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5 days 4 nights trip to Bangkok & Hua Hin, Thailand for the Raya 2017 holiday

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m back. I have just returned to Malaysia last night from Thailand with my parents. Good time passed very quickly. My 5 days 4 nights vacation to Bangkok and Hua Hin in Thailand ended, and the Raya holiday as well (except for school children that gets to enjoy one-week long break and adults who took annual leave). It was a great experience and fun in this trip, especially in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It was also very tiring at the same time as we need to walk a lot and the extremely scorching sun made it worst. We followed guided tour (in a tour group) and the tight schedule (like approximately only an hour for every destinations, up to 6 or 7 destinations a day) really made us (especially the elders) very exhausting.

24th June 2017 (Saturday)

We took a 2-hours morning flight to Don Mueung Airport, the old airport in Bangkok. Once there, we wasted a lot of time in the airport to complete the immigration and waiting for the others in our group to get ready. Also wasted a lot of time on the road to the hotel for checking in due to the unusual traffic congestion (well, Bangkok is famous for traffic jams). Hence, we don’t have much time to walk around on our own in the afternoon. We just walked to the streets near the hotel (Eastin Makkasan Hotel, 4-stars). We had a nice dinner in Chocolate Ville (don’t be confused by the name, there isn’t any chocolate here), a huge themed restaurant built to imitate the romantic Western streets and environment with Western-styled traditional buildings, bridges, lake, gazebo, lighthouse, etc. The atmosphere is beautiful with the lighting at night.

At night, we went to the Erawan Shrine, a Hindu shrine of Lord Brahma. The place becomes famous after the bombing incident in 2015 near the shrine that killed 20 people.

25th June 2017 (Sunday)

We went to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) in the morning. It is a Budhhist temple with its spires as distinctive feature (and colorful porcelain of its main spire/tower). It is one of the most famous landmarks in Bangkok and it is situated on the side of Chao Phraya River. The on-going renovation works to the main tower prevented us to take nice clean pictures of the temple.

Next, we went to Maeklong Railways Market. Not long ago, I have seen a video getting viral on social sites showing a market with stalls lining up along a railway and has to retract their stalls when the train passes. That is the place. Now, I’m there to witness it in my own eyes and it was unique and amazing. A lot of tourists crowded the place not to shop at the market but to check out this quick event.

Then, we leave Bangkok and go to Hua Hin. Our first destination there is Santorini Park, a themed attraction with an open mall concept that resembles the famous Santorini Island in Greece with its white buildings and brightly one-coloured windows (mostly blue). There are retail shops, and some activities or rides inside such as Haunted House, Ferris Wheel, Water Slide, Merry-Go-Round, etc.

After that, we went to Swiss Sheep Farm. I noticed that Hua Hin likes to create tourist destinations with foreign places as their themes. The town lacks its own identity in terms of its tourist destinations. This Swiss Sheep Farm is a farm (of course) for us to have the opportunity to feed the sheep (I skipped that) and to take pictures of the many decorations in that place such as a huge old windmill, some 3D painting, several miniatures of popular characters such as Transformers and the Avengers, etc.

In the evening, we head to the Hua Hin Night Market. Stalls selling local delicacies, souvenirs, bags, accessories, clothing, food, and offering Thai massage lined up the street. Then, we depart to Novotel for a two-nights stay in Hua Hin. It is a seaside resort with of course the amazing sea view.

26th June 2017 (Monday)

Hua Hin Royal Palace is the first destination of the day. It is a royal residence that serves as a seaside retreat for the past kings of Thailand. It is quite a modest complex with elevated timber structures. The lushness of its surrounding almost overwhelms the palace. Major parts of the complex is also currently under renovation and we are barred from entering those parts. Hence, we only stayed a short while here.

Then, we went to Hua Hin Railway Station, not to take any train but to view the beautiful train station (iconic for the structures with red and cream colours’ assembly) and an old steam locomotive for a short while.

Our next destination of the day is Pleanwarn Eco Vintage Village. It is Thailand’s first eco vintage village and is built to recapture the old classic charm of Hua Hin. It is an open lawn area with two-storeys buildings of retails and restaurants around. They are constructed of recycled or used items including its wonderful entrance of a void surrounded with huge cladding of reused wood and profiled metal sheets.

We then went to Wat Huay Mongkol. It is a Buddhist temple unique for a large statue of a legendary Thai monk on top of a huge podium.

Then, we went to theHua Hin Safari and Adventure Park. This is a place not recommended for anyone. The staff there are annoying and keep pushing us to purchase their packages (tiger show, cobra show, elephant ride, photos, etc). The prices are extremely high and it is just a small ordinary safari. We went there just to see their elephant show. The show is not bad (elephants performing like painting, playing some sports, etc) but I sympathized the suffering that those elephants have to endure to entertain us.

The last destination of the day before taking a dinner on a seaside restaurant is FN Outlet. It is a modern elevated mall with a forest containing pond, bridges and Dinosaurs sculptures on the ground level.

 

27th June 2017 (Tuesday)

Today, we went back to Bangkok (the original name for the city and still called by the Thais is Krung Thep). We visited the famous Damnersaduak Floating Market. The name is self-explanatory. There is a small river crowded with boats carrying tourists and boats with people selling stuff. We took a boat ride and view the lifestyle of the traditional floating houses on our way to the Floating Market. Once there, we just walked on the side of the market where there is also a huge place crowded with stalls selling the same things again. To buy from there or from any markets in Bangkok, you have to bargain up to 70% of the original price the sellers show to you.

Then, we were back to the city region and proceed to the Art in Paradise (3D Art Museum) in Esplanade Mall. There are a lot of cool arts inside that allow visitors to interact and take pictures with to get the realistic 3D feel. Even the elders in our tour group joined in the fun including my father. That was very unusual.

Next, we went to the Honey World, a place that promotes and sells honey products to the tourists. When you are going for a trip in a guided travel group, visiting these places is a norm. We are fortunate that we only get to visit one in this trip. The honey products on sale are being promoted with all the healthy benefits they offered, but in the end, my family end up buying nothing. We usually don’t get interested.

Our last destination of the day is Asiatique Riverfront. It is a new complex by the side of the Chao Phraya River. It’s a huge open-air mall with retails, restaurants, waterfront walk and rides. It is a very happening and vibrant area. Amazing atmosphere with clean environment. Thailand is exceptional in creating this kind of tourist attractions. It’s a huge success.

28th June 2017 (Wednesday)

There is no programme offered by our tour agency today and so we have free time in the morning before our flight back to Kuala Lumpur in late afternoon. We then go to the Grand Palace. It is considered to be the No.1 attraction in Bangkok and I couldn’t believe our tour agency didn’t cover it in their itinerary. Hence, we have to visit it on our own in the remaining time before flying back. It is a huge complex of palace that serves as the main official residence of the King of Thailand.

 

The former King. King Bhumibol who reigned for about 69 years and is very beloved by all Thais had passed away last year’s October. The country then observes one year of mourning for the late king and he will be cremated in this coming October. Many roads around the palace is blocked and heavy security is observed. Until now, there are still a lot of Thais dressed in full black visiting the palace to mourn for him. Their loyalty and love to the late king is unquestionable. Some areas in the palace are also blocked off from visitors due to the same reason but that doesn’t lower my excitement of seeing the palace. It was breathtaking with its towering structures and intricate details on the columns, walls, railings, ceilings and roofs. This place is certainly a must-see in Bangkok eventhough the entrance ticket is quite costly (500 Baht for a person). You also have to dress very decently to visit the palace (also applies to all temples and other palaces in Thailand).

Then, we walked to the nearby Wat Pho. It is a Budhhist temple known for a huge reclining Buddha’s sculpture and houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. The temple is quite huge with many areas within. If not for the hot weather, I would have spend a much longer time in both the Grand Palace and in Wat Pho.

And then, our trip ends. We went back to Don Mueung Airport to catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur. It’s almost midnight by the time we arrived home. I bought a pair of shoes, some shirts and a short and a fridge magnet. We must buy a fridge magnet every time we visit a new place. It has becomes our family tradition. We had tom yam in almost every meals during the tour. I find that the food are very heavy in taste in Thailand (either too sweet, too spicy, or too sour). Generally, the trip is awesome and I had great time during the vacation. I particularly enjoy the days in Bangkok. Hua Hin is rather boring to me eventhough that place is more relaxing and has lesser tourists. On the other hand, I felt that the newer tourist attractions in Bangkok and Hua Hin (maybe applies to whole Thailand too) are too ‘artificial’. Most of them are constructed just to imitate foreign elements. I would rather visit the real places rather than see the imitations.

Bangkok’s city skyline pictures below. The tallest on the first picture below is Baiyoke Tower which is formerly the tallest building in Bangkok. The title is now taken by the new Mahanakhon Tower shown in the second picture.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post. Kindly request permission if you desire to use one or more images in this post.)

 

 

 

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5 days 4 nights CNY 2017 trip to Hanoi, Vietnam

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2017 by vincentloy

Hi…I’m back to my blog after disappearing for almost a week. My trip to Vietnam with my family has just ended. When I returned home yesterday, it’s already February and half of the Chinese New Year festival has already passed. Time flies, especially when it is enjoyable time. Here below is my highlight of the trip to Hanoi, Vietnam from 29th January 2017 to 2nd February 2017 (5 days 4 nights) with many lovely pictures to share.

29th January 2017 (Sunday)

The flight to Hanoi was at around 9am and so we have to be at the airport by 6am (3 hours earlier). Hence, we have to wake up at 4am (still middle of the night) and has to leave home by 5am. That’s so early and the consequence of it is that we had lack of sleep for that night. The flight to Hanoi took a little over 3 hours and the best thing this time during the flight is that I’m able to catch breathtaking aerial view of KL city as well as Genting Highlands.

We realised that the time in Vietnam is one hour earlier than in Malaysia. Our first destination in Hanoi is Ba Dinh Square. It is a plaza (main square of Hanoi) that has the President Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum (he was the first president of Vietnam) and the Parliament House. Next, we walked and visited the nearby President Ho Chi Minh’s Residence with exhibition of his office, presidential cars and the One-Pillar Pagoda.

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Then, we went to take a view of the West Lake and visited Zhen Guo Temple which is by that lake too. I don’t smell any air pollution but the sky there is cloudy and foggy all day long (same for everyday of the trip too). That is not good for taking pictures.

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30th January 2017 (Monday)

Today we took a 2 hours and 30 minutes bus ride to Ninh Binh province. There, we took ‘sampan’ (traditional boat) ride at Tam Coc, which is often referred to as the ‘Halong Bay on the land’. It is as though we have entered the lost world seeing the river and the hills around you over there. One interesting thing are that the people used their legs instead of their hands to drive the ‘sampan’ and we got to pass through several dark low-lying caves while on the ‘sampan’ on the river.

 

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Then, we went to the Bich Dong Temple and Pagoda that sits on the side of a hill. After that, there’s another 2 hours bus journey to reach Halong Bay and we immediately settled at hotel once we reached there. We stayed at villas of the hotel named Royal Halong Hotel. On the evening, we visited the casino in the hotel which is very small.

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31st January 2017 (Tuesday)

Perhaps the most exciting day of the trip as we head to the main attraction of Vietnam, Halong Bay. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. We boarded a small cruise ship and toured around the vast region of the bay where thousands of islands with different forms rise from the sea. We then ride a thrilling speed boat to explore the bay further. We also visited Tien Cung caves where there are interesting rock formations beautifully illuminated in the caves by the bay, and climbed a hill to catch an aerial view of Halong Bay. That view is majestic from the pavilion on top of that hill and that means our tiring climb to the top is rewarding. Visit to the bay ended with a seafood lunch on the cruise itself.

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In the afternoon, we visited a Pearl and Mineral Geological Museum. It’s not a museum. It’s basically a place with many people persuading you to buy their stuff. This is one of the disadvantages of following tour group. Then, we visited a small indoor night market where the locals sell their products like woodworks, paintings, fake goodies, souvenirs and snacks but we are not interested on them. We also managed to watch a water puppet show (famous in Vietnam) in our hotel.

1st February 2017 (Wednesday)

Today we took a 4 hours bus ride back to Hanoi. Once reached Hanoi, we had a wonderful buffet lunch in a huge restaurant and it is super crowded with tourists. I could have taken a lot of plates of food but couldn’t do so because of the huge crowd queuing to get them, and the excessive tourists from China made it worst with their rude behaviour. After that, we visited the Hoan Kiem Lake with a Turtle Tower on a small island in the middle of the lake. There is also a temple besides the lake and a red bridge.

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We also took trishaw ride to explore the 36 Ancient Streets, a cluster of traditional streets in the busy capital of Vietnam. The tour guide gave us plenty of time to do shopping there but there is nothing we love to buy over there. Hence, time is like wasted. What’s more disappointing is that the rest of our tour group members decided to skip a tourist destination just to give them more time to shop at the 36 Ancient Streets. The place we skipped is the Temple of Literature (First University of Vietnam). What a waste…thanks to the ridiculously foolish tour group members.

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2nd February 2017 (Thursday)

There is no more tourist attractions for us to visit today. Just getting a bit more rest in the hotel room while enjoying the view of the city in the morning. After checking out from the hotel, we immediately went to the airport for flight back to Kuala Lumpur. Back to home at around 6pm.

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The tour group we participated here is by Golden Deluxe Travel company. The price for one person is RM2200 and that not includes additional RM150 for several additional arrangements during the trip (speed boat ride at Halong Bay and trishaw ride at 36 Ancient Streets). The tw0 hotels we stayed are very good and comfy and their breakfasts are excellent too. The food served outside is generally acceptable but we just couldn’t adapt to their tastes and styles. We do not dare to try the outside food that they served by the side of road due to poor hygiene. We only bought some snacks and a decorative magnet home. Generally, Hanoi is a great place to visit and the main attraction, Halong Bay is truly exceptional.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this blog post. Kindly request permission if you wish to use them.)

 

Chinese New Year 2016 Trip to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2016 by vincentloy

I’m back to Malaysia! In fact, I have actually returned home yesterday from my wonderful Chinese New Year vacation to Australia, but not having the energy to immediately write a blog post about it yesterday. Hence, I do it today. That was my first time visiting the country and I have covered its two largest cities; Sydney and Melbourne in a 8 days 5 nights trip with my parents under a tour group.

7th February 2016 (Sunday)

  • Arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for flight to Melbourne in the evening. In the plane for about 7 to 8 hours.
  • Reached Melbourne International Airport the next day.

8th February 2016 (Monday) – First day of Chinese New Year festival.

  • Start of the city tour around Melbourne with first stop being the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, largest church building in Australia. The main feature of the building would be its tall towers and huge colourful window panels.

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  • Next stop is Fitzroy Gardens where the Captain James Cook’s Cottage is located. Description about this historical cottage is in the image below.

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  • Walk around at Chinatown in the afternoon and also later in the evening.

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  • Visited the Shrine of Remembrance, a monument building with exhibition space beneath in memory of the soldiers perished in the past two World Wars. A walk in the exhibition space exposed visitors to the history of World War I and II, as well as contribution of the Australian soldiers in the wars and their effort for peace.

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  • Visited the National Gallery of Victoria where many art displays (sculptures, paintings, installations, antiques, etc) are exhibited in several floors of the building combining works from both East and West.

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  • Also visited the Skydeck 88, the observatory (88th floor) at Eureka Tower, the tallest building in Melbourne. Had a ride in the very fast elevator inside the tower that brought us up straight to 88th floor in a little over 30 seconds only. Enjoyed breathtaking view over the city of Melbourne including the city’s main business district, sports park and Melbourne Cricket Ground, etc.

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9th February 2016 (Tuesday)

  • A long journey in the bus to the Great Ocean Road, a road built by the former World War’s soldiers in dedication to the perished victims of the wars. The road is all along the hills facing the beautiful coastline of southern Australia.

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  • Took a helicopter ride (this 10-minutes ride costs us around RM1000) to have an aerial view of the 12 Apostles at Port Campbell National Park. Out of twelve, only eight apostles remain today. They are limestone stacks at the shore off the national park.

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  • Also visited the Loch Ard Gorge nearby, the place where a ship ran aground hitting into the land in 1878 with only two survivors left from the tragedy.

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10th February 2016 (Wednesday)

  • Wine tasting in a wineyard. It’s a bit inappropriate to get drunk in the early morning. Well, not drunk at all since we only get to taste a bit of the four types of wines presented.
  • Visit to a lavender farm. Pleasant aroma from the lavender which can be made into many different uses but I’m not that comfortable with its strong smell.
  • Had buffet lunch in an exquisite German Cuckoo Restaurant.
  • Boarded a Puffing Billy Ride, a one way ride aboard Australia’s oldest steam train to enjoy view across the Dandenong Forest in Yarra Valley. I’m sitting not in the train but on the side like what most other people did too. It’s more fun like that.

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  • Heading to Phillip Island in the afternoon to view the famous Little Penguins Parade later in the evening. At around 9pm every night, these small penguins will return to their home in the island from the sea. They are so cute. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed and so I didn’t get to take any photos of these penguins.

11th February 2016 (Thursday)

  • Took a domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney. In the plane for about one to two hours only. Reached Sydney International Airport.
  • First stop in the city is the Sydney Fish Market, an indoor and outdoor market selling fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, drinks, etc. Our lunch; a giant lobster served on top of a bowl of noodles and sliced abalones in XO sauce. The meal costs us around RM1000.

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  • Passed by many happening streets in Sydney and The Rocks.
  • Boarded the Harbour Cruise in the afternoon. Cruised along the beautiful harbour of Sydney and enjoyed fantastic view of the city skyline, the harbour and of course also the two most iconic attractions of the city; Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. An image of both of these landmarks defines Australia.

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  • Visited the Botanical Garden. This is the place where Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is located. It is a huge stone chair for Mrs. Macquarie, the wife of the former Governor of Australia. The chair was for her who likes to wait for the return of her husband to Sydney in the past after each working trips at there while enjoying the view of the harbour.

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  • Passed by St. Mary’s Cathedral, largest church building in Sydney and second largest in Australia.
  • Had buffet dinner in Star City Casino. Also had a quick walk in the casino but didn’t have the time to try my luck there.

12th February 2016 (Friday)

  • Visit to Koala Park Sanctuary. The park is home to a very adorable koala, several kangaroos, a wombat, bats, peacocks, sheep, birds, etc. Took picture with a koala but not allowed to touch it, fed several kangaroos, saw a sleeping wombat (couldn’t see its whole appearance), and watch a sheep shearing demonstration.

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  • Visit to Katombaa region and viewed the beautiful forest valley of Blue Mountain. Also saw the famous Three Sisters Rock at the Echo Point. There are several stories behind the unique-looking rock of which you can search easily online. Even Queen Elizabeth II had visited this place 62 years ago to view the rocks exactly on the same day with us (very coincident).

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  • Visited the Scenic World attraction nearby; ride on a cable car down and took a walk in the forest on a raised platform and saw an underground mine, took on an electronic train ride up to above the hill to exit the attraction. The train ride has the steepest incline railway in the world where at one point the angle is beyond 60 degree. An awesome ride for youngsters like me but a terror ride for the elders.
  • Pass by ANZ Stadium, the main stadium for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games in the Sydney Olympic Park.

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  • Back to the city and had dinner at Darling Harbour.

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  • Visit to Sydney’s Chinatown which is much more happening than the one at Melbourne.

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13th February 2016 (Saturday)

  • Visit to Market City Building where the Paddy’s Market is. Bought some souvenirs (shirts, magnets, a replica of Sydney Opera House and a wallet) in there.
  • Visit to Queen Victoria Building where many branded shops are located inside this classical-styled building. Bought some chocolates there at Haigh’s Chocolates, a very famous chocolate brand in Australia.

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  • Walk along and around George Street, a very happening street with many shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, etc.
  • Arrived at Sydney International Airport for flight back home to Kuala Lumpur in the evening.

14th February 2016 (Sunday) – Valentine’s Day.

  • Arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on midnight. Left airport in the early morning with a taxi ride back home. Trip officially ended.

The trip that costs my family nearly RM 25 000 is over and we do really have a great time over there in Australia for this long vacation. This trip marked the first time I’m taking a helicopter ride, the first time I’m seeing penguins, kangaroos, koala and wombat right in front of my eyes and the first time I’m eating a lobster. I really enjoyed this trip and it’s sad to leave Australia. Wait…I’m going back to the country this Friday (but will be on Perth then,…no more Sydney and Melbourne) to commence my postgraduate study.

(Images in this post are only a very small part of a collection of about 400 images I took during the trip. If you want to have a look at all the pictures, you can click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/VincentLoy/media_set?set=a.10153981288749337.1073741835.553754336&type=3&pnref=story. I have uploaded all the photos in my Facebook account. Copyrights reserved to all the images.)

 

 

Spent my Merdeka Day 2014 at I-City, Shah Alam.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2014 by vincentloy

I-City is an ICT-based urban development at Shah Alam, Selangor besides the Federal Highway. It is designed as a fully integrated intelligent city, comprising of corporate, leisure and residential components such as shopping mall, office towers, hotels, apartments, data and innovation centres. I-City is also a MSC (Multimedia Science Corridor) Malaysia Cyber-centre. But I guess I-City now is perhaps more known as a city of fun attractions a bit further away from Kuala Lumpur.

There is a huge outdoor as well as indoor areas totally dedicated to leisure activities or tourism. The popular attractions available over there are Waterworld (water theme park), City of Digital Parks (where most of the LED-illuminated trees are), FunWorld (small-scaled outdoor theme park), Snowalk (indoor snow experience), 5D Theatre, Trick Art Museum, Red Carpet Wax Museum, House of Horror, etc. There are of course some retails and food outlets nearby to complete the place as a great family leisure attraction. You need to spend at least a day there to enjoy all the attractions. But that is going to cost you a lot.

I spent more than three hours there with my sister’s family, from late afternoon till night. Luckily, we got there before the sunset, the time when most people would only come to enjoy the City of Digital Lights in the dark. So, we got parking easily, and it’s conveniently near to those attractions. And luckily, there is no rain today.

First, we visited the Red Carpet Wax Museum that is divided into six themes; World Icons, Celebrities, Sport Stars, World Book of Records, Interactive and All Stars Café. You got to see many wax figures of famous historical and political figures, celebrities, actors, singers, entrepreneurs, world-record holders, and successful sportsperson. But the figures there are not very much 100% alike to the real ones. And it is no match compared to the quality in Madame Tussauds of which I have visited it before in London. Of course…the price speaks for itself. Madame Tussauds’ entry costs almost RM200 for a person, and I-City’s Red Carpet only costs RM35. Huge difference. So you can easily tell from there. It’s still a great experience in there as you got to see more figures closely attached to Malaysia like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Michelle Yeoh, Lee Chong Wei whom joined the others like Queen Elizabeth II, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein, Jackie Chan, David Beckham, Michael Jackson, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Daniel Craig and many more in the museum. What’s further interesting is that some of the wax figures are interactive or animated.

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After that, we had a quick dinner at OldTown before continuing as my two nephews were very eager to play some of the attractions there. But before that, it’s now night-time and all the LED light decorations are on..it’s time to check them out. Simply beautiful. I wonder how much they spent in electricity bill for the City of Digital Lights every month. But the effect is really good. We ride on the giant ferris wheel before leaving. When we left when it is almost 10pm, there were still many cars and people coming in.

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Official website of the attractions at I-City which is expanding every year now: http://i-city.my/tourism/.

(Copyrights reserved to all my images in this post)

Genting Highlands to have the world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park soon.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by vincentloy

The outdoor theme park of Genting Highlands has been a favourite place for kids back in my childhood years. I visited the theme park several times and it’s fun. But years after years despite several attempts of expanding and introduction of few new attractions, the rides seems to be getting boring and old to everyone too since we have tried all. The coasters are not that great anymore. The place becomes less popular but Genting Highlands still attracted huge number of visitors every year mostly due to its casino, the only one licensed in Malaysia. Now. Here comes the good news.

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(The current appearance of the outdoor theme park. Image source:http://www.etawau.com/Geography/KualaLumpur/GentingHighland/OutDoorThemePark/GentingOutdoorThemePark730.jpg)

I first heard a news last week that the outdoor theme park will be closed beginning 1st September this year to make way for a refurbishment. I first thought that it is a rumour. But then, it’s all true. And yesterday, it’s openly announced that the considered-dilapidating theme park will turn into the world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park. Wow. That is awesome. Everybody knows 20th Century Fox, a motion picture giant. That’s famous ‘brand’ or symbol in the Hollywood movie history.

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(The famous logo that appears at the beginning of a lot movies. Image source: http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120224113917/xmenmovies/images/b/b2/20th_Century_Fox.jpg)

The theme park to be built on the 10 hectare site, will feature more than 25 rides and attractions that includes thrill rides, water rides, dark rides for children and more. It will be themed based on famous 20th Century Fox films such as Ice Age, Rio, Predator, Alien, Life of Pi, Night at the Museum, and more. There would be also a “Dream Parade” – a one-of-a-kind animatronics parade based on all the characters featured at the theme park. Now, this is seriously getting more interesting. The whole construction would be completed by 2015 and the theme park will be opened officially in 2016. That’s a long wait we have to endure.

The investment of 20th Century Fox Theme Park was part of Resort World Genting‘s refurbishment project which is worth RM 3 billion. This included the construction of an additional 1,300 hotel rooms to adjoin the First World Hotel. Now, I find that there is very less open space now at the peak of Genting. Where are they going to pack in another huge hotel building block? I’m wondering. Nevertheless, this project is definitely going to attract more visitors, gives ‘life’ back to the current theme park site and put Genting Highlands back as one of the top holiday destinations to people of all ages.

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(Overall view of Genting Highlands, the city of entertainment which has been there for almost five decades. Image source: http://www.timingcctv.com/application/entertainment/genting-highland.jpg)

“The development of the theme park paves the way for continued dynamic business growth and in ensuring that Resort World Genting continues to be an exceptional tourist destination both locally and internationally,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive. Mr Jeffrey Godsick, consumer products president of 20th Century Fox, said: “This theme park marks the launch of our global location-based entertainment strategy.”

Not long ago, Malaysia has opened the Asia’s first Legoland Theme Park at Johor, and now came another bigger news; Malaysia to have world’s first 20th Century Fox theme park. That is just cool. I’m looking forward to visit the new theme park once it is opened. For others, what do you think?  You can make your trip to the old theme park for one last time and make way for something bigger!

Reference:

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/international/20th-century-fox-to-open-theme-park-in-malaysia/article4956014.ece

http://www.stasiareport.com/the-big-story/asia-report/malaysia/story/genting-investing-158-million-20th-century-fox-theme-park-2

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/malaysia-to-get-twentieth-century-fox-theme-park-1.327096

http://www.thestar.com.my/Business/Business-News/2013/07/26/Genting-investing-RM400m-to-build-Fox-theme-park.aspx

Places I’m going to visit at India next week

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2012 by vincentloy

It’s always good to have a bit of knowledge or information regarding the places that I am going to visit throughout my India trip next week so that as soon as I reach there, I know a bit more about those places like their history or significance to the nation. I will always do a bit of research before every of my oversea trip so that  I would be ‘carried in’ further once I really stepped into those places.

It is not awesome for a trip to just enter and visit a place without you knowing the story behind the place. Yeah, the tour guide would explained briefly on the history of those tourist attractions, but not in detail which I love to explore more. Hence, internet is a very good option now for me to do a bit more research on the places I am going to visit next week in three different cities in India; Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I would be following a big tour group for this trip, which is under Golden Travel Tourworld (GTT) company.

Delhi is the capital of the nation, and in the city itself, I would have sightseeing over India Gate or known as War Memorial (a prominent arch-like landmark commemorating the 90,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives while fighting for their empire), Red Fort (palace served as the residence of Mughal emperors), President House, Parliament House, Government Administration Building and a visit to Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Do you know who he is? If you have learnt history before, you must have known him. He is a very famous political figure in Indian independence movement back many decades ago. Back to New Delhi, the city is described as one of the ultimate cities of a lifetime to visit and explore based on National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine. So, I would fullfill that very soon…Since the city is a huge urban area, there are many structures from historical to modern to look at, especially the government buildings concentrated in the city alone. Ahha…I’m going to have opportunity to visit the famous Lotus Temple in the city too.

Next city to visit based on the itinerary is Agra. Agra is famous for? Can anyone answer? Of course, Agra is famous for Taj Mahal! One of the seven wonders of the world, and also being widely recognized as ‘the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage’. Agra is a historical city, and there are three UNESCO listed heritage sites in the city; Agra Fort (a walled city with many historical structures inside), Fatehpur Sikri (first planned city of Mughals but is now a dead city) and of course the wonderful Taj Mahal (a huge white marble mausoleum built in memorial to Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s wife, Mumtaz Mahal). And good news is I would be going to all that three places! Time to explore the priceless heritage structures of India, all in one city; Agra…and that would be a priceless experience for me.

The last city to visit is Jaipur, famously known as the pink city. It is a major business centre of the nation, and is famous for the urban planning of the city. It is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets 111 ft (34 m) wide and the urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded street. The places I am going to visit in the city is Amber Fort, Jag Mandir (a lake garden palace), Jai Mahal (a palace hotel), City Palace, Jantarmantar (architectural astronomical observatory),  and sightseeing of Hawa Mahal (a palace with a unique five-storey exterior akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework). There would be an elephant ride to the fort up on a hill. Cool…

So, basically the trip is going to grant me opportunities to visit a lot of forts, a lot of palaces, a lot of temples! This trip is gonna be a trip to heritage places in India, and I’m quite interested as I do like to explore heritage structures, looking at the architecture and how culture influences it. Looking forward for the trip that is going to begin this Sunday, on the day of Chinese New Year Eve itself.

A short trip to Ipoh for second time of the year…and it ends terribly!

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by vincentloy

I have to remain calm at this point where I would begin to mention a bit on my quick trip to Ipoh, Perak in 2 days 1 night. It is supposed to be an enjoyable and fun trip, not until…..haiz, I will mention it later. It was a short trip planned earlier with hotel rooms already purchased and several places planned for visit. But to be honest, there is nothing much interesting to see in Ipoh besides than those interesting limestone caves formation…and hence we only need a day for a basic trip over there.

It is only a mere two-hours drive continuously from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh through the North-South Expressway. Sitting in the car, without the need of driving is something pleasant and comfortable, while I manage to enjoy the views along the route. So, my views basically change from scene involving many tall buildings (in KL) and urban areas with huge amount of condominiums (Mont Kiara area) to nothing but forest views with short hills, before finally noticing limestone hills and caves that indicate our destination is fast approaching; Ipoh which is famous for that.

It is raining cats and dogs as soon as we reached the city in afternoon. The sky is dark, and I’m feeling not that good for the day. The first thing we do is to get a quick meal at the famous Onn Kee Restaurant, famous in selling the local delicacy; bean sprout chicken. It is a food must-try in Ipoh. The restaurant we went is very popular, as there have been several artists (especially from Hong Kong) have had eaten there and taken pictures. They are Raymond Lam, Bosco Wong, Nicholas Teo, etc. There are too many pictures and I can’t remember much.

After that, we proceed to drive around the suburban areas of Ipoh, where I have not been too that much in my previous trip to the city not long ago (two months ago in the same year). It is peaceful there, with less cars and people, and the roads there are very enjoying to drive on as there is no traffic jams! I didn’t spot any highrises there, and almost everything is flat with backdrop of beautiful hills. There are many open fields in middle of those housing areas, and those fields are comparatively much larger than those in KL. I think you can even place few airplanes on a single field there.

Then, we stop by to try on delicious and crunchy ‘siu yuk’ (Chinese roasted pork) at a small hawker stall which is said to be selling fast due to high number of daily customers. Ahh…eat again! Must be gaining weight after the trip. It’s time to get back to hotel for a rest, and the hotel we are staying is called ‘Regalodge Hotel, Ipoh’ which is a small four-storeys building located at the old town area, which is quite strategic. The staff is friendly, and the facilities provided are very good, with all snacks and drinks in room free, free wifi (but very slow), free newspaper in the morning, and huge plasma TV with some Astro channels for me to watch. The room condition is very neat, clean and good, eventhough the view from my room isn’t that good. Ahh…and yes, I had my own room to stay in which is cool.

At around 11pm, then only we went out for dinner (nope, it’s supper) at a food court near the stadiums’ area. Try to guess what I ate? Haha…it’s Fried Prawn and Egg! The name seems to be very special, but it ends up being a plate of typical ‘char kuey teow mee’ (fried noodle). Funny, isn’t it? I’m tasting Penang food while I’m in Ipoh, searching for local delicacies. There is not much delicacies here, except than the bean sprout chicken  (eaten earlier), pomelos (I don’t like to eat) and biscuits. That’s the end of the day.

I woke up comfortably on my bed, greeting the Sunday’s morning with a look out of my window, and it’s still quite quiet out there. Then, we went to the busy streets at the old town area, for breakfast at the famous dim sum restaurant in the town, called Foh San. It is a huge two-floors restaurant…and we have to wait to be seated. I have been there before in my previous trip, and I knew the food there are nice, and the dim sum are in many varieties. I had a very full breakfast there…yummy!

It’s time to check out from hotel at 12pm, and it’s time to head to the famous Buddhist cave temples at Ipoh. We went straight to the place, where three temples are located just to each other, named ‘Ling Sen Temple’, ‘Nan Tien Tong’, and ‘Sam Poh Tong’. Ling Sen Temple is interesting on its appealing temple’s appearance with mainly the attractions are not in the cave, but rather at outside, easily visible as it is just located at the side of the main road, and its focus in 12-zodiacs Chinese signs. Nan Tien Tong is interesting on its temple-in cave structure and the steep and dark climb to the top. I had an exhausting time climbing the steps there, but I did it too. Sam Poh Tong is interesting on its landscaped garden which is very beautiful and scenic with lake, stones, flowers and shrubs.

Then, we proceed to the Kek Lok Tong Temple, quite far, in the Malay-populated area. Wao…it is a huge and a beautiful cave, with huge opening that draws visitors in. It is very windy inside and the lighting in the cave intensifies the mysterious limestone formation in the cave. The interesting rock formations caught our attention, with some even resembles something like tiger’s head based on our imagination. We had a comfortable moment there, enjoying the breeze and the calm atmosphere, not until my dad’s car alarm alerted.

We thought it is nothing wrong. Then, we went back to pick up the car, and only discovered that a window of the car is smashed and in pieces. Oh my god…my bag containing my clothes, my toiletries and especially my laptop are stolen! The whole bag is gone! Oh, shit! It is a moment of shock and sad for me, as I lost my precious laptop, containing all my precious files. Luckily, I had another copy of it in my external hard drive, but it is not updated. Shit! I totally felt very down….It is a moment of anger to my dad too, as he need to fix the car, and also buying a new laptop for me. What a tragic event that destroys all our mood, which we even intended to go to Perak Cave Temple after that. The plan is foiled and we quickly sent the car to be vacuumed (to remove all broken glass) and to be fix with new glass window installed in. It’s all done in the right time just before the downpour which would wet inside the car if that window is left empty with no glass.

(Last picture of the trip above…so terrible!) So you see…how bad the day turned out to be! We didn’t report to the police as we are rushing for the car to be repaired to avoid dealing with rain in such condition. Anyway, we had complained seriously to the management of the cave temple there, including the three useless old security guards there, and two policemen whom are responsible for the area and were coincidently at the place too. I had my fault too, as I shouldn’t left it on the rear seat. But then, nothing occurs previously at the three temples we have visited earlier. At Kek Lok Tong, there are even more people, and the alarm alerted no one. Huh…

What to do! It is lost. To the person who had steal it, you know what you did, and you will face the consequences soon…Now, I had to start thinking to purchase a new one before my semester begins next week….Sorry to my dad, whom have to buy me a new one. I take it as a time to replace the old one which had stay with me for around 3 years. Goodbye my previous laptop! Goodbye, Ipoh! (Here now, I’m back in my home at KL, facing the old desktop to write for my blog here).