Travel Around the World to Italy, Paris, Germany, Dubai and New York!

Paris Louvre Us

I love to travel! I think everyone who reads this site knows that. I’ve been to a lot of destinations ranging from the quirky like Georgia (the ex-Soviet state in Eastern Europe) to the more conventional like London. I’ve also studied for over 4 years in Australia (that’s where I started this blog in 2002) and went to Germany and France with my better half earlier this year.

2 Michelin Star Meal

It’s so much fun to travel and I love everything about it – you get to immerse yourself in the local culture, meet interesting people, experience new things and best of all, eat amazing food! That was what we had in the 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Paris we went to.

Frankfurt Apfelwein Wagner

This year alone, we’ve been to Paris and Frankfurt (famous for their apple wine or apfelwein) on our annual couple trip, Sydney right after that, Hat Yai in Thailand for our end-of-year Asian trip, and back to my hometown of Sibu to visit my dad before a second staycation right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to end the year with.

Arc de Triomphe Us

It was a lot of fun, and we’re already making lots of plans for travel next year!


However, one place that has always evaded me is the United States. I’ve never been there! I’ve gone to Europe *4 different times in the past four years* (loved the Berlin Wall) but I’ve never been to New York. I’ll love to and with the recent visa exchange program, I think it’ll be easier to go for long periods of time (it has always been my dream to go from coast-to-coast – New York to Los Angeles).


That’s the place I’ll be choosing for my contest entries – New York! :)

US Army

There’s a campaign going on called Travel Around the World with RHBNow and it’s an easy way to get a chance to visit the country you’ve always been wanting to go. There’s five (5) dream destinations for two pax you can choose from and it’s worth RM 50,000:

  • Berlin
  • Paris
  • New York
  • Dubai
  • Italy

New RHBNow signups will get an additional 20 extra entries! You can get entries based on a minimum transactions of RM 30 for the valid transactions below:

Valid Transactions

I love using RHBNow coz you don’t need to drive out to a bank or find the nearest ATM to do the basic but essential things like paying your bills (which will net you 20 entries via Mobile Banking). I also do a lot of Foreign Telegraphic Transfer and PayPal transfers (for Internet shopping) so there’s a lot of entries each time I do that.

Pro tip: A lot of online websites offers payment via PayPal now. You can buy everything online now – from the biggest sites offering hotel stays to the smallest independent Internet shops selling bracelets. I even pay for the hosting on using PayPal! Of course, there’s the option of paying via credit card but if you want more entries for this RHBNow contest, you should always choose the PayPal option and use RHB to send money via PayPal!

RHBNow Contest

The Travel Around the World with RHBNow contest runs from now till 22nd February 2015. You can register via SMS by typing RHBNOW 12 digits NRIC Number and send to 36266. Example: RHBNOW 123456121234. You can also fill in the online contest form here and start using RHBNow via Internet Banking or Mobile Banking to win your dream trip to the five destinations!

I’m hoping to win a trip to New York. Good luck, everyone! :)

What would I do with so much cash?

win expression

I would travel the world taking *upside down* photos from dizzying heights! I think this could be the next big thing. smirk The photo above was taken in New South Wales at the Sydney Tower Eye & SKYWALK. I’ve also taken similar photos during my travels to Melbourne (Eureka Skydeck 88 – second highest building in the Southern Hemisphere), Paris (Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe), and Georgia (the insanely deep Rustaveli station in Tbilisi with an escalator length of 120 meters).

Yup, RHB Now Internet & Mobile Banking is having a contest where you can win prizes worth up to RM 100,000!

700 dollar electricity bill

This RM 700+ power bill from TNB doesn’t look so bad now when I can get 20 entries by paying it using the RHB Now Mobile Banking app. A minimum of RM 30 on any 6 online banking transactions could win you loads of cash. It’s just so convenient to be able to do online banking using the Internet at home or my cell phone via RHB Now that I hardly ever go to a physical bank anymore.

eligable transactions

The more you transact, the more your entries and those with the highest accumulated entries will win the prizes on offer!

What prizes, you ask?

prizes 2014

How does RM 20,000 as the grand prize or weekly prizes of a Samsung GALAXY S5 & GEAR 2 sound? :)

photo contest

There’s also a way for you to win even more cash with a photo contest, which was what I was talking about in the beginning of the post. Just take a photo that captures “What would you do with so much cash” and upload it, completing the slogan:

“If I won cash and prizes from RHB Now, I would….”

and get up to RM 200 more on top of the RM 100,000 worth of prizes that are up for grabs! This contest runs till 30th November 2014. It’s just that easy, the more you use RHB Now, the more entries you’ll accumulate and the more chances you’ll have to win prizes worth up to RM 100,000!

RHBNow Transact Win 2014

There’s a lot of things you can do with that kind of money – a RM 20,000 Grand Prize can fund a trip to Japan (eating at all the Michelin starred places from metropolitan Tokyo to the rural ryokans). That’s our next planned destination! I’ll love to travel the world more, so here’s your chance to win just by using RHB Now!

travel world

Get more details at the Let’s Transact with RHB Now page.

Gadget Frenzy!

chill relax

There are some things in life where you just have to brave the traffic and parking woes to get done.

There are other things in life which you can do at the comfort of your own home, wearing comfortable clothes and generally being a slob.

E-banking is one of them. I have never gone back once I started unless it’s to cash in cheques or something like that. It’s just so convenient to use a phone, tablet or PC to perform all your banking tasks. I’ve gotten so used to it that if you asked me to physically go and pay bills I’ll probably just terminate the service.

I personally use RHB Now, Internet & Mobile Banking. You can also get the RHB Now app from Google Play or iOS – you can download it for free and perform all the banking related tasks you want from the comfort of your couch or when you’re out and about. Very convenient stuff.

rhb now android

The transactions that you can do on RHB Now is almost everything you can do at the branch. There’s Bill Payment, Prepaid Reload, Send Money via PayPal, Western Union and Foreign Telegraphic Transfer – it can all be done digitally now! :)

You can win awesome gadgets just from doing digital transactions too! Perform a transaction with a minimum of RM 30 and you’ll qualify for:

rhb chart

The top 3 customers with the highest accumulated entries for the week will win a Samsung GALAXY S4 Zoom each!

The top 3 customers with the highest accumulated entries for the month will win a Samsung GALAXY Note 3 each!

I think it’s awesome that you can win all these prizes just from doing digital transactions on RHB Now! New customers get 5 bonus entries when you sign-up on RHB Now via the Internet and 10 bonus entries when you download RHB Now mobile app for iOS/Android so get rewarded for doing your banking online now!

gagdet frenzy

The campaign period ends 19th March 2014. Get more information about the RHB Now Gadget Frenzy campaign here.

Cars, travel and banking tips!

old cars

I was looking at the various cars that evolved throughout the history of automobiles in Germany last year. It was quite interesting, they have a car museum in Wolfsburg that a lot of enthusiasts go visit. There is a car museum with old cars dating from the early 1900’s to the latest offerings by luxury car manufacturers like Bugatti.


It was my third time visiting Europe. The question I also get a lot is how I can get to travel so much. I also went back to Melbourne earlier this year, where I spent my college and university years and it’s all about savings!

(and a few travel tips and tricks)

mini cooper s miniature

RHB Bank is celebrating it’s 100th year by giving away 2 Mini Cooper S Coupe and other attractive prizes. On top of that, the first 300 eligible participants to do so will walk away with a Mini Cooper S Miniature!

Step 1: Open a new RHB Bank Current Account/Savings Account or RHB Islamic Mudharabah Current/Savings Account-i with a minimum deposit of RM 500.

Step 2: Send them a text message at 36266 with the content “MINI Account number” (remove quotation marks e.g. MINI 12345678901234

That’s all there is to it!

I personally have an RHB Bank Savings Account that ties in to a RHB Bank Debit Cash-Connect Mastercard that gives me 0.5% unlimited cashback on all my purchases.


This suits my needs as I travel a lot and I wrote a post once about how I used the debit card as a way to control spending when I traveled to Bangkok earlier this year. I like the 0.5% cashback too!

Travel Tip: I always keep an eye on the foreign exchange so that I can buy key currencies (USD, Euro and Australian Dollar) when they’re at a low point. This helps a lot when you travel!

However, if you’re a college student just starting out, your saving needs will be different so you’ll want a different Current/Savings Account that most suits your lifestyle.


Back in the days, people just stored their money at home but that’s a really idiotic thing to do. My grandma’s house got broken into and over RM 30,000 was taken from her alone – and that’s just from the ang pow money she gets. It just illustrates that when you have a large amount (or even a small amount) of cash, the best place to put it is in the bank – use a Cash Deposit machine if the bank isn’t open.

germany tram

The awesome thing about the RHB Let’s Save Miniature Giveaway Campaign is that any account from RHB Bank and Mudharabah accounts from RHB Islamic Banking will be eligible for the 300 MINI Cooper S miniatures. There will be 150 units for RHB Bank and 150 units for RHB Islamic Banking and the first 300 people to open a Current/Savings Account will get these very collectible miniatures!

Tip: You can always open a new account at RHB if you find the old offerings at your current bank is not keeping up with your lifestyle now. That’s another thing I do – the Current/Savings account I had when I was a college student is out-of-tune with my current needs so I open new ones as I go through life. Banks like RHB has different accounts based on what your aims and desires are at any stage of life.

germany cafe

It’s open to all new sign-ups so you just need to be 18 years old and open a new RHB Bank Current/Savings account and deposit RM 500 inside. Remember to send the text message if you want the cool MINI miniature! This campaign runs from 15th September – 15th November so hurry up and open one now so you can get a MINI collectible of your own! Find out more *here*. :)

One day in Bangkok!


I applied for a debit card before I came here coz I always felt that having a debit card when you’re traveling is essential. I also thought that since I’m gonna be spending more often than I would while back home, it would be apt that I tried to win prizes every time I swipe my card. ;)

cash connect

Speaking of which, RHB is currently running a ‘Spend Small, Win Big’ contest, and the prizes up for grabs are pretty attractive:

  • 1 x Nissan Almera 1.5E(A)
  • 1 x Honda CBR250R Mugen
  • 3 x iPhone 5 (16GB)
  • 5 x Mini iPads (16GB)

I’m eyeing the iPhone 5 myself. I just needed to spend the equivalent of RM 30 to qualify for an entry – it’s all done automatically so you don’t even have to fill out any forms! I’ll have plenty of quirky places to do just that on my vacation so I figured it would be nice to bring it to Bangkok! :)

Jatujak Market

jatujak market

The place is heavily commercialized now but still fun to go to when you’re in Bangkok. Contrary to popular belief, this is no longer a “cash only” market – you can also use cards. I applied for the RHB Debit Cash-Connect MasterCard and put cash in it so that I can manage my spending.


You know how hard it is to do that on vacations if you have a credit card. I figured it’ll be much safer to bring my RHB debit card instead of lots of cash and use that instead.


I bought a couple of shirts and souvenirs here. There are boutique shops that will even customize attire for you! I spent THB 400 in just one shop (about RM 40) – it’s one of those witty t-shirt places and a bunch of Americans (I presume) were laughing loudly at all the funny words and pictures on the shirt.

Internet access


Our packaged tour got mixed up and we stayed at 3 different hotels over 5 days (!!!). The first one doesn’t have internet access so I bought a 24 hour net access card for THB 600.


That’s around RM 60


…and the worst part was we shifted hotel right after I bought it. -_-

Oh well, at least that got me a contest entry.

Groceries at 7-Eleven

thai easter eggs

Now, the 7-Eleven in Bangkok has a lot of interesting stuff. I’ve mentioned it before on one of my posts. I only got the equivalent of RM 10 at the time but on the last trip (we went to 7-Eleven each night) I spent almost THB 500 (RM 50).

frozen pork burgers

I mostly got a lot of these microwave pork burgers to bring back home. :)


My check-in luggage got opened by customs – probably due to the suspicious package – so it’s a good thing I had a TSA lock (which allows customs to open your lock with their special key without damaging it).

Gourmet Market @ Siam Paragon

durian chips

This is an awesome place that first visited 7 years ago. Siam Paragon was a new mall then and the Gourmet Market was newly opened. It’s an import specialty shop.

hello kitty rice

We bought loads of stuff to bring back. Everything from Hello Kitty rice flavoring (it’s supposed to be sold only in Japan according of the label on the back)…


…to durians!

hokkaido milk

I also got some awesome Hokkaido milk! The total cost was THB 857.50 – about RM 86.

Mango Sticky Rice Blizzard

dairy queen

You can only get this Blizzard at the Dairy Queen in Bangkok. :)

thailand dairy queen

It’s a country-specific specialty that goes for 690 baht (about RM 6.90) for the large version. It has a lot of sticky rice on top of mango ice cream and it tastes really good – a great twist on the street vendor version.

dairy queen mango bar

There’s also Mango Bars – only available in Thailand. I figured since we were going to freeze the pork burgers to bring back, we might as well try bringing this back too. The total amount on the bill was around 350 baht (RM 35) – bought an extra couple of sticks of ice cream to bring the total over RM 30.

dairy queen mango sticky rice

My RHB debit card also has a 0.5% unlimited cash back in addition to the contest. You just need to apply for the RHB Debit Cash-Connect MasterCard and tell them you’ll be traveling so the card will be activated for overseas spending. The best thing about the contest is that you only need to spend RM 30 and entry is automatic! No more filling in long and bothersome forms while you’re on vacation! :)

What’s Italy known for?


Italy. It’s the birthplace of the Mafia, Vespa and pasta. Hey, that sorta rhymes! ;)

I’m kidding, most people would think of something like Venice for example…the fabled city of romance where countless have fallen in love (though hopefully not through the canals filled with water that counts for streets over there).

The foot kicking the ball is actually a very nice place.


It’s a sophisticated city with a lot of cultural differences that you’ll only experience when you go there. It’s little things like how Northern Italy (still) thinks of Southern Italy as a bunch of uncouth people.

(Please don’t whack me, I don’t want to sleep with the fishes, a rather drunk guy in a pub told me that while I was backpacking Europe)

I’m into history and culture and during the last trip I actually met someone who fought in the war. Don’t ask me for which side, but it enlightened me that the Axis powers were Germany, Japan and Italy. I’ve always thought it was France. /history fail


It just goes to show that sometimes you have to actually experience to the country – not as a tourist, insulating yourself from the outside world by staying at multinational premium hotel chain which feels the same any country you go and not venturing out after that.

I do concede that the reception staff in Europe is quite pleasing to the eyes though. ;)


However, if you step out of your comfort zone (and that swimming pool which is also available at your country of origin) and visit the places where the locals hang out, you’ll be rewarded with a lot of interesting bits of knowledge.

Of course, I’m not asking you to actually head to the seediest and poorest sections of town (even the locals avoid that) and granted, there would be times when you would have abuse flinged at you by the misguided youth and even have to extricate yourself from potentially dangerous and escalating situations.


I have a story about that last bit actually, but it happened in London. Heh.

Well, the point is, it’s a great opportunity to travel and visit places you’ll normally not be able to…and as a cherry on top, won’t it be great if it’s all expenses paid? ;)


That’s where RHB Now comes in!

italia mania launch

I just went to the launch and found out some really fun things about the Italia Mania game. It’s a lot of fun, having played it myself!


There was good (Italian) food, Vespas and a great big canopy at Ciao Restaurant in town. Lots of pizzas too, which I found very apt considering the nature of the app/game.

italia mania game

Just make any transaction online or on your cell phone/tablet with a minimum of RM 30 (your various monthly bills probably costs more than that) and you’ll see a button aptly called:

italia mania

Play the game and collect as many Star Points as you possibly can!

italia mania rules

You’ll be making a pizza – here are the rules.

making pizza

It’s basically a game where you match the ingredient showing on top with the ones available in the side and drag and drop it onto the raw pizza dough. See that mushroom I’m supposed to put on top of my pizza?

my pizza

It’s surprisingly fun, I was there for a long time trying to beat my own scores. Heh.

star points

The people with the most Star Points each week and month will get rewarded with awesome prizes!

vespa gts300

You’ll stand a chance to win weekly and monthly prizes in addition to the grand prize – which are 5 x Vespa GTS 300 scooters. Guess what the monthly prizes are?

3 x trip to Italy for 2

That’s for the players with the top three highest Star Points each month. As a bonus, the top players who have accumulated the highest Star Points throughout the campaign will win the Vespas! There’s also 5 x RM 100 cash weekly prizes. Head on to RHB Now for more details!

playing game

I suggest you go the Venice route if you bring your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/It’s Complicated (TM). ;)

One Easy Saturday Night

1. Gas (RM 50.63)


I just did this to verify that my new debit card is working. I just got it a couple of minutes ago so I went to the petrol station and used it to verify that it’s been activated. I do this with my credit card too – for a completely different reason – to check if I’ve exceeded the limit. smirk

2. Dinner (RM 46.85)


Xinxian went the opposite of the “Look East” policy and we searched for a place that serves the cuisine that she wanted – ended up eating at Pancake House where there were savory pancakes in addition to sweet ones. I had the Classic Country Pancake.


She had the Best Taco Special set.

halo halo

We both ordered Halo Halo coz it says that it originates from the Philippines and since we’re heading there I thought it’ll be fun to eat this here and compare it with the authentic (at least geographically) one when we head there in about a week or so.

dinner bill

Not a bad place for a quick dinner.

3. Shopping (RM 199)


It has come to my attention that my style of dressing leaves a lot to be desired – the vibe I got was that I look horrigible in what my current wardrobe repertoire offers so when Xinxian broke the news to me we went searching for attire that would not be so offensive to her eyes.


I admit that my fashion sense may be slightly different – I love this pair of sneakers for example, while Xinxian just thought it was loud and garish.


I don’t buy a lot of clothes, preferring to spend the money on experiences like travel, but since there was a sale going on, and I had a self-appointed fashion consultant, I got a long sleeved checkered shirt. It was originally RM 199 but with the 50% discount, it went down to RM 99.50 which is about just slightly less than one night in the cheapest backpacker’s hostel I could find in London.

4. Movie (RM 22)


We watched a Cantonese film called The Silent War which I didn’t expect much out of but it surprised me by having a well thought out plot (albeit cliched and predictable) and great production values compared to the Chinese New Year movies I tend to watch.


There’s no slapstick humor and the character development is great, I’ll rate it a 7/10 – extra points for it being one of the rare Hong Kong films that’s actually good instead of something slapped together, filmed at the speed of light, and brought to you with minimal post production but a hefty dose of crude humor to compensate for the complete lack of a cohesive storyline, character development and depth.

At least you don’t see the audio boom in this movie – a endemic problem with low budget CNY movies. Heh.

I paid for everything using my debit card and managed to keep track of everything spent that night and I’m spending what I just put in earlier that evening.

easy debit card

The debit card in question is the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card. It’s available at all RHB Easy outlets, I went to the one in Kelana Jaya LRT. That’s the beauty of this – the outlets are all at high traffic areas and open 7 days a week!

easy by rhb

Best of all, you can get everything done in 10 minutes by just walking in!

All you need is:

Your MyKad
10 minutes of your time
RM 20 for opening an account

I timed the entire process and it actually took only slightly more than 8 minutes. I was taking photos the entire time and I have the exact time – 8:36 minutes – from the first shot that I took to the final one. Heh.


I hate filling out forms. I think I’ve mentioned that a lot of times before. You don’t have to worry about that here as everything is done automatically – it’s either pulled from your MyKad and you just tell the teller the rest of the information.

I was serviced by one Mr. Nasri Nasir who was very helpful throughout – kudos for the efficiency!


Basically, the beauty of the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card lies not only in:

  • 10 minute walk-in banking with just your MyKad
  • On-the-spot approval
  • No forms to fill

…but also the unique cash kickbacks that RHB offers with the use of the debit card. I’ll insert a chart to illustrate it better.

easy chart

Thus, you actually open two accounts when you get the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card. You get double cash savings automatically, whenever you use your debit card. It all goes into your Easy-Smart Account 2 (think of it as a savings account) while your Easy-Smart Account 1 is your primary account.


The beauty of this system is that you automatically save (which is an awesome way of forcing people who have problems saving to actually save) each time you use your debit card from your contribution and the bank’s even higher contribution, all of which goes into your Easy-Smart Account 2.

To add icing to the cake, you can get up to 10% interest per annum on your Easy-Smart Account 2!


Thus, that night, I have saved a total of RM 0.50 (charges made after midnight won’t be tabulated until the next day), and that’s not counting the 10% p.a. interest.

It’s an easy way to budget too, since you’re on a debit card you’re using money you already have instead of purchasing on credit. Granted, credit cards have its own place in the entire system especially for travel but a debit card is a good and almost essential addition to your banking arsenal.

savings account

Using the new RHB Easy-Smart Debit Card allows me to carry less cash and use the card instead, which is mighty convenient. You’re going to spend that money anyway, so I figured using the debit card instead of cash would be more useful in the long run due to the awesome and unique savings method that funnels all purchases made into a special “savings” account called Easy-Smart Account 2.


RM 0.99 might not sound like a lot but you know how it goes – sikit sikit lama lama jadi bukit. I’ve already saved that from one night out alone while if I’ve used a credit card, cash, or a different debit card, I would not have managed to save anything at all. It’s a great alternative to cash for me and it’s an easy way to save each time you spend! :)

Guess what I’m doing?


I’m not chilling at the couch back home. Well, I *am* doing that, and watching TV but that’s not all I’m doing. I’m back home for the holidays and since I nearly missed my flight, I didn’t manage to do all the chores.

There are some things in life where you just have to brave the traffic and parking woes to get done.

There are other things in life which you can do at the comfort of your own home, wearing comfortable clothes and generally being a slob.


E-banking is one of them. I have never gone back once I started unless it’s to cash in cheques or something like that. It’s just so convenient to use a phone, tablet or PC to perform all your banking tasks. I’ve gotten so used to it that if you asked me to physically go and pay bills I’ll probably just terminate the service.


I personally use the RHB Mobile Banking app on my iPad. You can get it from iTunes – it’s a free download and you can perform all the banking related tasks you want from the comfort of your couch. Very convenient stuff. :D

Anyway, there’s this online game using the Unity engine which is also going to be available from iTunes and the Android Market. It’s called RHB Now Race – Race For a Ducati and you can actually *win* a legendary Ducati bike and other real life prizes from it.

It’s pretty easy to play the game – if you don’t have an iOS or Android phone/tab – you can play the web based version here.


You’re in control of a Ducati bike and you need to collect gems for 60 seconds while avoiding obstacles. The arrow keys steer the chopper and the space bar allows you to jump over obstacles.

double jump

Tip: You can press the space bar twice in quick secession to do a “double jump” – twice the height and distance to clear tough obstacles.

It’s fun to play by itself but the best thing about it is that you stand to win a Ducati Monster 795! How cool is that? :D

All you need to do is to be a RHB account holder registered with RHB Now Internet & Mobile Banking. Just perform any RHB Now transaction and you’re set to win the prizes in the game! There’s a minimum transaction of RM 50 but hey, your power or broadband bill probably tops that easy. ;)


You’ll need to perform a transaction first to lock in your high score. I did 50k easy on my first run but then again I’m a gamer so these things come naturally to me. Now who’s up for beating my high score? A Ducati Monster 795 and other cash prizes await! Heck, even the *consolation* prize starts at RM 7,000.

Race and win here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...