So, I have moved to Kuching since last July 2019 and decide to give the hiking scene in Kuching a try. I may even start a #sarawakhiddengems series. Should I? I should right?
I decided to post how we exactly we did the trek for future references to those who wants to try this trek in the future.
How to get there?
Located in Kampung Sadir, Padawan.
One and half hour drive from Kuching to Padawan
One and half to an hour by foot through the paddy fields towards the waterfalls.
It all started with an invite to spend a weekend away from the hectic city life during the Chinese New Years.
With all our favorite spots closed during this time of the year, why not just make a short break out of it?
At first we wanted somewhere familiar ( but still out of town of course). But all accommodations in the preferred area were all fully booked. So i decided to wing it and suggested something on Airbnb.
Place looks incredible with a cheap price so off we go.
Note that at the border you will need to surrender your identity card or passport. Preferably identity card instead of passport lah. So please don't fret for those without passport!
Trekking in Langtang Valley had been a blast. Tiring physically and mentally. A once in a life time experience me thinks. You only experience first time once no? The Langtang Valley has long been a favorite trek due to its expansive views, interesting Tamang culture, relatively gentle pace and accessibility from Kathmandu.
Nepal had been on my bucket list for quite some time now. But I never had anyone interested to join me for the trip. As adventurous as I was, I was not going to do Nepal by myself just yet. After hearing many great things from friends; I decided I'd give it a go and bought myself flight tickets
Planning a trek there is part of the adventure itself. A lot of reading and research needed. Even that said and done on my part, I still think I could've done better choices especially with my hiking boots and packing (less is better guys). So to help reduce a bit of your stress - I came up with this itinerary for your references and maybe customise your own. HAVE FUN!
In total, including days in Kathmandu we did the whole trip within 10 days. Very doable no?
There are a total of FOUR documents you need to get ready before heading on to your trek
What to pack?
DAY 1: Arrived in Kathmandu
First thing, change your money as they will be no ATMS in the mountains. Also, the exchange rate is higher in the park should you succeed finding a place to change currency. Please change to NEPALI currency instead of USD. (not that the local do not accept USD but it would be cheaper for your pocket if your use NEPALI)
Arrived Kathmandu after a tiring 4.45 hours flight from KL to Kathmandu. Headed straight to the hotel. Got settled down and made an appointment with guide for a meetup. (orbitnepaladventure.com/)
After we settled our deposits and arrangement for the hike, we requested our guide to direct us towards the best Momos in town. and Momos we had.
Verdict: Sama jak with our Siew Mai. lol Momos just has more varieties in terms of what they put in them.
DAY 2: Bus day to Syafrubesi
Approximately 9 hours bus ride from Kathmandu to Syafrubesi - The 170 km long ride takes longer than expected, with security check points in various places and land side affected roads delaying the ride and also with a lot of stops in between villages including short toilet breaks and breakfast and lunch stops.
I've read that 9 hours is is okay provided there are no problems on the roads of with the bus itself.
We choose to use the deluxe bus instead of a normal bus it was not advisable to use the normal bus. (for more comfort). There is an option to can to rent a jeep if there are more of you as it would cost around 150USD to rent a jeep.
To be safe, bus tickets can but bought at the bus "station" at least a day before you travel, or on the day you travel (if you don't mind risking no seats as there always seem to be lots of locals travelling from Kathmandu in the direction of Syafrubesi). The bus station is really just a small counter near the edge of the road, and the buses to Syafrubesi stop at the road side - it is all a bit chaotic and confusing, but will depend on how used you are to travelling in developing countries.
We decided to be SAFER by booking ourselves a guide to assist us with out travels. Best bet in our case to reduce risks in our travels albeit it more expensive
We arrived Syafrubesi at 5PM local time
Day 3: Trek to Rimche Tea House (Near Lama Village)
I went at the peak of tourist season so we were told that lama village is packed and no more teahouses were available. So we decided to stop at Rimche ( a few minutes before Lama Village)
Day 4: Trek to Langtang Village
This route took us the through one of the area massively affected from the 2015's earthquake. In 2015, a 7.8 magnitude earthqukae shook Nepal. It caused a huge landslide of rock and ice to slide off of 7,227m Langtang Valley. The village of Langtang was directly underneath. The village was wiped out, and over 200 people died, including around 40 foreign tourists. The 2015 earthquake and subsequent landslide had an enormous effect on the region, but aid and reconstruction have recently reopened this valley to trekking again. Not only is it still a beautiful trek, your visit will also provide vital support for local livelihoods.
Trekking through this rubble was hard for me because of the unstable rocks and the thick evening mist - low visibility, tired legs after trekking non stop for two days, unstable ground, cold weather: the combination was a exasperating one. Plays with your mind I tell you.
Day 5: Trek to Kyanjin Gompa
Today we were scheduled to walk for three hours. Started from Langtang Village at 8am and arrived around 11am. On time and I was proud - albeit still the slowest in the team.
Despite being the shortest hike throughtout the trip, I find myself the most tired on this day. I had a problem acclimatizung and my heart rate went crazy-even after I arrived our hotel. It is advisable to walk around when this happen just so your body can get use to the height you are currently in. DO NOT NAP/SLEEP.
After settling down, we decided to have something to eat and how else but to do it with freshly baked pastries and artisanal coffee. You can see this bakery just on your way into the village so u wont miss it. Of course you can always opt for coffee/tea at your respective tea houses for a cheaper price but we wanted something extra just so we can celebrate.
Day 6: Trek to Kyanjin Ri then down to Ghoda Tabela Teahouse
Peak Day! Highlight of the Trip! Kyanjn Ri View Point. Personally i think this hurdle is the easiest one though the steepest. 2 KM up it took me 2 hours and 15 mins to ascend. Glad I made it up at all despite my heart rate.
Make sure you start your journey early to avoid the crowds. We started to hike up at 530am. I knew I'd take my time going up because of my heat rate so this was a welcoming idea to me so I could take as much time as I needed to ascend but still get my solo pictures taken once I arrived the view point.
Right on the dot, as we were descending to peak, the crowd started ascend. Good thing we were already on our way down. But still- traffic! because the trail was very narrow and steep! so be extra careful!
Our original itinerary would allow us to stay another night in Kyanjin Gumpa. But we decided to shorten it and descend to the next teahouse below right after lunch. Ghoda Tabela Teahouse, we we decided to rest for the night.
Day 8: Trek to Syafrubesi
Day 9: Bus Day to Kathmandu
Tip: In the beginning of the trip, please readily buy your return ticket as well to avoid getting full houses. Also get the current bus schedule from your friendly home stay owners/caretakers so you can plan your way down from your hike.
Day 10: Kathmandu
Arriving early one day ahead of schedule we had a full one day to explore the town.
Our guide decided we explore Patan Durbar Square is situated at the centre of the city of Lalitpur in Nepal. It is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of its attraction is the ancient royal palace where the Malla Kings of Lalitpur resided.
Next stop is the famous Boudhanath Stupa. The stupa's massive mandala makes it one of the largest spherical stupas in Nepal.
It is curious that the practice of lighting lamps seems integral to Hinduism. I find this practice/culture a beautiful one. honestly, my understanding of Hinduism is still very low but on site while taking photographs; the local encourages all walks of life to take part in lighting these candle (albeit for some money) warms my heart even in the cold temperatures of the streets.
Day 11: Flight back to Malaysia
There aren't any nice pictures on this day so I'll recap some of the local delicacies that I manage to take pictures of before gobbling them all up.
October is the peak tourist season - with clear skies and temperatures comfortable for trekking
Another bucket list striked off! Labuan Bajo! (also lesser known as Labuhan Bajo). Most Malaysian, (even Indonesian!) do not know the existence of this island. But thanks to social media ( Instagram in my case) people like me finally set foot on this magical island.
Labuan Bajo is a fishing town located in Flores island; one of the Lesser Sunda Islands; a group of islands in the eastern side of Indonesia. Still considered uncharted territory from the rest of world, what greeted us when we arrived was truly and indeed magical to my soul and to my eyes. *sigh* ok im exaggerating but TBH I was very happy when I landed.
Malaysia does not offer direct flight to Labuan Bajo (yet) but seeing that the airport on the island is rather small (more like Mulu / Bario airport) - that would be a long way to go.
But the pain of being a Sarawakian, our flight hours were extra longer compared to other Malaysians because yeah; we do not have international flights except to Singapore. SAD
Bear in mind that flights to Labuan Bajo are rather pricey even if it is a domestic flight. I spent close to MYR 1k just for my return flight from Jakarta.
Bintulu- Kuala Lumpur - Jakarta-Labuan Bajo - Jakarta - Kuala Lumpur - Miri
A total of 6 flights!! Once i got back i had to hibernate for a whole day.
Accommodations in general are affordable. I was actually surpise with the quality of the hotels we stayed in depsite the VERY cheap prices
Sepang (Transit): City View Hotel, Container Hotel
Jakarta: Kyriad Hotel, Digital Capsule Hotel (Transit)
Labuan Bajo : Eco Tree O'Tel
Day 1: Flight to Jakarta
Funny story. We missed our flight on the first day. This is not the funny part. We were already by the gate but we were all thirsty so we all went out of the gate to get a drink of water. Little did we know getting a measly cup of water made us miss our flight.
On schedule, we were suppose to arrive by noon, getting on the morning flight from Kuala Lumpur. But since we missed it, we bought the next available flight at 1PM and only arriving by 3PM.
This is not the end though.
We did not realise that we have arrived during peak hours and on a working day. Hence, the jam we had to endure just to get to our hotel (by length is could've taken us only 15 mins to get to without the jam). It took is 2 HOURS to get arrive! NEVER AGAIN!
So because of this we lost one whole day of exploring in Jakarta. But when you travel with me, there will always be a silver lining to a bad day. We came across the BEST TEMPE GORENG aka deep fried tempeh i have ever tasted in my life (my mouth is watering just thinking about it) JUST ACROSS OUR HOTEL!
Day 2: Exploring Jakarta
We did not take in account how jam Jakarta could be. In my head, Jakarta couldn't be any worse than KL right? haha fml
It took us the whole morning just to get to the Old City from our hotel. Good thing we took Grab, so it didn't cost us much. We were stopped at one of the Entrance of Fatillah Square and started from there.
We arrived in time for lunch so we start to explore the area for some decent Nasi Padang. Wasn't great,a tad salty, a little bit dirty but good enough. We were too hungry to care.
But as Malaysians say, if the place isn't dirty, the food isn't good either. OK. Maybe its just me.
Day 3: Flight to Labuan Bajo
Got on our morning flight from Jakarta. We were extra careful this time around and went in extra early. no funny business anymore. Can't afford it. LOL
Flight duration took us about two hours. More then enough time for us to catch some sleep and finish my book. (the only time i read undisturbed apparently).
Once the Captain announced we should get ready for landing; i got out my phone/camera and ready myself for some shots. i promise you, even the aerial view of the island was out of this world. It was magnificent. ( at this moment i have decided that i need to explore/lookup more of Indonesian islands for future trips/references)
On our first day on the island, we took time to explore the vicinity and made our way into town to haggle some tours for the next day. owh, and haggle we did!
Most tours provide 6 stops in a day. We wanted a private boat but could only get a normal boat for hire if we wanted something under IDR 1 million/pax. Plus, we wanted less stops so we can chill.
I WAS SUPER GLAD WE HIRED THE SLOWER BOAT. Because we were dead tired in between the stops we had time to nap. Also, make sure your hired boat has a BEAN BAG. Best bed ever. Not a mattress ya. A BEAN BAG.
We decided to got to :
1. Pulau Padar ( 4 Hours from Labuan Bajo)
2. Long Beach Island (Pink beach -Lesser Known beach, less people) (30 mins from the hike entrance by boat-bear in mind its the same island)
3. Rinca Island (Lesser known Komodo Sanctuary compared to the touristy ones like the main Komodo Island) (1 hour from Pulau Padar)
4. Kelur Island ( 2 hours from Rinca Island and 1 hour from Labuan Bajo)
Day 4: Island Hopping Day
The day started off gloomy, with the rain threatening us of what can be a wonderful sunny day. As soon as I woke up (this is 4 AM) I heard the thunder. The thunder was my alarm clock.
Half awake and worried, we prayed that it just drizzles and go away. We got dressed,went up to the reception and inquired about the weather. Seems redundant for me to ask right?
Just so you know, weathers at sea is a bit different. They spot. When I say spot, I meant, the weather on the mainland does not necessarily reflects the weather out at sea.
The receptionist reassured us that the rains here don't last long. We had a 4 hours boat ride till we get to our destination. The weather might warm up by then.
On the way, we were greeted with dry, windy, drizzling and down right pouring rain all in 4 hours alone. Unfortunately when we arrived, it was pouring quite heavily so we decided to wait it out.
The bigger boats were kind enough to let 4 helpless girls onto their boats and wait the rain out.
When the rain slowed down, we head down to shore and started our climb. What could've been 20 minutes turned into 1 hour climb because of traffic. lol
Yes there were traffic! of humans! Apparently we weren't the only one waiting for the rain to stop.
The route up was narrow, slippery and a slight misstep would thrown us off to our deaths.
Day 5: Pre Dive Day : Relax Day
We decide to chill in between the Island hopping and dive day. Because we knew how tiring a dive day can be!
We took our time having breakfast today ( our hotel has a treetop restaurant and a great viewpoint of the Jetty!)
With not much in planned that day, we decided to hunt down some IG worthy sunset view point and came upon Ayana Komodo Resort in Waecicu Beach.
Though we weren't guests in the resort, we were treating like one! They have guides to bring us around the hotel. The servers come by a few times just to ask how our food and day was (some people wouldn't like this but we didn't mind). We exchanged experiences and cultures ( Malaysian and Indonesian culture are almost similar anyway)
Even the in house dive masters came out of their way to help us take some group pictures/boomerangs.
Then it poured. lol
We managed to get a few quick shot before we made a run for it. The hotel staffs even come over to bring us umbrellas! EACH!
Good thing we manage to get a few good shots before the rain interfered. Pictures here were some of my favorites
Day 6: Dive Day
Under our hotel's recommendation, we booked with IDIVE KOMODO just across the street for our fun dives.
The original plan was: Fun Dive 2 pax, snorkle 2 pax. But we managed to brainwash the other two to try the "Try Dive" Programme and it was the best decision of their lives! I'm proud to report that they will be getting their official OWD license in this April!
Met up with everyone at the dive center by 7am, got everything settled and off we went by foot to the jetty.
First dive overseas! I was nervous and so excited!
We were scheduled to dive in Siaba Besar, Manta Point and Pengah.
Diving in Flores needs a certain amount of experience to dive due to the unpredictable currents around the island. I've only dived within Malaysia so I wasn't ready for the extra energy needed to face the currents underwater.
The first dive in Siaba Besar was fine, plus I wasn't tired yet. Hence the dive went well but two of our buddies went up early because they were struggling already.
Second dive- Manta Point. This was where things went side ways. On deck we saw that the currents were pretty rough already. But I guess this situation was normal with the locals so it was still green light to dive. Who are we to say otherwise.
We jumped in, and one of us lost a Gopro. What? and it was just a week old!
Second, I got separated from the group. Fun divers were not given metal sticks so I can't call my dive master. Good thing she looked back to check and went after me. But this got us BOTH separated.
After the dive I found out the group looked for me. The other dive master decided then to tie the rest of the fun divers to a rock due to the current; afraid they might get separated as well and let the animals come to them.
The others who were under the "Try Dive" programme were tied to a rock as well and managed to see schools of Manta Rays!
Advisable that you have an AOWD license but we made it with "Try Dive" and OWD divers in tow because we had amazing dive masters leading us!!
My reaction was of a relieved one in this picture. I was struggling with the currents. The currents are crazy here! This was the dive i got separated from the rest of the group. I panicked. My breathing started to get ragged hence my buoyancy was messed up so I couldn't stay at the same level with my dive master. Though my tank was still at 150 Bars, i decided to abandon the dive. Even though it was shallow dive ( only 9.6 meters) I was so tired by this dive I had to ascend after a bottom time of 41 minutes ( I was actually surprised i was in that long actually)
After the dive we went back with full heart, got ready for dinner and head out for drinks in Paradise bar.
It was my first time in that type of bar. Just so you know, Paradise Bar is a reggae bar and the line up was amazing! Band starts at 10PM everyday. i was so excited they did Kings of Leons!
After drinks, we went out to see Bioluminescent Planktons down at Waecicu Beach courtesy of our Dive Masters! Amazing thing I tell you!
We ended the night with a goodbye and hopefully a lasting friendship. But more because we had a flight to catch the next day. lol
Day 7: Flight back to Jakarta and home
We planned to explore Jakarta again TBH. So we bought the the flight at night back to Kuala Lumpur.
But knowing how Jakarta's jam can be we decided to abandon the idea and decided to stay at the airport instead.
No ATMS available on the island. So please bring enough cash! - is what they say online.
Boys and girls, listen to me carefully. Labuan Bajo is not that Kampung lah.
The town is more then equipped with ATMs and online transaction services for anyone to survive. (as long as you have cash in you bank account)
For cheaper rates easier transaction; i advice Malaysian to register for Bigpay. it acts as a debit and ATM card but with the cheapest rates and international charges around. Rather then bringing a wad of cash everywhere. Go Plastic! its safer and less space.
1. No need to activate your card for overseas transaction
2. Cheap exchange rates - based on current online rates
3. Affordable fee charge for ATM withdrawals at any mahines with a Mastercard logo
4. Act like a debit card - but cheaper
5. Acts like a prepaid card. you won't need to open a bank account. Only top up $$ for usage - if it gets lost; there's less risk.
6. It is fullt managed by it's Bigpay App
7. The app also allows you to set your preferred PIN and you can block your card IMMEDIATELY if its's stolen or missing - (back again to prove point num 5)
8. can also SPLIT bills amongst Bigpay card users
Explore the main island itself! - we didn't manage to explore the island but rather the islands around it only - no time! But the Labuan Bajo itself cannot be explored in a few days. A proper 2 weeks would suffice to explore the island (AT LEAST)
I am planning another trip over just to explore the mainland this time round.
So stay tuned for the next trip to Flores Island!
Bangkok! I came back because Bangkok is that good despite the heat. Bangkok will always always have a special place in my heart. Despite the heat, despite the havoc of city life, I can't help but feel content here.
NIGHT MARKETS: Ratchada Market
Also known as Rot Fai Train Night Market Srinakarin
Srinakarin Soi 51, behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall
NIGHT MARKETS: Asiatique The Riverfront
2194 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Wat Phraya Krai, Khet Bang Kho Laem, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10120
NIGHT MARKETS: Neon Market aka Talad Neon
1087 New Petchaburi Rd, Khwaeng Makkasan, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400
Some markets are only available on certain days so i suggest you google beforehand before heading to the location. Traffic can be frustrating here.
DAY MARKET: Chatuchak Weekend Market
Malls: Big C Supermarket
When you go to a foreign country - what do we do but explore the grocery store. People don't usually go grocery shopping while holiday but there are still some who so. Like me. lol
My friends got a little crazy here. I was just there to help carry stuff. Their foodstuff are all so good!!
Malls: Central World
Malls: Platinum Mall
This mall is a must and it was just next door to here we stayed. So this was our go to place to shop/eat etc etc. things at a bargain - what more can a girl do but shop right?
Ending a trip with a massive buffet dinner is happiness i tell you. but if you aren't a big eater then maybe you shouldn't go for a buffet - such a loss!
We decided to head to Mungkorn Seafood for our last dinner (Non-Halal) - best decision ever! the arrays of seafood got me squirming in glee for a lack of better wording.
After You Dessert (Central World)
Bangkok's Super Popular Dessert Cafe 'After You!
This is a must try when in Bangkok! Malaysia recently opened a branch too so yay!
Red Sky Bar
Centara Grand 55/56F
An alcoholic drink and Bangkok skyline to top it off? SO MUCH YAS!
Also, when visiting a foreign country, i never forget to go into their 7/11 and Mcdonalds for their specialty. Every country is different.
That's it for Bangkok this time around. Maybe i'll opt for a hiking trip on my next post of Thailand!! Can't Wait!
Here we are again. I'm saving the date of the climb for a reminder: 29th-30th July 2018
This time i'll be talking about my recent hike up Kinabalu Mountain or what the locals call him, Aki Nabalu.
Work has been hectic so i do apologize for the delay in posting this journey. Plus ive been having writers block these pass few months. I'll be staring at the screen and nothing come to mind. So whilst my mojo is back. Here goes...
I went on this Hike with the help of my friend's company: NUHU REPUBLIC.
They have the best rates so far. So if you are interested, contact her through instagram: @vendiebendie or you could just PM me at @thetravelingkayan for more info.
First and foremost. You should train. period.
Forget my headline. you should train. period. or suffer the pain like i did.
I'm a stubborn person. i sometime tend to not listen to my body. Add ego and either u get success or down right sick or both.
I got the latter.
Id say a success non the less for someone who had minimal training. I just manage to arrive KM8 and sad to say i did not reach the peak where you get the nice picture with the sign.
What I Packed:
The weather up there can be cold or mild. Depending on the wind situation and humidity on the day of the climb.
Our flight flew in quite late the day before. So we all decided to stay in town. Too late to Grab up to the mountain base.
Arrive Panalaban Basecamp
Arrived! KM 6 right on time!
Finally a brief break from hiking up and time for some FOOD and SLEEP.
Temperature up here starts to get cold once we stopped hiking so cover up to avoid getting sick.
Got a wakeup call at 1.30am for our supper and pre hike briefing. We started the summit attack at approximate 3AM. This second half of the hike is much more strenuous compared to the compared to the previous 6KM hike because it is more inclined (plus we had to suffer lack of sleep and night hiking and a huge drop in temperature considering the time we started to walk up)
What i could have done differently
Kinabalu in general is considered an easy hike as the Park had already accommodate hikers with stair and handrails on most of the trail if we were to compare other hiking trails in Malaysia.
Sibu has always been a place I-have-never-been-but-would-like-to-visit-one-day throughout my life. Food has always been the main reason when visiting Sibu. Well, it my main reason lah.
I didn't do the places to visit because they are more or less the same everywhere in Sarawak but food here is a must. One cannot find a more Chinese influenced food scene in the state of Sarawak but in Sibu. In my opinion.
Glory Cafe, Sarikei - Coconut Tomyam Prawn
19, Jalan Bank,
96100 Sarikei, Sarawak
I'd like to add another district while im here; which is SARIKEI
Our group were from from different directions of Sarawak so we decided to group and spend the night in Sarikei before heading off to Sibu the next day.
The glorious Coconut Tom Yam Prawn of Glory Cafe! This is a must when in Sarikei. Though the price was a bit much (RM37 for a bowl-made out of coconut) but it was way worth it. The quantity was huge so share with your friends or family! i promise you; RM37 is cheap. Also, you'll be given a chance to choose what types of noodle you want in your soup.
However due to public demands (it was a full house when we got there), you might need to wait some time for your order - we waited for 30 minutes till we got ours!
Kompia is a must for this trip - they say Sibu's kompia is the best but I cant resist ordering one for the road in Sarikei. and I was not mad at all.
Deep Fried pork Gyozas were the perfect appetizers. Dip these babies in sweet chili sauce or maynoise and you'll be in heaven.
The coconut pudding was delightful after all the salty, savory meal <3
H Cafe, Sibu
2a&2B, Jln Kawi,
96000, Sibu, Sarawak
Finally, Sibu!! After checking and settling in our airbnb - we got a little hungry by tea time so we thought of somewhere to get a snack.
Food in Sibu are ridiculously cheap when compared to Miri or Bintulu in my opinion.
Taman Muhibbah Food Court
Jalana Muhibbah, Pekan Sibu,
96000, Sibu, Sarawak
This was the table's favorite. Was done in less than a minute.
Any random local shop
When in Sibu. IT IS A MUST TO GET KAMPUA. Kampua is basically the ambassador to all things that is food here in Sibu. This is where Kampua is made known. If you have been to Sibu but not tasted Sibu Kampua, then you have not been in Sibu. i tell you. its that good.
Noticed, my title of where to get Kampua in Sibu. Exactly. So far all kampuas in Sibu have yet to disappoint my friends (acting tour guide); so any shop will do.
Doesn't it look good just by looking at the food presentation?
Upstairs Cofffee, Sibu
699, Jalan Sanyan,
96000 Sibu, Sarawak
Just Opposite Wisma Sanyan, theres a hidden lepak spot on the second floor. The Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies were just RM1/piece. So cheap right? and it was the size of my palm!
The tuna salad in Almond Bagel was a delicious touch - loved that it was full of chopped raw onions and loads of leafy garnishes giving it a hint of sweetness and crunch to this fishy sandwich.
Green Coffee was something new to me. but a whiff of green tea anytime of the day is a definite yes in my book!! <3
Sibu Night Market
Sibu night market - is abit different then the usual night market that i usually go to. Only in Sarawak do you see a non muslim vendor and a muslim vendor do their business side by side.
Even to the point of asking change with each other.
There were no halal or non halal sections; just pure business.
For our last dinner we decided to do it at home. We were exhausted, mind, body, soul and tummy.
And thus, ends my of short getaway through the Sibu food scene.
We arrived Adisutjipto International Airport around noon. What greeted us was the usual heat and humidity of a typical equatorial climate. Feels like home. Our hotel logistics were quite in favor of the airport itself but not so for the rest of the attractions. So we needed to start quite early in the morning to start our day. Which was a bummer.
PRAMBANAN TEMPLE AKA CANDI PRAMBANAN
After settling our documents with immigration we headed out to our hotel to unpack and freshen up before heading out to grab a bite to eat and straight to Prambanan Temple for the Sunset View. Prambanan was 15 - 30 minutes from our hotel so it was the safest bet to catch the sunset view. It was breathtaking!
We managed to get local price tickets for this Temple though so we saved a lot on this. There is a huge difference in price tickets between locals and foreigners. Also there is also a good variation in price for student card holders as well. There might be changes in the price tickets from time to time so i wont disclose the exact prices. However I will disclose ticket prices from cheapest to expensive.
A little fact and tip for Prambanan Temple:
After Prambanan we headed out to Malioboro Street to check the place out and if we were lucky; get some shopping out of it.
To be honest, Malioboro was my least favorite of our excursions during the trip. It was hot, sticky, humid, crowded, under construction (no safety at all) and the products sold was not at all to my taste. I was counting the minutes to when we all could go back to the hotel. But my curiosity got the better of me and I lead the group to explore longer. Yes, i was the one dragging the group along to explore more when I was also the one who wanted to go home badly. Surprisingly we went there twice during the trip - because our souvenirs wasn't enough. hah.
But still; please go to Malioboro. To each their own. You may even like it despite what i said.
"You do not have the right to say a place is not worth it; when you have never been to, or step foot at the actual place" is what I usually say to all my friends.
But thanks to the trip to Malioboro, I got a taste of Mcdonald's Indonesia and I declare that was the only best thing that happen to us that night. *maybe i exaggerated a little bit; but that was how I felt*
MERAPI JEEP TOUR
We woke up early for this trip thinking that maybe we could avoid the hot sun (the jeeps do not have a covering - so stock up on your sunblock girls!)
We did manage to arrive early and Merapi was so cooling in the morning we decided to have a light breakfast at the base and make our way to the Jeep Tour center. Little did we know it would take us more than 2 hours to complete the tour. So yes it got hot! But there were many stops so we manage to get out of the sun from time to time
There are a few tour ranging from IDR 200k to IDR 500k, all depending on the length of tour time and stops you want to make.
There is also an option for a Sunrise Viewing - this cost more which wasn't in our budget plus we would need to turn up early to actually catch the sunrise. This was a no for us as well because we stayed in town, while Merapi was in the outskirts.
Too much effort for a holiday (VERY FAR OKAY?)
HUTAN PINUS AKA PINE FOREST
Next stop is Hutan Pinus aka Pine Forest. Just so you know, they are a few to choose from. We opted for the one in Daerah Mangunan, which is also known as Hutan Pinus Imogiri by the locals, aside from it other well known name; Hutan Pinus Mangunan because it was on our way, to safe more time on the road. We were driving on our own so we were cautious to get back to town before it gets too dark. (The roads are inclined, windy and lacks proper lighting but surprisingly ALMOST pot holes free!)
The pine forest was driven by and for tourist. It was breathtaking, the air cool and fresh to breath in, a change from the Merapi Jeep tour. Literally a breath of fresh air.
Though there isn't much to do here, i looked forward to this place because it was a chance for solitude but not totally alone. We rented hammocks and stayed in for a few minutes; just to relax. I wasn't sure about the rest but i had my short time alone - lying in the hammock, looking up towards the slow, swaying, branches of the pine trees. For a while i was contented and i'd like to think i got back in touch with nature. If you know me in person; I NEED to be in nature from time to time to recharge. And for a while i did.
PANTAI TIMANG - PANTAI JOGAN - PANTAI WEDIOMBO
We were suppose to be doing Kalisuci cave tubing and goa jomblang today. We specifically choose there two places because it was mentioned online; that not a lot of tourist go here and there were less risks of crowd.
When we arrived Kalisuci, we were greeted with a huge crowd (they came in buses some more okay) and was told today's session were fully booked. Seeing that we were bummed, one of the employees were nice enough to help us out about our next item on our itinerary which was, Goa Jomblang and offered to lead us to the place and made a call. We were again unlucky.
Hence, we decided to redirect our trip towards Pantai Timang. It was the best choice we made throughout the whole trip. Pictures here turnt out to be the best!
For the rest of the day we decided to cross of all beached in our list and this was the day i regretted not using sports sunblock aside form my usual everyday sunblock. My shoulder were burnt red and it hurt every time in contact of anything. fml
But asides that, pictures today were some of the best.
I personally do not recommend Pantai Jogan and Pantai Wediombo cause there isn't anything there except for a plain looking old beach. But the sunset in Wediombo was LOVELY!
Pantai Jogan promises a majestic waterfall - but when we arrived, what we saw was puny looking water spout what claims to be the "waterfall". I think we went during the dry season so there wasn't much water for the waterfall to actually make it look like a waterfall. hah
As of Pantai Wediombo, it promises of natural pool overlooking the sea made from rock formations. However what greeted us was just a normal beach. A little bit dirty, full of people. Not much to do here. it's still alright for a quick photo-taking session. The good thing is there are lots of eateries by the beach, so you can have lunch/dinner/tea/snack with a pretty view.
We made a mistake of visiting Borobudur in the middle of the day. IT WAS SCORCHING HOT! glad i brought my cap.
PLEASE LATHER GENEROUS AMOUNT OF SUNBLOCK ON YOU OKAY?
The temple was beautiful but the sun distracted my concentration and i cant enjoy the beauty of it all with the heat and also the crowd. I cannot wait to get down and find shade. So please DO NOT GO TO BOROBUDUR IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY LIKE WE DID.
A little breakdown about Borobudur for you:
Largest Buddhist Monument In The Entire World. OMG
The individual statues would have all been each carved from a single stone block and each statue can weigh as much as 200kg. Much of the beheading of the images probably occurred during the period after Borobudur’s rediscovery when the monument was poorly guarded and thieves and looters had free rein to steal the sacred Buddha heads and sell them on the black market for profit.
Heads from these statues have also ended up in western museums like the British museum in London and the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.
KALISUCI CAVE TUBING
Need extra pair of clothes for this! you definitely will get wet! i mean its basically getting a bath. lol
All in all cave tubing was a blast! I just hoped it lasted longer.
Cover your feet if possible - rocks in he area quite sharp. Safety briefing will be done prior. We went in quite late so we were the only group they had to entertain which was great actually. We had the place all to ourselves. The guide were funny, friendly and made sure we GOT WET. We were all tired from the morning heat in Borobudur so we were not as enthusiastic to get into the water. But the guides made sure we had fun by cracking up jokes and splashing water on us to lighten up the mood
*we did not made it to Goa Jomblang this trip due to limited time and poor planning. We were told that the last customer they took in is at 11 am. Anyone who comes after 11am will be dismissed and told to come the next day. Since it was our last day in Jogja, we were forced to miss it entirely. I was somewhat disappointing but it can't be helped.*
Budget Breakdown (excluding tips)
Food - IDR 200K
Prambanan - IDR 75k
Merapi Jeep Tour - IDR350k
Kalisuci Cavetubing - IDR75k ( includes a bowl of Indo Mie for a snack after)
Car Rental and Gas - IDR340k
Hotel - IDR430k
Borobudur - IDR325k
Pantai Timang - IDR 15k (Motorcycle) + IDR100K (suspension Bridge)
Hutan Pinus - IDR20K (Hammock) + IDR2.5K (Entrance)
There wasn't any departure tax at the time but be sure to check before flying in and out of Yogyakarta just in case they decided to implement it.
Tips & Suggesstions
Here we go again. Hai guys! For returning readers, thanks for following my blog posts thus far. For newcomers; HAI NICE TO HAVE YOU STUMBLE upon this blog!
This time around, I recently conquered Siem Reap!!!
One of the reason Siem Reap was in my bucketlist was because i was (and am still) very interested in the famous ruins of AngkorWat National Park.
Day 1: Arrival
As soon as we landed we raced towards the booth for local simcards. I got mine at the arrival gate.
SMART - 3 GBS for 7 days and unlimited relevant social media apps and $2 credit = $6.
However, from my googling and word of mouth I heard that Cellcard or Mobitel are better as they are the two 'bigger' players in the market ( I did not get to use these two telcos however)
Don't need to worry about English being spoken. The people who man the booths selling these simcards are very used to dealing with foreigners and are amazingly efficient - at least in my experience.
Our Hotel provided us with free pickup services so we had no trouble getting to our hotel. We settled in, washed up and started exploring the town on foot. Which brought us right into "Pub Street". Good old Pub Street.
We decided not to do much on our first day, so we decided to explore place on foot and do a lot of googling and asking the locals their recommendations.
Day 2: Wat Thmey Killing Field & War Museum & Circus
Day 3: Temple Run #1 - Angkor Archaeological Park
Personally, Angkor Archaeological Park was the highlight of the trip. Vast architectural delight was heaven for any amateur photographer. The lighting was on point, the tactile arts crafted to perfection. Worn out structures made it all the more wonderfully mysterious and magical. well at least to me.
The entrance fees for a visit to the Angkor Park changed as of 1.2.2017. The planned increases for the Angkor-Pass are quite substantial, as shown below;
Ticket Old Price New Price
1 Day 20 $ 37 $
3 Days 40 $ 62 $
7 Days 60 $ 72 $
The prices apply only to foreign visitors. There is no discount for students, but for children younger than 12 is free (with showing their passport).
For Cambodians, a visit to the Angkor temples is still free, which is very good!
We decided to get a one day pass ( $37).
Day 4: Relax!! Spa Day! Food
We woke this morning sore all over because of all the temples we managed to salvage through.
6 TEMPLES IN A DAY IS EXHAUSTING!!
We opted for massages in the mornings and afternoons and just plain do as little as possible. We can't really move so not much exploring was done during the day. except eat
TO EAT IN SIEM REAP
For dinner, we got tickets for a buffet dinner and dance show for only $12!!! Buffet spread was GENEROUS and with major variations so there were loads of different food to choose from!
After that, we decided to look for this famous bar that showcases cabaret shows and was rated quite high online. We had to go through dark alleyways and weed-smoke filled bars to find this particular bar. We almost gave up when we came across it hidden in between local residences.
Hence we sat ourselves in a bar that promises a superb cabaret show and it indeed was AMAZING!
The drag shows and performances here were quite good, and the drinks were decent too. They do have quite an extensive menu, but the strength of the drinks does vary. Service us quite good and the vibe here is quite energetic. I had an enjoyable evening. However i doubt I will rush back but i would also not say no to a visit if friends wanted to try it. I am happy to have given it a chance. Male staff was unusually flirty friendly for a gay bar however.
Day 5: Temple Run #2 - Beng Mealea
The journey was a long one but entrance fee was only $5.
This was my favorite temple throughout our trip. Second largest to Angkor Wat,
Day 6: Return - Early Flight
On our last day we did our last minute shopping and last look around in town as our flight was in the afternoon.
There wasn't much for a tourist to do here in Siem Reap honestly. The main highlight of this city would definitely be the temples and cheap alcohol. But Cambodia seriously has the potential to produce more tourist activities. and i hope more will come up soon.
Over the weekend for Malaysia Day, my girlfriends and I decided to take the off road and head straight towards the Bario Highlands. After getting on a 55 minutes flight from Miri, we finally descended and landed in the cool Kelabit highlands.
They are many families that provides homestay services for vistors in Bario, hence finding a place to stay here will not be a problem so long you a place before you fly over. We opted for a Zara Lodge, belonging to a nice Muslim-Kelabit family, just a nice 5 minutes drive from the airport. The accommodation includes the stay , 3 meals+teat time/day.
My verdict: the hospitality was superb! I loved the fact that they were very careful with our wants and needs, safety and well being. Made me feel like home.
Accomodation- RM200 for 2days
Fare to & fro Lodge/Airport - RM20/pax
Mountain Bike Rental - RM35/pax
Prayer mountain guide - RM30/pax
Bario Pineapple for RM12.50/pax - ( we bought 20kg in total for RM50)
Fare to & fro Salt Lick in Pa' Umor: RM40/pax
Fare to & Fro Arur Dalan (Prayer Mountain): RM30/pax
DAY 1 : ARRIVAL - EXPLORATION
After checking in our bags back at the homestay, we decided to walk to the nearest attraction: Plane Wreck just next door. It said that the plane (Scottish AviationTwin Pioneer CC.1) skidded while trying to land on a wet runway, where it ran into a ditch , causing the undercarriage leg to collapse. Fortunately there were no fatalities. The locals then decided to bring the wreck onto the current resting place for remembrance.
Korea Hill aka Bukit Kuria was decidedly our first hike in Bario due the the easy nature. However We used the wrong route up to and never actually manage to make it up the hut and giant cross.
DAY 2: KOREA HILL ETC.
Korea Hill aka Bukit Kuria was decidedly our first hike in Bario due the it's easy nature.
DAY 3: PRAYER MOUNTAIN
We decided to take the hike up to Prayer Mountain aka Gunung Doa on our last day, may it rain or shine. Even with out lack of stamina, I am proud to say we made it on top within 1 hour and 20 minutes with loads of rest in between! (Veteran Hikers would probably made it up in just 40 minutes to half an hour)
Locals believe that by hiking up this mountain, it gives the climber blessings in the things they wish to go well in life. Upon reaching the summit, a small prayer will be made to complete the journey. (Apart from enjoying the view)