Apr 19, 2014

Ha Long Bay Cruise Review... Overrated Trip

I had a lot of expectation before the trip because of the lovely photos I saw online with the junk boat cruising on the water. In reality, this is what we got...


The limestone is not as spectacular as the one in Guilin, China. And the commercial boats are everywhere on the water, spoiling the natural view.


Prior to boarding the boat, we had to go through a crowd of tourist. It was quite annoying and confusing at the same time.



The interior of the boat...



While on the cruise, random small boats will stop by next to it to sell fruits, food and vegetables. It  feels like those floating market in Bangkok. It makes me think how important this cruise is to the economy of their country.


As the cruise go beyond the gulf, the view becomes better with lesser boats on the water...



The cruise will stop by the local fishing village where you can pick and choose fresh seafood from the nest. The seafood can be brought to your cruise kitchen and the staff will prepare your lunch from the seafood you buy from the fishing village.


The last stop of the cruise is at Thien Chung Grotto. You can climb up the limestone cave to view the bay from above.





I feel the least excited to blog about this trip because I feel the Ha Long Bay Cruise is seriously overrated. I thought the view was going to be spectacular and breath-taking. Unfortunately, it feels like one of those typical tourist spot that receive too much hype than it suppose to get.


Nonetheless, if you've never been to Ha Long Bay, it is one of the obligatory trip. Without this trip, your visit to Vietnam is not complete.

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.

Location:
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.

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