Be A Smart Traveller

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Archive for the tag “travel”

What a fancy toilet seat at Borneo Rainforest, Bandar Sunway

I had my dinner at Borneo Rainforest Restaurant at Bandar Sunway, Malaysia. After drinking a glass of Ice lemon tea, I just I had to use the bathroom. To my surprise, the toilet seat was pretty fancy! I loved it -it’s something unusual as I don’t have anything like that at home. Perhaps I should get one for myself 😀

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So much love for Arabic cuisines

I just love Arabic food – they’re so delicious and unique. I can feel the right textures and flavours in my mouth. My tongue just crave for more tabbouleh, fattouch, Shawarma, Kabssa and Kibbeh. Arabic restaurants are everywhere In Malaysia; just name any location you want! Check these out:

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If you are planning to visit Malaysia, I’ll buy you one 😉

Have a great day!

A local SIM card for travellers like us

Image Have you ever wished that you could just call back home and share your travel stories with your friends and family? When I travelled to Vietnam early this year, I realised how important a SIM card is to me. Having Internet data was the most important thing for me when I travelled abroad because with it, I can keep in touch with my friends and family. I tell them lots of stories – basically, I talked to them about my travel experiences and how Vietnam was like when I came over to the country. The first thing I did after I passed through the immigration checkpoint was buying a SIM card. I chose Vinaphone SIM card. I got it along with my taxi ticket at the Ho Chi Minh International Airport. I had to face language barrier as I didn”t have any Vietnam language basics. The salesgirls who entertained me were also not very fluent at speaking English. Despite the language problem, I managed to get myself what I wanted and left right after.

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Waiting for the taxi was another different story. I got a bit annoyed by everyone because they were impatient. There was a young lady who was responsible to calm everyone down – telling them that the taxi will arrive soon. Some of the travellers were already showing faces to her. Poor girl. I had to wait for quite sometime before I got myself a taxi ride. My hotel wasn’t far from the airport. Thank God. It only took me about 15 minutes before I arrived at my destination.

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I checked in at Hon En Hotel – a boutique hotel in Go Vap District. I won’t recommend this hotel to travellers who are planning to stay for a long period of time as it is very far from the city centre. If you had a travel buddy, you can really save up on taxi fare. I didn’t regret for staying at the hotel tho. I just wished that I have tried some other hotels during the rest of my days in Ho Chi Minh. Travelling alone from Go Vap to the city centre was very expensive for me (especially when you had to face dishonest taxi drivers). I was quite depressed for awhile. I felt a little lonely. Luckily, I had a SIM card with me. So, I sent some messages to a friend of mine who is currently living in Ho Chi Minh. His name was Chris and he is from Singapore. Chris and I met up for dinner and he showed me around. He gave me plenty of travel tips too. He also guided me on how to activate Internet data on my SIM card. I can’t believe how cheap Internet data was in Vietnam! I only used up Internet data when I was out from my hotel room. Whenever I stayed in my hotel room, I would use the WiFi instead – the connection was really good!

2 days before I flew back to my country, I felt like my days in Ho Chi Minh was getting a little boring. I would have gone to other places in Vietnam such as Da nang, Na Thrang, etc. However, I had to just explore the places nearby instead due to insufficient funds and very limited time. I was going through some emotional breakdowns (probably due to loneliness as this was my first time travelling alone). I don’t normally travel alone, but I told myself “Why not give it a shot?”. I was not scared when I travelled by my own. I just thought that it would be more exciting if I had a friend with me. I called up my friends via Skype (thanks to good WiFi) and told them about my likings and dislikes of the country. I would love to come back to Vietnam again if I had the chance, but hopefully with a travel friend. Some of my friends suggested me to hangout at the backpackers streets. I did. I went there yet I was not very comfortable hanging out with new people all by myself. I guess my trip to Vietnam was indeed memorable due to the hardship (my 2nd time should be better).

Vietnam has lots of nice people who would help you if you need one. But, it is advisable for any solo traveller to always stay alert and calm. Don’t trust strangers before you really get to know them better! As for me, I met really nice friends while I was in Vietnam. Thank God! 🙂 Because I was travelling alone the whole time, I felt a little bored as I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Thanks to my mobile phone + Internet data, I was able to talk to my friends on just about anything! Few hours before I left Vietnam, I had some difficulties at the airport. I wasn’t sure where to print out my boarding pass. I then realised that there was no boarding pass printing machine at the airport! I was a little upset because the lady who was suppose to entertained me did not bother to help me out with my problem. When a Vietnamese guy came and asked for help, she quickly entertained him and after she helped him out, she then said to me “Hi, how can I help you?” , with a smile on her face. At that time, I just felt like yelling at her and asked her why was she behaving that way. I thought that she probably didn’t want to entertained me because of language barrier, but I then realised that she could speak English all along! I panicked when she didn’t want to entertain me, so I had to text Chris to ask him about the boarding pass printing machine. Upon my return, I sighed and told my friends all my stories – it was a pretty challenging week. Language barrier is a big problem for me when I went to Vietnam. Perhaps I should learn some Vietnamese basics. I can’t expect everyone to speak English after all.

Learning other languages is also a very good and useful effort. I realised that communication is really important when I travel abroad. I am not sure if you all think the same way as I do; I just knew from the very beginning that I am the kind of person that needs to always stay connected with the world.

There is a travel SIM card that can help travellers like me to skip all the hassles that I went through while I was in Vietnam. Visit http://www.localsimkad.com I personally like the product and I believe that this product will work well for me. I like to plan before I travel. With this product, I can book my local SIM card before I travel and have my overseas mobile number in advance. I can also top up online and if I have any problems with regards to the service, I can always call its customer support. LocalSIMKad Vietnam is powered by Viettel. I may have chosen Vinaphone on my first visit, but trust me, I’ll pick LocalSIMKad the next time I come over to Vietnam! To find out more, visit http://www.localsimkad.com

ImageDrop me an ink if you have any questions to ask. Cheers! 🙂

Times Square Amusement Park

Times Square Amusement Park

A gigantic fun park for both kids and adults; it not only attracts tourists, but also the locals that come over to spend time with their loved ones. This indoor park is nothing like Genting Highlands as most critics would say, but one thing for sure, it offers you fun and excitement! There are rides for adults and kids; for most adult rides, height measurement is required prior to entrance. To those who want to experience some unforgettable rides of their lives, head down to the ‘Galaxy Station’. Trust me, you’ll scream out loud!

I came over last weekend, and I must say that I loved it! I spent the whole afternoon here. I went with my friends, named Ameer & Justin. We had so much fun. To be honest, I have never played in any amusement parks before – this basically was my first time! I’ve been to the infamous Genting Highlands, but I went there merely to watch; that’s all. I was broke when I went to Genting Highlands for the first time (those were the days…LOL)

Located in Kuala Lumpur, the Berjaya Times Square Amusement park sits on the 5th & 7th floor. Adult entrance fee would cost RM48 whereas children admission is RM38 each. The park operates from 12pm-10pm (Monday to Friday) and from 11am-12pm (Saturday, Sunday, Public & School Holiday).  A wristband will be given for every entry; do ensure that you wear it all the time. You can choose to go out from the theme park, and then enter again, with your wristband validated upon your next entry of the day.

ImageVisit ‘Galaxy Station’ to experience some of the exciting and memorable rides that the park has to offer, such as ‘Space Attack’, ‘Ooort’s express’, ‘Dizzy Lzzy’, ‘DNA Mixer’, ‘Supersonic Odyssey’, and ‘Spinning Orbit’. If you have not tried any of these rides anywhere else in the world, it is best for you to watch how others do first, and then decide on whether you want to try them or not. The best thing is to stay calm always and do not panic. What I did was close my eyes and smiled. The ‘Space Attack’ was the scariest ride for me. It reminded me of the ‘Boat ride’ that I tried few years ago at the carnival back in Borneo Sarawak. There were times when I actually opened my eyes – I was upside down – in the air.

The cool thing about trying these kinds of rides is that they help us to overcome our fear against height. The only way for us to overcome the fear is to think positive and imagine that for once, we actually have wings; just like birds.

Your roaming solution in South Africa

ImageLocalSIMKad.com has officially launched its brand new destination, LocalSIMKad™ South Africa yesterday. It is now available on http://www.LocalSIMKad.com, a booking platform for global travellers to book LocalSIMKad™.

With the new country on board, the team hopes to expand its business to more countries in the future, followed by its upcoming product, International Call Easy (ICE).

For those who are still unclear about LocalSIMKad™, it is another roaming solution that travellers are encouraged to try if they wish to save more on roaming charges. The product may be new, but it has received positive responds after the past few months. Demands are increasing, so is the number of countries offered by LocalSIMKad.com.

KL Pedestrian tunnels

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A friend of mine, Hussein, came over to Kuala Lumpur recently and I was his tour guide of the day. Another friend of mine by the name of Gaby was also with us. We went around the city to take photos of the national mosque, Islamic Art Building and many more. When heading back to the KL train station (KTM), I was begging them not to take me back to the pedestrian tunnel because I just had a really bad feeling about that place.

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Upon our arrival to the KL train station, we walked to one of the pedestrian tunnels that are available in the city. The first tunnel that we passed through was super creepy and dark. It looks pretty abandoned as well. I don’t think that anyone actually walks through it now as it has no lights (it looks like a place where zombies live) -that was how it creepy it was to be honest. I was too freaked out and had to have my friends to hold my hands! Hussein was pretty confident, but Gaby and I felt like we just had the shock of our lives. I told Hussein that was the first and the last time I will ever walk through that eerie place. Gaby said he could feel an unpleasant feeling when he walked through it. I also experienced the same feeling, but I did not say anything about it until I got out of the tunnel. Well, that was the first tunnel. I don’t have any photos of this tunnel.

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We took another tunnel to get back to the station. This tunnel got us out to the KTM station main entrance. The tunnel was much better than the first one that we took; at least there were lights switched on. There was another man walking with us too, and he walked as fast as he could. He probably knew about the history behind the tunnel’s isolation. None of us knew until one of my colleagues told me about it. I was curious, so I went on Google and searched for the news. My colleague was right; there is a history behind the tunnel’s isolation after all.

Pedestrian tunnesl were built for pedestrians due to the increasing of traffic around the city. The government thought that it was a good idea to help the pedestrians as many offices are located around these busy roads. Unfortunately, most pedestrians choose not to cross these tunnels although surveillance cameras are available in all of these tunnels. A news that shocked the whole country was the rape and murder case, involving a young Indian school girl. She was raped and then brutally killed in one of these tunnels. There are still school children and working adults crossing these tunnels yet the numbers have declined over the past few years. Ladies especially would avoid these tunnels as there were also robbery and snatch theft that occurred here. The tunnels smell like piss and some do not even have lights! (how do you expect a rationale person to walk through it?) I took the risk merely for the experience and thank God nothing happened to me. I will never cross through it if I was alone; I think that’s just stupid, especially when crime rates are getting worse each day. This does not just happen in Malaysia, but also in other countries. Wherever you go, you must always be careful and never take your safety for granted.

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Surveillance cameras have also proven that not many locals choose to use the tunnels. Most of the pedestrians that cross through these tunnels are amongst tourists who probably never knew about the rape and murder case that happened in one of these tunnels. The government no longer builds pedestrian tunnels at the city since tunnels are not pedestrians’ first choice; they rather cross the road and that is perfectly understandable.

I would like to advise everyone to not cross through these pedestrian tunnels when alone. If you have to go through them, make sure that you walk in groups. As people are getting more inhuman in today’s world, it is wise for everyone to always be careful of his/her surroundings, and I have always trusted and listened to my natural instinct. If you feel that something is wrong, you’re probably right.

Travelling by bus in the Philippines

ImageFor budget travellers, taking the bus for a road trip is certainly the most preferable as it is cheap and convenient. It may not be as convenient as the taxi, but you get to sit comfortably and pay for a bus ticket which is much cheaper than a standard taxi fare. There are lots of buses to choose from, from luxury liners to simple buses with air-conditioning and small TVs. You can also choose to travel by a cheaper bus service, but I do not recommend it if you can’t stand the country’s heat!

The express buses are normally for those who cannot afford to travel by plane although there are some middle-class citizens who would travel by bus to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the country. I would travel by bus to enjoy the view too; I should see trees and clouds, rather than just clouds. As many bus companies in the country offer charting services, travelling by bus is also a great choice for those who go out in groups for special trips. Not only will travellers get to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, they’ll also get to save more on petrol since driving in today’s world is very expensive. If you are going for a long journey, try to avoid yourself from drinking too much; otherwise, you may need to ask the bus driver to stop you here and there just for the sake of going to the bathroom. Do some research on the bus schedule prior to your departure.

Wherever you go, it is important for you to practise safety precautions in case of emergency. Here are some safety tips:

(i) Always inform your friends and family about your whereabouts

(ii) Jot down the phone number of the bus company and share it with those you trust, such as your family members or close friends

(iii) Do not expose your money or talk about it in public (money brings evil to some)

(iv) Avoid wearing expensive jewellery. Dress simple. You’re on a holiday after all

(v) Make sure you have small change with you. Coins will come in handy, especially if you need to make important calls by public phones

(vi) Don’t dress provocatively as it may draw unwanted attention. There are also some regions in the country that take dressing etiquette seriously

Travelling for long hours can be pretty tedious. Some people find sleeping enjoyable whilst some do not. Try some of these tips to keep you company:

(i) Take an MP3 player with you

ImageListening to music can entertain you while you observe the country’s surroundings, or even better, put you to sleep! Be sure to charge your MP3 player before you get on the bus. Most music gadgets these days can run for 2 hours, or more, depending on their battery life span.

(ii) Read a book

Reading book may sound boring to some, but you’ll enjoy it even more once the story gets more exciting. I am not a bookworm, but there are times when I enjoy reading novels and short stories (simply to find out the ending of the story). Reading one book won’t kill, but it would help you to kill time 🙂

(iii) Talk to the person next to you

talk on the bus

You may not be able to talk to the person throughout the journey, but this is the least that you can do to entertain yourself, especially when the journey is about to begin. A simple introduction of yourself can potentially lead you to a continuous and exciting conversation

(iv) Watch something

Most long journey buses would have a small TV in it. Whatever you see on TV, watch it! When I was on my way to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, I actually watched 3 movies in a row. I couldn’t sleep like the others. Hence, watching TV was the only thing that I had to do to keep me entertained throughout my 7 hours road journey.

(v) Play Sudoku

As most roads tend to be bumpy, drawing or writing in the bus can be pretty annoying. However, playing Sudoku only requires you think and jot down numbers on the question’s empty boxes. How hard can it be anyway? If you know how to play Sudoku, consider this idea and try it. If you have never played it, ask a friend who knows how to play it to teach you. It’s fun! If the game makes you sleepy afterwards, go to sleep; a great remedy for sleeping I would say. 🙂

Shop till’ you drop at the Red Sea Shopping Mall in Saudi Arabia!

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One of the finest shopping malls in Jeddah is the Red Sea Shopping Mall which is located on the northern suburb or Jeddah on the western side of the Al-Malek Abdulaziz Road in between the King Abdulaziz International Airport and the coast of the Red Sea. It was built on an area of 242,200 square meters, with 4000 parking spots; this huge shopping mall provides you with simply everything that you need and much more! An Oceania and aquatic games city, a water fountain, a super market and a variety of goods are just some of the attractions within this mall.

50% discount from LocalSIMKad.com: Pay half the price

Roaming abroad

To those who are afraid to roam abroad, don’t roam. You’ll only get yourself into trouble for doing that. Imagine yourself paying for your phone bill that costs more than your holiday trip. It’s a disaster! Be a smart traveller today and grab any roaming solution that you can find around.

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As for me, I would like to suggest LocalSIMKad™ of your destination. It’s a great product for those who are concerned about their telecommunication when travelling abroad. I am also a traveller, so I myself want to always stay connected with the world. To me, communication is life. Without it, I feel like I am living in a world with nobody but me, myself, and I.

LocalSIMKad™ of your destination is available on http://www.LocalSIMKad.com. This is a booking platform for travellers like you and I to book a LocalSIMKad™. The booking process is easy and user-friendly. You just need to fill out your personal and booking details. As simple as 1,2,3.

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With this product, I do not have to roam anymore. What I get is what I pay. I can make and receive calls abroad, without having to pay for any roaming charges. This SIM card is affordable; much cheaper than roaming! The rates follow the country of destination local rates (it is a local SIM card that’s why). I can make calls like a local, even though I am just a tourist! 😀

LocalSIMKad.com is currently organizing its 50% Promo Campaign at Malaysia’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT). This campaign aims to promote three of its popular destinations, which are Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.

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Spend RM30 on a single receipt at any of these stores to redeem 50% off on LocalSIMKad™ Indonesia, Thailand & Singapore:

(i) SIM Emporium (Souvenir store)
(ii) The Zon (Duty Free)
(iii) Dimensi Eksklusif (Perfume & Cosmetic)

PINK BABES

You’ll also notice these girls there. They are called the “Pink Babes”. I heard you have to grab a sticker from their T-shirts to get 50% off on a LocalSIMKad™. Sounds pretty easy, huh? If I were you, I’ll definitely head down to LCCT now. Since I’ll be flying to Thailand soon, I might as well get one for myself now 😀

Check out the video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbxUJQE-12g

Some of the things you should know about Jounieh, Lebanon

Jounieh (Arabic جونيه, or Junia, جونية) is a coastal city which is located about 16 km north of Beirut, Lebanon. It is well known for its seaside resorts and also bustling nightlife, as well as its old stone souk, ferry port, and a cable car that takes passengers up the mountain to the infamous shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon in Harissa. There is a small hill named Bkerké above Jounieh and not far from there stands the Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church.

For your information, the residents of Jounieh and the surrounding towns are amongst Christian Maronites, making Jounieh the largest Christian Maronite city in the world. If you do visit Jounieh, don’t forget to stop by the bay of Jounieh, which is considered to be the most beautiful bay in Lebanon.

Coming to Jounieh? Make sure you have a comfortable stay while you are there. Here is a list of some of the hotels in Jounieh that you can check in:

1.      Reston Hotel

This hotel offers a high quality service and it is a harmony between the romantic and the luxurious. In fact, this four stars hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in the area.

What it offers:

24h Front Desk and concierge, Free Wireless Internet in lounge, 24h Room service, Daily housekeeping, Airport pick-up and drop off facilities, Taxi service, Tour operator, Car rental, Laundry and Dry cleaning service, Breakfast area, International Restaurant and Banqueting facilities.

2.      Aquarim Hotel

This hotel is ready to offer you both luxury and comfort. Located in the heart of Jounieh, the Aquarium Hotel is just a short distant away from the popular shopping areas, attractive tourist sites and nightlife entertainment places.

What’s hot here?

Aquarium Hotel offers you a beautiful pool, which is located by the sea. Sit tight and relax!

Churchill Rooftop Pub/Restaurant that offers you excellent food and beverages, so you can get together with your friends and family at night after your tiring exploration around the city.

3.      Madisson Hotel

Located 100 meters away from the sea-shore and just 3 kilometres from the Casino du Liban, this hotel offers you nothing but convenience and comfort during your visit to Jounieh. It is also 20 minutes from downtown Beirut. What’s cool about this hotel is that you don’t have to worry about finding a parking each time you come for a visit. 

Facilities:

Fitness centre, Jacuzzi, Sauna, etc

Activities:

Horse riding, Scuba diving, Skiing, Tennis, Golf, Hiking, etc

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Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

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