Apr 6, 2014

Thang Long Water Puppet Show in Hanoi

If you are looking for something cultural to experience in Vietnam, you have to visit the Thang Long Water Puppet Show. It is a theater set on a water stage and the puppets are controlled by the master behind the backdrop.

The music is played live by their orchestra team at the side of the stage together with the narrator. The storyline consists of traditional folklore, and historical event. The language is in Vietnamese, but they do have subtitle.

At the end of the show, the puppet masters will come out to greet the audiences.

The puppets that are use in the show...

Why are the puppets' boobies sticking out? So obscene! I didn't see this on the stage.. Gosh!

Overall, I think the performance was superb. The only problem is getting the good seats. We got our tickets few hours just before the show and all the middle seats already reserved. I heard this show is an international award winning show, but I'm not too sure what award they won.

57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hanoi, Vietnam 
Beside Hoan Keim Lake. 
There are puppet show every day at 15:30 - 17:00 - 18:30 - 20:00 - 21:15 and Sunday at 9:30
Ticket costs between 60.000 - 100.000 VND ($3-5) and can be purchased at doors.

Mar 14, 2014

Famous Curry Chicken Bun in Kampar: Kam Ling Restaurant

Every town in Malaysia has its famous signature dish. And in Kampar, the dish that you have to try is curry chicken bun. There are a few restaurants that serve it and the particular restaurant that we went to was Kam Ling Restaurant located at the main street. It is probably the biggest Chinese restaurant in Kampar.

Here's how the curry chicken bun looks like:

The portion is huge! About the size of a laptop. I think the dish is fair - not something to brag about, but the taste is quite decent. I love the bun more than the curry actually. It was hot. The skin was crunchy and sweet. And the inside was soft and warm. As for the curry.... I think the cook forgot to put salt into it. The taste was so blunt. It was weird... Try cooking curry chicken without putting in any salt... that's how it tasted like. I think it is not suppose to be that way.

My family had lunch at the restaurant too besides ordering the curry chicken bun. The dishes are meant to be for four person maximum. If you're going in a big group, do order extra dishes. We had to order two more plates of the prawn, kangkung and omelet.

The butter prawn is super good. Totally recommended! 

Prawn omelet that requested by my baby cousin who can't take spicy food. Nothing special, but it is good to have for family lunch.

Kangkung belacan.... Pretty spicy. Pretty good as well.

Pork belly with yam. This is super good! I think it is the best dish of all that we had. Go for this!

Tofu dish, which is quite ordinary. 

During weekend, this place can be packed. And it will take some time for them to serve you. 

Tired of waiting. My cousin playing with his phone and my brother fell asleep. 

The bill was about RM300+ for my entire family of 15. It kinda shocked my dad because we can never have that kind of price dining in Penang. The curry chicken bun was about RM20+. Do give this restaurant a try if you happen to be in Kampar. Overall, the taste scale that I give for the food ranges from ordinary to super good. There wasn't any bad thing about their food.

Kam Ling Restaurant 
No.105 & 107, Jalan Idris, Kampar, Perak

Feb 28, 2014

Burj Al Arab's Al Mahara Restaurant

Burj Al Arab may be known for its status as the world's most luxurious hotel, however the 7-stars rating was a bit overrated. Nonetheless, the experience at Al Mahara Restaurant (Burj's flagship restaurant) was amazing. This restaurant is rank in the Top 10 most expensive restaurant by TimeOut... I think?

A short tunnel at the entrance of the Al Mahara Restaurant channel your eyes to the giant underwater aquarium. Although the whole ambiance of the restaurant is cozy, there is something lacking in the interior. Perhaps everyone puts too much focus on the giant aquarium, and don't pay notice of the missing parts of the interior.

Let's get into the food. Al Mahara only hire award winning chef in its kitchen. When taking order, the waitress will introduce the profile of the chef. To be honest, I don't remember his name, not to mention what awards he won. Seafood is the main specialty of Al Mahara. However, the seafood options on the menu didn't impress me much, so I went on to order the beef.

Bread starter with 3 types of butter - plain, herb and salted. The butter was amazing. I could just put the whole thing into my mouth and let it melt.

I can't remember what this is. Some sort of pastry with mushrooms and broth. Not exactly my favorite.

Wagyu beef braised and seared with foie gras cromesquis, glazed carrot, bone marrow, cherry black pepper sauce.

The sauce that complements the beef. I'm not sure what the side dish is, something like rice with chickpeas. I don't like that side dish as well.

I love it how they tie the herbs on a stick as brush for the sauce. This is so cute!

Lastly, some sweet endings. A little too sweet for me though. The chocolate coated dates was pretty good though.

There's a strict dress code in the restaurant. Semi-formal. Gentlemen are required to wear a shirt with collar and long sleeves, long trousers (no jeans) and closed shoes, a jacket should also be worn at dinner time. Ladies are requested to wear a suit or dress, long or short skirt or dressy slack and top. UAE national dress is welcome.

Reservation is highly recommended. There are only few tables in the restaurant. Make sure to place your bookings few days prior to arrival.

Price is exorbitantly expensive but reasonable for its standard. My total bill came up to about AED800. It was an amazing experience, however I miss out a partner to share the experience with. The closest romantic moment I had, was to exchange text messages with the mister while having my dinner.

This is how Burj Al Arab looks like on the inside:

Feb 25, 2014

The Tallest Building in the World - Burj Khalifa Dubai

Everytime speak of Burj Khalifa, the only thing that comes into my mind is Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol.

If you ever go to Dubai, you cannot miss this international iconic skyscraper. It is currently the tallest building in the world. Although you can't climb on the outer panels like Tom Cruise did, you can visit their observatory deck which they call At The Top.

The observation deck is not the highest point of the Burj. It is merely three quarter of the height. You can't enter the observation deck as when you like. They take in visitors by batches. Which is every 15 minutes. This is to ensure balance of weight up there and to control the crowd .

To make your trip easier, I suggest you purchase the entrance ticket online prior to your visit from their website http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/. I purchased my ticket online and able to choose the time which is convenient for me. Upon reaching the entrance, there's a ticket printing booth. All you have to do is to enter your ticket no. and ID. The machine will print out your ticket. How convenient...

The entrance price is pretty reasonable. For adult, it is AED125, which is about RM115.

You can also purchase your ticket directly at the counter at the entrance. There wasn't a long queue. However, you might not be able to choose the time of entrance as you like. The system is pretty much like how we buy movie tickets. It's first come first serve basis.

Once you collected the ticket, you are able to enter the lobby. This is where you wait for your entrance time. If you miss out the time, you might have to wait for the next entrance. Spend your valuable time at the lobby because most of the technical information is displayed here. There's also a beautiful illuminated replica model stood in the middle of the lobby.

The backdrop shows the list of the world's skyscraper. Somehow I feel proud that Malaysia made a mark in the list. Since other countries are building more skyscrapers, I think it is time Malaysia execute our 100-storey tower. What happen to the project?

I am half as tall as Burj! (the replica one).

Finally, when it's my time to go up, I had to go through a tunnel which displays LED media of the history of Emirates. It is tastefully done to walk you through how the country started as a dessert, and now it is home of the international community. If history lesson is done in this way in school, I'm sure everyone will enjoy the subject.

At the top... finally! And all I saw was...

Sand storm! What the hell....

I could only see up to 5km away. The rest of the view was blocked by mild sand storm. Quite disappointing. In case of sand storm, you are still able to see the view from the telescope panel that can be found everywhere. You have the option of day view, live view, night view or historic view of the place.

On the other side of the tower, the view is much nicer...

I'm not sure how to advise as whether it is worth a visit. I find the trip lack of attraction, in other words, quite boring. But since it is the tallest building in the world, I feel obliged to visit. I guess you have to go there yourself to decide if the trip is worth it for you. Well, if I ever go back to Dubai, I won't spend my time for another visit to Burj, other than shopping at the mall.

Feb 4, 2014

Penang Hill, Is It Worth The Visit?

There's a saying "You've NEVER been to Penang, unless you've been to Penang Hill"...

But if you're a tourist that has no idea what Penang Hill have to offer, is it worth a visit? Being a typical Penangite, Penang Hill is the last place for me to hangout. Nonetheless, it was quite a worthwhile trip for me (and my homies) because it's been awhile. It brings back so much memories, and everything I remembered are pretty much obsolete - there's no more mini roundabout at the bottom of the hill, the tram no longer run on cable and jerk every seconds. Let me show you my old photos taken in Penang Hill...

To spare you all the grandmother's story, let me go straight into the point:

You should visit Penang Hill if:

1. You have half day to spend. On peak period, the queue to get into the tram can be very long. But the view and cooling weather is worth the long queue if you have the time to spend. It feels really therapeutic to just sit down in the cafe, enjoying a cup of coffee while the breeze blowing gently.
2. You're planning to stay overnight on top of the hill. It's a great escape from the hot weather in Penang. The temperature on top is about 10 degrees cooler than the bottom.
3. You have visited all the tourist attractions in Penang and have no where else to go, this is the perfect spot to wind-up your trip. Take advantage of the panoramic view of the island, especially the stretch from Georgetown to the first Penang Bridge.

Recommended place for you to chill over a cup of coffee (or a meal with a bottle of wine)... David Browns Strawberry Hill.

The SkyTerrace is a bar for drinking, whereas the Restaurant serves full menu meal. It is so easy to spot this restaurant. As you walk out of the station, you will spot a terrace on your right:

Just walk up the staircase and it will lead you to the restaurant...

The food is good. It is edible to the standard of original Penangite, which makes it pretty good, in fact. However, you are warned that the price can be quite steep. A meal can cost up to RM60 for a simple main dish. And it cost RM38 for three rolls of spring rolls. That might shock you already. The price can be compensated with the priceless environment that you can't get anywhere else.

 If you are planning to stay overnight on the top of Penang Hill, there's only one hotel available - Bellevue Hotel.

The hotel might look a little small from the front porch, but the entire premise is pretty big. In my honest opinion, the hotel looks a bit run down. It has the 1980s feel attached to it. Something should be done on the upkeep of the hotel since it is the only hotel available in Penang Hill. Rates starting from RM300 for a standard room, that's not very cheap. 

There are other small tourist spots on top of the hill like Owl Museum, Monkey Cup Garden, Ginger Garden & Aviary and Penang Hill Museum. Separate charges applicable in some places.

You shouldn't visit Penang Hill if:

1. You're in Penang for a short trip. There are other places worth the visit. Don't spend your precious time lining up for the tram. As mentioned earlier, it might get crowded during peak time and you won't be able to estimate your time spent waiting.
2. If you have walking problem. There are a lot of steps and it is quite a long walk. Elders and some with walking difficulties might find a challenge getting around.

RM8 for the tram ticket two ways if you have Malaysian ID. 

My homies... while waiting for the tram..

I was so "jakun" in the tram. The last time I took the tram was using cable and it jerked every second. Right now, we have electric tram that works like a elevator!!!

Have you been to Penang Hill recently? If yes, did you enjoy your trip? If no, do you plan to go there soon?


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