2017 Spring Getaway – Perth, Australia

perth-australia

ABOUT PERTH, AUSTRALIA

australia-map

Timezone : UTC+08:00 (same as Malaysia)

Seasons: Summer (December – February), Autumn (March – May), Winter (June – August), Spring (September – November)

Currency: Australia Dollar (AUD)

Visa: Required for everybody who is traveling to Australia, except for Kiwi’s

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GETTING THERE

Went to Perth in September 2017 (Spring) by Malindo Air and bought the tickets during promotion period. Each ticket for adult includes 30kg check-in luggage and meal. For infant it includes 10kg checked-in luggage. Meaning total luggage for me, my husband & son was 70kg! The plane took off from KLIA (and not KLIA2, reminder to those who will be traveling to Perth on Malindo Air) and safely landed at Perth International Airport after 5 hours and 50 minutes. At the airport, make sure to grab ‘Hello Perth’ booklet for discount vouchers and purchase local SIMcard to stay connected!

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From the airport international terminal, you may choose to take a taxi or bus to go to your hotel. At first we were planning to take a taxi but took the bus instead since we were assisted by locals on how to go to the hotel we were staying at using the bus (we save around $40 but we need to walk to the hotel with 2 luggage, a stroller and an infant on a baby carrier – since he refuse to sit on the stroller).

The bus number that we took was 380, fittingly named after the Airbus A380 and it has dedicated luggage racks and runs daily between the Elizabeth Quay Bus Station in the Perth city centre and T1 and T2. However, it is a limited stops service with connections to other services available at few points.

For more details of the airport, visit https://www.perthairport.com.au

VISA

Visa is required for everybody who is traveling to Australia, except for Kiwi’s. It is quite easy to apply for it. Just go to https://www.australiavisa.my/ , fill in the form and make the payment. You can choose either to get a regular visa (RM26) or express visa (RM50). I manage to get my visa approved within the same day of submission (regular visa). Make sure to print a copy of the visa even though in your email it will state that you do not need to print it. I was asked to show the printed visa twice, once at KLIA and also at Perth airport during check-in (because they are not able to find my son’s details).

GET CONNECTED

If you would like to stay connected, you can purchase Optus or Vodafone simcard at the airport. The counter is near the arrival hall gate – you will see it once you exit arrival hall. When we were there, my husband and I purchased Optus simcard. We decided to use the simcard for 6 days so we purchased a 7 days package which is worth $15 (there’s also different packages based on number of days you would like to use it). The package includes free call & text to any Australian number, plus 1GB data daily.

optus

BIOSECURITY AND QUARANTINE

For most Muslims traveling abroad, it is very common that we will bring food from home, just in case it is difficult to find Halal food. When traveling to Australia, you can bring food but you need to make sure that you declare it in the declaration form – else if you get caught, you might get fine.

Here’s a list of foods that we bring to Perth. Before flying, I have printed a list of foods that we are bringing in and put it all in the same luggage. All food that we bring passed the inspection – actually they don’t really inspect much. Only the chicken rendang was being inspected and it got through.

  • Brahim’s nasi lemak
  • Brahim’s fried rice
  • Brahim’s chicken rendang
  • Maggi & mee sedap instant noodle
  • Nescafe 3-in-1
  • Biscuitss
  • Knorr’s instant porridge
  • Infant formula

From my own understanding, we can bring in food which are commercially prepared & packaged, shelf stable, no refrigeration required to store the food, and for personal consumption. However, you may visit this link for more details: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/travelling/bringing-mailing-goods#check

ACCOMMODATION

If you are planning to stay around Perth CBD (CBD stands for center business district), it is good to find a hotel which is close to the bus stop so that you can go around CBD for free (using CAT bus or any buses if you are traveling within the free transit zone – FTZ). Would also help in getting to places outside of CBD if you are taking public transportation.

For our 6 days 5 nights holiday, we stayed at Season’s of Perth which is located at Pier Street and booked it through Agoda. Before decided to booked the hotel, we read reviews saying that the hotel was old, dirty and smelly, the receptionist was rude, etc but we still booked it since we like the location, the room is big (36 m² – good for an active infant) and it was RM800 cheaper compared to another hotel we were considering as well.

When we reach the hotel, the receptionist was very friendly and polite. Please note that the deposit for this hotel is $100 per night (max $400). However the receptionist only charge us $50 per night.  When we entered our room, we fell in love with it. Clean, big, comfortable room! Lucky we didn’t really focus on those negative comments – or maybe we were just lucky to get the nicer room. 🙂 Halal eateries is also close by (Insan’s Cafe, halal kebab, etc) and same goes to Woolworths – for your groceries shopping. Will definitely stay here again if we have the change to visit Perth again next time 🙂

94941618   standard king room

* Image source: https://www.agoda.com

Other hotel which I did consider staying was Pensione Hotel. This hotel is just opposite of Season’s of Perth. However please note that most of the rooms are very small. The biggest room is 26 m² and it is also the most expensive room (Premium King Room – right image). I am OK with small room but since I brought along my almost 2 years old son, I prefer to stay in a bigger room so that he will have space to play and run around. This hotel is also quite new compared to Season’s of Perth. Read good reviews of this hotel as well.

pensione hotel pensione room

* Image source: http://www.pensione.com.au/perth

Another hotel that was on my list was Bailey’s Motel. Even though it is a motel instead of a hotel, the rating on Agoda is 8.2=Excellent and the room is big. Fridge, kettle, microwave, stove, cutlery, etc. is also provided. The motel is also close to Yellow and Red CAT bus (Wellington Square). The motel provide free WiFi and free parking, which most hotel doesn’t provide and some might charge for it.

bailey's motel bailey's motel room

*Image source: http://www.baileysmotel.com.au/

GETTING AROUND

  • TRANSPERTH – They provide the Perth metropolitan region with bus, train and ferry public transport services. As for the ticketing, there are few options provided, and some can even help you to save more especially if you are a budget traveler. There’s a standard fare, concession fare, DayRider (unlimited all day travel, can be used for bus, train & ferry, however please check on availability of this ticket – day and time), FamilyRider (a cash ticket that gives a group of up to seven people unlimited travel on the day of purchase, provided no more than two of them normally pay full fare. However please check on availability of the ticket – day & time. Wanted to purchase for my trip to Fremantle on Friday, however FamilyRider only available after 3pm on Friday). There’s also free buses provided which is call CATs bus. The normal buses are also free if you are traveling within the Free Transit Zone.
  • CATs bus – Free buses in Perth are known as CATs, short for Central Area Transit Services. There’s 4 different colours which have their own route – blue, red, yellow, green. It also covers different area such as centre of Perth, Fremantle and Joondalup. You may view and download CAT map here: VIEW CAT MAPPerth Free CAT bus route
  • Visit their website to learn more about their services, routes, fare, etc.: Transperth. You can also download their mobile apps, which I found quite useful. It will show you different route to reach your destination, plus how much you need to pay for the fare as well! To download, search for ‘Transperth’

Transperth Train Route

  • Car rental – there are a lot of car rental companies that you can choose from. Each have their own pros and cons and it also depends on what you are looking for. Please note that if you are traveling with an infant or toddler, using a baby seat is a MUST. Here are some of the car rental company in Perth: Bayswater Car Rental, Thrifty, Aries Car Rental. For Malaysians, international driver license is not required as Malaysia driving license is accepted in Australia. Please also note that you will need to pay some bond or deposit. Do check on that as well when booking for a car.

INTERESTING PLACES

  • Elizabeth Quay – To go here, you can take blue or green CAT bus and stop of Elizabeth Quay. Can also take any bus which stop nearby as well since there’s a bus station near Elizabeth Quay. At the jetty, you can take a ferry to cross to the other side, or just remain on the ferry if you are just want to enjoy the ferry ride.

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            Image source: mra.wa.gov.au

  • Swan River – Take a ferry from Elizabeth Quay jetty and enjoy the ride on the Swan River.
  • Bell Tower – Bell Tower is located near to Elizabeth Quay. You can just walk over to Bell Tower from Elizabeth Quay. Blue CAT bus stop no 2 (Barrack Square) is just opposite of the Bell Tower.

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  • Northbridge – Northbridge is an inner city suburb of Perth.  It is a vibrant and exciting area with cafés, restaurants, bars, shops, nightlife, cultural events and festivals. By the way, we were able to walk from Northbridge to Perth CBD.

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  • Crawley Edge Boatshed – This is one of the most famous icon of Perth! To go here, take bus 950 towards Qeii Medical Center and stop at Mounts Bay Rd Before Wingfield Avenue (stop id 23000). To go back to Perth CBD, cross the road to the bus stop opposite the road (stop id 10384) and take bus 950 towards Elizabeth Quay.

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  • King’s Park & Botanic Garden – Kings Park is a 4.06-square-kilometre park located on the western edge of the central business district in Perth, Western Australia. There’s several options on how to go here, however we took bus 935 to Fraser Avenue King’s Park (stop id 17501). Went there at night since our day was full of other activities but it was too dark for us to go explore. Only manage to take Perth skyline and then immediately cross the road to go back to our hotel.

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  • Fremantle – Fremantle is a port city and known for its maritime history. Amongst tourist, Fremantle is a famous place where you can get cheap souvenir (scroll below to learn more)! Famous Fremantle attractions include E-shed (souvenir), Fremantle Prison, Fremantle market, maritime museum, shipwreck museum, etc. It is also famous for its fish & chips! Went here twice during our Perth trip! To go to Fremantle by public transportation, you can take a train on Fremantle line and stop at Fremantle station (not North Fremantle). There’s also free CAT bus in Fremantle.
  • Caversham Wildlife Park – Caversham Wildlife Park showcases many of Australia’s unique native animals, including koalas, wallabies, possums, Tasmanian devils and wombats – providing visitors with the opportunity for a close-up encounter with some Australian icons! It is open from 9am – 5.30pm everyday, except Christmas. Admission fee: Adult $28, Child 3-4 years old $12.50, free for children below 3. There’s Halal food sold there. To go here, take a train on Midland Line and stop at Bassendean Station (Zone 2, around $4.70). Walk out from the station and you will see bus stops no 1&2 and 3&4. Walk towards stop 3&4 and wait for bus 955 or 956 to Ellenbrook (you do not need to pay for the bus ticket if your previous ticket is still valid). Stop at Lord St Before Youle-Dean Rd (Whiteman Park, stop id 15529). When you reach Whiteman Park, you can choose to either walk (around 1.7km) or take a free shuttle van. To take the free shuttle van, use the intercom available at the entrance of Whiteman Park and a van will come and pick you up. However the free shuttle van is only available on weekdays. To go back Bassendean train station, take the shuttle van back to the entrance and cross the road to the bus stop opposite (stop id 15526). Take bus no 955 or 956.

Since we had limited time in Perth (should stay there longer) and we didn’t rent a car (some places is unreachable by public transportation), we didn’t manage to visit places listed below. However since I have done some research, might as well share some of the details here.

  • Margaret River Chocolate Factory – Located in 3 different locations (one of them is Murray Street), The Margaret River Chocolate Company brings a taste of Margaret River to the city, combining hundreds of delicious, award-winning chocolate products with a range of gourmet products and homewares. By the way you can try some of their chocolate for free!!
  • Perth Zoo – Perth Zoo is widely known as a unique events and functions destination and can offer a host of amazing experiences. Thousands of visitors come to the Zoo not only to see the animals, but to be entertained by the many and varied events held in the Zoo’s spectacular setting.
  • Swan Valley – World-class wineries, breweries, distilleries, countless gourmet artisan goods, handcrafted wares, bustling markets, vibrant studios, top-notch eateries and endless experiences.
  • Western Australia Museum – will be close until 2020
  • Western Australia Art Gallery – Gallery visitors are offered unique and exciting experiences of historic and contemporary Australian artists, as well as the art of the world. Open Wednesday – Monday, 10 am – 5 pm.
  • Pinnacles – The Pinnacles desert is the major tourist attraction of the region. Attracting around 250,000 visitors every year, the Pinnacles desert covers an area of approximately 190 hectares, and contains thousands of limestone Pinnacles, some up to 5 meters high. The variation in colours and the stark relief of the Pinnacles against a backdrop of constantly shifting sand dunes creates an eerie landscape of ever changing moods often viewed at it’s best at dawn or sunset when the shadows create remarkable patterns and shapes that ripple over the sands. Entrance fee of AUD12 per car

Pinnacles

Image source: www.australia.com

  • Lancelin Sand Dunes – Sand, surf & sunset! Lancelin is Australia’s premier sandboarding destination. Pure white sand rises three storys high and entry to the dunes is free and open every day from sunrise to sunset. Board can be rented at nearby shops or petrol station for around AUD20 for 2-3 hours.

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Image source: www.lancelin.com.au/tourism/sandboarding/

  • Yanchep National Park – Yanchep National Park is located north of Perth. Its bushland and wetland are home to western gray kangaroos and rich birdlife. Trails include a raised boardwalk among trees inhabited by koalas. One of many caves in the park, Crystal Cave is an underground limestone cavern with stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Busselton Jetty – Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty in the world, stretching almost 2 km out to sea from the town of Busselton. A day pass to the jetty (to walk, swim, fish, dive, etc) costs AUD2.50 for adults (17 and over) and free for kids (16 and younger). If you don’t feel like walking, there’s a train which you can ride. The train ride costs AUD13 for adults aged 17 and up and AUD6.50 for children aged 3 to 16.
    There’s a museum and interpretive centre at the start of the jetty is open from 9 to 5 in winter, and 8:30 to 6 for the rest of the year

Image source: www.busseltonjetty.com.au/

  • Araluen Botanic Park – Situated in the Perth hills with a north-south valley aspect, Araluen Botanic Park is home to many species of Australian and international flora.

Image source: http://araluenbotanicpark.com.au/

  • Cottesloe Beach – Cottesloe Beach has been the favourite seaside destination for Perth locals for more than 100 years. With more than a kilometre (0.6 miles) of pure white sand, Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth’s most popular spots for swimming, snorkelling and surfing.

Image source: www.australia.com/en/places/perth-and-surrounds/guide-to-cottesloe-beach.html 

  • Scarborough Beach – Scarborough Beach has the best white sand surf beach in the world. This Perth beach is the ideal Indian Ocean vacation destination to relax.

Scarborough Beach

Image source: http://www.scarboro.info/

  • Penguin Island – Located in the spectacular Shoalwater Islands Marine Park, just 45 minutes south of Perth is Penguin Island – a beautiful, unspoilt nature reserve home to WA’s largest colony of little penguin as well as dolphins, sea lions, stingrays, pelicans, ospreys and more.

penguin island

Image source: www.penguinisland.com.au/

  • Rottnest Island – Rottnest Island sits just offshore from the city of Perth. A protected nature reserve, it’s home to the quokka, a small wallaby-like marsupial. White-sand beaches and secluded coves include the Basin, with its shallow waters, and Thomson Bay, the main hub and ferry port. Strickland Bay is known for its surf breaks, while reef breaks occur at Radar Reef, off the island’s far western tip.

Image source: www.experienceperth.com/region/rottnest-island

SHOPPING

  • Woolworths – A place for your groceries shopping. My usual shopping list from Woolworths includes chocolates & coffee!! 🙂
  • Target – Went to target just to buy Hotwheels! Manage to get Hotwheels at only $1 each, meaning its half of the price selling in Malaysia!

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  • E-shed Market (Fremantle) – E-shed is the place to go if you want to buy some souvenir since the price is way cheaper compared to if you buy from Perth CBD. E-shed is actually a warehouse that houses several shops. The most famous shops inside are Megabes and Assin. There’s also food court and Halal food is available there. E-shed is located quite close to Fremantle train station. Parking is also available nearby. However please note the E-shed is open only on Friday, Saturday & Sunday + selected public holiday.
  • Fremantle Market – Fremantle market is a busy indoor market selling fruits, food and drinks, souvenir, etc. Megabes (shop selling cheap souvenir) is also available here!

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  • Watertown Brand Outlet – The venue for outlet and specialty shopping, with all the best brands at all the best prices, it is Perth’s home to outlet shopping (basically similar to Johor Premium Outlet). You can go here on Yellow CAT bus and stop at Sutherland Street (stop no 17). There’s 2 food outlet selling Halal food – Ispa Kebabs and Nenem’s (do try their gozmelez. Delicious!). Opening hours: Monday – Thursday: 9am – 530pm, Friday: 9am – 9pm, Saturday: 9am – 5pm, Sunday: 11am – 5pm
  • London Court – London Court is an open-roofed shopping arcade located in the central business district in Perth. There’s souvenir shop & cafe along the whole stretch of road. We didn’t buy anything here but it is definitely a nice place to take photos!
  • Chemist Warehouse – you can get cheap perfume, vitamins, skin care products, etc here! There is one Chemist Warehouse located in Perth CBD (Murray Street). It is also close to Insan’s Cafe (in case you want to eat Halal food afterwards). To come here, you may take Red CAT bus and stop at Murray Street (Red CAT stop no 25). There’s also other branches that you may visit example Northbridge (can take Blue CAT bus stop no 8). For opening hours, please refer to their website because different branches will have different operating hours. When we were there, I bought few bottles of perfumes and also lotions for my son (since he has eczema). Regret didn’t buy more lotions since the price are wayyyy cheaper compared to those selling in Malaysia! Bought Cetaphil, Aveeno and Dermaveen.
  • Joondalup Laketown Shopping City – This is a Perth’s major and largest shopping centre, located in Joondalup, a satellite city in the north of Perth. The Centre is home to Myer, Target, Kmart, Big W, Coles, Woolworths, as well as over 300 specialty retailers, a cinema, two food courts and multiple outdoor dining options. For Muslims, there are 2 eateries selling Halal food – Kebabbque and Maya Masala. To go here by public transportation, take a train on Joondalup line and stop at Joondalup station. The shopping centre is just outside of the train station.

FOOD

  • Danish Patisserie – Delicious pie & pastries and the best part is, the food is also Halal. It is close on Sunday and open on the remaining days. However please note on the opening hours; Saturday (7am – 11am), Monday to Friday (6am – 2pm). Click on the link to visit their website for more details.
  • Corica Pastries – Located in Northbridge and selling the most famous Halal apple strudel in Perth. To go here, you may take the free Cat bus and stop at Blue CAT bus stop no 8 (Aberdeen Street). Their opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am – 5.30pm and Saturday 8am – 12pm

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  • Charcoal Chicken Express – The food sold here are Halal and it is famous for its lamb rib but if you don’t eat lamb (just like me) there’s chicken as well. To go here, take bus 960 towards Mirabooka bus station and stop at Dianella Plaza (stop id 12838). Opening hours: 10am – 8pm
  • Insan’s Cafe – Halal food & own by a Malaysian. Located at Murray Street and located close to our hotel. By the way, we went here almost every day 😛

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  • Pondok Indah – Halal & own by an Indonesian
  • D’Ankasa – A Malaysia restaurant located in Perth CBD, selling Halal food. We went here once and ordered chicken rice and nasi lemak!

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  • Kaili’s Fish and Chips (Fremantle) – Famous for its Fish and Chips!
  • Cicerello’s (Fremantle) – Similar to Kaili’s, Cicerello’s is also famous for its fish & chips. It is located close to Kaili’s

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  • Chocolateria San Churro (Northbridge) – A very nice cafe to just relax while enjoying a cup of coffee and churros!
  • Halal Kebab – can’t really recall the name of this place but it is located on Murray Street, opposite of Insan’s cafe

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  • Ice-cream! – Enjoyed ice-cream on a cold windy night! LOL
  • Twilight Hawkers Market – located along Forrest Place in Perth CBD, Twilight Hawkers Market is the original & biggest Street Food Market bringing the tastiest street food from around the globe to the heart of Perth. It it open every Friday, 4.30pm – 9.30pm, October to April each year. We didn’t have a chance to visit this market since we went to Perth in September.

twilight hawkers market

Image source: www.facebook.com/Twilight-Hawkers-Market-220654328006092/

USEFUL LINKS

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#Throwback Port Dickson Getaway – Hotel Review

port-dickson

ABOUT MALAYSIA

Timezone : GMT +08:00

Currency: Ringgit Malaysia (RM or MYR)

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ACCOMMODATION

Went for a short ‘first wedding anniversary’ in 2015 (yes this is a ‘throwback’) to Port Dickson. Just me, my husband and of course our son who was 2 months old that time! Stayed at Lexis Port Dickson, booked via Agoda. There’s a choice between staying at the water chalet or the main building/tower sea view. Since our son was still so small and we’ve read that the buggy might be a bit slow and late (also the weather can be quite hot) we decided to book a room at the tower sea view. Room is spacious, with 1 king and 1 queen bed and the view was great! However if you would like to swim and relax on the beach, this hotel might not be the choice for you as you will need to drive out to the beach.

  • Image taken from Agoda

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Basically we didn’t really do much or go out much. Most of the time we were in our room, relaxing (and baby was sleeping most of the time and the weather was hot!) However we did stop by at the Upside Down House Gallery Port Dickson before heading back to Kuala Lumpur.

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)

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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:

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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

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:

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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)

2014 – VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR!

visit malaysia year

A few more weeks to 2014 & also visit Malaysia year!!

If you haven’t been to Malaysia..you should start planning a holiday to Malaysia! Malaysia is all about the culture, places (cities, beaches, island, etc), shopping, the people and also the FOOD!!! You will be spoiled by all of the choices you will get in Malaysia!

ABOUT MALAYSIA

Capital City: Kuala Lumpur

Currency: Ringgit Malaysia (RM)

Timezone: GMT +8

Language: Malay language, English, Chinese, Tamil

Electricity: 220 – 240 Volt

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Here are some post I have written on Malaysia:

For more readings on Malaysia:

An island getaway : Phuket, Thailand

phuket thailand

ABOUT PHUKET, THAILAND

Timezone : UTC+07:00

Currency: Thai Baht (THB)

Visa: Not required for Malaysian

Plug adapter:

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GETTING THERE

Went to Phuket by Air Asia. The flight will take you from LCCT Kuala Lumpur to Phuket International Airport.

From Phuket International Airport to Patong Beach (I stayed there), you can take a taxi (around 800 baht per taxi) or a mini van (180 baht per person). Took a mini van since it is still early & the condition of the mini van is good! Air-condition mini van. However you will need to wait until the mini van is full, only then they will make a move. I only waited for less than 30 minutes (make sure you ask how many people have paid for the mini van so that you can expect how long you need to wait). You can see the taxi and mini van in the image below.

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When flying back from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur, there is no airport departure tax.

ACCOMMODATION

Stayed at The Palm Retreat Inn and booked the hotel through Agoda.com. The location of the hotel is quite strategic. It is located opposite Holiday Inn and maybe 2 minutes walk to Hard Rock Hotel. You can get halal food just next to the hotel. To go to Patong beach, it will take around 5 minutes of walking and maybe around 10-15 minutes walk to Jungceylon Mall and Bangla Road. However there are no lift at this hotel. My room was on the highest floor so I need to walk up the stairs. Not a problem though. The room is a big and clean air-conditioned room, they provide free Wifi, complimentary drinking water, mini bar, TV, hot shower, safety deposit box, towel, etc. The staff is quite helpful and friendly especially this one lady but I don’t know her name. I forgot to take photo of the hotel so I use those from their website.

Deleuxe_Double _Room Guest_Room (2) Guest_Room (4)

GETTING AROUND

Since I didn’t really go out from Patong area (except for tour), I just walk. Most of the attraction in Patong are within walking distance. However you may hire a tuk tuk or taxi (you can even hire the taxi driver for a day tour but I am not so sure about the rate), or rent a car or motorcycle.

PATONG

Patong is quite a happening area. The beach, massage center, shopping, food and also the famous ‘Bangla road’.

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TOURS

You can find a lot and loootttts of kiosk providing tour service. Just choose any but make sure to haggle for best price. Booked 4 tours from Fun Infinity Phuket Tour. The lady is very friendly so end up booking all tours from this place.

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  • Fantasea + Buffet Dinner = 1550 Baht (without dinner for 1350 Baht)

For this, you can choose either to include buffet dinner or not. Since the lady charge only 1550 Baht for a package which includes buffet dinner & only 200 Baht more than package without buffet dinner, I chose the one that includes the buffet dinner. If you are a Muslim, you do not have to worry. You can get Halal food at the dining place. When I was there, Halal food was served at Counter B. But please ask around to confirm since they might or might not change. By the way, the food was delicious!! The whole area in FantaSea are beautiful but the show is not as what I expected it to be. A bit dull for me but different people might have different opinion. The package also include return transportation from hotel-FantaSea-hotel.

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  • James Bond island tour = 1000 Baht

A tour that include 2 canoe sessions at James Bond Island and Hong Island, lunch on the boat (Halal food) and swimming (or just relax by the beach) session. Transport from hotel-jetty-hotel included.

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  • Similan Island tour = 1900 Baht

For this tour, return transfer from hotel-jetty-hotel is included. A mini van will pick you up at your hotel early in the morning since it takes around 2 hours+ (from Patong) to reach the jetty. Lunch (Halal) is also included. During this tour, there will be a few stops for a snorkeling session (goggle & life jacket provided). When you reach Similan Island, make sure to go up to the viewing point for a breathtaking view of the island! Just make sure to be careful climbing up & down!

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  • ATV + Elephant trekking tour = 1100 Baht

This tour include return transfer from and back to hotel, elephant ride & ATV. During the ATV session, you will stop by at the viewing point and also Big Buddha.

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SHOPPING

  • Jungceylon: A big shopping mall that carries local and international brand. You can also get souvenirs and massage at the lower level and there’s also Halal food there.

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  • For me, the best shopping would be the shops by the road side. If you want to get cheaper price for t-shirt, magnet, etc., do walk further from Jungceylon Mall going towards Tune Hotel (opposite direction to Hard Rock Cafe). The price at most of the shops there are even cheaper!

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FOOD

When I was there, I can see a lot of restaurants with Halal sign. So if you are a Muslim, you don’t have to worry about food. If you are not confident enough, you can go to Halal restaurant and eat the seafood.

  • Patong Promenade (opposite Jungceylon Mall): there’s a food court upstairs but they sell pork, so not an option for Muslim. However there are a lot of restaurant with Halal sign on the ground floor and rows of stalls selling food. There’s a shops there for shopping!

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  • There’s also a lot of restaurant (including those with Halal sign) along the road. Don’t forget to try our the Pancake Crepe! Quite similar to those selling in Krabi. However here there’s 2 version, either quite similar to roti canai or crepe! And also kebab at Bangla Road going towards the beach is delicious!

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MASSAGE

Don’t forget to go for a massage (I went for a massage everyday!). Tried out several places but I only manage to find one place that really provide good massage. Look out for VIP massage! However after dinner, there will be a lotttt of customer there! VIP massage is located opposite the road of Jungceylon Mall, but a bit further away. Walk towards Tune Hotel or opposite direction of Hard Rock Hotel. When you a reach an area where there are a lot of seafood restaurant, you are almost reaching the place.