Wednesday, May 30, 2012
1. Johor Bahru
Sudah tentulah bermula dengan kampung halaman saya. Harus diakui, JB bukanlah destinasi utama bila berfikir tentang percutian hebat seisi keluarga (sekurang-kurangnya belum LAGI, tunggulah Legoland buka nanti), dan biasanya "pitch" yang diberikan kalau nak ke JB ialah, "Dekat dengan Singapore lah". Tapi hei, banyak yang boleh diterokai lebih-lebih bab makan; mee rebus, otak-otak, kacang pol, lontong, goreng pisang... ah, baru menulis je dah rasa nak balik JB sekarang jugak (ataupun pergi "lunch" di D'Cengkih TTDI).
Tapi ya, kalau anda tahu mana untuk pergi, percutian makan-makan di JB akan menjanjikan sesuatu yang sudah tentu menyedapkan (walaupun program diet anda akan sedikit terganggu). Untuk cadangan-cadangan mesti-pergi di JB, klik SINI dan SINI.
Oh ya, pengalaman membeli-belah di JB semakin berbaloi dengan adanya Johor Premium Outlets. Lebih 80 kedai berjenama menanti anda dengan diskaun-diskaun menarik. OKlah, kalau anda golongan "elitist" yang tidak membeli barangan dari "musim" lalu, mungkin Singapura destinasi yang lebih sesuai, tapi percayalah, yang diperlukan adalah keyakinan diri yang tinggi untuk ketrampilan yang menarik, bukan sekadar dengan membeli Burberry koleksi musim luruh terkini membuat anda dipandang tinggi. Hehe. Untuk maklumat lanjut, klik SINI.
Bagaimana dengan tempat penginapan? Selain daripada rumah saudara-mara yang anda boleh "crash", banyak hotel di bandaraya ini untuk pelbagai bajet. Di tengah-tengah JB sendiri, saya cadangkan Thistle (dengan kolam renang besar) ataupun Puteri Pacific (dengan kolam renang tak berapa besar). Kedua-dua hotel ini berhampiran dengan tempat-tempat makan yang penting. Kalau di luar JB sedikit, mungkin boleh cuba Scholar's Inn dalam perkarangan UTM.
Masih lagi di selatan tanahair, Melaka sarat dengan tarikan sejarahnya, fakta yang saya yakin anda semua pun tahu. Cuma perlu bersedia untuk kesesakan di kawasan pusat bandar, lebih-lebih lagi musim cuti ini. Jadi, mungkin saya boleh cadangkan sebuah "resort" yang terletak berhampiran dengan tol Ayer Keroh, Philea Resort & Spa.
Dengan persekitaran di tengah-tengah alam semulajadi, Philea memang sesuai untk cuti seisi keluarga. Kolam renangnya besar dan banyak aktiviti yang boleh dilakukan. Klik SINI untuk maklumat lanjut.
Dan kalau tinggal berhampiran kawasan Ayer Keroh, memang banyak tempat-tempat menarik boleh dikunjungi termasuk Taman Buaya, Taman Rama Rama, Zoo dan yang MESTI-PERGI, Taman Botanikal Melaka.
3. Kuala Lumpur
Buat yang di luar Lembah Klang, KL destinasi yang "no-brainer". Rasanya tak perlu sebut tempat-tempat menarik di KL, semua pun dah tahu. Cuma nak bagi cadangan untuk beberapa hotel di tengah-tengah bandaraya. Dan sebenarnya, warga KL pun wajar sekali-sekala "bercuti" di KL sendiri, pasti anda akan dapat melihat dan mengalami sisi lain bandaraya ini.
OK, yang pertama saya boleh cadangkan ialah PNB Darby Park di Jalan Binjai. Saya diberitahu ini hotel kegemaran Yusuf Islam. Setiap kali kalau berkunjung ke sini, PNB Darby Park jadi pilihan. Di sini juga saya pernah menemubual beliau untuk program MHI.
Pertama sekali, hotel ini memberikan "view" KL yang sangat mengujakan.
Selain itu, PNB Darby Park juga terkenal dengan The 39 Restaurant. Terletak di tingkat (apa lagi) 39, restoran ini juga menjanjikan pemandangan kota yang indah selain hidangan masakan tempatan yang sedap secara konsisten.
Sebuah lagi hotel cadangan saya ialah The Royale Chulan di Jalan Conlay. Menjadi tumpuan pelancong asing khasnya, hotel ini memang di dalam kelasnya tersendiri. Bilik-biliknya dihiasi perabot berkualiti dan fasiliti yang disediakan di sini memang tidak mengecewakan.
Saya pernah mencuba dua restoran di sini, L'Heritage yang menghidangkan makanan Perancis dan Warisan Cafe untuk buffet sarapan dan juga makan malam. Memang puas hati. Lokasinya yang berdekatan dengan KLCC dan Pavilion juga merupakan satu tarikan utama.
4. Pulau Pinang
Ke utara tanahair pula! Walaupun kali terakhir saya ke sana adalah untuk berlari dalam Penang Bridge International Marathon, kunjungan itu sangat diingati kerana, ya betul, makanan-makanan sedap yang sempat saya jamah, termasuklah nasi kandar, kuey teow, cendol dan lain-lain lagi. Untuk pengalaman penuh saya, klik SINI.
Bagi tempat penginapan pula, kalau anda berkereta, Eastin adalah pilihan yang baik. Terletak bersebelahan dengan Queensbay Mall yang sangat popular, ianya juga tidak begitu jauh dari tempat-tempat tumpuan di Pulau Pinang. Menarik juga dari hotel ini, anda boleh melihat kedua-dua jambatan yang sedia ada, dan jambatan baru yang sedang dibina.
Tapi mungkin juga saya boleh cadangkan tinggal satu malam di kawasan bandaraya Georgetown dan dua malam di kawasan Batu Ferringhi untuk pengalaman Pulau Pinang yang lengkap.
5. Perth, Australia
Untuk yang mempunyai bajet lebih (sebab pandai simpan duit bonus, atau baru mendapat pulangan cukai pendapatan), dan ingin berkunjung ke negeri Mat Salleh, cubalah Perth! Kenapa Perth? Perjalanannya tidak berapa jauh (sekitar 5 jam), boleh dapatkan package menarik melalui AirAsia (pernah dapat tiket "flight" RM1.5k saja untuk dua orang), dan Perth mempunyai pelbagai tarikan dalam dan luar bandar.
Percutian 5 hari 4 malam boleh mencukupi untuk kunjungan kali pertama. Antara yang menarik: Kings Park, Fremantle dan Rottnest Island. Cuma Perth bukan destinasi untuk membeli-belah, kecuali cenderamata untuk rakan dan saudara mara yang kuat berkecil hati. Baca pengalaman saya sendiri di SINI, SINI dan SINI.
Sertai program YAY! CUTI SEKOLAH 2016 BERSAMA SELEBRITI & PROFESIONAL. Hubungi 012-3456055 atau layari www.yougotraining.com untuk maklumat lanjut & pendaftaran
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
So on Sunday, it was the first time for me at a different kind of running event, the long-distance relay! It was first mooted by one of our Larian 40 Taman runners and I thought, hey why not?
And so, we formed a five-man team, M.Zul, Fadli, Daud, Ayiem and Mie, and called ourselves "Coklat 40 Taman". Haha. "40 Taman" for obvious reasons, while we added "Coklat" cos Mie's a chocolate entrepreneur.
I reached The Palace of Justice, Putrajaya around 6.45am that morning. The plan was to have some light breakfast before the start so I didn't take anything at all at home.
But as it turned out, things were already getting chaotic as the organizers were trying to get people on buses to take us to our respective stations based on our running turns. And I have to say that I did not like how the organizers were shouting at and ordering people around over the PA system. Come on lah, granted there were a lot of school kids and first timers, but the intonation was all wrong. We paid to participate, so please have some respect!
Anyway, I was the assigned 2nd runner for the team and so I got on the bus and headed to the station. My distance was going to be 2.8km. All of us were running slightly different distances with a total of 15kms.
The mixed category started at 8am sharp and a few minutes later the front runners arrived at our station. Fuh, those guys were really sprinting the first 2.4km! Damn fast.
Our Open category started at 8.10am and after a good time, the sash was handed to me from Mie. My own route was pretty good which went downhill, then a flat stretch before a slight uphill and past a bridge. But of course the heat was pretty punishing by that time.
Anyway, I maintained a consistent pace before sprinting the last few hundred metres. I even recorded my fastest mile ever, according to the Nike + voice!
After passing the sash over to Ayiem, I picked up the food pack before taking the bus back to the Start/Finish line.
Only the first 100 teams would be granted medals and we did it, coming in 90th! Well done Coklat team! But most important of all, it was a good experience for everyone and we bonded even further on the day. Awwww... : )
Friday, May 25, 2012
BUT, the impossible DID happen... Liverpool Football Club came back from the dead and showed to the world what true grit and character really meant. 7 years ago today, Liverpool Football Club showed why we are the best sports team on the planet. Period.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Of the good kind, of course! Yup, stepped on the scale today and saw "81.8", definitely a new low for me : ) My running has been consistent, but I've also tried a new circuit-training routine. Hope I just won't get confused by all the muscle building, fat burning and cardio for performance! Meantime, yes, I do need a bunch of new clothes!
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
So yeah, we were in Kota Kinabalu two weekends ago for the event and for some "makan angin" (literally!) I've not been to KK for more than 10 years while this would be the fam's first ever visit.
We took an evening flight out of KL and reached KK 9 plus-ish. It wasn't a long drive from the airport to the Hyatt Regency, but I could see that KK had changed quite a bit. There were strangely a lot more malls, but everything looked neat and tidy, I must say.
The Hyatt Regency itself was opened in the late 1970s, but man, they've really managed to maintain it at a pretty good level. Have a look at our room...
What's great about the hotel as well was the location. It's right smack in the centre of town and we were within walking distance to quite a number of must-see spots.
And so the next day, we started our walk towards the Suria Sabah Mall, which looked a lot farther in google maps, but was really only a stone throw's away. But before that, we just had to take in the ocean smell (not pretty good, I must say) along the waterfront area and snap some obligatory shots.
Then we walked straight to the mall which turned out to be more modern and happening than I anticipated.
I'm pretty sure it opened fairly recently seeing how all the kedai had, er, "bau kedai". It's got some pretty top brands with some pretty good restaurants. It was there that I picked up my race-kit, as well buying some Sabah souvenirs (which I'm sure are a lot cheaper outside, but what the hell, I can't live without air conditioning).
Ironically though, we couldn't decided what to have for lunch there, so we walked back to the hotel and had chinese food at the Chinese Restaurant. Really, the restaurant is called, the Chinese Restaurant.
But we had no regrets at all, as it was one of the best chinese meals we ever had. Sure, the bill came to around RM200, but everything we ordered turned out to be super delectable!
After a short rest, I then took delivery of our rental car, hired through a Media Prima colleague. It was an old Waja that made all sorts of sounds it shouldn't have, but hey, it moved! (Jangan marah, Rona!)
I didn't have a GPS, so we whipped out google maps and just drove following the signboards. We drove by the coastal roads and looked for Stadium Likas, the Start/Finish point for the run, which we easily found.
Then we just drove towards the iconic Yayasan Sabah building. It was the first time I was looking at the building up close, really. (It looks dramatic with the dark clouds in the background, doesn't it?)
On the way back, we also stopped by this gorgeous looking mosque, the Masjid Bandaraya Likas.
Then we attempted to go to 1Borneo Shopping Mall but failed when the google maps (and foursquare), brought us to God-knows-where. But since I saw that we were on the right track to get to the airport, I drove straight there, where the location for my Larian 40 Taman, Perdana Park was.
It had started to drizzle then, but I managed a couple of rounds around this new and wonderful park.
Then it was time for some (more) seafood! And yes, we WERE ready to splurge on lobsters, prawns, the best kind of fish, everything. The only problem was, we didn't really know where to go! I did ask some people and all of them pointed me to the place near Promenade Hotel. So we parked our car nearby and took a walk on the boardwalk.
As for the makan bit, the stalls there were just like any other seafood stalls you see elsewhere offering the same kind of dishes. It was after we've ordered that I googled "Best seafood in KK" and came across this place called SEDCO which had stuff we were hoping for. Argghh... Nevertheless, the food at Anjung Senja wasn't really that bad, it's just that we were expecting a whole lot more. Ah well...
On Sunday morning, it was time for the event. As I mentioned, you can read the whole story three posts down. After the run and a quick nap, it was time to check out and ronda-ronda the city again before driving to the airport. First off we dropped by the observatory deck on Signal Hill. Definitely a great place to see KK from a different point of view.
After that, it was time to hit the world-famous Filipino Market. Bought a pearl bracelet for the little one while we went crazy with the traditional kuih and biskut.
So, it was a pretty good 3 Days 2 Nights stay for us, but no, we didn't go island-hopping or the more outdoorsy activities, which can only mean one thing: we will be back!
Monday, May 14, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Food, Glorious Food!: April 2012 Edition (Subang Ku Restaurant, Senibong, Marmalade, T Forty Two, Periuk Belanga)
First up is a seafood place that's been around for ages but only recently discovered by us. That too, by pure accident. One fine evening, we were craving for some crabs and decided to go to South Sea Seafood in Subang. But when we got there, the place was really crowded and I basically got pissed off by the lack of a queue system.
Frustrated, I then thought about this other place opposite Skypark that we often pass by but never tried before. We googled for a bit and saw some pretty good reviews.
There was ample parking space at Subang Ku Restaurant, and instantly we were greeted by good and attentive service. That's a plus point right there. We then ordered buttered prawns, vege, lala in oyster sauce and the piece de resistance, the salted egg crabs!
One by one the dishes came and we were wowed that each one delivered in terms of taste and presentation. The crabs especially, were absolutely wonderful, with plenty of flesh to chomp on.
Can't remember how much we paid (sorry!), but it was indeed a good experience, and we will definitely return!
Up next, more scrumptious seafood! Yes, I've blogged about Senibong in JB before, but when we returned there the other day, we decided to try another restaurant as recommended by a blog reader, i.e.: Permata Senibong Seafood & Steamboat, serving seafood with a nyonya twist!
We went a bit crazy by ordering more than we could eat. Or so it seemed. Hehe. Of course, we had to have some sotong and that was first on the list! The sotong bakar was perfectly grilled and all the sambals tasted great. A good start to the meal!
Up next was something unique; kupang masak lemak cili api. It looked a lot too although we ordered the small size, but guess what? There was nothing left after we were done with it. Well, except for the shells, lah.
OK, then came our two favourite dishes. The first was siakap stim nyonya, which was absolutely DE-LI-CIOUS! We really didn't know what to expect, but the first sip of the soup was enough for us to give it a big fat thumb's up! It was sweet, sourish and a tad spicy. Not quite tiga rasa, but a milder yet more satisfying version. A real winner, this.
The second one is our little one's favourite: gong gong in oyster sauce (even the name's cute)! First time eating it, you have to pull out the itsy-bitsy tail to get to the flesh. But it was worth it! Again, we finished every single one of these babies.
OK, time to leave behind the seafood and head back to KL for some "urban" experience. Haha. While at Bangsar Village the other day, we wanted to try something apart from one of the Ben's joints there and decided on Marmalade. Made a quick survey via google and most people had positive stuff to say about it.
The place is very children-friendly, from the decor, furnishings and its menu. But the experience turned to be just so-so for us. I ordered the beef pie and was disappointed that they used minced beef instead of beef chunks. The sides were just average.
The big breakfast too was just alright. Same goes with the apple crumble. Verdict? Meh.
Moving along. For tea one day, we dropped by T Forty Two at Empire Shopping Gallery. The macaroons on the window display did it for us, really. Apart from macaroons, they also serve scones, cakes, sandwiches, truffles, and a variety of teas.
And yes, the macaroons turned out to be really good! Not La Duree good, but one of the best I've had here in KL. BUT, please make 'em slightly bigger lah : )
It's a very pleasant place to chill out, have a spot of tea and read a hoity-toity magazine. Try it!
And lastly, it's time for some Johor food in Kelana Jaya! Found this place by accident, as I just couldn't resist the photos of soto at Periuk Belanga, Dataran Glomac when we drove past it. Yes, it's the same Periuk Belanga from Danga Bay, so I sort of knew what to expect.
Started off with lai cikang ais. No complaints there.
Then it was time for the soto. It was only slightly above-average. The kuah was good, and all the condiments were there but there was that extra something that was missing. But still sedap lah.
We also ordered the asam pedas with rice. Doesn't look impressive, huh? But it did taste like a genuine Johor asam pedas. Not too overpowering, yet with just an enough amount of "kick" to make it memorable. And I have to say that it did remind of my late grandmother's asam pedas.
And for "dessert", we had the rojak buah. It was good, but could have been better with some jambu air in the mix as well.
We'll probably be back to try out some of the other dishes, and oh yeah, the famous Fendi Ikan Bakar is just opposite this place! : ) Happy makan, folks!