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DiGi WWWOW 2014

THIS IS A STICKY POST

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I am no famous blogger or an expert in travelling or have had adventures while travelling around the world. No, I am not. But I make it a point to write about whatever adventures that I embarked on, as well as to write about whatever interesting places that I stumbled upon.

With that, I tried my luck in DiGi WWWOW 2014.

Here comes your part. If you like whatever I have been writing so far, or the photos, or the stories, or even if you don’t like this blog at all but you accidentally found it, please, please vote for me in DiGi WWWOW 2014.

Voting starts from now until 31st May 2014, after which the judges will determine who will be the winner.

I don’t have any hope at all since I am suck with popularity voting [Lol], but your votes matter to me. And voting can be done everyday, i.e. 1 vote per day. So, I would appreciate it a lot if you can vote everyday, every morning when you reach office or every night before you sleep. Hahaha.

To vote, click the logo below:

DiGi WWWOW 2014

For more info on DiGi WWWOW 2014, click here.

Abundance of thanks!

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Visit Malaysia: Farm in the City, Seri Kembangan

Virtual Malaysia 1st Blogger Gathering 2014“, read the email that I received from Virtual Malaysia, #1 Malaysia Social Travel Channel, the portal that I am collaborating with in conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2014. The location? Farm in the City at Seri Kembangan. The first thing I said in my mind when I saw the location was, “Yes, I am going to go for the gathering!“.

Entrance to Farm in the City.

Ticketing counter. They even have pony ride here!

This fox is camera shy.

Before the gathering, I have read about Farm in the City and saw a video of the farm on Virtual Malaysia. Honestly, before reading about it, I have no idea that such place exists and was surprised to know that it has been in operational since 2012! Though I did not really know where the farm is, the uniqueness of the place had made me all hyped when I knew that the gathering would be held there.

A dinosaur turtle they call this.

The feather is very nice!

On the morning of the gathering itself, I woke up early in the morning (although it was a Sunday and I NEVER woke up early on Sundays) and started to drive there. I used Waze to help me find my way since I had no idea at all where this Farm in the City really is. As I reached Taman Equine, I arrived at empty shophouses when suddenly Waze told me, “You have reached your destination“. I was like, what?! I only saw empty shophouses, so where is the farm?

The animals are allowed to roam freely.

Did I say, roam freely just now?

As expected, Waze is not 100% accurate. The place is actually around 1km further from where Waze told me. I parked my car, went straight into the entrance and registered my name there. I looked around and was surprised with the sights that I saw. Farm in the City really suits its name.

Feeding the giant goat. I was told that this particular one is put on lashes for safety purposes since it has started to have sharp horns.

The farm claims that this is the 2nd smallest kangaroo species in the world.

This farm is in the city, next to a highway. But surprisingly, it does not feel as such at all. The farm manages to incorporate the rustic village feeling inside the seven acres park. With names such as Kampung Mahmood, Longkang Fishing and a playground that has a swing attached to a tree, the park combines the elements of nature and wildlife set in a place that resembles a typical Malaysian kampong setting.

Orang-orang or scarecrow. Most children living in the city has never seen this first hand.

The bull. We can even feed this fella.

Instead of being a full-fledge zoo where large animals like elephants, giraffes and tigers are available, Farm in the City is more like a petting-zoo, where the largest animal available is maybe the bull confined in a gated zone and the dessert goat. Apart from those two animals, Farm in the City features animals like deer, small kangaroo, tortoises, and goats, among others.

The best place to let your children forget their i-gadgets.

A rooster standing proud.

The most interesting part of the farm is the fact that most of the animals are allowed to roam free and visitors can touch, feed and play with the animals. When I was there, I even fed the birds by putting the food on my palm. A few moments later, swarm of small birds flocked my palm and ate the food. It was fun not only for kids but also for adults alike.

Relive our childhood memories here.

It looks so comfortable, sun bathing in the farm.

So, if you think that your children are too attached to the iPad playing games, I guess this is the time to teach them to be one with nature at Farm in the City!

So…. adorable!

You can touch and play with the snake here.

Any place like this that you have been to at other parts of the world?

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To go to Farm in the City, drive along the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP Expressway) heading towards Putrajaya. After the second toll, exit at Seri Kembangan/Serdang exit. Turn left and at the first junction, turn right. Proceed to drive straight ahead until you meet a small roundabout. Exit at 3 o’clock. Farm in the City will be at the end of the road.

Opening Hours :

Weekdays 10.00am – 6.00pm
Weekend, School &Public Holidays 9.30am – 6.00pm

**Closed On Tuesdays Except During Public or School Holidays. [As of April 2014]

Price:

Adult Kids (below 12) 

Seniors (above 60) 

MyKad3025

25

Foreigner4838

38

**Family packages are available. [As of April 2014]

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I would like to personally thank Virtual Malaysia and Farm in the City for making the visit possible. Kindly note that all the contents are of my personal views. Please vote for this blog for DiGi WWWOW 2014 by clicking here!

Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 14: Wat Sisaket, Vientiane

Previously: Part 13 – A Peek on Vientiane

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Still Day 5: Friday, 30 August 2013

Whilst walking in the city, I saw a big signboard stating ‘Sisaket Museum’. I opened my Lonely Planet book and read that Sisaket Museum is an old Buddist wat in Vientiane. As such, my first stop for my unplanned walking tour in Vientiane was Wat Sisaket. I entered the main gate and it looked empty, apart from a few travellers from Italy (Yes, I interviewed them) who also thought that the wat was quite empty and quiet.

Masa tengah jalan-jalan tanpa arah tuju, aku ternampak signboard ‘Sisaket Museum’. Aku bukak buku Lonely Planet aku. Katanya, Muzium ni ialah satu wat Buddha yang tua kat Vientiane. Aku pun terus singgah. Gilerlah. Masuk-masuk, tengok sunyi je. Tak ramai orang pun. Selain aku, adalah 2-3 kerat pelawat dari Italy.

Sign of friendship.

Saw this and I said to myself: “I want to go in!”

There are two gates inside this wat, one is the main gate and another one is the gate to enter the wat’s compound. Since that gate was still closed, I wandered around the garden area. At the garden area, there are a lot of Buddha statues with one reclining Buddha statue. There is also a drum tower with a big drum on top of the tower apart from what looked like a stupa which was reclaimed by the wild before being found again by the French colonies.

Ada 2 pagar nak masuk dalam Wat Sisaket ni. Satu pagar utama yang aku masuk tadi, satu lagi pagar nak masuk kawasan wat. Sebab pagar nak masuk wat masih bertutup, aku jalan-jalan kat kawasan luar dulu. Ada taman kat sini. Ada patung Budhha yang kecil-kecil, Buddha baring, menara dram. Siap ada satu binaan macam stupa kecil yang dulu hilang sebab dimamah masa, tapi lepas tu penjajah Perancis jumpa, terus jaga elok-elok balik.

The gate to the wat was closed. So, I wandered at the garden’s area.

The sights of the garden.

This looks like a traditional Malay houses. Minus the dragon ornaments.

As I walked further, I saw several houses built by woods which looked almost exactly like kampong houses in Malaysia. I enquired one of the men there who told me that the wooden house is actually a monastery where most of the monks are living. It looked so peaceful with such houses in a traditional setting and I believed that the monks must have gotten their inner peace living here.

Aku jalan lagi dan nampak ada rumah yang diperbuat dari kayu. Nampak macam kat Malaysia pulak! Aku tanya seorang lelaki ni, dia kata tu tempat tinggal sami. Mesti tenang je duduk sini. Dahlah memang bandar ni senyap, duduk pulak dalam kawasan senyap macam ni. Kalau tak tenang tak tahulah kan. Hehe.

The man prayer hall. Wood carvings are aplenty in the wat.

When the gate to the wat was opened, I entered into the main compound of the wat together with a few other travellers. I looked around and realized that the design is almost identical to the temples in Thailand. My further readings made me understand that the Thai-Buddhist design had helped this wat from being destroyed by the Siamese attack in Vientiane in 1827 where the Siamese used this temple as a place for lodging.

Bila pagar ke dalam wat dah dibuka, aku pun masuk dengan pelancong-pelancong yang lain. Aku tengok sekeliling, design kat wat ni macam design wat kat Thailand. Bila aku baca lebih lanjut, rupanya memang betul pun. Dan design nilah yang selamatkan wat ni masa Thailand serang Vientiane dalam tahun 1827.

The cloister with the Buddhas.

Wat Sisaket is unique in its own ways. While most wats in Thailand used bricks and tiles, Wat Sisaket used a lot of woods in its construction. This has helped made this old Buddhist temple constructed in 1818 to look different from other wats. Another unique feature of the wat is a  cloister wall with has more than 2000 ceramic and silver Buddha statues.

Satu lagi, wat ni unik sebab dia banyak guna kayu. Memang banyak ukiran kayu, buatkan wat ni nampak lebih tradisional. Satu lagi, ada kawasan dinding banyak lubang, dalam tu ada lebih 2000 patung kecil Buddha yang dibuat dari seramik dan perak.

Looks so antique with many wooden features.

So calm and peaceful.

When I walked from one end to another, entered into the main prayer hall and stumbled upon a section which kept safe the relics of Buddha statute, I could feel the historical value of the wat. With an old stone carving like the Batu Bersurat Terengganu, it was an eye opener on how important it is to preserve the history and heritage of ours. It struck me that if places like this is not preserved, youngsters will know nothing about the history or culture of their own land.

Aku jalan dari satu hujung ke hujung yang lain, nampak batu bersurat lama dia, nampak betapa lamanya bangunan ni. Tiba-tiba, aku terfikir, macam mana kalau bangunan ni tak dijaga dulu? Macam mana kalau bangunan ni dimusnahkan? Tak ada monumen bersejarah untuk anak-anak muda belajar dan ambil iktibar dari peristiwa lama. Tak tahu tentang sejarah dan budaya sendiri.

Very detail wood carvings.

I wonder how long was taken to carve this wooden door.

After touring the whole wat complex, I was determined to see what else does Vientiane has to offer, since I believed that Vientiane is also rich with history.

Lepas habis pusing keliling, aku jadi bersemangat. Aku pasti banyak lagi boleh dilihat di sini. Bandar Vientiane ni mesti ada sejarahnya sendiri.

Statues of Budhha.

The stone letter.

Amazing architecture, indeed.

Do you think it is okay to let go of our historical places for development?

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To be continued – Part 15

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Wat Sisaket is an old Buddhist temple situated on Lan Xang Road, on the corner with Setthathirat Road. It is near to another attraction of Vientiane, the Haw Phra Kaew. Entrance fee for foreign visitors is 5,000 Kip [as of August 2013].

Visit Malaysia: Heading North

My mother is from Kedah, one of the states in northern Malaysia, bordering Thailand. Kedahans have their own dialect, but as compared to Kelantanese dialect, the Kedah dialect is still intelligible to most Malaysians. Situated at the northern part of Malaysia, personally I think that the weather is hotter there as compared to the Klang Valley. It is a different kind of heat though. While the Klang Valley is hot because of development, in Kedah, it is hot because it is just… hot.

Thick clouds but hot weather, sometimes you will be deceived by the thickness of the clouds.

One thing I love the most about my mom’s hometown is the travelling part. I think I have a keen interest on travelling because of this. Every year during Hari Raya or the Eid celebration, my family will be looking forward to the 400+ km journey on the road, along the North-South Expressway and sometimes, along the old trunk road. Ever since I was a little boy until the grown up man I am now, I am still looking forward for the trip up north.

Malaysia’s North-South Expressway, stretching 775 km across the Peninsula.

Although the journey is just for 400 km, the view offered along the way is awesome and splendid. Imagine, driving on the mountain range along the highway with deep lush forests on the left and right side, accompanying us throughout the journey. There is also a long tunnel that we have to pass through, one of the earliest road tunnels in Malaysia.

Beautiful clouds formation along the highway heading north.

I still remember, during my childhood days, when my siblings and I were asleep in the car, my parents would wake us up when we reached the tunnel. “Bangun-bangun, terowong! / Wake up, wake up, it is the tunnel!”. We would wake up, rub our eyes and jumped excitedly upon seeing the tunnel in front of our eyes. Back then, road tunnel were only available at the North-South Expressway (Menora Tunnel) and the Karak Highway (Karak Tunnel). That is why we were too excited to see one every year.

At dusk… the rail track running parallel to the highway.

Recently, a new road to my mom hometown was constructed. Instead of going further north, we would exit at the royal town of Kuala Kangsar (click here to see one of the oldest palaces in Kuala Kangsar) in the state of Perak, proceed to Gerik and end up in my mom’s hometown in Baling. I love this new road because of the view. Driving along the road in early morning, thick fog will be everywhere covering the mountains along the way. Greenery is everywhere. We would turn off the car’s air conditioner and feel the natural breeze of air.

I just love this view.

Sometimes, during this yearly trip to Kedah, my family will visit one of my bestfriends’ house in Changlun, a small town at the northern-most part of Kedah, close to the Thailand’s border. Here, we will be greeted by the lush greenery of paddy fields and clear bright skies. Train tracks running side by side with the highway and if lucky, the train coming from Kuala Lumpur heading to Hat Yai can be spotted. Even at dusk, the skies are beautiful here. Such amazing views.

Have you been to the northern part of Malaysia? Do you love the ambiance there?

Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 13: A Peek on Vientiane

Previously: Part 12 – Sabaidee, Vientiane!

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Still Day 5: Friday, 30 August 2013

I spent a night sleeping on the train from Bangkok to Nong Khai. In other words, I have not had my proper morning bath yet, though it was almost noon here in Vientiane. My initial thought was to sleep throughout the day and then on the evening, venture out to see what Vientiane has to offer. But it would be such a waste. So, although still tired and deprived from a quality sleep, I took a bath, wore a nice attire and went out on foot to explore the city.

Sebab aku tidur dalam keretapi je malam tadi, jadi aku pun rasa belengas sebab belum mandi betul-betul. Tadi, kat stesen Nong Khai mandi gitu-gitu je. Mulanya aku ingat nak tidur je sebab ngantuk sangat. Lepas tu, petang baru keluar jalan. Tapi, rasa rugi pulak. Aku pun pergi mandi, pakai baju elok sikit, lepas tu jalan kaki nak tengok apa yang ada kat Vientiane ni.

Walking to the cafe. The uncle in pink is a disabled man who prayed and tie a wristband to anyone who gave him money.

The first stop was the money changer. Money changers are aplenty in Vientiane as this is the capital city of Laos and I could see backpacking scene is also mushrooming. I exchanged my THB 500 to Kip, which I hoped could sustain my stay here. As I walked on the main street, I noticed that there were a lot of cafes, guesthouses, bars and restaurants on the main street near the riverside.

Tempat pertama aku pergi, pengurup wang. Ada banyak pengurup wang kat sini. Aku tukar THB 500 ke Kip lepas tu jalan-jalan. Sepanjang perjalanan, aku nampak banyak kafe, rumah tumpangan, bar, restoran kat kiri kanan jalan utama ni.

The entrance to the main library of Vientiane. The sign in French reads: The National Library.

I went to one cafe and ordered a cup of cappuccino and sat at the outside patio. Well, basically I was just trying to try and feel, how it feels like to be a foreigner in a foreign land, not working on a particular day and sipping coffee looking at the road, as what other foreigners did when they were in Malaysia. The feeling was awesome. Like a boss! Lol.

Aku pergi satu kafe kat sini dan order cappucino, lepas tu duduk kat luar, tengok-tengok orang. Saja nak tengok macam mana perasaan buat mcam tu. Selalu, Mat Salleh je buat macam tu kat tempat kita. Best jugaklah. Macam bos! Hahaha.

The library looks so run down.

From the cafe, I saw people walking on the tiled pedestrian walk. Cars were pushing their way through the small 2 lanes road and bicycles with travellers were in abundance. On the pedestrian walk, I saw one uncle sitting on the floor as if he was selling something. I focused on him when I saw a white guy bowed and sat in front of him. The white guy gave some money, the uncle said some prayers and put a wristband onto the guy’s wrist. Such an interesting sight for me.

Dari kafe tu, aku nampak ramai orang jalan kaki, naik kereta dan basikal. Sini macam pusat backpackers kat Vientiane, tu ramai sikit orang. Lepas tu, aku nampak sorang pakcik tua duduk atas tempat pejalan kaki. Ingat dia jual apa. Rupanya, dia macam minta sedekah tapi instead of tissue, dia bagi gelang. Ada seorang Mat Salleh ni bagi duit, dia doa-doa lepas tu pakaikan gelang kain kat lelaki Mat Salleh tadi.

Glad I noticed this signboard.

The road leading to the mosque.

Entrance to the mosque.

As it was a Friday, I then made my way to find a mosque at the area. Turned out, the main mosque was not far from the cafe, just a lane off the main road. I was not sure if this is the main mosque of Vientiane, but the lane leading  to the mosque was very bad. The mosque’s building has no amazing architectural design. It was designed and built in a simple manner, with high walls erected, technically separating outsiders from having a peek inside the mosque.

Kebetulan hari ni hari Jumaat dan aku pun nampak papan tanda masjid tak jauh dari kafe ni. Aku masuk ke dalam jalan nak ke masjid. Jalan dia, teruk giler! Masjid dia pun bukan jenis masjid untuk tarik pelancong. Memang simple je. Dinding dia pulak tinggi giler, dari luar memang tak nampak apa.

French is widely used here in signboards. Rue means street.

After the prayers, I continued walking along the street.

Lepas solat, aku teruskan perjalanan menjelajah kota ni.

More signboards in dual languages. Notice the quietness of the road.

Laos was a former French colony and although its citizens could not speak in French, the official signboards for roads and government offices were still being written in both Lao language and the French language. Although my ability to converse in French is very rusty, I could still understand several terms.

Laos ni dulu dijajah Perancis. Tak hairanlah banyak papan tanda guna dua-dua bahasa – Lao dan Perancis. Malangnya, bahasa Perancis aku dah berkarat giler. Adalah sikit-sikit vocab yang aku ingat lagi.

Just walk and walk…

So, I was shocked when I saw a building with the signboard stated National Library. I was shocked because while the building is a nice colonial building, it was not properly maintained and it looked dark and gloomy to become a place where knowledge is to be gain. Plus, it looked so small and from the look of it, I could say that there were not so many people inside the library.

Contohnya, bibliotheque untuk perpustakaan. Jadi, bila aku tau bangunan tu Perpustakaan Negara, aku terkejut. Bangunan dia cantik dah, bangunan kolonial, tapi tak jaga. Nampak gelap, suram. Kecik pulak tu. Aku intai-intai tengok tak ramai pun orang kat dalam perpustakaan tu.

That Dam or the Black Stupa.

I walked further and I saw a very black stupa at a roundabout. It attracted me to walk towards the stupa because while most stupas are located in a temple ground or are yellow-ish in colour, this one looked black and isolated here. I did read a sign and the stupa is called as That Dam or black stupa, which was already in existence since 1827.

Aku jalan lagi lepas tu nampak satu stupa hitam dekat bulatan jalan. Terus aku berjalan-jalan anak ke sana. Pelik giler. Biasa stupa warna cerah lepas tu dekat dengan tokong, ini kat tepi jalan je. Warna hitam pulak tu. Banyak pokok liar kecil-kecil tumbuh kat atas stupa ni. Aku cari info, dan nama stupa ni ialah That Dam atau Stupa Hitam. Sejak tahun 1827 dah wujud rupanya.

A single motorcycle waiting for the traffic light to change colour.

After taking several photos, I walked without any guide or map but just walked and walked. It felt so quiet here in Vientiane. Despite being the capital city of Laos, it was so laid-back and quiet. As I moving towards the centre, I could see that even the main road was not so busy.

Lepas ambil-ambil gambar, aku teruskan perjalanan tanpa peta, tanpa panduan. Main redah je. Tak rasa bahaya langsung jalan kat sini sebab sunyi giler jalan terutamanya bila lalu jalan utama nak ke kawasan pusat bandar. Rasa tenang je. Sangat-sangat tenang dan rileks.

Do you wish Kuala Lumpur (or your capital city) is more laid-back like Vientiane?

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To be continued – Part 14

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Vientiane is the capital city of Laos. Despite having dual-languages signage, most if not all Laotians can only speak in Lao. The handwriting of Lao is almost identical to Thai with slight differences. In fact, some people living in North-Eastern Thailand can read Lao.

#VMY2014 Instagram Edition: Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur

Hi there! This is a part of the series on Visit Malaysia 2014. In conjunction with Visit Malaysia 2014, we will post a photo from our Instagram account, @kairulizwan, which will give you an insight on Malaysia. Follow us on Instagram for more photos from a local’s view and come visit Malaysia, Truly Asia.

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Petaling Street at midnight.

Petaling Street is one of the oldest streets in Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps as old as the city itself. While being dubbed as the Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur, this street is famous for being one of the main street bazaars in Malaysia. Previously, hundreds of small umbrellas were set up to cover the traders from rain and sun. However, it is now covered by a permanent roof. This street is also famous for selling many cheap fake items such as designer bags and watches. One thing has not changed though – the scene of traders and buyers swarming the place during daytime. I had an opportunity to drive passed Petaling Street during one midnight and it looked totally different. Scarily empty and quiet.

Have you been to Petaling Street? What do you think of it?

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