Getaway to Genting Highland

When we only had Ee, our firstborn, planning for a holiday is much easier. Now that he has gone for formal schooling on top of us parents shouldering more responsibilities at work plus the addition of little Ninie, it is not that simple. We have to think about his attendance at school and also our absence from work. The timing has to be right. And of course our bosses approval to take leave.

Genting Highland was the least on my mind when it comes to a family holiday as it almost always associated with the place where people gamble and have extreme fun. Interestingly, it is possible for families to have enjoy an innocent time there too. I know I did. The kids too and even my elderly mother in law was overjoyed.

We were a party of 12 people. 1 senior citizen, 6 adults, 3 kids, 2 toddlers. We departed from Melaka at 0800H and arrived at Genting Skyway by 1030H. Mind you, at this time of the year AWANA IS STILL CLOSED FOR RENOVATION. Gosh, the pain of driving up to Genting Premium Outlet (GPO) and then going down again to the original skyway is so grrrrr..

We bought a return ticket for the cable car at RM16/pax. Kids are priced at the same rate. The view from it was amazing. I love how the thick fog hugs the jungle and terrain underneath – it is so beautiful. If only, I knew how to take better photos. Temperature was a nice sort of cold. The kids did not even have to wear their jacket. takyah bawak, semak. dahlah semak, berat lak tu.

Once we arrived at the stop, we had lunch at McDonalds. My diet was naturally ruined.

Our first adventure was The Skytropolis.

An indoor fun fair if I may say. I am not really a fan of rides. Nor is Ee. Ninie had height restrictions. So Mr Husband had the most fun there while I take photos of his embarassing blood curdling screams. It’s either you pay for a combo ticket or you pay per ride, which is a freaking RM10 each. Gile. Nama pun Genting. On weekends & public holidays, the rate climbs up to RM15 per ride. So, get a combo priced at RM90 to give you access to rides in Skytropolis, the SnowWorld and an exhibition. Or any other combo of your choice.

Later we stopped by at an exhibition featuring local art and culture called Senikome Peng Heng.

Boring. No crowd. Maybe we missed the timing for the guided experience tour. So you might want to arrange your activities accordingly as you might feel that your RM9.50 admission fee a total waste. What was more jaw dropping is that my dear Ninie (who is barely 2 and understand nothing much) was also charged RM9.50. Like, wadahek.

Can you appreciate Ninie’s artistic pose for the camera? lol.. we certainly did not coach her..

SnowWorld was most fun.

Luckily Ninie was more than 73cm – so she could enter the place. We are allowed 30 mins in the dome to experience the subzero environment and play the Toboggan slide if you like. Jacket, boots and gloves were provided. They even have Ninies size. You can place your personal belongings in the locker provided too. All this at no extra charge. Inside, there will be professional photographers helping to take your photos but you can bring your own phones too. After all, they charge RM50 per photo once you collect them. It is advisable to bring your own pair of socks as the boots can be quite damp and soggy. Plus,you wouldn’t want your feet to get icy cold. Admission fee is a flat rate of RM45 for visitors as small as Ninie to someone as old as Tun Mahathir.

The fake overseas scenery.. and snow covered pavements..

We spent 5 hours in Genting Highland without the visit to the premium outlet and there is still so much more to explore. Personally, I feel a trip here would be more happening if I were to go with my friends and do more adult-like activities such as the Void, listen to a symphony and such.

We spent 2 nights at a 3 star hotel outside Genting called S Damansara. It is because after Genting we had other mini trips as well in nearby areas.

It was a comfortable hotel which also caters for group tourists. We opted to have in house breakfast as well and I feel that the spread was adequate. The options are pretty much like what we had at Silka Cheras.

Our rooms were a Superior Twin with no windows and we were lucky to have interconnecting rooms close to each other. Price wise can go as low as RM92 per night and up to RM150 for bigger rooms. The most expensive room they have is the VIP Suite which can amount up to RM500/night which could appeal to larger family groups. There is also FREE WIFI access in every room.

The kids find the vendor machine so fascinating..

The trip to Genting was fun yet tiring. We were on our feet for the whole day but I was glad to burn some calories. On another note, I feel this years themed holiday is Tempat Perjudian considering our earlier family vacation was to Macau.

After Genting, it was to Kidzania and Petrosains. That is another blog entry.

Silka Cheras Hotel

I attended a conference at PPUKM Cheras recently. I was not familiar with the area and I basically chose my hotel based on what is available on Agoda, the distance to PPUKM and the nearby amenities that my family could enjoy while I was at the conference.

SILKA HOTEL CHERAS seems to fit the bill and I did not find any dodgy facts regarding the hotel. Perhaps it is because not many people blog anymore hence reviews are limited and quite backdated. Well folks, here is something from 2019.

It is a 2 star hotel in a tremendous location. You could get there by highway and public transport. In fact, it is walking distance to Taman Connaught MRT Station. The Cheras Sentral Mall stuck to it however was nearly dead. nyawa nyawa ikan. There are very little shops and it’s probably still alive because there is a functioning Starbucks, TGV, Old Town Kopitiam and Subway. In a way, you could still have a decent meal at these eateries. We had dinner on the 2nd night at Old Town Kopitiam.

I booked my room through Agoda. com. I made a reservation for 3D2N, DELUXE ROOM , Free Wifi, NO breakfast ( the option was not included) for RM572.40 including service tax and fee. Since we managed to reach Cheras from Melaka before 2100H, I was able to book breakfast for RM15/pax. They also have room service if its your thing.

The size of the room was good and clean. The air conditioning however was a bit unstable. Sometimes it gets too warm and the remote does not function well either. Otherwise, at night it’s cool enough to sleep comfortably. There’s hot shower with complimentary shower gel and hair dryer. No toothbrush though so bring your own.

Breakfast was OK. Plenty of carbohydrates, minimal protein. I think eggs, fishcakes and sausages were the few available. Thank God for nasi lemak. There was coffee, tea and one juice option daily. Toast was also available with butter and jam.

Reasonably priced rooms and breakfast package thus makes Silka Cheras a great option for GROUP TOURS for both local and international tourists. So if you are not in a rush, do have your breakfast after 0800am as the cafe will be really packed! The lobby is packed every morning.

If we were coming to KL for a holiday, SILKA would not be my choice of place to stay. But if I am here for business trip without the kids, I would. It is an easy location for Grab drivers to pick you up or if you prefer, head up to the MRT station to move around KL.

Kuching Trip in 2019

Kuching, Sarawak is an annual destination for my family. This year we decided to use our yearly Waran tickets for Hari Raya Haji. Since it coincides with the school holidays, there was naturally a price hike for all hotel rooms and transport. Hence, I booked a Homestay which I found on Instagram : homestaymuslimkuching

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My rented home has 3 air-conditioned rooms, 2 bathrooms and basic amenities in the kitchen like a stove, some pans, plates,utensils, cups, a kettle, blender and there was even a washing machine. The home has a rate of  RM250/night. Since I will be there for at least 5 days 4 nights, we were eligible for a discount of just being charged RM210/night. I paid a 50% deposit online to the owner, to lock the date and completed the payment with cash upon arrival at the homestay. We also had to pay a RM150 security deposit when checking in which is later returned upon checking out.

The homestay is located in Matang Jaya, where the residents are predominantly Bumiputra of which there is a balance between muslims and non muslims in the area. Matang Jaya is situated across the other side of the bridge away from the city. Nevertheless there are plenty of activities and places to go. The shopping malls may be less grand as compared to the ones in the city but it is easier to find Halal food/ restaurants within this vicinity including places heading towards Petra Jaya/ Semariang.

Homestays are generally cheaper if we are traveling in a large group. Of course, it may not be as luxurious and comfortable compared to our usual state of living at home. We missed a few things from home such as;

  1. The microwave – we had to reheat our food using pots and pans on the stove
  2. Comforters – each room was provided with a very thin blanket. I suppose it is a technique so that we increase the temperature while we sleep. In a way less energy is used to cool the room to ‘extreme’ temperatures. Hence conserve electricity and reduces the bill.
  3. Coway water filter machine – given the easy access to clean water at home, boiling hot water can be a chore. Ha ha. Thankfully, there is a NINSO nearby for us to buy drinking water in abundance. The 1.5 litre bottles were sold at only RM2.30 for 3 bottles.
  4. Night lights/ bedside lamps – I was so glad that I brought my doTERRA LUMO diffuser. It doubles up as my lamp throughout the night as I set it to 10 hours of usage. If I did not bring it, I’d have to resort to a totally dark room or sleep with the doors open. 20190810_141932-019203051808957857482.jpeg
  5. The many available wall sockets – Each room has only 1 wall socket. Therefore, it is advisable to bring your own extensions.
  6. The assorted shower gels/shampoo & toothpaste -the homestay provided one basic solution for shampoo and body foam which is totally acceptable. I miss having the many choices like we do at home. Hence, it is wise to bring pre-packed toiletries too.

ACTIVITIES

Our flight was damn early at 0750AM. The kids did not bath and we performed our Subuh prayers at KLIA. Check in at KLIA was easy as there are plenty of self check in machines available. Once we’ve printed the luggage tags , we baggage dropped our things at the respective counters.

In-flight menu was OK although we personally prefer Air Asia’s nasi lemak. Even the kids pancakes taste funny.

We touched down at Kuching International Airport (KIA) 10 mins earlier than scheduled and had to wait for our rented car to come which took hours. So we had lunch at SUGAR BUN, in the airport which was freaking expensive. Our rented car is an Axia at RM90/day.

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This time around for raya haji, we would be visiting our relatives. We do not have the luxury to do other tourist-ish stuff like we normally do. So Santubong Damai Beach and museum visits were not part of the schedule. Some of the little things we manage to do include;

COFFEE AT BELALAK ADDICTED

This roadside stall was once famous for its Turkish like brewed coffee. Nowadays however, perhaps because its time consuming, they have removed that extra unique element and replaced it with other coffee varieties on top of selling fried food/critters for tea. I ordered Kopi Let which is a mixture of coffee with cocoa. It is very sweet though but the coffee taste still come out strong. Price : RM4.90

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RECITING YASSIN AND TAHLIL FOR THE DEceased

This was a get together on my moms side. We sedekah our recitations to those we love and hope Allah will ease their sufferings, if any, in alam barzakh. Then we had food. Lost of food. My sister and I brought chocolate cake all the way from Selangor for the occasion.

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FOOD HUNTING

There is no doubt that the queen of Laksa Sarawak is still Moms Laksa. The broth is super delicious and the closest restaurant to replicate its taste is here in Melaka, Kolok Vs Laksa restaurant located along the SPA Highway.

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A bowl of delicious mi kolok is harder to find because everyone’s recommendations differs greatly as to how they decide that mi kolok is nyaman. The last time I had a delicious mi kolok was at Kets Kitchen in Matang Jaya. Now rebranded as POpular Food Court. Till now, it was so difficult to get hold of the pakcik who makes the mi kolok.

Sotong Kangkung from LOCK ANN is a must. It has now relocated just opposite Matang Mall.

We went to a new place this year. MAMI CENDOL. It sells cendol, shaved ice with toppings, rojak buah, sotong kangkung and mi belacan. We thought it was a bit odd though to tapau self service but we went along with the system. The taste was alright.

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We had our seafood fix as usual at TOPSPOT. It is open at night and we usually patron stall no 25. I recommend ordering their butter prawn. Damn delicious!

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If you yearn for seafood during the day, then TELAGA AIR is the place for you. It is equally cheap. They serve the dishes buffet style but they are still freshly cooked. Telaga Air is situated about 35 – 40 minutes from Matang Jaya.

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BUYING SOUVENIRS

I bring back kuih lapis and butter cake back to Melaka every year without fail. It is sad though that nowadays kuih lapis has become so commercialized that its lost its unique value during Hari Raya. I  also get my Sarawak orientated kain pasang from main bazaar or India Street for my working baju kurung. I plan to enrich my wardrobe with baju kurung that has a Sarawakian or Terengganu motive to it. Ha ha.

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A SPECIAL VISIT TO MASJID AL GHAZALI

This masjid is located just 6 minutes from our homestay. Al Ghazali is special because it was built with the compensation money the relatives received with regards to this whole family who died in the MH17 crash. InsyaAllah as long as people keep the masjid alive, it will be a continuous supply of good deeds for the dead.

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I hope to spend longer time in Kuching next year. Our family will be going through transitions in our everyday routine next month as we ponder and wait for where Mr Husband will be deployed for his specialist gazzettement.

I hope it is in a state where the weekends are the same as in Melaka.

A one night stay at Dorsett Putrajaya

I love staycations. Especially when we landed on a bargain for a hotel room or an experience. Last weekend, it was my moms 60th birthday. After the feast I decided to check into DORSETT PUTRAJAYA hotel overnight based on its location near Masjid Besi and the Food Truck Area in Putrajaya.

Hotel parking was adequate. FREE of course. Reception was friendly. Room was spacious. Breakfast was a delight. I love how they give you mug options for your coffee. Cause mom’s ain’t gonna have enough of caffeine in those eeenny meeeenyyy white cuppas. Ee’s breakfast rate was RM25.

I booked a Deluxe Room with balcony for a night through Agoda.com and it was RM210.00 including service tax and fee. My room comes with a nice view, free WIFI, complimentary breakfast for 2, coffee. tea and 2 bottles of drinking water. There is an in room iron with board, hairdryer, bath robes with slippers and alhamdulilah a prayer mat. It’s those little touches that make your stay wonderful.

The bathroom had no bath tub but it was fine. The toiletries were cute. I had to try the shampoo and conditioner. It smelt like Lemongrass.

The hotel has an infinity swimming pool and gym on the top floor. The pool is open from 7AM to 7PM whilst the gym is open for 24 hours. The hotel was initially conjoined with a shopping mall but we noticed that only the main supermarket and a few eateries are open. I am not quite sure what happened to the rest of the business premises. The mall looked haunted. Such a waste of space and facilities. I really hope that Waterfront Hotel in Kuching would not suffer from a similar fate.

The scene outside at the balcony in the night was really really beautiful. I could stare at the mosque all night. We had dinner at the food truck area. The options were alright and they had a sitting area too for you to eat your meals. It’s like an open air foodcourt cuma yg berjualnya guna truck. We had western food – spaghetti aglio olio and carbonara with iced milk tea.

 

I would book a room here again if I had any business going on in Putrajaya. The location is calm. There is not much traffic for a weekend staycation. You could even get involved in healthy activities like walking or cycling.

Upon completion of my stay here, I received an automated email saying that I am now a member of Dorsett Loyalty Rewards programme. This entitles me to exclusive member benefits etc. Will explore on that later.

Bayou Lagoon Park Resort, Melaka

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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. 

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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;

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.