the short trip to Johor Bahru

#throwback

If it was entirely up to me – I’d probably sleep my way from Saturday (postcall) to Monday. But Mr Husband has other plans and when he throws Ee into the picture like “kesian Ee cuti sekolah tak pergi mana2” _ I caved in. OK lah oklah… where are we going?

Merenung Jauh

JOHOR BAHRU

 

and I imagined having bowls and bowls of laksa johor. which I ended up did not having. *pilu*

For our short stay – we booked a room at Tropical Inn. Which is just opposite Double Tree HIlton guys. A contrasting picture indeed. Wished I took a photo. One old school, haunted look hotel and the other, very modern and posh.

Despite its ancient decor – our room was clean with complimentary breakfast. There was no bath tub to Ee’s dismay but there’s a mini fridge which was good enough. The location of the hotel is very near to the shopping mall and Pasar Karat. You can literally walk there in 10 mins unless you’re heavily pregnant like Yours Truly.

Air conditioning was inconsistent. Perhaps they switched it off temporarily at night during certain hours as sometimes you do wake up feeling either too cold or too warm.  To save electricity, maybe? Otherwise, the service and amenities were fulfilling the star ratings. If only the breakfast options were a bit more meriah.  ha ha

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Zoo Johor. Its a small zoo in the city and the entrance fee was super cheap. RM1 for kids and RM2 for adults. Most of the time I’d be sitting down on the benches while Ee and Mr Husband climb the many flights of stairs to see the lions or something. I just couldn’t manage it anymore. Generally, it was still a nice zoo where the whole family could enjoy a day out together with minimal budget.

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As of food, Wak Radols satay is a must. Mr Husband seems to like it very much.

somehow we drove to a different branch of wak radol..

 

This time, we took the opportunity to try Sup Tulang Zz’s famous mee rebus. Each bowl was quite pricey. Taste-wise .. nasib baik sedap. tkdelah very marvelous but the dish kept the business going.

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And like any tourist, a picture around bandar JB is a must. We wanted to go to the night petting zoo but posing near the crown at the fountain was good enough. I thought the city was very pretty at night with all the LED lights. Very clean as well. If only we could stay longer but our jobs await. hmph.

 

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THE CROWNED PRINCE OF MELAKA

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Langkawi 2017 : Langkawi Geopark

The Langkawi Geopark is definitely getting bigger every time we set foot here. first it started out with the cable cars but now you have the Oriental Park, the 3D Artwork museum and so many other attractions. It’s become a place where you really need to spend a day here instead of just a few hours. If you want to try it all!

 

We opted for the Basic Combo.

 

Since we came early – like 10AM sharp, there were ample parking space and the queue for the Cable Cars were still short. Within minutes we were already in one of the ‘gondolas’ and made our first pit stop in the skies. Then things started to get a bit ugly. Because it was not compulsory for visitors to stop at the 1st landing, many and perhaps majority of the more experienced visitors forgo the stop and stayed put in their cable car to go further up.

Which had us at the first stop waiting FOR AGES to get into a gondola. Honestly,they should make everyone leave the cable car, take a stroll and then join in the queue again. Its tolerating enough having to give way for those with Express Lane passes and also VIP carriages.

The Skybridge was already opened to public and Malaysians being tremendous copycats, there was an allocated bridge for your love(pad)locks.

We then went to the SKyDOme. A multidimension thing where we sit in a dome and experience an out of the world experience.. Its basically a roller coaster going into Mars? We were not impressed with it actually. The seats were stationary – only the visuals were swirling. Gave me a headache. I just shut my eyes and enjoyed the cold air conditioning.

In between our rides we stopped by a FREE rabbit petting area. I purchased an RM2 cup of carrots to feed the rabbits and boy, they must be damn hungry because every one of them were like climbing on me like savages – trying to rob the carrots off me. I had to be brave of course in front of my son, Ee.

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The SkyREX ride was exceptionally fun. The ‘story’ is that we were on this safari jurassic ride when suddenly the system malfunctioned and dinosaurs went loose. The ‘truck’ was bouncing, swerving and rocking – it felt like the dinos (visually) were trying to attack us and kill us for fun!. The ride was very short but it was awesome nonetheless. Children under 90cm are however prohibited from entering the ride on top of pregnant women and those at risk of a heart attack.

Finally, our last energy reserves were spent on the 3D Art Langkawi Museum. Said to be the 2nd largest in the world and the largest in Malaysia , it has 9 different themes under one roof. It can be quite tiring to pose and make stunts across all 9 categories. I don’t know how my son gets his energy. He’s like forcing me to keep taking pictures – hahaha.. layan je lah.

You will need to take off your shoes and sandals for this place. So clean, nice smelling socks or pedicured feet please.

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We spent between 3 to 4 hours in the geopark. There are other attractions to your liking which might include Time Travel and the 6D Cinemamotion … our limitation however, was time and money. And we were hungry. Of course there were a lot of wonderful restaurants there, including a subway but neeehhhh.. we want old fashioned cendol and laksa by the roadside.

So pick a day and spend a day there to get the most out of it with your family. There’s plenty of things to do and eat.

 

 

Langkawi 2017 : Food at a glance

We never miss The Laksa. Its thick white rice noodles in spicy-sour fish broth. We did not managed to find our favourite laksa near the school. Perhaps it has relocated elsewhere? We have no idea. So we went to the next best place for laksa – the stalls scattered around the airport.

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I have to highlight that Langkawi’s Cendol is a bit different from the ones available in Malacca. They don’t use shaved ice in Langkawi – instead its literally ‘ais batu’. Initially I thought they had run out of shaved ice. However after a few meals with cendol – we realized thats how it was prepared in Langkawi.

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On days when we were too tired to find laksa – we’d have chicken rice at the shop near the hotel. Not bad for RM5.

 

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So yes, this trip was not much of a culinary adventure to us. Perhaps next time we get to explore more new eateries in Langkawi.

 

Langkawi 2017 : Hotel Bahagia

The hotel provides service as good as its name. You do feel bahagia. Located in the heart of Pekan Kuah, it is appealing to tourists who have ‘shopping at Haji Ismail Group HIG MALL’ as part of their itinerary. It is a 25mins drive from the airport. The room rate at Hotel Bahagia starts at RM99 per night for a standard room. However, the more financially apt guests may prefer the Suites and Studios.

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Hotel Bahagia also has a ‘cousin’ – Villa Bahagia which is a different form of accommodation suitable for families and groups of friends situated a few miles away.

We were in Langkawi for 4D3N and we booked our package through the Malindo Air website. The total cost for our trip –  2 adults and 1 kindie kid was just above RM700.00 (return flight ticket + hotel room)

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Pros;

  1. Location is strategic to Pekan Kuah where all the shopping goes on – especially to locals who go there to find tax-free Luminarc, Corell and what not.
  2. Room has basic amenities like a kettle, hot shower, towels and hairdryer. Only, the lower room rates would lack a window. So you should just stare at your husbands eyes and see through the window of his soul or something.
  3. Breakfast is included in our hotel room rate and the menu is I felt, befitting to what we pay for. They also have a cafe next door, a convenience store with bakery and did I mention there’s a Thai Restaurant just down the block? Yup, all in one row.
  4. There’s an agency that provides island hopping packages and other island activites at the lobby. So it was very convenient for us. Price was negotiable and just like, in Krabi, they pick you up at the hotel with a transport to the jetty.
  5. FREE WIFI in every room

Cons;

  1. You need parking coupons to park at the hotel. They do not have a specific car park. You’d need to park in front of the shop lots. Thankfully, there are plenty of shops selling the coupons. Too bad the reception does not sell them.
  2. Housekeeping can be a bit sloppy. On one day they left their scrubbing towel in the toilet. The next day they forget to empty the trash – I mean they did remove the plastic bag from the bin but they forgot to bring it with them. When we arrived, they did not stock up the toiletries with shower foams. This however, could be an isolated incident so it’s OK.
  3. The coffee could taste better. It was agonizing.
  4. While its nice to have FREE WIFI – you need to get a new username & password everyday from the reception.

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At the end of the day, the good points won us over and it was overall a wonderful stay. We would probably pay for maybe a deluxe or Junior suite room for our next visit if we still choose to stay there. Heard there’s a massage chair in the latter room.

Excellent location.

Worth the money.

Clean facilities.

 

Our 6th Anniversary at Palm Garden Hotel, IOI City Resort

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We stayed here for 2 nights : 31 December 2016 – 02 January 2017 and booked the Heliconia Twin Room which has 3 single beds in it. The total payment was MYR 458.00 which included breakfast for 2 people.

I made by booking through Agoda.Com and paid for it with my credit card. Checking in on a Saturday afternoon was a bit of a wait but all counters were open and reception staff was still able to manage a smile and a small pleasant conversation.

Our room was 117. There were no supernatural sightings or weird noises as reviewed by a visitor back in 2014. That particular review back then was so specific to mention room 107 & 202. We did hear the therapeutic sounds of the garden pool though.

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Despite our many holidays and hotel stays – we were new to the Turndown Service. I thought that was interesting and a simple google search led me to various articles regarding this service. We didn’t require the service but it was good to know. The furniture in the room is a bit old but sturdy and the rooms electricity supply did not require us to put our card key into any form of slot. It was just the simple old fashioned main switch – God bless, I loved it.

I wanted to try the Tranquility Spa especially with the Happy Hour Promotion but the spa was fully booked. Damn.. they have a 50% discount on selected packages from 11AM to 3PM everyday. The catch is your session must be within that time frame. So you can’t really book a 1 hour massage at 230PM – it just doesn’t work that way. Maybe next time.

I was happy with the breakfast buffet although there have been suggestions to have more variety of food. What more can they add honestly? There’s already cereal, salad, fruits, local delicacies, western options.. are these people asking for kebabs? Laksa ?

The swimming pool was surprisingly very happening. My son feared water  – he can only swim in the bath tub. But looking at the crowd of young parents like ourselves bringing their kids, just shows that the pool is fun and a major attraction to families who choose this place. Plus, the view is great!

Parking space is abundant and guess what – IOI City Mall is just a <10 min walk from the hotel. The hotel also has a shuttle service to the mall that takes you less than 5 minutes to get there if walking is not your cup of tea.

Would I stay at this hotel again?

Definitely. Why not. And I’ll book the spa next time. 

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