Tuesday

MY: Slide.com closed its door!

As of March 6, 2012, slide.com officially closed its door. Hence, those slide show photos that I put up in this blog cannot be viewed anymore.

Monday

TH: Krabi Trip Day 3

Morning!! Again, need to find a place for breakfast :-) actually last night, we have decided to do cycling around the town. Since our target place for breakfast is Starbucks, we planned to rent the mountain bikes and cycle to Starbucks. Then from there, do another 1 - 2 hours biking.

We forgot that time in Thailand is one hour later from Malaysia. So, 8am there is 9am in Malaysia. Guess what, the sun already shined above us and felt like our skin is burning! Not to mention the path we took, which tested our endurance....

After 1.5 hours, we were done and back to the hotel for a rest. After few hours, we went out venturing the same Ao Nang place again. Wonder when I am going to get tired of the same place..... we walked towards the Ao Nang beach, the area where the hotels facing the beach are. We found couple of massage places and this one attracted us... BF Massage. On daily basis, they have 50% discount on massage between 10am - 2pm. Good bargain. The massage shelter is by the beach and the wind blew from the sea makes it a relaxing moment. The only complain is the masseurs! Can't they stop talking to each other ... it really disturbs us...

After massage, we went for a lunch at the hawker stall near our hotel, and in the evening, spent time at the hotel spa. It was a good bargain, but unfortunately for me, in the room, the air-cond is blowing at its fullest couple with hot steam room and the cold rose body scrub made me feel uncomfortable.

It was 2.5 hour spa and when we finished, it was nearly 9.30pm... gosh.. need to fill up our stomach.. too a tuk-tuk towards McDonald's area and found out quite a lot of stalls were closing. We just wanted a street food and tried fried noodles and fried rice. Again, unfortunately for my fried rice, it was a bit spicy and was not cooked properly - I ended up with diarrhea the whole night! What a way to spend the final night at Krabi.

There is no photo since my friend forgot to bring the charger for his camera... the battery ran out and sorry, no photo to share...

~ MT @ Thailand
~~ Mercure Deevana, Krabi

~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself ~

Sunday

TH: Krabi Trip Day 2

Day 2 starts pretty early. We were told to be at the lobby for transfer to the jetty by 9am. Since we did not have breakfast as part of our hotel stay, we need to find breakfast somewhere else. The problem is, no restaurant open this early here, except hotels. We walked few hundred meters towards Ao Nang beach and lastly, saw Burger King 24hrs service. Yeah! Walked in, glance through the menu and ... aargh... something there that prevented us from ordering here. Walked out and few steps ahead, 7-Eleven... yeay.. breakfast time :-) Spent equivalent to RM5 for a pineapple pie, coffee and yogurt drink. Had a breakfast on the bench at Ao Nang beach.. nice ...

While enjoying our breakfast, we didn't realize it was nearly 9am. Sh**.. walked as fast as we could back to the hotel, change and zoomed to the lobby. Alas, the pick up only arrived at 9.10am. With us, there are another 6 guests going for the same trip. 4 from the UK and 2 Singaporeans.

The tour agent used is Ko Phi Phi Tours. We noticed other hotels such as Sheraton and Ao Nang Villa also use them. So, i guess it must be trustworthy.

At the jetty, we have to wait for another 30 minutes for other people to arrive and the speed boat to get ready. Our boat can accommodate 30++ pax and it is full.

Our first stop is Ao Maya then snorkeling and proceed to Phi Phi for lunch. Lunch is just so-so, and PhiPhi island is just another local island like those in Malaysia. It is good for the local to make some money from the tourists.

After PhiPhi, another snorkeling and back to the mainland. By 4pm, we are back on the shore and our transport to bring us back to hotel are ready.

Tips: Make sure you go to toilet whenever you have chance and before you board the boat. If they stop for snorkeling in the middle of the sea, you will find yourself uncomfortable holding onto your bladder :-)

The jetty
Walking to the speed boat 
Inside the speed boat - best seat, towards the corner. Do not recommend sitting near the engine
At Ao Maya Beach
Welcome!

Lunch at Phi Phi - full board

Take a short rest at the hotel, and we went out discovery Ao Nang for the second time. For dinner, we stopped at Bamboo Special Seafood. The ambience is nice and the arrays of seafood in front entice us to have dinner here. Unfortunately, the service is very slow and the food is not so great. Couple of tourist next to our table ordered clams and once delivered, apparently nearly half of clams are not cooked. At least the restaurant took it back and deduct from the cost of meal. That is what I called customer service.
Bamboo Special - where we have dinner
Prior to our dinner, we had a reflexology at the Seaview Massage. it is situated at the corner of the Ao Nang road towards the beach. Although the price is competitive, I got the old masseur... and the results - do not feel anything! She even admitted that she is old and cannot press hard enough... what a waste!


~ MT @ Thailand,
~~ Mercure Deevana, Krabi

~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself ~

Saturday

TH: Krabi Trip Day 1

It has been a while since my last vacation. In 2011, my original plan was to travel on a monthly basis, unfortunately time and money seldom be on my side. I did travel end of 2011 to Bandung, visiting my brother and his family. For 2012, January went by and in February, I managed to get myself the sun (in which I can get plenty on it here :-)) and sea.

Actually, this trip was planned in August 2011 (that when I bought the tickets). Couple of days prior to the trip, I scanned through the itinerary and notice there was a service fee paid for "SKYB" costing RM28.80. Can't remember what I have booked, I attempted to contact AirAsia. However, the number listed on their website is the premium number which they will charge RM1.95 per minute. There is no 1-300 number or even local number. ....

A friend and I took a bus from KL Sentral to LCCT at 10.30am. Reached LCCT an hour later and proceed to departure hall. The departure hall for Krabi is at Y gate which is next to domestic departure, unlike other departures utilizing Gate T. This used to be part of the domestic and there are only two gates, Y1 and Y2. The area is partitioned from domestic side with 2m wall. Very cramped when you are in there and there is no toilet inside. No wonder they won't allow passengers to get into the hall until at least 1hr from departure time.

Departure Hall for Gate Y1 & Y2

Boarding started at 12.50pm. Full load. Our heavy today is 9M-AHP. Few families and those travel in groups were split (in terms of their seating arrangement), unless you have paid extra to secure your group seats. .The flight was uneventful and we were flying at 36000 ft above sea level over Penang, Langkawi and direct into Krabi. Landed at 149pm local time on runaway 14.

A short 1hr flight and we were in a place hotter than Kuala Lumpur.

Landed Krabi
Immigration was smooth although the officer seemed to take a bit more time to admit a Japanese family of four in front of me. My turn, it was fast and within minutes we were at the bus counter. There are choices to get from the airport to the Ao Nang beach, where we will be staying. The cheapest mode is bus transfer. It costs 150 Baht per person one way. A taxi with maximum of three pax cost 600 Baht per taxi. Since we were not in hurry, we opted for the bus.



Krabi Airport
The bus transfer is operated by Pichet Transport Co. Ltd. It is a white bus outside the arrival hall. Since the only arrival at that time was AK flight, all 12 passengers were from the same flight. One Caucasian couple, another one none Malaysian couple and the rest were Malaysians. On the way, the driver dropped the Caucasian couple first and then turn back to stop at this one travel agent. Hmm... pretty fishy...




Then, the travel agency manager came on board and told us to get down since they will arrange another transportation for us - except for this one non-Malaysian couple (the bus driver will drop them at their hotel)... now it smells fishy...

We were asked to wait, and then the travel agency staff trying to sell us the packages.. damn! luckily we did not take any since it was very expensive compare to the hotel excursion packages and those travel agents down at Ao Nang. When I asked why we have to change transport, I was told the bus could not get to the hotel due to its narrow street at Ao Nang.. LIAR..LIAR...LIAR --> the next day, I saw the same driver drove the airport transfer bus right to the street where our hotel is!

After 15mins, we were transported in the Thai-style pick up truck. Reached the hotel at 3.30pm. Check in was a bit slow. Read more about my review on Mercure Deevana Krabi here.












After one hour relaxing, we walked towards the main street of Ao Nang. Just at the junction of the main road, there were hawkers in tri-cycles selling varieties of seafood which are halal! Great! Spent 100 Baht eating the seafood skewers. Not bad. Apparently, a lot of tourists sampling this great cheap Thai fare :-) We walked for couple of hours and had our dinner at Chaba Thai Seafood restaurant. Apparently, it is easy to get halal food here. There are quite a number of Muslims in Krabi and there are few mosques as well. Quite a big mosques like those you see in Malaysia. So, the food is not a thing to worry.

Walked back to the hotel and called off an early night. Tomorrow is Phi Phi Islands day :-)

~ MT @ Mercure Deevana
~~ Krabi, Thailand
~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself ~

Tuesday

ID: Jakarta Trip Day 4

Our last day in the city. After breakfast, we walked to Plaza Senayan which is situated just behind our hotel. Since it was still early, the shops just opened and there were not many people yet. After strolling for an hour, we decided to cross the road to Senayan City Plaza. This mall houses another set of high end boutiques (Plaza Senayan also has lots of boutiques), so it sorts of complement those in Plaza Senayan. It seems that this is bigger than Plaza Senayan.


We just walked around and around noon, we walked back to Plaza Senayan for lunch. Had kebab at the food court for lunch. The food court was bustling with people from nearby offices. Seronok jamu mata hahahaha.....

Around 12.30pm, we decided to walked back to the hotel and checked out at 2pm. For our transport to the airport, we booked with the hotel at Rph150,000 per trip with Avanza. Considered as a good bargain since this includes toll and luggage (with no extra payment if we stuck in traffic jam). Normal cab will cost around Rph110,000 inclusive of toll. However, if the traffic is bad, the fare may go higher. In fact, the transport booked with the hotel is also from Silverbird group of companies, the only trusted taxi services in Indonesia.

We left the hotel at around 2.40pm and praise to God, the journey was uneventful. We reached the airport within 30 minutes. There is nothing much to do at the airport, so we decided to go into the check in area. Scanned our bag and walked to the designated check in counter. Unfortunately, the counter is not yet opened.

MH occupied counters 36 until 40. In fact, there were around half a dozen of passengers waiting in front of the counters. In the vicinity, other airlines in progress of check-in their passengers are ValuAir VF504 to SIN, AirAsia Indonesia QZ7716 and 7676 to BKK and BKI respectively, Shenzen Airlines to Nanning, SQ961 to SIN, EK357 to DXB, and EY471 to AUH (which was delayed from 3.20pm to 7.10pm).

MH check in counters opened at 4.05pm and within minutes, we were checked in by a new staff (in my opinion - since she is not that smooth in handling the check in). Immediately after checked in, we proceed to immigration and into the airside. Now, since there are some time to kill, we settled at Starbucks with a nice view of tarmac.

Our bird for the day, MH722 is an Airbus 9M-MKE. I have been in this metal before on my flight to DXB four years ago. The flight log for this bird can be found here.

The plane landed at CGK as MH723 at 5.25pm and will depart at 6.30pm to KUL as MH723. The push back was at 6.30pm and within 15 minutes, we were airborne via runaway 25R.

Flying at 40,000 ft above sea level with average speed of 900km/h, the route took us along the Sumatera coast line into Palembang, Singapore and over the city of Johor Bharu before descending into KUL. The ETA was 9.20pm local time.

We landed safely via runaway 14L at 9.15pm, 5 minutes ahead of schedule and taxied to Contact Pier at Main Terminal Building. Parked at A8 and within minutes, we were in the terminal.



~ MT @ Malaysia
~~ KLIA, Sepang


~~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself~~

Monday

ID: Jakarta Trip Day 3

Today, we decided to have breakfast at Senayan Cafe on the ground floor. The only reason is for a comfortable table suits for breakfast. Choices just a bit better that those offered at the Executive Lounges.


After breakfast, our jalan-jalan programme was to take busway to Stasion Kota, the last station for this route. Just a short walk from the station is Kota Tua Jakarta (Old Jakarta). This was used to be the centre of Jakarta and few colonial buildings still in existence, with couple of them are not being well maintained. After snapping here and there session, we walked to the harbour (Sunda Kelapa, if I am not mistaken), which was a long and not so pleasant walk.... the map shows the distance not too far, but we were wrong. With the bad traffic along narrow roads and unpleasant smells from drainage, we felt we had a wrong choice to walk.

My advise is, take a cab or do not visit the harbour at all.

For a quick quencher, we stopped by A&W at Jakarta Train Station, which is known as Station Kota. From there, we walked along Mangga Dua street, again a wrong decision to do so. Once we reached Mangga Dua, we were disappointed. The complex is not as what is portrayed in the travel guides on Jakarta in the internet. For me, not worth at all to visit this place.

Since we walked quite a lot for the half of day, we found one reflexology centre that offer only Rph30,000 for 1.5 hour. Wow! a bargain. And being bad customers, we did not pay any tips .... hahahhaa..... not that we didn't want, but the masseur I got was not good enough.
(Actually, after we left the place, I felt a bit guilty for not giving tips.... may be next time :-))

We took a busway in front of Mangga Dua which is a different route from our normal busway. This time, it is a grey route (based on the colour of the bus used). We have to change two stations in order to get to our normal red-orange route along Jalan Jenderal Sudirman. Worse, it was peak hours and the bus was cramped! So, lesson learnt, try not to take busway during peak hours.

On the way back, we stopped by Plaza Semanggi, looking for early dinner. Actually, it was lunch and dinner together. We tried this american joint there, cannot remember the name though. We also visited Planet Hollywood, around 15 minutes walk from the mall. Again, a wrong move since the rain just stopped and peak hours. To make the matter worse, Planet Hollywood was not as I expected at all. Actually, it does not look like Planet Hollywood at all (at least in my opinion).

Walked back to the mall and later to the busway halte for a trip back to the hotel.



~ MT @ Indonesia
~~ Senayan, Jakarta

~~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself ~~

Sunday

ID: Jakarta Trip Day 2

Woke up early for morning prayer and then, filled up stomach with breakfast at Executive Lounge level 12. In this hotel, there are two executive lounges; level 12 for non smoking lounge and level 16 for smoking lounge.


It is so unfortunate that the choices for breakfast are limited - and to make it worse, there is no proper table for breakfast. Patrons have to make do with coffee tables and we have to bend to eat or you bring the plate to you by putting it on your palm. Troublesome!

The view on Sunday morning was breath taking. A lot of city dwellers thronged the stadium areas for morning exercises. A lot of cyclists on the road as well as rollerbladers. It seems that on Sundays, the road around Gelora Bung Karno are reserved for cyclists and bladers.

A couple of hours later, we walked to the nearest busway halt, Gelora Bung Karno and took the bus to Sarinah station for a quite a long walk to Pasar Tanah Abang.

There is a standard fare for busway, Rph3,500 per pax for a trip. However, if you take the bus between 5am - 7am, it only costs you Rph2,000 per pax.

After a light shop at Tanah Abang, we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel. It is not far, but the traffic was not that good. We passed by the famous Hotel Mulia and enter teh hotel from the other side of the stadium.

In the afternoon, we took a busway again and now the destination is Plaza Indonesia (I cannot remember the station name).

My first impression once I stepped into Plaza Indonesia was "wow"!!!. I wonder who copy who i.e., Pavillion KL vs Plaza Indonesia. The set up has some similarities in terms of arrangement of shops within each floor and area.

After that, we walked across the street to Alun-Alun Indonesia within Grand Indonesia Shopping Town. It was like a maze to me, in which we actually got a bit lost in it. Tired of walking we decided to walk back to the busway station for a trip back to the hotel.


~ MT @ Indonesia
~~ Senayan, Jakarta

~ To Travel Is To Discover Oneself ~