It happened just slightly after the toll. I felt the car slowly lose power…I had a sinking feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. I managed to cruise from the fast lane (on the right) across 3 lanes to the emergency lane. It felt like driving a car that was just running on momentum alone!
I realized that I had run completely out of gas. The car would not start at all. It just coughs. We had just passed the toll, maybe 500 meters or so and we’re stuck on the Penang Bridge!
We had driven down from KL early in the morning and didn’t take any breaks except for toilet stops. I had stupidly thought that a tank of gas would be enough to get to Penang and I didn’t really look at the gauge so the massive traffic jam before the bridge was the final nail in the coffin.
I called the PLUS Highway emergency number and managed to get them to send a guy to meet us.
It took less than 5 minutes before a fellow on a motorcycle came up to me. He had a bottle of gasoline so he poured the minute amount (less than 500 ml is my guess) into my petrol tank and asked me to start.
I tried the ignition but the car won’t go – it seemed that there’s too little fuel for it to start.
My better half intelligently told me to shut off the radio and air conditioning. I managed to start the car – just barely – after that. I know it wouldn’t last long and I’ll need to get to a gas station soon.
The PLUS representative charged me RM 40 for the petrol and after I willingly handed it over, asked for RM 10 “kang chi” (Hokkien for labor costs) making the total RM 50. What an opportunist!
I didn’t really mind though coz it would have been worse to be stuck for hours on the Penang Bridge. We managed to use the GPS to find a nearby gas station and fill her up.
The PLUS dude said he’ll trail us. He never did. We were lucky to make it to the station on that little amount of gas. It was a bit of an adventure though, running out of gas. It’s something that we’ll be talking about down the years – “Hey remember the time we drove to Penang and we ran out of gas on the Penang Bridge?”.
It wasn’t the best start to our Penang trip but it sure was funny in hindsight and it’s a memorable start to our weekend holiday! :)
I decided to take my better half and the kids on a trip last weekend. I was about to go to A-Farmosa in Melaka (gave the little ones a choice of that and Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh) before my dear told me about this place.
Thus, we packed our bags and went to the water park that’s the flagship of Gold Coast Morib Resort!
We got two adult tags for the water park which were valid for two (2) days as part of our check in package. I also got an additional bed (RM 60) which is a camping air bed that the big one slept on. It came with toiletries and +1 breakfast but no extra water park ticket.
The water park tickets cost RM 20 for each child below the age of 12. I also rented a float for RM 10. There’s two really nice water slides (similar to each other) that me and my dear went on. It was a bit scary so the kids didn’t want to go on it. I got a big bruise from it though:
It’s coz I slid down by using the iron bar on top to speed myself up. Do not try to go down this head-first, you’ll likely be injured.
I did go on the other water rides head-first though. There’s a flat, wide water slide, three small and taller straight water slides side-by-side and a high and winding water slide with multiple twists which we all went on – sometimes in groups of *three* (me, my dear and the smallest one).
Dinner that night was at Golden Sea Restaurant – just a couple of minutes down the road. The food was good, we had steamed prawns (RM 25), Marmite chicken and lala fried rice vermicelli. I had a stomach bug though so I couldn’t finish dinner but we tapao-ed the rest back and everyone (including the kids) finished the leftovers!
A word of warning – it’s almost impossible to get a table for the buffet breakfast at Gold Coast Morib Resort!
The water park doesn’t really check the tags so we didn’t have to buy another set for the kids the next day. That theoretically saved me RM 40 but unfortunately, I put a RM 50 note in my pocket as well as the hotel key card. It stayed right where it was the first day (which was a good thing since I had hundreds in there) but on the second day, I *lost* everything!
It wasn’t due to the slides, I went on them both days but the deep pool! I was pretending to be a dolphin while I dove up and down with the big one hanging on to me. I also tripped before entering the pool so that might have opened up the Velcro.
I couldn’t find both so I had to replace the key card and then we all went into the Jacuzzi and had ice cream while waiting for the check-out time.
No limitation to people in room (we didn’t need the extra bed but got it for comfort)
Breakfast is free for kids
Water park doesn’t check tags and encourages you to keep yours so you can use it the next day
Good food is available just a short drive away
You can get good paos from Tanjung Sepat on the way back
The room isn’t clean – there’s even a discarded snack wrapper on the balcony
The resort can be noisy at night
Service is bad – no one answered the in-house phone and I had to call their external line to get toiletries
The resort isn’t well maintained – the hair-dryer in our room was broken and the maintenance guys had to fix it on the spot
There’s no swimming pool so you have to pay for the water park for that
Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun with my dear and the kids! It was a good weekend and we’re looking forward to the next one! :)
This is not the strangest thing we’ve seen on this trip. It’s also not related to the titled foul madames. The resort we stayed in actually has an indoor covered swimming pool just for the ladies!
If you’re wondering what’s going on inside and whether it requires an adult ID for entry…wonder no longer. The answer is nothing much and no. It’s just a feature to attract Arabic and other Middle Eastern families due to their Muslim religion. You can’t very well swim in a burka. It doesn’t exactly cut through the water like Ian Thorpe’s drag resistant and aerodynamic bodyskin swimming rig.
On to other matters, we also went chocolate shopping! We must have bought hundreds of dollars worth of imported, duty free confectionery.
I ate frozen Ritter SPORT for two weeks straight coz it’s 3 for RM 11.30.
They also had this limited edition exclusive where they collaborated with Loacker (most famous for their wafer coated chocolates) for a Ritter-Loacker exclusive! It’s a Ritter SPORT that has a Loacker wafer inside and comes in two flavors – Strawberry & Vanilla-Wafer and Raspberry & Cranberry Yoghurt.
I thought it was okay, my better half loved it though and I must admit, it’s a pretty cool temporary partnership. It’s kinda like how Mars and Pods work but it’s for a limited time only.
On to other things, I saw the usual array of liquor chocolates and bought an Anthon Berg limited edition. This time they did a cocktail series! They usually do a standard array of liqueur chocolates with fillings made with Jack Daniels, Otard, Famous Grouse, Canadian Club etc and I don’t get overly excited with them.
The Anthon Berg limited edition cocktails series doesn’t have branded liqueur inside but cocktails! It still uses the same hollow chocolate bottle with liquer inside though – I thought a cocktail glass would be cool. Flavors are Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri. Not too bad but GOLDKENN Remy Martin cognac sticks are much better (although more expensive).
We also went to Underwater World coz the kids wanted to go. There’s all sorts of underwater creatures kept in captivity from pink flamingos…
It reminded us of our first holiday together at Phillip Island in Melbourne. We went to the Penguin Parade and we tried to do a similar pose here. Haha!
Langkawi’s Underwater World is getting a little run down and there’s not much for returning (or first time) visitors to see but it’s worth a trip if you have little kids.
Hell, I even bought a ridiculously priced photo of us that we halfheartedly posed for (my better half told me not to get it coz it’s expensive) at the entrance coz I wanted a memento with my dear and the kids at the last minute. I did the same for our Sunway Lagoon trip. I guess I’m becoming one of those schmucks who goes for these things nowadays.
I bet you’re really wondering about that foul madame at this point now.
It’s not a person, it’s a dish from Egypt that you can make yourself at the breakfast buffet. It’s the resorts policy to attract visitors from that region at work again. Ful medames is described as “cooked and mashed fava beans in olive oil”.
That’s the last of Langkawi, till our next trip, here’s the aforementioned photo of us! :D
This is supposed to be one of the best seafood restaurants in town. I say this based solely on the fact that a lot of people like taxi drivers in Langkawi use it as a landmark/drop-off-point. Wonderland Food Store is just one of many seafood restaurants along the waterfront in town.
There are Thai style seafood restaurants, Malay seafood restaurants, and Chinese seafood restaurants, but many of the last don’t serve pork anyway. We decided on Wonderland Seafood coz we’re never eaten there before and a lot of people talks about it so we checked it out.
It was a huge disappointment!
The mantis prawns were frozen instead of fresh, most of the dishes are unappealing with no plating considerations and even though it was packed, the clientèle seems to be mostly tourists – Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc.
To add to the list of sins, they hired an unlicensed taxi for us – which costs RM 1 more than the standardized fare – and is a highly unusual practice in Langkawi since the taxis are heavily regulated.
Kam Heong Mantis Prawn
This is deep fried since they didn’t have any fresh ones. The proprietors said that the fishermen didn’t have any catches since it was the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. The frozen mantis prawns tastes alright but I was looking forward to fresh steamed ones so it was slightly disappointing.
The squid was too chewy and just wasn’t fresh – it’s exactly the *opposite* of what I had hoped to eat in Langkawi, which is famous for their seafood since it’s a duty free island.
Soft Shell Crab
This was fried the same way as the other two dishes so it’s quite jelak to eat so much deep fried battered seafood, even if all three are very different creatures. I thought it was mediocre.
Seafood Fried Rice
RM 8 a plate and it comes with lots of squid! I suspect that the “seafood fried rice” contains whatever surplus seafood that you ordered. It’s oily and repetitive.
Steamed Sea Bass (Siakap)
This is the saving grace of our seafood dinner. I liked it so much I ate all of the fish – mostly by myself. Haha. The rest of the food we tapau and took it back to the hotel coz there were so much leftovers it was obscene.
The bill costs RM 99 which was pretty reasonable. However, dinner wasn’t what we expected – we had been looking forward to a nice seafood meal in Langkawi. It could be the lack of fisherman’s produce due to the Hari Raya holidays as the restaurant didn’t have fresh seafood and had to resort to frozen ones. Or it could be just the wrong place to eat.
I can’t say I recommend Wonderland Seafood from our dining experience but I had a lot of fun with the kids and my better half! That’s all that matters. :)
I had a rather enjoyable Nyonya dinner at The Mansion at the Majestic Hotel in Malacca – a historical period building that has been turned into a rather nice inn. It’s not one of them budget lodging houses despite how the exterior looks.
It’s right in the middle of town and the river that courses through Malacca (or Melaka as it’s spelled here) is just opposite the street, if you fancy a stroll by the waterfront.
The hotel even had a pianist playing soothing Bach (or was it Chopin?) scores while you’re eating your food. I’m being irreverent, I wouldn’t know one from the other although I had piano lessons till Grade 4.
Dinner was buffet style, with most of the dishes located in a central area – there are classic Peranakan food like udang masak nanas (prawns cooked in pineapple curry).
The toilets are superbly maintained and clean – I was immediately soothed by the scent of vanilla instead of the usual odor of ammonia assaulting the nostrils. Oops…I probably shouldn’t have had this aside, kinda puts people off after talking about shrimp.
Back to the food, I was quite full from lunch so I had several bowls of bubur cha cha – a sweet hot soup-like dessert made with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and yam, tapioca, sweet potatoes, all diced up into miniature cubes instead of the clumsy chunks that’s usually served up. It’s much more refined fare over here.
There’s also classic Nyonya mainstays like pai tee (crispy pastry cups filled with an assortment of ingredients) and of course:
Fresh spring roll made of sauteed sweet turnips wrapped in a wheat flour crepe
Otak Otak with Kerabu Nanas
Spicy mackerel paste wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, served with a tangy pineapple salad
Grilled chicken skewered on a lemongrass stalk
I didn’t know that otak otak is *only* made from mackerel! It’s information plagiarized gleaned from the leaflet that was on the table, which describes the unique Nyonya cuisine which is a product of inter-marriage between Chinese immigrants and the local Malays.
Fun (unresearched and vaguely remembered) fact: There’s a difference in salutation when a Chinese male marries a Malay female and the other way round. I believe the latter is called Nyonya and the former is Baba but I could be very mistaken since that was textbook stuff I recall from half a lifetime ago when I was studying Form 3 History.
I also found out Shiraz also goes well with Nyonya food but I’m blasé about Chardonnay. However, the best and arguably most well known product of this cuisine is the kueh (or pastries, but dismiss that mental image of pastries coz these are different) with the complex play of textures and flavors!
I woke up having pains and aches in places I didn’t even know existed. I had been running around the pool with the kids for several hours last night, swimming and remembering how to do stuff like:
Haha! It was a lot of fun though, and we went just opposite the hotel to the tourist trap seafood restaurants for a bite to eat.
I wanted to head over to this cool looking place with the menus written in English and Cyrillic script (!!!) called 3 t.i.g.a. Antara (no relation to the 3 Line criminal gang) which looks like something out of the trendy beach front eateries of Bali or Boracay. I figured if you wanted to be ripped off, at least we can get ripped off…in style!
The menu was surprisingly cheap but the kids didn’t like anything on it so we walked to a Chinese seafood restaurant (which strangely serves no pork).
The place was comfortable though – we’re just beside the beach so we can feel the breeze being enhanced by the ceiling fans.
Fresh coconut (RM 4)
Now, the lady taking the order warned us that small is VERY SMALL. Sorry, that should have been very small. The wah tan hor (Medium – RM 12) that came out made us apprehensive about all the other Small orders – would there just be a few pieces?
Philea Resort & Spa in Melaka is actually 20 minutes out, near the butterfly farm.
It’s a pristine and quiet enclave with chalets made of pine!
It’s beautifully rustic with all the modern amenities you can think of. The entire resort is made of wood – warm lamps and high ceilings gives it the feel of a cozy log cabin.
I’ve never actually stayed here before and Ling had arranged a birthday surprise trip for the weekend – a romantic getaway to celebrate my 32nd birthday!
There’s a bathtub filled with rose petals…
Flowers scattered throughout the room with rose petals spelling “LOVE”…
…and breakfast in bed!
(more about that later)
It’s their honeymoon package, I believe, and I thought that was pretty smart of them (they even had a cake in the package, which doesn’t actually cost much for them since they need to bake it for their bakery anyway).
My birthday dinner! It’s instant noodles that we cooked in the room, one after another. There’s also Godiva chocolates and Royce chocolate covered chips, Ramune and other miscellaneous stuff we brought so we didn’t have to go out. <3
The next day, at 10 am, a cart arrived with our orders the previous day for breakfast in bed!
We had it in the balcony though. Haha!
Check out the spread. I had poached eggs and she had an omelet. It was quite a large potion.
I enjoyed the muesli the most.
They had a nice swimming pool with a waterfall at the end too.
The showers are built right into the rock outcropping, which was a nice touch.
I swam in it while Ling hung on to me coz she can’t swim. I realize I can tow someone like that for quite a while, although I swallowed a lot of their heavily chlorinated water. -_-
I had a wonderful time at Philea Resort, just chilling in the room with my love. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday – it’s perfect dear! <3
The only downside was the sound of cars drifting. We’re puzzled as to why this foreign sound would mar the silence of this beautiful place but could never pinpoint the source.
There’s no soundproofing and it’s a lucky thing that the occupancy rate was low so we had the place to ourselves.
I really enjoyed just chilling in the room, being with Ling. I was surprised there’s such a quiet place so close to KL but I don’t think it’s cheap either.
The service was excellent and although we didn’t use much of the facilities there – we just wanted to enjoy each other’s company – I like the concept of a quiet pine resort. Philea Resort & Spa in Malacca was perfect for that.
Thanks for making my 2013 birthday a memorable one. I love you. *hugs*
Took a day off and we all went to Sunway Lagoon. It was a really fun trip and very different from what I’ve done in the past. I can really get used to this though. :)
Ling had cooked some noodles for breakfast, which I ate in the car while she drove. She also put a little note in the carry bag, which I didn’t notice. It’s little things like this that makes her awesome! I got her an anniversary gift and she forgot, but you know what? She doesn’t need to coz every day is an anniversary for her, she gives me random surprises that makes me happy.
(or maybe she’s still guilty about the anniversary gift and she’s making up for it)
There’s a package for 2 adults and 2 children that came out to RM 275.
We went to the Wildlife Park. Feeding horses were on the agenda but we couldn’t find the horses.
Going on the Volcano – a dry park ride with the big one. It was so much fun we went twice.
We still had our bags at that point – one small backpack for me and a large gym bag for her (which I both carried) and I had to sweet talk the operator to let us on. She didn’t allow it at first coz there was a “no bags” rule and no place to put them, but with my powers of persuasion, she relented and let us all through. ;)
Next, we went on the teacups together, and spun around till we were dizzy. These are huge teacups which can fit 6 people if you squeeze.
I finally got a RM 30 multiple use large locker to chuck our stuff in. Essential!
Why M&M? They’re sweet, with a candy layer! :)
Those are the only two rides we took – spend the rest of the time at the water park. No slides though, we didn’t do what we want – we did what the kids want and I found that very rewarding in itself. The end result (i.e. seeing them happy) is the reward. :D
Rented a RM 20 two-person float and dragged everyone around the canal that rings the surf pool like a moat.
I also dragged everyone (since I was the only one who could swim) into the surf pool on the two-person float. There was this guy going around taking photographs with a waterproof camera and I wanted one to remember this day. :)
We ate a very late lunch at Marrybrown (fast food again ;)) and I got a very irritable server who didn’t seem like she wanted to be there. I put up her with for the big one and then got so annoyed I asked her what her problem is, and gave her a very stern lecture about front line customer server, to which she immediately backed off and started apologizing.
I hate people like that – they’ll give you all sorts of body language and indicators that they don’t want to serve you, included the furrowed brow and tsks of annoyance but once you confront them, they are timid mice. She kept on apologizing to me but I bet she’ll do it after a while to the next customer.
Anyway, all is good, we got our (dubious) nutrients and headed off for more swimming!
Oh, and the big one was tall enough to go to the new 5D Waterplexx (supposed to be the world’s first) but the little one wasn’t so I took her to watch it while the girlfriend took the other back to the surf pool. It’s quite an experience – 3D, with motion chairs and sprays of water. The big one got so scared she didn’t want to look at the screen and was pulling my hand across her eyes.
I got souvenir photos of the day out too! Bloody rip off prices but damn worth it! Everyone got a piece to bring back of our first trip out together – mine was a keychain. :)
I went on a road trip to Kuala Gandah in Pahang over the long weekend to check out National Elephant Conservation Center. I didn’t even know there was an elephant sanctuary in Malaysia!
We had planned to go to Chiling Falls, but that was nixed due to the closure of the route. Thus, on the night before, the four of us – Suanie, Marco, Joyce and yours truly drove down on one of our impromptu road trips. Well, to be precise, Suanie drove.
I was quite intrigued to find an emophant in the elephant conservatory.
What is an emophant?
Emophant is emo.
The elephants in this sanctuary are all rescued from the wild – from poachers of their prized tusks. Thus, you can see that all of them don’t have tasks. This place saves elephants but sometimes, quite a few die coz they’re beyond salvation after running into illegal poachers wielding sharp instruments for cutting off their lucrative tusks.
I heard this from one of the rangers in the park. There are actually quite a lot of deaths before they could be saved but what they’re doing is admirable.
Naturally, after a nasty experience of being cornered by men with the intent on separating them from their appendages, the wild pachyderms takes a while to recover.
Some are more resilient, and it’s good to feel the sensitive elephant’s trunk around your hands – they can be fed peanuts or sugar cane (all sold at the premises).
Others, like the emophant, takes a while to recover and it’s a little sad to see that poor huge beast standing by itself in the corner. :x
I have to say that I’m no saint though, I felt really sorry for the emophant but given a chance to try out elephant meat, I would. I don’t see why dead carcasses cannot be butchered and sold with profits going to the care of the ones that are alive (they’re dead anyway).
I’m no stranger to eating dogs – I’ve done so twice, once in Hanoi (where there’s an entire street dedicated to it) and once in Korea. I’ve also eaten a huge rat in China. I do like exotic game meat and I’ll try everything once.
No point in bashing me for it, there’s plenty of that on my YouTube video of the dog meat trade – just do what you feel is right and you’re good. I don’t get pressured not to eat certain stuff, my personal stance is that while education about brutality is good and all, it’s really a personal choice – cows are sacred to the Hindus, yet people all around eat steaks with abandon and on the secular side of things, there’s horrendous egg farms for chickens but yet a lot of people eat eggs.
I do not judge and my policy is simple – education for the future generation and personal choice. Getting your panties all in a twist about it is kinda like the War on Drugs – pointless. It benefits some people (keeps the DEA and the likes in their jobs) and afford a holier-than-thou podium for people who wants be in the limelight but ultimately the mantra of “When the demand drops, the supply would too” is a slippery slope.
I have already quit that particular chapter in my life and I can piss as clean as a whistle now. I don’t want any part of it anymore, but that’s just my choice. I won’t look at you askance if you enjoy a toke or two on the weekends.
Anyway, back on the subject of elephants – I heard you can also take a bath with them beside a nearby stream. It sounds like a fun thing to do, but it seems like the place has become a tad commercialized according to Suanie – it used to be quite rustic, but that is the way of the world.
The next stop on our trip was Deerland Park.
I found a really cute cat that really made my day. She looks a lot like Champagne (a cat I had when I was in my early teens – would cuddle her for hours each night and she drinks from the same glass of milk as I do, something which horrifies my parents).
The cat is very affectionate and I picked it up and walked with it for a bit. I like the warmth and the soft purr of a feline in my arms. I’m a sucker for cats like this. :)
There are a lot of other animals in Deerland Park, like this ferret. I thought this was a hilarious pose (geddit?).
However, the main thing to see there are the deer. It looks a lot like goats to me, especially this Satanic looking specimen:
You get a bowl of carrots and other mixed vegetables and you can feed them. It’s fun!
I reckon the bigger ones were getting really aggressive and snagging all the food so the trick is to take multiple carrots with both hands and make sure the smaller deer are fed while ensuring the larger ones gets distracted.
It’s fun to feel their lips and it’s remarkable how they can sense what to bite and what not to, like the elephants.
I did get bitten by a couple of red ants though. It turns out there’s a nest of the nasty little things nearby.
Deerland Park is also where I took a photo with a very huge python. I’ve been to the Snake Temple in Penang and I found it apt that I kissed and was blessed by this snake before the Chinese Year of the Snake. :D
I like snakes. I used to own a ball python. I’ve also eaten snake before, including a cobra that I haven’t posted yet.
There’s a story about epicureans who managed to eat a phoenix in a story by master storyteller Jeffrey Archers. I highly recommend that book, bought it in London one of my trips there.
It’s a fun place to go to and just a short drive away from KL – both places are listed in Google Maps. I really liked the emophant – entrance fee to the National Elephant Conservation Center is free (donations are encouraged) and Deerland Park cost RM 28 for the four of us. It’s a good find and a fun place to spend a couple of hours during the long weekend.
There’s actually nothing much to do in both places, just a chance to pet and see the animals that makes up the name of the places. I guess that’s the appeal of the place, plus I haven’t been to both places before and I have been wanting to take a road trip for a while. :)