Archive for highlights

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.)

 

 

 

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.)

 

Highlights of 2016

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2016 by vincentloy

Year 2016 is coming to an end and it’s the time again every year to compile a list of major happenings which occurred this year. The following are the top 10 highlights that best define 2016 and will give you a much needed wonderful flashback of 2016 that is concluding soon.

Pokemon Go

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Most of us must have downloaded this mobile app game ever since its release in July (or months later in some countries). It’s a location-based augmented reality game which players can locate, capture, battle and train Pokemon creatures who appear on screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the players. It turned into a global phenomenon as the game has been downloaded over 500 million times and becomes one of the most used mobile apps in 2016.

US Election

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The Presidential Election for the United States of America took place in November 8. It observed the neck-to-neck battle between Republican candidate, Donald Trump and Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton with Trump emerging as the surprising winner as earlier polls all indicated that Clinton will win this race to get into the White House. The election became the most talked about topic in Facebook and has affected the global markets.

Brexit

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A referendum was held in June to decide whether United Kingdom should leave the European Union. The outcome is ‘Yes’ with 52% votes supporting for the UK exit. This has led to worldwide markets going down as well as the resignation of UK Prime Minister, David Cameron who strongly supported for UK to remain in EU. Theresa May is then elected as the new Prime Minister.

Rio Olympics

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Rio 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Olympics in August and Paralympics in September) despite all the issues the country currently facing such as Zika virus outbreak, high crime rate, political scandals, etc. Brazil successfully organized the world’s largest international multi-sport event in a very modest budget.

Zika Virus

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Widespread epidemic of Zika fever, caused by Zika virus, has started in 2015. In January 2016, World Health Organization (WHO) officially announces an outbreak of the virus worldwide. It began in early 2015 in Brazil before it spread to North and South America, Southeast Asia and islands in the Pacific. It is particularly of bigger concern to pregnant women as the virus may cause birth defects. In November, WHO announced the end of this epidemic.

PPAP

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A short video clip of a man dressed in yellow animal print costume, dancing and singing to a very weird music is shockingly making a wave worldwide, particularly in Asia. The original video in YouTube by Piko-Taro has garnered 100 million views, and that is not counting the number of parodies and covers that have been made ever since. Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen….

Mannequin Challenge

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This one is more of a hit in the West than in Asia. It’s a viral Internet video trend where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera films them, usually with the song ‘Black Beatles’ by Rae Sremmurd playing in the background. Some of the notable celebrities who have participated in this challenge are Beyonce, Adele, Britney Spears, Ellen deGeneres, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, etc.

IS Attacks

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It’s sad to know that Islamic State (a terrorist group) is still carrying out deadly attacks across the world this year. They have been here for many years and the growth of this extremist and violent group is a huge concern worldwide. It has painted a very negative image to the religion of Islam. Some of their attacks this year include 3 coordinated bombings in Brussels, Belgium that killed at least 32 people, a suicide blast in Lahore that killed 75 people and an attack in Istanbul International Airport that killed 45 people.

Flight Tragedies

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This year is also another unfortunate year for aviation. FlyDubai Flight 981 crashes on March 19 while landing at Russia due to poor weather, killing all 62 people on board. EgyptAir Flight 804 crashes on May 19 with 66 on board over the Mediterranean en route from Paris to Cairo. On November 28, LaMia Airlines Flight 2933 crashes at Cerro Gordo en route to Medellin, Colombia. It was carrying the Brazilian football team Chapecoense. Only 6 survive among 77 passengers and crews. On December 8, Pakistan International Airlines Flight 661 crashes at Havelian while en route from Chitral to Islamabad, killing all 42 people on board.

Deaths of Famous Stars

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It’s sad to know that these legendary stars or influential figures have passed away this year. They are David Bowie (a singer, songwriter and actor) who passed away due to liver cancer at age 69 on January 10, Alan Rickman (famous for portraying as Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter film franchise) who died of pancreatic cancer at age 69 on January 14, Zaha Hadid (most famous woman architect) died due to heart attack on March 31 at age 65, Prince (musician famous for his song ‘Purple’) died due to medication overdose on April 21 at age 57, Muhammad Ali (a boxer and activist who became one of the most celebrated sportsperson in 20th century) passed away due to septic shock on June 3 at age 74, Anton Yelchin (a young Hollywood actor famous for his role in recent Star Trek film franchise) died due to freak accident on June 19 at age 27 and Bhumibol Adulyadej (King of Thailand and was the world’s longest reigning monarch) passed away due to long illness from his old age on October 13 at age 88.

Hopefully it will be a much better year next year with more joyful news or events in 2017.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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.)

 

 

Budget 2016…no good news in the time of all bad news.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2015 by vincentloy

Prime Minister had just revealed its Budget 2016 in the Parliament yesterday’s afternoon and his announcement is broadcast live throughout television and radio station as usual. I do listen to parts of his lengthy speech while I’m working yesterday, hoping for some good news on highlighting and easing our financial burden beginning next year. However, as expected, there is no good news to be happy for as claimed by the many local news that back the government. Hence, I summarized the budget as ‘no good news in the time of all bad news’.

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We are now in the pressure of high cost of living (higher price for house, toll, food, groceries, and almost everything else), Goods and Services Tax (GST), living under scandalous government (from corruption, cronyism, 1MDB issue, ineffectiveness, etc), haze and many others. Well, I do link the haze to the government too as they do not push Indonesia to solve the annual problem even after so many years having the haze to affect our country already. They even asked us not to pressure Indonesia and let them do the job. What? Of course, we have to pressure them as this is not a new issue; haze has been hitting us every year from decades ago.

Back to the budget, I do noticed that the budget this time is helping more for the people of East Malaysia; Sabah and Sarawak. Well, I do agree that those two states are pretty lacking behind in development compared to Peninsular Malaysia and they certainly needs more attention. However, I’m also quite sure that all the allocations given for them in next year’s budget would be going somewhere else in a huge portion (into own pockets). And it will end up as just simply talking without any action again. It is also very obvious that this emphasis is to prevent Sabah and Sarawak from getting out of Malaysia which will be heavily reducing the number of ruling coalition’s seats in the Parliament. Or in simple, the present government will certainly lose in the next general election if Sabah and Sarawak leave Malaysia. They are now in worry and to prevent that from happening, they would do all their can to persuade the two states to maintain in Malaysia after many decades of neglecting them. Literally, it’s a budget to buy votes.

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I won’t list down all the items in the Budget 2016 as this would make my post extremely long and I would like to keep it short and straightforward with my direct analysis towards some allocations in the budget. The government increased the BR1M, as a way to continue giving ‘sweet’ to the poor people while on the other side, taking away more things from everyone. From the very beginning, I do not agree to this way of helping people. It actually helps the poor to be very lazy and dependent on this form of assistance. They should actually work something out to bring these people from poor class to at least to the stable-income group. And to those people who received this BR1M and are very grateful, you are wrong and do not think of a bigger picture. The money from BR1M is also from all of us.

The budget do highlight on the building of more affordable houses. Well, these houses are not much in quantity and they are mostly far from the city, not easily accessible and obviously meant for Malay individuals who wanted to purchase homes. Well, they are protecting their rights to the max and we in the other races are already used to it after their over 60 years of governing in Malaysia. What they should do is actually controlling the price of homes to be sold to buyers. I also noticed the allocation of huge sum of money to repair roads and improve internet speed throughout the country. Haha…do you think they would do that? Nobody think so except than the blind supporters of the government. We all have eyes to see on our road and internet conditions. I guess that allocation is actually going towards buying someone diamond rings or luxurious handbags.

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Overall, this Budget 2016 is another piece of shit. I’m actually quite excited by a little drama that when the Prime Minister concluded his speech yesterday, most of the opposition members in the Parliament raised up the placard questioning where is the RM 2.6 billion? That’s the amount credited to Prime Minister’s personal bank account without proper explanation by him after so many months. I still remember the word ‘donation’, which is a joke of the year! It is so wrong to have a massive fund inside your personal account for a government member. Well, he can still get away from it since all of his party members are afraid to speak up or against in worry of losing their job, losing their source of income and losing their comfort zone they have been in for so many years. Useless. They think of themselves rather than for the people and the nation. Hence, it will all lead to the failing of the country as opposed to the claim by the Prime Minister that our people and economy is prospering. Every words from him is a bullshit.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

28th SEA Games officially opened yesterday at Singapore.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2015 by vincentloy

The 28th SEA (South East Asian) Games officially opened yesterday on 5th June 2015 at the new National Stadium with Singapore being the host nation. It is a biennial (held once every two years) multi-sport event involving participants from the current 11 countries of Southeast Asia region (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Brunei, Philippines, Timor-Leste). The current 28th edition of the games started few days earlier (from 29th May) and will end with a closing ceremony on 16th June 2015.

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I didn’t know that its opening ceremony was on yesterday. I always thought it will be on this evening. Fortunately, Youtube provided the complete video of the ceremony and I watched a major portion of it this afternoon. The ceremony that took a little over two hours was impressively done but it wasn’t anything that I’m considering unforgettable. However, it’s only South East Asian Games, and not bigger ones like Asian Games or Olympic Games. Hence, it is already an amazing ceremony based on SEA Games standard.

Here are some of the beautiful photographs of the opening ceremony:

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My brief opinions of the ceremony;

1. The fireworks were good. But it would be better if there are also fireworks from the city.

2. The performances depend too much on the lighting projection on the floor. I knew it is beautiful, but it minimizes the opportunities for many great acts that performers can do on their part.

3. Some sequences were too slow and draggy. That’s why I skipped some part of the ceremony when I watched it this afternoon.

4. The design of the torch is too simple. But its cauldron in DNA form is interesting. Parts of the show based on DNA theme is also interesting.

5. The stadium and its surrounding are beautiful!…

The new National Stadium of Singapore where the opening ceremony was held forms the major part of the new Singapore Sports Hub, a complex of multiple sporting venues in one place at Kallang. The national stadium of maximum 55 000 capacity has a dome and a retractable roof, hence it can be an outdoor or an indoor venue. It’s a beautiful stadium in the beautiful city of Singapore.

Let’s hope that our Malaysian athletes will perform very well in this SEA Games. And do you know that Malaysia will be hosting the next edition of this games. It will be Kuala Lumpur 2017. However, I’m wishing that Malaysia should aims bigger and try to bid for the hosting job of larger games like Asian Games or even Olympic Games in near future.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

CNY 2015 trip to Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2015 by vincentloy

There goes the end of my four days three nights family trip to Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Landed safely at KLIA2 and got back home late last night with many photos, sunburn, heavier luggage, and tiring body. It has been four exhaustive days of walking and climbing a lot of steps. Nevertheless, the trip is a smooth one; we got to visit all the destinations covered in our itineraries in clear sunny weather and I enjoyed Jogjakarta, particularly from its beautiful historical temples of Borobudur and Prambanan.

First day of our trip was nothing but having half of the day spent in the airports from KLIA2 to the very much smaller Jogjakarta airport. The airport over there at Jogja is so small that once you passed through the immigration counter, the place for baggage claim is besides you and the space is as small as my bedroom. On the later part of the day, we stroll through the villages and visited some handicraft centres (ceramic and silverworks), chocolate store, an old mosque with a royal cemetery. Nothing interesting to observe on the first day. So, back to hotel (Crystal Lotus Hotel), a four-star hotel; quite nice but the room is too small.

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Now, the second day is when we truly visits Jogja with all the amazing places planned for the day. First, we went to the Malioboro street, a street with many stalls and shops selling local merchandise like batik, souvenirs, etc. But we are not interested into all that.

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Next, we went to the Mount Merapi, a still active volcanic mountain. When we were there, we can still see white gases (smoke) emitted from the tip of the mountain. To further enjoy the most from the area, we took a ride around the mountain by a jeep and observed a damaged settlement (caused by the volcanic eruption few years ago), a huge rock called Alien Rock (spewed out from the volcano), an underground protection chamber, and viewed the magnificent Mount Merapi from different angles and levels. Simply beautiful, but very dusty over there from the many jeeps and sandy roads.

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Next, is the main highlight of the tour and the main reason I came to Jogja; Borobudur. It is a huge historical Buddhist temple (monument to be exact) built over a thousand years ago. It contains several square platforms topped with three circular platforms and giant stupas with many Buddha statues. Along the walls of the platforms were carvings depicting mostly life of Siddharta Gautama Buddha. The monument is already massive and impressive when looked from the far. When you go in and look closer, there are much more to offer. Simply beautiful and astonishing!

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After spending most of the time at Borobudur, we also stopped by for a while at smaller candi (temples); Candi Pawon and Candi Mendut. We also managed to drop by at a traditional house (village home) and learn the locals’ daily lifestyle. We also tried on Salak fruit (snake-skin fruit), a very popular fruit over there at Jogja.

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On the third day of the trip, we went for a city tour in the morning. First, we visited Fort Vredeburg, a fortress built over two hundred years ago by the Dutch. Now, it is a museum that informed to visitors their history through preserved historical items, 3D visualization of historical events (many scaled-down models and human figures with different backdrops) and heritage-style buildings.

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Next, we went to Keraton, the palace where the Sultan of Jogja and his family live. It looks ordinary and nothing spectacular. A humble-looking castle with nothing much to impress visitors. Nearby, we also visited Taman Sari, which is known as water castle. The place was once a splendid park of pools and gardens for Sultan to enjoy. Now, it is nothing more than a complex of dilapidated buildings.

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The last stop for the day is the Prambanan Temple, a huge Hindu temple (or monument) which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site like Borobudur. Another impressive and visually striking monument! This is like another Angkor Wat but with no single base platform. Very beautiful and intricate stone works. Before we left, we also had a short time for a great shopping nearby there for some clothes and souvenirs.

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Time flies. As there isn’t any programmes planned on the last day (fourth day) of the trip, we went out to Jogja City Mall which is located not far from our Crystal Lotus Hotel. I purchased some clothes at a very low price if compared to KL. There was a heavy thunderstorm in the afternoon (luckily there wasn’t any rain on the past few days) and that caused massive flood in the city. Observed that before we proceed to that small airport again for flight back home to KL.

That’s it. It’s a quick trip that took only four days and costs a bit over RM 2k per pax including things I bought from the vacation. It’s a tiring trip but worthy, as I really enjoyed visiting some places over there particularly the temples.

(Copyrights reserved for all the images in this post)