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. :)
Restaurant Peranakan is the aptly named place known for it’s Peranakan cuisine. It’s often been cited as the #1 place to go for Nyonya food in Melaka. Peranakan (or Straits Chinese) is a distinctive racial group in Melaka – it comes from Chinese settlers marrying locals and is an entire culture unto itself, the hotbed of which lies in Melaka.
Nyonya food is conglomeration of Chinese and Malay food, but there are some really unique dishes they call their own. I had lunch here while on a road trip to Melaka.
Peranakan Restaurant has a really nice décor which reflects the heydays of the Baba Nyonya clan.
Ayam Buah Keluak
This is perhaps the most well known Nyonya dish. It’s chicken cooked with kepayang tree nuts. Buah keluak is actually poisonous before being prepared for cooking. It prompted a lot of Googling when I mentioned that coz someone ate the inside of the nut.
I like this dish – it’s a very rich and flavorful one due to the buah keluak. I ate some of the insides of the nuts too – it’s sourish and contributes to the flavor of the chicken. Peranakan Restaurant makes the best ayam buah keluak I’ve had.
This is a really good and spicy fish dish that I found worthy of mention – it’s cooked with brinjals, tomatos, and ladyfingers and has a sweet, spicy and sour (more towards the latter) gravy that goes very well with rice.
Udang Lemak Nanas
This is a very rich dish of shrimp cooked with pineapples and lots of oil. I set the camera to Vivid and it almost hurts my eye to look at it.
Here’s one that’s easier on the ocular devices. ;) It’s also one of the dishes I’ll recommend at Peranakan Restaurant.
Nyonya Chap Choy
It’s mixed vegetables, nothing special here.
This dish has strayed into mainstream Chinese cooking that a lot of people forget it’s Nyonya origins. If you want the most authentic version, I guess here’s where you go.
I’m not a huge fan of tofu but it disappeared pretty quickly so I’ll hazard a guess and say it’s pretty good if you like the stuff. ;)
Fo Yong Tan
I think this is the egg omelet unless I’ve completely messed up my bearings. Forgettable.
Okra with a splash of sambal on top. Simple, but good.
I spent the whole time piling my plate with all the different stuff so I could take a photo. Their flagship dishes are really good, while some are mediocre, but IMHO, Peranakan Restaurant is the place to go for authentic Nyonya food if you’re in Melaka.
I was there on a the Eat, Play, Drive road trip with a bunch of other bloggers. We drove down on several Nissan Alameras. I had the opportunity to drive the IMPUL tuned one (which is my main ride, with a very auspicious plate too – WXN 6330). Simon, Joshua and Kelly (another group) was kind enough to let me drive the stock Nissan Alamara for a stretch.
I prefered the Nissan Alamera tuned by IMPUL that was issued to my group – there’s keyless ignition and the specs are pretty decent. I found the acceleration to be a bit lacking, but as they say, it’s not a sports car, but a sedan that’s surprisingly affordable for its class. I was quite impressed by the price of the car for it’s specs.
Thanks for the invite Hui Ping! :)
This was also where I had the famous Klebang Original Coconut Shake and while we were driving there, we also stopped by Aunty Koh’s Cendol. This place churns out really good cendol – perfect for a hot day!
It’s primarily manned by a single woman – the aforementioned Aunty Koh. Cendol is a shaved ice dessert with squiggly green jelly and kidney beans (we use red beans in Sarawak).
Gula Melaka (caramelized palm sugar) gives it that distinctive sugary sweet taste, which is tempered by santan (coconut milk).
You’ll be amazed by how many people come here for the RM 3.50 (large) cendol.
I was tempted to have two (and I think I did have two) but I also heard that this place is famous for it’s taibak (RM 1.50) – which is a very simple shaved ice dessert made with red and white flour squiggles. I found the taste very similar to something we have in Sibu called “wu wei tang” (5 taste soup) which is another shaved ice dessert that has dried apples and other misc ingredients among it.
It’s simple but refreshing.
However, I still prefered the cendol at Aunty Koh Cendol. They claim to be Melaka’s best cendol and I’m inclined to agree. I’ve had cendol in lots of places from Penang to Kuantan (click on the tag cendol) and this is among the top ones I’ve had the pleasure of eating. :D
This is a truly remarkable drink – one where people are willing to line up under the hot sun or even in rain for. Klebang Original Coconut Shake is located in Melaka – it’s named after the street it’s on (Jalan Klebang).
There’s constantly a queue at the small takeaway kiosk whenever we passed it during a road trip yesterday. The kiosk is for takeaways only to free up the main arena for dine-in customers.
Klebang’s Original Coconut Shake truly deserves the “famous” moniker as the sit-down area is huge, as big as a sports stadium and packed full of people. The car park is equally impressive and despite the constant rain and drizzle, people still come in for a fix.
The shake is ingenious – it’s basically an ice blended coconut drink but everything in there is made of coconut. They take coconut water, coconut flesh and ice cubes to blend it all together.
Thus, you’ll taste coconut water and bits of the shredded flesh as well as you go through it with the spoon and straw it’s served in.
Klebang’s Coconut Shake must go through tons of coconuts every day and I know from observation that they go through several large boxes of vanilla ice cream in a couple of minutes. The “special” version of the coconut shake comes with a full, generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and it adds a lot to the taste of the shake.
The place does such a brisk business that it’s almost like an assembly line:
1. There’s a place were the coconuts are opened and prepared – juice/water drained and then the flesh extracted by cutting the coconuts into half
2. The coconut water and flesh goes to the blending station where it’s ice blended with ice and then loaded into a funnel-like device to churn the blend into a waiting chilled glass.
3. The glasses are then sent into the prep station where it’s either sent out as it is or supplemented with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream for the special version.
The end result is a delicious coconut shake made almost entirely of coconut and it only costs RM 1.70. The special version with a scoop of vanilla ice cream costs RM 2.20 – 50 cents more and I feel that adds a lot to the taste – imparting a creaminess than one would usually associate with the word “shake”.
The place is quite well known for it’s nasi lemak too but it didn’t work for me – it has wonderfully spicy sambal which makes my mouth water just thinking about it and it’s warm, but I’ve had better. It’s good for the main coconut shake business though, since you’ll need something to put out the fiery sambal. ;)
However, the Klebang Original Coconut Shake is a must visit when you’re in Melaka. It has grown a lot since the days and some might say it’s a tad commercialized with menus in three (3) different languages but that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great product to begin with.
They haven’t slacked off since the last time I came several years ago either – each glass of coconut shake is done to perfection and I love how they use chilled mugs even with the rush of a sudden influx of people (which is why you have to queue in the takeaway section). It’s also affordable (most brewed drinks in KL costs way more than that even in regular diners) which is part of the appeal.
I was transfixed at a man in his twenties taking off his helmet and coming in out of the rain to savor Klebang’s Original Coconut Shake by slowly and tentatively sipping the iced concoction using the spoon. He caught me looking several times and gave me a puzzled look, for me, he symbolizes why this place is so popular. :)
Zorbing Taman Tasik Titiwangsa, Selangor
There are so many adventures to be had in Malaysia. The one above is parasailing in KK, Sabah. Some are less than an hour’s drive away from KL. I’ve had so much fun just inside my country that I’ve even forgotten some of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve done.
This is where a fun app on Facebook comes in – Nestle Drumstick’s Home of Adventure is an avenue where you can submit your best adventures based on four (4) categories – the ones I’ve included at the beginning.
There’s a search function too and you can choose between East and West Malaysia. I’m going to go to East Malaysia coz that’s where I’m from. I chose somewhere close to Sibu, where I was born, for Food Travels (with a bit of Thrill Seeker thrown in).
I just need to Pin the location and write a simple description. You’ll need to put in your name, IC and cell phone number so they can contact you if you win. It’s that simple!
This is where I wrote:
The place where you can *eat* live sago worms (grubs) – just pluck off its head and nom away! :D
and then there’s an optional feature to add a photo or video.
Here’s my sago grub eating video if you’re not too squeamish. Heh.
It’s fun to do and best of all you get a chance to win RM 35,000 in cash prizes. The top 10 winners each week will be awarded RM 500 so go on ahead and Pin Your Adventure now! :)
I had dinner with Jazz just now and recalled our white water rafting experience in Gopeng, Perak. The stretch of Kampar River that we went on is rated as Grade 2, which is very basic compared to the Class 4 in Pelagus Rapids, Kapit (about an hour from my hometown) and sea kayaking in Australia that I experienced last year.
However, it’s always fun to go white water rafting regardless of the skill level. I’ve even gone tandem white water rafting with no raft, Jackass style. Heh. I’m amazed at how skinny I was back then.
The white water rafting experience in Gopeng started with a safety briefing which goes through all the basics for beginners…
…an introduction to the feeling of being swept away by the rapids – all of us went off the first churning stretch feet first without a raft.
You basically let the current take you down for about 100 meters while a guy at the end throws you a line with a flotation device to rope you back in. I thought that was a great idea to introduce new people to how being in the rapids feel like.
I was sitting in front and it’s a rush to go over the rapids by not holding on to the side raft rope (not recommended for beginners – look ma, no hands) while swinging the paddle ala Darth Maul in Star Wars – learned this trick from one of the instructors. ;)
I fell out of the raft once but managed to get back in without any help. It’s a fun experience for all ages – you don’t even need to know how to swim (although that would be a plus) and if you go during the evening, I hear the rapids gets more intense.
Anyway, halfway through the course, me and the instructor got out heads together to throw Jazz into the water coz she was holding on to the rope the entire time. This effort was the reason I fell out of the raft myself as mentioned above – the plan called for him to signal me and we’ll both lean right to shift the center of gravity and flip the boat.
Unfortunately, I confused right with left. I leaned left while the weight was to the right and promptly fell into the water. Haha!
We did save someone who fell in and got swept away, but we did not get Jazz into the water except during two planned capsizes in totally calm waters so we can learn to set the raft upright and get back in.
I love white water rafting in Kampar River, Gopeng. It was fun for me since I didn’t hunker down or hold on to the rope when we went over the rapids. Instead, I swung the paddle overhead while making appropriate whooping noises.
This is Kellie’s Castle. It’s located in Batu Gajah in Perak (about 20 minutes from Ipoh) and it was built by a Scottish rubber and tin tycoon over a century ago. The construction of the castle never completed.
It’s quite a high structure as you can see from this picture. Here’s a vertigo inducing picture from the very top of Kellie’s Castle:
I strongly recommend you do not attempt to jump off unless you are decked out in BASE jumping gear. However, if you want to do the “Goodbye, cruel world!” thing, you can actually scare the crap out of a lot of people by jumping from the other side of the castle and onto a ledge.
You have to be quite accurate though coz if you miss the ledge, there’s nothing to stop you from really plummeting down. Heh.
I also did the Leap of Faith in Sunway Lost World of Tambun. This is quite a quirky experience – you wear a harness that connects to rope and it’s basically a controlled fall.
The interesting bit about this is that it’s purely manual. This literally puts the man in manual as there are two people down there to act as counter-weights as you jump off.
You climb up several ladders secured to the side of the limestone cliff and appear on a metal ledge 75 feet up. It actually takes three people (the third is a fail safe) to slow down your descent and your velocity actually lifts the two people down there as you stop in mid-air.
I wasn’t wearing anything under those board shorts and I highly recommend you do if you value your family jewels. ;)