Sunday, 25 December 2016

Pulau Lagenda Hilites

Assalamu'alaikum!  Below are the hilites of our trip to the island during recent Diwali break ...

Taking flight instead of the usual ferry

The very first thing that we look for after getting our rented car
Staying here for 2N as an appreciation from the company



Catching the sunset at Pantai Cenang behind our hotel room


Riding the able car which we never tried during previous trips

Staying another 2N at this serene and wonderful setting 
Shopping near this landmark at pekan Kuah 



Visiting few, but compulsory historical places

Island hopping after a day delay due to weather condition

Swimming again in Tasik Dayang Bunting after ~10 years
Last but not least, for me the foods are heavenly delicious,


We just say that this will be our last trip here, but just maybe we will come back because of the food, who knows? InsyaAllah.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Perth & WA - part 2 of 2

...cont from part 1 of 2

Park & beach@Rockingham
Pada hari ke-4, kami checkout daripada hotel dan tinggal kebanyakan barang di store hotel since kami akan check in semula di sini lagi after just one night in Augusta.  On the way, kami singgah di Rockingham dulu.  Hajat untuk solat di Masjid Ar Rukun terbantut kerana berkunci mungkin sebab belum masuk waktu solat fardhu. 
Luxury homes@Mandurah
Selepas meronda kawasan sekitar, kami bertolak ke Mandurah pula.  Di sinipun kami just jalan2 sambil berfoto sekitar rumah mewah tepi laut complete with boat on the parking bay.  Then, kami terus ke Lake Clifton untuk melihat trombolites or living rock.  Di sini juga kami makan bekal sandwich ditemani burung kakak tua liar.
Ancient forms of microbial communities that photosynthesize.
Setelah kenyang, kami teruskan perjalanan dan singgah di Banbury untuk solat di sebuah surau.  Malangnya, selepas penat mencari dan jumpa, surau tersebut sudah terbiar sekian lama dan tidak berpenghuni.  Kami terpaksa meneruskan perjalanan serta singgah solat di RNR tepi jalan yang simple dan lebih merupakan parking area untuk melepaskan penat memandu. 
aka Thrombolites@Lake Clifton
Kemudian, kami menghala ke Busselton Jetty.  Kami membeli tiket untuk berjalan kaki kerana kami terlepas the last train ride pada pukul 3pm.  After taking foto and walking about half way on the 2km jetty, kami berpatah balik untuk berkejar ke tempat penginapan di Augusta.
The longest wooden jetty in the world
Hajat untuk ke Cape Leeuwin Light House terpaksa ditunda the next day kerana keadaan sudah gelap and quite dangerous for driving on the highway with no streetlight. Hutan di kiri kanan juga agak tebal dengan pokok2 besar yang berbeza dengan keadaan hutan ke Cervantas yang dilalui kelmarin.
aka Busselton Jetty
Kami sampai agak lewat dan berpuas hati dengan chalet yang berkonsepkan kampung menggunakan traditional fireplace untuk pemanasan.  Malam itu, kami makan kebab yang dibeli di Margaret River sebelum tidur dalam kesejukan dan beselimut kerana tidak berani menyalakan api fireplace. 
The frontside of sheoak chalet@Augusta
Keesokannya, semasa makan pagi, barulah kami hidupkan fireplace yang rupanya senang sangat sebab ada bahan api serta instruction disediakan yang kami tidak perasan malam tadi.  Nevertheless, it was a very memorable exciting experience for all of us.
The backside of sheoak chalet@Augusta

Selepas makan pagi, kami ke Cape Leeuwin Light House berdekatan dan terus menghala balik ke Perth dan singgah dulu di Donnybrook for apple picking.  Pada mulanya, kami terlepas junction untuk ke ladang epal itu.  Kamipun singgah di tourist info center untuk mendapatkan direction yang betul  ke ladang itu.  Surprisingly, we were told that hasil buah epal tidak banyak musim ini dan kemungkinan besar buah yang ada sudah habis dipetik.
The sunrise from sheoak chalet@Augusta
Memandangkan tuan ladang tidak memberitahu apa2 tentang itu semasa kami booking by email sebelum datang, we decided to go there regardless since we were there already.  Nasib baik meyebelahi kami sebab memang sudah ada ramai pelawat yang sedang diberi taklimat oleh the owner. 
Cape Leeuwin Light House
Kami pun join the crowd dan dibawa ke ladang epal sebaik taklimat selesai.  Daun pokok epal sudah agak kekuningan sebab sudah di penghujung musim dan memang betul buah kurang menjadi, tetapi still ada untuk dipetik sendiri dan dibawa balik. 
Where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean@Cape Leeuwin Light House 
Kemudian, kami meneruskan perjalanan dan singgah lagi di Banbury untuk ke pasaraya BigW.  Tujuan utama adalah untuk membeli pinggan corelle yang jauh lebih murah berbanding di Langkawi.  Kami singgah di tepi pantai berhampiran untuk lunch kebab yang dibeli dan meneruskan driving balik ke Perth memandangkan hari semakin gelap.
Apple picking time@Donnybrook 
Pada hari ke-6 barulah kami dapat meronda sekitar Perth CBD.  Selepas breakfast kami ke King’s Park dan spent masa ~2hrs di situ sebelum bershopping di Watertown which was located just across the road from our hotel.  Kemudian balik ke hotel untuk rehat dan solat sebelum menaiki free yellow CAT bus di depan hotel menuju ke town center. 
Pink lady apples@Donnybrook 
Kami ke Hay and Murray St Mall, London Court dan singgah minum the tarik dan makan nasi campur serta mee goreng yang sedap di Insan’s Café.  Setelah kenyang, kami ke city gift shop nearby untuk membeli souvenir lagi.  Selepas itu, kami berjalan kaki ke arah Swan Bell Tower di Barrack Square. 
King's Park@Perth CBD
Setelah puas di situ, kami naik pula free blue CAT bus untuk balik ke hotel.  Pada malam itu, kami mengemas barang2 dan menghabiskan bekalan yang dibawa dari Malaysia sebab esoknya dah nak balik.  
Hay and Murray St Mall@Perth CBD
Pada hari terakhir, selepas check out from hotel, kami bertolak ke airport sambil melalui Masjid Perth dan singgah di Bellmont Forum for lunch.  Nasib baik kami telah beli corelle di Banbury sebab kebanyakan stock corelle di sini termasuk yang kami berkenan sudah kehabisan.  Habis makan, kami terus bertolak ke airport
Swan Bell Tower@Barrack Square
Kami memulangkan kereta di tempat sewa di airport juga.  Sebelum itu, kereta telah kami vacuum dan isi minyak penuh untuk mengelakkan penalty. Then, kami solat dulu dan terus check in.  Selepas melalui immigration check, kami ke counter tax for tourist tax refund scheme.  Akhirnya, kami menaiki pesawat at 3.30pm menuju KLIA.

The oldest mosque in Perth.
Overall, percutian kali ini mencapai target yang ditetapkan kerana kami dapat cover hampir semua activity yang dirancang.  Kalau berkesempatan lagi, bolehlah kami explore banyak lagi tarikan di Western Australia ini atau just stay in Perth CBD sambil bersiar2 menggunakan public transport sahaja, insyaAllah.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Perth & WA - part 1 of 2

Assalamu’alaikum,
Pada cuti sekolah hujung May dan awal Jun lepas, kami sekeluarga ke Perth & also to other popular tourist spots in Western Australia.  Winter di WA officially bermula pada 1stJun.  So, cuaca just nice sebab suhu dalam early 20s degC di siang hari manakala ia turun ke belasan degC pada malamnya. 
Black Swan@Caversham Wildlife Park.
Kami berkereta dari Dungun dan bermalam di Salak Tinggi sehari sebelum flight ke sana.  The next morning, kami book shuttle ke KLIA dan tinggalkan kereta FOC di hadapan hotel selama ~seminggu sebab akan bermalam di tempat sama semasa balik nanti.  
Joey@Caversham Wildlife Park.
Flight bertolak pukul 9.30am dan sampai di Perth ~5.5hrs later.  Seperti di NZ, immigration di Aussie very particular tentang barang makanan yang dibawa masuk, tapi nasib kami agak baik kerana semuanya lepas tanpa banyak soal setelah kami declare and provide printout of all food types and quantity yang penuh dalam satu bagasi untuk memudahkan pemeriksaan kalau perlu. 
Kangaroos@Caversham Wildlife Park.
Bab visa senang pula sebab kami hanya request online through individu yang direkomen dalam banyak travelog yang direfer.  Ianya siap dalam ½ jam just through whatsapp conversation and online banking serta lebih murah berbanding apply on your own. 
Farm show@Caversham Wildlife Park.
Selepas solat di bilik yang disediakan at lower ground near the car rental counters, kami ambil teksi bermeter menuju ke city center untuk ke City Stay Apt Hotel yang ditempah.  Hotel ini amat popular di kalangan Malaysians. 
Kaili's@Fremantle 
Oleh itu, tidak hairanlah ada tanda kiblat di dalam bilik.  Mungkin juga sebab Perth adalah bandar Mat Salleh yang relatively paling dekat dengan tempat kita, maka kami terserempak dengan orang Melayu bukan saja di hotel, but also at almost all places yang kami singgah sepanjang di sana.
Fish 'n Chip@Kaili's
Keesokan harinya, selepas breakfast di bilik, kami berjalan kaki just around the corner untuk mengambil kereta sewa yang telah ditempah.  1st destinasi untuk hari itu adalan Caversham Wildlife Park.  Tarikan utama di sini sudah tentulah kangaroo dan koala. 
Fisherman statue@Fremantle 
Berbeza dengan tempat lain yang kami pergi seperti di Gold Coast, kaola di sini dibenarkan disentuh dengan belakang tangan.  Setelah puas bergambar dengan koala, melihat farm show menggunting bulu biri2 dan bermain dengan kangaroo pelbagai saiz dan warna yang bebas berkeliaran, kami ke Mirrabooka untuk solat di Masjid At Taqwa.
Crawley Edge Boatshed@Swan River
Kemudian, kami terus ke Fremantle untuk lunch dan membeli souvenir.  Kedai di Fremantle dibuka hanya pada Fri, Sat & Sun dan parking adalah sangat susah kecuali jauh dari tempat yang ditujui.  Setelah merasai the famous fish & chip di Kaili’s, kami bergerak ke E-Shed market pula dan singgah di kedai Megabes untuk memborong key chains, fridge magnet, t-shirts dll. 
aka Blue Boathouse
Sebenarnya banyak attractions yang boleh dilawati di Fremantle, tetapi kami just ambil gambar sikit2 di beberapa tempat sahaja dan terpaksa skip yang lain2 disebabkan kekangan masa.  Lagipun dalam 5.30pm hari dah mula gelap since dah nak masuk musim sejuk. 
Welcome to Lancelin
Di hari ke-3, tujuan utama kami adalah ke Pinnacles Dessert dan Lancelin.  Kami bertolak selepas makan pagi seperti biasa dan menyusuri King’s Park yang akan kami singgah di lain hari untuk ke Blue Boathouse terlebih dahulu. Kami bergambar sepuas hati kerana tidak ada orang lain pada masa itu, tetapi parking kereta berbayar almost 1km away.  
Sand dunes@Lancelin
Kemudian, kami ke Danish Patisserie untuk membeli bekal croissant dan roti yang sedap setelah sesat pada mulanya disebabkan GPS yang memberi direction yang kurang tepat. 
Ladang biri2 otw to The Pinnacles 
Perjalanan ke Lancelin melalui Indian Ocean Drive mengambil masa selama ~2hrs.  Kami menyewa sitting sand board di kedai Lucky 7.  Setelah puas bermain bukit pasir yang putih atau lebih kepada bergambar sebenarnya, kamipun makan dan solat di public park nearby dan terus menuju ke Carventes.  
Limestone formations within Nambung National Park
Sepanjang perjalanan, tidak bayak kereta yang kami selisih,  ada juga ladang lembu dan biri2 di kiri kanan jalan dan sesekali terserempak dengan kangaroo liar di hutan or more like belukar dengan pokok2 yang rendah dan jarang2.  
aka The Pinnacles@Cervantes
Kami sampai di The Pinnacles ~2 hrs later dan terus memandu ke kawasan dessert setelah membayar fees di kaunter masuk.  Setelah lebih 1hr di situ, kami bertolak balik ke Perth melalui jalan lain iaitu Brand Hiway kerana nak drop by Emu Downs Wind Farm.  To be honest, tidak ada apa sangat yang menarik di sini kerana wind turbines terletak jauh daripada pandangan.  No wonder kami tidak jumpa orang lain ke sini. 
Emu Downs Wind Farm@Cervantes
Then, kami bertolak balik ke Perth dalam kegelapan malam yang sunyi sepanjang jalan dengan perasaan takut terlanggar binatang liar seperti kangaroo dsb.  Rasa lega bila sampai di bandar dengan selamat.  Kami singgah di supermarket Coles yang ditutup lewat lalu membeli bahan sanwinches untuk bekalan hari esoknya.   

cont to part 2 of 2....

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Singapore via Legoland

Assalamu’alaikum,

After less than 2 months, we paid a visit to Singapore again during recent CNY holiday.  The main objectives were to go up to the MBS SkyPark and also its SkyWay at the SuperTree Grove.  Since we got free tickets to the Legoland, we  made a detour to the theme park for the 2nd time to at least experience the Dragon coaster ride.
Legoland from the above
On the way to JB, we spend a night at Batu Pahat for JJCM and meeting an old friend there.  The following day we head straight to Legoland before spending 2 nights in JB.  Luckily, the condition inside the park was very nice and accommodating considering the generally very hot weather in the whole country at that time.  We managed to get on several attractions that we missed the 1st time we went there including the Boat ride, Driving school and the Dragon coaster ride.  Mission accomplished there.
Dragon coaster ride
On the 3rd day, we drove and parked our car at the Larkin bus terminal in order to take a bus to Singapore.  We bought return tickets and had to get off and on the bus twice for passport checking and clearance.  Surprisingly, the immigration process was very smooth with much lesser crowd that we had expected. 
Inside Sultan Mosque
Upon arriving at the bus station at Bugis, we went to the Sultan Mosque for solat and lunch at a famous nasi beriani and murtabak nearby.  After that, we walked to the nearest MRT station to go to the MBS.  We went up to the SkyPark before proceeding to the SuperTree Grove.  The view from the SkyPark was not disappointing even though the tickets were quite pricey. 
MBS SkyPark
Then, we went down and walked towards the SuperTree.  After purchasing the tickets and while queuing to go up the SkyWay, the weather became a little bit windy.  Suddenly, it got a little bit stronger and stronger until the visit up the SkyWay had to be stopped. 
MBS behind the SuperTrees
We were given the choice to try our luck later on that day or come again within a month before the ticket expires.  We decided to give it a miss and went back to JB by bus.  By that time, the weather became a little bit cloudy and rainy. 

SkyWay between SuperTrees
Generally, the trip was ok except the bad luck of missing the SkyWay experience once again.  Maybe that will be a reason to pay yet another visit to Singapore in the future and maybe driving our car all the way there, insyaAllah.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Singapore Maulud & Xmas trip

Assalamu’alaikum,

During recent Maulud & Xmas holidays, we went to Singapore with the main intention was to visit the zoo and Gardens by the Bay.  We have been to Singapore several times which includes a trip to USS, but those 2 attractions were the places we really wanted to experience this time around.  Instead of going overland, we took a flight from KUA @1335 hrs and arrived @1440 hrs. 
Upon arriving at Terminal 2, we bought 3 Singapore Tourist Passes, STP, valid for 3 days.  Then, we went to the Ground Transport Desk to book an airport shuttle to our hotel.  However, we were advised to spend a little bit more and just took a cab considering the size of our party with accompanying luggage.   We followed the advice and the cab took us to our hotel located near the 24-hr Mustafa Shopping Center. 
The hotel room turned out to be very small to our liking with limited space to perform solat and other things besides sleeping.  We decided to stay in the hotel instead of losing valuable times searching for another one.  After a little rest, we took another cab to our first agenda which was to have a lunch with the famous tulang merah.  We could have it in any other place, but we went to a recommended eating place near the Beach Rd.  The taste was a bit sweeter with a lot of coloring.  It would be our first and probably the last one.
After that, instead of walking to a nearby MRT station, we took a bus to the Bugis St.  STP was used to pay the bus fare which needed to be swapped twice upon entering the bus and during exiting in order to complete the journey.  From Bugis St., we went to Raffles Place St. since we wanted to go the Merlion Park which overlooking the Marina Bay Sands, MBS, on the other side the Singapore river.
After some photo shootings and seeing a laser light show similar to the one we had at HK Avenue of Stars, we took the MRT back to our hotel.  Actually, we were supposed to go the Mustafa Center next as per the agenda, but we skipped that due to fatigue.  Instead, we had a dinner at a restaurant near the hotel before went straight to bed. 
On the 2nd day, after having breakfast in the hotel room, we took a bus to Ang Mo Kio.  The bus was the better choice since it took us directly to Ang Mo Kio bus station instead of taking MRT and changing lines to reach there.  Then, we took bus no 130 to the zoo.  We bought a combo tickets online to visit the zoo and the river safari next door.  At first, we wanted to go to the zoo as well as the night safari, but abandoned that idea since we wanted to spend the night going to Orchard Rd. 
Even though it was raining most of the time we were at the zoo, it was a worthwhile and satisfying experience since the set-up of the award winning zoo was very clean and accommodating compared to the other zoos we have been before.  The highlights of the zoo were the white tiger, proboscis monkeys, koala bear and the polar bear.  We had our lunch at the halal KFC outlet inside the zoo. 
Afterwards, we walked to river safari nearby.  Before entering, we performed solat at one of the rooms with the help of the friendly staff there.  At that time, the rain already stopped.  The highlights of the safari were of course the different species of fishes including the sturgeons in major rivers around the world.  There were also giant pandas, red pandas as well as the Amazon River quest ride.
At around 1700 hrs, we went out from the river safari to catch a bus back to Ang Mo Kio.   That time, we could not manage to get a seat on the 30-min ride and had to stand all the way to the station.   Upon arriving at the bus station, we walked to the MRT station across the road and went to Orchard Rd.  The only reasons for stopping by here were to see the Xmas lighting and decorations along the famous street and to buy some HRC T-shirts.  The HRC was located quite a distance from the Orchard Rd main attractions. 
We also wanted to have dinner there, but could not find a suitable place to settle down.  Since we were all very tired already, instead of taking the MRT, we took a cab back the hotel.  At the end, we had our dinner at the same restaurant we found on the 1st day.   After that, we walked to the Mustafa Center nearby to buy some stuffs, but mostly window shopping, before calling it a day.
The following day, our main objective was to go the Gardens by the Bay. Since we planned to go there later in the afternoon, we decided to pay another visit to the Merlion Park for a daylight photoshoot.  We spent there for about an hour before taking MRT to Bugis St. in order to perform solat Jumaat at the majestic Sultan Mosque, but not before having lunch at a famous restaurant nearby.  We had a delicious mutton beriani and of course Singapore murtabak.
Then, thinking that the day was still early, we decided to go back to the hotel for some rest before going out again to our next destination.  That was where we made a big mistake and you would find out why later in this blog.  Afterwards, still thinking that we had ample time to spare, we made a detour to the Chinatown to buy some souvenirs such as key chains, fridge magnets and t-shirts. Finally, we made our way to our main agenda of the day, the Gardens by the Bay.
By the time we arrived at Bayfront St., it was already 1830 hrs.  Normally, it should be a perfect timing to experience the gardens day and night scenes.  However, since it was Xmas, the tunnel from MRT leading to the gardens was fully packed with holiday makers.  We spent nearly 30 min in the tunnel alone before emerging at the gardens at the other end.  We even had to forget about a detour to the MBS because of that.
We followed the crowd towards the flower and cloud forest domes.  Before entering the domes, we had to join a very long queue to buy combo tickets for both domes.  Meanwhile, the ticket to the skywalk at the supertrees were already sold out.  In my opinion, the domes should be best visited during daylight.  We could barely see and enjoy the flowers during the night.  Interestingly, we think that the adjacent supertree groove was best viewed at night. 
After spending less time that it should be considering the ticket price and the hassle that we had to through to reach the place, we went out from the dome and walked towards the nearby supertrees.  Thereafter, we wanted to walk back to the MRT station, but decided to join a long queue again for a cab.  By the time we arrived at our hotel, it was almost 2300 hrs already.  We had dinner at the same restaurant again and went to bed feeling so tired, exhausted and a bit disappointed since the gardens experience was below our expectation. 
On the last day, we paid a final visit to the Mustafa Center before checking out from the hotel.  We then booked a cab to the airport and had breakfast there.  We returned the STP to claim back the deposit.  We boarded the flight @1130 hrs and arrived safely at KUA @1235 hrs.  Overall, it was a mixed experience for the trip, but it did not deter us from planning another visit to Singapore in a very near future, InsyaAllah.