Friday, September 26, 2014

Memories in Bali

 Happy 18th Anniversary to me and Idin ;) Alhamdulillah and may Allah strengthen our love and unity..amiinn. 

Back to our 'Memories in Bali' (one of my fav Korean dramas starring Ha Ji Won heee) which were not that extraordinarily happening hahahaha may be due to old age and fatigue? Until now I'm still thinking why am I not missing Bali and even have no intention to return there for future vacation.

We landed in the 'island of gods' around 7pm local time which was exactly similar time with Malaysia, only that the sun has totally disappeared from the horizon and for Muslim the Isyak time was almost near. So for the sunset viewers, sunset in Bali is around 6pm - better be ready by 5.30pm to get your nice spot to enjoy it and taking picture of it, of course;) Because many people especially in Kuta beach, Uluwatu or Jimbaran beach would gather hoping to be able to be mesmerised by the beauty of it. There's even a road called Sunset Road somewhere in Kuta but very unlikely you can view the sunset due to endless buildings along the road. 

Like many other travellers to Bali where public transport is scarce and not their main mode of moving around the island, we have engaged a supir or personal driver via email and whatsapp few days before departure. A nice guy called Mr Yanto whom I believed has driven around most tourists from Malaysia judging from how easily his name popped out in most blogs I've surfed through for information. He has his own blog which I can't remember the link but if you search Yantohood you'll surely find it. The quotation for daily trips is there for your reference. It also depends on which places that you wish to go to but please note that it is not possible to cover all places in one day because of different routes and because of traffic jam! If you keen to enjoy the discoveries on your own (and cheaper) you can always rent a car or motorbike. However for first timers like us we'd rather let Mr Yanto drove us around heeee :D . Chauffeuring the tourists is the bread & butter for many Balinese people. In fact most of them can speak several languages fluently because of their profession ;)

When you are about to step out from the airport you'll see hundreds of Yanto-like supir each holding a placard of their passanger's names. It was easy to spot Ina & Idin among many of the placards - thanks, Yanto ;). If you do not engage any supir to pick you up from the airport then you have to queue up for a taxi ride. It would be better if you buy the airport taxi ticket as it would be cheaper compared to private transporters who could easily manipulate the fees. It is around IDR45,000 to IDR55,000 from airport to Kuta using airport taxi.

Again for the first timers, it'll be easier if you stay somewhere around Kuta coz it's near to the airport and Kuta beach hehheh, not forgetting many shops to feast your eyes and throw your cash. If you have bargaining prowess it's your call to shop around here especially for souvenirs but as for me Krisna is the best and cheapest shop that has it all under one roof and floor because too bad I'm not good at bargaining :(

The places to visit are no difference from those mentioned again and again in most stories of visit to Bali that you can find. The Kintamani with Batur lake and mountain view, luwak coffee, Tegalalang paddy field, Dreamland beach, Tanah Lot cliff, Uluwatu temple and cliff, Kuta beach for surfing, art galleries, batik, silver galleries, Lovina beach to watch dolphins, Nusa Dua beach to watch turtles, Jimbaran beach for seafood, Ubud for village life experience, the lakes and many temples. For me the most exciting places were Uluwatu and Tanah Lot because of the awesome view of the Indian Ocean from the cliff.


Dreamland or New Kuta beach

hiding from the sun at many small caves at Dreamland beach

Tanah Lot

One of the landmarks, temple at Tanah Lot

Apart from the cliffs and beaches, other attractions do not really impress me hehhehe..It's cold in Kintamani but it's colder in Genting Highland, Malaysia sans the volcano of course.And the food at Batur Sari which I guess the only restaurant where you can eat all you can while enjoying the mountain and lake view with cold wind blowing to sooth you, the food again....sorry to say...does not worth the IDR242,000 for two (including 20% tax) in terms of taste (our taste bud in particular..). There were plenty of food and choices but all were not as tasty as you expect them to be. They looked so nice and yummy but you have to taste them yourself to find out hahhahaha. I've read few bad reviews about the food there but I didn't really believe that not until I've tasted them myself. Ya it's true that different people have different preferences for food and I admit that I'm not a choosy eater either. I tried to console myself while eating at Batur Sari that the food was yummy yummy so that at least I managed to think that I enjoyed it. Food aside, the ambience was superb with cool air and breathtaking view accompanying your meal no complaints pleaseeee...

View from Batur Sari restaurant

Barren mountain

Food at Batur Sari

*For Malaysians who need to feel at home and assuarance of halal hotel food, you may stay at Wina Holiday Villa Hotel at Kuta nearby Hardrock Cafe.

Overall it was fun and enjoyable especially when you travel with your loved ones regardless of where you go. After four days, we bid farewell to Bali. Adios Bali till we meet again though we don't know when for Karuizawa is beckoning us again...


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Time sharing time is out - Sayonara Premium Holiday

A word of caution - It's only my humble opinion..

Several years back (15 ++ years back) time sharing travel option really hit the big time where you'll get numerous calls saying "attend our preview and you're entitled for one night stay at so and so - we're not selling anything, just listen to us and get one night stay at your dream hotel and place..." something like that tele-marketing gimmick over the phone. Yeah you were enticed to come over with the FREE accommodation in mind..And once you were there, they'll insist or simply forced you to accept one of their time sharing packages. Generally the time sharing package allowed you to;

- utilize 7 nights FREE accommodation at any of their listed hotels/resorts which include their affiliate both local and overseas
- exchange your entitlement with your guests
- postpone or utilize your entitlements in advance 
- enjoy the facilities provided by the hotel/resort for FREE

Despite the word FREE, of course you have to buy the package in advance - 15k, 20k, 30k or even higher depending on the package offered. And of course too we were easily drawn into accepting the offer, not by the tele-marketeer but we happened to drop by at their booth while we were "dating"at Subang Parade" hahahahaha

That was in 1996 and it's called Premium Holiday (premium la sangatttttt). Without much effort (from the sales lady) we hurriedly accepted the offer for the 15k package. The hotels/resort includes Bayu Beach Resort Port Dickson, Green Hill Resort Cameron Highland, Mar Vista Penang, Amber Court Genting, University Tower PJ and i-forget-the hotel-name in Langkawi, Melaka, Florida and UK (forgotten the name coz never had the chance to go there in 17 years - the properties were 'sold' by Premium Holiday too much earlier than expected). 

After almost 17 years of satisfactorily service, this year we do not hear from Premium Holiday anymore (they used to send reminder of yearly service charges before the membership due date on 24th April) nor can we hear them over the phone or replying the email. Where have they been? Hiding? Missing? Or the company already bungkus?

So we assumed Premium Holiday and our free 7 nights stay mostly at Bayu Beach Resort (2 rooms apartment) has come to an end after 17 years..

It is around 119 nights of accommodation to be exact but we still have about 12 nights under utilized so below is the equation of the total nights utilized for our so called premium holidays for the past 16 years;
107 x RM320 (average price/night for 2 room apartment on weekdays)
Total = RM 34,240 (for the 15k package)

Now back to current situation - Does anyone need time sharing vacation now? Why should we restrict ourselves to certain hotels and resorts? And why would we need 7 days only? And most importantly why do we have to pay so much money in advance for the next 20 or 30 years vacation? 

Nowadays we're more bound to many online promotions and availability of cheap homestay (for families) to move around and plan our vacations. As for us we rely much on Agoda where we also can plan a year ahead vacation without having to pay the accommodation in advance - how nice if Air Asia has this facility too...dream on guys :)

So time sharing time is out, what left for us are the memories of time shared with the families and the loved ones through our time sharing vacation club Premium Holidays..

Sayonara Premuim Holidays ...

Bayu Beach Resort Port Dickson
Bayu Beach Resort - pix courtesy from Trip Advisor


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Jalan-jalan di Karuizawa

Buzzer Beat - drama bersiri Jepun yang memperkenalkan kami kepada Karuizawa.  Dalam cerita tu si heroin telah membawa diri untuk bermain biola di pekan bernama Karuizawa dan adalah babak-babak romantik di stesen Karuizawa tu. Semenjak dari nengok cerita tu (beberapa tahun yg lalu) kami pun menyimpan angan-angan mat jenin untuk ke sana ;). Alhamdulillah, angan-angan dimakbulkanNya, maka sampailah kami ke resort town di Nagano prefecture tu pada musim sejuk Jan 2014. Rasa macam drama Buzzer Beat pulak hehehehe.

Tempat nya terletak kira-kira 3jam perjalanan dengan menaiki bas dari Tokyo (dalam cerita tu heroin pun naik bas tau). Perjalanan dari Tokyo ke Karuizawa tidak begitu menarik, hanya nampak rumah-rumah yang backgroundnya sekali sekala nampak bukit-bukit yang botak ;). Tapi apabila semakin hampir semakin banyak pokok di kiri kanan jalan dan nampak salji bartaburan. Jalan semakin berliku menaiki bukit macam nak naik Genting atau Fraser Hill. Suspen pulak rasanya ;(

Tak lama kemudian, tadaaa !! signboard Karuizawa dah kelihatan membuatkan kami rasa sangat teruja hihihi (ayat skema..). Bas tu last stopnya di stesen Karuizawa so tak payah risau nak turun kat mana. Kalau naik tren dari Tokyo hanya 1 jam saja..Adalah sangat berbaloi  menggunakan Japan Rail Pass kalau nak travel ke beberapa tempat yang jauh-jauh di Japan ni. Sebab kami hanya travel dari Tokyo ke Karuizawa dan Fuji area so tak le guna rail pass.

Tempat2 menarik di Karuizawa ni selain daripada kedai2 yang comel kat town, termasuk la Prince Shopping Plaza (branded shopping outlet - dekat je ngan stesen bas/tren), Kumoba Pond (tak pegi this trip), Shiraito Fall (waterfall sebagai landmark Karuizawa) dan tempat main snow/ski di Prince Hotel. Orang2 Jepun suka lepak sini pada musim panas sebab suhu nya yang cool sepanjang tahun (kira macam Genting or Fraser's Hill kat M'sia la ni).

tasik membiru di Prince Shopping Plaza

Karuizawa Station

Mmmmm cantiknyer rumah ;)

Pondok telefon pun cantik hahahha

Shiraito Fall in love hehhehe

Rasanya yang tolong snap gambar ni couple dari Korea. Kamsahammida..

Jalan ke Shiraito Fall

Prince ku di Prince Hotel ;)


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Shibuya crossing in KL

This evening, while waiting for Go KL free bus right infront of  Starhill Gallery at Jln Bukit Bintang, I was fascinated by the endless flow of people crossing the road to and fro between both opposites of Pavillion and Starhill. "Could it be the busiest crossing in KL?"I wonder. 

I've read that the busiest crossing in the world is at Shibuya station in Tokyo as seen in below pix copied from here

So let's see how BB crossing looks like below ;). Yeah it's nothing compared to Shibuya crossing but non stop flows of pedestrians were seen anxiously waiting for the lights to turn red. And mind you the motorists, some did cross while the light was still green. Malaysia boleh maaaa.....


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Naik - Just Duit

Selamat tahun baru 2014;)

Selamat menghadapi segala macam kenaikan kos sara hidup di Malaysia. Pasti ramai yang telah menerima satirical logo di bawah. Faham-faham aje larrr...

Do it for duit...