Wednesday, April 25, 2007

what friends are for...

as rinah succumbs to the stresses of corporate life, we as her friends, gave her some time off by having a great dinner at chelsea :: serendra, fort bonifacio... loved it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

KL~Penang Trip :: at least 24 hours in transit

a 3day~2night trip (apr 4~7, 2007)to Kuala Lumpur~Penang, Malaysia had us (Lids, Chie, Reg, and Lizeth) in transit for at least 24 hours...


1.5hours :: our first one and a half hours was spent on the road from Manila to Clark (Diosdado Macapagal International Airport). got there on time thanks to driver Albert! crossed our fingers and toes, praying that there will not be any mishaps for this trip (i.e. cancellation/delay... grrr!). thank God our trip finally pushed through... and we were very glad to see some familiar faces on the trip with us -- ISM parent, Mrs. Terry Agregado.

we promised to meet up with them for dinner that night -- we were definitely looking forward to that!

4.5hours :: the flight from Clark~Kuala Lumpur (KLIA::Kuala Lumpur International Airport) was approximately four and a half hours. It was fairly an ok ride although the landing was probably the worst I've ever experienced in my whole travelling life. we sneaked in some food for the trip so we didn't need to buy any foodstuff from the budget airline (Air Asia).

1hour :: taxi ride from KLIA to our hotel, Radius International Hotel at Bukit Bintang (Golden Triangle) took approximately an hour. 4 pax/room!

2hours :: after checking in at the hotel, we decided to head to the KL Bus Terminal to purchase our tickets to Penang the following day to assure us of seats and a good schedule... we were instructed to walk our way to the terminal, which was of course very far... on our way there, we were able to have some dollars changed to Malaysian Ringgit. the rate as of that time was 3.43 MYR to US$1. we finally found the Konsortium Bus Company Kiosk and purchased 4 bus tickets to Penang for the following day, 9:30am.

.5hours :: headed off to the Suria KLCC for our dinner date with Mrs. Agregado and family/friends. had yumyum! dinner at Madam Kwan's... such authentic Malaysian cuisine! we ordered, Char Kway Teow, Beef Rendang, Fried Rice with Salted Fish, Fried Chicken... definitely delicious!

after which, we were able to take some pictures with a Formula 1 car, as the Sepang, Malaysian Circuit was scheduled from april 6~8, 2007 (yes, we're sulking coz we missed it... Alonzo Won...).
then outside the KLCC to take some photos with the Petronas Towers at night... tried... and tried... and here are the results ;)

then just across the street from KLCC, the view of the Menara Tower at night was beautiful... took some shots as well:

rode a bus to our home for the night... found it quite scary to be riding the bus by ourselves but heck, we didn't have much choice!

dropped by McDonald's along Bukit Bintang to keep up with tradition... bought some breakfast!

off to bed we went as we had an early bus trip the following day!


went to the KL Bus Station early in the morning to make sure we don't miss our bus to Penang... sampled some local food :: fruits were everywhere! our bus, scheduled to leave by 9:30am from platform 4 was delayed and we were finally on the road by 10:00am.

4.5 hours :: bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth, Penang, Malaysia. it was quite a long drive but the bus was very comfortable, 2 seats on each side that was comparable to a lazy boy...

the bus terminal in Penang was nice and new! very clean and was airconditioned. we bought our tickets for the trip back to Kulala Lumpur because we didn't want to risk missing our trip back! we booked four tickets for the 12:00am trip.

1 hour :: with the help of some 'semi'-locals, we decided to ride a cab rather than wait for a bus to go to our hotel at Batu Ferringhi: the Lone Pine Hotel. the ride from Georgetown to Batu Ferringhi was approx 1 hour... it was a nice ride as we were able to see the different structures that Georgetown is known for.

soon as we arrived at our hotel, we were surprised to see that the front office was closed for renovation -- that's just my luck ('yan ang swerte ko'). However, we were not disheartened because the rooms were very nice... it had a vintage touch to it -- maybe because the hotel has been running since 1948! It was actually the first hotel in this beach area!
after fixing up and settling in our rooms, we walked around the vicinity of the hotel to check out the views and we finally had the chance to relaaax... the place was beautiful... the contrast of having the beach and pool in the same areas where pine trees grew tall was just gorgeous! the guests were all lounging in their own spots, reading magazines and pocketbooks or munching on some snacks while watching the horses pass by. some were engaged in adventure sports like parasailing!

the swimming pool was calling us in for a dip and so after all those photos, it was time to take the plunge! yahoo! we had the whole L-shaped pool to ourselves... the water was just right and was really a refreshing experience after all the hours we've been on transit!
after sunset, we freshened up, looking forward to dinner!

before which, we walked to a nearby money changer: Popular Forex SDN. BHD where we met Abdul Salim (04-8812364) who was very nice to us. he was actually running a car rental service as well that we can use to tour around Penang the following day. the rate was ok and he was nice enough to give us a tip on where to have dinner that night :)

after arranging our plans for the following day, we headed off to Long Beach where we were going to have dinner that night. the mood was quite festive! the shops started opening their stalls, arranging their goods, the aroma of the Malaysian food in the air made us hungrier than we really were!
settled on a number-less table (which of course, made it more difficult for the different stalls to deliver our foodies), went around and turo-turo our way through the foodstalls... here's our menu: Fried Spring Rolls (yum!), Fried Rice, Sizzling Fried Noodles with Prawns, Roti Chanai, Chicken Wings, Buko Juice, Shakes... woweee! it was really good!
how best to cap a day like this but to spend the last few hours shopping nonstop in the streets of Batu Ferringhi Night Market??? we had a blast going to and fro the shops, buying beautiful batik fabric, beautifully made mini scented candles, pewter, etc...
when our legs and feet were aching, we decided it was time to call it a night... snoozed dreamily, anticipating the sights to see the following day...

we were up and about by 8AM the following day and had a huge breakfast in the buffet line of Lone Pine Hotel... authentic Malaysian fair, continental/american choices were available for us to sample... there was a wide-range of bread choices, fruits, cereals, salads, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera! it was a great day to start the day!
1 hour :: we were packed and ready to go through our city tour of Georgetown by 12nn. the ride back from Batu Ferringhi to Georgetown was around an hour and soon as we reached the city, we jumped from one spot to the next to see the sight and have our photos taken!
5 hours :: our first stop was the famous Penang Hill. we road an old finicular up the hill... we had to rush in and out of the funicular cabins as the seats were not enough for all the passengers and the trip up and down was not that brief... it's much cooler at the top of the hill compared to how it was in the city on that day... ;)

next stop was the Kek Lok Si Temple and the other temples surrounding it... quite picture-friendly ;)
before going along with the tour, we decided to buy the famous Penang biscuits called tau sar pneah at Ghee Hiang
then we headed to Fort Cornwallis... we weren't so amused with what we saw outside the fort so we decided against going inside... it seemed that we were better off going around Intramuros our Corregidor! haha! took a quick snapshot:

then we went to the great clock tower where under the blazing sun, 4 gurls toasted themselves to get photos with the popular clock tower :P

close to that spot was the Cheong Fatt Tze = Blue House. it was closed to visitors at that time so we also just had photos taken by the gate ;) it was a pretty building that matched my shirt! haha!

nearing the end of our tour, we stopped by a Chinese Temple that had beautiful painting all around and stone carvings for it's walls... really lovely!

we drove around chinatown, indian-town and simply observed in amazement on how life in those areas are so different from the rest of the city...

after going through the tight streets of Georgetown, we asked our tour guide to drop us off at Prangin Mall where we planned to have dinner, shop (?), and just laze around while waiting for our bus trip back to KL...

after dinner, and some shopping at VINCCI = VNC and the grocery, we took our heavy backpacks to Starbucks, grabbed a cup of coffee and lounged around until it was about time to go to the Bus Terminal...

.5 hours :: at around 10PM, we boarded the bus to the Butterworth Bus Terminal... thought at one point that we rode the wrong bus! but then again, with the help of some 'semi'-locals, found out that we were on the right track.

we were at the terminal way before our scheduled trip but it was a good chance for us to put down our bags and rest for a few minutes.

4.5 hours :: the Konsortium bus left on time that morning and we were in KL before 5AM...
1 hour :: at our stop in KL, we grabbed a taxi (that charged a huge extra because we're riding between 12AM and 7AM!), to bring us to the KL budget airport, also known as LCC (low cost terminal)... we were there by check-in time but didn't have the time to have breakfast...

4.5 hours :: so we had breakfast in the plane ride back to Clark... ordered some Nasi Lemak, which was actually very good... once again, the landing of Air Asia was a mess...

whew... looking at the hours i've placed here, we spent approximately 31.5 hours in transit...
Smileys that's more than a day!

lesson learned :: do not... DO NOT attempt to squeeze so many things so many places in such a short period of time!

but it was a good experience nonetheless... twips with the best twavel buds is always fun! till our next twip guys! muah!