Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Batu Pahat Merdeka Holiday 2014: A spiritual journey

We opted for a two day and one night Merdeka holiday trip to Melaka and Batu Pahat with my son as our two daughters have activities of their own.
This is a new attraction at the entrance of Jonker Walk: a ship replica of Admiral Cheng Ho which is perch high on top a pillar.
Although it was nostalgic for us to visit Melaka again, somehow or rather I can sensed that the excitement is missing. The crowd seemed much less and the hawker foods are just ordinary and overpriced: a bowl of normal cendol without the red beans and leong fun jelly cost RM 4 !
What I enjoyed most is chilling out by the river with my family, telling stories and watching the cruise boats carrying tourists to and fro.A relaxing feeling which can only be experienced here.
We left Melaka the next morning to Minyak Beku, Batu Pahat for a unique temple which is the main purpose of our trip.This temple attracts many local and Singaporean tourists who came by the bus loads.And the attraction? It is call 'moh yee' in mandarin which literally means 'touch fish'.
Once you reached Minyak Beku which is not far from the town, turn left immediately after the electricity pole number 92.
And the star of this attraction? It is the arapaima fish!
Many believed that if one managed to touch the fish, it will bring them luck in lottery. Like most devotees,we prayed for the well being of our family.
There are three ponds where the fishes are kept and each pond is surrounded by stainless steel grille. One needs to stretch the hand in the pond and hope for the fish to approach you so that you can touch it, if you are lucky.
Well, I managed to  touch the fish five times and my wife once.
Did we strike lottery? We will keep it a secret.




This is the cave of  fortune at the top part of the temple and  where the big arapaima fish is kept. Can you see the glittering gold surrounding us?














Let us make friend with the God of Fortune first before our wishes are granted.














Wow! One is trying to touch the fish and the other is ready to take the gold home!













With  the Goddess Mazu supporting behind us, we can feel that our wishes will come true.

















OK! The God of Fortune is showing the way, lets follow the way to our dream destination!
                   Touching the tortoise for good health and longevity.


We visited this Chai Kun temple on our way back to Batu Pahat town. We were surprised to see many local and Singaporean tourists here too. As usual, many were offering prayers for lucky numbers.


All right, I have to admit that like all human beings, I have sinned and made mistakes in life. So, with this spiritual water from the Goddess of Mercy, I washed away all my wrongdoings and I asked for forgiveness.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hatyai Holiday By Car: 26th July - 28th July 2014

Its Hari Raya holiday and the exodus of the KLites from the city has begun.We left our house at 4.30am and as expected, were caught in a jam towards Ipoh. However, it was a smooth journey after this juncture and we reached the Sadao Thai immigration check-point late evening, making this road journey longer than the 
one that we traveled in Sri Lanka of 13hrs. Hooray, we have broken the record! 
For Malaysian cars to enter Thailand, you need to buy a car insurance policy which cost us RM14. Just bring along a photostat copy of the car registration will do.
Seriously speaking, it was fun traveling with my family members in our superb first class highway.

First visit after done with the Thai immigration: Water View Restaurant to fill our hungry stomachs. To go to this restaurant, you need to make a U-turn in front of the 7-Eleven junction immediately after the immigration check-point and then turn left after the Oscar hotel towards Soi 4. Soi means road in Thai.You will drive thru a small rubber plantation with some houses and there are signs to guide you there.
The uniqueness of this restaurant is that the foods are delivered by a motorboat and is located beside a big lake with a serene view of lush greenery.The foods are yummy and price is above average, meaning not very expensive and not cheap either.




The ubiquitous Thai cuisine: Tom Yam Gung

The dishes here are delicious and are prepared in authentic Thai style. Do try their curry prawn which comes in big size and taste yummy.



















Its prayers time the next morning to pay homage at the Four Face Buddha temple which is located at the top part of the cable car station at Municipal Park and is not far from Kosit Hotel where we stayed.
Well, I guessed my wife prayed for the three most necessities in life: happiness, health and wealth.

The cable car distance from the Four Face Buddha temple at the top to the lower station  is a short distance. With the ticket price at RM20, we felt it is a bit expensive and decided to skip the ride. Anyway, one can view Hatyai city at the hill and visit the tall Standing Buddha and Laughing Buddha at the lower station.


We were here at this Samila beach 25 years ago.How time flies and today, we took the same picture with the same  posture and with the same mermaid. After so long, the mermaid still looks beautiful, just like my wife.
This dragon park is located not far from Samila beach.It is interesting to note that the dragon is divided into three parts and one needs to locate them. The body part can be easily seen along the road and the head is located facing the sea. With water shooting out from the mouth like a fountain, it is a nice sight to behold. We did not locate the tail part as we were rushing back to the city. By the way, there is a Kuan Yin temple at the top of the hill as you approach  Samila beach.




This Phra  Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol temple is an architectural marvel as it is completely make of stainless steel. It was an adventure by itself for us to locate this hill top temple which is not far from the city. It is definitely 
worth a visit.






















The floating market in Hatyai is entirely different from the one in Bangkok. While the former one are just food sellers on a stationed sampan, the later one is bustling with marketing activities on rowing sampans.
Most, if not all of the food sellers are muslims and being Hari Raya day, not many are opened for business.

Conclusion: It was a fun and an enjoyable holiday. It would be much better if we plan for a three nights stay instead of two to make it possible for us to visit Crystal Island.
Hatyai is a safe and clean city and in these aspects,in my opinion,is better than KL. With GPS and a map, it is easy to navigate in the city.
Oh yes, please bring plenty of cash. Everything seems to be cheap, from  food, pots and pans to .......clothing! At RM8 for a nice quality shirt,I bought 10 pieces!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bohol Island,Philippine (30th Jan. - 4th Feb.2014)



Mabuhay! Its Philippine again for my family holiday in 2014. Well, Philippine has a lot to offer for a holiday, from beautiful beaches to awesome volcanoes.But then, I have to admit that the real reason to holiday again in the Philippine is because I wanted to visit my son who is studying aviation in Subic Bay.
Ok, my standard holiday procedure: to take a photo with the tour guide, Chino who is friendly and accommodating to our requests.

Our first visit, the Bayclayon Church which is the oldest in Bohol with its front tower being destroyed during the Oct. 2013 earthquake.

Another church , which is near the Loboc river being destroyed during the earthquake.

I am sure there are many of you who do not know what is a tarsier and how it looks like. Well, if you are interested in this world's smallest primate, which is about the size as the adult's palm, then do visit the Tarsier Conservation Area which gives a good insight into this cute little animal's habitat, how it is bred and conserved.
 Isn't it cute?

It sleeps a lot during the daytime and when it is wide awake at night, the eyes are bigger than the brain!

The main attraction of Bohol: the beautiful Chocolate Hills.There are 1260 or more of these hills which are spread over an area of more than 50 sq.km. During the dry season, the hills are brownish in color and hence its name. Just to let you know that the views are taken form the old deck. Although the deck has been destroyed, it still command a panoramic view. We were at the new deck initially which gives a less commanding view.

Some parts of the hills were destroyed during the earthquake. Noticed the white patches caused by the landslides?

Those parts of the hills which were destroyed are located at the far end from the deck. As such, Chocolate Hills still look beautiful nearby.

This is Alona Beach in Bohol island. With its white sandy beach, Alona beach looks quite beautiful. However, it is less of a happening place as compared with Boracay island. The sand in Station 1 of Boracay island is much more powdery and whitish than Alona beach.

Going out to Bohol's best island for snorkeling, Balicasag. We swam with the turtles and view some nice corals. Oh yes, my wife and children were lucky enough to see a whale swimming beside the boat.

On the way back to Bohol island from Balicasag island, we stopped by at Virgin Island which is basically a long strip of  island surrounded by the sea on both sides of the beach. Except for strolling along the beach, there is nothing much to do or see.

St.Augustin church which is beside the Manila Cathedral is also listed a World Heritage Site inside Intramuros

Fort Santiago which is within the Intramuros area is a former military headquarters of the Spanish colonial government. 

A CNY reunion dinner at Manila's Chinatown Yes, the pinoys do celebrate CNY too! . 

My son piloted us up in the sky!

A nice view of Subic International Airport from the air where my son's aviation school is located.

My son with his instructor and family.Go and achieve your dream son. We are proud of you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Boracay Island, Philippine (8th Feb. - 14th Feb. 2013)

We have decided to have a fun and relaxing holiday at Boracay Island for this year family CNY holdiay. Unlike our holiday to Sri Lanka last year, we would like to minimize as little travelling as possible. Hence, it is Boracy Island where one can literally relax by the  beautiful White Beach all day long. 
However, to get there on the first day is an adventure by itself.
We took an Air Asia flight at 6.45am and reached Clark Airport at 10.45am. Having waited for about 2 hours, we took a connecting flight thru Air Phil to Kalibo which took 45 mins. and then a 1 hour 45mins. bus ride to Cactilan ferry. From here, it is another 10 to 15mins, boat ride to Boracay Island and another 15mins taxi ride to the hotel. We finally checked-in at Red Coconut Hotel at about 6.30 pm! 
This is the night view of the hotel from our balcony which is facing the sea.
It is fun time with my family at the White Beach which is right in front of the hotel!
Boracay Island is famous for its white beaches and hench its name White Beach which is 7km long and is divided into Station1, 2 and 3.The beach at Station 1 is the widest and the sand is powdery white.This is the beach view of our hotel which is located at Station 2 and the beach is just as white and beautiful.
A visit to Mount Luho where it commands a panoramic view of the island. You most probably need to spend about an hour here if you are not going for the ATV motor ride or Zipline activity which are nearby.
A nice sand castle built by the local kids at Station 1 to earn extra money. They used to build much bigger sand castles but it now requires a permit from the authority to do so.
Watching a beautiful sunset by the beach.


Station 2 is the most happening place in Boracy Island. There are numerous restaurants and pubs along the beach and one can literally dine and wine all night long. D' Mall shopping place is located near the hotel.
We have a great experience in helmet diving! The helmet weighs about 25 kg and once underwater it weighs only 2kg. There is a tube that is connected to the helmet for oxygen supply form the boat. You see some corals and do some fish feeding for about 20 mins. This activity is great for some 'diving' experience but do not expect much to see underwater.
This is a must do activity in Boracay- paraw sailing! This boat or paraw is made of wood and is without an engine. It moves by the ability of the crew to manoeuvre the sails according to the direction of the wind and it can be pretty fast. There is a captain who will control the direction and we will sit on both sides of the outrigger on the netting. We arranged this paraw sailing thru Captaing Joey of the Red Pirates which is located at Station 3. We sailed out from Station 3 and have a great BBQ lunch at another beach. However, due to rough weather, we could not snorkel near Crocodile Island.
We visited the most iconic landmark of White Beach, Willy's Rock at Station 1.Well, it is basically just a rock with a statute of Virgin Mary for those who are interested in prayers.It makes a nice backdrop during sunset.
While it is fun and exciting to do para sailing, I would not like to recommend to those who are prone to motion sickness. With the movement of the boat and the constant swaying of the parachute caused by the wind, my wife puke up in the air!
We stayed one night at Angeles City which is near Clark Airport before departing for home the next day. Having checked in at Tune Hotel , we took a jeepney ride and strolled down Walking Street, the red light area of Angeles City.