Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 2013 Travel Adventure Summary

Unfortunately not all of my video clips were found and I only managed to piece together some clips that were already in my office's PC. Haha!

Not going to type much for my last entry of 2013.

Just wanna say Happy New Year through this clip I made!!


With that.... GOODBYE 2013!!!!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

South Korea Backpacking Trip Under RM1000

Anyone can travel cheaply if you're accompanied with a like-minded travel-mate who also shares the same opinion that we can sleep literally anywhere without paying. :)

So can a trip to South Korea be cheap? Here was what I did.

1. Have a very cheap-skate traveler as a travel-mate. 

First thing to note, I didn't go here alone. I was with a fellow travel-mate from Indonesia. One of the best budget and itinerary making traveler I've ever met so far. It's an honor to travel with this person because I get to learn a lot from traveling with him.

Eh, HIM?

On a side note, he's also a very respectful person and won't do anything foolish to you. :)

The itinerary was done wholly by him after rejecting my version. Hahaha. Every independent traveler that I've met so far prefers to plan their own itineraries instead of copying others. More freedom and self-satisfaction. The plan was to fly to Busan, get on an overnight bus to Sokcho, do a day hike at Seoraksan Mountain and then head to Seoul via bus during the night.

Our route for South Korea

Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to Survive a Solo Trip to Europe in Winter 2013

I have to give a hand to fellow traveler Mr Helmi for this idea of a blogpost. Hehe. And decided to go with it. There were several considerations when having only three months of up-front preparations before a trip to Europe, a cheap return ticket to Paris, and almost nill of savings!

I struggled hard to gain and save enough money just to make this dream of setting foot on European soil an unforgettable experience. My very first concern was money, money and more money. And then came the planning, routes and accommodations. I thank mr. Google for all the limitless information. :)

1. Earning enough money

I bought the tickets during an online Saudi Airlines airfare promo which costed under USD500 for return tickets to Paris. Traveling time - next three months! I had almost no savings in my account as I just came back from Korea and Australia the previous months and I panicked! Hahaha.

So how did I solve this? I sold everything that had value and slaved away as a driver or companion to elder people that needed my help. Please.. don't ask for details :)

By the end of three months, I gathered about RM3000 for the trip.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Swimming with Sharks in Karimunjawa of Indonesia

Wahh.. kemain tajuk blogpost kali ini. hehe.

The trip to Karimunjawa was planned for almost a year by my dear friend, Helga whom I met during a blogging contest back in 2011. He was a mere teenager back then, now a strapping young lad with a career.

I booked an AirAsia plane ticket to Solo where I'll brave the journey alone up to Semarang which is around 5 hours away by public bus. If I took the executive bus, the ride would've taken me 4 hours at least. It was initially planned that I'd meet up with Helga and his friends of four in Semarang where we'll head to Jepara together.

Below was the itinerary for 4 days and 3 night in Karimunjawa with the costs incurred throughout the trip.

Friday 1 Nov 2013
06.00 - 07.00 From Terboyo to Jepara via  bis ekonomi (13k)
07.00 - 13.00 Arrived at Jepara by using bentor (10k) to the port to get  lunch (20k)
14.00 - 16.00 From Jepara to KarimunJawa using Kapal Ekspress Cantika 89 (110k)

It was a cushioned seated express boat with a TV in it. Very comfortable for our two hours boat ride.
16.00 - 17.00 Arrived at homestay in Karjau (70k/2 orang)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Sunday Hike up Bukit Tabur, a Not so Safe Place

Twitter has caused me to meet a lot of new people for reasons I myself have never thought of. Some of them became travel-mates by chance and some just people whom I tweet to randomly, talking about random stuff. It was pretty easy to meet up in real life.

So one fine day, I randomly decided to follow a friend from twitter on a hike to Bukit Tabur. It was my first time meeting this person which we apparently have already planned an overseas trip to Hong Kong next year, but never actually met in real life! Haha!

It was fated. I'll get up close and personal with my future travel-mate during a hike.

We agreed on her fetching me from the Sri Rampai lrt station at 8:00 am, Sunday morning. I wasn't really briefed on what not to wear and wore my sandals, jogging pants and a t-shirt. With no internet at home to easily access valuable information from google, I decided to go-show only with less preparations.

The view from one of the peaks at Bukit Tabur. My new friends could be seen below! Do you see them?

Ada apa dengan Bukti Tabur? It's not really a touristy area but it should be! Bukit Tabur is a hill located in Taman Melawati, Malaysia and also known locally as Bukit Hangus. The hill is very prominent as it is part of Klang Gates Quartz Ridge also known as the crystal hill. It is divided into the eastern and western section by the dam. Most hikers are familiar with the western section. The eastern side offers more challenging hikes but is said to be steeper and riskier if unfamiliar with the trail. (source : wikipedia )

Dark, slippery and rocky. Wasn't sure if my sandals were up to this. 
We went up via the western side as it was said to be an easier route. Besides, it was raining that day. We ended up waiting until 10am to start our hike as we waited for the rain to stop. I even received warnings from twitter not to hike as it gets dangerous and slippery when it rains.

The warning fell on deaf ears. :P

Reached the second peak where we could see the town below.
It was nice that during our hike up, we'd be greeted with numbers painted on mossy rocks like the picture below. Giving us assurance that the trail we followed was carefully chartered and presumably safe.
The sign seems to beckons us to move further up. 
After a while, about three hours later, we decided to turn around. We received news that some-one while descending on the other side, slipped and fell into a gorge. It was frightening news. It caused a traffic jam up there and some of the hikers that were in front of us really did turn around. We followed suit to descend while hearing a faint sound of sirens from a distant ambulance.

Too bad I didn't finish the trail. Will come again Tabur. 
I learnt from this hike that it would be nice if I had a water pack in my back with a silinder that connects directly to my mouth. Haha. And a pair of sturdy hiking shoes would be perfect!

Our shoes and sandals (me) in unity after the trail.
As for now, am overly happy that my sandals didn't buckle during the hike and performed just fine. In mud and all! Bravo! Hoping to follow new hiking trips in the future. Next time I'll certainly come prepared. :)

Happy traveling peeps. May the odds be ever in your favor! *ehh.. macam dalam wayang the hunger games plak :/*

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Searching for Santa in Paris 2013

I think many of my friends on twitter already know my initial intention for going to Europe a few weeks ago. It was none other then to search for Santa so that I sit on his lap and make absurd wishes and experience snow! Snow, an impossible rarity in my part of the world. :P

I started my search the first thing I did in Paris. After setting my sights on Seine River and crossing over numerous bridges...

The Seine River that divides Paris into left and right banks.
.. and getting lost with funny signs to amuse me...

To cross the street or not, that is my question. Haha. 
... and gawked at naked statues in public parks...

OMG! And this is displayed in a PUBLIC area!! *snaps pictures to display in my PUBLIC blog*
...and failing miserably at taking selfies at the iconic Eiffel Tour. ...
I seriously don't know how that lamp post got there. Hahahahaha! 
...and finally... just finally... when I was at the verge of giving up hope in finding my Santa Claus...

I met him... ehh...
Do you dare to say he's fake in my face? How dare you? Hak hak hak =P
And my quest has been fulfilled. Next thing on my to-do list in Europe would be... looking for snow. Coming up soon.. 

Merry Christmas to all my family members, friends and readers who celebrates this and Happy New Year! Have you been naughty this year? If yes, don't dream getting a present from Santa!!

Happy traveling tweeps!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Being an Arabian Princess at the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne, Vietnam

5 hours south of the sleeping town of Dalat, the girls and I headed to Mui Ne via bus. The scenes that feasted our eyes on the bus changed drastically from the view of blue top mountains of Dalat to the yellow, sandy hills of Mui Ne. It was like going through a fast-forward movie strip .

Heading to a totally different part of Vietnam. From the North to the South. :)
Right after we arrived at a single strip of wide road where hotels and resorts were visibly seen on both sides of it, the bus finally dropped all of its passengers down. Some jeep operators came to us with tours to various attractions in Mui Ne. Among the tours offered were afternoon tour packages which involves visiting the infamous white and red sand dunes of Mui Ne and also the Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien).

Lily chose the tour sold above the counter. I believe I paid USD 12 per head for that (there are 6 of us). But later outside, a jeep driver offered a whole jeep regardless of pax for USD 50. T__T *nampak tak permainan di situ?*

So here are the list of places that we went that day as set by the tour package.

1. Walk Along the Fairy Stream (Suoi Tien)

A miniature grand canyon in Vietnam.

Walking barefooted in an ankle-deep, cold stream under a hot sun does me wonders!
The Fairy Stream is a little river that winds its way through bamboo forests, boulders and the dunes behind a village. Some parts of it actually resembles a miniature version of the grand canyon, though I never been to there before. Hehe. So while you walk up via the sandy hills, it will lead you to a path overlooking the oasis-like valley and then return by wading in the waters. The sand and rock formations seen on the side were formed from typhoons.

2. Sand-boarding at the Red Sand Dunes

I was definitely surprised by what I saw! The place was like a dessert!

My travel-mates negotiating the price for renting a sled. 
While they sled away, I instead sat down and just enjoyed the view. :)

Oh.. somebody said I looked like a princess of the dessert, despite of my rugged attire. Haha. #eh

I swore, this is my first time wearing baggy pants during any of my travels. Guess the sand did this to me. :P
A group of people heading to a spot to do some sand-boarding.
3. Riding an ATV at the White Sand Dunes

The sands here were whiter and the hills of sands were BIGGER! Too bad no sleds were offered here. There were only ATVs for rental and that's just what we did. 

This place was just beautiful! 
So off on ATVs we go! Each with a driver though. Haha! 

The ATVs that we rented. 
The view during the ride was spectacular. No words to describe my feeling that day. I was just simply speechless! Sadly, one of the tires under the ATV I rode on got loose! We got stranded for awhile, waiting for another ATV to save us. hehehe. Wondered how the ATV broke apart under me. Was I that HEAVY? 

This is actually a lake. *methink*
And so ends my Arabian princess experience at a place resembling a dessert. Hahaha. Happy traveling peeps!