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.
Remember the news article on Oriental Daily on the 21/5/2014 on Foodie Blogger programme? Well, it’s going to be aired this coming Thursday 10 pm on the 12/6/2014 on NTV7.
For those who aren’t familiar with the program, this is a food TV show hosted by Ernest Chong. In every episode, he’ll explore a city in Malaysia to find some of the best street foods with a help of a “local” blogger. On this episode that is about Klang Valley, yours truly was lucky enough to be chosen as the guest blogger. So yeap, it’s my time to shine. 😀
NTV 7 foodie blogger – KL 2014
In the program, I introduced three different street foods that I thought represent some of the best Street foods KL has to offer. They are:
Shooting took place some months back and it was a lot of fun. We got to sample too much food in a day but at the end it was all well worth it. I’ll also be watching this for the first time this Thursday, but here’s a promo video to hopefully pique your interest.
Also, do check out those three stalls, they are some of my favorites and I hope you like them too.
A few weeks ago I was approached by Patrick of Greenroom 136 to be in a video that features their new W?ldcard street messenger bag. I bought and have been using a W?ldcard for some two years now and really liked the bag, so I thought why not?
Patrick, founder of Greenroom 136
For those who have never heard about this brand before, Greenroom 136 design and manufacture urban city bags right here in Malaysia.
Their product range includes messenger bag, sling bag, backpacks, and some accessories. Since they’re made right here in Malaysia, you can even customize some bags with unique color combination of your choice. Quality is top notch and I think a lot of thoughts has been put into designing the bags.
If you think everything is made in China these days, look at this.
Check out greenroom136.com, you can purchase Greenroom 136 bags online or at several resellers in Selangor, Penang, and Sabah.
Thanks for the video Patrick.
p/s: This is not an advertorial, I just really like to see success home grown Malaysian businesses.
Chef Wan is my favorite Malaysian celebrity chefs of all. The man has arguably done the most for Malaysian cuisine than anyone ever had. I was genuinely proud when I saw his cooking show on TV when I was in Vietnam.
The man is my hero.
Chef Wan went around and gave tips to the contestants
I finally got to see the man in real life a couple Saturdays ago during Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 dan Gas PETRONAS event. Together with Petronas Dagangan Berhad‘s Nik Faizanira Nik Affandi, and Berita Harian‘s Jami’ah Sokri, they were the panel of judges for the event.
Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 Berita Harian dan Gas PETRONAS at the Curve, Damansara
Before I got ahead of myself, Pencarian Chef Selebriti 2 BH dan Gas PETRONAS is the second year of the unique competition that has the aim to find chefs who has interesting personality, highly eloquent, and be able to communicate and capture audience with his/her culinary knowledge. Of course, one must also be able to cook up great dishes.
Our hosts of the day were two very funny guys – Angah Raja Lawak and Mie Raja Lawak.
Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, the emcees, Kamarudin bin Dali, Riza bin Ismail
The competition was separated into two main categories – individual and professional. Kimberly and I attended the event just as the professional category was getting started.
These were the three finalists
Mohd Zamri bin Sahari, 25, Culinary lecturer and freelance chef
Riza bin Ismail, 28, Executive Chef
Kamarudin bin Dali, 38, Hotel Chef
and they had one hour to prepare an appetizer and a main dish
The chefs were given one hour to come up with an appetizer and a main dish to impress the judges. Ample ingredients were given, which includes seafood, vegetable, meat, mushroom, seasonings, and so on. Blender, pots, pans, knife and all other necessary kitchen utensils were available as well.
While there’re kitchen helpers for the individual event, professional chefs had to do it all by themselves.
Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF were among the p performers
While the contestants were busy cooking, we were entertained by Ayu OIAM, Baby Shima, and Adam AF. Chef Wan also went around to the contestants to give advice and asked questions as well.
An hour later, all three chefs successfully completed their two dishes each.
a photo with the contestants and judges, before tasting begins
Then there’s judging time, and boy was Chef Wan an awesome judge.
He was harsh, to the point, and absolutely non-nonsense in his criticism to each dish and the contestants. It was a bit like Simon Cowell, except maybe with even more drama.
Case in point – “if orang mat salleh eat your under cooked potato, they’ll throw it to you”.
To be fair, he also gave some very good advice. If anything, I am now even more impressed with Chef Wan.
Chef Wan was harsh, to the point, and very very good in his critics
Among the dishes mussels in Thai sauce (which was criticized by Chef Wan for deviating away from 1Malaysia theme), salmon with begedil, deep fried tiger prawns, roti jala and so forth. They were beautifully decorated.
and here are your winners! congratulations
At the end, Mohd Zamri bin Sahari was crowned as the champion. His bergedil with pan seared salmon was praised by Chef Wan, and on top of that, I thought he was the most eloquent among the three contestants as well. The prize was RM 10,000, and a 6 month contract for Berita Harian penning the cooking column.
Riza bin Ismail and Kamarudin bin Dali came in as 2nd and 3rd place.
In the individual category, Chua Tor Aik won the top prize, while Azman Abu Samah and Rosni binti Johari were 2nd and 3rd.
I wish the best to the winning chefs and to the runner ups, there’s always next year.
After the event I tried to replicate the winning main dish – bergedil with pan seared salmon. It turned out to be a pretty simple dish to make, and one that wasn’t bad at all when it comes to taste as well. Check out the video!