipi bring us to? Next stop is the hub of prostitution, Patpong.

1. Patpong

The place seemed innocent at first with rows and rows of stalls selling fake branded bags and accessories. A normal night market to unknowing eyes.

The innocent looking night market.
And then Pipi brought us walking into dark alleys where the true colors of Patpong started to shine through.

Seen here is Rayyan being approached by man who is selling seats to a tiger show. Lol.
Once we entered this place, guys in t-shirts and jeans started approaching us and showing a list of shows and prices presumably tiger shows or anything in that manner. I basically giggled when they approached me and told them to ask Rayyan as he might be interested. He he he he. *nakal

Oh ya, my first dildo sighting was at this night market. errrkkk! It's being sold in the open. Haishh..

Strip clubs and anything fetish.
I wasn't able to catch much pictures as we were struggling to keep up with Pipi's stride. He was walking so fast through these alleys as if he was eager to get out of it. Hehe. I blame myself for putting him in this position. I was one curious cat. =p

Once we were out from harm's way, I was forced to eat fried grasshopper as a punishment. Arghh!

I almost puked after having my first fried grasshopper. Erghhh...
Can you guys stomach this little creature? Can you???

Next stop is the fruit market!!

2. Fruit market

Pipi says that the fruit market opens 24 hours a day, EVERYDAY! We started to scream durian while we were at a junction and Pipi asked us if wanted to eat some. We immediately screamed YES! (He treated us like small kids. haha!) And so he stopped his car and we scrambled out to venture into the fruit market.

Carmen and Rayyan at the fruit market.
We stopped at the durian stall and Pipi chose the durian for us. Boy were we excited! haha!

40 Baht per kilogram. It was one humongous durian!
After finishing one durian, Pipi asked if we wanted more. Oh my gawdd! I think one is enough already! He's so generous! The durian tasted the same as the ones in Malaysia and we went back to the hotel with our tummies full and breath smelling of durian!

The thing I admire about Pipi is that he's a perfect example of what a gentleman should be. He fetched us at the hotel (even though he had to walk to get there since it's hard to get there by car), he didn't allow us to spend a single cent (everything was on him!!!) and he walked us back to the hotel. Straight to the lobby!

We had a wonderful night out with Pipi. He paid for everything we ate thus taught me that I, too should learn to be gracious just like him and treat all my country's foreign visitors with the same generosity.

The "baton of kindness" has been passed. Anyone coming to Kuala Lumpur, do find me. I'll be glad to show you around. No charges at all. ^___^

Ending the perfect night out in Bangkok with our picture eating durian. Hehe.

Bon appetite!
~the end.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Love with a Bangkok Guy - Part 3

After we went to meet some lady boys at Wat Benchamabophit and Pipi did his prayers to Buddha, we then headed to a lovely restaurant called In Love. I hope I didn't mislead you with the blogpost's title. Hehe.

The lavishly decorated seafood restaurant called In Love is situated strategically facing the Chao Phraya river with a stunning view of the Rama VIII bridge, lighted up and all.

The interior of In Love Bar and Restaurant at Bangkok, Thailand.
We entered through a canopy of tropical plants into the restaurant interior, which has both indoor and patio dining. Went to the second floor as the weather was wonderful and sat down. I've repeatedly reminded Pipi that I only ate Halal food and he said that this place is a Seafood restaurant and so I agreed for him to take us here. It was thoughtful of Pipi to consider our fasting situation and brought us to eat only during the night. ^___^

The view from our table, the spectacular Rama VIII bridge!
It was a very romantic setting and I was glad I wasn't alone with Pipi. That would've been awkward. Haha. LIVE music was being played and we made our orders. All seafood-based of course.

Thailand cuisine at it's best!
Sometimes food can be paled to comparison with the restaurant's rich atmosphere. But this is not the case with In Love. I can bravely say that the food was MARVELOUS!

The service was prompt and polite, abet the language barrier but having Pipi there made it all a lot easier. And we basically licked our plates with delight. (Exaggerated much?) Most importantly, the company was great!

Rayyan, Carmen and Pipi enjoying our dinner at In Love Restaurant and Bar.
If you guys are interested to go here, you could check the link here.  I can't comment on the price though as it was fully paid for. Hehehe...

Next stop...

........ PATPONG!! (After much persuading from my part! huh!) 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lady Boys at Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok - Part 2

I've heard from my guy friends of the place called Pat Pong situated in the heart of Bangkok. I always wondered why they keep mentioning this place. Little did I know then, that I'll soon find out. I'm continuing this post from Buddha's Day at Royal Plaza in Bangkok, Thailand - Part 1.

By the way, this is not Pat Pong. =p

Wat Benchamabophit is a Buddhist temple situated in the Dusit district of Bangkok, Thailand. Also known as the marble temple, it is one of Bangkok's most beautiful temples and a major tourist attraction. It incorporates Bangkok's ornate style of high gables, stepped-out roofs and elaborate finials. (wikipedia)

Wat Benchamabophit,during Buddha's Day in Bangkok. 
Unfortunately, I couldn't marvel much on it's architectural wonder as it was night time and the place was swarmed with local Thai people. All I saw was a white marbled building with lights that changes colors from purple, red to green.

My friends headed to the exhibition section on the right of the entrance and we saw people taking picture in front of Thailand's current queen.

I wondered why. hehe. The woman on the board is the Royal Queen of Thailand.
I was struggling to understand the pictures and writings at the exhibition. It showcases pictures of the royal family and the writings beneath them were 100% in the Thai language. This was obviously not a tourist occasion. Haha.

But I felt lucky nonetheless for given an opportunity to experience a local cultural event. Carmen was the only white female there while Rayyan and I were the only Muslims. =p

I was sandwiched between two very beautiful ladies!
I was certainly drawn to the beauty of these two ladies. Little did I know that they were NOT LADIES at all! OMG!!!

So pretty.........
How could a guy be prettier than another girl???

He he he... Can you determine if a lady is truly a lady? Thailand guys know how since they are used to these things. But can  you??? I certainly cannot. =p

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Travelling Gift Set From Dermalogica = HAPPY!

I guess it was my lucky day. Hehe.

Whenever I travel, my skincare regime only comprises of a simple facial cleanser from Garnier, a moisturizer (forgot the brand. haha!) and the most important thing, the sunblock (Sunplay Skin Aqua SPF 50++) Not really an extensive skin care regime. Just as long that I don't get too tanned and my face is clean, thus all is well in my life!

Then again!

Surprise! Surprise!

I received these from Dermalogica! Totally unexpected but super duper happy all the same!

Happy! Happy!
It's been awhile since I last updated my blog on beauty products but this one is different. It's a travelling gift set!! I can basically just dump everything inside that cute little bag seen above and bring it along with me every-time I travel. So very convenient! Thanks Dermalogica!

This precious gift set includes these best selling products (and so they claim. hehe)
  • 150ml PreCleanse
  •  50ml Multi-active Toner
  • 10ml Gentle Cream Exfoliant
  • 4ml Intensive Eye Repair,
  • 10ml Solar Defense Booster SPF50. (YESSSSSS!!! I so wanted this for so long now!!!)
  •  50ml Essential Cleansing Solution 
  • 2ml Intensive Moisture Balance for dry ski
  • 50ml Special Cleansing Gel
  • 22ml Skin Smoothing Cream
So if you guys want this exclusive travelling gift set.. you can head to this link for more details ^__^


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Buddha's Day at Royal Plaza in Bangkok, Thailand - Part 1

Teet! Teet!

My handphone ringed. A local Thailand number blinked on my screen. This guy never replies my messages, he only calls back. Hehe. He has reached Khaosan Rd (the backpackers area where I was staying at) and is now looking for a place to park. Also noted that he'll be at my place shortly. His manner is so proper. It was already day six of our travel in Thailand and we kept him waiting quite a long while for this day to happen.

Sorry, my friend. ^__^

Sure enough, he showed up at our hotel five minutes later as we (Rayyan, Carmen and I) were waiting at the hotel's ground floor restaurant. Masaya went to meet his friend and won't be joining us. I introduced my Thailand friend to my backpacker friends. And then shamelessly asked him if I can bring my friends along. Haha! I think I just dropped a bomb on him! Instead of being mad, he said he didn't mind. Later we hopped into his truck and were off to tour around Bangkok night scene!

Things to note -
1. It was Asalcha Buddha's day ( 2 - 3 August 2012)
2. The city is lighted up beautifully to commemorate the day.
3. No alcohol is allowed being sold in Bangkok for two days.
4. People were busy paying respect to King Rama V (Chulalongkorn). And other Buddhas as well.
5. Everyone enjoys free bus rides in town. Hoyeahhh!!!

First stop was to the Royal Plaza, a public square in Bangkok which houses two of the most iconic places in Bangkok
1. King Rama V Equestrian Monument
2. Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall - former residence of King Rama V

Rayyan had the best view of the city because he sat in front with Pipi. I sat at the back with Carmen.
The public square was free of moving vehicles  Vehicles were allowed to be parked near the beautifully lit entrance gate as seen in the picture below. Traffic in Bangkok itself was also in their ultimate low. The night was beautiful!

The gate into Royal Plaza. And here's a picture of Pipi, me and Carmen!
I first met Pipi in Malaysia during an international convention and training course. Twice! First time in 2011 and the second time early this year. He drugged me with stories of Bangkok and offered to be my guide if I was in town. I only had to take his offer on it and so here I am! (With additional two new friends of course. haha) ^__^

Pictured in the first picture is the king's statue situated in front of the palace. And below are Rayyan, yours truly and Carmen. 
It was Buddha's day and I saw locals praying to King Rama 5's statue.I wondered why and decided to google it. I found out that people considered King Rama 5 as Buddha. Below the picture is the answer why which I copied word by word because it's actually a good read!!! hehe

Locals burning incense and leaving bouquet of flowers and food in front of the statue that night. Truly a cultural, spiritual thing to watch. 
Why do Thai People Pray to King Rama 5? (source)
Thai people pray to King Rama V, Chulalongkorn, because he was considered to be a Buddha, and a very famous and popular buddha at that.  It should be noted for those unfamiliar with buddhism that this is "a Buddha," as in someone who has reached enlightenment, not "the Buddha," as in Sidhartha Guatama Buddha.  To some degree, Rama V could be compared to a Catholic Saint.

The real question you are asking, I think, is "why is King Rama V a very famous and popular Buddha?"

The answer requires a bit of an understanding of history.  King Rama V's reign lasted from the 1870s until 1910.  During that time Europe was busy colonizing the world.  The French had control of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia while the British had control of India and Burma.  In effect, Thailand (then Siam) was surrounded by European Colonialists vying for control of this "available" land while King Rama V was desperately trying to keep control of his country.

King Rama V did a few fantastic things in order to keep the British and the French out of his country.  He played the two off of each other using some brilliant diplomatic maneuvering, he ceeded each some land to keep them happy, and he instituted sweeping reforms and modernizations in order to convince the Europeans he led a modern country that did not need what the Europeans would call a "civilizing influence."

These reforms and modernizations included building a modern military training ground and sending himself and his princes to Europe to learn about democracy and constitutional monachies.  He also transformed the country from a network of city-states to a single state, abolished slavery, and built a railroad system facilitating trade, communication, and central government control.

It is a source of pride to many Thais that Thailand was never colonized while all of their neighbors were.  Chulalongkorn was the mastermind of this protection. He kept the foreigners out while acting as the father of a modern nation and maintaining enlightenment as a Buddha.

That is why people pray to Chulalongkorn. | --> end of copy

Seen here are Thai people praying to "Buddha"
And look at the crowd that has gathered here! They even brought mats and food as they seated themselves at various spots at the public square. Almost as if they were having a picnic there! Pipi was going to do his prayers here but wanted to bring us to some place first.

Will continue with part 2. =)