Thursday, June 20, 2013

Gunung Jerai

Gunung Jerai, also known as Mount Jerai, is the highest mountain in Kedah, standing at 1217m tall. Located only 50km away from Alor Setar (the capital of Kedah, and where I'm currently residing at), it was hard to resist the calling to visit. 

It was a spontaneous trip, as is with all my other mini adventures :) 

Mong was here to accompany me as well which makes it doubly fun!

 Breakfast at the famous chicken rice stall Kedai Kopi Town House in Alor Setar. 
A must try if you are around the area! Operates only during lunch hour. 

We used the old road instead of the highway. Skimped on toll money :) 

Coolie at the gas station. hahahahaha!

 At the foot of the mountain. 

There's 3 ways of going up the mountain. You can either ride up on a motorized vehicle (car, motorbike, van...), cycle, or walk. I would suggest riding a car up as there are a lot of wild monkeys, bee hives, and monitor lizards spotted. Plus the view isn't all that interesting until you reach the top. So take my advise and just drive up. Its roughly 12km to the top.     

At one point, the road will diverge into two trails. We took the right one which leads to a resort. We did venture to the latter on the way down but there was nothing interesting there. 

It was so misty at the top! Felt like we were at Genting (minus the crowd)!

Lots of interesting plants. I like this the most. The colors are so pretty.

Wild monkey spotted!

It started pouring an hour after we arrive, so we had to cut short our visit and head home. 

Nothing much you can do here besides enjoying the cool climate. There are only a few mini trails you can hike and a cafe for light food. But it was enjoyable nonetheless =)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bali 2013 (Day 6)

19 April 2013 (Friday)

I'm ashamed to say, that I have absolutely no photos of Day 6 even though our flight was in the evening. We woke up late, and just rolled around in bed till it was time to check out. We had a few hours to kill before we needed to go to the airport so we went to Discovery Mall and chilled there for 2 hours. Time passed so fast that I just couldn't believe that our holiday has come to an end. Also, we ran out of Rupiahs, so we couldn't afford anywhere fancy to eat for our final lunch. haha. We only had like a couple of bucks for the taxi ride to the airport and that was it. 

There was one thing that took us by surprise during our final hours in Bali. 
At the airport, while trying to check in, we realized that we had to pay Passenger Service Charge of Rp 150,000 (RM 50) each! Payment must be made at this counter before we are allowed to enter the Immigration section. We had literally zero Rupiahs on us and we panicked for a moment, till we decided to just change our Ringgits into Rupiahs at the Money Exchanger. Exchange rate was good too so no harm done! But this definitely blew our budget by RM100! 

 In flight meals!

Bye bye Bali! You have been AMAZING! Will definitely go back again if I have the chance!

Ending the 6 day long trip, with a picture of Mong sleeping. HAHA!

Call me piggy. lololol

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bali 2013 (Day 5)

2 more days before our magical Bali trip ends! =(

18 April 2013 (Thursday)

Woke up around 8am, give or take, with CRAZY ACHING MUSCLES (I can still remember the pain T-T) and went out looking for our last breakfast in Ubud. We settled on an Indonesian Style Nasi Campur from a local warung and taopao-ed it back to our guesthouse to eat. 

 Mong enjoying brekkie on the patio.

It was a quick breakfast as we were rushing to catch our shuttle bus (yeap, shuttle bus again!) back to Kuta. We bought the tickets yesterday at a stall selling tours for Rp 50,000 (RM 16). This time the ride back to Kuta was bearable because firstly, we bought an earlier ride (9am) and secondly, there was no jam. Lesson learnt!

We made a request to the driver to drop us off somewhere nearby our hotel. We still have to walk quite a distance but we managed.

Our hotel for the night was J Boutique Hotel. Located at the south of Kuta, near the airport. It was RM168 for a night, a little above our budget for a night's stay, but it was worth it! I love this hotel! Everything is so pretty and posh looking! (Tip: Ask for a room with a window. We initially got a windowless room and it was horrible. So dark and gloomy. I immediately requested for a change of room and it was the best decision made that day!)

This is the Deluxe Room.

Like all other days, we rented a motorbike from a stall opposite our hotel. The person tried to charge us Rp 60,000 but we knew better and haggled it down to the standard Rp 50,000. 

We rode the bike to a random warung again for a cheap lunch!

After lunch we went for more souvenir shopping along the roads of Kuta! Mong finally bought his red Bintang shirt as well for RM 10.

The remaining afternoon was spent lazing around the hotel, flipping the tele channels and napping. We were super tired from all the activities we did the last couple of days, so today, we rest! And rest we did indeed! 

Come evening, Mong had a surprise for me and made me roll out of bed and into a nice dress for a dinner at somewhere special....

Jimbaran Beach

Mong had made reservations earlier at Lia's and it was a good thing he did because just half an hour after arriving, the place was packed to the brim! Lia is definitely the crowd favourite because its the only restaurant which was full house all night! Mong did his research and found this place to be the top restaurant in Jimbaran according to locals, tourists, and food critics. Price was good too! Our beachside sunset meal came up to Rp 286,000 (RM 95). Pretty decent considering what we ate (crab, prawns, fish, clams, potatoes, kangkung, salad, soup, fruits, rice, and drinks).

Mong in his red Bintang shirt (which he only wore once! haha). 

This stall sells the best Jagung Bakar, period. You have to try it if you are ever there! Best RM 3 of your life!

 Yummy die....

 The food, the weather, and the view is amazing!

 Last couple picture of the trip...



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bali 2013 (Day 4)

17 April 2013 (Wednesday)

1.30 am - Woke up
2.00 am - Depart

Almost cannot wake up! So earlyyyyyyyyy!

Our van driver Nyoman was super chirpy even though its 2 in the morning. He asked a lot of questions and explained a lot of things to us and to the other passengers in the van. There were 6 of us in the van. Its an all-couple trip y'all! One of the couple are American teachers working in an international school in Bangkok, whilst the other couple are friends (British) who met during their backpacking trip in Burma last Christmas and have been travelling together ever since. 

Mount Batur is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas (a cauldron like volcano feature) north-west of Mount Agung with a height of 1717m above sea level.

The Mount Batur sunrise hike starts around 3.30am. It is still pitch black, and using only a flashlight (which are provided by the guides), we had to navigate our way through the trail. It starts off easy enough along a dirt path, but quickly turned steep as we made our way over slippery sand and loose rocks. 

The guides won't normally stop unless you request for it. And their pace is crazy! I can hardly keep up with them. I can assure you that this is no easy hike. Its a steep climb all the way up to the peak! The american couple gave up halfway and decided to meet up with us later during the descent.

Ps, Me and Mong were the only Asians AGAIN! Come on Asians, where you at??? 

There were a few other groups hiking up Mount Batur but they were all ang mohs. There were some French and Spanish peeps too! The Brits commended me on being a "real trooper" for making it all the way up! They were impressed that a skinny girl like me can actually climb! Finally someone recognizes my talent! Heh! ;P

As dawn approaches, the sky slowly shifts from black to deep blue, to pink and orange, as the sun rises up over the valley and reveals Lake Batur and the villages below, and the towering Mount Agung next to us. 

 Here's a more professional photo (sourced from Wikipedia).

Anyways, climbing Mount Batur takes about an average of 2 hours and once you are at the top, you will be greeted by several small huts scattered around the volcano. The guides will then offer coffee or tea and breakfast! 

Its crazy cold at the peak so please don't forget to bring a jacket up!

We are above the clouds!


Funny story about this picture. I was eating my eggs while watching the sunrise when Mong suddenly screamed "Fast come here take picture!! Clouds moving fast! Get a picture while we still can!). And so, if you observe carefully, my mouth was actually stuffed full with eggs to a point where it started seeping out between my teeth. Hmmm... Ok. Too much information...

Once the sun is fully raised in the sky, the guides began the second portion of the Mount Batur hike, taking us along the ridges where we can get up close and personal with the volcano craters. 

I have a couple of videos but can't seem to upload them. Will try later!

By the time we reach the base, it was already 10am! Sore from the hike, everyone knocked out in the van, except for me. Can't sleep. I felt too sticky and dirty to sleep.

The driver stopped by this plantation site for us to sight see abit.

On the way back, we specially requested the driver to drop us off at Warung Ibu Oka instead of our guesthouse for lunch. Saves us the trouble of walking there in the hot weather. 

Warung Ibu Oka is another famous eatery in Ubud. A must try according to the locals. It is also highly recommended by Tripadvior and Lonely Planet. Warung Ibu Oka has 3 branches in Ubud itself (comes to show how popular it is) and its specialty dish is Babi Guling. It is open from morning to 5pm. I recommend going in the morning or in the late afternoon. Avoid 12-2pm as there will be swarms of tourists sent here for lunch as part of their tour itinerary.

Order the Spesial for best cuts!

Pisah (Rp 50,000 / RM16). Comes with soup.

Spesial (Rp 30,000 / RM10).
The crispy shiny looking thing on the top left is pork skin.

Fresh coconuts for drinks!

We rate this meal a 9.5/10. Much more worth it compared to Bebek Bengil!

Once lunch was over, we walked back to our guesthouse, took a shower and nap for a good 3 hours! We were both beat from the hike. Sleeping only a few hours the night before didn't help either. I expected my legs to be aching like crazy when i woke up, but surprisingly there were none. I felt great! But that of course was short-lived for tomorrow is a whole other story...

Anyways, its makan time again! We wanted to eat something light because we were planning on go to Naughty Nuri's at night for their famous Spare Ribs! We took the motorbike out for another food hunt and came across this tiny mobile stall selling Bakso.

Cheap and satisfying! But too little noodles. I guess their emphasis was on the fish balls rather than the glass noodles. 

After eating, we went souvenirs shopping! For those of you who received that obscene souvenir, yup! We got it from here =p


Monkey Forest wasn't in our itinerary but since it was nearby, we decided to go for it. Entrance ticket costs Rp 20,000 (RM6.60). There is actually 2 entrance into Monkey Forest. It doesn't matter which entrance you take, you will still have to pay the same amount to enter. Stalls selling bananas are available near the ticket counters. Buy at your own risk! Monkeys there are aggressive and the workers advised me not to bring bananas in cause the monkeys will jump on you and if you are unlucky, bite your finger/hand! 

Speak no evil, Hear no evil! haha!

Entrace 1 (Gate 1)

As night drew close, we retreated back to our bike and rode off in search of Naughty Nuris. Its not easy finding this restaurant. We got lost several times but we did find it eventually, thanks to our trusty Google Map! 

We had high hopes for this place because my parents tried this place before and they said it was good. Not only that, online reviews claimed that they sell the best ribs ever! But, alas, portion was small, price was high, staffs were super unfriendly, and ambiance was...... wait what ambiance? It felt like a road side stall with some walls and a roof. No doubt the ribs tastes slightly above average, and the interior decoration was tasteful, but it wasn't enough to impress us.   

Rating: 4/10

BBQ Ribs (Rp 90,000 / RM30); Spanish Sausage (Rp 35,000 / RM12)
Don't be fooled by this picture, portions are extremely small!
And I certainly did not expect to pay RM12 for a tiny sausage which I can grill myself.

Day 5 Bali next!