Saturday, May 19, 2012

Backpack to Myanmar - May 2012 : Yangon

Myanmar , a country that i am not familiar of. I still remember when i got the cheap flight to Yangon via Air Asia, I was a bit stunned and thinking how is my travel plan should be. Not many backpack info i could find that time but luckily at least there are some handful and good ones i can refer to. Thank god! :P And i am going to be exploring Myanmar for 13 days! excited and worried too... really a mixed feelings. 

Unlike other South East Asia, this is the only country that Malaysian still need to apply a visa to enter the country from Myanmar Embassy. The visa application takes approximately 5 days to get it done and it cost about RM80.00. As i am a lazy bum, i actually paid additional RM30.00 to get the travel agency nearby my office to get it done for me. :P

Another headache part before entering Myanmar is getting the BRAND new US Dollar notes. I read a lot about them being very particular about the money. The notes must not be folded, stained  and not even a little dot appear on the cash note. Never in my life that i have to check all the cash money i am bringing piece by piece just to ensure it is really BRAND NEW! *headache*

In my travel plan, the first destination will be Yangon since that is the first city i will be landing in Myanmar. Right after will be Bagan, Inle Lake and lastly Mandalay. 

In Yangon, the must visit place is the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is the biggest pagoda in Yangon and i was so fascinated with the architecture. The entrance ticket is USD5 for one whole day. This mean you can exit the temple and enter the it again within the same day. I actually went 2 times, one in the morning to look at the view during the day and second time in late evening to have a glance of the night view. Make sure you are wearing proper attire to enter all the pagodas in Myanmar. 

That's me at Shwedagon Pagoda. It was cloudy when i was there. 
Shwedagon - the surrouding
 As i was there the day before the Wesak Day, the biggest festival for Buddhist. I saw a lot of locals still doing their prayers and offering. Impressive!
The prayer's offering

The monks

Shwedagon - the surrouding

Saw this cute statue . Cannot resist and took a picture with HIM. ^_^
Shwedagon - the surrouding
Shwedagon - the surrouding

Shwedagon Pagoda - Night View

Apart from the pagodas, just spend some time walking around Yangon city checking out the place and the lifestyle of Yangon during the days. I get to find quite a number of interesting things to see. Pictures below will tell you all what i saw. :)

Paying a USD1 taking a ride on Circular train from their train station at platform 7 is also a nice way to checkout the surrounding of Yangon. But this will take you 3 hours to complete the ride as it really goes around Yangon and return back to Yangon main train station where your journey begin.

One of the Street near City Hall in Yangon City

There is a street that selling a lot of second hand books. 

Their Public Phone
Passed by on of the church near Aung San Market

Passed by on of the church near Bayoke Aung San Market
Entrance of Bayoke Aung San Market

Shopping at Aung San Market

Street View - Transportation you may see 

Some interesting street food

Street food
Yangon Train Station where you can take the Circular Train ride.

This is how the interior of the train looks like.

Circular Train is at Platform 7

Along the train ride - you will pass by the car junkyard 

The locals selling quill egg in the train to the passengers
Circular Train will pass by some market that is just setup along the train rail.

Nice Village and Nature scenery you can enjoy during the Circular Train ride. 

Night Life in Myanmar is not really that fantastic. You can't really find much pubs and bars around. I found a little beer garden  nearby Ocean Pearl Inn Hotel; had some snacks and local beer with some travellers I met there. But you can't hang out too long as they closed at 11p.m. Anyway I always tell myself, it is better than nothing at all. :P
Night Hang Out in Yangon. Myanmar beer - I love it!

My next destination after Yangon -> Bagan. Bought the night bus ticket and time to suffer for a 10 hours bus ride. Bagan here I come!! :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Cameron Highlands 2012 : 2 days 1 Night Trip

Cameron Highlands is one of the main tourist attraction for those who would like to enjoy the fresh and cooling air breeze and enjoy the beautiful highlands scenery. The last time i travelled to Cameron Highlands was 2 years ago with my family. This round i went with my bunch of crazy and funny friends mixture of Malaysian, Indonesian and Filipino.

We depart from Kuala Lumpur early morning around 8am. Driving along North South highway heading up North. We stopped at Tapah rest area for a short toilet break after about 2 hours drive. Many travellers like to stop here to buy the famous local fruits - seedless Guava and Rose Apple ( Jambu Air in Malay). There's quite a number of stores that sell only these 2 types of fruits at the Tapah rest area. The price is reasonable. So we bought some and enjoy it before continuing our journey to Cameron Highlands.We heading up to Cameron Highlands from Simpang Pulai tol as the road is not so winding.

 We rented an 3 rooms apartment in the area between Tanah Rata and Brinchang called Desa Antharium for RM220 per night. Not bad but the only thing is we need to do some workout as the unit we rented is at 4th floor with no lift. :P

Desa Antharium Apartment, Cameron Highlands
After checked in to our apartment, we just give ourselves a short break, hanging out in the apartment before heading to Brinchang for our lunch. At Brinchang, there are quite a number of restaurants to choose. We just simply picked one as we were kinda hungry already. We ordered fried oyster mushrooms, stir fried paku plant and a omelette. 3 dishes shared by 5 of us. Not really many dishes as we want to reserve some space in our tummy for other foodies. :P Total cost per pax for this meal was about RM10 (with Chinese tea served).

Lunch at Brinchang

Near the place we had our lunch, we saw this handicraft store. We just went in to have a look. They sell local handmade souvenir items, t-shirts and some decorative items. no photography is allowed in there so i can only take a picture from the outside. 

Our next mission is to visit the Sg. Palas BOH Tea Centre. Very beautiful landscape. Many people just love to come here order a pot of tea sitting in the cafe, chit chat and enjoy the beauty of this place.It also has a tea shop where you can purchase all sorts of tea. When you walk further down, you will get to visit their visitors centre. Here they showcase all the equipment and tools used to process tea leaves. It also has a video room where you can watch the documentary of the history of BOH and its tea leaves process.

Sg, Palas BOH Tea Centre

Along the way heading down to Brinchang town, we stopped by at Cactus Point checking out the plants they are selling there - mostly cactus and they are really "adorable". :)  Before we heading for dinner, we decided to drop by Smoke House just to check out the place. Smoke House with the feel of British colonial style ambience is a hotel and restaurant. If you love such environment no harm to have a cup of tea and scones just to give own self a break.

Cactus Point
Cactus Point

Smoke House
What to have for dinner in Cameron Highlands? In such a cooling place, of course steamboat is the choice to go!! There are many steamboat restaurant around Brinchang town and the price is reasonable. You can enjoy a steamboat meal for less than RM20 per pax. After our meal we went to the night market have a walk and checkout what they sell. just before we want to leave the place, we passed by this cafe called Strawberry Moment. We were so tempted with their dessert and decided to order some to try. I love the Opera Cake, it is so delicious. Their Strawberry salad also yummy too if you are looking for something light. The next time I come here I think I would want to try the chocolate fondue.  

Steamboat - our dinner
Our Dessert Moment at Strawberry Moment Cafe
The 2nd Day after our breakfast in a mamak restaurant at Tanah Rata, we heading up hill again to Tringkap to visit Rose Valley. The entrance ticket is RM5, quite a reasonable fee. This is a huge garden where they plant a lot of roses and other type of flora. We took a lot of pictures because the place is just so colourful. Outside the Rose Valley entrance, there are some stall selling souvenirs, vegetables, and finger food. We saw a stall selling steam tapioca and it just look so good, we cannot resist and bought some to try.

Rose Valley

Rose Valley
The one thing that i always want to try is the scones in Cameron Highlands. We went to Raju's Hill which is just across Equatorial Hotel. They are one of the places in Cameron Highlands that serves good scones. Without looking at the menu, straight i already order the scones set. The set comes with 2 scones and tea.

Well after enjoying our morning tea break, its time to heading down back to KL. We stopped by 2 places taking some pictures before continue our journey back to KL - Cameron Valley and Lata Iskandar waterfall.  Cameron Valley is another tea plantation. Another place where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of tea plantation. Lata Iskandar waterfall is one of the famous waterfall when you use Tapah way to go or leave Cameron Highlands. Overall the trip was a relaxing one, the most importantly is I get to enjoy the fun moment with my friends. I will be travelling to Cameron Highlands again in October but this round will be with my family. stay tuned with my updates! :)

Delicious Scones set at Raju's Hill 

Cameron Valley Tea Plantation

Lata Iskandar Waterfall

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chiang Mai - March 2012 : Day 04

This is the last day we will be spending our time in Chiang Mai. The next day we will be taking the morning flight return to Kuala Lumpur.

We woke up at 9++am , took our rented bike and heading somewhere nearby the Chiang Mai University for our brunch. I read in Nancy Chandler's map wrote that you can find nice and cheap food nearby the university. We went 2 round on the same street and finally choose one of the decent local restaurant for our meal.

If you want cheap food, try to hunt for food near Chiang Mai University.This is one of the shop we visited and the food is really good!! trust me is REALLY REALLY GOOD!!!

We tried their Fried Kuay Teow, simple and damn yummy food for our Brunch. It only cost us only 35THB. Their Tom Yum Noodle Soup, 35THB .... yummy too!

After filly up our tummy, we begin our journey to Wat Doi Suthep. This is one of the must visit temple in Chiang Mai, located at the Hill Top. You may need a little bit of workout here as you will need to walk quite a number of staircase to reach the temple. Check out my pictures here and you will know what i mean. Luckily along the way up you will get to to see some stalls selling clothes and souvenirs so somehow it helps to divert your attention towards the steps. :P 

Doi Suthep Temple

You need to pay the entrance fee of 30THB entering the temple. Make sure you wear proper attire to enter the temple else you will be ended up like me have to make some donation and get a rope to wrap around you. ( I was wearing my bermuda which is shorter than my knee length) 

In Wat Doi Suthep

In Wat Doi Suthep
Wat Doi Suthep - The suuroundings

 After visiting Doi Suthep, we remembered we passed by Chiang Mai Zoo. Since we did not know where else to go and Chiang Mai Zoo is just on our way back to the guest house. Well the zoo is al-right but i wont said anything fantastic. The only special animal you get to see i guess is the panda. I'd been to Taronga Zoo just 6 months ago, so i guess i tend to compare Chiang Mai Zoo with Taronga Zoo in Sydney. I would think if you only have little time to spend in Chiang Mai, i guess you can skip this.

Chiang Mai Zoo

Since this is our last night in Chiang Mai, we were thinking to have a more luxurious place for good Thai food. We went to this restaurant called The Riverside which is recommended by the our River Cruise tour guide. The Riverside it has 2 part. Along the Ping river it is a pub where you can enjoy live band there. Trust me if you love loud music and party. This is one of the recommended place. But for us we want food. so we went to the one across the street. Here the ambience is very different, it is more for dining. It has live band as well, but playing different type of songs. The food was great, we love it so much and the price is reasonable - highly recommended by me! :P

Dinner at The Riverside , Bar and Restaurant

Day 5 is our day returning to KL. I am not going to write much about day 5 as we took the early morning flight and there is no time for us to explore further. But overall i did enjoy the entire trip and do hope to come back again in the near future.

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