Earlier this month I went to yet another island in the East Coast of Malaysia for a little bit of R&R as well as put a bit of time breathing compressed air underwater. For this trip, everything was arranged by my colleague, Rich, I sort of just tag along. A vacation where you don’t have to plan for anything? Sign me up!
Our destination – Pulau Kapas.
Kapas Turtle Valley resort, Pulau Kapas, Terengganu
Pulau Kapas is one of the lesser known islands of Terengganu. Located just 6 km or so from Marang Jetty, it is only some 10 minutes on the ferry (every 2 hours), which makes it really accessible even for those who may be prone to sea sickness. Furthermore, with East Coast Expressway in operation, getting there is easier than ever, around 400km on dual lane expressway with another 20 or so KM trunk road.
snorkeling, sand castle, and playing with hermit crab
Kapas Turtle Valley is run by a Dutch couple who called Malaysia home. It is a fairly small resort with capacity of less than 20-30 guests at any one time. It is also located at semi-private sort of beach with other resorts accessible via a short walk across the small hill in 10 minutes, perfect for those who loves a bit of privacy and quiet time.
You’ll be expected to spend close to RM 100 per night per person to stay at KTV, with breakfast inclusive. The bungalows are comfortable, bathrooms are big and quite luxurious for island standard, and you do have electricity around the clock.
food at Kapas Turtle Valley was excellent
What I love most though, is the food prepared by Sylvia. Breakfast usually consists of very good pastry, dutch cheese, egg, and juice, while lunch & dinner is as per order (usually from 3 choices) and priced reasonably. Her dishes are at least on par with some of the better restaurants in town, and that is certainly quite a luxury on an island, with a budget.
kayaking looks a lot easier in photos
Holiday on island is about rest and relax, reading a book, listening to the waves and such, but if you’re restless, or you’re between 3-6, there are still quite a bit to do.
Making sand castle, catching hermit crab, snorkeling at the house reef, kayaking, throwing freebies, or even sailing on a catamaran is an option.
Aqua Sport Divers, the only dive center at Pulau Kapas
We spent 5 days and 4 nights at Turtle Kapas Valley, and only decided to put in some diving on 3rd and 4th day.
Aqua Sport Divers is the only dive center on the island, and some 25 minutes walk from where we stay. Fortunately, they are more than happy to ferry us on a small speed boat to & fro from KTV to dive center.
nemo with anemone, always one of my favorite shooting subjects
As for the dives, underwater visibility at Kapas isn’t exactly stellar, mostly due to the fact that the island is a mere 6 kilometers away from peninsular Malaysia, but they were more than decent.
Over the 3 dives, we spotted moray eel, barracuda, humphead wrasse, clown fish, jelly fish, big puffer, blue spotted stingray, and more. There were even a story about a group getting a glimpse of a whale shark a couple weeks prior.
UW pics taken with Olympus TG-5
I loaned a couple cameras from Olympus that are fit for underwater purposes. The Olympus TG-Tracker for video, and Olympus TG-5 mainly for stills. They were very convenient, pop the SD cards in and you’re good to go, no meticulous checking of seals or carrying my huge set up of my (now dated) Olympus E-PL3 with underwater housing. The picture quality isn’t as good as a micro 4/3 format for sure, but there were more than acceptable, and of course, carrying a small pouch with 2 cameras is much easier than a whole luggage full of gear for just one.
Overall it was an awesome trip, thanks to Rich & San San for organizing, will look forward to more R&R trips such as this one.
As a travel destination, this region in the world is definitely one that offers one of the widest variety of awesome food to be found anywhere. Hence it is no coincident that you can find many blogs and websites that talk about food and little else, such as this one you’re reading right now.
However, for someone who is planning to hop on a plane and head to Asia, the vast amount of information available online can sometimes be a little overwhelming – enter Expedia’s Food Guide
The website curates a small but very useful list of eateries that covers classic street eats as well as Michelin star restaurants that serves a good guide for anyone new to the countries.
As of writing, there are ten different Asian destinations in the list:
Expedia Penang food guide
Being someone from Penang, I naturally clicked on Penang to check out what’s in their recommended list and indeed places such as Feringgi Grill at Rasa Sayang as well as the Ayer Itam Laksa are listed.
Click on the listing and you’ll get further information, including price, hours, address, phone number, a short description, and even direction with an embedded Google Map.
If you’re visiting any of these destinations for a few days, this is definitely a decent list to start.
useful info of the location
Of course, being an Expedia site, there’re also useful links to check out, including a tourism guide, hotels at the area, and flights.
On one of the earlier visits back to my beloved hometown, Penang, we chanced upon Ping Hooi kopitiam while in search for a meal between lunch and dinner, this was actually due to the fact that both the Pitt Street kuih teow soup I was trying to have and my favorite oyster omelet were not available.
Tiger Char Kuih Teow at Ping Hooi Kopitiam
Since the busiest corner at the kopitiam seems to be this char kuih teow stall by the name of Tiger CKT, I ordered myself a plate of this favorite Penang hawker dish of mine.
There’s three versions to choose from – without egg (RM 6), with chicken egg (RM 6.50), and with duck egg (RM 7).
Tiger Char Kuih Teow with duck egg
Whenever there’s duck egg available for char kuih teow, I never fail choose it. Duck egg always offer that extra richness & creaminess that chicken egg simply won’t match, and the version at Tiger char kuih teow did not disappoint, it was rich, creamy, spicy, and with cockles that were done just so, and prawns that were fresh. This is one of the best CKT you can get below RM 10.
operator even has a company t-shirt
Next time when you head to Penang, remember that awesome char kuih teow aren’t confined to only Lorong Selamat or Siam Road where you have to wait for over half an hour to get a plate of Penang’s best. I for sure won’t mind heading back to this one again.
Ever since Haze started her gallery shop GoJyu5 at Publika (you should check it out), we’ve been sampling the restaurants there quite a bit, and since the Entertainment App has buy 1 free 1 deal for ANTE, we decided it was time to check it out a couple weeks ago.
ANTE, Publika Solaris Dutamas
ANTE is located on the ground floor (G1) of the Publika, one of the easiest location to find if you’re not familiar with the ever so confusing layout of Publika (as it’s built on a slope). If you’re going on busy weekends, it’ll be wise to make a reservation as the place can get really busy in a jiffy.
The interior is modern, comfortable, and has a dark-ish ambiance that’s probably very suitable for those who wants to bring your date for a nice dinner.
The claim of fame here are the pork steak, so that’s what we set out to try.
pork striploin black pepper sauce
One bite into those pork steaks, be it the ribeye (RM 52) I ordered or the striploin with black pepper sauce (RM 38) that Haze had, it became evident why the place was so packed. They were absolutely delicious.
They’ve managed to grill pork steak properly – juicy, well marinated, and done at what I can only describe as a perfect medium rare that is cook well enough to be safe for consumer and yet managed to not have it dry and stale. If you’ve tried cooking white meat on grill before, you know this really requires proper skills.
Then there’s the sauce, my ribeye came with truffle butter sauce that worked supremely well with the meat, and just perfect with a small cut of those charred pork fat in every bite. The caramelized onion and black pepper sauce was on point for the striploin too.
whole smoked duck breast as appetizer
Oh, by the way we also had a smoked duck breast (RM 25) as starter. It was basically a huge chunk of whole breast properly grilled and served with balsamic vinegar, simple yet delicious. I think you can have this and perhaps a dessert to make up an entire meal.
Well, looks like I’m going to revisit this place again soon. I’m already thinking of those pork!
By the way, if you
Furthermore, if you purchase it Entertainer App with Promo Code KYSPEAKS2017, you pay only RM 65 off instead of paying the full price of RM 145 (usual price)
Kame Sushi is one of the first Japanese restaurants in KL to offer omakase style dining. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, omakasesimply means “a meal consisting of dishes selected by the chef”, so basically you tell the chef what you don’t eat, or allergic to, and the restaurant decides the rest.
Kame Sushi, Sri Hartamas
So in essence, you never really know what you’re going to get. In a good omakase restaurant, the chef usually decides on the menu based on what’s in season, and what he or she deemed the best they can offer based on the price, availability, and the skill set of those in the kitchen.
We first go to know about Kame from Cheesie, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that Haze and I decide to head there for her birthday dinner.
fresh imported sashimi
Since we had the meal was some half a year ago, name and exact ingredients in the dishes have became a bit fuzzy. In this post I could only describe what I remember from looking at these pictures, but better late than never, right?
Our course was priced at RM 350 per person, it was the 2nd most expensive from the menu at the time.
The dinner consists of mainly top grade seafood selections, starting with some of the best sashimi cuts. The oyster was fresh, sweet, and alluring. There were also tuna otoro (fatty tuna), yellow tail, snow crab, amaebi (sweet shrimp), hotate (scallop), and uni (sea urchin).
Then came the grilled items with more seafood and mushroom wrapped with wagyu beef, simple yet exquisite.
warm dish, light battered fried fish
Stewed dish and a lightly battered deep fried fish dish came next, and frankly the exact name of the seafood content escaped my mind. They were done just right and quite delightful even if not entirely special.
tuna belly , uni, ikura on sushi rice
Our main dish came in the form of minced tuna belly, ikura (salmon roe), uni (sea urchin), and hand grated wasabi on sushi rice. As a chirashi sushi lover, this was rather delightful. This rice dish was very rich and did its job as a highlight to the evening.
natto beans, Japanese pear
Dessert came in a couple slices of Japanese pear. They were as good as any Japanese fruits – soft, sweet, and fresh.
Ultimately though, at RM 350++, this omakase dinner was good, but in today’s level of competition with the likes of Oribe, SOU Omakase, and Sushi Azabu, you may find similar or even better value hunting around.