Hotel Sentral Johor Bahru

We stayed at Hotel Sentral Johor Bahru. This is not to be confused with JB Central Hotel as this is a different place altogether.

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Ours is a budget, 3 star hotel with just enough facilities to bring about a restful day. It is at Tanjung Puteri and a few minutes walk away from the R&F Mall JB. The hotel is a comfortable place for you to have a quick breakfast, a comfortable bed to sleep in after a tiring day at USS. If you find this hotel not to your liking, then there are nearby hotels – practically a doorstep away such as Erica Hotel, Erya by Suria and GBW Hotel.

We booked a Family Room for 2 Nights. It came to a total of just below RM 350 without tax. Breakfast included. The room has a single bed and a double bed.

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I specifically mention these hotels because they are walking distance from each other and are in collaboration with Pakej USS dot Com (yes, the name of the agency is that straight forward) in terms of pickup and group movement.

The day trip is done daily and it offers ticket prices as below; (as of April 2019)

Adult   : RM 265 / Children : RM 215/ Senior : RM 175

This will include the entrance ticket for USS as well. Nice, right? Will write about USS later.

Back to the hotel, it was OK. At night, they have food trucks near the lobby and the food sold there were great. We really enjoyed the Mac & Cheese. Breakfast at the hotel was adequate. You have the toast section, noodles, nasi lemak (of course), cereals, fruits & salad and your juice with beverages. Kira OKlah with what you pay.

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Then, there is a swimming pool located on the second floor. Unfortunately, the changing room was not open, so you kinda have to wipe yourself really dry before entering the lift or find a spot and change to a drier outfit.

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The toiletries were at its minimum – meaning no toothbrush or toothpaste. So bring your own – it is not that difficult if you are a frequent traveler. The hot shower was great, water pressure nice.

Most importantly, every floor has a Cuckoo water dispenser machine. Imagine the joy of free flow hot and cold water. Especially when the machine  is standing just 2 doors a way. No need for boiling hot water for Ninie’s milk.

Since this hotel was booked by Mr Husband, I will put any small discomforts to rest. Like the broken furniture, limited parking space and ragged looking towels. If it was up to me though, I’d probably upgrade my room or choose another hotel. However since we were tired after a long day at USS, these small glitches just doesn’t matter anymore as it was drowned in our snores.

 

 

 

Pic taken with Samsung A7

Bodyshop Malaysia – The LYB Club and The Bodyshop Skin Defence Range

Ever since I watched this video, I thought to myself “I should take sunscreen more seriously” eventhough I am indoors most of the time.

I mean, just because you’re not under the blazing sun, it does not mean that the UV rays are not shining among us, right? However, I did not want to resort to wearing those hard core sunscreen brand you apply when you go to the beach and give off that white cast appearance.

I also knew that my makeup products, despite boasting having SPF’s will not give me the protection I need. Hence, when The Body Shop (TBS) started marketing their Skin Defence Range, I was sold.

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This range is not new though. Apparently it has been around before in 2016 based on reviews I saw in beauty blogs. Makes sense that I had no idea as I have only recently been obsessed with TBS. Ha ha. of course there were mixed reviews. After all these people who review them are experts or aficionados in the subject of beauty.

So here is a non expert point of view. From the whole range, I only bought the face mist (SPF45++) & the multi protection essence (SPF50++++). Simply because I want the 20% discount if we buy 2 items from the range. I did not want the serum since I still have the Drops of Youth Serum and was not keen to try the facial wash as I am already using a good one from doTERRA. And I don’t moisturize so getting a moisturizer just did not make sense.

I love that the texture is light.

And has that lovely soft floral scent to it. It doesn’t feel sticky to your face hence I was comfortable to wear makeup on top of the essence. This goes to both face mist and essence. I was advised by the saleslady to wear the essence as that layer before you apply makeup and use the mist later during the day as a ‘top-up’. I however did my own regime.

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I used 2 squirts of the mist as my base for my makeup in the morning. The coverage was OK I think. And then later in the afternoon, after Zuhr prayers – I’d just wear the essence with my compact powder and a dab of lipgloss. (light makeup)

I hate that it’s a bit pricey for such small quantity though.

Tapi namapun Malaysia, anything Bodyshop is mahal skit. ha ha ha. 

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The Facial Mist was retailed at RM139 for 60mls. The essence was at RM125 for also 60mls. I really hope that one day TBS could do this ‘recycle your bottle programme‘ which earns you points or something. It’ll give some sort of motivation to finish the product and save the earth at the same time.

With the additional points from this purchase, I was able to renew my Love Your Body (LYB) Membership. This will entitle me to various perks such as free gift wrapping for the whole year, discounts on my birthday, attend exclusive LYB member events (if any) and other promotional discounts. I just need to spend at least RM300 for the year to renew my membership. So far, my favourites from the store are their bodywash gels, the peppermint foot scrub and perfumes. I have yet to try their makeup range – perhaps it is something I will look into this year. =)

 

Minci travels Macao 2019. Family friendly places of interest

We tried sightseeing to as many places as we could in Macao. Indeed, this place is fairly easy to navigate especially with its reliable cab services. Here are some of the places we went to.

Senado Square → Ruins of St Pauls Cathedral → Monte forte

Senado Square is very pretty at night. It is a public place (pedestrian-zoned) with tourists shops in between the historically designed buildings. We found the Turkish ice cream place around the corners and came to discover that the owner used to sell the kebab we were looking for based on what we read from blogs. Only, he does not sell them anymore.

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The Ruins of St Pauls had whats left was this stone facade with 68 steps leading up to it. The structure has carvings of Jesuit images that has an oriental theme to it which may be of interest to some visitors.

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Fortaleza do Monte is the historical military centre in Macao. It was initially built to keep of pirates but was later taken over by the Portugese. Ee was very excited to see the cannons and boy it was one heck of a climb to the top of the fort. I perspired like crazy.

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Matteo Ricci : The European scholar who mastered the Chinese script and Classical Chinese

Fishermans Wharf

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It’s like a theme park but maybe we picked the wrong time of the day to go there. Too early in the day? It has hotels, casinos, many interesting East meets West architecture and restaurants. Perhaps a visit to this place later at night would be more colourful as it was a bit too quiet during the day. Furthermore, we didn’t really have an idea of what to do there apart from taking pictures and enjoying the sea-nery. 

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Macao Science Center

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This place reminded me of Petrosains Kuala Lumpur. However, because some of the science stuff uses chinese as its communication language – we find it quite difficult to enjoy certain things. Ee got bored.  Even then, my favourite section was the Biomimicry area. It showcases how modern human technology draws inspirations of its innovations from animal kingdom.

For instance, the Shinkansen 500 series in Japan is designed in the shape of the kingfisher’s beak, which not only eliminates the issue of noise but also enhances the trains fuel efficiency. This change is made after Eiji Nakatsu, an engineer with JR West discovered that this bird are able to dive into water without making noise or splashing water because of Nature’s design.

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You could also use your AirAsia boarding pass priviledge here for a discount. Anyhow, for us the entrance fee is cheaper using their bundle package rather than our pass.

Kun Lam Ecumenical Centre

Kun Lam is The Goddess of Mercy and here she stands 20ft tall emblemed in a special bronze. underneath her feet is a lotus shaped dome which houses information regarding Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

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The Chinese Buddhist Goddess of Mercy is widely worshipped for her readiness to rescue those in need, and her responsiveness to peoples’ wishes.

Source : macaucloser

 

Macao Tower

I like that this tower is full of life with all the adrenaline rush activities. They have Bungee Jumping, SkyJump, Sky Walk and Tower Climb. Although I did not try them myself, it was still fun to watch. The 360 degrees view was majestic and great. We bought popcorn and just sat there enjoying Macao.

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To sum up my experience..

…Macao is to us, a different option unlike the Krabi that we went to for like almost 3 years in a row. We look forward to coming back to Macao especially when most of the constructions have been completed. I really hope that there will be more dining out options for Muslim travelers too.

As a souvenir, we bought the usual tourist stuff – fridge magnets and “I Love Macao’ TShirts.

Perhaps next time, we would interpret the weather forecast better for half of our luggage were almost winter wear jackets when in fact Macao this time around (March/April) – is like suhu bilik ekon. Macam tu la… 

I hope this gives some insights into how you could enjoy Macao as a muslim traveler without the gambling and the booze. HA HA HA HA.

 

 

Minci Travels Macao 2019. Spending the day in Cotai

Cotai spells out Luxury, Prestigious, Posh etc. It is a center where the buildings are huge, expensive and casinos are just everywhere. We felt a bit under-dressed walking underneath the glittering chandelier the size of our sofa at its shopping area. Perhaps next time I’ll wear a nice dress with heels. And a fashionable shawl to match. With a pair of classy sneakers in my posh backpack, just in case.

We managed to visit 3 places there. The place is so huge that we managed to lose our sense of direction even though the map for the area is readily available. Perhaps we were hungry. Even then, we couldn’t find the Indian restaurant that we badly wanted to go and try. I think they have the Peacock Restaurant there at The Venetian.

The Venetian Macao

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In short, we wanted to see the much talked about San Luca Canal. Indeed, it was a beautiful place. We did not get into the gondola. We only took a picture.

The Parisian Macao

This is a separated building that houses also many shopping brands, hotel and casino. It is however connected with a bridge that you can walk through. The highlight of this particular hotel is the replica of the Eiffel Tower. You can enjoy the scenery at the observation deck if you stay at the hotel. But we weren’t guest. And we were also not members (of god knows what). So we paid for our tickets. The building was breathtaking with its tall, magnificent features but the view, was a tad disappointing.

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Tickets were

MOP $108.00 for adults, MOP $85.00 for children. 

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It is because constructions were still happening on the Cotai Strip. So, it is not that ready yet with all the cranes, lorries and sand.

Studio City

This has got to be my favourite place. This is also a hotel and casino resort but more cinematic in appearance. The design of the external building was very Gotham city with the statues on the roof. Their collaboration with Time Warner ( which means they are also friends with Warner Bros and DC Comics) enables visitors to enjoy DC character features such as the Batman Dark Flight. We could not enter because Ee had height restrictions.

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We did however enjoyed the Golden Reel, a figure 8 ferris wheel. Walking to the entrance of the elevator to the reel felt like walking to an Academy Award Show. They were playing the OST of Jurassic Park and gosh, it felt so majestic to walk through the glittering, sparkling hallway. Again, we felt under-dressed. Haha.

This is also the part where it got interesting. The guy at the counter asked if we brought our boarding passes to which my husband fortunately had. He said for any passengers boarding the Air Asia flight which flew directly to Macao can benefit from a discount to the entrance fee. So keep your boarding passes people! I am however not sure which other airline also has this perks.

By the time we finished our 15 min ride on the wheel, we were really really tired from all the walking. Yup, you can actually walk from one resort to another. It burns the calories but kills your feet. Especially with Mr Husband having to carry our 12kg Ninie.

it was only nearing 4 pm but totally exhausted. So we took the cab back home to Metropole Hotel and retired quite early to bed that day (lights out by 9pm) as we have another full day the next morning.

Take home messages :

Prepare snacks kids are familiar with. They might not want to try something new.

Wear, comfortable (fashionable, if you must) shoes

Bring a fold-able umbrella, just in case.

Minci travels Macao 2019. Tickets and the start.

This is Part 1.

I am a Malaysian. I am a Muslimah and is traveling with my two young children. Let’s face it Macao is expensive. So it is very hard to create a budget itinerary when you want to be comfortable. Or maybe there is a way but I have yet to find how. We shall learn from other bloggers. I am not going to lie. I felt a bit anxious wearing a hijab there but thankfully nothing bad happened.

Short clip Video

Edit by googlephotos

Here are our preparations for the trip. It is a 4D3N trip using Air Asia. Mr Husband was very generous as he ordered in flight meals for the  direct 3 hours 45 mins trip from KLIA to Macao. Perhaps he did not want Ninie to be irritable and hungry. Yes, young girls need to be fed before she starts rolling on the floor like a mop. The ticket was booked in less than a month prior to the trip. We went there on the 29th of March. The ticket was booked on the 13th of March. Very last minute. Geram pun ada. Tak sempat nak inform boss. 

Packing the suitcase

  1. Brahims instant meals. While Mr Husband and I are adventurous when it comes to trying new food – we were just worried that both Ninie and Ee being unaccustomed to new dishes may not be able to stomach their meal very well. So we brought something more familiar to their tongue from home. A few other instant meal options I discovered out there was the delicious Sharifah (Nasi Briyani GAm) which I ate before the trip and Kembara Meal that was a bit over my budget. The latter is sold at selected petrol stations. In Melaka, they have it at MITCs Petronas station.
  2. Medicine and ointments
  3. A simple notebook. For me to document anecdotes for my blog and hobominci
  4. Extra coffee and hot chocolate beverages with snacks
  5. Entertainment for the kids in the hotel. In our case, the ultramans and raksasa. 
  6. Socks and light jackets
  7. BABY WIPES!!! Very useful for easy, effective, quick sanitation. Basically to wipe everything from bums to food and stuff.
  8. My doTERRA oils – I handpicked Peppermint, Wild orange & Forgive Roller Blend to bring with me. And since we will be doing a lot of walking – the deep blue rub.

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Currency

I exchanged RM500 of spending money into HKD. In Macao, we can use HKD but the change will almost all the time be given back in their own currency, the Macanese Pataca (MOP). I made my husband keep my money and basically spent it on souvenirs like magnets, food and taxi fares.

Since coming back from the trip I have yet to receive any change, so I guess we have spent it all. Ha ha ha.

Starting the Journey

We left Melaka at 0530 in the morning by car and stopped at Seremban RnR for Subuh prayers. This time we parked at Salak Tinggi instead of the Long Term Car Park centre. From Salak Tinggi we took the KLIA Transit train and hopped off at KLIA2. Since we are traveling with an infant, we have to check in at the counter which was a breeze that morning. We bought a 25 kg baggage and ours was already a freaking 19Kg. macam heran ada jugak.. bawak apa lah.. LOL.

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We had a light breakfast and it did not take us long to board the plane. Our flight was at 1005AM and e.t.a was 1355PM. There is no time difference between Malaysia and Macao. Only the prayer times are slightly early. I did have a bit of difficulty to locate the baby changing room once we’re in the departure hall. I did find one at the L2 area. It had a water dispenser in the room hence easy to prep Ninies milk. It also had a small curtained area for privacy in case a mom needs to breastfeed or do some pumping.

Ninie amazingly behave throughout the flight. The in flight meals were delicious. The prebooked meals we had were Potato salad, choc banana muffin (highly recommended),  milk coffee, chicken teriyaki with rice, bukhara chicken briyani and uncle chins chicken rice. We had a similar menu on our flight back home.

2 adults, 1 child, 1 infant : Return tickets + in-flight meals + tax = RM 1595.00

With Air Asia, everybody can fly.

Our plane landed 15 minutes early. There is no prayer room at Macao airport but it is okay, we can perform our jamak prayers at the hotel.

Immigration was simple. Because we have no hidden agenda of course. No questions. They check your passport, look at your face and soon you are on the way. Not even a Hello was exchanged. We then took a cab to our hotel which was located in the city itself. The Metropole Hotel.