Hotel Seri Malaysia Pulau Pinang

We booked a one night stay at this hotel because we were flying back to Melaka from Penang using Malindo Air.

We took a 2 hour 45 min ferry ride from Langkawi to Penang. Once at the pier, we booked a Grab ride to bring us to the hotel.

This is a 2 star hotel which gives off a 3 star vibe. Eventhough the lobby was small, they provide Welcome drinks to guests which is a nice touch. They even had cute Christmas decorations with freaky little dolls in the main space.

Without a doubt, Seri Malaysia is an old hotel. Not to the extent of having dilapidated facilities but more to its design and crowd. Service is impeccable although Mr Husband did have a minor glitch at the reception. The lady handling our check in was unable to relay basic guests information.

We get to check in 30 mins earlier and coccooned ourself in the hotel compound. It was after all New Years eve and to have our meals outside could be challenging with all the traffic. We also fear of stumbling upon drunk people.

Mr Husband booked 2 Family Room through Traveloka. Our room has 1 double bed and 1 single bed. It was priced at RM142.56 per night including tax. The room fee came with FREE WIFI & FREE breakfast for 3 people for each room. In a way, Ee is covered. Each room has a mini fridge, hairdryer, towels and basic toiletries.

We ordered the steamboat buffet ‘lunch’ at its restaurant for our meal. It was priced at a flat rate of RM18/pax. The portion was huge. We couldn’t finish the noodles. The seafood and marinated poultry seemed fresh. The juice were refillable. Later at night, Mr Husband tapau-ed some food for his parents dinner. I was still full from the steamboat meal.

After the steamboat meal, Ee and Mr Husband went to explore the pool. It’s very small. Ee could fit the kiddie pool just by his length (height). But it is adequate as long as you’re not training for the olympics.

Breakfast was commendable. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by the options they had for a 2 star accommodation. Refills were prompt and tables were cleared swiftly. We checked out by 12 noon and took a Grab to the airport for our flight. Location wise , this is a good place to bunk in as there are a lot of eateries within walking distance.

I would definitely consider Hotel Seri Malaysia again in my future visits to Pulau Pinang.

Greenish HOtel Langkawi

This is a 3 star hotel located in Kuah, adjacent to where most Malay Malaysians love to shop – Haji Ismail Group shopping mall & hotel. It is only about a 25mins drive from the airport and roughly 10 minutes from the jetty. Room rates are at a range of RM135 – RM185/night.

EE at the lobby with the grandparents
Basic toiletries, hairdryer, mini fridge, free coffee & tea, hot shower.. lurvly..
View from our room. The pool. Petronas ( you can do the 10 000 steps everyday there and shop at Mesra. LOL).

All rooms have a balcony with different views of course and has free high speed WIFI. What I loved most about the hotel was the very friendly staff that genuinely helps you with the bags and the superb pool with its mini cafe that opens at night.

The guests here are thankfully not from those big tour groups. It can be a nightmare to be in the same hotel with big groups as they tend to hoard the breakfast food. Some even muka tak malu go and tapau to eat in the bus. We did however spot few guests that sneaked the breakfast buffet food up to their rooms! Mentang2 ko warga asing boleh plak buat suka hati.

If there was anything to improve regarding the service and facilities here, it would be ;

  1. The breakfast selection. I acknowledge that one should not expect selections like the ones served at 4 or 5 star hotels. But if a 2 star Seri Malaysia hotel can serve good food and fast service (clearing tables) – guests tend to have higher expectations. In Greenish Hotel, the best food was mi goreng ( serius sedap) and the omelette. I was disappointed with the coffee. Although I am not a coffee connoisseur, it still felt difficult to gulp down the beverage.
  2. Housekeeping need to be mindful in the small details. Pay attention to the depleting complementary beverages, the full rubbish can etc.
  3. Ventilation in the lobby. Perhaps it was an effort to conserve energy and electricity but when you have a lot of people waiting to check in and out – the heat does get to you.
  4. Parking space is free but limited. If you don’t mind walking, you could park at the gas station beside the hotel or even at HIG shopping mall and walk a bit. Perhaps the hotel will decide on expanding depending on the demand. LOl.

Despite the shortcomings, it was a pleasant stay on a budget. Definitely my go -to- hotel in the future.

Melaka – Langkawi – Penang – Melaka

Finally, my husband could take leave after slaving himself for 4 months working non-stop. He is at the near top of his career ladder. This translates to still having to work on the weekends. He chose Langkawi & Penang for our mini year-end vacation and we invited his parents to come too.

This time we tried using Malindo Air and depart via the Batu Berendam airport in Melaka. It’s a small airport which has 1 mini cafe and 2 other tuck shops. The toilet and musolla was enough for the number of visitors and most importantly, clean. Parking was FREE. For now.

The flight took about 1H 40mins from Melaka to Langkawi. Our plane was a little, cute plane that gives off this Jurassic Park vibe to it. We did not order any inflight meals cause the journey is very short. We checked into the Greenish Hotel (will write about that later) and went about our days. For this trip, we decided to take it really easy. Since we have been coming to Langkawi for almost every year, this time we ditched the cable car and The Aquaria.

We still went to Langkawi Wildlife Park because its fun to feed the animals. They have a new attraction which is an augmented reality studio. Honestly not impressed. Please do not waste your time and money there.

HIG complex is a must. This is where apart from selling chocolates, they sell local health & cosmetic products, kitchenware, glassware, duvet etc. All this at a tax-free price. A construction is ongoing at site. Not sure what they’re building.This time since I am in a weight loss programme, I have been more cautious in my selection of chocolates. I spent more on dark choc varieties. However, my favourites like Hersheys, Bounty & Maltesers made it into the basket too. I am not a fan of Daim.

Meals were simple. We had nasi campur at various places including the famous Kak Yan. Then there’s Laksa Kaw which was a disappointment. The recipe is just off. It made me wonder whether that nice Rossabina laksa we had is the same owner of this Laksa Kaw (rebranded?) because the location is the same.

We spent 3 days and 2 nights in Langkawi and departed to Penang via the passenger ferry. Mr Husband booked the tickets online and had them printed out early. The tickets were scanned at the autogate and we get to wait at a very big, comfortable, air conditioned hall. Impressive!

Adult RM70.00

Child RM51.30

We were allocated numbers for our seats. So, no rush. Toilets are OK. They even provide complimentary puke bags for passengers. The 3 hour ferry ride went by smoothly cause they had movies on. Plus, air condition was working great. Bring a jumper if you are sensitive to cold. I was worried initially upon boarding because we were bombarded with a string of dangdut videos on the public TV screen as entertainment. I had thought it would last for the 3 hours of our journey. Thankfully they switched to an English movie as we set off. ha ha ha.

We hailed a Grab from the ferry terminal to our hotel Seri Malaysia (another blog post) and just stayed within the compound till our flight back to Melaka the following day. In short, we did not go sight seeing considering that it was New years Eve and people might get drunk on the streets. One thing I have to mention, even though this hotel is rated only 2 stars – the breakfast buffet is worth 3 stars. Even better than Greenish Hotel in Langkawi.

We finally reached home with a bang! Turns out that our flight coincides with the Melaka Welcomes The World campaign. So, we had kompang and all of the tourism entourage making a fuss over us handing goodie bags and what not at the airport. My kids of course enjoyed the attention.

Malindo Air delivered its best this time around – flight was punctual. I loved that we could travel easily from Melaka to Langkawi without having to drive up to Kuala Lumpur, spend money on overnight parking and catch a plane from there.

Now we can just land in Melaka, get back into our car and just drive another 15 mins back home. We had time to at least rest a bit before we got back to work and school the very next day. Let’s hope there will be more flights from Melaka to other places in the world. Our family would love it!

Overnight stay at Swiss Inn, Johor Bahru

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I captured my recent trip to JB in the vlog above. Check out my other videos on Youtube.

I was in JB a few weekends back to visit my alma mater with the Back To School (BTS) committee. I was just recently absorbed into the team to lead mini projects as they run out of hands to help out. InsyaAllah I will be handling the batch Tshirt and the ‘launch ceremony’. I am happy with my current role. Honestly, I did not expect to contribute this far. I will let you know later.

I travelled to JB alone by bus. I downloaded an app called Redbus and booked my tickets there. Nowadays, bus services are like airlines. You get a boarding pass at the station and everything is so organized now. My journey was a 3 hour ride and I arrived at JB just before 8pm. I was contemplating to have dinner first before I go to the hotel but it’s a bit dark to wander alone in a foreign state.

my Redbus code : rednyyu9

So I hailed a taxi and charged without meter, a whooping RM15. Plus an additional RM2 for parking ticket fee since the cab was parked in the stations parking place. I felt so ripped off.

Thankfully, the reception at Swiss Inn JB was so warm and friendly that I soon forget about being tired and hungry. Check in was quick. They did not require any deposit.

I booked a Cozy Single Room which has Free Wifi and breakfast for two. Other commendable facilities include Free Shuttle Service, a parking space and yezza affordable room service. It was RM140.34 including tax and service fee. As usual, I booked my room through Agoda.com. There are other room options for family and individual travelers alike. One being a Tatami room where 6 people could stay together in a room with matresses laid on the floor – very Japanese like and cosy too.

My room has the basic complimentary beverages set and towels. Separate toilet and hot shower. A bath gel and shampoo with a small bar of soap. A mini hairdryer too. You need to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste though.

I ordered room service and started unpacking my backpack. For dinner, I had a Deluxe burger. It came in an economic plastic packaging instead of a plate. Lol. That was new. I remembered ordering room service in Kuching’s Telang Usan, they still serve meals in proper plates. Ha ha. But it’s ok. Maybe it was easier to clean up and more hygienic? *thumbs up* After my meal, I freshened up and tucked myself in early.

I was already up at 530am the next day. Sunday is a working day in JB. I went down to the 1st floor for breakfast at the restaurant. The atmosphere was cute but I did not manage to snap a lot of pictures. The options were adequate and fulfilling for a 3 star hotel. It’s not a wonder that this hotel is the accommodation of choice for small group travellers. That morning we had guests from Indonesia staying there which was refreshing. Previously I’ve only managed to see groups from China during breakfast. The ibu-ibu looks so cute and fashionable with their colourful tudung.

After a brief visit to the loo, I checked out of Swiss Inn. I wished I could stay longer. The hotel is so pretty. I could have at least explored the gym.

This time I took a Grab Car to my alma mater situated near to the bus station the night before. The fare was only RM10.

My alma mater, Sekolah Tun Fatimah is an all girls boarding school. As someone who came from a non-priviledged background, it was a life changing moment for me. It was a great opportunity for me to receive structured education in a school said to be for the creme of the creme. On top of formal learning, I also had a taste of interacting with fellow students of different social hierarchy. I was middle class. So I get to mingle or observe those girls who were from upper and of lower class than mine. It was a mind opening and humbling experience.

Despite depending fully on meals at the dining hall, my parents still give me a bit of pocket money – enough to call home on the weekend with a phone card and the occasional splurge of air kotak rumah at the co-op. There were times of course I did not have enough money to buy an RM50 jersey shirt ( I was a player in the softball team) so I quit the team quoting ridiculous reasons like ‘mak suruh belajar’ . The seniors were a disappointed but they accepted my reasons. Since then, I didn’t take up sport because to me sports required money we did not have. So I just laid low and studied. I made a few friends. I don’t recall having any personal enemies. I think. ha ha. Even the teachers have a tough time trying to remember who is this Minci. HA ha ha ha.

Which is why when last year they announced to do this BTS programme, a collaboration activity with the school counsellors – I wasn’t exceptionally thrilled. I had no one in particular that I was excited to see because the ones I love, I am already seeing them or sending parcel kasih sayang from time to time. Notably, Kakjet and my Mimie. I appreciate my teachers and is forever grateful for their kind words and teaching but there is no outstanding personal moments to reminisce on, unlike my super achieving friends or the rebellious ones. I was one of those people who was not interested to join. At all.

until one day

I just felt like contributing. Part of it was driven by my personal agenda to meet Birsilah Bakar and force her to scribble an autograph in my copies of her book. hihi. And part of it is just wanting to exist as a Srikandi without feeling inferior by it. Often I had to conceal the fact that I’m a Srikandi because people expect big things from you – I’m just not keen to be likewise. It’s a personality thing. I am an introvert. Socializing or shining drains too much of my energy. lOl.

Anyway, what started as a volunteer in a mini group to sweat the little stuff led to me being upgraded as a team leader. It’s huge and gonna be one of the big things I’m organizing. So, BTS 2020 – here we go.

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.