Hello again Melaka! – 2016

melaka

My last post on Melaka (also known as Malacca) was in 2012 (You may read my post by clicking on this link: Melaka 2012). So let me update what are the new interesting places to visit when you are in Melaka.

ABOUT MALAYSIA

Timezone : GMT +08:00

Currency: Ringgit Malaysia (RM or MYR)

Plug adapter:

type_g_large1 Korea-Type-Power-Cord-YP205-2-

ACCOMMODATION

Went to Melaka for a short getaway (3 days 2 nights) and stayed at Bayview Hotel Melaka. My comment? Spacious room (deluxe) with jacuzzi! Limited choices of food for breakfast though but acceptable. Nice location. Not sure the attraction is within walking distance since we drive there and also drive to the places we wanted to visit.

* Image taken from Agoda

bayview-hotel-melaka-1  bayview-hotel-melaka-2bayview-hotel-melaka-3  bayview-hotel-melaka-4

INTERESTING PLACES & THINGS TO DO

Since my husband & I have visited the ‘usual’ attractions, example The Stadhuys, A Famosa or Porta de Santiago, etc. and this time we have a 14 months old infant with us, we decided not to go to those places (we will wait until our son is bigger and can understand better). This time around we only visited few places (to shop :p). If you would like to read on other attraction, visit my previous post as mentioned above.

  • Freeport A’Famosa Outlet Village – offers over 70 fashion, sport and accessories brands in some 180,000 sq.ft. The outlet is set in an open air mall featuring a lake, fountains, carousel and windmill with architecture loosely themed on Malacca’s Dutch heritage. Brands open at the centre include Nike, Cotton On, Esprit, Puma, G2000, Carlo Rino, Clarks and many more. Description and images are taken from their website http://www.freeportafamosa.com/

freeport-a-famosa-outlet

  • The SHORE shopping gallery – a shopping complex with few other attraction especially for kids such as Oceanarium, 6D Motion Ride, Toy Museum. The Sky tower is also located here – http://skytower.theshoremelaka.com/

the-shore

  • Jonker Street – a place to be at night! Street market with interesting stores. Also don’t forget to buy some Nyonya pineapple tarts!

FOODS

The only special place we went to for dinner was Ee Ji Ban Chicken Rice Ball Restaurant. The food was delicious and Halal so no worries to Muslims! Must try!

ee-ji-ban-chicken-rice-balls

We also went to search for the famous kuih keria & Klebang coconut shake but the queue was soooo loonngg!! Instead of waiting, we went back home

Island Getaway 2016 – Bali, Indonesia

bali

ABOUT BALI

Timezone : UTC+08:00

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

Plug adapter:

Korea-Type-Power-Cord-YP205-2-

GETTING THERE

Took Air Asia flight from KLIA2, Kuala Lumpur to Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport Bali. Once touched down, I was quite surprise to see the new look of the airport. Big and new! Another new update since the last time I was in Bali (2012) is that, there’s no more airport departure tax! Yeayyy for that! 🙂

GETTING AROUND

There are a few ways you can get around Bali. You can rent your own car or motorbike (you will need to have an International Driving Permit), walk (if within the city), take a taxi (use Blue Bird since it’s quite cheap & the the most reliable taxi company) or hire a driver (I did this for 3 days tour)

DRIVER SERVICE FOR BALI TOUR

My second time hiring Pak Bram as our supir (driver). He drove a Suzuki MPV, which can fit 7 people and the price is per car, not per head. Price includes car+petrol+driver. I fully recommend Pak Bram if you are looking for a driver in Bali. For the itinerary, you can have a look at mine (2012 trip Itinerary), or you can also ask Pak Bram for recommended itinerary.

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at Odua Ozz Kuta Hotel. Good location, nice room with comfortable bed and friendly and helpful staff. If I were to go to Bali again, I will consider staying at this hotel one more time! 🙂

lobby-exterior pool-view-afternoon

INTERESTING PLACES

There are a lot of interesting places in Bali to visit. For this trip, I didn’t visit many places since it’s so hot and I bring along my 7 months old baby with me.

Here are some places that I went to this year. For more listing of interesting places, visit my previous post on Bali here – Bali 2012 Trip

  • Uluwatu – Pura by the cliff. Just be careful with the monkeys here. Keep your sunglasses in your bag because they might steal it
  • Jimbaran Bay – a nice & romantic place to enjoy dinner on the beach while watching sunset. This year I went there twice at tried 2 restaurants. I fully recommend to eat at Legong. Their food taste nicer and the staff are way more helpful and friendly
  • Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, Bedugul
  • Pacung – enjoy lunch with rice terrace view
  • Coffee Plantation

SHOPPING

  • Ole-ole Hawaii Bali
  • Agong Bali
  • Krishna (went to 2 Krishna outlet, one is near Agong Bali and another one is near the airport)
  • Discovery Mall
  • Lippo Mall
  • Legian Street
  • Kuta Art Market

 

View my previous post on Bali: My FIRST SOLO Getaway – Bali, Indonesia

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

yogyakarta

ABOUT YOGYAKARTA

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

Plug adapter:

type_c_large type_f_large

GETTING THERE

Went to Yogyakarta by Air Asia. The flight will take you from KLIA2 to Adisucipto International Airport. From the airport you can take a taxi to your hotel. There will be a taxi counter near the exit door. Paid IDR 70,000 for a taxi from airport to hotel in Malioboro. When flying back from Yogyakarta to Malaysia, you will need to pay for the airport departure tax. Paid RM32 for the tax through AirAsia (payment for Indonesia Airport Tax), meaning I do not need to pay before the departure itself. By the way the airport is very small for the International flight so don’t be surprise 😛

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at Whiz Hotel and this time booked a room through AirAsiaGo instead of the usual Agoda.com. Booked it through AirAsiaGo because I’m using a voucher code so manage to get a room at a cheaper price. Whiz Hotel is located in a very strategic area on Jalan Dagen, Malioboro, at the heart of the city’s tourism business district. It is surrounded by various shopping centers, eateries (a lot of Halal restaurants around) and other commercial sites. The breakfast served is Halal although the option is quite limited. (images below taken from their website)

whiz_1 whiz_3 whiz_8

GETTING AROUND

Yogyakarta is not really a big city so traveling around town will not be too expensive. You can take a taxi (preferable metered taxi), by trishaw or also known as ‘becak’ (quite cheap. Around IDR 5,000 to IDR 20,000 depending on the distance), horse cart also known as ‘andong’ (around IDR 50,000 depending on distance), or you can just walk around.

P1160392

SHOPPING

  • Malioboro Street – This is the place where I did most (or maybe all) of my shopping. The stuff sold here are quite cheap (you can get IDR 15,000 for a t-shirt). Even though prices are already quite cheap, don’t forget to bargain for a better price!
  • Malioboro Mall – located in Jalan Malioboro
  • Ambarukkmo Plaza – this is the largest shopping complex in Yogyakarta. Went there by taxi. IDR 30,000 from Malioboro to the plaza

INTERESTING PLACES

  • Borobodur Temple – this is the biggest Buddhist temple in the 9th century. It is also declared as a UNESCO site. Notes to pregnant mommy, when I was there I was 4 months pregnant but still manage to climb up. The top is not really that high up but just make sure to be careful with the steps and take it slowly. Bring along water since it can be quite hot. Entrance fee was IDR 250,000 for foreign tourist (as at April 2015)

20150427_094541 20150427_100432 20150427_100130

  • Prambanan Temple – an ancient temple dedicated to the Trimurti Gods. Entrance fee was IDR 225,000 for foreign tourist (as at April 2015)

Prambanan 1 Prambanan 2 Prambanan 3 Prambanan 4 Prambanan 5 Prambanan 6

  • Ratu Boko – an archeological site, 3km away from Prambanan Temple.
  • Malioboro – A famous street in the heart of the city. This is also a must-visit souvenir paradise.

malioboro 1 malioboro 2

  • Mount Merapi – For adventure seeker. You can hire a jeep and choose a short, medium or long trail for sight-seeing

merapi 1 merapi 2 merapi 3 merapi 4 merapi 5 merapi 6

  • Parangtritis Beach – Enjoy a romantic evening enjoying sunset while riding on a carriage or for the more adventurous, you can try the all terrain vehicle (ATV). If you have time, walk up to Tebing Gembirawati (Gembirawati Cliff) and you can see the whole area of Parangtritis Beach, southern sea, up to the horizon. There’s also a temple ruins at the east side of the cliff
  • Benteng Vredeburg – A fort built by the Dutch in 1765 during the colonial domination, which has been converted into a museum. Entrance fee required.

Vredeburg 1 Vredeburg 2 Vredeburg 3

  • Kraton – Entrance fee required.
  • Taman Sari – Entrance fee required.

Taman sari 1 Taman sari 2 Taman sari 3

 

TOURS

Hired a ‘supir’ or driver from the hotel. Rate was IDR 500,000 for the supir + vehicle + petrol for 10 hours. Went to Borobodur Temple, Merapi Volcano, lunch and finally Prambanan Temple.

FOOD

Majority of people living in Yogyakarta are Muslim so there’s no problem finding Halal food. However, every night I went to this restaurant called ‘Mas Bowoo’ and ordered their nasi goreng (fried rice) and chicken. Quite delicious. This restaurant is located near to Whiz Hotel (Jalan Dagen). Also do try out BAKPIA (a local dessert that you should try when you are in Yogyakarta) an NASI GUDEG (a local delicacy in Yogyakarta).

Bakso Bakso Ayam penyet Nasi gudeg food mas bowoo

MORE READING ON YOGYAKARTA

DOWNLOAD AIR ASIA TRAVEL GUIDE HERE: <download>

The serene Da Nang & Hoi An, Vietnam

DaNang HoiAn

ABOUT VIETNAM

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Vietnam Dong

Visa: Not required for Malaysia

Plug adapter:

type_f_large type_c_large

GETTING THERE

Went there by Air Asia. The flight will take you from KLIA2 to Da Nang International Airport. If you are flying back from this airport, there will be no airport departure tax.

From the airport I went directly to Hoi An. There’s a shuttle bus and taxi but I took a taxi instead. Paid around 500,000 dong for the one way trip. The journey to Hoi An from Da Nang took around 45 minutes.

hoi-an

Hoi An is one of the city in Vietnam and it is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In my opinion, Hoi An reminds me of Amsterdam…an Asian Amsterdam or maybe Amsterdam would be a European Hoi An 😛 One more thing about Hoi An is that at night it will be brightly lit with colourful beautiful lantern (You can also buy lanterns there)

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at Thanh Van II hotel (currently known as Like Hoi An Hotel) and booked it through AirAsiaGo (you can also book through Agoda or Booking.com, etc. Booked it through AirAsiaGo because I’m using a voucher code so manage to get cheaper price). The hotel is located around 15 minutes walk from Hoi An Anchient Town, but if you are too tired to walk, you can use the free bicycle or take the free shuttle bus which they provided on hourly basis. The shuttle bus will take you from Thanh Van II – Thanh Van (located near Ancient Town) – Thanh Van II. On overall I’m very satisfied with my stay at this hotel. The staffs were very friendly and helpful, the room is clean and big (booked a suite), Wi-Fi connection was fast, etc. Below would be the image of the room I stayed in, the suite, and the hotel (taken from their website)

tv218 tv214 tv213 FACILITIES SUITE ROOM tv27

GETTING AROUND

Most of the tourist in Hoi An walk or cycle. Most of the hotel provided free bicycle. If not, you can just rent a bicycle. There’s also a lot of taxi around. From personal experience, you may use Vinasun taxi.

SHOPPING

There’s row and rowssss of shops at Hoi An Ancient Town. You can buy souvenirs, silk, clothing, coffee (Vietnamese coffee taste really good!), etc. You can also get a tailor made clothes and shoes. Actually the whole area of Ancient town are mostly shops.

1 2 3

INTERESTING PLACES

  • Hoi An Ancient Town: This is a must visit place in Hoi An. There are a lot of shops for shopping and monuments and museums to visit. One of the famous monument would be the Japanese Bridge.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

  • My Son: The second day in Hoi An, I took a day tour to My Son, which means beautiful mountain. My Son is actually a cluster of partially ruined Hindu Temples constructed by the king of Champa. My Son is perhaps the longest inhabited archeological site in Indochina, but it was then destroyed during Vietnam War. Too bad when I was there, it rains through out the tour so not much of a photo to share but you can try to goole. It is such a beautiful place. As for the whole tour, went to My Son by bus but took the boat back to Hoi An. It was a better choice since there are more things to see and enjoy.

1 P1150758 P1150759 P1150781 P1150783 P1150801 P1150823 P1150866 P1150871

FOOD

There’s a lot of place to enjoy local or western cuisine. However if you are a Muslim, make sure to bring a lot of packed foods since I didn’t find any place selling Halal food and most of the restaurant sell pork. Since Vietnam is famous with coffee, make sure to try out their coffee, especially if you are a coffee lover like me. You can find a lit of coffee shops along the road.

P1150564 P1150566

da nang

Da Nang is one of the major port cities in Vietnam and is situated on the coast of South China Sea, at the opening end of Han River.

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at A La Carte hotel and booked it through AirAsiaGo (you can also book through Agoda or Booking.com, etc. Booked it through AirAsiaGo because I’m using a voucher code so manage to get cheaper price). The hotel is very beautiful! Friendly and helpful staff, big and comfortable room, beautiful decoration and a lot of services you can get from this hotel. (Images below taken from Agoda)

P1160023 1 2 3 4 5

GETTING AROUND

You can get a taxi or just walk around. From My Khe to the city center is a bit far so taking a taxi is a good option.

SHOPPING

Didn’t find much place for shopping in Da Nang (or maybe i didn’t look hard enough). However if you would like to buy souvenir, coffee, clothing, cloth, etc., you may head to Han Market. The souvenir and coffee there are cheaper compared to Hoi An.

P1150958 P1150956

There’s also a souvenir shop called Da Nang Souvenirs located opposite Novotel Hotel. The souvenir sold there are a bit more different compared to those sell at Han Market or Hoi An so you have ore choices of souvenirs to bring back.

INTERESTING PLACES

  • My Khe Beach – one of the beautiful beach in Da Nang (the hotel that I stayed in faces My Khe Beach). Too bad I was there during monsoon season so the sky is not as blue and its too cold for a dip at the beach or pool.

P1150999 P1160061 P1160101

  • Ba Na Hills – a mountain resort with indoor theme park

1 P1160123 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

  • Marble Mountains (didn’t manage to visit but saw it on the way to Hoi An)
  • Han River Bridge & Dragon Bridge (picture credit to Philips)

Philips lights Vietnam’s iconic Dragon Bridge in Da Nang with sustainable LED lighting solutions (b)

  • Monkey Beach

FOOD

There’s one halal restaurant in Da Nang called Mumtaz. It sells nice and Halal Indian food. Throughout the 3 days in Da Nang, I ordered food from there and ask for delivery, which is very convenient!

Travel Tips to China

china

After several trips to China, I decided to share these few tips that might be useful to know if you planning to visit China.

Capital City: Beijing

Currency: Renminbi (RMB, ¥)

Timezone: GMT +8

Language: Mandarin (official) & countless regional dialects

Visa: Required (A MUST!). Please check on the validity period and entry frequency (multiple or 2 times, etc.) before going to China.

Electricity: 220V/50Hz

Plug type:

plug type_i_large

Weather:China is one of the countries that have climatic conditions that resemble those of regions in the northern hemisphere. The best season to visit china is in autumn or spring since the weather is very conducive.

NOTES:

  • Please make sure to keep your boarding pass with the luggage tag/sticker if you have checked-in luggage because the authority at the airport will check upon exit to make sure people are taking the correct luggage.
  • If you are planning to visit several places within China by train, you can purchase the train ticket online. Make sure to book it earlier and if possible do take first class.
  • If you are on a work trip and need to claim back your money, ask for ‘invoice’ instead of ‘receipt’ because most of them use the terms invoice instead of receipt (easier for them to understand). For some places (especially outside city center), the receptionist might not understand English so use this word ‘Fāpiào’ (means invoice in Mandarin)

BANGKOK!!

bangkok-thailand

ABOUT BANGKOK, THAILAND

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

Plug adapter:

plug

GETTING THERE

Went to Bangkok by Air Asia. The flight will take you from LCCT Kuala Lumpur (starting 9 May 2014 will be from KLIA2) to Don Muang International Airport, or Suvarnabumi Airport if you are taking Malaysia Airlines.

From Don Muang Inernational Airport to Khao San Road (or anywhere within Bangkok), you can take a van or taxi. I took a taxi and bought the ticket at one of the counter inside the airport. Can’t really remember how much I paid for it.

When flying back from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, there is no airport departure tax. However this time I didn’t fly back to Kuala Lumpur but instead I continue on with another adventure in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Click on the link to read about Ho Chi Minh City)

ACCOMMODATION

Booked a room through Agoda.com as usual. This time, I wanted to experience different surroundings, so I stayed in 2 different hotels, in 2 different locations.

  • Rambuttri Village Inn & Plaza – Located ni Soi Rambuttri. Very close to Khao San Road and Banglamphu, which is a heaven for backpackers. Since it is not really on the street of Khao San, you can still get a good night sleep, without the noise that you might experience if you stay in the middle of Khao San Road. The hotel is quite nice and the most important thing is that they provide free wi-fi! Here you can enjoy the life as of a backpacker!

P1130970 P1140340 P1140344

  • Tune Hotels, Asoke – Located close to Asok BTS and Sukhumvit MRT station. Quite convenient to go to places within the city center just by taking the BTS or MRT. Here you can enjoy staying in the middle of the city of Bangkok!

P1140592

PS: I prefer staying at the backpackers area since I can still wander and enjoy the shops and massage center until late night (since I can just walk within the area and enjoy the nightlife)

GETTING AROUND

It’s quite easy to move around Bangkok. You can either take the skytrain a.k.a BTS, MRT, Taxi (make sure to ask the driver to turn on the meter), Tuk Tuk (make sure to confirm on the price before going in), Chao Phraya Express Boat or walking especially in Khao San area depending on the area you are at since some of the mode of transport, like BTS and express boat does not cover the whole Bangkok. Please take note of the last train or boat service.

P1140237 P1140247 P1130980

KHAO SAN ROAD

A place where backpackers around the world gather. Hotels around this area are quite cheap and same goes to foods and shopping. It is very close to Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and other ‘must visit’ places. By the way, do not forget to visit Khao San Night Market!

P1140444 P1140437

SUKHUMVIT

It is located in the middle of Bangkok city center, where you can find all those big hotels and shopping malls.

TOURS

There are so many tours that you can choose from and there are a lot of tour agencies that you can go to. For me, I just went to the one quite close to where I’m staying – Mr. Thai Tour Agency near Rambuttri Village & Inn. Paid for 2 tours:

  • FLOATING MARKET (DAMNOEN SADUAK)

** tips: if you want to buy cheaper souvenir, walk towards the end to Paew Souvenir

P1140366 P1140362 P1140386 P1140396 P1140408 P1140412 P1140429 P1140436

  • DINNER RIVER CRUISE

P1140471 P1140472 P1140475 P1140508 P1140517 P1140526 P1140529 P1140532 P1140567

INTERESTING PLACES

  • GRAND PALACE : Inside Grand Palace compound, there are also Temple of Emerald Budda (also known as Wat Phra Kaew), The Golden Stupa and Mini Angkor Wat. (Entrance fee 400 Baht)

P1130995 P1140011 P1140020P1140033 P1140013 P1140045 P1140047 P1140061 P1140132 P1140138

  • WAT PHO + THAI MASSAGE : Wat Pho, also known as the temple of reclining buddha. If you are visiting, don’t forget to try out their massage since there is also Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School, where they provide massage service (but you need to pay). (Entrance fee 50 Baht)

wat pho massage rate

P1140147 P1140152 P1140159 P1140180

  • WAT ARUN : Also known as Temple of the Dawn. (Entrance fee 50 Baht)

P1140242 P1140253 P1140260 P1140281 P1140291 P1140292 P1140308 P1140295 P1140304 P1140315

SHOPPING

You can shop like crazy in Bangkok!! From high end shopping mall to a simple night market, it’s just a matter of whether you have time to visit all! Also do not forget to visit Chatuchak market if you are in Bangkok on weekend! It is a must place to visit!

MARKET

  • KHAO SAN NIGHT MARKET
  • BANGLAMPHU MARKET
  • CHATUCHAK WEEKEND MARKET; Open only on Saturday & Sunday, 6 am – 6 pm. Take a BTS to Mo Chit and walk around 5 minutes. (Just follow the crowd if you don’t know the way. Most of them are going to chatuchak market). If you are feeling hungry, there’s plenty of places to eat including those selling Halal food 😉

P1140687 P1140657 P1140669 P1140682 P1140686 P1140685 P1140677 P1140679

  • ASIATIQUE; a combination of indoor & outdoor shops. To go here, take BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle boat at the end of the pier.
  • CHINA TOWN
  • LITTLE INDIA
  • PAK KLONG TALAT/ FLOWER MARKET
  • SILOM NIGHT MARKET & PATPONG
  • SOI COWBOY NIGHT MARKET

SHOPPING MALL

  • MBK – must visit!

P1140604

  • SIAM DISCOVERY CENTER
  • SIAM CENTER
  • SIAM PARAGON
  • CENTRAL WORLD
  • GAYSORN
  • CENTRAL CHIDLOM
  • THE EMPORIUM
  • TERMINAL 21 – this mall is so cute!

P1140606 P1140623 P1140630

  • PLATINUM SHOPPING MALL; an indoor version of Chatuchak Market

* Most of the shopping malls are accessible via train. You can also walk from one mall to another (for some of the malls) if you don’t mind walking

FOOD

You can find food everywhereee!! But for Halal food, it is quite difficult. However here are some places that I went to:

  • Aishah Rosdi, Banglamphu Market, near the big roundabout & opposite 7-11. If you cannot find it, you may ask the information counter (that’s what I did). Just ask for ‘Halal food or Muslim food’ and they might be able to help you.

P1130973 P1140440

  • Street food

P1130967

MORE READINGS ON BANGKOK:

Travel Guide to MALAYSIA!!

Planning to travel around Malaysia but not so sure where to head to & what to do? Download Malaysia Travel Guide now!! By the way, did you know that 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year?

malaysia travel guide

Click here now to go to download page and to start planning your wonderful journey!

http://www.airasia.com/travel3sixty/downloads/travel-guides/travel-guide-malaysia