berlin wall

Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten!“ (No one has the intention of erecting a wall!) – Walter Ulbricht

berlin escape plane

I went to Germany last year and our last stop before Frankfurt was Berlin. This is the birthplace of the (in)famous Berlin Wall. It was built in 1961 to separate the socialist East Germany from the democratic West Germany. Confusingly, the socialist East Germans called themselves the German Democratic Republic but in effect, the Berlin Wall split Berlin into two parts – East Berlin and West Berlin.

berlin hook escape text
Using a arrow with a fishing line to escape…

hook escape berlin
…with the original contraption here.

You can read more about the politics behind it in Wikipedia but for people on the ground, it just created two different versions of currywurst. smirk I’m kidding, it had a lot of watchtowers, death zones and creative people smuggling methods but nowadays, it’s just another tourist trap which you need to pay to have your photograph taken. It is however, a very interesting tourist trap.

checkpoint-charlie

I’ve also been to the Korean DMZ but the important difference between the two is that one of them has been brought down (no the DMZ is perfectly intact).

berlin wall art

The fall of the Berlin Wall has brought capitalism into full force – there’s a museum there that sells chunks of the Berlin Wall for up to 50 Euros (which comes complete with a certificate of authenticity). Picking up fragments of the Berlin Wall is illegal – it has to be done by the museum, no kidding, that’s democracy for you! ;)

berlin museum

I went to the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie – also known as Mauermuseum (The Wall Museum) – and surreptitiously took a couple of photographs. You’re not supposed to but then again it’s not enforced so I just took a couple of non-flash pictures.

car boot berlin

You can see the full extent of what it’s like to live there when the Berlin Wall was intact. People were smuggled from East Berlin to West Berlin through the checkpoint in the Berlin Wall (occasionally with bullets flying from behind as the US-backed West Berlin brought the refugees to safety).

suitcase escape

There were people packed in suitcases! This is a life-sized example and I can imagine how desperate the people were to escape to subject themselves to this. Some of these suitcases were hand-carried through (!!!) while some hidden between real luggage in the boot of a car. Keep in mind that if you get caught, you do not pass Go and you certainly don’t collect $200 dollars.

fake cans berlin

Banned illegal literature were also smuggled the other way (West Berlin to East Berlin) via canned goods, which were actually empty. This is the actual canning machine and cans used at that time – it was donated to the museum like the other exhibits.

fake bottom trunk

The most interesting thing about this museum is that they had all the actual suitcases, cars, and even planes that people used to circumvent the Berlin Wall!

hot air balloon

There’s even a successful attempt by hot air balloon (a homemade one stitched out of nylon to boot) which brought 2 families (8 people) over to West Germany in a 28 minute flight.

kayak escape

One dude even attempted to kayak through the patrolled waters. The “kayak” was made of inflatable material, with aluminium foil to er, foil radar, and the sail was built of hockey sticks! He succeeded.

berlin mini sub

Another interesting water escape was done with a home-made mini submarine. It’s the first of it’s kind in the world, an internal combustion engine powered by gasoline. The guy who built it was a 28 year old chemical worker who took a year to build the sub. Bernd Bottger was hired after he escaped via heavy seas and apparently a lot of the mini subs now is based on his design! You know, the propelling subs you see in James Bond films – this guy invented those with several patents to his name! There are sports/rescue models doing 6 mph and military ones nowadays hitting 11 mph using this design.

mini sub berlin

However, the thing that I found most amazing is a family of four that escaped with a totally wacky home made plane. This “plane” is made up of all sorts of junk – the father made a seat, hooked up a car engine (!) to a propeller, put a piece of plywood for his wife and two children, donned a helmet and wished for the best.

homemade plane

The “plane” is still in the museum.

homemade plane berlin

I bought two pieces of original Berlin Wall fragments with documents of authenticity. One of them is in my home in Sibu. It’s just pieces of rock but it comes with a blue certificate and a booklet about the Berlin Wall – perfect piece for coffee table or mantle.

berlin wall memorial

The Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial) is a much more interesting place to go – you can see the horrors of what actually happened (which is no joke, a lot of people died trying to sneak over and you can see how hard it is to actually make the crossing).

bulletproof car

However, in the spirit of democracy (and it’s partner commercialism) I also went to Checkpoint Charlie to get my photo taken. This is the only border crossing in the Berlin Wall which allows foreigners (diplomats like Americans) to cross. It’s now staffed by Germans in Allied uniform and what the online trip reports tell you is true.

berlin wall portrait

They don’t allow people to take photos without paying up first. They’ll use the huge American flags to cover the checkpoint and themselves if you attempt to take a photo. No kidding! However, for a small token payment they’ll be happy to give you a cap and pose with you. I paid 2 Euros for a photo op.

checkpoint charlie photo

A fellow traveler took this one for me. A lot of other people tried to take opportunistic photos and the two guards even covered *me* with the American flag (including themselves and the checkpoint) all the while shouting “No photos without payment” or something to that effect.

berlin wall line

It seriously took me 5 minutes just to get my photo taken coz they cover everything up whenever someone tries to take a photo so my friend had to get it during the lull (and they had to verify with me that she was indeed the person that was designated to take my photo).

american sector

All this for just a couple of Euros. That’s what the Berlin Wall has come to but it is a highly entertaining place – both blue cheese kitschy and drop dead somber at the same time. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in Berlin! :)

morib goldcoast us

I decided to take my better half and the kids on a trip last weekend. I was about to go to A-Farmosa in Melaka (gave the little ones a choice of that and Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh) before my dear told me about this place.

morib water park

Thus, we packed our bags and went to the water park that’s the flagship of Gold Coast Morib Resort!

kids

We got two adult tags for the water park which were valid for two (2) days as part of our check in package. I also got an additional bed (RM 60) which is a camping air bed that the big one slept on. It came with toiletries and +1 breakfast but no extra water park ticket.

waterpark tags

The water park tickets cost RM 20 for each child below the age of 12. I also rented a float for RM 10. There’s two really nice water slides (similar to each other) that me and my dear went on. It was a bit scary so the kids didn’t want to go on it. I got a big bruise from it though:

bruise

It’s coz I slid down by using the iron bar on top to speed myself up. Do not try to go down this head-first, you’ll likely be injured.

morib water slide

I did go on the other water rides head-first though. There’s a flat, wide water slide, three small and taller straight water slides side-by-side and a high and winding water slide with multiple twists which we all went on – sometimes in groups of *three* (me, my dear and the smallest one).

morib goldcoast

Dinner that night was at Golden Sea Restaurant – just a couple of minutes down the road. The food was good, we had steamed prawns (RM 25), Marmite chicken and lala fried rice vermicelli. I had a stomach bug though so I couldn’t finish dinner but we tapao-ed the rest back and everyone (including the kids) finished the leftovers!

steamed prawns

A word of warning – it’s almost impossible to get a table for the buffet breakfast at Gold Coast Morib Resort!

breakfast buffet

The water park doesn’t really check the tags so we didn’t have to buy another set for the kids the next day. That theoretically saved me RM 40 but unfortunately, I put a RM 50 note in my pocket as well as the hotel key card. It stayed right where it was the first day (which was a good thing since I had hundreds in there) but on the second day, I *lost* everything!

goldcoast morib resort

It wasn’t due to the slides, I went on them both days but the deep pool! I was pretending to be a dolphin while I dove up and down with the big one hanging on to me. I also tripped before entering the pool so that might have opened up the Velcro.

goldcoast morib beach

I couldn’t find both so I had to replace the key card and then we all went into the Jacuzzi and had ice cream while waiting for the check-out time.

jacuzzi

Pros:

  • No limitation to people in room (we didn’t need the extra bed but got it for comfort)
  • Breakfast is free for kids
  • Water park doesn’t check tags and encourages you to keep yours so you can use it the next day
  • Good food is available just a short drive away
  • You can get good paos from Tanjung Sepat on the way back

tanjung sepat pao

Cons:

  • The room isn’t clean – there’s even a discarded snack wrapper on the balcony
  • The resort can be noisy at night
  • Service is bad – no one answered the in-house phone and I had to call their external line to get toiletries
  • The resort isn’t well maintained – the hair-dryer in our room was broken and the maintenance guys had to fix it on the spot
  • There’s no swimming pool so you have to pay for the water park for that

family trip morib

Nevertheless, I had a lot of fun with my dear and the kids! It was a good weekend and we’re looking forward to the next one! :)

ladies indoor pool

This is not the strangest thing we’ve seen on this trip. It’s also not related to the titled foul madames. The resort we stayed in actually has an indoor covered swimming pool just for the ladies!

jellyfish

If you’re wondering what’s going on inside and whether it requires an adult ID for entry…wonder no longer. The answer is nothing much and no. It’s just a feature to attract Arabic and other Middle Eastern families due to their Muslim religion. You can’t very well swim in a burka. It doesn’t exactly cut through the water like Ian Thorpe’s drag resistant and aerodynamic bodyskin swimming rig.

ritter sport

On to other matters, we also went chocolate shopping! We must have bought hundreds of dollars worth of imported, duty free confectionery.

ritter sport choc

I ate frozen Ritter SPORT for two weeks straight coz it’s 3 for RM 11.30.

ritter loacker limited edition

They also had this limited edition exclusive where they collaborated with Loacker (most famous for their wafer coated chocolates) for a Ritter-Loacker exclusive! It’s a Ritter SPORT that has a Loacker wafer inside and comes in two flavors – Strawberry & Vanilla-Wafer and Raspberry & Cranberry Yoghurt.

cognac chocolates

I thought it was okay, my better half loved it though and I must admit, it’s a pretty cool temporary partnership. It’s kinda like how Mars and Pods work but it’s for a limited time only.

liquer chocolates

On to other things, I saw the usual array of liquor chocolates and bought an Anthon Berg limited edition. This time they did a cocktail series! They usually do a standard array of liqueur chocolates with fillings made with Jack Daniels, Otard, Famous Grouse, Canadian Club etc and I don’t get overly excited with them.

chocolate cocktails

The Anthon Berg limited edition cocktails series doesn’t have branded liqueur inside but cocktails! It still uses the same hollow chocolate bottle with liquer inside though – I thought a cocktail glass would be cool. Flavors are Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Margarita, Strawberry Daiquiri. Not too bad but GOLDKENN Remy Martin cognac sticks are much better (although more expensive).

underwater world

We also went to Underwater World coz the kids wanted to go. There’s all sorts of underwater creatures kept in captivity from pink flamingos…

pink flamingos

…to penguins.

penguins

It reminded us of our first holiday together at Phillip Island in Melbourne. We went to the Penguin Parade and we tried to do a similar pose here. Haha!

us penguins

Langkawi’s Underwater World is getting a little run down and there’s not much for returning (or first time) visitors to see but it’s worth a trip if you have little kids.

huge fish

Hell, I even bought a ridiculously priced photo of us that we halfheartedly posed for (my better half told me not to get it coz it’s expensive) at the entrance coz I wanted a memento with my dear and the kids at the last minute. I did the same for our Sunway Lagoon trip. I guess I’m becoming one of those schmucks who goes for these things nowadays. smirk

foul madames

I bet you’re really wondering about that foul madame at this point now.

ful medames

It’s not a person, it’s a dish from Egypt that you can make yourself at the breakfast buffet. It’s the resorts policy to attract visitors from that region at work again. Ful medames is described as “cooked and mashed fava beans in olive oil”.

langkawi photo

That’s the last of Langkawi, till our next trip, here’s the aforementioned photo of us! :D

wonderland langkawi

This is supposed to be one of the best seafood restaurants in town. I say this based solely on the fact that a lot of people like taxi drivers in Langkawi use it as a landmark/drop-off-point. Wonderland Food Store is just one of many seafood restaurants along the waterfront in town.

lobster

There are Thai style seafood restaurants, Malay seafood restaurants, and Chinese seafood restaurants, but many of the last don’t serve pork anyway. We decided on Wonderland Seafood coz we’re never eaten there before and a lot of people talks about it so we checked it out.

wonderland food store

It was a huge disappointment!

wonderland seafood

The mantis prawns were frozen instead of fresh, most of the dishes are unappealing with no plating considerations and even though it was packed, the clientèle seems to be mostly tourists – Japanese, Chinese, Korean etc.

wonderland coconut

To add to the list of sins, they hired an unlicensed taxi for us – which costs RM 1 more than the standardized fare – and is a highly unusual practice in Langkawi since the taxis are heavily regulated.

Kam Heong Mantis Prawn

mantis prawn

This is deep fried since they didn’t have any fresh ones. The proprietors said that the fishermen didn’t have any catches since it was the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays. The frozen mantis prawns tastes alright but I was looking forward to fresh steamed ones so it was slightly disappointing.

Fried Squid

squid

The squid was too chewy and just wasn’t fresh – it’s exactly the *opposite* of what I had hoped to eat in Langkawi, which is famous for their seafood since it’s a duty free island.

Soft Shell Crab

soft shell crab

This was fried the same way as the other two dishes so it’s quite jelak to eat so much deep fried battered seafood, even if all three are very different creatures. I thought it was mediocre.

Seafood Fried Rice

wonderland fried rice

RM 8 a plate and it comes with lots of squid! I suspect that the “seafood fried rice” contains whatever surplus seafood that you ordered. It’s oily and repetitive.

Steamed Sea Bass (Siakap)

sea bass siakap

This is the saving grace of our seafood dinner. I liked it so much I ate all of the fish – mostly by myself. Haha. The rest of the food we tapau and took it back to the hotel coz there were so much leftovers it was obscene.

wonderland bill

The bill costs RM 99 which was pretty reasonable. However, dinner wasn’t what we expected – we had been looking forward to a nice seafood meal in Langkawi. It could be the lack of fisherman’s produce due to the Hari Raya holidays as the restaurant didn’t have fresh seafood and had to resort to frozen ones. Or it could be just the wrong place to eat.

wonderland us

I can’t say I recommend Wonderland Seafood from our dining experience but I had a lot of fun with the kids and my better half! That’s all that matters. :)

majestic hotel

I had a rather enjoyable Nyonya dinner at The Mansion at the Majestic Hotel in Malacca – a historical period building that has been turned into a rather nice inn. It’s not one of them budget lodging houses despite how the exterior looks.

mansion malacca

It’s right in the middle of town and the river that courses through Malacca (or Melaka as it’s spelled here) is just opposite the street, if you fancy a stroll by the waterfront.

pianist

The hotel even had a pianist playing soothing Bach (or was it Chopin?) scores while you’re eating your food. I’m being irreverent, I wouldn’t know one from the other although I had piano lessons till Grade 4.

peranakan food

Dinner was buffet style, with most of the dishes located in a central area – there are classic Peranakan food like udang masak nanas (prawns cooked in pineapple curry).

mansion toilet

The toilets are superbly maintained and clean – I was immediately soothed by the scent of vanilla instead of the usual odor of ammonia assaulting the nostrils. Oops…I probably shouldn’t have had this aside, kinda puts people off after talking about shrimp. smirk

bubur cha cha

Back to the food, I was quite full from lunch so I had several bowls of bubur cha cha – a sweet hot soup-like dessert made with gula Melaka (palm sugar) and yam, tapioca, sweet potatoes, all diced up into miniature cubes instead of the clumsy chunks that’s usually served up. It’s much more refined fare over here.

nyonya cuisine

There’s also classic Nyonya mainstays like pai tee (crispy pastry cups filled with an assortment of ingredients) and of course:

popiah
Popiah
Fresh spring roll made of sauteed sweet turnips wrapped in a wheat flour crepe

nyonya otak otak
Otak Otak with Kerabu Nanas
Spicy mackerel paste wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, served with a tangy pineapple salad

lemongrass satay
Satay Lilit
Grilled chicken skewered on a lemongrass stalk

nyonya food

I didn’t know that otak otak is *only* made from mackerel! It’s information plagiarized gleaned from the leaflet that was on the table, which describes the unique Nyonya cuisine which is a product of inter-marriage between Chinese immigrants and the local Malays.

wine nyonya food

Fun (unresearched and vaguely remembered) fact: There’s a difference in salutation when a Chinese male marries a Malay female and the other way round. I believe the latter is called Nyonya and the former is Baba but I could be very mistaken since that was textbook stuff I recall from half a lifetime ago when I was studying Form 3 History.

kueh

I also found out Shiraz also goes well with Nyonya food but I’m blasé about Chardonnay. However, the best and arguably most well known product of this cuisine is the kueh (or pastries, but dismiss that mental image of pastries coz these are different) with the complex play of textures and flavors!

swimming with kids

I woke up having pains and aches in places I didn’t even know existed. I had been running around the pool with the kids for several hours last night, swimming and remembering how to do stuff like:

Underwater somersaults

-_-

pool night

Haha! It was a lot of fun though, and we went just opposite the hotel to the tourist trap seafood restaurants for a bite to eat.

3 antara

I wanted to head over to this cool looking place with the menus written in English and Cyrillic script (!!!) called 3 t.i.g.a. Antara (no relation to the 3 Line criminal gang) which looks like something out of the trendy beach front eateries of Bali or Boracay. I figured if you wanted to be ripped off, at least we can get ripped off…in style! smirk

seafood restaurant

The menu was surprisingly cheap but the kids didn’t like anything on it so we walked to a Chinese seafood restaurant (which strangely serves no pork).

tourist trap

The place was comfortable though – we’re just beside the beach so we can feel the breeze being enhanced by the ceiling fans.

old coconut
Fresh coconut (RM 4)

wah tan hor

Now, the lady taking the order warned us that small is VERY SMALL. Sorry, that should have been very small. The wah tan hor (Medium – RM 12) that came out made us apprehensive about all the other Small orders – would there just be a few pieces?

guinness stout chicken
Guinness Stout Chicken Fillets (RM 9 – Small)

venison deer meat
Venison (Deer Meat) with Ginger & Onions (RM 15 – Small)

fried rice
Fried Rice (RM 5- Small)

ate well

It turns out that there’s more than expected and everyone ate well (for just RM 57 at a tourist trap – woo hoo). It’s very forgettable food though…

family dinner

Tonight is the night that we’re heading to town where the locals go for a *proper* seafood restaurant to eat the ocean’s diminishing supply of creatures – delicious treats like mantis prawn!

holiday villa

Tonight, we feast! *tears eagerly into a foot long cod*

subang airport

We have arrived in Langkawi!

kids

(with two little checked in luggage)

fried durian balls

After eating at two fast food joints in a row (granted, one had some pretty awesome deep fried durian puffs)…

balcony pool

…it’s the room with a balcony and a pool view!

jumping on bed

The kids are jumping up and down on the bed in anticipation of the swimming session later in the evening.

family langkawi

The adults are planning to crash for a while to rest them tired ol’ bones. smirk

langkawi

I’m planning to get a rental car tomorrow so we can get around town – seems like the best way to get around Langkawi – which is not an island, but 99 individual islands, or so I read on the brochure.

baby elephant

I was in a Phuket a week ago – it was actually just 2 weeks after my Bangkok trip so I went to Thailand twice in just a fortnight. However, Phuket is very different from Bangkok. Bangkok is where you wanna go if you like to get stressed out. If you want to relax and chill – head on to Phuket! ;)

outriggers phuket beach

Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is a newly re-opened family friendly beach-front property – it faces Bang Tao beach. The entire resort has been completely renovated to modern standards during April 2013. However, the traditional Thai touches and warm hospitality are still there.

elephant

(like that baby elephant – it’s my favorite and it comes out to be fed twice a day!)

outriggers phuket

The best thing about Outriggers Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is the Water Park built right into the resort. In fact, it’s central and visible from reception! As someone who loves the water, I enjoyed this tremendously. It has multiple interconnected sculptured pools just beside the beach and to top that off, a water slide!

water slide phuket

It’s not just a small little water slide either, this long and curvy water slide is usually seen at dedicated theme parks and it took me 40 seconds to get from top to bottom!

You can watch this (slightly anticlimactic – forward to the 40 second point) video I asked a friendly vacationing family to help me take. I waved at them at the start and immediately went down the water slide. I splashed down at the end of the slide into the pool at around 40 seconds, and immediately went up again!

water park

It’s a lot of fun! :)

orchid

Outriggers Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is only 20 minutes from the airport – we had a car from the hotel waiting to pick us up, complete with wet towels and bottled water. We got an intricate bracelet made of orchids (I’m sure there’s a proper term for this) and a drink of water while we got checked in too! Gotta love Thai hospitality!

room

The rooms were surprisingly modern (or maybe not since it was just completely redone a few months ago) – flat screen Smart TV, a bath/shower combination, a day bed, free WiFi in all rooms (reliable and fast) and best of all, all rooms have a balcony or porch that looks out to the water!

balcony

You can have a beach view or a lagoon view (or both if you get the Club Suite) and it’s extreme proximity to the beach actually gives you a wonderful perk – you can hear the slow and calm waves from your room lulling you to sleep at night! :D

lagoon

Okay, I mentioned a lagoon – Outriggers Laguna Phuket Beach Resort is actually part of the Laguna Phuket Destination Resort which links several resorts together by a lagoon. There’s a complimentary boat that takes you to all the different resorts and access to golf clubs and even a shopping strip mall!

boat ride

The boat service departs every 20 minutes and you can tell the guy where you want to go.

laguna phuket

If you want to get to places faster, there’s also a complimentary shuttle that gets you around the resorts and access to the 18-hole golf course which departs every 15 minutes!

chilling

Of course, there is no real need to leave Outriggers Laguna Phuket Beach Resort – with the awesome white sand beach and azure calm sea right after the lobby, you can just chill by the beach and have a beer or a bite to eat at the various restaurants in the resort.

view

Breakfast is a truly awesome affair with an amazing spread that kept me full most of the day!

egg station

All the basics and more are there, customizable too!

triple egg

I had a 3-egg sunny side up with cheese and chives only. :)

phed mak bloody mary

There’s also breakfast juices/cocktails which changes daily – like this local flavored Phed Mak Mak Bloody Mary.

room view

I like how I can just trudge down from a good night’s sleep being lulled by the tides into breakfast, get something nice and healthy to eat, grab a cocktail and head out to the pool or chill by the beach.

bang tao beach

It’s truly one of the best resorts I’ve been to in Phuket – modern amenities combined with Thai hospitality on the quiet Bang Tao beach (trust me, you don’t want to go to the (in)famous Patong beach – that’s like Kuta beach in Bali, a noisy tourist trap). I really liked the location and the tranquility of Outriggers Laguna Phuket Beach Resort – I can chill by the Bang Tao beach and go down the water slide and hug a baby elephant twice a day!

phuket elephant

How many places can you do that all in? :D

Outrigger Laguna Phuket Beach Resort
323 Moo. 2, Srisoonthorn Road, Cherngtalay,
Thalang, Bangtao Beach, Phuket 83110, Thailand
Phone +66 76 360 700, Fax +66 76 360 670
reservation.phuketbeach@outrigger.co.th, www.outriggerthailand.com

1. Sunny side up quail eggs

fried quail eggs

This is a whole lotta cholesterol in a package but it’s delicious! Perfectly fried quail eggs sold in a packet containing nine (9) sunny side up eggs with a toothpick. You can opt for a dash of pepper and soy sauce and it’s absolutely delicious! The feeling of slipping 9 eggs into your mouth for just THB 20 (about RM 2) is awesome! :)

quail eggs

You can opt for the soft boiled version with a packet of soy sauce too – just crack all the eggs into the bowl and enjoy!

2. Pork floss (jerky) with sticky rice

pork floss rice

This is also THB 20 and consists of two types – a tough jerky type pork floss and strips of marinated BBQ pork. I went for the latter and was very satisfied with the bed of fiber rich sticky rice!

thai pork satay

Watch out for the famous Thai satay too – it’s a piece of marinated BBQ pork on a stick for THB 10 and it’s the most tender and juicy pork you’ll ever eat!

3. Bananas dipped in chocolate

chocolate banana

There are several versions of this THB 20 dessert on a stick. The plain version is just a peeled banana on a skewer that has been dipped in chocolate. There’s also sliced and re-skewered bananas, which is the one I got – it’s been sprinkled with hundreds and thousands colored sprinkles and absolutely tasty in the hot muggy night market.

4. Deep fried insects

deep fried insects

The night market also has deep fried insects and quite a wide variety of them too. The lady will ask you to “contribute” to the photography tip jar if you take a photo without purchasing anything. I didn’t coz I didn’t like her tone. ;) I just had the same ones in Bangkok. I ate deep fried grasshoppers and other insects just two weeks ago.

5. Salt grilled fish

salt grilled fish

This is a Thailand speciality and it’s an entire fish that has been liberally packed with coarse salt and then grilled over a charcoal fire. It’s surprisingly cheap for an entire fish and you’re meant to eat the inside of the fish e.g. the salt covered outer skin is discarded.

6. Thailand orange juice

thai orange juice

You MUST try this when you’re in Thailand – it’s the local orange, squeezed into a bottle and it’s fabulous! I had the ice blended version for THB 40 and it came in a thong like plastic bag. Thirst quenching stuff – walking around the night market in the hot weather armed with this makes it a more pleasant trip!

7. Agar fruits with mung bean filling

agar fruits

This is an interesting snack – it is a mung bean dessert that’s been shaped to look like various fruits and then coated with agar agar (a Jello like substance). I was surprised when I popped one into my mouth coz I thought it was fruit! It goes for THB 40 for a packet containing every type of “fruit” they have – from grapes to guava.

8. Tiny pineapples

mini pineapple

OMG! This is the best find I had in the Phuket Town Night Market. The mini pineapples are much smaller than your fist and intensely *sweet and juicy*!

tiny pineapple

I bought one (it’s sold by weight – mine was about THB 25) and they cut it into four segments for your enjoyment. I can’t believe there’s such tiny, yet fully formed pineapples out there! It’s marvelous! :)

skeet shooting

I went to the Phuket Shooting Range yesterday to get some range time in. I haven’t shot a firearm since my initial foray with a .357 Magnum revolver, 9 mm and .45 caliber semi-automatic handguns while I was studying in Melbourne.

ak rifles guns thailand

I went quite often after that and got a license to own but I heard it’s a perishable skill – if you don’t practice often, you won’t hit the nice grouping you used to be able to do when you went every other weekend. I also…er, examined an Steyr M9 pistol while I was in Malaysia but I wasn’t interested in handguns this time and wanted to shoot a rifle instead.

phuket shooting

Phuket Shooting Range had a great package for a .22 caliber long rifle with sights for just THB 890 (about RM 90) for 10 bullets. You can get a semi-automatic or fully automatic (!!!) rifle with a scope for indoor shooting and I was sorely tempted to do this but unfortunately I only had 15 minutes since the girls wanted to go catch the sunset.

me with shotgun

Thus, I settled on clay pigeon shooting. It’s a package with 10 shotgun shells for THB 1,190 (about RM 120). I honestly don’t know if this is skeet shooting, trap shooting or sporting clays since the Phuket Shooting Range is huge and I was at a station with clay pigeons flying from two different directions and angles.

shooting range thailand

The registration process was incredibly lax – I didn’t need to hand over my passport or even prove that I am who I say I am. I just wrote my name on a piece of paper – I didn’t even sign it! You can get a variety of semi-automatic handguns from .38 caliber revolvers to shotguns and there’s even a full outdoor tactical range.

I’ve never been clay pigeon shooting before. I did see President Obama (purportedly) skeet shooting in that well-publicized White House propaganda photo as he made more restrictions to gun laws in the US though. I do know shotguns since I grew up in Sarawak (locals are allowed to own shotguns) but this is a special skeet shooting double-barreled Over And Under design (O/U) that I’ve never used before.

competition shells

The skeet shooting shells are 24 gr 7 ½ inch 70mm meant for competition – the Olympics uses the same shotgun shells. I was given a short primer (smirk) on how to follow the arcs with my shotgun and shoot. The orange clay pigeons came from two directions – a bit like trap/skeet shooting in just one station.

phuket shooting range

I pressed my cheek against the stock of the shotgun, rested it against my shoulder and waited for the recoil that I thought would hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt nothing at all! There’s barely any recoil from this break open Over And Under (two barrels stacked vertically) shotgun with this particular shell.

shotgun shell

However, I found that tracking the clay pigeons (which is automatically thrown into the air from two stations – you’re supposed to track, lead and shoot it, breaking the discs) was harder than I thought. I wasn’t very comfortable with the shotgun – I wanted to have a front pistol grip, which is absurd, that’s something for tactical use, but it would be much more comfortable. :)


Full video of me skeet shooting!

I liked the double barreled shotgun design though – it gives you two chances to break the orange clay pigeons and you can fire it like a semi-automatic. It has a very light trigger pull and you literally break open the stock and reload two shells when you’re done.

shooting shotgun

I would have loved to go on the shotgun course too – they had metal silhouettes that ping when you shoot it with buckshot but I was pressed for time so I could only go for this one. I have finally shot a classic break open O/U double-barreled shotgun at clay pigeons flying in the air at high speeds! :D

break open shotgun

It was a lot of fun!

Posted: 1:28 pm Phuket time (GMT +7)

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