Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tian Tan Buddha at Ngong Ping & Disneyland

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Writer’s note: This was rather a very long delayed entry but somehow I felt it will only do my trip right if I write something down. This was about my trip to Hong Kong & Macau for 7 days 6 nights. Unfortunately, I have lost my pictures due to robbery therefore limited pictures are available.

It was my dream come true to visit the happiest place on earth a.k.a. Disneyland. (cue happy tunes)
When I confirmed my flight to Hong Kong on July 2013, I knew I had to visit Disneyland. I told the girls that no matter what, we have to be there. Our trip to Hong Kong & Macau was fun albeit a rushed one. I could barely remember all the tiny details but I remember having a lot of fun with the girls. We arrived at Hong Kong late at night. Upon checking in, it was already 10.30pm. We headed out and walked along the shops next to our hotel for a quick supper before calling the night.


The next day, our itinerary was to visit the Tian Tan Buddha at Ngong Ping 360, Lantau Island in the morning and later Disneyland after lunch. Our main transportation around Hong Kong was their MRT. I did not have the opportunity to try their tram. Getting around was super convenient. Just purchase their Octopus card, load it with some credits and you are good to go. 




We had to take the cable car to the island. If you were wondering, we bought all the attraction entry tickets and some of it includes the transports in one package. The package was sourced by a friend. I have no further information on the package but I remember we got a really good deal. If I was not mistaken, it is wise to purchase the cable car ticket beforehand to avoid tickets being sold out.




The place had such calm vibe to it that made me regretted that we should have spent longer there. Nevertheless, it was a privilege to visit the place. Every step I took towards the statue was a liberating one. It was as if I was walking that middle path.
After all the obligatory pictures, we made our way to Disneyland. Aha! Finally! 




We reached Disneyland after 2pm and we did not have much time for rides. I remembered queueing for pictures with Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Mickey is really cute and handsome! Growing up, I didn't have a lot of TV time and one of the very few cartoons that I know of and love is Mickey. So I guess that explains the burning desire to go to Disneyland. 


Cinderella & 7 Dwarfs!
I love the Toy Story land with all the letter blocks
We also watch the disney parade and gotten sprayed by water from the characters. 


I saw "it's a small small world" ride and insisted we HAD to go on it. I remembered reading somewhere it is a must-take ride in Disneyland being that it will make you really happy.


And it really did. I was grinning from ear to ear.

Little Mermaid

We stayed until it was night time to watch the firework show from the Beauty and The Beast castle. It felt and enchanting and magical to me. But well, I am rather easy to please. 


At the end of the day, all of our feet were dying and almost giving up on us. I think it was because none of us were in sport shoes. All of us were in trendy sneakers that we forgo comfort for the sake of looking good. Oh well, fashion does pay a price. Anyway, the next HK entry will be on Ocean Park!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Glamping @ Caravan Serai, Bentong

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Last weekend, Mr J and I went “glamping” (glamour+camping) at Caravan Serai, Bentong. It was a much needed escapade mainly for me before I became crazy due to some recent situations. Anyway, I did not know anything about glamping until I saw an article which listed the glamping sites in Malaysia and Caravan Serai was one of it. At the same time, I saw Groupon featured a voucher for them so Mr J and I decided to buy it at the spur of the moment and off we went a week later.

For RM308, the Groupon package included a night stay in the Caravan Suite Tent, steamboat dinner, breakfast and nature walk for two. I thought that was pretty worth the money. Bentong is only an hour and 30 minutes’ drive away from KL. The peeps at Caravan Serai even gave us recommendations through text what to eat or see at Bentong town before checking in. We reached Bentong town a little too late for the fanous wantan mee so we decided to head straight to Kow Po Coffee Shop for their ice cream. Sorry there isn't any pictures because it was so hot and we devoured the ice cream right away but you may check out Kyspeaks' review here. We finished our ice cream right on time for check in.


Roslin, the guy at the counter briefed us with the access card/key as well as the programme included in our package. It turned out that we also have nature walk included in the package we bought. The area is very spacious and quiet.




We chose tent no. 4
The tent can be pretty warm in the afternoon. It is equipped with a portable air-cond but our tent was exceptionally warm and I did not know why initially. Until the next day when we were about to check out, only that I know the pipe connecting to the exhaust fan from the air-cond was disconnected. Therefore the warm air has somehow been circulating in our tent. However, the tent was lovely. It was spacious with chairs to sit and attached bathroom. Because this is a camping style, please don’t expect them to have hot shower alright? But I am glad for the cold shower because it was rather warm.


They even have a river pool where they pumped the water from the river and it was very cooling. Since there isn't much to do there, we chilled around and later dipped in the river pool. The water is pumped directly from the river according to Roslin and you could even see small fishes. It was definitely blissful to dip on the pool on a hot afternoon like that. Oh, did I also mention that the pool is right in front of our tent? Sorry...again, I forgot to take a picture! :(



Dinner was served at 7pm and it was steamboat dinner provided by Caravan Serai.


They are very generous with our portion of dinner. These for only two people…we were really full by the end of the meal. 
The next morning, we were up and ready at 7.30am for the nature walk. We were each given a pair of yellow boots for the walk because apparently we will be walking through streams. 



The nature walk isn't too difficult and in fact, it is more like just a small short hike. In the middle of the walk, we came cross rubber trees and Roslin gave each of us an opportunity to be "rubber tappers".

I do not know why did I look so serious here. Haha!
The walk took about an hour and we came back to breakfast. The breakfast wasn't too shabby but I wished there were lesser fried stuffs but more of food such as bread or some salads or perhaps our good ol' nasi lemak. 


Overall, it was not too bad for a short escape. I wouldn’t recommend staying more than a night since there isn’t much to do there and those who went were the ones who really would just like to rest and not do anything.  I think we have more of this quirky kind of getaway lately. What with the time capsule retreat and now glamping…and I actually quite like quirky accommodation like this.

One picture to end the entry!

US!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015
Dear You,

It has been a year (or more) since we last have an “outside the professional area” conversation. What happened to us? What happened there though? I took a stroll down the page where we used to share stuffs with each other only to realise you were no longer there anymore. I scroll past your remarks, my comments and something tug hard somewhere deep inside my heart.

Was it something I said or was it something you did? We were so close back then; our travel dreams, our random dinner plans, heart to heart conversations over coffee until midnight and occasional insane spontaneous plans. You know my deepest fear, my likes and dislikes, my dreams and the guys I adore. You know so much that at times, it scares me. I remember letting my walls down and crossing the line the very first time. I guess your calm demeanor was what won my trust over.

I am dating someone now and I know you would know exactly what to tell him about me. There are so many things I wanted to tell you about him and about me at times and then I was reminded again for the fact that – we are no longer talking.
I scrolled past the pages even I know this chapter of us has long ended. One of your last posts, strike a chord.

I believe you do :)
I kept the page because it was the last solid proof to what we used to share but today, I knew I have to close this chapter. I took the walk down memory lane for one last time, before hitting the delete button. Which is why I am writing this; one last chapter about you. I wish you all the happiness in the world and in everything you do.


It's been a long day without you my friend
And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again
We've come a long way from where we began
Oh I'll tell you all about it when I see you again

Love,

Shin

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

my love for journaling and Midori Traveler's Notebook

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
I decided to talk about my love for journaling particularly in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook (MTN). I have always been journaling in random notebook especially in my university days. I will keep all the travel ephemera and stick them to my journal for memories sake. I stopped after I came out to work until I discovered the MTN. It has been more than a year I owned my MTN but only recently especially after my solo trip (last year) to Taiwan that I started to pick it up and journal as often as I could in it. I first heard of it through the pop up store that Tabiyo Shop did at Photocrafts. I was (still am!) very into film photography and often got my supplies from Photocrafts. When I heard of the activity by Tabiyo, I was intrigued. I did not go to the gathering but later on when I saw the pictures, I was mesmerized. Mainly by the beauty of the journal itself which is leather bound and the flexibility that comes with it. I admired the many, many beautiful crafts and doodles that one could do with their MTN and I told myself, I just have to own one.

I made my way to Photocrafts, took a look at the journal and I was sold. Bought it on the spot for RM170 and brought it home. I did not do much until later when I was on my volunteering trip to Chagar Hutang. I didn’t dare to use the actual insert yet so I bought an insert with the size close enough to match the Midori’s. These were the first few entries.


I started following a few really talented folks over Instagram for more inspiration on the things they do with their MTN. However, like I mentioned, I wasn’t really active until my solo trip happened and I decided to pen my trip down on the Midori lightweight insert that I bought separately from Tabiyo.




Over the time I will randomly bring my MTN out during one of my cafĂ© hopping time for doodles. 



Last month, I had the opportunity to attend a Traveler’s Notebook gathering for the very first time. It was organised by Stickerrific, a place where I bought my washi tapes and stationery supplies. 
I was very glad that Mr J sort of pushed me to attend the gathering and I was even happier to have met so many like-minded people, all who are extremely talented that makes me feel so small. 

The roll of washi tapes are so pretty!
Picture credit: Stickerrific
Busy stamping my way on my MTN
Picture credits: Stickerrific
We even swap packages and I got mine from Estee, this lovely girl who is extremely good at art. 

My swap package which was picked by Sam from Happie Scrappie

The swap package that I received from Estee

Super love the effort and thoughts that she put into this package.
We exchanged ideas and tips and I learnt a lot from the meet up. Hopefully there will be more in the future! 


It's a custom to stack MTNs together during a meet up for pictures
I think after the meet up, I have gotten so much inspiration that I vowed to journal as much as I can in my MTN. Here are a few of the stuffs I have done in my MTN and hopefully there are more to come!






And I shall end the entry with a front shot of my MTN. I customized mine with charms and a pen holder which is a gift from a friend.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Time Capsule Retreat at Sungai Lembing, Kuantan

Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Mr J and I decided to go out of town during one of the long weekend and we picked Sungai Lembing. Prior to that, we booked 3 nights with Time Capsule Retreat. We have heard and read a lot about the Time Capsule being one of the ideal holiday destinations for retreats so we decided to give it a try. We drove from KL to Sg Lembing and the journey was about 3.5hours. It wasn’t difficult to find Sungai Lembing. One can just use Waze to get there.
We reached around 4pm the first day. 3 days 2 nights is actually sufficient for a trip to Sg Lembing but because both of us like to take our own sweet time as we decided this is a retreat so yeah, we extended a night in the end. 



We checked in to the white cottage for the first night. Due to public holidays and long weekend, we managed to book the time capsule for second and third night. The white cottage comes with a double bed and private toilet. The other type of white cottage has two double beds.


After checking in, Mrs Yang showed us around Sg Lembing; what to see and what to eat. She asked if we were interested to go to the Sg. Lembing rainbow waterfall and we jumped at the opportunity. To get to the rainbow waterfall, one will need 4WD to get there.  Prior to the trip, we researched about the rainbow waterfall but it was rather expensive. We did not know about Simon who offered his service at RM40 per person until Mrs Yang told us about it. That evening, we had dinner and retreated to bed early as we were going to have an early morning the next day. Dinner was at this simple malay stall serving nasi kukus and ayam goreng berempah. So yums!


Simon came right on time at 5.50am. 


He picked us and a few other guests up and we were dropped at the food court for breakfast. 6am is really too early for me to eat anything heavy but I tried. One can get the famous Sg Lembing tofu at this food court. It wasn’t open when we were there. Apparently the uncle had closed earlier in preparation for Chinese New Year.


We were given 30 minutes for our breakfast and off we went to the rainbow waterfall. Because it was early in the morning, I did not realize it was going to be cold. The rushing cool breeze in the morning as the 4WD storm through the jungle…my goodness. I was shivering alright. I think the journey was about an hour. 



When we reached, we had to cross a stream (the water was so cold!) and hike for about 30 minutes before reaching the waterfall. 


The hike was not too hard considering I was only wearing my Asadi slippers. Asadi’s the best. They’re cheap and have good grip. The view at the waterfall was so beautiful that I was mesmerized. 




The packages also include a maggi cup with hot milo which will be prepared at the waterfall. I personally think it’s worth it so do check the waterfall out if you are there.


We got back around afternoon and were dead tired by then. This time round we switched to the Capsule and I love it. 


It can be quite a hassle for some to stay at the capsule because you will have to share the shower and toilet with other guests. The capsule can be quite small and it doesn’t have extra space for a lot of luggage. There are two types of capsules; one with the transparent door and one with the transparent back. The one with the transparent door comes with curtain so you don’t have to worry about your privacy.



That evening, we had our dinner at at Chinese restaurant called Restaurant Hoover.

Pictures credit to http://purplesdiary.blogspot.com/2013/12/weekend-trip-sungai-lembing-oct-11-12.html

We tried the famous sweet sour fish as recommended by Mrs Yang and some other dishes. 





It was good and we quite like it. The price wasn't too bad either. Reasonable I would say.
The next day we were supposed to hike through panaroma hill but well, both of us could not wake up on time. On the bright side, it was also drizzling and no sunrise was spotted on that day. We went to the mine museum and the hanging bridge. Nothing much to shout about except that you learn more about how Sg Lembing used to be a busy mining town. Now everything is just so quiet in the town.


Entrance fee of RM4 is required for the museum.

Nah just us, goofing around



This is the mine tunnel which is quite near to the museum. If you wish to visit the tunnel, you will have to take the train in which will cost RM15 per person. We forgo this one.


Sungai Lembing hanging bridge. Cross over to buy some biscuits. 
We drove to Kuantan town which is only 30 minutes away to have some “city vibe” after a few days away from the city. Took a stroll down Teluk Chempedak and had coffee at Starbucks which is by the beach.

The next morning, we tried this uncle's chee cheong fun that everyone is talking about. Quite unique because he made it on the spot with some spring onions and egg and its quite limited. You can find this near the food court.



I will highly recommend Sungai Lembing to whoever who needs a quiet getaway from the city. We managed to get enough rest while exploring the town doing various activities. Book early if you would like to stay in the capsule because it is rather popular in the weekend. Mrs Yang also provides BBQ dinner (on Saturday night) so make sure you let her know earlier. We didn’t know so we missed out on the BBQ dinner. I don't mind going back again just to escape from the city. 


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