private dinner

KEN Bangsar has exactly four penthouse units with an amazing view of the Klang Valley. It is also the highest residential building in the entire Klang Valley. This one spans three (3) storeys and has it’s own swimming pool and lounge area complete with a wet bar and a steam room. KEN Bangsar also has 76 apartments for a total of 80 units with 4 design styles and layouts and incredibly good security. The basement car park is rather unique too – it has perforated walls to allow better wind flow so you won’t get the stuffy “ambiance” common in traditional car parks.

dinner

This is where we had our private dinner of various savory and sweet canapes cooked right in the kitchen of the penthouse.

canapes

I particularly liked the Green Vegetables Risotto with Herbs Emulsion

king prawn ravioli

…and the King Prawn Ravioli with Melted Leeks and Cardamom Sauce. Sorry for making you hold the platter so long, anonymous server.

lap pool

This is the private lap pool at the penthouse. I would love to stay here. Your very own pool, imagine the legendary parties you can throw.

Here’s a video tour of the penthouse to coax the good ol’ green eyed monster out of its lair.

pool

Okay, starting from the beginning, KEN Bangsar is built as an ecologically friendly green residential unit. I love how their swimming pool has in-pool lounges. I was staying at this resort once and fell asleep in one. Very comfortable, if you like the water. The premium KEN Bangsar also has 18 carat gold mosaic pieces embedded in the bottom of the pool!

lobby

There are boring looking corridors that actually provides an important function – it’s a wind tunnel to displace the hot air and provide cooler air into the lobby lounge area. There are no fans in the lobby, the use of natural wind is used so the result is a staggeringly low condo maintenance electricity bill of just RM 2,000 per month (!!!).

living room

This is made possible by the complementary system that conditions and recycles condensate water into an evaporation feature wall. I don’t know what exactly this means except that it reduces the temperature using technologically advanced systems.

This acronym explains it pretty well:

THE CHEEL SYSTEM
Condensate water harvested from the management office air conditioner, a
Heat pump drawing heat from the air-conditioner compressor and providing
Energy for hot water to the common toilets and cool air piped into the
Evaporative waterfall at lift lobby to
Lower the temperature of the double volume lounge and lift lobby for additional indoor thermal comfort for the residents

water feature

This means the water feature isn’t for show either, like most of the things here. The interesting textured facade inside the building is made of excess recycled tiles – note the uneven surface, it’s an aesthetic consideration that took place before KEN Bangsar was built so they can have enough excess tiles (these are the odd sized ones you cut off at the end of the unit – look at the corner of your floor) to use as a decorative feature.

ken bangsar

The windows are tinted with a special coating that makes it invisible (so there’s no dimness associated with traditional car tinting – all light is preserved) while providing 100% UV protection. You won’t have to worry about someone running into the glass and breaking it too coz it’s strengthened laminated glass.

view

This is the very same KEN Holdings who built Ken I and II beside Tropicana City Mall – I thought the name sounded familiar. KEN Bangsar is their first foray into green and ecologically friendly developments and they also have another one in Shah Alam called KEN Rimba.

ken rimba

This time KEN Holdings used their experience constructing a green building (KEN Bangsar) to develop an entire green townshipKEN Rimba! It’s the first one in Malaysia and the guarded community has ecologically friendly features which includes:

  • Breathable roofs to keep the interior cool and lower energy costs
  • Rainwater harvesting for reuse in lawn irrigation, car washing or janitorial purposes
  • Extensive landscaping with lush gardens surrounding a pool for the corner units
  • North-south orientation and louver windows angled to admit light and air but to keep out rain, direct sunshine and noise

ken rimba legian residences

KEN Rimba is a two-phase development with the first (Legian) due to be handed over next month. Legian Residences has 328 terrace homes and with all the ecological features, it’s set to be the new gold standard for true green living! They’re preparing to launch the next phase of houses – Jimbaran Residences (love the Bali vibe) – it’s open for registration so contact them if you want to embrace a green lifestyle!

Website: http://kenholdings.com.my/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KEN.Greenbook
Twitter: http://twitter.com/samCS10

penthouse

It’s interesting to see that more development companies are going the green route with technological implementations that makes it ecologically friendly without sacrificing functionality and comfort. I personally wouldn’t mind living in KEN Bangsar – the units are beautifully designed and if it contributes to the environment, then all the better.

me

…now if only I don’t have a really bad habit of draining my condo fund consistently at the most random moments when the urge strikes me.

queue

Just look at the queue lining up for the iPhone4S!

steph

I’m just glad I’m on the right side of the barrier. Media pass from Steph. ;)

maxis iphone4s

I was at the launch of the iPhone4S by Maxis on the 15th December 2011. The phone is due to be released at the stroke of midnight.

buffet

There was a press conference followed by dinner at the media lounge. Good thing too, haven’t eaten anything the entire day. #storyofmylife

food

I really liked the rice with sprinkles of raisins, bits of meat, veggies and other assorted stuff on top. Oh and if you’re wondering where the smoked salmon went, I ate most of it.

There you go, your burning questions answered. ;)

entertainment

Anyway, I went back out to check on the line and noticed that Maxis had small enclosures to entertain people at various checkpoints. I thought that was an excellent idea!

popcorn

Popcorn machine. Why?

popcorn distribution

They were handing out water and popcorn to the people queuing up for the iPhone4S. Very nice touch, I really liked that. :)

counters

Efficient. Counters for payment and collection all set up for the horde.

aud

Aud was there too!

band

We headed to the VIP lounge where there were drinks and performances. The band that was playing was amazing. Hit after hit of cover songs. I want them to play at my wedding.

countdown

Countdown for the iPhone4S launch. I got it at the 1 second point. #champion There were the first 40 people who will be the first in Malaysia to get it and somehow…

first

…we ended up *behind* them and everyone thought we were the lucky 40. There were people cheering at me, taking photos, and giving me high fives.

me gusta

I played along.

violinist

Anyway, Maxis has some great plans for the iPhone4S – you can check it out here. It starts from RM 100 and during the press conference it was mentioned that they have enough units for everyone. Thus, the answer to the post title is – You don’t have to wait.

shin yee

Maxis also has an awesome new iValue plan with the highest combined mobile and WiFi 11 GB data plan for us power users. :D

kit kat klub

Well, this is one holiday which almost everyone celebrates. A start of a brand, spanking new year. The time to make resolutions you’ll break the very next day and all that jazz. smirk

You know, I haven’t had much luck with New Year’s Eve lately. I was on a plane during NYE 2011. Seriously. I was 35,000 feet in the air en route to London. This was the second New Year’s Eve I’ve spent on a plane with dozing fellow passengers as company.

I don’t know about you but that’s not my exactly my idea of an awesome New Year’s Eve.

Anyway, I was at ENCORP Strand a couple of weeks ago for the launch of Tapis Rouge – the new home of the Kit Kat Klub. I was rather impressed with the area – the Red Carpet Avenue seems set to be the latest place to party with the array of prestigious bars, restaurants and entertainment in the area.

encorp strand

Trivia: The Red Carpet is based upon the Golden Ratio divine proportion (look it up, it’s very interesting stuff and can be found all around us in nature) and the inspiration comes from Champ Elysees in Paris.

*cue my favorite band NOFX

Anyway, I’ve been back to Red Carpet Avenue a couple of times since then. I once brought a friend to watch the theater show at Tapis Rouge.

It was pretty good, comes highly recommended to me. I was in love with the production when I first saw it at the launch with Tiara Jacquelina and the old Kit Kat Klub crew.

ENCORP Strand is going to hold an awesome New Year’s Eve countdown at Red Carpet Avenue this year. Instead of getting your car sprayed with foam at Bukit Bintang or getting squashed in Padang Merdeka, I reckon this one would be one of the great NYE parties around.

red carpet encorp strand kota damansara

You remember that episode in the first season of How I Met Your Mother where they had a limo and was rushing to 5 parties to see which one is the best and head there for the countdown?

Well, this one is going to be hard to beat. MYSTICAL EVE 2012 presents:

  • ENCORP Strand building moving, transforming and coming to live in 3D to the beats of music, lighting effects and fireworks – for the first time in Malaysia
  • Laser lights hand-manipulated – bent, stretched and spun before your very eyes by Laser Man
  • Aerialists twirling through space to synchronized music
  • A contortionist pushing the limits of human flexibility
  • Mizz Nina, Pop Shuvit, Joe Flizzow and other local celebrities performing
  • Aurology, Davern & Jee Hoe, DJ Xu spinning the decks and pumping up the music

mystical eve 2012

MYSTICAL EVE 2012 has the theme “Tonight, Extraordinary Works Overtime” and with the lineup of entertainment that they have, I have no doubt that they can deliver. It starts from 6 pm – 2 pm on 31st December 2011 at Red Carpet Avenue, ENCORP Strand. Find out more at the Red Carpet Avenue Facebook page.

Be there and don’t forget Barney’s “Get Psyched” mix during your ride! :)

chillax

I love to chill out just as much as the next guy. Lying down on the couch, just kicking back and watching TV series or reading. In fact, I can be so sedentary I’m almost vegetative. When I’m in the chillax zone, you sometimes have to poke me with a stick to see if I’m still alive. smirk

Heck, most of the exercise I get is finding where I parked my car in the shopping mall parking lot. They can be really confusing…

parking

…which is why I always take a photo before I leave my car.

However, that’s no way to live. Exercise is very important. I’ll give you one good reason:

You expect people to look good before you’ll label them “hot”. The beautiful people get all the attention. Well, do you want to be the person that never gets noticed or the one that gets all the double takes and half-whispered “I’ll totally hit that” comments?

gym

I live in a condo so I have a lot of usual facilities available right where I stay. There’s a full fledged gym but something about stationary bikes and treadmills doesn’t really appeal to me. I admit. I’m lazy. I even go so far as to use the #1 excuse for not exercising:

I don’t have time.

It doesn’t take a lot of time to exercise. You just need to get your cardio going for about 20 minutes to reap the benefits. I’ve been hitting the swimming pool at the roof almost every day for about 3 months now. It started out being a bit of a chore but the trick is to keep going at it.

pool

I like swimming. I just don’t like the idea of “wasting time” while I’m swimming. However, ever since I started about 3 months back, I’ve noticed that my mind has become clearer. I can think while I’m swimming. A flood (no pun intended) of ideas usually go through my mind when I’m doing laps and some of them are my best ones.

It turned out not to be a waste of time at all.

clothes

Furthermore, it’s so easy to do it. You just need to get into a routine. For me, it’s:

  • Change into my Speedos
  • Wrap a towel around myself
  • Put on a t-shirt
  • Grab my keycard
  • Head up the lift
  • Hit the swimming pool

I find it personally rewarding to swim coz after a while you get an endorphin rush.

me gusta

Regular exercise has been proven to help reduce stress. It’s the primary reason why I do it. I also like to swim coz you exercise all the muscle groups in the body and it makes it easier for you to fall asleep at night. It helps with my insomnia. #truestory

infinity pool

However, motivation can be a big issue for people who’ve just started exercising. I know. I’ve stopped and gave myself a thousand excuses before going at it seriously this past 3 months. I feel better, healthier and generally more happy.

It requires iron will and discipline though…sometimes I literally have to force myself to walk out of my place and take the lift to the swimming pool. I’ll be protesting all the way until I hit the water…and then it’s all good. Just remember that.

swimcam
Swimcam (TM)

However, if you need a bit of a push, try getting a friend to go exercise together. You can also ask someone who’s better than you to be a “pacer” e.g. they set the pace and you have to follow. It really helps get through the times when you just want to to do nothing.

Setting targets and recording your successes are very important too. I swim at least an hour now, two on weekends. I started out by swimming barely 20 minutes before I got out. You really feel an accomplishment when you start feeling the need to go exercise instead of giving yourself excuses. It’s true! It will happen at some point – you’ll want to exercise and crave for it after regular, daily exercise.

swim

You can choose whatever is the most convenient for you. I swim because I like it and it’s just upstairs so I can follow my schedule and hit the pool every day. You can choose to jog or walk if that’s easier or more enjoyable for you. There’s also a show called Sihat 1 Malaysia hosted by Fahrin Admad with health advice like healthy eating and psychical exercise. It also features the latest celebrities – Siti Saleha, Chef Zaidah, Ifa Raziah and more sharing their stories and personal health tips. Head on over to http://gayahidupsihat.my for more!

The physical and psychological health benefits, you’ll know for yourself after a while. The other benefits? Well, prepare to have people comment on how much weight you’ve lose or how much healthier you look now. :)

London

amsterdam

Amsterdam

Georgia

georgia

New Zealand

Australia

Sri Lanka

sri lanka

Thailand

Singapore

vietnam

Vietnam

China

Korea

korea

Hong Kong

I love traveling – I can just pick up my backpack and go anywhere and meet new people. I also like traveling in a group – sometimes it’s all about the company, not the destination. I’ve been to a lot of places (and still more to go) and some of the best trips I’ve had were when I was traveling in a group.

friends

Okay, there are pros and cons to this especially if you have completely different personalities in the group – some would want to go shopping, some would prefer to lounge at the hotel, some are keen to hit the tourist traps while the others want to experience the local culture and hidden gems.

However, this is nothing that can’t be fixed with a bit of compromise.

local

It’s fun to have like-minded people go on a trip together. The best part about traveling in a group is that you all experience the same wonderful trip together and it’ll seal the friendship even more – having shared experiences (and trials).

You’ll get to know your friends better and there’s that old saying about security in numbers – you’ll get to have a lot more fun knowing that if you fall sick or lose all your money to a pickpocket, you’ll have people helping you and backing you up.

eating

The shared experience of traveling in a group can be very bonding – all the good and the bad makes the trip so much more memorable. You learn patience. You learn tolerance. These are the things you need to have when different personalities go on a trip together. Hey, the experience can be so fun it can even develop into an annual thing. :)

In fact, I’m going to Bali again this Christmas. Heh.

london

I’ve been to Europe twice and enjoyed both my trips. I went the typical London-Amsterdam route the first time and ventured further to the Baltics to Latvia and Georgia the second time. Europe is a fascinating continent. You get to see all different kinds of cultures there – it’s not just the homogenous Anglo-Saxon that people usually think of (that’s the UK). The entirety of the European continent spans a whole melting pot of races and cultures which is unique in itself.

Speaking of which, if you want to go to Europe for a vacation with a great discount, listen up coz here’s how you can:

Travel in a group of 3, 6 or 9 people from at least 3 different ethnic or cultural backgrounds and get 30% off your European holiday flight ticket from Malaysian Airlines. This is part of the 1 Malaysia Muhibbah campaign to promote the 1 Malaysia Spirit.

travelers

You know you want to go. Rope in your friends and start planning your European holiday now! I suggest London or Amsterdam as your start off point – you can get around Europe by bus, rail or flights easily. :)

express christmas

Have you heard of Express Christmas? No? Well, it’s when you can’t celebrate it on the day itself, so you wing it, gather a bunch of friends and celebrate it in advance.

me

…and that’s just what I did at Sid’s, TTDI.

sids

You can’t have a proper Christmas party without some beer…

drinks

Buckets of Heineken to spread the festive cheer. I figured Heineken would do the trick nicely – it’s a cool and refreshing beer perfect for our climate. It doesn’t exactly snow here so mulled wine and warm eggnog doesn’t provide the same satisfaction.

trick

There’s this trick where you try to blow a distorted cap into the bottle. It can be done, just like that balance-the-coin-on-the-lemon-suspended-in-liquid tipping jar. It’s just close to impossible.

samantha

Samantha tried it.

kim

Kim tried it. Both to no avail.

newlyweds

Oh, speaking of which, say hello to the newly-weds. :)

reindeer

Lainey had this reindeer thing on her head. That’s me with the Santa hat…drinking on the job. Rudolph go! :D

beer jenga

Heineken Jenga. I built this slightly (actually very) unwieldy contraption with a bit of help from everyone.

heineken jenga

Rules: Everyone pulls one bottle and the person who makes it fall drinks. Kids, do not try this at home or at all. ;)

santa

You wanna come sit on Santa’s lap? ;) I can’t grant you a wish but I do have…er, lollipops to give out. smirk

stupid trick

Kim also pulled this trick on me. It’s really funny, ask her to show you.

group

Christmas is all about good company. I’ll be in Bali for Christmas so I’m glad I got the chance to celebrate my own Express Christmas with my closest friends. :)

morning swim

I hit the pool every other day for my morning swim. It’s just the condo swimming pool upstairs so I only need to grab my towel and head up to the top level. It’s pretty convenient.

I love swimming – the refreshing feeling of a dip in the pool at around 7 am when the sun is just coming up is incomparable. I’ve been doing longer and longer laps in the pool to build up my stamina and get the cardiovascular action going. I’m trying to exercise more and swimming is something I’ve always enjoyed since I was a kid.

You use muscles from your entire body when you’re swimming so it’s a pretty solid workout. However, I sometimes overdo it and get muscle cramps or aches. I tend to go all out when I’m just about to climb out of the pool – I’m swim hard and fast and usually end up with sore muscles.

tiger balm plaster pool

It usually happens on the calf muscles for me. I’ll just slap on a Tiger Balm Cool Plaster after I towel myself dry.

I have made it a habit to bring one of those up together with my towel. It’s important to completely dry yourself before putting on the plasters. It shouldn’t be applied on wet skin.

tiger balm swimming

The best thing about the plasters is that it comes in two sizes – the large ones are good for the bigger muscle bundles, but sometimes you just need pain relief in a small area, like my calf.

I’ve shown how to apply the awesome additional adhesive in the previous post but what I haven’t mentioned is that it’s not actually necessary to do that. The additional adhesive helps in areas which move a lot e.g. elbows, knees, joints etc but for regular applications, the Tiger Balm Plaster itself will do a great job in sticking on your skin.

tiger balm pool

I just love opening up one of the packs, the smell of the time trusted Tiger Balm formulation is refreshing. The small plasters are just the right size for muscle aches in the smaller muscle groups you strain while swimming. It’s available at large chain pharmacies like Guardian, Watson, Caring, and also your neighborhood pharmacies. The small packs go for RM 5.20 and it has two Tiger Balm Plasters inside.

I’ve been using the Warm Tiger Balm Plasters for back pain ever since I realized it won’t cause an allergic reaction and it works very well for pain relief. It was so good that I decided to use the Cold Tiger Balm Plasters for the muscle strains I get while swimming.

I usually keep mine on for several hours after the swim, let the unique Tiger Balm formulation work its magic, and the long lasting pain relief from the muscle aches is absolutely fabulous! :)

tiger balm leg

Cool relief after a morning swim. Ahhhh….

the bee jaya one

I woke up at 8 am and drove to The Bee at Jaya One a few days ago, still bleary eyed and very much wanting to fall asleep at the wheel. It’s early for me considering I just went to sleep at 3 am the previous night to rush for a deadline.

I parked haphazardly and just missed getting a parking ticket with *two* cars to spare. #winning

parking ticket

I guess third time is the charm coz I got two parking tickets in a week before that.

the bee breakfast

Anyway, I downed some lemonade in The Bee (which is a surefire way of waking you up – it’s so sour it’ll make you pucker up like…erm, I don’t have any polite analogies for that) and started waiting.

For what?

yuna concert

:D

Yes, Yuna arrived in one of those Hummer limos to promote her upcoming online concert.

What’s so special about this concert?

hotlink press con

It’s going to be different. It’s an online concert which will only happen if 10,000 people register for it.

A online concert? Doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose?

Not really. I think it’s quite novel.

What if you’re stuck in the office doing overtime?

You also don’t have to battle:

…and best of all, you can watch it even if you’re not in KL! That’s the beauty of the Internet, how many times have you missed a concert just because you don’t live where it’s being held?

Yeah, “attending” a virtual concert can be a lot of fun…especially if you can tweet, Facebook or watch it with your friends. It’s the social media age, yo.

yuna

Yuna is going to perform her latest, unreleased song when the registration hits 10,000! :)

…and the single is not even named yet! I hear you can get a chance to do that.

yuna decorate cd

Now, you’ve been hearing a lot about the number 10,000. That’s coz that’s the maximum number of people allowed into this online concert.

yuna concert hotlink

Thus, to ensure a spot, you need to register at http://www.nowyoucan.my/yuna/. It’s very easy, registration is done via Facebook.

You’ll get a text to confirm your spot and you have to login from 7 pm – 7:59 pm for the 8 pm online concert by Yuna on 14th December.

yuna press con

Best of all, it doesn’t cost anything. Hurry, hurry, get your “tickets” to Yuna’s online concert here. :)

roadtrips

I love going on them. It’s fun to drive and go somewhere for the weekend. It doesn’t really matter where, the point is to get away and go to a different place to chill.

cameron highlands

Cameron Highlands

Fraser’s Hill

Penang

I’ve even driven down to Singapore before. What makes road trips enjoyable is always the company but the car you drive makes a whole lot of difference too. I’ll say it can even make or break a road trip. I’m somewhat experienced in these things and comfort also plays a huge part.

You want to be in a car that can accommodate everyone with enough space to stretch their legs to reduce driving fatigue. Even minor things like heat from the sun can ruin a perfectly good road trip – I’ve even come back sunburned coz of I took off all the tinting on my car when I shipped it from Sarawak to comply with JPJ regulations. A more powerful engine can also make a lot of difference in driver comfort.

cindy

I’ve been looking around for a new car for a while now. I’m planning to get another one after I buy my condo. I love long road trips so I have to factor that in when I purchase my car. I want one with a small turning radius coz I *have* gotten stuck in rural unpaved dirt roads and not being able to turn back while exploring a new area. Cruise control is one of the essential features that I’ll need to have. I’m also looking for more horsepower so it’ll have to be a 2.0 liter engine.

I was talking about all that with Cindy when we passed by a Proton Edar Showroom. I have been thinking about test driving the Inspira 2.0 Premium since it fits all my requirements…now it’s time to see if it lives up to the expectations.

test drive

I’ll be honest – I was pretty impressed. The car performs well on the road. The 2.0 liter engine really makes a difference when I took it for a spin, the Inspira is responsive and energetic – it’ll make road trips so much easier if you’re driving a car with some good ol’ horsepower under the hood.

I also tested the other important feature I was considering – cruise control. I took it on an extended drive down relatively secluded parts of the highway and engaged it. The Inspira 2.0 Premium’s cruise control kicked in perfectly and worked like a charm.

shift paddles

Cruise control really helps with driving comfort during long road trips as you can pretty much maintain the speed you set in steady road conditions – like long distance driving.

I have also verified that the turning radius of the Inspira is indeed just 5 meters. Well, I didn’t go out and measure it, but if you’ve been driving for 14 years, you have a good idea of whether it’s on the mark.

driving inspira

I swear this would get me out of trouble one of these days. Like I mentioned, I have a propensity of going into narrow, unpaved rural roads in search of a shortcut or just to explore during my road trips. smirk

safety glass

The Inspira is tinted not only to provide UV protection but also get rid of excessive solar heat. It doesn’t affect visibility at all – it looks perfectly clear from the inside I noticed that it filters out the sun very well. It was a hot afternoon when I drove the Inspira and with the air-conditioning blowing and the good tinting, it seems positively chilly inside. Perfection. This is just the kind of car conditions you need if you love going for road trips in our tropical climate.

proton inspira

The Inspira 2.0 Premium also comes with fog lamps and rain sensors to trigger the wipers and adjust their speed according to rain conditions – again, useful stuff on road trips, since you don’t have to engage them yourself. I’m telling you, it’s all about automating things man, that way the driver feels more like a passenger. Heh.

features

Proton has definitely outdone themselves with this model. The generous amount of space inside the car allows you to stretch your legs and lean back while driving. Your fellow passengers are apt to thank you for the additional room and space to chuck all their overnight bags too. The Inspira 2.0CVT Premium retails from RM 91,549 (OTR with insurance) for solid colors, while for metallic is RM 91,999 (OTR with insurance). It’s great value for money when you consider all the features it has…and you can get it in the 80k range!

inspira

Proton is currently having a Incredible Deals on Wheels promotion where you can get savings up to RM 5,000 when you book selected models from 15th November to 31st December. Surf over to www.proton-edar.com.my for more information. If you’re looking to purchase a new car, you might as well get it when a good deal is on.

Christchurch holds a lot of memories for me. I went to high school there when I was 15 and in a sense in was my first great escape. A stranger in a strange land with no parental supervision.

fuckyeah

I did my first tattoo there, my first piercing there (on my septum), and experienced a lot new and wonderful things. I daresay it’s the one of the best times of my adolescent life. I’ve been back a couple of times and have never completely done all the things and seen all the sights the country has to offer.

However, if pressed, I would say that these are the top five things to do in NZ:

1. Do Dunedin

penguins

It’s home to Otago University and the place is actually pronounced dun-nee-dern. It is also close to the southernmost tip of the South Island of New Zealand so you can see yellow eyed penguins and seal colonies.

steepest road

Dunedin is also home to the steepest residential road in the world.

baldwin street

I swear you have to put a brick under your car when you park on Baldwin Street.

2. Go glacier hiking

glacial hike

New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where you can do this. It’s a wonderful experience walking on a large body of ice that has been slowly building for centuries. I personally recommend Franz Josef Glacier over Fox Glacier. I’ve been to both and the ice falls at the former are more sublime. Bring your cold weather gear or you can rent it at the counter.

3. Relax in Rotorua

nz rotorua

You just gotta love the smell of sulfur in the morning. It starts as soon as you reach the fridges of Rotorua – that rotten egg smell that assaults your olfactory senses. However, you get used to it after a while and you’ll be raring to hit the various natural hot pools around this volcanically active area.

rotorua

Note that some of the pools have insane temperatures like 52 degrees Celsius. The first time I was there, I was only 13 (first landing for a NZ permanent resident visa) so I wasn’t allowed into those pools. There are signs posted all over and it took me a while to figure out why – the scalding temperatures might harm your still developing family jewels. Heh.

However, if you’re not a minor, there shouldn’t be a problem.

4. Try Bungy jumping

bungee jumpin

Hello nurse! I’m kidding, this is an extremely safe sport and where better than to do it at the home of commercial Bungy jumping – New Zealand! Yup, AJ Hackett popularized the sport back in the ’80s while jumping in Auckland. The term “bungy” is apparently Kiwi slang for “elastic strap”.

bungee jumping

Check out the world’s first permanent commercial bungy site at Kawarau Bridge Bungy in Queenstown.

5. Go Punakaiki

pancake rocks

No, I wasn’t swearing at you. Punakaiki skirts the Paparoa National Park and it’s main claim to fame are the Pancake Rocks. The Pancake Rocks at Dolomite Point is a marvel of nature. I was quite impressed the first time I was there.

blowhole

There are also blowholes during high tide where you can see the sea surge explode vertically from the underground caves.

Feel like having an awesome vacation there? AirAsia X is running a contest where you can win a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand!

You can choose the type of traveler you are:

aax

and create a team of 4 like-minded people or just go solo.

It’s all done through Facebook so you can pick 3 buddies to have a go at the game – more people, more brains, more fun. Or just go at it solo if you’re the independent type and prefers relying on your own (vastly superior, or so you think) skills.

The online games and trivia will start on 8th December so sign up now at The Great NZ X-Cape. There are NZ trips to be won for both teams and individuals so let’s see how good everyone is. Come join the contest and win the trip of your dreams! ;)

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