Category Archives: Travel Review

Things to do in Johor

This is one of the articles I did for the media.Tap-Trip project before the website got shut down. It is not my best article but it’s the only one I have on my computer. We usually write directly on the TapTrip website so unfortunately since the website have shut down I have not been able to gain access to my other articles. Which is terrible because I would love to save it as record. Anyway, here’s one of my articles that I did for Tap-Trip:

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THINGS TO DO IN JOHOR

If you are travelling south, from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, then you should definitely spend a few days in Johor. Johor Bahru is the name of its capital, or JB for short, is the southernmost city in Malaysia and the closest to it’s southern neighbor, Singapore. Separated only by the Johor Straits, Singapore can easily be seen from across the waters. A state steep with history, Johor have always been a choice for travellers. Especially now with the developments in Nusajaya, Johor Bahru itself is a modern day city filled with not-to-be-missed attractions for the whole family!

  1. Legoland

LEGOLAND

Currently the number 1 main attraction in Johor. Located in Nusajaya, Legoland is a must visit for the young and old alike. Stretching over 70 acres of land, Legoland not only have a themepark, it also has a waterpark and it’s own hotel! In short, it has Lego EVERYTHING! From small miniature monuments to kiddy cars and rollercoasters, everything is made of (or decorated with) Lego! For the adults, if you remember playing with Lego as a child, then you cannot miss this place. For the kids- it’s pretty self-explanatory. And if possible, try your best to get a room at the Lego hotel. You will be transported into a world of bricks and blocks.

  1. Sultan Abu Bakar Mosque

The Sultan Abu Bakar mosque is actually one of the must visit mosque in Malaysia. It is very unique because of its architectural style, which has a combination of Victorian and Moorish elements. You can go anywhere in Malaysia but trust me you will not find another mosque like this. First constructed in 1892 and finished in 1900, the mosque is now more that 100 years old. It is also located on top of a hill, in the center of JB, it commands a breathtaking view of the Straits of Johor across to Singapore. Other historical landmarks that you might not want to miss are the Sultan Ibrahim building and also the Istana Bukit Serene.

  1. Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru

Dataran Bandaraya is the official city square where events or festivals can be held. It features a clock tower in the center of JB and located right opposite the Thistle hotel. I highly recommend that you visit this place at night mainly because of one thing. Located near the square is an open air hawker center and this is where you can find the famous Tauhu Bakar (grilled tofu) of Johor along with many other local cuisines. It is a very well known side dish among the locals. And I still don’t know why you can’t find this “tauhu bakar” anywhere else. Not even in Kuala Lumpur and even if they did the taste will not be the same. So yes, basically if you are ever in JB town, come down to the dataran hawker stalls at night just for the grilled tofu! You won’t regret it.

  1. Endau-Rompin National Park

The Endau-Rompin National Park is situated near the Johor-Pahang border. It is effectively the second largest national park in peninsular Malaysia. From JB town, the trip to Endau-Rompin will take approximately 2 1/2 hours and a further 30 min boat ride to the park itself. Be forewarned, this park is not for the faint hearted. If you are looking for a five star service, then this is not the place for you. This place is all about nature! If you love hiking, beautiful river and waterfalls, trees, and the sound of wildlife in the night, then you are most welcome to camp (and survive!) here.

  1. Gunung Ledang

gunung-ledang

Gunung Ledang is one of the most mystical and legendary mountains in Malaysia, that they even made a movie out of it (see Puteri Gunung Ledang). Even until now, you will hear supernatural stories among the locals whenever they share their experience on Gunung Ledang. Legend has it that once a beautiful princess caught the eye of the Sultan of Melaka and he sent an emissary to win her hand. The princess having shared no such feelings ran away to the mountains to escape the Sultan’s wrath. It is said her spirit still dwells in the mountains to this day and she sometimes appears to travellers and tourist alike. An age old legend, but it is enough to enthrall adventurers to come to this legendary mountain which is also rich with natural beauty.

  1. Sanrio Hello Kitty Town and The Little Big Club

Also located in Nusajaya, The Hello Kitty Town and the Little Big Club is an indoor theme park and is actually located in the same building. The tickets for both places are sold separately but I highly recommend you take the package for both of the theme parks as there will be more activities for you to do. The kids will really enjoy this place as it has more to offer than you think. Hello Kitty, Thomas the Train, Dora the Explorer to name a few. Here’s a tip, if the weather looks unfavorable and it looks like it might rain, which is a really big problem if you are planning to go to Legoland, I suggest you change your destination to Hello Kitty town as it is actually very near each other. As it is indoor, you will never have to worry about weather conditions. Save Legoland for a sunny day!

  1. Danga Bay

Another new development in the Johor state. Danga Bay is a great place for waterfront fine dining. It is also a recreational area that contains a petting zoo, a funfair and a few shopping malls. Lazio, one of the best steakhouse in JB is also located here. If you want to enjoy the sea breeze on a nice cool evening, you should come and kick back and relax at Danga Bay.

  1. Desaru 

A long stretch of beach on the eastern side of Johor, Desaru is great for beach-loving holidaymakers and it’s only about an hour’s drive away from JB town. But apart from it’s beach, it should also be noted that there are a few other things that you can do while visiting the area! There is a tropical fruit farm, a crocodile farm, an ostrich farm that I’m sure kids will enjoy. You can also try and catch the firefly cruise located at the Terapung Bujang Restaurant. Enough activities to keep you occupied for a whole day!

These are some of the main things that you can do in Johor. Hope you will enjoy your visit to the southern most state in Malaysia!

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In Kota Kinabalu..

Long overdue post. Been meaning to write about my Sabah trip but got busy. Anyway, I was in Sabah at the end of October for a quick trip with my hubs. I’m just quickly going to list down the things you must get or do, when you’re down in Kota Kinabalu (apart from the usual tourist areas).

1) Visit Manukan Island- This island is so near (about 15min boat ride) and has one of the best beaches that you simply must go and cannot miss out. Water is so clear that I managed to take some underwater videos. Pics didn’t turn out so clear though so here are some gorgeous above water pics.

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2) Eat seafood – go to the Philipino market or the handicrafts market. There are dozens of food stalls you can choose from. But walk towards the end at night and you will be blessed with rows of seafood stalls that will cook them to your chosen styles of dishes.

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Where the fresh seafood comes in

3) Buy local snacks such as the kuih cincin. Looks unassuming but amazingly addictive.

4) If you’re a coffee lover than definitely buy tenom coffee. You can’t miss out on this local brew. I LOVE them. They come in many packagings, just check the ingredients to be sure it’s Tenom coffee. Here are some pics in case you’re looking for them:

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The normal ones comes in this foil packet, color can be blue, silver or gold depending on type.

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These are more targeted for gifts and souvenirs and cost slightly more.

5) Check out the handicrafts for some tribal art be it bags, mats or even shirts.

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Writing for Travel Leaders

Heyho!

I’ve been writing for yet another blog on travel related topics. It’s an Australian website called Travel Leaders Blog.

Click the link if you want to read my work. Or alternatively, you can copy paste the link below 🙂

http://www.tlblog.org/#recent-posts

Cheers!


My Article on Tap Trip

Updated on 24th Dec 2015

Unfortunately the media.tap-trip project has ended. They have shut down all their sites and the few articles that I did can no longer be found there. I am considering to post it on my blog though. Especially my best ones. Will link it here when I do.

Updated on 26th Dec 2015- Here’s the link of one of my articles. Unfortunately I coudn’t save my best ones: https://mewsofthemuse.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/things-to-do-in-johor/

Updated on Sep 19th

Here’s another one I did for Tap Trip! I’ve done about 4 so far but these are my best ones 🙂

https://media.tap-trip.com/articles/the-10-historical-sites-in-malaysia-the-trading-center-of-the-1500s

🎎🎋🎏

Hey!

Recently I did an article for the tap trip travel web magazine! I wrote a little piece on Johor. Check it out guys!

https://media.tap-trip.com/articles/235


One day in Bangkok City

Recently we decided to go for a quick getaway in Bangkok. The last time I came to Bangkok I was maybe around 12 years old? I couldn’t remember much apart from a transvestite show the tour guide brought us. In hindsight I wonder why they thought it was a good idea to bring a group of Muslims with kids to a trans show. But I remembered it was a good performance.

Anyway, after x number of years that I shall not disclose, this would be my 2nd trip there. Just me and my husband 😄 We decided to go since it was his birthday weekend and spent two nights there. Three days, two nights, so effectively one whole day to spend minus travel time.

So, since I was there for roughly about a day, I thought I will write a proposal for you guys who just happen to be doing a quick trip as well for whatever reasons e.g: transit, dropping by etc. If you guys find yourself in bangkok (and it’s your first time visit) for roughly about a day, here are some of the things that you can do:

1) Head down to the main wats which are the Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha and Wat Arun.
You can reach there by taxi or take a boat at the Saphan Taksin pier. I would recommend the boat if possible. It will give you more of a local feel.
Note that there is a fee to go in the Grand Palace. About 5000THB.
Also, you have to get a boat to go to Wat Arun. It only costs 3 baht. Be careful the locals can take you for a ride and quote much higher.

Just these 3 wats can easily take you the whole morning. By the time you’re done, it’s lunchtime!
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2) After spending the morning under the sun at the wats, next best thing to do (in my opinion) is go to the biggest mall in Bangkok, Siam Paragon. Trust me you’ll be glad of the air-conditioning. And Siam Paragon has all the food selection you can think off. I can’t think of anything that they don’t have actually. We had our lunch at Cafe Fish (seafood only), walked around and did some shopping, then continued with tea at Another Hound Cafe.
Also, Siam Paragon is connected to another mall called Siam Center. You can walk there as well.
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After the mall, we took a break back to the hotel. Which then leaves the evening..

3) We stayed at Le Meridian in Bang Rak district. It is very near Patphong night market. You can have dinner at Oasis lounge for really delicious authentic Thai Food. Or you can walk over to a nearby mall at Chamchuri square, if you feel like Japanese or Western. Then you can make your way to Patphong. DO NOT BRING KIDS TO PATPHONG. Thats all I can say to that, as there will be hustlers begging you to watch the ping-pong show. We skipped, but the choice is yours.

After you’re done shopping I highly recommend you to drop by at Cloud47. It’s a really nice laid back place to chill. You can enjoy the live bands and most importantly, enjoy the spectacular night view of Bangkok from the 47th floor. You can’t miss the building. It’s the tallest building near Patphong market.
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4) The other place you can go to, if you arrive on a weekend is the Chatuchak weekend market. But it only opens on the weekend so I had to skip this one as we left on a Saturday.

Enjoy your trip!

That’s all I have for my first round in Bangkok. I find the city itself is similar to KL, but where KL have mosques, Bangkok has temples. And of course with more rivers. A really lovely experience 🙂


Tokyo Trip (Pt6) – Ghibli Museum

Our last day in Tokyo. I capped it off with a trip to Ghibli Museum in Mitaka. From Shibuya station we took the train to Ichijoji. It only takes about 15-20min.

Studio Ghibli is responsible for feature animation like Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro. I’m a big fan 😀 I watched quite a few of these during my students days which was like eons ago. Anyway, what’s different about Ghibli Studios from Western animation is their artwork. It’s like watching animated paintings and you get totally absorbed into it.

Going to the museum is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Basically the museum displays their animation process. Which is just AMAZING! None of those CGI things. All layer by layer painting combined with camera and lighting. I dont really know the proper term for it and its hard to explain. Its just short of magical to a girl from Malaysia like me 🙂

You’re not allowed to take pictures inside the museum so I’ll post what I can:

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There are many things inside the museum but like I said I couldn’t take any pictures. So these are mostly the outdoors.

If you like artwork, animation and a big fan of Miyazaki and Ghibli studios animation, yes you should come here 🙂

It was our last day in Tokyo, and it was winter when we arrived but you know what? On our last day, the sakura started blooming. I see why the Japanese celebrates when the sakura blooms. Seeing the pink and white flowers made me feel so blessed and feeling akin to hope. It made me feel happy I don’t know why. We don’t have 4 seasons in Malaysia. It’s either rain or sunshine. So it was a new feeling for me, seeing the sakura. Maybe its because we are so used to sunny weather that we don’t notice the flowers in Malaysia. I don’t know. Just a thought.

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And that was the end of my Japan trip. I love the place so much. I hope I’ll be able to come again one day. I should save up and maybe plan to go to a different country but for some reason Japan has always had its charm on me.

Will see how it goes.

-The End-


Tokyo Trip Pt5 – DisneySea

DisneySea is located next to Tokyo Disneyland and is about 10yrs old. Therefore, markedly newer than Disneyland with more up to date rides. Which also mean longer queues.

Same tip as Disneyland, use the Fastpass and I highly recommend going straight to the Tower of Terror. I made the mistake of not heading there first and by the time I got there the Fastpass was finished and the queue was 3hrs long! Impossible for me to attempt with kids and all.

Having said that, we managed to get on or see a few good shows. One of the best was the Mermaid’s theater. If you grew up with The Little Mermaid, then you can’t miss this. Every little girl’s dream come true. Just remember to ask for the translation device for non-Japanese speakers from the assistants before you go in. They don’t advertise it, you have to ask for it. The Mermaid Theater is just AMAZING!

But skip the Jumping Jellyfish ride. Unless you have a 6 yr old kid. The wait lasted for more than an hour for a ride that lasted for about half a minute?? Don’t waste your time.

Apart from the main rides, like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Indiana Jones, you should also check out 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was a pretty good ride. As well as the Genie Magic 3D show in Agrabah. Don’t forget to ask the translation device for the magic show as well. And try the Typhoon simulator. It is quite unexpected 🙂

You are not allowed to take pics for most of the rides here but here are a few that I did took:

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Triton's Kingdom

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Mermaid's Theater

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The Nautilus

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Agrabah

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And that’s our two day Disney tour 🙂

Next post, is our last day in Tokyo…