Sunday, July 12, 2009

Driving to Kuala Krai

Whenever there is a chance, we would travel back to Kuala Krai, hubby's home town, we just love the 5 - 8 hours drive (on normal day and it can be 12 - 13 hours during heavy time). There's a few options...

1. Via Karak highway and exiting at either Bentong (2 exits) or Mempaga or Jerantut, then onwards to Raub (either via main road or Sg. Koyan), Kuala Lipis (can also access through Felda Kechau), Gua Musang & Krai....and the best time to take this route to Krai is 7 am at Gombak toll. This is the shortest, cheapest and fastest (5 hours) way, the only problem is between Kuala Lipis and Gua Musang....where you'll have to be extra careful with the road conditions, corners, hills and slopes. Buses and lorries dominate this route at night.

2. Via North South Highway northbound and exiting at Tapah / Simpang Pulai, onwards to Kg. Raja, Cameron Highland, straight on to Pos Brooke then Gua Musang. Gua Musang is about 2 hours from Cameron Highlands...there's one hot spring, jungles, cool weather and lots of vegetable growers along the way...just buy some. Once you reach Gua Musang, you can either take the route to Krai (East side of Sg Lebir) or to Dabong (West side of Sg Lebir). You can cross to either route at Jelawang (where you'll find Gunung Stong and Gua Ikan) or Jeli. I vote this is one of the scenic routes to Kuala Krai. The only thing to remember is to fill up your petrol at Simpang Pulai (we were low in petrol in Cameron Highland during one of the trips, too many case you are in the same problem, there's some emergency petrol stock at a Chinese temple near Tringkap).

Bharat Tea at Cameroon Highland

Hot Spring from Spg Pulai to Cameron Highland

Along Dabong route

Gua Ikan

Jelawang Waterfall, Gunung Stong

Faiz at Gua Ikan

3. Via East West Expressway, all the way to Kuantan, Dungun and Kuala Brang. From here you can either go East towards Kuala Trengganu (which you can then follow the seaside road up to Batu Rakit and Permaisuri) and move on northward towards Sg Tong, Jerteh and Pasir of the longest routes but you can enjoy the sea....or go West towards Kenyir Dam and then to Aring (you'll pass by Kuala Koh - another entrance to the National Park) and will connect you to Kuala Krai - Gua Musang highway. This is a new route and anyone would have to be careful.

Lepak at Pantai Batu Buruk

Gua at Bukit Keluang

Masjid Putih Terapung, Cendering

The famous Keropok Lekor at Losong

4. Via North South Highway northbound and exiting and Butterworth or Kulim or Kuala Kangsar, then head towards Grik and Jeli. Going through Kulim will bring you across Baling and Pengkalan Hulu (near border of Thailand)...can be interesting if you have the time. This is one of the longest routes. We normally follow this route when visiting relatives in Baling and Kulim.

One of our favourite routes is through Kuala Kangsar (good food at river side), Lenggong, Grik, Jeli, Tanah Merah, Krai...slow and steady will take the whole daylight to travel...but you need to enjoy the surrounding while you travel.

Lenggong is an exciting area....the Tasik Raban, the hills and caves...full of mysteries, nice water falls (we tried Lata Kekabu...very near to entrance, clear and fresh water..), the museum and the history....very nice indeed. And along the highway, it can get very cool and foggy at Titiwangsa rest area...if you're lucky, you'll come across elephants....just wait and be patience. Before you leave Perak, of course you'll come across Tasik Temenggor, Pulau Banding and Belum Forest..another awesome sight.

So there are many ways to Kuala can also reach Kuala Krai via train....there's a train station in Kuala Krai....or by bus from KL or other state capitals or KB....or by boat upstrea, the Kelantan river from KB (used to have this service during British) or a few other upstream kampungs...or helicopter (there are a few open fields)....or by small aircraft (there is a small air strip in Mengkebang, hardly used but has been used in the past even for emergency landing)...or by any other means you think suitable.

Sometimes I feel that there's so many nice places in Malaysia that we have not covered of which we need to discover, learn, understand & appreciate....we intend to continue to explore the nice little things that we call our own....we'll share more next time.

Happy travelling and go explore Malaysia

Sungai Congkak

We love rivers...especially those small ones with clear running water, those that you can see fish swimming by .... even better when there's a waterfall.... cool breeze, the sound of water, the kids laughter to the enjoyment.... sometimes, it's so sad to see our rivers polluted.... as if people don't really care, as if the river can treat itself, as if the river is gonna be there forever ... we have seen that rivers can disappear and never to return!!

River is very sentimental to me....I grew up enjoying what rivers could offer, I grew up watching how rivers deteriorated and disappeared.... so easy to destroy it and so hard to protect it. Who's responsibility is it to protect a river? Is it worth protecting anyway? Dead or polluted river means less clean water and less clean water means more trouble...

But where can you find river in Klang valley? Not the artificial ones (like Sunway Lagoon, Wet World or Desa Waterpark) ... I mean the original river. One of our favourites is Sungai Congkak in Hulu Langat.... there's a few rivers on that part of the world...but Sg Congkak to me is the best, not so big, reasonably clean water, combination of rocks, sand and roots, nice surroundings, long flat river basin..perfect for a short (or even over night) family outing.

Normally, we would take the route uphill from Ampang to Bt 14 Hulu Langat, then onwards to Sg Congkak...towards Pangsun. You'll pass by Malay kampungs...nice sweet corn and lots of fruit trees. You'll also pass by a small hot spring which flows into a river. Many KL people do cycling on weekends in this area.

We would normally go with a few families...the more the merrier, bring some food and a small love it when cooking is done by the riverside, choose the best spot...shady area, not too dangerous in terms of the terrain..then let the picinic begins!!!

It is our practise not to leave rubbish at our picnic spot... and we even clean up areas around our spot, say 10m around us.... you'd normally find plastics, polystyrene, paper packaging material, cans... but the worst is plastic, non biodegradable and they look ugly..sometimes in red, sometimes in yellow...

There is no doubt that rivers are very important to us human being... Allah always mention of rivers in heaven in the Al-Quran. So it is our responsibility to protect rivers..for us and for our future generations.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Kenyir Lake

Boat House - for fishing at Taman Negara

Recently the news that Kenyir Lake has monster fish ie Brazillian Arapaima... and the state Govt, is ready to pay RM 10k to sapa2 yg berjaya menangkap ikan Arapaima ini....suspen la jugak bila dikenang-kenangkan!!!

We've been there 3 times.... the largest man made lake in Malaysia, loved the place....the scenary, the tranquility, the sound of water, the waterfalls, the forest, the trees, the boat ride, the fish...the house boats...that is something unique.

The first time was when the two of us spent 2 nites at one of the hotels....not too bad except hard to get good food...we rented a boat for the whole day and the boatmen brought us for fishing, swimming at Lata Lasir and Lata Sauk...just the 2 of us, nak mandi bogel pun boleh!!! We saw hornbills, ikan kelah yg masih alive ...went to Taman Herba and had shots on Tongkat Ali (sangat pahit) and Kacip Fatimah (not too bad).

At that time, Arapaima never crossed my mind...once in a while ada jugak wild imagination on what lies beneath the deep, ada monster ka...once we had to stop in the middle of the lake to fill up petrol!! Scary jugak naik boat ni...lagipun I think that trying to stay afloat in a deep fresh water is harder than in salt water... so just be careful and make sure safety first.

The other 2 times we just went there for short stopovers ...just relaxed and took the boat ride to nearby places such as the Sauk waterfall, Taman Herba and those areas where banyak dead trees sticking out of the water.... sometimes you see the surface of the water is calm, just like a large shining mirror and sometimes the surface can be choppy if the weather is not good...important factor to consider when venturing into the outdoors.

What we also do is have lunch at a good restaurant... ikan kelah (Malaysian Masheer or Borneo people call them Empurau)...RM 80 per the lunch would normally cost us > RM 100... but its just worth it! Ada 2 places, one is at the junction to Kenyir Dam and the other one (the one that we normally go to) is 1 km before Kuala Berang from Kenyir.... you've got to try that fish.

Variety of ikan sungai...delicious!

The price per kilo

The famous ikan sungai restaurant in Kuala Berang

Ikan Kelah

Normally we would go to Kenyir from Krai...either via Pasir Putih (from north of Kenyir) or once we tried via Aring, Gua Musang (west of Kenyir)...that is a new road, can be another interesting route...very refreshing early in the morning but careful of the animals, esp the elephants.

Yeap...Arapaima can be scary, but there's so much more in Kenyir, that part of the world... ensure safety first and the rest make sure you enjoy yourself.

Air Terjun Lasir

Air Terjun Sauk

Tasik Kenyir

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Half day Family Outing ~ Sg Klah Hot Spring

What can you do with your family for a half day??? Too short?? Let me tell you one of our most favourite half day outing program....Sg Klah hot spring, Sungkai, Perak. We've been there couple of times. Wifey took two bus loads of her colleques there, one of their trips under the sports' club.
What we normally do is that we leave Gombak early in the morning, say 7 am, just nice after Subuh...we bought some tapau breakfast, normally our favourite nasi berlauk....we'll stop by Rawang for the makan. We'll then continue the drive to Sungkai exit, turn left and you'll see the sign towards the place....we should reach Sg Klah around 8.30 - 9 am.

Get the tickets....then go in and park your car. Normally we'll go for celup kaki, masak telur and mandi di sungai air suam...very nice for kids. But before that, we normally go and book a family spa from 11 am - 12 noon. Once dah puas...we'll move to the cold water pool...the slide and the octopus!! Kids would go crazy here...the ladies would normally proceed to the family spa where they can let loose.

By 12 noon, everyone must be damn hungry...we normally have small snack at the cafe before we leave. Leave for home???? Not yet...we'll then drive south to Tg Malim for a very nice lunch. Andrea Restaurant....small wooden shop, but people already que up before the shop even open at 1 pm...the only restaurant in Malaysia where you can see such a demand!!

The food is just unbelievable...rendang ayam kampung is out of this world, name it..they are all very good. They don't serve vege, just mixed sayur rebus and sambal belacan, yummy.

Finally we'll stop to buy frozen pau to bring home...we'll reach home at about 3 pm, enough time for Zohor and enough time to cool off, sit back and relax.

Try it and you will not regret for the restaurant, be there on time...1 pm, otherwise long que.... Bye-bye

Kolam air bukit....nice and cool

Tempat delup kaki...real hot!

Kolam air panas...suam-suam kuku!

Tempat rendam kaki, panas giler...

Tempat paling panas, boleh rebus telur

Kids love this...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Egyptian Rendezvous ~ June 2008

I'd like to put up stories about our past travels....perhaps the tales can be a guide to others....bak kata Mrs Nordin. Well I'll start with our short Egyption Tour in 2008 ie on our way to do our umrah.

First long distance travel with the whole the maid!! (well...she has been with us for the the last 11 years). What a challenge.... the distance, the group, the time zones, the many things to consider, planning was so crucial.

It was June 2008 school holidays, our travel path brought us from KL to Mumbai to Cairo to Alexandria to Cairo to Jeddah to Madinah to Mecca to Jeddah to Cairo to Mumbai and finally back to KL...took us 2 weeks to cover that distance! Fisrt time flying Egypt air....not too bad.

Why Egypt??? Hey...why not, so much history there, so many things to see, very old city...prophet Moses, the pharaohs especially Firaun (Ramses II), King Tut (Tutankhamun), the pyramids, the Sphinx, the Red Sea, the Nile, Al Azhar, the Egyptian pound, bazaar Al-Khalili, the Mamluks, the Catacombs, belly dancers, the carpets, the papyrus, the perfumes, the neighbour of Palestine...just not enough time to cover all.

Overall it was really good and nothing too complicated to handle except for....maid sangkut at Cairo airport (Thai nationals hard to enter Egypt), kids demam sikit2, the heat, the jet lag, altitude sometime caused minor irritations, Egyptian breakfast...tak sedap!! But why complaint...just make the best of what you have!!

If you are visiting Egypt, enjoy much to see, just take note's not a rich Muslim country, not so modern and not so clean and not so disciplined people, you need to buy drinks in restaurant (tak boleh bawak sendiri), people around Al Azhar & Al Khalili knows Malaysia and knows Bahasa Melayu...that shows a really long bond between Al - Azhar & the Malay world.

We did our umrah after the Egytian rendezvous....first umrah for many on our trips.

No place is's only you yourself who can make it fun, make it work, make it memorable.

Roof top of Delta Pyramid Hotel, Giza

By the Mediterranean sea, Alexandria

Dini at Citadel
Us at the Spinx, Giza

The boys at Giza Plateau

At Bazar Al Khalili and Al-Azhar Mosque

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tengok Wayang...The Movies!

We needed to rest...badly need a rest, a damn good has been a very2 hectic few weeks. So I thought we'd just stay at home and do nothing... of course apart from sending the kids for tuition and buying rations for the house and doing some community work and entertaining guests and blogging and watching movies....sound like 'nothing' at all??

Well the boys (and the parents themselves) have been reminding the parents of these 2 summer movies 'TRANSFORMERS' and 'ICE AGE 3'... we love movies, so the mom bought the tickets (Pavillion is near her office ma...) for both movies!! Transformers was slotted for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon allocated for Ice Age 3... what a movie packed weekend!

Thought it was worth it though..excellent movies, very entertaining...the kids loved them (parents lebih lagi...), thought Ice Age was very funny and Transformer had lots of actions... I personally prefer Ice Age... that sloth which tried to get some milk from the yak... that was hilarious!!

But above all, most important, we could spend good quality times together....

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Orang Malaysia

Kami orang Malaysia... sudah beratus tahun di sini. Keturunan2 sebelah isteri melunjur ke Sumatera & Thailand manakala saya pula berselirat sekitar Thailand, Arab dan India... lakar keturunan banyak dipengaruhi perkembangan politik, ekonomi dan sosial pada masa2 itu... kami juga ditemukan setelah polisi kerajaan yang menggerakkan manusia merentasi Banjaran Titiwangsa, merentasi Laut China Selatan...Timur bertemu Barat.

Kita perlu ambil tahu siapa kita, siapa saudara dekat kita, di mana kampung2 kita..moga dengan blogging impian ini bisa dicapai.

Wifey and Makcik Rahmah at her home in Mekah

Mokcik Rahmah's house in Khansah area

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Travelog: Umrah Trip ~ 14 June to 25 June 2009

Earlier this year my grandma mentioned about performing umrah and to cut the story short, a team of 5 people was selected to take her there. Hubby, my two elder brothers and my uncle was part of the team and our mission was to bring her there and return home in one piece. Quite a challenging task! Alhamdulilah all went well although there were minor hiccups here and there. Biasalah, my grandma is already 90 years old and she is consider strong and fit for her age.

In Madinah, we decided to get a wheel chair for her. After all, there were four gentlemen with us. At least save her the trouble of walking to the Masjid Nabawi and spare her energy to perform ibadah. It was a good decision although with resistance at the instance. All went well in Madinah until we checked in our hotel in Mekah. To our surprise, the four gents were cramped in a room meant for two! I was lucky to share a room with my grandma. We were fortunate that hubby's good friend in S**R works in one of the hotels there which is just opposite Haram. Another decision was made where my grandma and I moved into the new hotel to allow our room to be occupied by the two gents. That was I thought the best decision we made over there, all for the sake of our grandma.

My only hope is that her wish to perform umrah has been fulfilled and we have tried our best to make that happened. Thanks Tok for giving us the opportunity to bring you there. Semoga apa yang telah kita kerjakan selama berada di tanah haram Madinah dan Mekah diterima oleh Allah swt. Our sincerest thanks goes to U*cl* for all your help throughout our unforgetable stay at Al Safwah. Hanya Allah swt sajalah yang dapat membalasnya.

Grandma and me at Al Safwah

View from Al Safwah

Best photo taken in Masjidil Haram

At Mok Su's house at Ajyad, Mekah

At Mokcik Rahmah house at Khansah, Mekah with Makcik Halimah

Grandma with U*cl* and the team

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