Travel

Travel is a very subjective matter – everyone has different preferences and appetite for adventure. My preference is for food, sightseeing and light shopping. I also prefer to pack as many places to visit as possible into the itinerary. I call this Fast Travel. As for adventure, i don’t bungee jump nor scale any mountain, but i do take a rental car wherever and whenever it’s cheap to do so (it usually is). I will share with you what was worthwhile and what’s not on my trips, as well as tips that may be helpful to your trip planning.

Travel bucket list – Montenegro

I am about to embark on a 15 days Okinawa + Taiwan trip, and i have yet to blog about the Europe trip which happened almost a year ago! I thought i should do one blog entry before i go, and Montenegro is probably the most memorable among the places i have visited. The other-worldly feature photo you see above is that of Lake Skadar. Yes, absolutely breathtaking. Continue reading Travel bucket list – Montenegro

Renting a car in Europe

This posting is long overdue. I’ve written about car rental in Japan, Korea and Thailand, but i have done car rental in Europe more times than elsewhere combined.

Fine

Driving in Europe is more demanding, and like it or not, there is a very good chance you will get fined in Europe. In fact, i have just received a notification via registered mail on a traffic offence committed in Rome nearly a year ago (there was a separate email sent by the car rental office one month after the rental). Basically, there’s no way you can escape paying the fine. Continue reading Renting a car in Europe

Taobao product recommendation – power transformer and plug adaptor

If you have been buying gadgets and appliances from Taobao, you invariably run into the problem that i do – you keep running out of plug adaptors.

China’s power plug configuration is usually the same two pin type used in the US, but sometimes they also use the 3 pin type used in Australia. For either case, the universal to UK 3 pin plug adaptor pictured below will work. Most of us will intuitively buy such an adaptor from the typical neighbourhood homeware shop, since it usually doesn’t cost much (probably S$2 to $3 per piece). However, if you need lots of them (and you do if you’re a frequent Taobao shopper), you might as well buy them from Taobao. Buy lots, one shot. Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – power transformer and plug adaptor

North-South highway lunch stop – Jasin

Jasin is probably the furthest from the toll station among the lunch places i have checked out along the North-South highway (not counting Kluang which is considered an intentional detour). I was pleasantly surprised by how historical the place is.

Jasin is located in the state of Malacca, and you can tell when you see the characteristic roofs of the Malay traditional houses (in the same style as those in Negeri Sembilan probably) which are not found in Johor. They are a pretty sight, and they make it worthwhile doing this short detour. Coming from KL, i took the Jasin toll exit, stopping at Jasin for lunch, and thereafter returned to the North-South highway via Chin Chin (what an interesting name) and Tangkak. Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Jasin

North-South highway lunch stop – Seremban

If you are heading to KL and you had your breakfast in JB, then Seremban would be the ideal lunch stop. It takes almost 3 hours to get there from JB, and by then, you should be ready for lunch.

We used Google Maps to look for a lunch place and chose Keong Kee Recipe as they had about the highest review score. Unfortunately they were closed. There were many eateries nearby and we settled for Pin Xiang Lou, a huge kopitiam.

Pin Xiang Lou is actually joined together with this bigger kopitiam which goes by the name Happy Mee San Restaurant

Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Seremban

North-South highway lunch stop – Simpang Renggam

Simpang Renggam is less than an hour from JB, so it makes sense as a lunch stop when driving up north from JB if one were to leave JB before noon.

There are ample eateries in Simpang Renggam, and we chose Restoran Tai Kai Hock (大家福酒楼) since they are quite highly rated on Google. They are basically a Tze Char restaurant and the standard is above average.

Their signature dish is the crispy duck, and indeed it is pretty good. Overall the food is value for money, and well worth stopping over for lunch.

 

Raining cats and dogs in Hat Yai

This was the first trip ever I had to change my itinerary due to adverse weather. It slipped my mind that when we went to Krabi last year, we heard news about flooding in southern Thailand. The weather in Krabi was really good, while on the eastern coast, the monsoon wreaked havoc. History repeated itself this year.

My plan was to drive to Koh Samui from Hat Yai. Hat Yai is too boring for 4 nights, and there isn’t much to see around the region as well. The coastal route would take me from Nakhon si Thammarat to Donsak pier in the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, i had to turn back as the road was closed due to flooding.

Road-turned-swimming-pool

Continue reading Raining cats and dogs in Hat Yai

North-South highway lunch stop – Bukit Gambir

Bukit Gambir is under 2 hours from KL and 1.5 hours from JB, so it could work as a lunch stop from either direction. It is a sizeable town, comparable to Yong Peng, and offers quite a few dining options during lunch time. It is very near Panchor, and easily accessible from the Toll booth.

I Googled and found a restaurant that has unfortunately already shut down, but just behind to it, there is a Tze Char restaurant that probably has been operating for a long time – Bee Hiong Guan. It is housed in a purpose-built building, and the high ceiling made it feel breezy and airy. It is very clean too. Continue reading North-South highway lunch stop – Bukit Gambir

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 3 – Fuqing and Fuzhou

The only clue I had when searching for my grandfather’s hometown was my surname. As the Chinese proverb goes, that sounds like searching for a needle in the ocean bed, right? Fortunately, in the olden days, Chinese families, those with the same surname, stick closely together. An entire village would consist of families of the same descent. And so, just by searching using my surname, I managed to find two villages in Fuqing where people with the same surname as mine lived.

To be honest, i felt that my chances were pretty low on actually hitting the jackpot, but it would be good enough for me just to get a feel of the place. Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 3 – Fuqing and Fuzhou

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 1 – Xiamen

For a long time, I had in mind to bring my father to his father’s birthplace. It finally came to pass. My grandfather came from Fuqing, Fujian. Since then, none among my relatives have gone back to visit, so nobody has an idea what the place is like. Not sure about you, but I find it intriguing to get a glimpse of how my ancestors lived.

When I chanced upon a cheap flight (S$280) to Xiamen, without second thoughts, I went ahead to book. If one keeps procrastinating, it will never happen.

Here are some tips on organizing a free-and-easy trip in China: Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 1 – Xiamen