Category / within Malaysia
Earlier this month on the 1st of September 2015, Malaysian Airlines officially welcomed the start of its new company Malaysia Airlines Berhad. As with many of you, my first ever flying experience was with our national carrier, with what has happened in the past 18 months or so, I personally felt that this is a significant step to the right direction for the company to once again proudly graze the Malaysian skyline.
Flying with Malaysia Airlines Berhad on the first day of business
Together with a few other writers, I was invited to take a short day trip with the new MAB to Penang.
To be honest, last I flew back to Penang was almost two decades ago when I took a flight (and was upgraded to business class, my first business class experience!) back to my hometown, down with dengue.
To commemorate the occasion, the customers on this particular flight was given a cute little pilot bear.
Malaysian Airlines Berhad CEO Christoph Mueller on Sept 1st, 2015
The CEO of Malaysian Airlines Berhad, Christoph Mueller, was on location to make sure everything runs smoothly, and to salute the aircraft before we take off, it was a proper sent off, albeit only to a location 45 mins away.
breakfast at 1997 kopitiam, Paya Terubong, Penang
Upon touch down in the Pearl of the Orient, we first took care of the most important business – breakfast!
We headed to Paya Terubong and jumped right into 1997 kopitiam. The restaurant is named after the year in which it was established. To be fair, I’ve never been here (as I left Penang in 1996 for college).
The loh mee I ordered turned out to be more than satisfying, I particularly love the super spicy sambal. and of course the availability of those soft & smooth pork skin didn’t hurt at all. The char kuih teow we shared was pretty decent, and kuih teow soup received positive remarks too. It was a pretty good start of the day.
heading up to Penang Hill
After breakfast, we went up to the highest peak of the island – Penang Hill.
There are two ways to head up to the hill – by the new & improved cable car from Ayer Itam, or use the Number 11 bus (your 2 legs) and walk your way up from the road next to Botanical Garden. Of course, we chose the easy way up.
Not to be outdone by Paris’ love locks, Penang Hill has our very own section of the same thing too, I found it pretty cute. If you didn’t bring your own locks, they’ve got a stall manned with traders who are quite eager to sell you a few models of locks, rather enterprising.
the old cannon’s still there, but the cable car is now much faster
I walked up to the highest peak and made sure to take a photo next to the cannon, reminiscing a similar picture taken at the same spot when I went up there with classmates at the age of 10 or so, time flies man.
Oh, make sure you take the lowest car on the way down, the faster speed makes for quite a pretty thrilling ride, I love it.
the famous Ayer Itam asam laksa
After Penang Hill, it was time for lunch, and since we were already at Ayer Itam, the famous laksa right next to the morning market made for an obvious choice.
I’ve had this laksa from when it was sold for RM 1 per bowl, and glad to say that it still tastes the same as it was from decades ago. Check out this old blog post of the place from almost 10 years back.
Fort Cornwallis, where Sir Francis Light first stepped foot on Penang
Fort Cornwallis was our next destination. This was the place where Sir Francis Light, the founder of modern Penang first set up camp on the island. The historical site isn’t overly interesting to be perfectly honest, but if you’re hungry (unfortunately we weren’t), the mee sotong at the adjacent food court is excellent.
Peranakan Mansion, I’ve never been to this place even though I’m from Penang
We then moved to Peranakan Mansion, a typical mansion for affluent Baba & Nyonya from a century ago. This mansion was super impressive and definitely worth every sen of the entrance fee. There are over 1000 pieces of antique & collectibles on display. I am quite embarrassed to be a Penangite who only stepped foot in this building for the first time.
If you go to Penang, be sure to pay a visit to this place.
Masjid India, the oldest mosque in Penang, and the nasi kandar next to it
Continuing the tour of Georgetown, our Muslim tour-mates took the opportunity to pray at the oldest mosque on the island – Masjid India.
As for the rest of us, it was an excuse for nasi kandar. I had nasi tomato from the Nasi Kandar Masjid stall (next to the famous Nasi Kandar Beratur which opens only at night). As with most nasi kandar in Penang, the curry was thick and flavorful, but it didn’t have as much umph as I had wanted, I guess I expected just a bit more.
Penang road cendol and rojak
For tea break, we headed to Penang road to have some cendol. There are two stalls operating across the road from each other, and to be honest, they both tasted as good as each other. Some may argue that one is “definitely better”, but I can’t tell.
Oh, the rojak is pretty good as well.
a visit to Chew Jetty before we head back to KL
Chew Jetty was our last destination before heading back to the airport. The famous residential jetty now has about half the houses converted to make-shirt shops of sort. In a way it was perhaps slightly less charming? I don’t really know what to make up of it.
My grandparents stay very close to one of these jetties at Weld Quay, so as a kid I used to roam around the different jetties with no shoes, carelessly side stepping open nails and barely secured planks. There was definitely a sense of nostalgia.
Oh, by the way, I also tapao 10 packs of laksa back to KL, and happy to report that airport security did not think it was a bad idea. 😀
Best of luck, Malaysian Airlines!
When I had my first full time job after graduating from university, I went to Kings Island in Cincinnati for the first time, and thought that it was so awesome I should get a season pass. I mean, being able to go to an awesome amusement park that’s only half an hour away at anytime, why not?
That dream never materialize due to me having lost the job (remember 911?) which subsequently meant that I had no money and having to move out of Cincinnati.
Well, that was more than ten years ago, and now I finally have season pass to an amusement park, and it’s every as awesome as my initial Cincinnati dream – a whole year’s unlimited entrance to Sunway Lagoon!
Sunway Lagoon, here we come!
To be honest, I didn’t know that Sunway Lagoon offers annual pass until I read it on Bobo’s instagram. I left a comment, one thing led to another, and thanks to the good people at Sunway Lagoon and Nuffnang, I got a pair annual pass for myself and Haze.
The pass is priced at RM 300 for adult and RM 240 for kids aged 11 and below. Compared to the entrance price at the gate of RM 150 per pax, the pricing of annual pass really offers great value.
the rides were not disappointing
We parked our car at Sunway Pyramid, had a meal at Texas Chicken, then went into the park.
First thing to do is to load some money into the entrance wristband that comes with a barcode. The wristband is used not only to identify that you did not sneaked into Sunway Lagoon illegally, but the barcode embedded on the band is also a form of cashless transaction you can use to purchase food, use the locker, or pay for premium rides (such as bungy jumps). Any leftover credit can be redeemed at exit.
Sunway Lagoon is now also practically a zoo
Sunway Lagoon has five different major areas – waterpark, amusement park, wildlife park, extreme park, and scream park.
We managed three out of the five during this visit.
The amusement park has many rides that has no-bag policy, so a locker is pretty much a requirement unless you have someone in the group who wants to watch over them. Most rides don’t have particularly long queue, and the pirate ship now goes 360 degree! You’ve been warned.
We also ended up spending a lot of time at the wildlife park, which is actually a zoo in itself. There were tiger, panther, snakes, turtle, goat, rabbit, quite a few species of primates, a huge variety of birds, otter, raccoons, and more. I do wish that some of the habitats were bigger though.
of course, there’s the waterpark
The waterpark was of course, where Sunway Lagoon got its name from, and when you’re there, you just have to try out the massive vuvuzela slide and the “5D” waterplex where you get to have water splashed on you in front of a cinema-like screen equipped with articulated chairs showcasing a wild ride.
In all it was a pretty fun afternoon, we will go back there again for sure. The annual pass is pretty neat!
Earlier this month, I decided to bring Haze to somewhere quiet and relaxing for a short birthday holiday after a super busy end of 2013.
After a bit of research, I chose picked The Dusun for a night stay, recalling the blogpost kinkybluefairy wrote about the place a couple years ago.
vacation in the rainforest, The Dusun
Dusun translates to plantation in Malay, and this is precisely what this place was, and still is, a small family run resort situated within a durian and other tropical fruits plantation about an hour away from KL city.
Started in 1984 as a private family retreat, the couple turned it into a nature resort in 2009. It started out with two houses, and since expanded to five unique houses that fits 2-5 adults each.
our room at the Berembun House, with a bathroom and kitchen
Each houses come with bathroom, a private kitchen, BBQ set, and are situated apart from each other. We chose Berembun House for the night as it is closest to one of the two infinity pools at the resort, with an expansive view over the Berembun forrest reserve.
lovely infinity swimming pool
While the chalet style room is only big enough to house a queen size bed and a small furniture somewhat resembling a closet, there’s a huge deck and a big outdoor carved bench to laze about.
There isn’t air condition units nor you really need one at this resort. The Dusun is located about 250 meters above sea level, making it a few Celsius below average and rather windy and comfortable at night.
took a well deserved afternoon swim
The swimming pool too was gorgeous, it isn’t much for swimming laps, but that’s not what we went there for anyway.
After a dipping session while admiring the nature, we also spent some time playing boardgames that’s available with the room. It was a bliss staying away from all that city noise.
dinner was a self-cooked BBQ affair
Being a small resort, The Dusun doesn’t have an in-house restaurant, what they provide tho is a private kitchen at every house and a BBQ pit with charcoal. So for dinner, I marinated some chicken chops and bought along a fish and a couple sweet potato for grilling. We also ended up buying some brinjal and sambal at the local grocery store 5 minutes away.
We had a great dinner under the stars that night, it was awesome.
breakfast and a walk around the fruit plantation
Fortunately, breakfast is included, and we were served coffee, fresh juice, toast, and scrambled eggs the next morning right at the table on our balcony.
We then spent some time walking about the surrounding area before heading back to the reality of city life.
Other activities provided at the resort includes jungle trekking to a nearby waterfall, bird watching, massage, and even fishing trip. For a longer stay, those distractions will be quite welcomed.
I can get used to holidays like this.
Pantai New Village
GPS: 2.8018, 102.0151
The first time I heard about 1926 Heritage Hotel was back in 1999 or 2000, when my late dad actually worked on the refurbishing project as a backhoe loader operator. I remember that back then that it was going to be a quaint little place, a hotel that is not built from ground up, but one that’s converted from real heritage building that makes Penang one of UNESCO’s historic city.
1926 Heritage Hotel, Burma Road, Penang
Originally built in 1926 as a British colonial immigration officers and local administrators of Penang, the 24 linked houses are restored and linked together via long corridors to make up a 90+ rooms hotel.
The building is owned by the Penang state government, and now run by one of my friends, WenQi’s dad, who originally started to get involved with the hotel by operating the Hainanese Delights restaurant within the premise.
the long hallway and the room with parquet flooring
The room I spent a night over was a Heritage Balcony King that comes with a balcony overlooking the pool, parquet flooring, LCD TV, air conditioning, hot shower, and a mini fridge.
Other types of room includes family cottage that houses up to 6 pax and VIP rooms with pool access.
While the rooms and furniture are a bit dated (it’s a heritage hotel anyway), they are clean, comfortable, and quite charming.
the wall at 1926 Heritage Hotel
One of chilling areas at the 1926 Heritage Hotel is the blackboard wall just a stone’s throw away from the front desk where guests can hang out and if you’re up to it, leave some memories on the wall like many does.
swimming pool and surrounding
Other facilities of the hotel includes garden, a pretty good size swimming pool, WiFi, and free parking for guests. Private functions can also be had at the pool area.
Location wise, 1926 Heritage Hotel sits between Gurney Drive and the Penang downtown area. The hotel is accessible by public bus, and there are quite a few pretty good kopitiam nearby (Old Green House is next to it).
Rates start at just above RM 110++ (promotional), a pretty good bargain for hotel at this class. Check it out if you’re heading to Penang.
1926 Heritage Hotel
227 Jalan Burma,
10050 Georgetown, Penang
GPS: 5.42415, 100.32063
Tel: 04-228 1926
Whenever we think of vacations, we often think about sandy white sand, far-away foreign cities, beautiful old temples, or at a waterfall nested within a pristine jungle. Those are “traditional” and in a sense, more ideal vacations, but at the same time they also require a lot more planning, time, and often incur higher expenses.
Enter the recent trend of “staycation”, pick a nice hotel somewhere not far away and spend a couple nights enjoying the facilities, good food, while having someone else make sure everything is clean and tidy.
We spent an awesome 3 day 2 night stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur doing just that a couple weeks ago for a much welcomed de-stressing session. At the end of this post, you’ll find out how to win the same 3D2N de-stress getaway (for 3 winners.)
Aloft KL, lobby and quirky art
The decoration within Aloft KL is one that is pretty atypical. Lobby is a mixture of industrial presence dotted with quirky art works everywhere.
Right behind the check-in counter is a re:fuel counter that offers ready-to-eat foods such as sandwiches, salads, drinks, coffee, instant noodles, and many other snacks. If you want to have a quick bite, this is a good one-stop center.
To the far right of the lobby, you’ll find the W XYZ bar that offers a selection of draught beer, cocktails, juices, and more. There’re also live bands performing at the area. Have a drink, shoot some pools, enjoy the music.
Mai Bar and Re:Charge gym
On the top floor there’s a more “serious” bar with a great view of the city.
At night, MAI Bar is lit up by colorful LED lights and offers a full range of drinks and great live performances as well as DJs spinning latest tunes. This is a place to go to shake your booty.
For those who loves to sweat, Re:Charge gymnasium is well-stock with modern equipment. While isn’t exactly big gym by any stretch of imagination, it is well sufficient.
infinity pool on the top floor
Then there’s my favorite part of the hotel – the infinity pool on the top floor, right next to Mai Bar.
The pool is some 25-30 meters in length and sufficiently wide enough to accomodate some 8-10 swimmers at the same time if they’re all doing laps. Furthermore, opening my eyes underwater did not sting, I suspect that this is probably due to the fact that they might be using salt water treatment instead of the more traditional chlorine.
In either case, this is a great place to chill.
our room for the weekends at Aloft KL
All guest rooms are equipped with comfortable platform beds, iron, ironing board, bathrobes, coffee maker, 42″ flat screen TV, a sofa, mini fridge, safe, oversized shower, and a workstation. I also particularly like the floor to ceiling windows that takes up the entire wall for an uninterrupted view of the city.
Since we have Haze’s siblings staying with us over one of the nights, we also got the hotel to provide us with extra beds that came in a form of cute little tent thing and a bed with cute bed sheet.
On top of every headboard is also a piece of quirky art work, another nice touch.
breakfast buffet spread at Nook
The big restaurant at Aloft KL is Nook, and this is where most foods are served.
Breakfast comes in the form of buffet with pretty decent spread (complimentary for room guests). There’s salad, cold cuts, juices, cereal, espresso coffee, and many local dishes. My favorite was the laksa Sarawak, which had the same soup base with the high end version that was offered during MIGF at Nook.
evening buffet spread at Nook
At night, the buffet spread at Nook gets an upgrade. There’s good selection of seafood such as mussels, prawns, smokes almon, and even scallops. There’s also roast chicken, delicious salted beef that is served with kimchi, salad, soup, cheese, desserts, and many other local and Western dishes.
Nook provides a good selection of ala carte menu too
Apart from buffet, there is a pretty decent selection on the ala carte menu as well, though you might have to wait a little bit before the food is served.
There’s mushroom soup, steak, cod fish, sandwiches, spaghetti, yee mee with tiger prawns, and many more dishes. These were mostly pretty delicious, though our experience with the steak wasn’t as good as other choices.
kids at play, Aloft KL
Over all, it was a very nice and relaxing stay over at Aloft KL. This whole “staycation” thing is something I can get used to, and hopefully will be doing more.
OK now here’s a few steps you can do to stand a chance to win a 3D2N stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur
- like MyStarJob Facebook page www.facebook.com/MyStarJob
- go to MyStarJob Facebook app Ultimate De-stress Getaway Contest
- take a photo of how you de-stress in the office
- Fill in your details and upload your own Ultimate De-stress Photo in office
- Share and get your friends and family to vote for your photo
- Vote for your photo. Participants can vote once per photo per day
how do you de-stress at work?
3 pictures with highest votes will win a 3-days-2-nights stay at Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, so start doing it and hopefully you’ll be the one who wins this “staycation” package! Contest ends on 15th January 2014, be quick!
Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral,
5, Jalan Stesen Sentral,
50470 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2723 1188
GPS: 3.13295, 101.68619