Friday, November 24, 2006

Passage to tranquillity

A good friend of mine who has seen my blog said that what I've written sounds like I'm giving up. May be that's the way I'm picking up things now. I used to be quite temperamental in my younger days. But I have mellowed down with my age. I could feel that I'm more patience now in many things. But some people they did not change even when they are getting older... pity them! May be their ego is higher than the tsunami!

There's one Malay proverb says: "Jauh berjalan, luas pemandangan." The more exposed you are, the more experience you get. It's true. I like to travel. So I have seen quite a lot. We can see people's characteristics - learn the good example and put aside the bad one. During my college days, I used to watch people at Puduraya while waiting for the bus to go back to Penang, my hometown. On my moody days, I didn't like to talk if anybody try to befriend with me while waiting for the bus. On my happy days, I might talk. Some friends say that I'm very reserved. Quite true. Because I reserved all my feelings, so I lost my first love. Life was quite miserable after that. But I survived. And get up to be a better person.

Talk about travel, I have travelled to all states in Penisular Malaysia and also East Malaysia ie. Sabah and Sarawak. If you are alone, it doesn't mean that you cannot travel. It's you who have to make yourself happy, so what the heck! I can travel alone. Just take a few CDs (those days cassettes), novels and there you go. If I'm lucky, I can travel with my good friends (only two who used to travel with me!).

Where have I stayed before? Let me recall it. Let's start from the North.

  • Desa Utara Pedu Lake - I like the kampung style chalet. Food was not so good.
  • Serendah Si Kebun Bunga at Sik, Kedah. Also kampung style retreat. The best part was fishing!
  • Crown Prince Hotel at Tanjung Bungah is quite a nice hotel by the beach. The best omelet I've tested here.
Cross the ocean to Langkawi the legendary island.

  • The first time to Langkawi I stayed at AB Motel - if not mistaken was only RM17.00 per night per chalet. Those were the days before Langkawi has been given the duty free port status. From then on, Langkawi has become my favourite holiday spot for its beautiful white sandy beaches and the picturesque sunset.
  • Second time to Langkawi at Sunset Beach Resort
  • Aseania Resort - many times because I get a complimentary stay from elder sister
  • Chalet 2020 Pantai Cenang (is it still there? I didn't see its sign during my recent trip in June 2006)
  • Awana Porto Malai with my Indian sister and her children
  • Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort - I have been there a few times already - nice romantic place, everything is superb!
  • Langkawi Village Resort also beachfront (now has changed its name to Frangipani Langkawi Resort and Spa. Too many Europeans there. Though I rented the beachfront villa, but no chance to sit at the beach chair because it's occupied by the Europeans (who did not rent the beachfront villa) from morning till sunset!
  • Best Star Resort at Pantai Cenang - moderate and comfortable. Easy access to everything around the stretch. I went with a group of my office mates. From KL to Arau by train (good experience after a very long time I never ride a train!), and return by bus from Kuala Perlis to KL and Janda Baik.
Let's go to Perak:

  • Lumut Country Resort
  • Pangkor Laut (before it was taken over by YTL)
  • Sri Bayu Beach Resort, Pangkor Island
  • Coral Bay Resort, Pangkor Island
  • Heritage Hotel Ipoh
Negeri Sembilan:
  • Ming Court Hotel, Port Dickson (now is a different name - ?)
  • Amirah Beach Chalet, Pengkalan Balak

Move on to Pahang:
  • Equatorial Hotel Cameron Highlands (the highest point at Cameron Highlands - nice hotel)
  • Merlin Hotel Cameron Highlands (now has changed the name)
  • Heritage Hotel Cameron Highlands
  • Parkland Apartment Cameron Highlands
  • Duta Village Beach Resort Kuantan
  • MS Garden Hotel Kuantan
  • De Rhu Beach Resort Kuantan
  • Impiana Resort Cherating
  • Grand Ocean Beach Resort Cherating
Continue my journey to Terengganu:
  • Tanjung Jara Resort Dungun- preservation of the 17th century traditional Malay architectural structures which won the coveted Aga Khan Award for Architecture. (The best retreat I've given myself and my Mom!). Nothing to complaint about this resort! Try it for yourself.
  • Gem Beach Resort, Batu Rakit (moderate but nice setting by the beach
  • Sutera Beach Resort, Merang
  • The Aryani, Merang (get a royal retreat at this classical Malay Architecture). My favourite chalet no. 9. Nice nasi dagang with very friendly staff. Worth the money you spend!
  • Kapas Island Resort, Pulau Kapas - squid jigging experience!
  • Boathouse in Kenyir Lake - good fishing experience.
  • Mawar Hotel Kota Bahru - just next to the famous Pasar Siti Khadijah.
I've been to Kelantan a few times, but mostly I stayed at Terengganu.

  • The first time I got the chance to travel by flight. It was a company trip. At that time I was working with a British company dealing in oil and gas. The company was drilling a well in Kota Kinabalu, so its giving all the staff a chance to visit the drilling rig. We stayed at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru - my first 5-star hotel holiday! The weekend was added with a better memory of a helicopter ride to the oil rig! And a visit to Mount Kinabalu.
  • SiPadan Water Village Resort in Mabul island. I went with my Indian sister. The resort is beautifully constructed with Bajau architectural design. We were so excited when the boat was approaching the resort. Gosh... am I going to heaven!??
  • Berjaya Palace Hotel Kota Kinabalu - quite convenient to go around and also to buy food outside the hotel. Seafood is sold every where in KK. And at a very good price - quite cheap.

  • Merdeka Palace Hotel Kuching
  • Holiday Inn Kuching
  • Holiday Inn Damai Beach
Kuching is nice but it's a bit difficult to eat outside the hotel. I only know the Waterfront. But laksa Sarawak at Holiday Inn Damai Beach was nice! I've been to Tebedu as well during my visit to Sarawak. It was less hectic on the road in Sarawak. I guess their drivers are all very patient.

Kuala Lumpur? I've stayed at Shangri-la Hotel and the Sheraton Imperial Hotel Kuala Lumpur on complimentary vouchers. They are both very nice hotels. I've lived in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor since my college days and after that I work in Kuala Lumpur for about 15 years until April 1999 when I move to this jungle tropical which is like a paradise to me. No more traffic jam, no more migrain.

Negeri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor are not my favourite spots. But I've been to the places - stayed at friend's house. All my travels are made during my working life, except my very first trip to Langkawi during my college days - it was on my eldest's sister and a few times at Aseania Langkawi was on my elder sister. There was also one trip to Melaka with my eldest sister when I just completed my Form Five. When I was in primary school in Perlis, we had a trip organized by our teacher to Hatyai. I was in standard four and my elder sister was in standard six. We all went by train. Didn't even know the hotel name. That was my first overseas trip!

My other overseas trip is not much. Can't afford to go overseas always.

  • Dusit Thani Hotel Bangkok - my first overseas job assignment when I was with the British company. They opened a new office in Bangkok and I have to go and help on the tenders. Twice I was sent there. Good experience!
  • Phuket (of course!) at Dusit Laguna Resort - very nice beach resort.
  • I've been to Hatyai again to visit the SOS-Children's Village - official duty from my presence office. Forgot the hotel name.
  • Lake Toba, Brastagi and Medan
  • Taman Sari Cottage in Bali (got a quite cheap package during SAR breakout!).
  • Hilton Jakarta (accompanied a friend on her business trip).
  • A friend's place in Puncak - nice place! I went with my Mom and a good friend of mine. We also went to Bandung.
I enjoyed Indonesia because we can understand their language easily. Furthermore, quite used to watch the Sinetron at Astro ie. Hikmah, Dia etc. The two programs are really my favourite. But can't get the VCD...

I've been to Turkey with the MAS golden holiday package together with a friend, my Mom and my elder sister. It was summer and it's hotter than Malaysia sometimes. But I like to see the roses are all over their place, even on the road divider.

Europe: I've lived in London for about one year - working holiday. That was a great experience. I went there during summer, so I could see all the other seasons as well. I've been to Paris - I love Paris. I love crusing the Seine River. Very romantic city. My trip to Europe in 2005 took me to these place:
  • Achat Plaza Hotel, Offenbach, Germany
  • Grauer Baer Hotel, Innsbruck, Austria
  • Hotel Tritone, Venice, Italy (this is another romantic city!). I would loveto go there again.
  • Hotel Faffaello, Florence, Italy
  • Hotel Schiller, Lucerne, Switzerland - took the cruise on Lake Lucerne, also my first experience with the cable car to Mount Pilatus! I never try the cable car at Genting Highlands, but when I was in the tour group, I have no choice! Not bad, I enjoyed it eventhough I was so scared at the beginning (but I never tell anybody in the group that it was my first cable car ride!)
  • Courtyard Marriott Neuilly, Paris, France. Off course this was the best hotel during the tour! Paris, Paris...I'll see you again, hopefully!
  • Berjaya Hotel, London. I always enjoy being in London eventhough I was just travelling alone.
Everybody in the tour group was quite surprise to see that I'm travelling alone, all the way from Malaysia and joined the tour beginning at Frankfurt Airport. The package was conducted by Trafalgar. Their staff handled the tour very professionally. But don't know where did I put the soft copy of the photos during this tour. I only have the hardcopy (luckily!).

Last but not least: Makkah and Madinah.

Anyway, that's what travel means to me. I always enjoy travelling. I'm going to The Aryani resort again this coming December. Hope it won't rain 24 hours! If you have the chance to travel, grab it. To me, travelling is one way of releasing your tension and to forget about work for a while, at least....

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