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The last time I went diving was October 2013 in Maldives, a full 2.5 years passed since I breathed underwater, until last week, when we revisited Tenggol Island. The very island I got my diving certificate more than ten years ago, and also the island I dived the most. How time flies.

Tenggol Coral Beach Resort
Tenggol Coral Beach Resort

The east coast highway is now completed, heading to Dungun took us only 4 hours (excluding the detour to Bentong for breakfast), we left KL at 6 in the morning and got there in time for the 11 am boat transfer to the island. It was also an easier drive than previously when you had to navigate through the old coastal road that can sometimes be congested with big & slow lorries.

As a consequence then, the island is now being visited more than ever, and perhaps lost a bit of its mystic of almost being a deserted island that we used to love.

KY, Haze, Rich, San San at Pulau Tenggol
KY, Haze, Rich, San San at Pulau Tenggol

Anyway, we paid about RM 1.5k each for a twin sharing room with all meals included, boat transfer from Dungun, and 7 boat dives. Slightly more expensive than earlier deals, but it was fair considering the upgrades of the facilities & meals. Will get to that later.

Anyway, I want to document my dive log here as per my usual practice.

Day 1
Dive 1
Site: Coral Garden
20/5/16 3:18 pm, 55 mins, 21.7 meter, 30 Celsius, 124 bar of air
Bumphead, 2 types of nudi, black shrimp on cushion starfish, coral fish

Dive 2
Site: Tanjung Gemuk, evening dive
20/5/16 5:58 pm, 57 mins, 19.4 meter, 31 Celsius, 117 bar of air
Nemo, huge morel eel, trumpet fish, rock hopper wrasse, huge nudi, lovely coral garden
Fish eagle with fish or sea snake captured. Nice slow drifting current

Day 2
Dive 1 – Tokong Laut
21/5/16 9:27 am, 48 mins, 26.6 meter, 29 Celsius, 118 bar of air
Lots of boulders, some swim through which is always one of my favorites.

Dive 2 – Tokong Timur
21/5/16 11:43 am, 60 mins, 20.8 meter, 29 Celsius, 134 bar of air
The other group saw whale shark at other dive site. We didn’t but was a reasonably nice dive too. Warm water of 29-30c too. Rainbow runner, school of fish.

Dive 3 – Turtle Point
21/5/16 3:38 pm, 61 mins, 16.3 meter, 31 Celsius, 113 bar of air
Trying to hunt for whale shark, didn’t find any
Lots of goby with shrimp pairing. Some pvc artificial habitat for the fishes.
Always love the black damsel among corals.

Day 3
Dive 1 – Thai Wreck
22/5/16 9:18 am, 49 mins, 30.2 meter, 28 Celsius, 130 bar of air
Lovely atmospheric dive, took a few pics around the wreck. Deepest dive so far.
Again plenty of goby with shrimp at Sandy bottom.

Dive 2 – Amazing Grace
22/5/16 11:37 am, 61 mins, 18.6 meter, 30 Celsius, 120 bar of air
Last dive of the trip. Also one of the loveliest.
Saw 2 turtles, maybe could have been the same one. Trigger fish. Also saw 3 blue spotted rays.
Big giant garupa. Played with Nemo, catch and release style. Saw jewel garupa too.

Thai Wreck, one of my favorite dives
Thai Wreck, one of my favorite dives

A thing to note for myself is that I have to start checking my equipment at least a couple weeks prior to the trip. I only did so a night prior to this trip and discovered 2 optical cables & my macro lens were missing. The lens lent to a friend but the cables .. well, I may need new cables.

Additionally, we discovered that Haze’s dive computer ran out of battery, with mine being quite low in power as well. We also should have tested the BCD in the swimming pool, cos that would have avoided me discovering that a plastic part had failed right before I was about to go into water for my first dive.

Lessons learned.

food at the resort in Tenggol has since tremendous improvement
food at the resort in Tenggol has since tremendous improvement

One of the best things that happened to having more visitors to Tenggol, at least at Tenggol Coral Beach resort that we went, is that now they serve proper food!

In previous years, you basically “eat to dive” and there were very little enjoyment to be had from those barely edible meals. Now they actually offer fairly decent buffet spread that wouldn’t be out of place in a 2-star hotel in the city.

there was even steamboat dinner on our last night
there was even steamboat dinner on our last night

In fact, on the last night they even prepared steamboat dinner with a hot pot on every table, complete with names of the group all assigned properly.

There’s also now a mini market of sort that you can purchase additional drinks (aka alcohol, soda etc) or snacks to be charged to the room. All in all it is now a much hospitable set up than before, and with 24 hour stable electricity supply & hot water as well. We were pleasantly surprised by this.

our dive guide - Jess
our dive guide – Jess

I have a feeling I would see Tenggol again in future trips, the diving was pretty decent, getting there is now easier than ever, makes for a perfect long weekend getaway.

 

After 2.5 years of not breathing underwater, and over a decade since I first got my license at Tenggol island, this is the 4th time back to one of my favorite islands.

image

Tenggol here we come! Can’t wait.

After spending a good day at Skytrex, I started to research a little on the fun adventure stuff we can do for reasonable amount of money right here in Malaysia. As I was pondering what to do with Haze on her birthday weekends, I recalled seeing a picture of whitewater rafting on one of my whatsapp groups.

A few clicks on the web browser later, I booked ourselves a half-day trip of whitewater rafting at Nomad Adventure in Gopeng, Perak.

Nomad Adventure Earth Camp at Gopeng, Perak
Nomad Adventure Earth Camp at Gopeng, Perak

Nomad Adventure offers quite a few different recreational activities, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, caving, rock climbing, abseiling, and more.

We chose whitewater rafting as it only needs a minimum of 2 pax, and half a day’s rafting with commute time to Gopeng will take almost a day anyway, which fits into our schedule.

we got our safety gears, then a lorry ride to upstream
we got our safety gears, then a lorry ride to upstream

We showed up at Nomad Adventure’s Earth Camp at Gopeng at about 8:30 in the morning after paying for our trip a couple days prior via bank transfer. The camp is ony some 10 minutes or so from the highway exit, which is easy enough to find.

We were then introduced to our guides and got kitted up with safety equipments, which includes a helmet and flotation device.

After that it was a some 30 minutes truck ride with our rafts to upstream. We drove passed several villages and chalets, a bit of a scenic drive I’d say.

white water rafting!
white water rafting!

Before getting on the raft, we were being briefed by our guide on the do’s & don’ts, which also includes a practise session on what to do and how to get rescued should you get thrown out of the raft.

After which was rafting time!

A raft houses 3-6, which includes a guide. Our raft was just Haze, myself, and a very helpful guide, and our “team” had three rafts watching out for each other.

It was a load of fun, part workout, part adventure, and fully immersed in the beautiful pristine jungle. The whole journey took about 1.5-2 hours, including a stopover at a halfway point where we had a little bit of picnic (an apple each).

The adventure was over just a little after midday, and it was definitely something that I would do again, but this time around maybe wait for rainy season at Cameron Highlands so that the rapids will be even more intense!

map to Nomad Adventure Earth Camp at Gopeng, Perak

Address:
Nomad Adventure Earth Camp
Jalan Hussin, Gopeng, Perak
GPS: 4.430745, 101.181127

I’ve been to Taman Botani in Shah Alam several times, mostly for cycling. The huge park located at Shah Alam offers many kilometers of roads that is closed from traffic for cycling, jogging, and has a host of other nature driven attractions like mini zoo, paddy field, and even a 4-season house.

The most exciting activity at this place though, has got to be Skytrex Adventure.

three adventures to choose from at Skytrex
three adventures to choose from at Skytrex

Several weeks ago when the kids came over during school holidays, we decided to bring them for a little bit of good old fashion obstacle challenge/adventure.

The challenge is split into 3 categories:

  • little adventure
  • big thrill
  • extreme challenge

registration and "training"
registration and “training”

The little adventure has a maximum height of 5m and comes with 23 challenges, big thrill with 17 m highest platform and 26 challenges, while the ultimate extreme challenge goes even higher – at 22m and with 34 individual challenges.

They cost RM 35, 45, and 55 each, you can go as a group, a couple, or even just individual, I believe.

yep, it gets pretty high on top of the forest
yep, it gets pretty high on top of the forest

Since we were all newbies who only has a little bit of ego, we chose Big Thrill. Now 17 meter may not sound very tall, but once you get on the highest platform and start to look down, it does get pretty scary.

After all, 17 meter is equivalent to about 5 story high.

hang on to dear life!
hang on to dear life!

To start off, we were fitted with the safety harness, you’re also encouraged to bring your own gloves as the activity does require protection of your palms.

We then proceeded to the training ground and was taught how to use the equipment properly. There are two carabineer/clicky thingy and they are designed to have one hanged onto the cable at all time, you literally cannot detach yourself from the safety cable throughout the whole challenge.

The obstacles include climbing vertical ladders, flying fox, hopping through planks way high on the tree line, and more. It was very exciting and also physically exhausting.

we completed it!
we completed it!

There are instructors in many of the stations coordinating and helping you, and if you feel that you can’t complete due to fear/exhaustion or whatever reasons, there are also exit points to get off the challenge.

If you’re looking for a few hours of thrill in the greens and being able to do it safely, check this place out. After all, it’s only half an hour’s drive from KL.

I’m quite sure we’ll be back for the Extreme Challenge next time.

map to Taman Pertanian, Shah Alam

Address:
Skytrex Adventure
Taman Pertanian
Jalan Liku 8/1, Seksyen 8,
40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
GPS: 3.095400, 101.511013
Tel013-276 9841

This is the last food entry for our London Trip, and more importantly, the only place that I was recommended to go by my colleague William who went to the same city just weeks before Haze and myself made the trip that was sponsored by Malaysia Airlines – the restaurant chain is, of course, Burger and Lobster.

Burger and Lobster, London
Burger and Lobster, London

While most food in London (in our experience) was rather expensive in comparison with what we get in Malaysia, Burger and Lobster somehow manage to provide a sweet deal that is in a way, cheaper than back home.

As the name suggest, this place only offers Burger and Lobsters. After we sat down, we were presented with a drinks menu and no food menu. You would either choose burger, or lobster (baked or steamed), with each dish priced at £20.

As Asian, it was no surprise that we opted for the crustaceans.

baked or steamed lobster with chips, pick one
baked or steamed lobster with chips, pick one

The lobster dish is very straightforward and simple, you get salad & chips as sides, and butter sauce to go with the seafood. And sometimes simplicity is best when it comes to good quality seafood, the lobster was fresh, succulent, and full of that seafood sweetness. The salad was superb as well, though the chips were again, tastes like deep fried potato cut into thin strips with salt sprinkled on them.

We found that portion was just right as well. If you’re one of the bigger eaters, they do have some bigger sized lobsters instead of the standard 1.5 pounder.

Haze & KY at Burger & Lobster, we certainly enjoyed it
Haze & KY at Burger & Lobster, we certainly enjoyed it

While we went to the branch at Knightsbridge, there are actually quite a number of Burger and Lobster branches in London and a few other cities. If I go back to London again, I will most likely revisit this fantastic chain.

P/S: Pince & Pints is doing something similar in Malaysia, I have yet to give it a try.

Burger and Lobster at Knightsbridge, London Map

Address:
Burger & Lobster
Fifth Floor Harvey Nicols
Knights Bridge,
London SW1X 7RJ
GPS51.501666, -0.159802
Tel: +44 2072018676
URL: www.burgerandlobster.com