Fraser’s Hill Valentine’s Part II: Strawberry farm, Allan’s Water boat paddling, Restoran Nine Thy Eight KKB seafood dinner and a Valentine’s Day present

I’m not sure who Aida Daniya is but she (?) seems to have taken over Fraser’s Hill with a vengeance. Not only does she have a picturesque tea house, said restaurant overlooks a beautiful garden and there’s also a strawberry nursery named after her. We walked down to the garden after lunch at Aida Daniya Tea House – there are well tended flowers and plenty of spots to take the perfect Instagram photo.

Wake up and smell the flowers! Background: I pretended to be possessed by a female ghost on the drive up. I let her come out to play.

My Mandy was very proud of this photo. 💁‍♀️

I tried to recreate her pose. Unsuccessfully. 💁‍♂️

We tried doing this trendy shot at Sekinchan but failed to get a good photo. This is a better attempt.

The flowers here are exceedingly beautiful – it must be the cool weather here. 🌸 The unforgiving sun down the hill tends to wilt flowers.

We headed over to Fraser’s Hill Strawberry Garden (now renamed Aida Daniya Strawberry Garden) but it was unfortunately closed. Luckily the gate was partially open so we took the opportunity to do a little breaking and entering.

The F&B outlets were closed but the nursery was visible. One strawberry fell down from its vine so I thought it’ll be permissible to consume the strawberry instead of allowing it to rot. I did feel mildly guilty about doing so but hey, it’s not like I plucked the damn thing from its creeper. That would delve into morally questionable territory, perhaps even theft by consumption.

It’s not very delicious but grown locally. 🍓

We also went to Allan’s Water. This is a place run by Tourism Malaysia where you can feed fishes and rent paddle boats for RM 8/15 minutes.

We went on a working weekday so there was no one paddling, just a family feeding the fishes. 🐠

The river section you can use is quite large, but blocked at two ends with strategically placed logs and obstructions so you can’t go too far.

It’s far enough to give you a sense of space and privacy though.

I found it very peaceful and the weather at Fraser’s Hill is perfect for this type of activity. The temperature was in the high teens all morning so you don’t sweat. There’s also a cool breeze going on that makes you feel like you’re in a different (colder) country.

My only complaint was that the life vests provided smells really bad. They probably haven’t been washed in years! It stinks to high heaven. Aside from that, paddling in the water under the mild sun and cool weather with my Mandy was perfect.

We decided to head down for our seafood dinner after so we drove to the Fraser’s Hill Clock Tower for some final photos…

…before making the 1 hour journey to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB).

We saw a family of monkeys (baboons?) on the windy road down. There was a male who got quite inquisitive and kept trying to look into our stopped car. I think he might have stolen my girlfriend’s handbag had she wound down the window. He looks like that type of monkey. 🐒

Our Valentine’s Day dinner was at Restoran Nine Thy Eight at KKB. Mandy loves crabs and I like Chinese food so a Chinese seafood restaurant was the perfect place to go. This is a sleepy restaurant that serves primarily locals and the occasional out-of-state people heading to Genting or Fraser’s Hill. The owner is very friendly and was happy to recommend several of their signature dishes.

This is Crab Porridge (RM 61.60) which is their flagship specialty. 🦀 It uses a whole crab cooked in very flavorsome porridge topped with some crunchy bits. We hesitated before ordering this coz Mandy likes other ways of cooking crab but she finally decided to give this one a try. It’s what this restaurant is famous for after all.

Here’s what it looks like after it’s been mixed. I’m not a big fan of porridge. I usually find porridge too mild but Restoran Nine Thy Eight does an excellent version of crab porridge. The congee is so flavorful and thick! It’s packed with savory and crab goodness. I finished the lion’s share of this porridge despite not generally liking congee. Delicious!

I also ordered another specialty of theirs – Catfish Steamed with Soy Sauce and Half Boiled Egg (RM 26). 🐟 How unique! I’ve never seen soft boiled egg paired with Chinese style steamed fish. It’s really good! The creamy egg yolk adds richness and mouthfeel to the soft and tender catfish meat. I wish this place was nearer so I can eat this every day. That’s the highest compliment I can give this dish. I want to smash 3 platters of this in a single sitting!

Tofu Cooked with Broccoli and Mushroom (RM 16). 🥦 We ordered this just to fulfil our vegetable quota. It tasted mediocre in comparison to the two other excellent dishes. It probably isn’t bad by in another setting but we’ve just had two superlative dishes so this seemed to pale as a result.

The bill came up to RM 120 for the food and drinks. I ordered a large beer and Mandy had carrot juice. Restoran Nine Thy Eight does their signature dishes very well. I highly recommend it and will be back if I pass by the area again. I’ll like to try their other flagship dishes. The prices are very reasonable too.

We got back home at around 10:30 pm and I presented my girlfriend her Valentine’s Day gift. I noticed her looking at a Swarovski pendant last month and skilfully brought her to Sunway Pyramid to look at other jewellery to see what kind she likes. It wasn’t very subtle but I got to know her tastes and preferences.

I bought her this gold necklace to go with…

…a golden M from Wah Chan’s official Disney Mickey Mouse collection.

This is what the pendant and chain looks like combined. It cost around 1.2k for everything. The M was supposed to stand for Mickey but here it stands for Mandy. It’s a coincidence they both have the same initial.

Happy Valentine’s Day Mandy! I love you. 💕

Fraser’s Hill Valentine’s Part I: Aida Daniya Tea House, steamboat dinner, a gruesome night drive up

I wanted to surprise my girlfriend with a trip to Pulau Ketam (which was our first trip together) on Valentine’s Day, but I thought going again so soon would be diminish the magic. I decided on Fraser’s Hill instead – a cool hilltop destination about 2.5 hours from KL. She’s never been there before and I booked a nice AirBNB on the top floor of Silverpark Resort with amazing views to spend the night.

She has her off day on Thursday (which coincidentally is 14th February) and I won’t start work until the 18th so it’s perfect for a weekday getaway without massive crowds of people. Indeed, Fraser’s Hill was almost deserted. It was also rainy and misty on the way up and I entertained (scared?) Mandy with ghost stories and pretended to be possessed by a female ghost. She was not amused. 😨

I planned this trip a month back and sent her a Powerpoint presentation to detail what I have planned for Valentine’s. Haha. What a corporate thing to do. It came complete with an itinerary, which we managed to complete!

I also arranged for flowers to be delivered to her workplace. I got her 12 roses.

She finished work at 6:30 pm and I flew in from Pontianak at 3 pm and I timed it so I just had enough time to buy ingredients for a steamboat dinner and pick her up from work. It was 10:30 pm by the time we checked into our apartment at Fraser’s Hill.

The place is very nice. It’s a studio unit with two queen beds…

Two balconies – this is the one facing down the hill (too misty to see anything unfortunately but the view is great on a clear day)

And this is the one facing inwards.

There’s also a full kitchen and I decided to cook her a steamboat dinner since it was so late when we got there.

Here’s the spread for the night! I got pork slices, two types of fishballs, bacon, soft tofu, assorted seafood, sausages, broccoli, eggs and mushrooms.

I used a tom yam – chicken stock base with Shaoxing wine and fish sauce. Unfortunately, I spilled the Shaoxing wine and fish sauce all over the back car cushion on the way up. It smells so bad now. I need to get it cleaned.

I also brought up some Mi Sedaap noodles I got from my recent Pontianak trip to enjoy with the steamboat. This is a new type of Mi Sedaap soup noodles with real egg. Only available in Indonesia.

My babe surprised me with a cheesecake that she made herself! She labored over this a few days ago coz she was thinking of what to get me. This is the first cake she has ever baked.

It’s really delicious! I would have said it’s yummy even if it’s not coz she made it for me, but honestly, this tasted great! It’s been contributing to my expanding waistline coz I’ve been eating it everyday since.

The next day we headed over to Aida Daniya Tea House for lunch after checking out. This place has amazing views and a comfortable balcony where you can enjoy the cool breeze and see the beautiful flowers growing at the cultivated park beneath.

This is the view we had sitting at the tables outside.

I ordered a double cappuccino (RM 15) as my morning coffee…

…and we got another couple to take a photo of us at the balcony.

We also ordered their English cream tea for two (RM 38)…

…which came with scones, clotted cream, jam and a selection of cakes and pies. The highlight was the orange cake, the pie and the other cakes were forgettable and the scones weren’t the best.

We also had something called an Irish Chicken (RM 25) which is a gruesome creation of a deep fried chicken roll slathered with mashed potatoes. It doesn’t taste half bad but it didn’t taste good either. The bill came up to RM 85.80. You pay for the scenic views and the nice ambiance, not so much the food. The food was quite mediocre but I enjoyed the quiet and cool surroundings. Recommended if you want a nice place to chill in Fraser’s Hill but manage your expectations on the food.

I love you my Mandy! <3

Part II of our Fraser’s Hill trip coming soon!

Restoran Pondok Kakap: Smoked Crab (Kepiting Asap) in Pontianak

Pontianak is famous for crab. There’s crab noodles (Bakmi Kepiting Ou Kie) and lots of seafood restaurants offering a local specialty – smoked crab. I was keen to check this out so I headed over to Restoran Pondok Kakap for some of their famous smoked crab. This restaurant is rated #1 on TripAdvisor and seems to get good reviews (except for one guy who claims he was overcharged for semah fish).

I was surprised to see how large Restoran Pondok Kakap was. It looked rather grand too and I told myself I’ll better pay attention to the menu prices before I order. Haha. It isn’t too expensive by Malaysian standards though – crab goes for 200,000 IDR (about RM 58) per portion. I mostly eat street food and local favorites here so it’s alright to splurge a little.

Es Jeruk (15,000 IDR). This is a pickle juice of sorts. Not bad but exceedingly sweet. Actually everything here is either very sweet or very salty. The flavor profile of food in Pontianak is dialed up to a 10. The dishes are very intense tasting. Indeed, you’ll here of them complaining our Malaysian food is bland (tawar).

Kepiting Asap (220,000 IDR). This is their famous smoked crab. The smoky flavors are super in-your-face and intense. I can smell burning wood in the crab. I meant that as a compliment. The sauce is similar to rendang – full of spices and flavor. There’s not much sauce but the little here goes a long way with rice! I love how the crab is filled with roe that I could dig out and eat with my rice. The meat was succulent and sweet too. 10/10.

For my vegetable dish, I went with Yam Pakis (30,000 IDR). This is a type of fern similar to midin in Sarawak. It’s recommended by Pondok Kakap and cooked with an acidic and sweet mixture that made my mouth water. I love the dried shrimp they sprinkle on top too. The sweet and sour flavors really whet my appetite. Excellent!

The total inclusive of white rice (7,500 IDR) and a 27,250 IDR tax came up to 299,750 IDR. That works out to RM 87. It’s not cheap but worth the price. I highly recommend the amazing smoked crab. It’s easily the best meal I had in Pontianak and I will definitely come back if I return. The smoky flavor profile and interesting rendang sauce of the crab is spectacular – not a flavor combination we can find in Malaysia.

Posted: 9:39 pm Pontianak time (10:39 pm Malaysian time)

Sekinchan: A day trip to Pantai Redang, famous Sekinchan wishing tree, paddy fields, rice factory, bus café, capped with a seafood dinner

I went on a day trip to Sekinchan with Mandy last week. Sekinchan is a small village with fishing and paddy cultivation as its primary industries. It’s a sleepy small town where everyone seems to know each other. One of their most famous landmarks (?) is a tree by the Pantai Redang beach called the Sekinchan Wishing Tree. This is an old looming tree that has strands of red hanging on its branches. People write on red threads and throw it into the air so it hangs from the tree. It’s a wish fulfillment thing.

It makes for a really nice picture!

There is a Chinese temple beside this tree where you can get the red strands of clothes. I can’t read Chinese but there are recommended donation amounts for things like joss sticks. The threads are freely available for the taking but you’re supposed to put in a donation into the box. The donation can be any amount you feel like giving.

You take the red strip of cloth and write whatever you want on the provided table. This is usually a wish you want fulfilled. Mandy wrote both my name and hers in Chinese. Coz this is an Oriental tree, you see. It may not understand English. Haha.

The red cloth has two round metal weights at the end so you just need to lead one and it’ll hook around something. I managed to get it up on the tree on my second try.

Our names in Sekinchan for all eternity, bound by the red threads of fate. Or until a strong wind comes, which is more likely.

Pantai Redang is not a swimming beach. The sand is quite dirty and the water is polluted. However, it’s a nice place to chill and walk with your loved one.

There are stalls at one end of the beach selling seafood dishes and drinks. We got a coconut and took it to a hut by the beach to enjoy.

The best thing about taking leave to come on a weekday is the lack of people around. We had the beach hut all to ourselves and we spent a good hour here talking with our arms around each other. It’s fun. There’s a cool sea breeze, the smell of salt in the air, the warm indirect sun beside you, stray puppies coming to sleep by your feet, and a refreshing drink of coconut within arm’s reach. Bliss.

There’s also an abandoned café (I think) made of red Coca-Cola shipping containers which makes for a good photo opportunity. It has the Coke tagline and Sekinchan on one of the sides. This is my #emoforever contribution.

My beautiful Mandy does it better though. <3

There’s not much to do in Sekinchan. Like I said, it’s a sleepy little town but another place people go to is the Sekinchan Paddy Processing Factory and Museum. The road here is lined with paddy fields.

This is actually just a rice processing factory which has a small museum attached. Entry is RM 5/person and comes with a free small packet of Sekinchan rice.

The tours are guided, which an option of Chinese or English. I learned that rice factories add in 5% broken rice to meet government specifications. The technology is already there to produce 100% unbroken rice but this is more to keep with government regulations on rice price controls.

There are also 3D photo walls inside the museum where you can take photos.

…as well as various old scenes from Sekinchan past. It’s worth the 45 min or so coz there’s little else to do in Sekinchan.

You can also get cendol made with their special Sekinchan brown rice and ice cream there.

Of course, another popular destination in Sekinchan is the No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Café. I’ve written about it in a previous post.

The best part of the café is the photo ops, not the food per se.

Definitely worth a trip if you stick to the cakes and drinks though.

It’s a great place to get the perfect shot for Instagram.

You have to try Sekinchan’s local seafood before you leave. We choose a restaurant at random and ended up at Restoran Pantai Redang. This is a family run seafood location near the beach.

Mandy wanted to have their crabs. This is a crab of around 600-700 grams that’s simply steamed to preserve its original flavor.

It’s very good! Juicy and succulent, much better than the crab we had in Pulau Ketam. I love the Shaoxing wine flavored sauce too.

We saw the owner carrying in two huge fishes. They looked fresh, so we ordered two slices of that as well. It’s also cooked with minimal seasoning. I don’t think Mandy liked it but I really enjoyed the simple, clean flavors. You can only get fish as fresh as this in a fishing village.

Lala cooked in taucu and chillies were very decent as well.

We also ordered huge ass mussels steamed with garlic and rice wine. This was my favorite dish of the meal. They’re only RM 2 each and perfectly steamed so they’re still juicy and plump. This isn’t one of those overcooked mussel dishes you normally see – Mandy made sure to tell the owner to steam it for a short while so it’s barely cooked. Delicious!

It’s important to note that there’s no fancy techniques or complicated sauces at this restaurant. The food is cooked and presented simply, allowing the freshness of the seafood to shine. We both enjoyed the meal and it only came up to RM 127 including beer. Food alone was just RM 93 which is a great price for seafood of this quality. Sekinchan may not be for everyone with its slow pace of living and relatively uncommercialized tourist attractions but both Mandy and I enjoyed it immensely. I love going on trips with her.

No. 16 Bus Café in Sekinchan review: Excellent photos, mediocre food

“Do you want to go to the bus café in Sekinchan that’s inside a real vintage bus?” I asked Mandy. “Oh! That one lots of 小妹妹 (xiao mei mei) go one.” The irony of her reply is that she’s also quite young. She’s 24. Haha. I’m clearing my annual leave so I took yesterday off to go to Sekinchan with my Mandy. I’ve never been to Sekinchan. It’s about 1.5 hours away from KL/PJ and we had fun in another rustic, rural setting (Pulau Ketam) so I thought we’ll enjoy the day trip.

I timed our journey so we’ll arrive at Sekinchan Bus No. 16 Café right when they open for lunch. The café is an air-conditioned bus that’s mounted on a few shipping containers.

The kitchen is inside the shipping containers and the shell of the bus contains the café proper. There’s also al fresco seating at a small balcony to the side but the main draw is the authentic, vintage bus.

These are the types of buses that used to ply Malaysia’s roads. We had the exact same bus in Sibu! The green ones work the Lanang routes. I lived closer to town so I took the red Sungai Merah buses but the fittings are the same.

I remember the dingy interior, faded seats and the large “PRESS ONCE” button you push to let the driver know you want to get down at the next stop.

It’s very nostalgic!

It’s one of those themed cafes that people come to for the perfect Instagram shot. They’re not exactly known for their food. I knew that coming in. I’ve been to a few character cafes in Japan (where the food is generally excellent), only to be disappointed by their dismal attempts at a meal.

You’re here for the environment, not the food. You need to have this mindset when you come to No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Cafe coz the food is very subpar.

They have a very limited and streamlined savory menu under “No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Bento Boxes”. We ordered the chicken chop meal and the Korean fried chicken wings. Unfortunately, they said the Korean fried chicken wings weren’t ready yet so we switched to the Korean-style Chicken Bibimbap.

Mandy had a mango Barbican soda and I had their White Coffee. You can’t go wrong with bottled soda but the brewed white coffee was extremely diluted and borderline tasteless.

Mandy is laughing here coz she thought the shaved ice in the bucket meant to cool your drink is for pouring the drinks into, until I corrected her. Haha.

I thought both our food orders were horrible – I honestly don’t have anything good to say about the mains we ordered except that they’re both dreadful. Food isn’t their forte. I compared it unfavorably with airline food! Service was also spotty – the Chinese girl was disinterested and low-energy but the Malay girl fared better. Another gripe of mine is that the bus was way too stuffy during the afternoon heat despite the air-conditioning going full blast. I shudder to imagine how hot it’ll be with more people inside.

We also ordered their Dark Chocolate Cheese Cake with a LEGO chocolate dude on top. I did enjoy the malty chocolate cake – it tasted like it was made with Ovaltine, which is a nostalgia tinged memory for me. This was the only thing I enjoyed. I recommend you go for the cakes and drinks if you want to meet the minimum RM 30 per table spending. This minimum spend is only for weekends and public holidays though. We were hungry so we ordered a full meal. Our bill came up to RM 59 for two.

I really like the ambiance of No. 16 Sekinchan Bus Café. You can get excellent photos here. It was also empty when we came so we could take as many photos as we wanted. Don’t come here for the food coz you’ll be sorely disappointed. Think of it more like rent for use of their photography studio e.g. the bus café. I loved going with Mandy coz she’s really good with photos and she’s interested in taking nice photos so we had fun here.

Whether you’ll enjoy it depends on what you want to get out of this experience.

Pulau Ketam Trip Day 2: Exploring the island, electric bicycles, oyster omelet, haunted house, and a remarkable coincidence

Pulau Ketam isn’t very big but it might take you a while to walk around the island. Most people get by on electric bikes or regular bicycles. Electric bicycles usually go for RM 20/hour but our homestay rented them to us at RM 15/hour, so off we went to explore the habitated areas. There are 2 primary schools and a secondary school on the island so there’s a good amount of younger folks still here.

The main commercial area by the jetty is sleepy on the weekends though. It has a very familiar small town vibe. Both Mandy and I are from Sarawak so we felt very comfortable here. You can hear snippets of Teochow and Heng Hua, old ladies with curly hair smoking cigarettes, and men with Buddhist tattoos undergoing traditional Chinese cupping while seated on low stools. This can be any rural town in Sarawak – Serian, Lundu, Batang Ai.

Most of the shops serve some kind of noodle dish in the mornings so we went to a random one. Interestingly, all the coffee shops had their shutters half closed and lights off to save electricity but they’re actually open.

Mandy ordered a kueh tiaw soup dish with several different types of fishballs. This tasted peppery and mild. She didn’t like it and ended up eating my noodles.

I went for a dry tossed noodle with pork, shrimp, and boiled eggs. This tasted good but unfortunately I didn’t get to eat much of it. Mandy swapped her noodles with mine after tasting my superior order. I don’t really enjoy soup noodles but I’m a nice guy so I exchanged with her.

We also ordered 3 coffees from the next coffee shop. This one only had canned drinks and they asked us to order from their neighboring shop if we wanted brewed drinks. You can only do this in small towns where the competition is less and the spirit of cooperation is higher.

Thus satiated and fueled with caffeine, we went to Lover’s Bridge. This was marked as a tourist attraction on official Pulau Ketam maps but in reality, it’s just a rickety arch bridge. It’s good for photos though.

Mandy is pointing at the richest person in Pulau Ketam. Haha. This house is so different from the wooden structures surrounding it. Modern, sleek and tall, it’s the highest point on the island.

There’s also an old cinema beside the Lover’s Bridge. It’s amazing to think that at one point, the population of Pulau Ketam was large and vibrant enough to support a theatre as big as this one. 👏

Mandy randomly asked me what my IC number was and we found out that our last 4 digits were in sequence! What a coincidence! These checksum numbers are always odd if you’re male and even if you’re female so we can’t be the same but having ours in order is serendipitous.

It was an extremely hot day so we went to get some ABC (shaved ice dessert) to cool down. Our homestay told us about this stall, which he says has the best ABC on the island.

It was pretty good! There’s peanuts, nata de coco, jellies, cendol and all the trimmings underneath a mound of shaved ice and gula Melaka.

We sat with the owner, who told us many tales about the history and origin of the people who’re now at Pulau Ketam. He had a stroke a few years ago so his daughters run the stall, which is actually a shaved ice machine in front of their home.

We also went to the temple opposite which has very old tortoises and a huge, long python. Their toilets are very interesting too – little more than a carved rectangle on the floor. There’s no sewage system in Pulau Ketam. All human waste goes into the sea and it’s washed out by the tides.

We decided to cycle to the furthest end of the island until we couldn’t go any further. All the paths here are made of wooden boards on top of stilts. Only the main jetty and commercial area has concrete roads. It’s very exciting.

The view on the bridges that connects the island is nice towards the further regions of Pulau Ketam. You can see fishing boats moored to the individual jetties connected to houses. This is a less commercialized area of the island.

There was a very friendly woman running a drinks and snacks stand near the end of the island. We stopped there for a couple of beers. She told us she’s from Klang and come down during weekends to stay with her mom and run the stand. It’s a good place to refuel. She’s one of those people with natural PR skills.

We found an abandoned wooden house with creaking, rickety floorboards that would make a perfect photo op. The floorboards were so rotten we nearly fell through into the sea a few times.

I did a cool pose (or so I thought) and I ended up looking like such a sissy we couldn’t stop laughing for a good 3 minutes. In my defense, this looked manly and casual when conceived in my mind. The execution and angle could have been better though. 😄

Here’s a proper one so you can get rid of the previous mental image.

This is my favorite photo of us. I love the emo vibe. I told her to do a sad pose. #emoforever

We went back to Remember Me Restaurant to have o chien (oyster omelet) and a beer. This isn’t as good as the ones you’ll get in Penang or Kuching but edible. Especially on vacation since everything tastes better when you’re having fun.

The ones here are gooey and soggy instead of the crispy variant we get in Kuching but they’re both equally good.

It was a good overnight trip! Pulau Ketam is a chill and relaxing place that’s perfect for a weekend getaway. It’s not too far from KL or PJ either – just a 40 min drive and a 30 min boat trip away. I can see why people like it here. I’ll definitely be back someday.

Goodbye Pulau Ketam! We made great memories here and we’ll miss you. 🦀

Pulau Ketam Trip Day 1: Remember Me Restaurant, cycling under the full moon, what people do in small towns

HB-Mandy

My housemate Mandy and I decided to make an impromptu trip to Pulau Ketam over the weekend. She’ll be moving out this week so it’ll be a fun thing to do together. I’ve never been here but I’ve heard a lot about the idyllic small town vibe and I really enjoy places like these. I come from a smaller town myself and I like visiting even more rural places like Kapit or Sarikei.

Pulau-Ketam-Crab

Pulau Ketam is only accessible by boat. It’s a 20-30 minute trip from Port Klang and the ferries and boats usually charge around RM 9-10 per pax. I saw a few souvenir Pulau Ketam tee shirts at the jetty and assumed they’ll be more at the island itself but surprisingly, no one sells them at the island. Haha. I actually wanted to get one.

Pulau-Ketam-Ferry

The boats are the same express boats that we have in Sarawak. A lot of our rural towns are only reachable via the river so boats are a major mode of transportation there.

HB-Mandy-Ferry

These boats are air-conditioned and leaves every 45 minutes. There’s another type that’s open to the elements but much faster for RM 1 more. We took the other kind back.

Pulau-Ketam-Jetty

This is the view from the Pulau Ketam jetty. It’s not a very big island and most of the commercial areas are concentrated in the middle.

Pulau-Ketam-Us

It was an exceedingly hot day and I have gotten more sun in the past weekend than the previous 10 years of my life. I’m sunburnt and peeling right now despite applying liberal amounts of SPF 50+ sunscreen.

Mandy

We stayed at a homestay called Little Happiness Family. Little Happiness and Happiness Family is owned by the same people who runs Pulau Ketam Mini Market. They’re a friendly mother and son duo who gave me a RM 50 discount when they heard about the price I’m paying via Agoda. Agoda charged me RM 174 per night and they said it was more than they charge if you book direct so they refunded me RM 50. I thought that was nice of them.

Little-Happiness

The room we booked had a large double bed and two singles in a double decker bed format. I think it’s meant for families. All the units have their own shower/toilet as well as air-conditioning. Ours had a window with a view of the back too!

Remember-Me-Restaurant

Our hosts recommended a place called Jia Jia for seafood but it was closed for Winter Solstice Festival. We went to the most famous one in Pulau Ketam instead – Remember Me Restaurant.

Kam-Heong-Crab

Crabs are a must! This is Kam Heong Crabs. It’s RM 68 per kg. This is slightly more than 1 kg for RM 78. It’s not bad but I’m actually not a huge fan of crabs, mostly coz I don’t enjoy deshelling them. I like huge crabs like Alaskan King Crab though. To clarify, I love the taste of crab, I just don’t like picking at them and getting bits of shell in my mouth.

Nestum-Prawns

We also had Nestum Prawns (RM 38). These are pretty good and they’re fried to a crisp so you can eat the whole prawn without peeling, even the head!

Mandy-Peeling-Prawns

I had someone to peel the prawns for me though. Hehe.

Eating-Prawn

Best!

Kung-Pow-Mantis-Prawn

I also added on Kung Pow Mantis Prawn (RM 26). This are not fresh ones, obviously. It’s the frozen and pre-battered type that’s mass produced and sold everywhere from Langkawi to KL. Not my favorite.

Obligatory-Veggie

There’s also an obligatory vegetables dish – cabbage stir fried with belacan for RM 16.

HB-Mandy-Seafood

The bill came up to RM 180 for 2 pax including drinks and beer, which is around the price you’ll expect to pay in PJ too. Not bad, but I’m keen to try Jia Jia next time since it was not only recommended by our homestay, a random aunty selling snacks in the furthest habituated edges of Pulau Ketam also told us about it.

Bicycle-Ride

The nightlife at Pulau Ketam is pretty sparse, although we spotted an 80’s style karaoke pub and an uncle told us about a feng tau joint. Most people seem to congregate at the jetty to hang out and relax and that’s what we did too.

Pulau-Ketam-Jetty-Night

The jetty had a psychedelic strobing light which was a little out of place but kinda nice.

Bicycle-Selfie

Our homestay provided bicycles but there was a huge family staying there who was about to take the last two. Mandy convinced them to let us have one of the bicycles. I should add that these are two little kids of around 6 years old or so. Hahahaha. I think their grandpa gave Mandy a look of mild disapproval. I didn’t dare to ask even though I wanted a bicycle coz they’re so small, so I’m glad she did. 😌

Mandy-Jetty

There was a cool breeze coming in from the sea and the night was bright courtesy of the full new moon. I put on some tunes on Spotify and we ended up talking and singing and riding bicycles till midnight. Good clean fun.

Drunken-Chess

I brought along a bottle of JW Black Label and we ended up playing drunken Chinese chess in the room. We had to Google the rules and made up many of our own so it wasn’t much of a structured game but still a lot of fun. I really enjoyed myself despite being a man who prefers my own company most of the time.

Day 2 coming soon!

4-in-1: Michelin Bib Gourmand Elvis Suki, Tongue Fun Ice Cream, Durian @ Or Tor Kor, Hooters Bangkok

Elvis-Suki

Elvis Suki was the first thing I ate in Bangkok. I scheduled Raan Jay Fai at 8 pm and thought it’ll be a good idea to starve myself the entire day until I got to Bangkok at 5 pm. It was not. I had less appetite than if I had eaten small portions at mealtimes. Elvis Suki is a Thai sukiyaki noodle joint. They call it suki haeng and its glass noodles fried with a protein and sukiyaki sauce. You can see a whole row of cooks manning coal stoves and cooking sukiyaki in front of Elvis Suki. Elvis is known for their dry sukiyaki beef so that’s what I got.

Elvis-Suki-Bangkok

Elvis Suki has two outlets at the opposite (and slightly diagonal) sides of the road. The original one is the al fresco and cramped old style Bangkok eatery. The new air conditioned one opposite has food shuttled there from this location. Naturally, I went to the source and sat down at one of the small shared tables. It was full of locals and their menu is in all Thai. Luckily, I had a picture (from the Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide) of what I wanted to order. My English-speaking table companion, an office worker who ate two bowls of suki, also helped clarified my order to the waiter.

Elvis-Suki-Dry-Beef-Suki

The flavors of Elvis Suki dry sukiyaki beef are quite unusual. I’m not familiar with these ultra-smoky aromas. It’s not just wok hei, but it tastes like the essence of smoke was somehow distilled into the noodles. It’s honestly a bit overwhelming, but I can imagine this would be something I’ll enjoy if I had grown up eating it. The acidic dipping sauce is a must! It kicks the dish up a notch. I like the eggy sauce but it’s slightly too bland (except for the coal smoke infusion) for me.

Tongue-Fun

I’ve also heard good things about Tongue Fun Ice Cream so I popped over after my meal at Elvis Suki. It’s a specialty ice cream shop that’s originally Tung Fung Trading Service Co. Ltd. Haha. I thought that was brilliant – the pivot to F&B and renaming the original enterprise with a relevant twist. Tongue Fun is a dingy looking shop with a few tables and chairs thrown out front but there was a lot of people there! It’s super popular with locals.

Tong-Fung

They do a variety of alcohol-infused and unusual ice creams. I ordered Red Bull Vodka, LYRJYU (lychee liqueur), beer, Yakult Pepoo (yoghurt drink like Vitagen), and X-Milk (extra milk). They’ll give you a mini Thai steamboat with dry ice if you order 5 scoops. The flavors range from 30 baht to 45 baht, depending on what you order.

Tongue-Fun-Ice-Cream

Here’s how the dry ice steamboat looks like! I thought the Red Bull Vodka was way too acidic and most of the alcohol infused ice cream was too gritty like granita. I knew this when the friendly staff gave me all the flavors to try but I wanted to order it anyway. The texture is not something I enjoy but it’s worth trying for the novel flavors.

Beer-Ice-Cream

The best in the alcohol series was beer. I quite enjoyed the subtle hoppy taste. Nothing beats the super creamy X-Milk though. It’s insanely good! I wish I had ordered two scoops of this instead. It’s better than most of the huge chains like Baskin-Robbins and Haagen-Dazs.

Or-Tor-Kor-Market

I also popped down to Or Tor Kor Market to check out their durians. Thailand durians are generally not as flavorful as our local Malaysian durians but they’re pretty good too. It’s a misconception that Thai durians are dry, hard and unripe. I know they look like that on display wrapped up in cute wax paper but they’re not. The wax paper is so you don’t get your hands dirty while eating.

Durian-Or-Tor-Kor

The most in-demand durian in Thailand is Monthong. This is a fleshy durian with nice creamy notes. Not too offensive or intensely flavored, it’s considered mild by Malaysian standards. They go for around 150 baht for 100 grams. My large portion cost RM 38. Or Tor Kor sells produce for higher than average since they source it from better and more reputable farmers. It’ll be more expensive than a roadside stall in Bangkok.

Ganyao

I also found some Ganyao durian. This is less popular and one of the smaller seeds only cost 100 baht (around RM 13). I like Ganyao a lot more than Monthong and I suspect a lot of Malaysians would prefer Ganyao too. It’s flavorful and intense, compared to the muted notes of Monthong. Creamy and delicious.

Monthong

I love durian and I also patronized the stall outside the BTS near my hotel many times. I got a massive portion of Monthong for just 140 baht. Super worth it. Tastes like the ones from Or Tor Kor too.

Hooters-Bangkok

There’s a Hooters outside Nana Plaza where you can have a beer and people watch. The prices for beer here are slightly higher than inside the go go bars, plus you definitely can’t touch the Hooters waitresses and there are no boobs and bare pussy on display here. I know the value preposition sounds a bit low, especially since you’re bound to see more beautiful go go girls inside Nana Plaza with their tits out who’ll not mind your stray hand on their nubile bodies.

Nana-Hooters

It’s still worth a visit coz the ambiance at the bar flanking the street is quite nice. You can see all sorts of old Caucasians stumbling out of Nana Plaza with young Thai prostitutes and freelance street walkers who would call out to you and give you a flash of their goods (so it’s inaccurate to say there’s no T&A here, you’ll just not be getting them from the waitresses). It’s very interesting and worth the RM 30 or so for a beer here. It sounds dodgy, and it is, but it’s not unsafe. This is the darker underbelly of Bangkok. A gritter Thailand. I like it, in small doses.

Hooters-Nana

Obligatory photo at Hooters.

College-Grab-Driver

To end this post, here’s a bonus picture of my hot Thai Grab driver. She’s a college student doing the ride sharing thing part time. I thought she was cute.

Nana Plaza – The World’s Largest Adult Playgound

Nana-Plaza

I am not into the paid sex scene so I have very few experiences in that arena. I’ve had occasions where I partook in the less unsavory aspects of commercial sex during my work – mostly GRO entertainers – so I’m not totally naïve about the industry. I did a bit of research about go go bars before my Bangkok trip, but it was mostly as masturbatory fantasy material instead of a serious desire to go.

Go go bars are drinking establishments with female entertainment. These girls are dressed in bikinis but there are a few bars where they’ll go topless or fully nude. It’s kinda like a strip club, except you can pay the girls for sex. I thought I’ll have a drink and see what’s going on, and that’s how I ended up at Nana Plaza, dubbed The World’s Largest Adult Playground. The 6 beers I had in Upstairs @ Mikkeler had something to do with my decision, I’m sure.

The first go go bar I went to was Billboard Go Go. It’s a fully nude bar with shows on the stage. The numbered girls stand and dance on a raised area, in the hopes that you’ll pick them. The first act had a girl pretending to play the violin while flashing her shaved pussy and exposed tits at the customers. Pardon my crude language. I’m not sure how else to describe that vivid scene. You can also get the girls to sit with you for a lady’s drink (about RM 20). They’ll talk to you for about 20-30 minutes and you’re free to let your hands wander.

Gogo-Girl

I didn’t find most of the girls in there attractive but there was one young looking stunner that was quite beautiful. Photos are not allowed inside but people like Stickman Bangkok with more access frequently post photos on their Facebook. This is the exact same girl that sat with me. It should be noted that she’s easily the hottest one in the bar, and the only one I found alluring enough.

These girls are not shy, and would not object to you touching them all over their body. You can even suck on their nipples, although this is frowned upon by the establishment, as you’re expected to bring them out for such public and lewd displays of affection. I did just that and the mamasan tutted at me. No one stops you, least of all the girl, but I got the feeling it may be something that’s not commonly done in full view of other patrons.

Gogo-Bangkok

They will pitch you to bring them out for sex, which involves a 700 baht bar fine plus 1,500 baht for the actual coitus. All in, you can have a shag for less than RM 300, which I hear is quite a deal for this type of quality. However, that’s not what I was after so I declined and went to another go go bar to check out the living entertainment. I was tempted though. I would be a bald-faced liar if I said I wasn’t. This is a young, sexy girl.

The other go go bar was Butterflies, which only had topless girls. They have a jacuzzi in the middle of the bar area, so girls are constantly dancing in front and on top of you while you enjoy a cold brew. Beers are reasonably priced (around RM 20) and the girl’s drinks are also in that range. I saw a very, very young looking girl who looked all of 13/14 but says she’s 21. Her underdeveloped boobs and skinny frame was outclassed by all the other girls but she’s super popular among the pedophile-leaning group coz she looks illegally young. In the hour I was there, I saw an old fat Caucasian and another young dude in his 20s fondling her.

The reason I’m not into commercial sex is twofold. As a reasonably attractive guy, I don’t find lots of aesthetically pleasing females working in the sex industry. They’re usually worn out and jaded. I would need to be paid (instead of paying them) if I were to bang any of them. These are not girls I would willingly hook up with, they’re way below my minimum standards.

The other reason is coz I want sex with someone who’s also into you. These girls are paid to get you off, they’re not attracted to you, no matter what you think. Sex with someone you find hot and who also finds you sexy is very arousing and fun. People who follow me on Facebook know that I hook up with random people sometimes, so my attitudes towards paid sex isn’t reflective of any puritanical values.

I just want sex to be something that’s enjoyed between two willing and interested parties. So even though I found the first girl attractive, it’s a no for me. I did enjoy the groping though. They’ll even let you insert one of your digits into her crevasse, if you catch my drift. You’ll probably need industrial grade bleach to purify your fingers afterwards though. 😄

A 2D/1N staycation at MOV Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Lobby

I was invited to check out this new hotel smack in the middle of the heart of the city last weekend. It’s just a 3 minute walk from Bukit Bintang MRT station. I know coz I took the train here. I’ve been taking the LRT/MRT a lot lately since I work in KL Sentral and live in USJ 21.

MOV

I hadn’t consulted my friend Google before coming and half expected it to be a boutique or shoplot hotel. I was quite surprised to see it was a recently built, tall, standalone building.

Slide

One of the highlights of the hotel is the awesome slide that goes from the lobby to the in-house restaurant in the basement. It’s quite fast but a blast to use.

Bathroom

The rooms are very modern, with hip architectural accents like wooden ring towel hangers at different heights.

Bed

The bed was comfortable and large and there’s blackout curtains. The entire place smells fresh and clean and that’s always a huge plus point for me. I’ve been to more than a few musty smelling hotels with the scent of the previous occupant’s hair gel, deodorant, or worse – armpit stank on the bedsheets/pillows/linen so it’s refreshing to smell freshly laundered sheets.

Switch

I was also intrigued by a switch that states “No More Monday Blues Here. Just Rainbows. Turn it On.” in the bathroom. It activates the ambient mood lighting in the shower. This is a pulsating glow that fades to different colors every few seconds. It sounds like it’ll be distracting but the effect is quite pleasant.

Rooftop

There is also a Rooftop which is home to hanging lounge chairs…

Pool

…a swimming pool with an excellent inner city view,

Gym

…and a gym. I have been getting into the fitness lifestyle lately and bemoaned many hotel’s focus on light weight dumbbells which do not offer a challenge to intermediate and advanced users.

Curl

Not here. They have dumbbells up to 25 kg, which is honestly more than I can curl.

Me

Joyce also took this photo of me in their gym, which I promptly uploaded to Facebook as my cover photo. I’m happy to report that it has received the most likes and reacts out of all the cover photos I’ve used.

Wings

MOV Hotel is located within easy walking distance to eating hotspots like Jalan Alor.

WAW

This is where you can indulge in the famous chicken wings and Hokkien mee at Wong Ah Wah. They’re equally famous for their brusque and no-nonsense service, so keep that in mind.

BBQ

This is not someplace you’ll want to bring a business client, lest the captain be rude to him, but if you’re on a vacation and have a hankering for overpriced wings, it’s worth a try.

Gelato

There’s also a gelato place called Jersey Jack right beside the hotel which is owned by an expat. They have creamy creations ranging from Guinness gelato to Asam Boi with Apple and Tangy Lime. Highly recommended.

Changkat

Of course, the hotel is also close to the nightlife of Changkat Bukit Bintang, where you can grab a beer and listen to some live music.

Wurst

Wurst is the in-house restaurant/cafe and the room I stayed in has breakfast included. You can come down via the slide or the more pedestrian lift/stairs.

Sausages

I read they’re famous for their sausages!

KLCC

I like how clean and new the hotel is and how central the location is to everything. There’s the MRT if you need to get around and you’re right in the middle of the action at Bukit Bintang. Lot 10 and Pavillion shopping malls are just a short walk away and we even went to KLCC via the covered and air-conditioned pedestrian overhead bridge. I didn’t even know that existed before last weekend! I would definitely stay here if I were travelling to KL. The prices are not as cheap as the dodgy hotels lining Bukit Bintang itself but the experience is way more comfortable. The rooms start from RM 209 per night.

Hotel

MOV Hotel
43, Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur



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