Trip to Swan Valley, Perth today.


Me and my housemates went to the Swan Valley today, a place I suggested since we have basically went to most of the interesting places in Perth that are not that far away earlier. Swan Valley is basically a region only 30 minutes away from Perth’s city and contains many plantation fields, wineries, breweries, distilleries, local-produce factories, farms (animals, lavender, cheese, fruits), restaurants and cafes. The downpour this morning didn’t dampen our spirit to start off the day by heading to the city to rent a car.

We got a nice car (with quite an expensive rate) and we spent the whole afternoon in the Swan Valley. The trip wouldn’t be successful if we didn’t stop by at the Visitor Centre near the entrance to the valley. The staff over there was very helpful on explaining some important places that we should visit in the valley along their recommended 32-km long food and wine trail. Wow…I didn’t expect the valley to be that big. We only covered a small part of it for our trip today. Their guide in pamphlet is very useful, especially the map.

First, we went to the Margaret River Chocolate Factory. We had our lunch there. I have tasted my best ever dark chocolate drink over there. We also did a quick free tasting of chocolates before we left. Our mission today is actually to get all the complimentary tastings without buying. They must be hating us but it’s not our bad since the complimentary tastings are provided and suggested everywhere in the valley. The chocolates are not bad (but not the best also that I have tasted) but I do enjoy their dark chocolates in tiny little pieces’ one. Just next door, we also visited the Providore Local Produce station where we get to taste interesting cooking ingredients like the sauces, spices, creams, olive oil, etc. My tongue felt weird after tasting some of that.

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Next destination is Lancaster Winery where they served complimentary tasting of wines and you can add it up with cheese if you like to. I don’t really like cheese and so I just ignored that part. One particular type of red wine we tried today is quite good and is not that sweet. We also tried white wine. It’s winter season now and so it’s not the best time to take pictures of the plantation farms since all the trees are dry now with nothing much to see. But it is still a beautiful sight for a vast field of plantation everywhere in the valley.

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Next, we went House of Honey to taste the honey of course. There are so many different kind of honey and their sweetness produced and on sale over there. There is even one particular one (I forgot the honey’s name) that has healing ability when applied on the skin. Interesting, but I worried it may heals quickly but ants will be crawling towards you. Haha…forget about it. We moved on to the Mondo Nougat and Chocolate and Morish Nuts. Both are side by side. Free tasting again and the staff were very friendly.

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The last destination in the valley that we covered is the Mandoon Estate and Homestead Brewery. We noticed there was some sort of a party going on there. It’s a beautiful place and we had beers over there. Nice environment with the plantation field again and frequent view of airplanes on the sky.

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Before we returned the car to the rental shop before calling it the end of the day, we went for a quick walk in Kings Park. I’m still not bored visiting the park (have visited it three times and is expected to visit the place again next week), mainly due to the magnificent city’s view from there. Back for my conclusion for the Swan Valley; it’s a great place to visit and most importantly, it’s free for all the tastings. All in one region: Swan Valley. The place is scenic and you must need a car to travel in there. You can also join in some tours provided if you reached there by public transport. For that, you have to ask for more information at the Visitor Centre. I had an awesome day there and would certainly love to go back there again in near future.

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post. Kindly request permission if you intend to use any of them)

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A year to Milan 2015 World Expo. A quick glimpse into Malaysia Pavilion’s design.


The extravagant Shanghai World Expo back in 2010 had increased worldwide attention to this event known as the Universal Exposition. Held once in every five years, the expo gathers countries and organizations from across the world to present what they could offer in present or future generation through various themes, usually carrying distinctiveness and symbol of their respective countries. The next World Expo would be held in 2015 on Milan from 1st May to 31st October for a duration of six months. Hence, the countdown of a year to the event had just started. Official website of this expo: http://www.expo2015.org/en.

This coming event, themed ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet. Expo 2015 will have a principal focus on the right to healthy, secure and sufficient food for all the world’s inhabitants. Over 140 countries and 10 organizations will be taking part on this expo, securing the global event to become the highlight of next year. And as usual, there will be a lot of pavilions of respective countries or organizations built for the expo which most will be demolished after the event, and all eyes are starting to look into the design of the pavilions.

And the first thing on my mind is that how would my country’s pavilion looks like this time? It was a complete eye-sore and failure for Malaysia Pavilion back in Shanghai 2010 World Expo. (refer image below)

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Ugly and terrible! A traditional-looked building topped by a giant Minangkabau roof with horrendous colour made it easily the worst-looking pavilion back in that expo. I searched yesterday for the design of our country’s pavilion for Milan 2015 and finally, something is right this time. Details are not revealed or officially confirmed yet, but I guess it’s very high probability that the design will be like this for Malaysia Pavilion in Milan 2015 World Expo:

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The design is a joint collaboration between FOCUS Architects, KL Superstudio and PICO International of which the latter have had countless past experience of designing pavilions or exhibition booths for various countries or organizations. Malaysia’s interpretation of the core Expo’s theme is ‘Towards A Sustainable Food Ecosystem’. The pavilion will offers fascinating journey from tradition to innovation and will explore an economic transformation plan which will propel Malaysia’s small agricultural sector into a large-scale high-income industry that contributes to the global struggle against poverty.

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What is your first impression of the design? Looks great and much better right? At least it looks modern and doesn’t reflect our country being so outdated anymore (as seen in Shanghai 2010). I like the simplicity and fluidity of the form, yet containing interesting circulation pattern and exciting content to offer inside to visitors. Based on the theme of ‘Seed of Change’, you can quite obviously the form is derived from the look of a seed, particularly of paddy (rice), which is the staple food for most of world’s population especially in Asia. How do I know all these? Just check out the E-book containing some details of this pavilion here: http://issuu.com/sesiseni/docs/expo_report_final_r00.

I hope this will be confirmed design. If it is so, then I will be among the first to post details of the pavilion in my blog here. Anyway, it’s really cool-looking.

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UPDATE (20 May 2014)

The design has been revised but still maintains the original ‘seed’ concept as highlighted in this post earlier. But the architect behind this has now changed to Hijjas Kasturi Associates.

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Still looks good, but I prefer the original design. Here’s the website and more information from this confirmed design of the Malaysia Pavilion for Milan 2015 World Expo: http://www.malaysiapavilion2015.com.my/.

Information source:

http://www.pico.com/pico-awarded-design-contract-for-the-malaysia-pavilion-at-expo-milano-2015-2/

http://issuu.com/sesiseni/docs/expo_report_final_r00

http://www.expo2015.org/en

 

 

Blog honoured with ‘Illuminating Blogger Award’ today


On February 7th this year, I have received the first ever award presented to my blog, which is known as ‘Versatile Blogger Award’. The award recognized my blog as one of the most all-round and dynamic blogs worldwide. Similar to Versatile Blogger Award, this latest Illuminating Blogger Award presented to me on this day, 27th May 2012, is basically a chain-letter award which the nominated is eventually awarded and get listed on the official website’s blogroll. To follow the rules, the nominated/awarded ones have to create a post like this one with all the required items, and are given responsibility to nominate at least five other blogs for this award.

Illuminating Blogger Award is a fabulous award that anyone can bestow on their fellow bloggers for illuminating, informative blog content. I get to be recognized by it from the comment posted on my blog by ‘Food Stories’, the creator of this award that informed me that I have been listed for this award. It’s also quite satisfying that my blog get listed not by secondary links (like in previous Versatile Blogger Award) but by the creator of the award this time. There would be no prize or a physical award given, but it is the recognition that every blogger wants. This is the badge given for the award’s winners:

‘Illuminating’. Well, according to that term, my blog does provides ‘light’ to many readers. Opps..a bit too proud of that….As usual, there are several instructions I need to follow on this new blog’s post to be qualified fully for the recognition. Here is the instruction:

1. The nominee should visit the award site (http://foodstoriesblog.com/illuminating-blogger-award/) and leave a comment indicating that they have been nominated and by whom. (This step is so important because it’s the only way that we can create a blogroll of award winners).

=== I have visited the award site and left a comment. 
2. The Nominee should thank the person that nominated them by posting & including a link to their blog.

=== I now thanked ‘Food Stories’, the creator of this award who nominated my blog and the website is http://foodstoriesblog.com/
3. Share one random thing about yourself in your blog post.

===One random thing? Hmm…I like to travel around the world to explore and experience the different places, cultures, backgrounds from historical to modern sites that I believe would adds a certain useful knowledge to me in the end. My next destination would be Vietnam on this upcoming August. This is my one random thing about myself that I can think of at this moment. 
4. Select at least five other bloggers that you enjoy reading their illuminating, informative posts and nominate them for the award.

===The list of five other bloggers that I enjoy reading sometimes:

(a)  Sarcasm? Puh-leeze! (http://leonhart90.blogspot.com/)

(b)  Architecture Moves Us. (http://www.yangsquare.com/)

(c) ArchDaily. (http://www.archdaily.com/)

(d) Dezeen Magazine. (http://www.dezeen.com/)

(e) A Daily Dose of Architecture. (http://archidose.blogspot.com/)

That’s it. Thank you once again for nominating and awarding my blog with this ‘Illuminating Blogger Award’. It’s my blog’s second award and third honour overall with the first being listed by WordPress as one of the top growing blogs back few years ago. Hoping more to come soon!

2 days 1 night Malacca Trip + Visit to A Famosa Resort (Animal Safari and Cowboy Town)


Wednesday is the day I wrote a post which mentioned that I would be going for a short trip to Malacca the next day. Ohh, it’s Friday already, and that means the trip has ended so quickly. Anyway, it’s a short yet fun trip with my sisters, nephews and cousins that covers A Famosa Resort on Thursday and Malacca town on Friday.

We started to leave Kuala Lumpur on Thursday afternoon after several delay and a lunch. Our first destination is of course the A Famosa Resort which is located near the border of Malacca. It is a huge resort comprising of an animal safari, water theme park, villas and hotel, a cowboy town, and vast area for many outdoor and indoor games. I have been there once but I hardly remember much memory on my previous visit to the resort.

We reached the resort finally, but then we had a hard time finding our villa to check-in in such a huge area of the resort where many zones are undeveloped. We can also see very obviously that the maintenance is not carried out effectively throughout the resort, after spotting dilapidated condition of many of the villas, unattended growth of plants over habitable structures, signboards and advertisement boards that are fading off in colours, and some others. There are not much people visiting the resort too despite it is now school holiday.

We checked in to our villa which is only one-floor high and contains a small swimming pool. We immediately went to the Animal Safari to take a ride to watch some animals kept in the safari. It was seriously a very bumpy ride which left me off the seat quite often, as well as having dust all over my body. The animals in there are mostly lazy, and the only main attraction is the presence of many tigers in the safari.

Next, we watched a performance by the trained elephants. The acts they performed with the trainers are like carrying logs, carrying people to sit above them, grabbing hat from a person and puts it onto another’s head, as well as drawing. However, I don’t quite enjoyed the performance which is not really that awesome.

Next, we went for a walk-thru to an area where many other smaller animals are kept like goats, rabbits, chickens, peacocks, ponies, ducks, crocodiles, etc. It’s over the closing time, and so we went back as there are no more other visitors present from our sight. We then went back to villa and then, went in to the water; swimming pool! I don’t know how to swim, and so I just walked…haha…it’s fun being in the water anyway (and at the same time, cold too). It’s time to check out the interior of the villa we would be staying for the night. Quite comfortable in there, but the furnitures are a bit too old-fashioned.

Night arrived, and we proceed to the Cowboy Town which I have missed in my previous visit to the resort. It’s actually a very small area with some built wooden houses that comprises of shops and restaurants.

The highlight is the animal musical parade which we did watched despite drizzling occurred at some moments. Well, the show must go on. Luckily, when it’s fireworks time, the rain stopped and so we can enjoy the spectacular but short fireworks display which is presented every night. After that, we watched a 4D show on underwater adventure. The 4D experience is very bad here. I don’t enjoy anything much from that. Boring end to the visit in the town. We went back to the villa and it’s time to play rummy. Yeah…and I won almost RM50 this time.

Ohh, the next day came, and after a buffet breakfast in the resort away from our villa, we checked out and proceed to Malacca town in the afternoon which is one hour away from the resort. There are so many traffic lights on our way to the heritage town and it’s so frustrating! We finally reached the town, which together with Georgetown in Penang are listed as world heritage cities by UNESCO few years ago. Time for a bit of photographing moment at the Stadhuys area, one of the icons of Malacca besides than the famous A Famosa Fort which we didn’t go to visit this time.

We then go for lunch, and the rice balls with chicken is our main choice. Many people queued for the food as though it is the one and only restaurant in the whole town. After around 30 minutes, we finally got to be seated. Yummy…so delicious; I like to eat rice balls but I would leave some space in my stomach for other tit-bits found along the famous Jonker Walk.

The dragon-exhibit for Chinese New Year decoration is still there, hovering above an entrance to the Jonker Street. Wow, that’s beautiful and huge! Then, we walked along the Jonker Walk which is flooded with people especially the tourists. The side path is quite narrow and so it is very hard for us to walk smoothly along that, while we have to squeezed in at the same time. We bought durian puff and it is so delicious…I love durian. We had cendol too, which is a perfect gift in such a hot atmosphere.

Other than that, we bought nothing. Our main objective to go to Malacca town this time is just for food only! Before we end the trip and return to Kuala Lumpur, we stopped by a while at Dataran Pahlawan Mall and bought the famous ‘thousand layer cake’ (mille crepe) from Nadeje Restaurant in the mall. I bought a Tiramisu and I tried it just now after reaching home, and I don’t really like the taste and the texture. It’s too sweet at the same time. We finally reached back home, and it’s already night! Time flies…and our short trip came to an end. We are tired, but we do enjoyed what we have been through in the trip despite the short amount of time.

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


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).

First time trying Korean meal yesterday…


It’s been boring throughout the holiday. Since we have finalized our decision to go to Korea for our Chinese New Year 2010 family trip, it’s time we should learn something related to Korea.

First of all, is tested yesterday, the usual Korean meal. Other than the famous shabu-shabu which is some kind of steamboat of fresh vegetable, pork, beef, chicken and seafood, accompanied by sidedishes like kimchi. Everybody knows kimchi is Korea’s main dish. Huh, we choose the other set, which does not have beef, the set is only on seafood, which we liked the most, but the price of course more expensive.

When we entered the restaurant, called as Korean BBQ Seoul Garden located at Kuchai Lama, right above the visited 2369 cafe. It is on first floor. We thought that we will be their only customers on that period of time, but as we entered, there are few more tables occupied. We are sitting right beside a table of Korean people, talking non-stop until even when we almost finished our dinner. The boss and another guy are Koreans, other workers are from other countries. They greeted us so well when we came, and even when we leaved.

We felt surprised by the thingy above each table, which helps in cooking/heating the boiling food. Of course, we have never seen this kind of thing before. All the dishes shown in the menu are weird to us, all Korean-style. We dare not to choose other weird dishes, hence we choose only one set costs RM220 on seafood steamboat accompanied by over 5 other main dishes and 10 sidedishes. I ordered the orange juice which would be normal for me, but it turns out to be different kind of orange juice, kinda mixed with other ingredients. They knew that we are the first time trying Korean food, hence they helped us a lot. Their service are good, and they charged 10% which is like over RM20. They even offered a free large bottle of imported Korean orange juice to us as the gift as first-time customer.

So many sauces for every individual, all different tastes:

So many sidedishes, they need a lot of small bowls like this:

The bowl of boiling spicy steamboat of seafood, very hot in there:

The other unfinished main dishes, notice the fu-yong egg there, it’s the most normal dish out of all, very delicious and special too:

This the thingy I mentioned earlier, hang above each table used to cook the steamboat, but they cooked it on other place, since our table has no more empty area and near to the air-conditioner:

Still can’t adapt to the Korean food. Now, I’m worried whether I can stay on eating this kind of food for seven continuous days during our Korea trip. Scared of stomachache, vomitting, those kind of problems. Must buy instant noodles there as a replacement. Anyway, Korean food is worth a try, maybe you will like it, who knows?

Different places have different people, and so different cultures, and with their different style of living, different faces, different atmosphere, and of course, different food.

Moments of realized dreams… [8 days Beijing, Chengde and Tianjin, China trip]


i am back..from my long and exhausting but interesting and exciting trip at Beijing,Chengde and Tianjin, China last week…

first post after chinese new year, will be bringing you all to my experience in Beijing, Chengde and Tianjin for 8 days and 7 nights…

FIRST DAY —

25th January 2009 (Sunday) – on that night, it is hardly for me to sleep, because my wish for going to Beijing will be realized on the day itself. I have been waited for this for months..and now it comes!

packed up final stuff, closing the luggage, making up a ‘new’ me, and ready to go to Kuala Lumpur International Airport… my uncle fetched us to the airport in early morning even before the sun rises out..

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have breakfast at McDonald in the airport..then go on train to the terminal..8.50am is the time of our flight to begin to the capital city of China…it is a clear sunny day in the middle-sized plane…

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6 hours long in the plane..huh..kinda boring..but waiting to reach Beijing, gives me ‘energy’ not to sleep in the plane…

yes, finally, reached Beijing, at the Beijing Capital International Airport at Terminal 2..this terminal is the old building..wished to go to the new Terminal 3 which is just at opposite…anyway, the airport is still the world biggest airport (with three terminals)…

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Out tour leader is called Jason and we met the tour guide from China.. called as Jerry (Xiao Lee)..when we are outdoor, wow…absolutely cold..freezing into the heart..quickly rushed into the bus with plate number 03015.

next, we proceed to watch Chinese acrobatic show..a one hour show that is enough to stunt everybody on their seats in a hall…i am sure that the performers have practised a lot of times for the daily shows…their stunts are incredible, awesome, amazing, wonderful and marvelous!

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there are two videos recorded on the acrobatic shows showing some of the stunts performed that day…enjoy!

after the dinner, we proceed to a hotel, called as Quality Hotel..a typical four stars hotel in Beijing..the room is quite big, but because the condition there is too dry, we will always have electric shock towards any steel materials…

that night is really the greatest night, the last day before chinese new year..fireworks all around beijing are estimated to began from as early as 6.00pm to midnight 3.00am continuously…

from my room’s window, we can view the skyline of Beijing being enhanced by the fireworks…

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i have recorded a ten minutes video of the fireworks too…enjoy!

SECOND DAY —-

26th January 2009 (Monday) – not much food to eat for breakfast, just swallow some to fill my stomach… then, go to Temple of Heaven..it is actually a very large area with a lot of ancient structures, as well as an Altar for the past emperors to pray…

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this is the first time we are outdoor for such a long time, extremely cold here…

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the main building, which is built without the use of single nail, is one of the ancient masterpiece of architecture…

next, we proceed to the city center, the heart of Beijing, the Tiananmen Square…with a giant public square in the middle (world largest urban square),

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Tiananmen Gate and Forbidden City in the north,

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Great Hall of People on the west,

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Mao Ze Dong Memorial Hall on the south,

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Museum of Chinese History and Revolution on the east,

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and Monument of People’s Heroes in the middle of the square.

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Have to go through tight security check before entering this square which is surounded by 8-lanes road…

next, we proceed to the Forbidden City, or known as Imperial Palace, or National Palace or even Palace Museum…but when we went into the palace, it does not seems to be ‘forbidden’ anymore..so many people rushing into the palace through main gate..it now looks like ‘open city’..

the palace is consists of 9999 and a half rooms (i don’t know how they count), but the area of the whole palace is really big, making it as the world biggest palace…

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need to walk so long in the palace, but worthy, because it is really amazing to be in there, you are like back to ancient China when you are there…for those who love traditional Chinese architecture, this is the best place! From floor, ceiling, columns, beams, and to roof, the palace is an example of a great ancient architecture…

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went to look at the interior courts of many halls in the palace, people can’t get in there, only can view it from outside, there are so many people gathered there just to look at the inner courts…

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before leaving the forbidden city, just saw the tallest structure in the forbidden city, at the southern east of the palace, look at it, as well as the back of the image, where you can see the new China World Trade Center Tower 3…

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actually on that day, saw the China World Trade Center Tower 3, CCTV Headquarters Tower, Bird Nest Stadium and Water Cube from far…then go to a shop called as Dr.Tea shop..here, they promote different kind of healthy teas for us to buy, and yet, we didn’t buy…

at night, go to nearby One World Department Store, just right beside my hotel to take a look, just bought instant noodles to keep us warm under the extreme cold weather…

THIRD DAY —

27th January 2009 (Tuesday) – today is a great day…going to the Great Wall of China through Badaling Expressway…it is one of the seven wonders of the world, as well as the world biggest construction project and world longest wall…

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the scene around the great wall is great, with hills and forests surrounding it,it is believed that the first emperor of China, Qin Shih Huang Ti was the emperor who connected all the existing walls built before for protection and defence to create a ‘Great Wall’…

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climbing on the great wall is an exhausting work to do, every steps is of different height and is not standardized, as it was built few thousand years ago…so the feeling is…’happy, exhausting, enjoyable, and tired’!

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i have carved some of my detail there..haha..just to prove that I have really been there before…a lot of people carved on it before too..when we returned back after climbing to a certain height, we are so afraid by the height…really scary…

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after lunch, we proceed to one of the Ming Tombs, the Tomb of the 13th Emperor, Ding Ling or commonly known as Wan Li..it is the only tomb out of the thirteen tombs in the region that is being excavated out for exhibition and tourism…the picture below is the whole Ding Ling tomb in model…

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is it creepy in there…27 metres underground to reach the tomb…and i can tell you that it is no creepy at all..so many tourists in there…there are thrones, emperors and two empress’ seats, empty caskets in the underground, stone tablet,…

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next, we went to Jade selling shop..didn’t buy anything from there too…we did go to Crystal selling shop too..the shop is known as Crystal Palace (this one is in eastern world)…

next, we moved to Bao Shu Tang medication shop…here, just bought little medication stuff…the most unbelievable thing is that when a worker present to us how their medication stuff works, he go purposedly injured himself on his hand on an extreme-burning steel, then he will apply their medication item on it, later it has been recovered a lot…crazy!

FOURTH DAY —

28th January 2009 (Wednesday) – today go to the Pearl selling shop..so many beautiful pearls here…didn’t buy any pearls here too…

next, we went to the Summer Palace (Yi He Yuan)..this place is big again…this area is mainly of the Kunming Lake and the Longevity Hill…both lake and hill is entirely man-made…it is actually a summer resort for the famous late Empress Dowager Cixi (Chi Hei Tai Hau)…

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almost all of the lake is frozen….but the scene on the place is still beautiful…there are so many tourists in here too…

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there is also a covered walkway which  contains the world longest exhibition gallery (728 metres long).. the exhibition corridor consists of traditional paintings mainly of the Four Great Ancient Chinese Novels..including the Journey to the West..p1280756

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Then, we moved on to the Trishaw ride along the old street of Beijing, the Hutong region…here, we can experience the traditional houses of Beijing and their lifestyles in these poor streets….there is a Drum Tower and Bell Tower nearby too….

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then, we proceed to the Jing Shan Hill, an artificial hill right behind the Forbidden City to take a better look at the whole Forbidden City from the top of the hill as well as some parts of Beijing…below the hill, there is a tree which the last emperor of Ming dynasty, Chongzhen, hanged himself on there before…the scenery there is amazing, despite the winter dust in Beijing..

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next, we proceed to the Silk Road and Pearl Market (a big mall where we can bargain for a very low prices for any items sold in there)..this place is mainly for tourists and is nearby of the Central Business District..

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then, i saw the China World Trade Center Tower 3 (330 metres tall) which was newly built….

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saw one of the main commercial streets in Beijing too..nearby the Central Business District…took a picture of it…

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after dinner, we moved on to the next destination, Wangfujing Street…the whole street is totally created in modern style based on shopping-themed to attract tourists or even the locals…

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there are so many people on the large street..the street is surrounded by two rows of few-stories shops which have their advertisement boards lighted up and decorated beautifully….the crowd there really gives a feeling of ‘wow’! Just walk along the street and took pictures..didn’t buy anything from there as all the shops there are of valuable brands…

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later, we proceed to the nearby Donghuamen Night Market..this is a street also..but all the stalls on the street are selling food, drinks and snacks…there are unique food being sold here, such as fried starfish and fried scorpion…yyee…i do not dare to eat these…this street is full of people too…what i don’t like about this street is that the hawkers always shouting and asking us to buy their food and the street there is pretty ‘wet’ (dirty)…

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Later, we get back on the bus and have a night tour at Changan Street in the bus…it is the main street in Beijing and it stretches over few kilometres long…every structures along the street are famous and unique, such as Tiananmen Gate (with Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square)

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Beijing National Theater – commonly known as ‘Egg Shell’

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and many others…just forgot the names…but the night scene there is really cool…then we moved on to the another street nearby called as Beijing Financial District..this is the place where most of the banks headquarters buildings are located…

FIFTH DAY —

29th January 2009 (Thursday) – Early morning, we went to ‘Miao Huei” (Temple Festival)..the temple festival is actually a street of stalls selling food and stuff (mainly souvenirs and gifts) ..all the stalls will be available only during the festival of Chinese New Year every year…a lot of people here too..all crowded…

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after lunch, our bus passed through the street again, and when i looked at the street by that time, i was like ‘oh my god!’…the whole street is like packed with people with no any emptiness…people can’t even walk in the street…

Next, we went to the Zhengyangmen City Wall, a city wall south of Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City as well as Olympic Green on the far north..this city wall is to guard the structures on the north (mentioned above)….based on Feng Shui, this city wall represents dragon head, while Tiananmen Square is the dragon heart, Forbidden City as the dragon body and the Olympic Green as the dragon tail…

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In the city wall, we are being met by a famous Chinese Feng Shui Master, called as Chen Li Yang..he gave us a long one hour plus talk about Feng Shui..the great thing about him is that he can identify our health condition just by looking at our faces which is very accurate…then, my family bought a ‘PiXiu’ (Pei Yau) from him to protect our family..

the master is the one who helped Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong (and Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay) on the Feng Shui of Genting Highlands, Vincent Tan on the Feng Shui of Berjaya Times Square and many more…it is too bad that photographing is prohibited in the city wall…

after that, we moved on to the nearby Dashilan Street, located south of the City Wall…it is one of the oldest commercial streets in Beijing and had been renovated to attract more tourists like us…so many people there too..just walk by the street and feel the crowd…

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Next, after lunch, we proceed to Nanshan Ski Village..all the snowy ice there is man-made because by that time, no snow falls on Beijing…it is located quite far from Beijing and on hills, so it is pretty cold at there too…

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just walk by and looked at people skiing and playing snow…i don’t know how to ski..and it is very expensive to ski there actually…

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next, we proceed to Chengde by bus…four hours in the bus…just sleep in the bus…in the halfway, we went to a small charity shop and we bought some stuff sold there for charity donation…because Chengde region is really poor…

As we reached Chengde by night, it is very cold there, colder than Beijing..Beijing had an average temperature of -1 to zero degree celsius but in Chengde, at least -5 to -8 degree celsius..at night, the few buildings there is lighted up beautifully with neon lighting…including a bridge too…

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After dinner, we proceed to Qianyang Hotel which I think do not deserved a four stars ranking…just a night in the hotel..nevermind..

SIXTH DAY —

30th January 2009 (Friday) – Awful breakfast this morning..nothing to eat…haiz…wow…when we looked at outside, the whole river is frozen into ice, some part is even covered by snow…

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after breakfast, we proceed to The Mountain Resort (Bishu Sanzhuang)…it is the world largest imperial garden..it is a gigantic complex of palaces, administrative and ceremonial buildings…it served as the summer palace for the Qing Dynasty…

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in the resort, we cannot take much photographs because it is prohibited in some areas…furthermore, it is too cold to take pictures there…and the battery of the camera will be quickly weaken under extreme cold weather…

because the whole resort is too large, we ride on a small kind of vehicle (i duno what it is called) to go along the resort…the scenery there is pretty cool and calm…we had a stop at

Mongolian yurt with a pagoda

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Rehe River – world shortest river

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and many more….

After that, we proceed to the Little Potala Palace or known as the Putuo Zongcheng Temple…it is a miniature temple made based on the original Potala Palace at Tibet..anyway, it is still big…

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climbing through each steps to reach almost the top of the temple is kinda a hard task..but anyway, easier than climbing the Great Wall…this temple assembles Tibetan and Buddhist architecture…

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after lunch at Chengde, we are back to Beijing..this time three hours in the bus…then, we proceed to Yashow Fashion Clothing Market..it does not only sells clothes, but also many other things in there..it is also a place to bargain for extremely low prices…

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after that, we went to a new hotel to stay, called as Holiday Inn Express Beijing MinZuYuan, nearby the Olympic Green…this hotel is like three to four stars…better than Qianyang Hotel at Chengde but not as good as the Quality Hotel in Beijing…

we decided to go to Olympic Green first…me and my dad walked to the park where the Beijing National Stadium (Bird Nest) and Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) stand….

after dinner in a restaurant in a shopping mall, this time we really proceed to the Olympic Green with the tour group…we took a lot of great pictures there too..the night scene in the area is perfect…what amazed me is that there is a laser lighting show by buildings around Olympic Green in a time interval…

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beautiful? wanna see the video of it..check this out….

the lighting is awesome, the design of stadiums is great, the whole park is picturesque…my wish of seeing this is being realized…hurray!

i am awed when i looked at the Beijing National Stadium (Bird Nest Stadium) through my own eyes..not through TV anymore…in a very clear distance…the design of this stadium is really unique, interesting and great!

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next, right beside it, the Beijing National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) is another structure that I love…the lighting of this structure is cool…

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the video below shows the changing colours of the Water Cube at night in a time interval…

both of the structures are actually designed based on Feng Shui too..as in Chinese beliefs, square (shape of the Water Cube) represents the Earth while the circle (shape of the Bird Nest Stadium) represents the sky.

there is another remarkable structure in the park, the LingLong Tower..the tower has a height of 128m and is used for television broadcasting. With 7 occupied floors, each an equilateral triangle, this tower is located on the north west side of the Bird Nest stadium. Unable to take the photo of the tower lighted up because by the time i reached there, the lights have been turned off…

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later, we went back to the hotel through Beijing Subway, one of the world most advanced subway and is expanding to become the world longest subway.

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SEVENTH DAY —

31st January 2009 (Saturday) – today, we went to the Silk Industry where we can see how silk is originated from…we didn’t buy any silk too because my dad have bought before from Shanghai..furthermore, silk is costly too…

then, we proceed to the Yashow Fashion Clothing Market again..we bargaining again for lower prices…we bargained at the same stall again selling phones and NDS…my cousin bought an NDS yesaterday while my sister bought a phone today…all at a very low prices..

in the bus, we passes by the newly built CCTV Headquarters Tower (234 metres tall) ..the design of this building really amazed me…

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Then, we proceed to Tianjin after lunch…one hour in the bus..quite fast…at there, I saw a lot of buildings (mainly residential ones) under construction in Tianjin…

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we moved to the Ancient Cultural Street …it is a traditional street with stalls selling food and souvenirs…there are some stalls offering games too…

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then, we proceed to the nearby Nanshi Food Street…this is the place where many of the food and snacks are available…this street is covered and so it is indoor street…

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after dinner, we went back to Beijing again…actually, nothing much special in Tianjin..just visit two streets and having a ‘too salty’ dinner…

EIGHTH DAY —

1st February 2009 (Sunday) – the first day of the month as well as the last day of the trip…sad…time passes so fast…

today we went to the Beijing Zoo where we will see the Giant Panda…this species of animal is facing extinction (serious extinction)..so, we have to see it before it really extincts…people said that a giant panda is more valuable than a human..

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the pandas are so cute and big….they just eat bamboo, walk around, play around and sleep..this is their daily activities…but their bodies are little bit dirty because they can’t be taken to bath during winter because giant panda will caught cold easily and it is very hard to cure that for panda…

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after that, we proceed to the Olympic Sports Center, just south of the Olympic Green…

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here, we are invited to be given free foot massage..but they still promote things for us to buy..and our response is still the same…didn’t buy at all…anyway, i didn’t try the massage too..because i don’t like to be ‘touched’..haha…

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Then, we have our final lunch in Beijing before we proceed to the Beijing Capital International Airport for the flight back home…

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The airport is big, but Terminal One and Two are old..only Terminal 3 is more advanced and new…so bad, that our Malaysia Airlines plane is at Terminal Two…

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anyway, i saw the Terminal Three also..from far…

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the security check in the airport is too strict…lighter also cannot pass through…KLIA can, but this airport cannot…

we are in the middle-sized plane again..the same as the previous plane we are heading to Beijing…observing the sky…from bright to dark…

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Back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport by midnight…the temperature here is totally different with Beijing..one cold, one hot…

My father’s younger brother fetched us back to our home…and this is the end of the trip…

wait…these are the things I bought from Beijing..have a look at them…

a) The Five Fuwas Key Chains Olympic Little Gift Box Suit

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b) 3D Model of Beijing National Stadium (Bird Nest) – gold coloured.

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c) 12 Little Key Chains of Great Wall of China.

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d) 3D model of Beijing National Stadium (Bird Nest) -can be used to store stationeries..this one is presented by the tour guide, Jerry to me for free.

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e) 3D model of the Great Wall of China. (colourful)

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f) A glass with diagrams of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Main Venues (Beijing National Stadium and Beijing National Aquatics Center) – can be lighted up with different colours.

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g) A little key chain of the five Fuwas.

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h) A little key chain of the Beijing National Stadium. (silver in colour)       

i) A little key chain of the Beijing National Aquatics Center. (gold in colour)

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j) A traditional ancient Chinese cop..with ‘LTM’ (my initial) carved on it.

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yesterday (2nd February 2009) — just rest to restore my energy…

today (3rd February 2009) wrote this absolutely long post…a very interesting one..hope u enjoy this!

All the pictures and videos available here are taken by me and is original…copyrights reserved…

As a conclusion, I think that there are good and bad in Beijing, China:

The good ones:

1) Nice city (Economic boom – effect of Beijing 2008 Olympic, city growing rapidly, cleaner city)

2) Amazing scenery (Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Olympic Green, etc)

3) Great architecture (Traditional architecture – Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, etc ; Modern architecture – CCTV Headquarters, Bird Nest Stadium, Water Cube, etc)

4) Efficient public transport – Beijing Subway, proper highways, no motorbikes.

5) A huge number of tourists’ destinations.

The bad ones:

1) Public toilets – many of them are absolutely dirty, foul smell, not being cleaned.

2) Food – too oily, some tasteless, and some too salty.

3)  Citizens’ manners and behaviours – like to spit anywhere they like, no respect to others, do not flush toilet after use, etc.

the moments in Beijing, Chengde and Tianjin on this 8 days trip will never be forgotten…

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