Sunday, May 22, 2016

Unplanned Trip: Brunei Darussalam

Salam

It's Brunei!

We planned, Allah plans... and Allah is the best planner. Alhamdulillah.

We planned to attend a wedding reception in Miri however due to unforseen circumstances, we need to change the plan. Tickets were bought, all arrangements has been maade, therefore to cancel the trip is a mere waste. We decided to visit the neighbouring country, the Islamic State Brunei.

We arrange for rental car. A small Axia is more than sufficient. We met the owner of the rented car at the Miro airport,  a young lad doing this rental car business as a part time job to his technical job with an oil & gas company. I salute these youngsters who are very creative and productive in making a living. We told him that we are going to Brunei and he gave us a copy of the car's documents to ease our journey.

The drive to Brunei was a pleasant drive. We were just strolling not speeding along the way to Brunei. The immigration post at the border was small, after handing over our passport for record, we cross the border. There were scarcely any cars at the border for a Saturday morning. At the Brunei immigration we fill in papers for cars registration and drove peacefully and blissfully. The driving presents a green scenery.

1st stop - Jerudong. Had Nasi Katok for a dollar per pack. Sufficient to satisfy ou hunger pang.

Second stop is the famous Masjid. We head to Masjid Sultan Omar Ali Saifudden. Performed our solat Zuhur and Asr. An old masjid but well kept. Tidy and clean. Even the toilet is clean despite the old look.

Walk around the Bandar Seri Begawan city center. Offices are about to close. A very quiet town after office hours. Met a kind samaritan, he adviced us to go to Gadong. As Maghrib was approaching, we stopped at Masjid Gadong. A beautiful Masjid. Many patrons to the masjid. Alhamdulillah. Then to Pasar Makan in Gadong. Many local and Msia delicacies. Bought our dinner there.

Morning... Tamu Kianggeh. Selling all the local needs. Grabbed some souveniors as a mark of visit.

In Miri... zohor and asar at Masjid AtTaqwa Miri.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jalan2 Kota Kinabalu Part 4

Assalam,

Our last day was a leisure day. We purposely planned to drive around Kota Kinabalu while emptying the fuel in the rented car.

We checked out from the hotel at about 10 a.m. We drove to Karumbunai Resort just to see the once famous resort but now seems deserted. What a pity, such a beautiful area but poor maintenance. The long grass at roadside is a sore to the eyes.
We then drove back to the city to a visit at Jamilah' Jewelery. A place that I came across while browsing the internet during the drive. Several items caught my attention there....yesss.....a gift for myself.

Next is the quest to satisfy our hunger pang. Again... we rely on Mr Waze,  Google search and blogs. This is what we called knowledge is just a tap away. There are many good suggestions but many are outbound. Therefore Mr Hubby suggested a restaurant that he once visited long time ago. Alhamdulillah....

The fuel indicator reminded us that we do not have many kilometer left. We decided that Tanjung Aru beach will be our last stop. Futhermore, it is already near to the airport. We went there for the spectacular view of the sunset. For some reason that is unknown to me, I really enjoy watching the sunset. To witness the sun descending from the sky. Moment by moment Subhanallah.



We finally reached the airport at almost 7pm. Hand over the car keys to the owner. Its not a complete trip to KK if you did not buy the frozen fresh seafood. We grabbed ours at the store in the airport. Properly wrapped for in flight transfer.

The flight was scheduled to take off at 9.35pm.  However, almost like answering to our hopes, it took off 10 minutes earlier once all the passengers were on board.
Alhamdulillah, we safely arrive home at 1.00a.m in the morning.

By the way, we parked our car at the Putrajaya LRT station. They have a very large parking space. There's the covered parking area and uncovered parking area. For a long parking peroid, I would recommend you make an extra round to find a parking space in the covered parking area. It is obvious that many travelers parked their car there. You can see many carrying large suitcases and luggage from the parking to the LRT station underneath to go to the airport. It's cheaper as compared to parking at the KLIA itself. And its cheaper if compared to taking a cab too. For an approximately 3-days parked, we were charged around plus-minus RM34. We were once charged RM100++ for a one way taxi fee from Shah Alam to KLIA. LRT cost us RM24 for a return trip, that makes a RM48 + RM34 = RM82. We save few bucks there. Need to be mindful that post-mid night taxi fare is higher than the day.  

Alhamdulillah... thank you Allah for this wonderful experience.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Food review: Jom Bali @ SACC Mall, Shah Alam

Assalam

We always had problem findings place to eat when eating out. We are not among those who will wade through just to eat the best food in town. To us eating will be anything edible and fits our taste bud with good price. Good price means worth the money. Its reasonably fine if you pay more for a good and worth the money. You cannot expect the best food with just a few bucks. The food service had to make some money too.

When having hard time to find place to eat... I would normally dive into the net to read about the food reviews by the many food lover and bloggers. Thanks to them for making time to write about the places to eat and review to it. I really appreciate it. It helps a lot in making a decision for a suitable place to eat. Even though our taste bud are different....the reviews provide a guide on where to eat, what to eat and which place not to go.

And tonight...after a long drive from Penang for our visits to our loving moms... and after stucked in a traffic jam just because Malaysian driver were ever too caring to be a spectator for an accident at the other side of the highway.. we were again in dilemma of where to eat and what to eat.

After a long food review...none attracted our interest ... we opted to try out a quite new eating place in Shah Alam --- the JomBali Cafe. It is located on the ground floor of the Shah Alam Convention Center Mall @ SACC Mall, behind Uncle K restaurant. It features variety of foods. Some are readily cooked...some are hot from the stove. They have western foods and locals. And some sound of Balinese too.


Image result for jombali sacc mall

As I was not very hungry...I ordered Char Kuey Tiao, while Mr Hubby and Atikah had different variety of nasi goreng. For the side dish, we tried the 'tauhu goreng' and 'sotong kangkung'. For the drinks....I had the green apple juice, while Mr Hubby had iced coffee.

When the food arrived... i was startled to see the amount of the char kuey tiao. I was expecting only 1/3 of what was served. It was a very large serving with one sunny side egg. The fried rice was ok. The taste of the food were acceptable. We were considering for a comeback to try out all the other courses on the menu. The price? Not too cheap but its value for money... for its' cosy eating place... handsome size of serving and good taste. I am giving it 3.5 over 5 stars..as we had not tried other menus yet.

Thats all.... hopefully it can be some help for you out there.

Wassalam.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jalan2 Kota Kinabalu 3

Assalamualaikum,

On our second morning in Kota Kinabalu, we were all geared up for island hoping. Our destination is to island hopping in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. We had our breakfast early. Get back into the hotel room, changed for the sport when we realized it began to rain. It was not a heavy rain though. And since our hotel to the Jesselton Jetty is a walking distance, we thought of just wading through the rain ... its going to be wet anyway on the boat and at the island.

At the lobby, there were many people waiting, sitting. It was a downpour. The idea of walking is not feasible. We will be soaking and drenching by the time we reached the jetty. We waited, du'a, hoping for the rain to stop. It was almost 10am and there was no sign that the rain was stopping. Many visitors were restless in the lobby. A bus came and ferried a group of Chinese visitors to their destination. And hope for the rain to stop becomes brighter, but we could not wait. Time is so precious. Alhamdulillah, the hotel we were staying is connected to a shopping mall. Being the second customer to the Watson Store that morning, I bought two pairs of rain coat. And covered with the rain coat we headed towards the jetty. Very determined.

Fishes swimming near the jetty captured using the phone camera
On the way to the jetty, for the first time in life I was bathed/ splashed by the water puddle at the roadside. Even though saved by the rain coat. My bottom was wet. Half way through, another mishap occur. This time, my long time friend, the almost 8 years old slipper called for a service termination. I was in despair. My husband was already far ahead, leaving me behind, dragging the slipper to be kind to me, at least until I reached my destination. Arriving the jetty, I headed to the many stalls/small shops available that sells many items suited for the island challenge. Among them are slippers. Not many choice, I opted for a simple slipper. Sadly saying goodbye to my dear long serving slipper, the slipper that brought me up to Jabal Rahmah during our umrah trip years ago. Rest in Peace in Kota Kinabalu dear.

We did not made any prior arrangement for the island hoping. Thus, we headed to the counters. Too many to choose. We simply chose the one who made the most effort to persuade us. We were told that we only have time for two island hops as it was already 11am. That will be Sapi Island and Manukan Island. A little bit upset but redha and satisfied with it, We paid RM120 for the boat fares and RM20 for the snorkeling gear. Shhh.....its my first time experiencing snorkeling.

It was still raining when we board the boat. The rain hits our face as the boat sped, a little boy next to me was crying. It aches. I pulled down my tudung to cover my face, and Alhamdulillah, I can still look around through my glassess. It was a short boat ride and we reached the Sapi Island. We were asked to pay RM3 for the entrance fee to the park. We quickly secure a place on the bench at beach and I headed to change and get ready for the adventure. Sorry to say, the condition of the toilets are very upsetting. This is something that you need to mentally prepared. By that time, the rain is almost stopped. There are many beach activities and you can ask for it at the counter . Parasailing is one of it. The beach was full of people. The sea was beautiful. The water was clear. But there are not many fishes. Being a newbie, I struggled with my snorkeling gear a little. Even though with the life jacket on, I dare not move deeper...as a result, I saw more feets and bumped to people more than I saw the fish. Anyway, It was a wonderful experience.


After two hours at Sapi Island, drenching, we waited at the jetty for the boat to ferry us to Manukan Island. Manukan is a bigger island. There is a resort built on the island. The water is clearer there, And i think they have more fishes as compared to Sapi Island. However, the beach is not well maintained. There are litters around. I even need to push away some plastics while swimming at the  sea. Anyway, becoming more experienced with snorkeling and its gear, I enjoyed my time there the most for the many fishes that I saw and less people to bumped into. We spend 2 hours there and its time to go.


It was a wonderful experience. Hoping to do it again. But with kids this time. Insha Allah.

We reached the hotel at 4pm, and doze off ---tired. At night, we went to the Philipine market again. And this time is to shop some souvenirs. Brooches for family and friends. Dried shrimps. Anchovies. Dried squid. Those are some of our grabs. The dried seafood was nicely packed and sealed in a box. Ready to board the aircraft.

For dinner.... its a treat for ourselves at the hotel's buffet table. (Shhh... we only had biscuit when at the island earlier and this buffet dinner was the second meal for the day) ....The food was good. Many varieties. Eat with confidence as they have the Halal Cert displayed.

......