Tag / holiday
September 5, 2012
Following the previous post about diving at Tioman, I thought I’d share what are some of the choices of food available at Salang Bay (since food is mostly an ala carte affair here)
There are probably a dozen or so food and drinks outlets along Salang Bay, two duty free shop (one only sells alcohol to-go), and a partially stocked convenient store. In another word, everything essential is available.
Salang Indah Restaurant, tomyam, traditional Malay food, and more
One of the biggest restaurants here is Salang Indah Restaurant (yah these guys aren’t very creative with naming business establishments), located just a 100 meter north of jetty. They are one of the very few that open for business throughout the day. There’s plenty of tables and you get seated right next to the beach, sea breeze and holiday mood, very nice.
Here you can find Thai food, sandwiches, toast, pancakes, porridge, and even roti canai. The tomyam, kailan ikan masin, and omelet we had was pretty decent. At 6-8 ringgit per dish it wasn’t expensive either.
However, don’t ever eat here if you’re in a hurry. Service is super slow and ultra terrible. We asked a server to expedite our order on second visit as we had to dive within 25 minutes, she acknowledged and then sat down on and started playing with her phone, we ended up canceling the order 25 minutes later as they haven’t started cooking yet. No apologies given either.
Salang Beach Restaurant – Chinese food (pork free though)
The lone Chinese restaurant at Salang Bay is another super creatively named place called Salang Beach Restaurant. This place is perhaps a 8-10 minute walk north of the jetty.
We had clay pot mutton (RM 16), bean curd (Rm 13), and cabbage soup (RM 8) to go with some steamed rice. The mutton was tender and rather tasty, but the other two dishes were quite bland. We had to ask for soya sauce and chili. They weren’t bad, just .. tasteless.
Oh yeah, service is very slow here too, I guess it’s just the laid back island life.
Though this is a Chinese restaurant, they are pork free. In fact, the whole Salang Bay is pork free.
food court, on the left once you get off the jetty at Salang Bay
Just to the right of the jetty is a food court that usually has at least a couple shops open for business. We caught the national double’s pair playing on TV while enjoying some fried rice from the last stall to the right.
It was a meal that was forgettable, but the operators were very friendly, and we spent another half an hour chatting with them and a local dive master. It turned out to be a decent experience.
Haze & KY at Salang Beach, Tioman 2012
These are just the place we ate, I was told that you get very good ikan bakar to the left of jetty at night, and there were many drinking place serving cold beer at RM 5 a can and other alcoholic drinks at RM 10-12 per glass.
Even though food wasn’t exactly anywhere near good, they were edible and priced pretty decent for a holiday destination. I wanna go back to Tioman!
February 10, 2012
It is always a mystery to me as to why there are so many people who insists on eating the things they are used to eating at home while traveling to another country. The phenomenon must be very prevalent, so much so that at most touristy places, there are more Western restaurants than there are local Thai places.
Khao Lak is more of the same, the small resort town (approximately 100 km north of Phuket) where we spent the day after liveaboard to Similan islands for degassing purposes. For us, that was of course a perfect opportunity to eat everything Thai.
Fire in the hole!
motorbike is the best way to get around
While Khao Lak is relatively small and there are cabs available pretty much everywhere, the best mode of transportation is a scooter. You probably don’t even need a license to rent one, but do make sure you know what you’re doing.
Our scooter cost 200 baht per day, and you can refuel from plenty of places by buying bottled gasoline for 40 baht per liter. If you value your life, ask for helmets, they provide them without extra charge.
som tam by the roadside, I had it last year too
If you love sour & spicy stuff, som tam is a must try. Made of unripe papaya or green mango, bean sprout, peanut, chili, dried shrimps and more. Comes with a kick, we paid 40 bath, would be cheaper if this stall wasn’t parked right outside hot tourist spots.
breakfast was this rice/noodle with extremely spicy broths
On the day of departure, we decided to forgo hotel breakfast and try something a Thai would have. After riding around a bit we arrived at this kopitiam with a couple Thai ladies operating a stall that offers rice or noodle with a selection of dishes with broth.
Thai: spicy haa!
Me: we kon Malay, spicy no problem!
I was mistaken. These shit was tasty, and really, really hot. Lucky for us there were fresh cucumbers & a variety of vegetables on the table to cool things down. It was a good meal, what do you call them anyway?
noodle soup is the yums, choices of beef, chicken, or pork
A day prior to departure, just before dinner, we stopped by one of the road side stalls right on the main street at Khao Lak for some “snacks” that turned out to be really delicious noodle soup.
Here you get to choose any combination of 3 ingredients: pork, chicken, and beef. I had mine with chicken & beef while Haze opted for pork and beef. This reminded me of Vietnamese pho, and had the same basil/bean sprout on the side too, but as with anything Thai, the flavors were stronger. Yums.
50 baht for each, water was free. 100 baht well spent.
pad thai wasn’t bad, the fried oyster tho, disappointing
Our last meal there was at this little restaurant a couple kilometers away from Khao Lak (scooter brings you places!). We had pad thai with prawns & squid, and another plate of fried oyster to share.
The pad thai was rather average, and the fried oyster.. well, after the experience at Penang’s version, this was a complete disappointment. Each plate was 50 baht, with 15 baht each for coca-cola t hat comes in those classic glass bottle.
Yes, my stomach is still recovering from all those chili overload, but of course it was worth it.
November 2, 2011
It’s time to continue documenting the remainder of my Bali trip while the memory is still somewhat fresh.
After spending a night at Kuta and two more nights at Sanur, we moved to Ubud.
Located at central Bali, Ubud is about one and a half hours away from Kuta on a cab, which in Balinese traffic, only covers around 35-40 kilometers.
Night at Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali
The most happening place in Ubud must be Jalan Monkey Forest, a street filled with many hotel/hostel/home stays, restaurants, art galleries, and touristy shops. It is a (mostly) narrow one way street with cars that travels no faster than you could jog.
The relatively higher elevation of 200+ meters above sea level and the abundance of greenery at Ubud gave the place a slightly cooler and more pleasant temperature and than the coast.
Sri Bungalows with lush green padi field at the back
We checked into Sri Bungalows located on Jalan Monkey Forest and paid US $60 via agoda.com for the room that had a King size and another Twin bed. The wifi only works for one device at a time, but it won’t be a holiday if you constantly have to be on the internet, right?
At the back of the hotel (which was a series of “bungalows” with 4 rooms each, 2 on ground & 2 on 1st floor) is a swimming pool, and next to the swimming pool are lush green paddy fields. I’m not sure if these are real farmer’s paddy fields or they’re there only for the hotel guests, but they’re sure beautiful and very relaxing just to stare at.
artsy stuff all over Ubud, all for sale
All along Jalan Monkey Forest and a few streets around it, there are art shops. Many many art shops. Ubud is the art and crafts hub of Bali, and it may as well be the art & crafts hub of South East Asia. Throw a stone in any direction at this place and chances are you’ll hit a painting.
You can find art pieces from from 100,000 IDR cheap paintings to works done by famous Indonesian artists that fetches a small fortune.
monkey forest at Ubud, the prime tourist attraction
Monkey Forest (naturally located at Jalan Monkey Forest), also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, is a sanctuary with over 500 long-tailed macaques roaming about in the forest among the trees and temples.
mom, elder sibling, and baby monkeys
Entrance to Monkey Forest is 20,000 IDR (exchange rate was at 10,000 IDR to 3.40 MYR at time of travel). You get a small guide map and plenty of advertisements. There are 2-3 entrances into the sanctuary, and ticket counters are right next to each of them.
There are villagers selling bananas, peanuts, and other fruits you can purchase to feed the primates.
obviously these Australians were braver than me with the monkeys
It doesn’t take more than an hour or so to explore the entire Monkey Forest. There were certainly a lot of monkeys, and some of them quite daring too if food is presence. Fortunately, the monkeys are non aggressive for the most part.
I didn’t dare letting these tailed cousins sit on my lap or climb on me, but some of these Aussie tourists were more daring. (I still remember how hard the monkey bit me while filming for Project Alpha at Tambun, luckily its teeth were filed)
and I tried the famous cafe Luwak, Haze thought it was gross
We also stopped by a Bali Pesto Cafe along Jalan Monkey Forest cos they serve Kopi Luwak. For those who are not familiar with this special type of coffee, do read:
Kopi luwak, or civet coffee, is one of the world’s most expensive and low-production varieties of coffee. It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract.
More about that in the wiki entry of Kopi Lewak.
This cup of kopi luwak cost me 46,000 IDR including tax, which translate to something like 1.5 cups of Starbucks.
I had it black and did not add any sugar, and true to its reputation, the coffee wasn’t very bitter and carry a pleasant aroma. It pretty nice coffee, but I don’t see the what the hype is about though.
Then again, I couldn’t be 100% sure that the coffee they served me was in fact, kopi luwak. Will try it again next time.
this is how you transport chicken in Bali
And after that 3 dogs on motorcycle photo in the last picture of Kuta post, I shall end this post with a photo of this chicken transporter Haze managed to shoot while we were riding on the rental motorbike around Ubud.
October 11, 2011
Kuta is one of the de-facto touristy areas that most who goes to the island of Bali will visit. It is a sort of a bigger version of Batu Feringghi in Penang, with more tourists, more stalls, more activities, and bigger waves.
Not coincidentally, this was also the ground zero of Bali bombing that happened in 2002, though there seems to be no lingering effects from that tragic incident 9 years ago so far as the tourism industry goes.
surfing lessons are offered at every 10 meter on the beach
Other than sun bathing and looking good in your bikini, one of the more popular activities on Kuta beach is surfing and wake boarding. You can easily get a surfing lesson from eager locals who almost looked Hawaiian, minus the accent.
We did not bother doing it, the wave wasn’t particularly big that day, and even if I managed to master the trade, then what? Your mileage may vary.
Pendawa Hotel, quite strategically located
We stayed at Pendawa Hotel for a night at Kuta. It’s a 2 star place that is not too hard on the wallet at USD $46.75 via Agoda.
The room is air conditioned, uncarpeted, clean, and has a balcony facing the tastefully shaped swimming pool. The toilet, however, came with a bath tub that is already slightly stained. Not exactly awesome, but hey, it was less than USD $50.
street arts, not sure if those three are admirers
The hotel is located inside an alley directly opposite Discovery Mall, which is situated right by the beach. The mall has your typical KFC, Pizza Hut, and even Roti Boy. Yes, Roti Boy!
The alley is only as wide as a car, and wears plenty of rather tasteful graffitis (no huge cock or ahlong stickers, thankfully)
obligatory picture of myself by Kuta beach
Before heading to the beach, we actually spent a few hours at Waterbom Park. It was loads of fun actually, but there will be another post complete with GoPro videos dedicated just for it. As soon as Haze gets the video done, that is.
cremation process right on the beach, hmm….
I snapped the photos above without knowing what actually happened. It looked like some sort of religious rituals at the time, with groups of people gathering, and some open burning going on.
Only later I found out (from a local) that these were actually cremation process, strangely, there seems to be no one crying. If this was a Chinese thing, there’d be plenty of drama (even if we have to fake it)
chicken satay by Kuta beach
Our first meal at Bali was from this satey stall by Kuta Beach, hotel breakfast notwithstanding. We had to wait for a good 15-20 minutes before it was our turn, business was brisk at this little stall operated by a pair of old couple.
yes, it was yummy
The chicken satay comes with quite a bit of ketupat, but instead of peanut sauce that we’re familiar with, there is a type of pretty spicy sambal as condiment instead. It was plenty tasty, and cost us 10,000 Rupiah if I remember correctly.
At time of travel, 10,000 Rupiah was RM 3.60.
A can of chilled Coca-Cola goes for 8,000-10,000 IDR. Yes, everyone is a millionaire in Indonesia.
hair braiding and temporary tattoos services are offered everywhere
There were plenty of hair braiding, padi-manicure, and temporary tattoo services along the beach. Haze did hers for 50k IDR. Initial asking price was 100k IDR, but in Bali you have to bargain for everything, and we probably could have gotten it even cheaper if patience is one of my traits.
The lady worked expertly on her hair, and the whole thing only took some 15-20 minutes.
we don’t take lotsa picture together, but when we do, it’s with pink sunnies
Now with the camera and her braided hair, we looked properly touristy. This is a recipe to get slaughtered, but you only travel so often, so what the heck.
bakso, tastes only as “good” as it looked
Near the art market by Kuta Beach, we found a stall operated by a guy with lousy hairstyle selling bakso – one of the so called must-eat street foods in Bali.
As we looked plenty touristy now, the bowl of bakso cost us 20k IDR, though you shouldn’t really pay more than 10k IDR or a bowl of meatballs, meat paste, crackers, and vermicelli noodle in soup. It didn’t taste as good as I thought it would be. I’d prefer it to be a bit less starchy and with more meat in those paste/ball.
this is how you transport 3 dogs on a motorcycle
On the way back to the hotel, we also saw this pretty impressive feat – just a guy going on a motorcycle ride with his 3 sausage dogs, the puppies were basically just holding on to dear life while the guy trolls around on his Suzuki.
Yes, these are things you see at Kuta.
November 9, 2010
Pulau Aur is one of the Southern most diving destination in Malaysia, as a result, the island is probably more popular to Singaporean than the average Malaysian. Which explains why Gab, who used to work in Singapore helped organize this trip right after our Redang Project AWARE dive trip last September.
The operator was FWS, and we stayed at Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge.
the journey to Pulau Aur via Mersing
Racheal who missed the Redang trip due to illness was able to join us on the last dive of the season with her boo Norman. Terence, Gab, Irene, Horng, and myself fit into 2 cars and started our journey to Pulau Aur on Thursday evening, taking advantage of the holiday on Friday (Deepavali.)
While the road journey is only some 360 KM, the east-west bit was through old trunk roads and thus it took a good 4.5 hours to get there while driving relatively speedy. This is evident from Irene’s constant exploit of the poor IKEA soft toy to cover her face over the windier part of the track.
Port Cafe by Mersing Jetty
We arrived at Mersing just before midnight, parked the car and took care of supper in the TSH (tourist slaughter house) looking restaurant that is the Port Cafe. As it turned out, food wasn’t all too expensive at less than RM 10 per plate, and the nasi goreng Cina was exceptionally tasty too!
slave style boat transfer from Mersing to Pulau Aur
The boat to Aur left Mersing just past midnight. There wasn’t any real seating space on this boat, there were 2 “decks” of sleeping space instead. If you’re like us and got on the boat late, all there’s left would be the rear upper deck that has about 3cm headroom.
The experience was a bit like sleeping in a coffin, except there’s an additional falling hazard and the aircond was too cold. It was still fun though, I slept through most part of the boat ride, bliss!
the resort at night, we arrived before day break
We reached the resort before sunrise. Being ushered down the boat onto another platform in the middle of water while still super woozy was certainly an experience. The resort wasn’t even really in sight at night, it felt like we were on set for Pirates of the Pulau Aur or something, that sorta woke me up.
Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge does look a lot more inviting in daylight
This is the view of the resort taken from the small jetty that’s only good enough to park a sampan (shallow water). The seating area’s for moonlight BBQ dinner, with Narcosis bar on the left. There are altogether 18 rooms in 9 different semi-d chalet.
Our rooms were located on the 2nd level and it was already too high to climb after exhausting dives. I’d appreciate an escalator around here, but the view is fantastic though.
breathing compressed air – bliss!
Diving is done from the very same boat that we took from Mersing. We set up our gears and left them on the big boat, but going to and from the diving boat to resort had to be done via the sampan. A bit of a hassle but we weren’t really complaining.
nudibranches at Pulau Aur
There were 9 dives scheduled in 2 days, I did 8 and skipped the last night dive mainly due to exhaustion. Over here there was no time to do anything else, it was dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, dive, eat, and with some naps in between.
This was really a proper diving trip, there weren’t any activities for snorkelers.
we take a sampan to the bigger boat before each dive
Besides the platform, Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge does not really have a beach. There were, however, two very short stretch of beaches at each side of the resort accessible via the very poorly maintained wooden bridge (one of which already completely destroyed). The resort owner explained that maintenance of these bridges/walkways are done by the Malaysian government…
Since it was the last dive trip before season ends, the water condition was not exactly the greatest. We were in fact pretty lucky to not have to deal with any thunderstorm or crazy huge waves when we had to be under or on the ocean.
Visibility, as a result, wasn’t too great either, and most dive sites had mild to strong current, not particularly friendly to beginners.
Terence with his new gear, weird sea creature, color-coordinated Racheal
That said, we still had pretty decent dives that could have been even better if not for the fact that our Dive Master somehow always think that fighting the current head on is such a great idea.
There were the usual suspects under the sea – several types of nudibranches, bat fish, cleaner fish, clown fish, baby baraccuda, puffer fish, angel fish, and so on. Horng even spotted a cuttlefish!
Our hope of swimming with a whale sharks though, will have to wait for future trips.
awesome food at Pulau Aur Diver’s Lodge
The food at Diver’s Lodge was really way better than our expectations. We had moon light buffer dinner the first night, and really awesome BBQ dinner the second night. There were unlimited grilled prawns, beef, squid, cuttle fish, and so on. I still miss the sliced fried potato there.
Even the lunch/tea time food were pretty good, fried chicken, fish, and of course, that awesome homemade donut with Hershey’s chocolate sauce.
earth is 70% water, don’t always be land bound
I think I’m done with diving for 2010, next year we’ll get the girls to learn diving too! Kerol, Kim, Haze, Diana and more (and also the return of Gareth), can’t wait!