Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Revisit Pulau Langkawi after 13 years

My last visit to Pulau Langkawi was about 13 years ago with Jo and my 2 sons Xiang and Zuyi.
We decided to visit Langkawi again which I spent sometime browsing through the internet for a trip. After much surfing I ended up at for a stay of 3 nights in Kuah Town including return flight tickets for less than RM1,400 for both of us.
This time around we chose Malaysia Airlines instead of Air Asia like our previous visit. I have also pre-booked a rental car for 4 days which costed RM380.00 and was waiting at the airport when we arrived. And off we went exploring the island with a Nissan Almera.
Oh I forgot to mention we brought along our Brommies and we checked in to Adya Hotel Langkawi in Kuah Town itself. It is a 4 Star hotel, lovely and friendly Islamic hotel. It is very near to the duty free shopping area, banks and restaurants. Before arriving at Kuah we stopped by Cenang beach for a lunch.
In the evening we met up with Sandra Loh where she took us to Weng Fung Restaurant in Kuah, one of the oldest restaurants in Langkawi. We had a wonderful dinner with their signature dishes like fried fish with black sauce, fried prawns, squids and a veggie. The beer is cheap in the island and one must not miss it ... hehehe.
Day 2
We arrived to Pak Raja Villa earlier to test out our bikes before Sandra and friends turned up. We drove from Kuah to Ulu Melaka and found Pak Raja Villa (GPS : 6.358724, 99.777143) without much of a hassle in this modern day using Google Map.
By 8 plus Sandra and her two friends appeared with their mountain bikes the other two friends were Francios and Yani. The scenery of Ulu Melaka is beautiful with the sun rising from the paddy fields and amazing mountain lines at the back.
From the paddy field we began hopping from one kampong to another with continuous and interesting scenery to go through, this one with a row of shady coconut trees.
We have been riding along small kampong roads, some of them were gravel and some better ones with worn out tarmac track, suddenly we emerged at a main road and a bridge along Jalan Kuala Muda over Pulau Langkawi River. Francios had a loose pedal crank and at one time it dropped off.
All the bike shops we visited were all still closed and fortunately Sandra had other option where she contacted a friend for the rescue.
We then rode to her friend's place for the repair.
Here we were for the rescue at Seaside Guest House (GPS : 6.360795, 99.709823) to tighten the crank.
We stopped by a cherry tree, yes a Malaysian cherry tree and it is different from other abroad. Jo tried a fruit from the tree.
A close up of Malaysian cherry soft and juicy with lots of tiny seeds in it.
Let's move on as Sandra took the lead for another destination for the day.
Francios was good and back in action. I was impressed with his knowledge of the these interesting trails, he surely cycle a lot in Langkawi.
I was glad that Sandra took us to this water break as I wanted to visit after seeing her posting at Facebook before I came to this island. I bet not many visitors have visited this place in Langkawi.
We followed Francios & Sandra back to our meeting place which was generally along the periphery of the mountain sides.
At times it could be steep on and dismounting was necessary for non mountain bikes like ours.
It was nice to meet Yani from Lahad Datu and enjoying the ride with us. 
I remember passing by a buffalo park before riding along this stream back.
Yes we did see some big buffalo along the way and the heat is getting hot as we were about to finish the ride.
It was a relief seeing the paddy field again and sign of getting closer to Pak Raja Villa. Sandra & friends had to continue their ride back until Kuah while we were lucky to end the ride. Thanks Sandra for a lovely exploration of inner Langkawi and arranging with the Manager of Pak Raja Villa to park the car.
My lunch was a nice nasi campur at a warong near Pak Raja Villa before we headed back to the hotel. The "kuah" or "gulai" was delicious from fish curry.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Happy Chinese New Year 2018 - Year of the Dog

It was the ushering of the year of the dog and it going to be the 5th dog year for me. As usual it's time to go back Penang for the celebration. This year it was only Xiang & Zu Yi following me as Jo had to stay back together with her sisters & brother while Shou has a project to be done.
Nothing like mum's cooking and the boys truly missed Ah Mah's food. It has been a eating spree since we landed on the island as expected.
Lunch at my mum's place with all my brothers and sister back home with a reunion dinner another 3 hours away. We went to check into our regular homestay near to my mum's place.
Heng ah, Ong ah, Huat ah as we lousang-ed together at Restoran Elite House.
What a great Chinese New Year eve and wishing everyone a good dog year ahead.
The young ones are slowly learning, the tradition continues and wishing them good health and wealth in the coming years.
One for the annual family album and a wonderful Dog Year awaiting for everyone.
Each year passes by so fast and time really flies, my mum is 18+my age which is 78 years old this year.
On the first of Chinese New Year I decided to visit Penang Hill and I think the last time I went up there was in 1973 with my friends from Padang Serai. I cycled from from Farlim, stopped by at this Oversea Chinese Anti-War Memorial at Air Itam for a shot of the monument.
The funicular train have changed several times, maybe at least twice since the last I was here. My folded bicycle placed in front of the train in a carriage box. I enjoyed the senior citizen fare of only RM5.00 for a return ride. For your information the normal fare is RM10.00 for MyKad holder where RM30.00 for foreign visitor.
The ride was pretty fast it took slightly more than 5 minutes to reach the top with a mid stop in between. I took the first train up so that I could see the early sun rise and Georgetown from Penang Hill.
The response was good it was packed on the first trip up and I reckon more were still queuing to visit Penang Hill. The sun rise was awesome I zipped to several corners of the hill for different spectacular views.
Checking out the places like the old Balai Polis, Bellevue Hotel and enjoying the beauty of this cool atmosphere.
I was happy to be able to bring my Brompton up to the top of Penang Hill and enjoy the cool morning ride. The last trip to Penang I tried it but it was closed for maintenance due to some slope erosion.
The cannon with the letters inscribed "GR" for King George III found at the park between a mosque and an Indian temple. Ironically two of the similar cannons were recently found at Fort Cornwallis by archaeologists from Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Penang Hill Hindu Temple also known as Sri Aruloli Thirumurugan has been in existence since the 1800's.
Penang Hill Mosque is sited just next to the Indian Temple and was built in 1966.
One of the several old colonial bungalows around the vicinity. I felt like being in a country side of England.
Have fun catching the sun rise from several spots.
The monkey cup garden was still closed so no coffee for me.
I had my coffee at last in a food court before taking a train back to the foot.
On the second day of Chinese New Year I was out hunting food for the boys. Some of the kopitiams have opened but not all. I managed to buy some local street food back to the apartment.
Later in the day we went out to the heritage area of Georgetown hunting for more foods. At the kopitiam once the home of their mum.
One more photo at Ah Mah's house.
We left Penang around 9.00 in the morning and it took us about 5 hours to reach Kuala Lumpur. Our lunch at Lieong Kee Bak Kut Teh at Jalan Development, Kepong, the boys were excited with this delicious KL food and mentioned that it was the best CNY food so far.
The celebration continues ..... and more eating and drinking awaiting...........

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Sultan Badlishah School Reunion 2018 Specially for our Sabah Friends

Few days before the school reunion I got a call from Sabah and it was Sahat informing me of their plan to visit Kulim for a nostalgic visit. I told him I will try to make it on that weekend. 
On Day 1.

I cycled from Setiawangsa downtown to avoid the traffic and to catch a train to Butterworth.
A simple nasi lemak bungkus and a teh "O" before I board the train.
By 1.30pm I was on a ferry to the Penang island.
Finished my bowl of Penang Hokkien Mee at Chew Jetty Cafe before I continued my journey.
I was using the coastal bicycle lane heading towards the Bayan Lepas, the stretch to Queensbay Mall was comfortable to me as I have used it several times but the trail beyond it was new to me and it was not fully completed. I went all the way until I could not find any further lead to the airport. I made a U turn and carried my bicycle into the vehicular road to follow the direction to the Penang International Airport.
The distance from the jetty to the airport was about 22km. I managed to get to the airport in time to greet our friends from Kota Kinabalu, there were 9 of them and together with me to greet them were Ahmad Ishak and Ghazali.
They went straight to Kulim in two vehicles driven by Ahmad and Ghazali while I took a Rapid Penang Bus to Farlim, Air Itam.
A short video clip of my first day to the airport.

The following day I left my mother's place for Kulim, cycling downtown hunting for Koay Teow Th'ng. I tried one along Kimberley Street. Penang is truly a food paradise there are two more loay teow th'ng stall I have marked to savout in the near future.

On Day 2.

After a good rest at my mum's house I was set for Kulim town.
Taking the opportunity to see more heritage buildings in and around the old Georgetown as I was passing by. This is the Eng Chuan Tong Tan Kongsi, a Hokkien clan house found at off Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street).
I decided to try this Koay Teow Th'ng shop and I quite like it.
The duck and chicken meat for the rice noodle.
The name of this shop is called Kedai Kopi Khee Cheang Leong Cafe located at Kimberley Street GPS : 5.416703, 100.332157. Note that the broth is on a charcoal stove, the traditional way.
After a brief exploration and a good Koay Teow Th'ng I headed for the jetty and off I went into one of the ferry for Butterworth.
Passing by Taman Haji Mohd Amin with a river running parallel to it then Jalan Permatang Nibong before reaching a small town called Kubang Semang.
2km away from Kubang Semang I saw a similar building structure that used to be one in Jalan Gombak, Kuala Lumpur. Both these factory buildings belong to Lee Rubber Co Private Limited. The one in Jalan Gombak has been demolished.

Then came the surrounding of Mengkuang comprising of scattered kampong houses which slowly lead into a tranquil road with huge rubber and palm trees. It is a cooling stretch but with some strenuous bends and ascension.  
Nirvana Blissful Memorial Park (富贵积福山庄) at Sungai Lembu, Bukut Mertajam. It has the largest gateway arch in Malaysia, a recognition that has been recorded in the Malaysia Book of Records. I could hear piped in music as I rode pass a cemetery.
Still within the thick vegetation and cooling route I stopped at a burial ground whuch was in a dilapidated condition with a sign indicating that it as a Catholic burial ground. I went in to have a peep and found out that it was a church too known as the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Later I was made known of the existence of a Hakka community and the story of the establishment of this church. Unfortunately effort to preserve the building failed resulting the site in such bad condition. 
Thank you to Simon and Chris for buying me this wonderful lunch at Restoran Kolan Ikan 鱼塘小食馆 at Kg. Padang, Kulim (GPS : .5.385703, 100.570969). The operator has its own fish farm and they are well known for their fresh water fishes. A steamed patin fish fresh, succulent and of course it's delicious.
Another popular fish delicacy on the dining table, this was a deep fried tilapia fish with sourish taste known as the 3 flavoured fish. 
The couple together with their son continued to pamper me, this time with the famous Kelang Lama laksa and its ice kacang.
The famous assam laksa of Kelang Lama with its signature crackers. 
The food adventure continued with a popular steamed vegetable dumplings outlet which is just next door of the assam laksa house. Simon bought some of the dumplings while I took a few pictures of the ladies making the dumplings. I just could not stomach any more food but I will be back for it the next trip.
I regretted for not tasting it when I was there and was drooling while I was blogging this trip.
A cousin of this owner promised to treat me the next time I come back to Kulim, Thank you Yen Ling for the offer I shall contact you for the Chai Kueh. Thanks again to Simon & Chris for showing me around Kulim especially for a possible cycling outing and the food.
The Badlishians had a busy morning with a game of golf and bowling for the non-golfers before adjourning to this nasi kandar shop at Fuller Hotel. Those who attended were students from '73, '74, '75 and '76. Some of the faces were familiar to me and it was good to meet up again. By the way, most of us are now senior citizens.
My classmates, Sahat (Form 1 - 3) while Hamzah since primary until Form Five. It was lovely to meet again.
I cycled from my mother's house in Farlim, Penang to Kulim Kedah covering a distance of 58km including a 3km ferry ride to Butterworth. I enjoyed the ride seeing and discovering a few places of interest. I got to known more of Mengkuang Dam and Jalan Sg. Lembu.

On Day 3.
I was glad to stay at Kulim Club, the rooms in the club have been renovated they were clean and comfortable. A few of my Sabah friends had a good time at the club the night before. We had the chance to chat with our former teacher Mr. Cheah and it was awesome reminiscing the past with him.
I cycled to Sultan Badlishah School from the Kulim Club bringing me old memories as I rode. Thank you to the Headmaster and the staff for organising this visit for us. It was a good and memorable visit for everyone of us.
Albumin Saimin, the representative from Sabah for a short speech of their visit to school.
A group picture at the school padang in front of the school. Long live Sultan Badlishah School.
It's kenduri time at Ghazali's house for lunch. Along with me was Halimajid showing me the way to the kenduri.
It's customary to conduct doa selamat before the meal.
The food was awesome, everyone of us has sumptuous lunch. Terima kasih Ghazali. 
A simple gift for the visitors at a hi-tea in Seri Malaysia Hotel, the Sabahan enjoyed the laksa utara and the kueh mueh.
A surprise visit by Mr Tan Ban King, he was another popular teacher in the school and he is still looking good.
One for the record after our hi-tea session.
By the time we finished with the hi-tea it was about 5 plus in the evening. I bought a ticket for a bus trip to Butterworth Ferry Terminal. The ride was comfort and took about a hour with a fare of RM3.80. It's indeed a good deal.
It was back to Penang for a night before returning to Kuala Lumpur on the following day. The reunion was fantastic and hopefully there will be another one in the near future. Till then we hope to meet again.