Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, Melaka

20190607_163133-012788238721400549541.jpeg

We booked a Studio during our stay at this resort. It has 2 single beds which we pushed closed together and towards the wall to accommodate the 4 of us. Mr Husband paid RM293.50 for a 3D2N stay including breakfast , tax and 2 adult entrance ticket to the waterpark for FREE. We still have to pay RM20 tourism fee upon checking in. 

3D2N = RM 293.50

The hotel was understandably packed as it was the long holidays. Our breakfast on the 1st morning had to be held at the convention centre because of the huge number of people. It was only the second day did we get to sit in the coffee house.

Breakfast selection was acceptable for the price you’re paying. You have the rice/noodle option, toasts with jam/ butter, porridge, fruits, basic cereals and coffee/tea. It was OK. 

Checking in was a breeze. This resort uses a ticketing system to serve their customers. Service was fast. Our room was located on the 8th floor in the Amari Villa. Despite the large volume of people staying in the resort, there was no difficulty (for us) to get into a lift. Bayou Lagoon has an in house convenience store just in front of the elevators which was convenient when you’re desperate. Otherwise, replenish your supplies elsewhere. 

20190609_162019-collage-018619560007352512936.jpeg

Our room has a strong WIFI connection, a mini fridge and complementary beverages. To us, having a fridge is a blessing. We are not allowed to bring the room towels to the water park, so either bring your own from home or rent one in the park itself. 

Our tickets came with the price of the room. Otherwise, the fees are as below;

20190617_212449-014982675570770685525.jpeg

As you can see, there are other attractions available but because of time constraints ( we still have a few houses to visit for Eid), we just went into the water park. 

img-20190608-wa0017-014728112915864725601.jpeg

Bayou Lagoon is a relatively small water park compared to the bigger ones out there. Families with young kids would enjoy this place. Teenagers and young adults? Maybe, depending on what thrill you’re looking for. What I loved about the place is that they don’t scrutinize your swimwear. Meaning, it is ok to wear a clean T-shirt and pants. One need not wear a burkini for instance. Janji pakai baju. 

img-20190608-wa0013-013863179477178828354.jpeg

This place does not have lifeguards. So swim and play at own risk. There is an eatery inside. You can reload your tag with RM50 at the entrance and once you’re in the park, transactions are scanned through your bracelet. I am not sure if you could collect any balance from the counter once you’ve exit the park. That perhaps, is a question other visitors can answer. 

img-20190608-wa0007-016910904984798983345.jpeg

Ee enjoyed going down the water slides. He is a lot more braver the last time we brought him to play in a park. Ninie on the hand, occupied and entertained herself by scooping water into her little bowl. Occasionally, I would give her duck float a little push around the ankle pool. In case, you’re wondering, she is not butt-nàkéd. She is wearing a diaper. But we don’t let her take a dip into the pool for hygiene purposes. 

20190608_102459-016040698633746715801.jpeg

20190610_053103_0000-013838314266504940689.jpeg

If I could improve my trip experience any better, I would consider the following;

  • buy own bottled mineral water in advance. their convenience store is expensive. A bottle of 2L drinking water costs a freaking RM6.
  • bring a few extra blankets cause my kids, being self-centred (lol..egoistic lil brats HA HA) like to keep the blankets to themselves. They ain’t wanna share. And while you’re at it, bring personal towels that you can use inside the water park too.
  • diffuse the room with EOs of your choice. the room does smell a bit musty when we first arrived. It got better but the experience could be enriched with my doTERRA oils preferably the Wild Orange/ Peppermint. 

A daytrip to Universal Studios Singapore from Johor Bahru

We are a family of 4. I have a child in primary school and a toddler just over 14 months during the trip. We went for this short excursion during the Melaka public holiday long weekend in April.

We initially drove from Melaka and then stayed at the Hotel Sentral in JB where our bus was scheduled to pick us up the next day.

I wrote about the hotel here.

And these are the ticket prices I mentioned before in the similar blog post.

uss price

I packed my bag light but with enough supplies to keep the kids happy. Some of the things in my tote include;

  • Small thermos for hot water to prepare Ninie’s milk
  • Few empty bottles for us to drink and istinjak. There are loads of water coolers all over the place. InsyaAllah, dehydration would be the less of your worries
  • But mind you, the sun can be really hot. So bring along a mini fan or hat to cover your face
  • Apply sunscreen religiously
  • Lots of wipes.
  • Snacks for babies. Although they did not perform a bag check on us at the entrance, we thought we’d be safe and not smuggle in too much outside food. Furthermore, there are halal certified eateries inside the theme park.
  • Comfortable footwear
  • Bubble play toy. Bought those mini ones at Eco Store. 4 for RM2.10. It was a bargain.

On the day itself, we had breakfast at 7am in the hotel restaurant. I also made sure our son relieved himself as many times as he can before we got on the bus. We departed by 0815 am at our stop. To be honest, the trip from JB to USS itself is less than an hour BUT what kept us waiting were the pit stops at both Immigration offices. Malaysians getting out of Malaysia is easy, its getting into Singapore that begs a longer queue. Thankfully, our bus for that day was not full. So the wait took less than 30 mins at each stop. We were able to arrive at USS by 10am ish.

There were numerous tips online on how you wish to make use of the time there. But with kids, everything can be unpredictable. There is no order. You just venture in and pray for the best. Most of the rides have height requirements for children and Ee is at an age where it is possible to get on almost all of them.

Can babies enjoy USS?

 

Absolutely, even though they lack the memory of it. Ninie was able to enjoy the Shrek 4D cinema. In fact, we entered the premise twice. More for the cool, air conditioned surroundings. Even then, Ninie had fun experiencing the jerky movements of the chair and ‘special effects’ which complemented the short movie.

She could have also enjoyed the merry-go-round but she was fast asleep then. So only Ee and I went on the ride.

In the New York section, there is a mini behind the scene ( BTS ) cinema that Ninie could enter too. This place basically shows how , for example , a natural disaster is emulated and designed for a movie. I thought the scene presented to us LIVE was so realistic. Storm, fire, ship.. everything!

Lunchtime at Oasis Spice Cafe

This is one of the food premises certified as halal in USS. It is located just in front of The Mummy ride. Although the interior is Egypt looking – it serves briyani and the briyani reminds me of the one I had when I was a student in Manchester, UK. It was that delicious. I could actually cry because I really miss this briyani recipe.  Unlike the ones we have in Malaysia. Price kena tutup mata though.

This particular site is fantastic as it listed other Halal eateries you can try too in USS.

Here is my attempt using the Remove Unwanted Content of Photo app. Yes, the name is that long. As you could see, there are a few irregularities in the picture above.

This above photo is taken during my long queue for The Revenge of The Mummy ride in the Ancient Egypt section. The waiting line was long but the wait was fun nonetheless because the design of the area was awesome. I really did feel like I was in a lost tomb and that The Mummy could attack this mummy anytime. The ride did made me feel a tad nauseous especially after my briyani.

Prayer Room

Its a small building located between Ancient Egypt and the SciFi City. Just behind the locker area. There is a partitian for men and women. Of course visitors must be considerate of each other as each space could accommodate about 3-4 people only at one time. They provide prayer garments, mats and ablution facilities there. Telekung dia warna warni and it is a very clean space.

Scheduled Shows

We managed to enjoy the Sesame Street Anniversary Show. Unfortunately my kids do not recognize these characters since local animations have a stronger fan base in Malaysia. We have Boboiboy, Upin Ipin and Didi & Friends to name a few. If you’re not Malaysian, you should consider checking em out. Especially the 1st Boboiboy movie and the recent Upin Ipin Siamang movie.

At the Hollywood area, there was a wonderful singing stage show. They sang from melodies coming out from the jukebox. I was in awe to see those very Hollywood sort of old school cafes you see in the movies with the neon lights and big high up in the sky signboards. Those diners la where people get pancakes and coffee. Or a quick lunch.

We departed from USS at about 1730H ( I think). It has been a while. We had dinner from the food trucks near the hotel. The trip left us feeling elated and rejuvenated in a way. I have never had so much fun in a theme park. Would really want to go again. Time for another piggy bank.

If you enjoyed this post, consider  to

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.

20190504_181938-collage-019033424470478950361.jpeg

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.

20190415_0819052130940806857974321.jpg

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.

20190504_182119-collage-016682904997554675504.jpeg

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.

20190415_092242-014514692205384529879.jpeg

20190415_091809-effects-012830785660281965793.jpeg

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

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.

facebook_1555424888532933086356605406877.jpg

 

 

20190329_191747-effects4738652220902300518.jpg

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.

20190330_172642-015179919607041908366.jpeg

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.

20190331_095838-017668766557261294362.jpeg

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

Fishermans Wharf

fb_img_15540758501035339783686501845318.jpg

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. 

20190417_220840-collage-01789703722774872080.jpeg

Macao Science Center

20190331_112952-015482330026038629919.jpeg

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.

20190417_221009-collage-01427384359617727995.jpeg

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.

fb_img_1554075803004-014528137044534178027.jpeg

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.

20190417_221324-collage-016118222300817799167.jpeg

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

20190330_115742-016389147144393819281.jpeg

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.

20190415_174351-collage-014216153602708782270.jpeg

Tickets were

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

20190330_105224-effects-014119544886928862170.jpeg

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.

20190415_210240-collage-011318677110464559211.jpeg

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.