Sunday, 26 November 2017

Relaxing Weekend in Sihanoukville Day 1

Sihanoukville was a place I had never heard of until Air Asia started to advertise about their new flights there.  A quick google showed blue skies, white sand and crystal clear waters.  I was tempted.  I wanted to go somewhere that no many people had been nor heard of.  Something different.  

I've never visit Cambodia before.  Always wanted to go there but never got around to do so.  So I was happy that with this trip I was able to visit a new country.  The flight to Cambodia was short.  The flight only took 1 hour 20 mins.  Just nice for a weekend getaway, which is what my friends and I planned.  A short, 3 days 2 night trip as my friend E said, there is nothing much there anyway.  So 3 days and 2 nights is just right.  Just so you know....this decision was not wise.

The flight there was short and sweet.  When we reached the Sihanoukville airport, the skies were clear and the sun was shinning.  We were worried that the gloomy, rainy weather may had followed us to Sihanoukville.  The airport was a tiny airport that only had another aeroplane on the tarmac besides the one we came on.  So you can imagine how small and quaint it was.  All was fine until we got off the plane and entered the airport from the tarmac. It was total chaos.  No clear directions on where the lines were and we just stood in a line that nobody was sure it leads to the immigration or elsewhere.  The local immigration opened up another line and I was pushed aside as the local pushed thorough and started to pick their luggage which was just by the immigration.  It was odd.

Eventually I found myself in a line that I led me to the Visa line, which is not the line I should be on.  My friends H & E was in another line behind me and with the crowd of locals behind me I had to keep on moving.  It was funny because then when I reached further up I just hop to so-called line.  There were no visible lines.....just group of people moving to the front.  

My friend H spotted an immigration office with a counter empty.  So she just went to the counter and he proceed to stamp her passport.  It was funny how he was just sitting there minding his business with the crowd of people waiting, not sure where to go.  Anyway we go through the immigration easy enough.  So it was a little weird but it was OK.

Once we went out we saw a booth for taxis.  I think it is a flat rate to any hotels as when we asked, he just showed us a ticket slip that states that it was USD20.  On the hotel website they had also stated that it cost USD20 for a taxi and USD15 for a tuk tuk.  Since there was 3 of us, we just decided to take the taxi.  More comfortable.

The journey to the hotel from the airport was only about 20 minutes.  Some parts of the roads were smooth and some parts there had massive pot holes on the road.  And like in Philippines, the drivers honks a lot but unlike in Malaysia where most honk because of frustration, it was just a friendly honk to tell the other drivers to either make way or so make sure the other drivers see them.  Friendly kinda honk, if you know what I mean.

When I booked my hotel, I wasn't sure about it.  I opted for Otres 2 instead of Serendipity beach.  With what little I can gather online Serendipity is more like a party beach and Otres is a more laid back beach.  I read that the beaches in Otres were cleaner compared to Serendipity.  I cannot voucher for that as when I went to Serendipity it was dark and it was totaly not my scene.  I am glad I picked Otres beach.

The hotel I picked was Ren Resort.  I am so glad I picked this hotel.  It looks exactly like the photos on their website and the service was excellent.  Since there was 3 of us, I reserved the room with an extra bed.  The room that was given to us was big and the funniest part was the shower has a glass that looks straight into the bathroom.  This is not the first hotel I had stayed in with only clear glass separating the bathroom and the bedroom but i still find it weird.  Of course there is a roman curtain that we can use to block but it is still weird to me.

The spacious room with 2 sofas.

Without the blinds, my friend E, who slept on the roll out bed could had a clear view of whoever is in the shower.
The best part about this hotel was that the wifi signals were awesome.  Even as we were checking in at the reception, the hotel staff gave us a tiny slip of paper with the password of the wifi in the hotel. They have a few wifi names and all of them use the same password.  This is to ensure that we truly have wifi connection wherever we went in the small hotel.  At the restaurant they had a wifi named Ren Restaurant, then on the beach, which was like 2 steps away.  It was nice to not to have to worry about internet connection at all.

 After we had checked in, we went to the room and drop off our bags.  Then we went down to the hotel restaurant which was on the beach.  I have to admit, the view was awesome and it was truly a relaxing lunch.  I tried my frist Khmer food, which was Fish Amok.  It was delicious.  Very creamy and taste a little like Otak Otak and it was yummy.  Loved it.

Fish Amok

This was our view while we had our lunch.

We walked the beach after our meal, just to check it out.  However it was very sunny and we were all kinda sleepy due to the fact that we had to wake up pretty early be able to have a decent breakfast and catch our flight.  So walked half way and then went back to the hotel to take a short nap.  The bed was so comfy and before we knew it, we were all sleeping.  H had told us that she will set the alarm for 5pm so that we can have some time to freshen up and catch the sunset.  Well we slept till almost 6.  Apparently H had set her alarm for 5am.  We nearly missed the sunset, well I did.  E and H were determined to catch it and rushed out of the room.  I slowly walked down to the beach and caught the last remaining sun set.  

We checked some of the island hopping option and found that if we wanna go to Koh Rong, we will catch the ferry or a bigger boat and it cost USD22 per person, I think.  But we had an option to just visit the 3 nearest island which was USD15 per person or rent the whole longtail boat for USD60.  For an extra USD5 each, we will have our own boat and we can have our own sweet time.  We decided to just rent the whole boat which was a great choice.  The three islands that we were going are Kaoh Tres, Kaoh Chanloh and Kaoh Takeiv.  

I have to say there was nothing much to do there as it is truly a relaxing place.  Some might find it boring, but we loved it.  For dinner we decided to go into town.  Decided to catch the Tuk Tuk down and it cost USD7 one way.  Apparently if its in the day time, it only cost USD6 but once its night time price changes.  Initially we were wondering why, then when we were on the Tuk Tuk, we understand why.  The roads are dark and when there are no building or houses, it is totally dark and really bumpy ride.  I guess it does takes some skill to drive on a bumpy road in total darkness.  We gladly paid the extra dollar.

This restaurant was recommended  by the hotel staffs.  The name of the place was Sardan restaurant.  It is a training restaurant where they train young teenagers some life skills.  All the waiters were young teenagers and the older ones are their teachers, as it states on their tee shirts.  It is an interesting concept and we can see the kids learning how to pour wine the correct way, to serve the food with proper silver ware.  The food there was amazing, however I kinda forgot the names of the dishes.  Sorry.  Was too hungry to take any decent pictures and I forgot the names of the food.  But we tried most of their Khmer dishes as they stated in the menu.  Food was delicious and the service was excellent.  Like in the hotel, they immediately told us the password of their wifi without asking.  

After dinner we walked around the town looking for a supermarket.  E wanted to buy some local junk food to bring home to Malaysia.  However all they had were small convenience stores and Chinese or Taiwan supermarket which was something not very authentic.  But they did sell some local beer and we decided to buy a can to try it.  It only cost USD0.50.  So cheap and water, it seems to cost more.  We also noticed that there were a lot of hotel casinos in town.  We did not enter any of it as we are not much of a gambler and also gambling in USD is just too expensive for us.

The was pretty much what we did on the first day.  I think I rambled a lot and I do hope this helps.  I am trying to get share as much info as I can.  I will try to write Day 2 as soon as I can. Till then...Aloha.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Wonderful Weekend Vacation With Friends.

I just got back from a short, but awesome vacation with 2 of my girlfriends.  After months of deadlines, stock takes, audits, VIP visits and lots of meetings, I am finally done with all of it for the year, except for a VIP visit next week, which I am not too worried about.  This was a trip that I was really looking forward to and I have to admit, it was kinda like the light at the end of the tunnel where after all these busy months, I will finally get to relax....a little.

When I told my colleagues and friends that I was going to Sihanoukville, they all asked the same question.  Where is Sihanoukville?  What is there to do in Sihanoukville? Is it expensive to go there? And how the heck did I know about Sihanoukville?  To be honest, I never knew this place existed and I only came across it when I saw Air Asia was offering flights to go to Sihanoukville.  It was when discussing about cheap flights to go places, one of my colleague told me to go to Sihanoukville first and tell him if it was nice.  To be honest, the name just kinda stuck in head.


It was about a week later one of my girlfriends commented about how cheap the flights were to go to Sihanoukville.  A quick googled showed photos of white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters.  I was curious and I knew if Sihanoukville is as beautiful as in the pictures I saw online, it would be a matter of time before it becomes over crowded and over commercialized as more and more people hear about Sihanoukville.  Not mention that the flights would probably be expensive too.

So on a spur of the moment I suggested to my girlfriends to take a short weekend trip there.  In the past it was very hard to get all our dates aligned and go on a trip together.  It would had taken us ages to decide and plan the trip however, this time around, on the dates that I had picked, everybody was free. Decision were quickly made and we booked the tickets on that same night.  We booked it on the last day of the Air Asia promotion for flights to Sihanoukville and we not only managed to get the dates we want, we also got a pretty good deal on it.  Round trip tickets to Sihanoukville was RM254 each.  It was a steal.

So we bought the tickets in May, so we had 5 months to wait before we could go on vacation.  Like I said earlier, the trip to Sihanoukville was like the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  The five months was hectic and I was crazy busy with work.  Same went to my friends.  We didn't really have time to research on what to do there.  All we knew was that we would be spending time on the beach and relaxing.

To be honest as the dates came closer, we started to google about Sihanoukville and I noticed that there were not much info on Sihanoukville.  Most of the info I got were on budget backpackers who wrote about the budget hostels and the bar scene in Sihanoukville.  Most spoke about how Sihanoukville was just a stop before going to other more interesting towns or how cheap the drinks were in Sihanoukville.  While I do appreciate reading about their thoughts and experiences there, but that was not the information I was looking for. 

I  found blogs writing about how dangerous it was in Sihanoukville and it was not safe to stay there.  I have to admit, as I started reading these more and more of these blogs, I was getting apprehensive and was worried what I had dragged my friends into.  They wrote about how the locals would repeatedly telling them to be careful of their surroundings and to guard your bags and phones as it would targets for pickpockets, snatch thief and robbers.

There were some blogs that wrote about how beautiful the beaches were and friendly the locals were and how delicious the food was.  But most of the blogs that wrote that were several years old and I really don't know if it was something I would really trust as it was several years old and the more recent ones write about how dangerous it was to go there and also how awesomely cheap it was to get drinks there.  I was not sure which ones to believe and it did got me worried.  So I read more and more about the things to do from what little articles and blogs that were wrote about Sihanoukville, ignoring the nagging voice in my head telling me that perhaps we should cancel the trip.

But I am glad we didn't.  We all had fun and regretted that we only planned 3 days for this trip.  Since there were not much info on Sihanoukville online, I will try to share some of the info I have about Sihanoukville.  Next post I will write about the hotel, the food and the wonderful beaches.  So stay tuned.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

It has been a while....

Not too sure if anyone is even reading this but it has been a a while since I last posted.  I had been wanting to post again earlier this year but I can't remember which gmail account did I use to open this blog.  And I also don't remember password.  And guess what?  All this while, the gmail account and the password was stored in my phone.  I didn't know it.  

A lot had changed since I last wrote and I am not sure if anyone is reading this blog but its just something I felt I needed to do.  I quit my job from that miserable company and found myself a great new job.  I had since moved to Kuala Lumpur, where I was able to reconnect with my old friends and was even able to make new friends, which is totally awesome.  

Why awesome, you ask?  Coz I find making new friends when you when you start working at a new company is tough.  Most of them have their own friends and is already with their own so-called squad.  Yet I managed to make friends in the company.  Some good and some....lets just say not too good.  The one person I started to hang out more with was J.  Gotta say, J is awesome and we had even gone travelling together, which is good coz from my past experience, finding a good travel buddy is hard.  

I had also been travelling, although not as much as I wanted.  I had just finally, after almost 2 years in KL, settled.  So I am trying to travel as much as I could.  With what limited resources that I have, I will try to travel more.  

The highlight of my year was when I went to Cebu, Philippines.  I had never been to the Philippine before and I am happy to go somewhere new.  I loved it there.  I enjoyed myself and I also pushed myself to do things I was not comfortable with.  I also learn that some people never change and they are either oblivious to all the signs that we give them or just couldn't care less.  

I will post more on my trips on my next post.  I am so happy that I finally got my blog back.  Till next time....Aloha!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

I miss Korea.

I got back from Korea a couple days ago and I hate it.  I miss Korea and I keep thinking about my next trip there.  Although I did tell myself next more Korea. Don't know how long I can keep that promise to myself.  I need to go other place and enjoy other cultures. 

Anyway I was going to post some of the gorgeous photos of Korea, however most of the photos are in my friend's camera and I have yet to get it from them.  Still waiting....  Well I will write more once I get the photos.  Till then....aloha!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Aloha from Busan

I am finally back in Korea. This time I arrived in Busan first before going over to Seoul in a couple days. It has been 18 months since I was last in Korea. In fact it had been 18 since I've had a proper vacation. 

Busan is very different from Seoul. Where Seoul was the more sophisticated and elegant city, Busan I find it more down to earth and very different from Seoul. Although I had only a very small piece of Busan so far, I do know that in Busan, things are different.

We had a slight disagreement with a restaurant vendor who refused to serve us because we were a big party. Their excuse was that they had no table.  I could see that there were empty tables but yet they turned us down. Which was very weird. This is the first I had ever encountered such restaurant. Most restaurants would welcome us not refuse us. So we went to another restaurant which sells the same stuff as the other restaurant did. We enjoyed ourselves and the food there. Absolutly delicious. I love how they fried the pollack fish. Yum!

Right now my friends are taking a short nap to catch up on their sleep and I am contemplating if I should just go out and see the neighboring streets by myself. 

Well that is about it. I will write more about the Guesthouse and the other stuff later when I return back to Malaysia. Till then just a little snippets while I am on the road. Till next time byeeeeee. ....

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Smart Shopping in Korea....I hope.

Each time I go to Korea, I will buy massive amounts of cosmetics and bring it back to Malaysia.  While buying it, I tell myself that I will make myself use it, and not waste it by leaving it in there, in the box, till it expires.  (Apparently there is an expiration dates even on cosmetics.  Learn that the hard way.)  I told myself that I will take time out of my busy schedule to put the mask on or put on the moisturizer before I go to bed.  

I guess I can say that initially I did try.  But after a while I kinda got lazy and as time goes by, I stopped using the Laniege Water Sleeping Pack or the expensive Snail Mask or the tomato lotion that swears to lighten your skin for at least 24 hours.  The only things that I used were the Hello Kitty socks, the Laniege face cleanser and the BB cream.  A waste, I know. 

So this time around I plan to be smart about it.  I am not going to go crazy and listen to whatever the sales person tell me and buy all the cosmetics products they recommended.  I will shop smart.  Buy lots of face cleanser and BB cream. (Tried CC cream, it just does not suit my skin)  Also I need to buy a darker tint for my BB cream.  Each time I ask for the darker tint of BB cream, the sales person will be shocked.  Then they will tell me that the lighter tint will brighten my face. brighten it all right.  My face looks fairer than my neck. So then I had to use BB cream on my neck to blend it in.  Argh!!  Each time I give in to the sales person and buy the lighter tint.  I am weak, I know.  No matter how much brightening or whitening cream, I am never going to be as fair as the Koreans.  And I am OK with it.  So this time around, I will remember to as for a slightly darker tint of BB cream.

The last time I was in Korea, Etude House in Myeongdong was have some kinda sale.  Almost everything in the all the Etude House was buy one free one.  It was only for the Etude House in Myeongdong.  Elsewhere like in Dongdaemun, didn't have the same deal.  As you can imagine I bought a lot.  This time around, I checked.  No sales at Etude House or any other Korean cosmetic brands.  I still have 13 days.  Hoping that when I get to Korea, there will be some kinda sales.  Fingers cross.

For those who are reading to research about the cosmetics in Korea, I do have some advise for you.  I can't advise you on what cosmetics to buy, coz even I don't know.  I just buy whatever my friends or the sales person recommends.  But I can help you save money. 

Do not buy Laniege Water Sleeping Pack or any Laniege products from the Laneige store in Myeongdong or where ever else you see it.  The best deal is to buy it at the duty free store.  I always go to the Lotte Departmental Store in Myeongdong.  On the 10th floor of the departmental store (I think its 10th.  Not too sure.  If not sure just ask around) is the Duty Free floors.  For the past 2 times I was in Korea, I bought my Laneige there.  It's cheaper than at the Laniege store in Myeongdong.  Both times my friends and I, bought 24 bottles to be shared among us.  Apparently if you buy 12 bottles or more, you will get an extra 5% off the price.  So we all got together and bought 24 bottles.  After calculations, each bottle was about RM48.  Very cheap, right?  Compared to the price of Laneige Water Sleeping Pack in Malaysia, which is about Rm100, I think.  However bare in mind that Rm was much higher last year compared to the rates now.  But even so, I still think it would be way less than RM100.

However the extra 5% is only for the Water Sleeping Pack, since it is their best seller.  However before going to Korea be sure to print out the 5-10% discount voucher to be used at the Lotte Duty Free.  I have to admit, I didn't even know about it till now.  So I plan to print a couple of the vouchers and use it there.  Last time I was there, they gave an extra 5% discount if I used my Visa card.  Not too sure if I could also use the 5% discount voucher on top of the 5% discount.  Would be great if it did.

While walking to Lotte Department Store, I checked out the Etude House if there were any sales.  They were having the Buy one get One free sale.  While the Etude House products were cheaper at the Lotte Duty Free on normal days, but with the sale, buying it at the Etude House store in Myeongdong was cheaper.  And I can also get a tax rebate at the airport for my purchases.  So the key is to look around first and then buy.  Don't just go buying it when you first see it.  Also if I am not mistaken, the Etude House stores give more samples than the Duty Free Store.  And in case you are wondering, Yes, I love Etude House.  Their product suits my skin and its cheap.

So the key is to look around a bit.  Even when you go to Dongdaemun and you see a cute tee that you just have to get.  There are so many other stall and also other shopping mall.  Take your time and see.  My friend, H bought this really cute top for 20,000 won.  She wore it the next day and really loved it.  So on our last night we went to Dongdaemun again coz she wants to get it another one.  We went to a different mall and saw the same exact top for only 10,000 won.  It really pissed her off.  So while when we are on vacation we are some times, a little pressed for time, but we can also try to relax a little.  

That is why H and I, love to go to Dongdaemun at midnight, since the place opens till 5am.  Which is totally awesome!  Instead of sleeping, we went shopping.  On our last night in Seoul, we went to Dongdaemun  and shopped till 3am.  Although I do feel bad sometimes when I have to wake the ahjumma up to ask for the price of the item.  But it was great coz when we got back to our hostel, we showered and and got ready to go to the airport to catch our flight back to Malaysia.  Since I didn't get any sleep the night before, I actually slept the whole time on the flight back to Malaysia.  Close my eyes when I was in Seoul, opened my eyes and I am back in Malaysia.  

The next things I am going to buy is socks!  I am going to buy a lot of socks from Korea.  Each time I go there I will buy lots of the cute Hello Kitty or any cute cartoon socks.  It's cheap and I love the prints.  There are 3 types of socks.  There are cheaper ones that are 500 won, which is about RM1.60.  Have random cute cartoons on it.  I have never bought them, so I am not sure about the quality.  The ones I bought were the 1,000 won. (RM3.20).  Quality is not bad but after a while the socks will loosen.  Last trip, I bought a few of the 1,500 won socks.(RM4.80)  Those socks are a little better quality and it last longer than the cheaper ones.  I guess you get what you paid for.  While I don't mind the 1,000 won socks, I think I will try to buy a few 1,500 won socks too.  I guess technically, I'm not telling you how to save money on buying socks but just giving ideas? 

OK, enough of my crazy ramblings.  Writing about Korea is making me more excited about the trip.  Can't wait to go away for a week and forget about work and just enjoy myself. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section.  Till next time byeeeee....

Saturday, 25 October 2014

I am still ALIVE!!!

So much for my new year resolution of keep up my blogging.  Seriously I have no idea where all the time went coz one minute I was reminding myself that I need to write something on my blog, the next thing I know its 10 months later and I just suddenly thought of my blog.  How weird is that?

So perhaps I will try once again to write some of my random thoughts and random whatever in this blog.  My friend LN says a blog is a good place to keep my thoughts so after a while, I will read what I had written, and probably agree that I was a total ass. Well the ass part was my thought, but you get the gist.

The main reason I started to think about the blog was because I am going to go on my yearly trip to Korea soon.  In about 2 weeks time, in fact.  It's not supposed to be a yearly trip.  It was supposed to be yearly trip to anywhere but Korea...but I just couldn't do it.  I had to go back there again.  Korea is a place I find myself very comfortable with.  I don't know why.  Perhaps the people, the place or the food.  I just love it there.  Weird I know, but I can't help it.

I had decided if I do go back to Korea again next year, I will go on other trips too.  Not one grand trip a year and I spend the year waiting for the trip.  This time around we are going in the Fall coz I am determined to see the foliage.  Never seen it before and I wanna see it.  Experienced snow, summer and spring.  But not Fall.  So I do hope I get to catch the Fall foliage.  But with my rotten luck with the whole mother nature thing, I might end up looking at bare trees when I get there,  Foliage over and all I see bare trees and freaking cold. 

This time around I am going with a whole new group of friends.  LY and J is coming along, of course and 2 other new friends, MC and PC whom I had become friends with over the course of these few months.  I had traveled on short trips with LY and J. We were in KL for a long weekend, spend our time eating most of the time.  We got along great and they are great fun to hang out with.  They are very different from me and I think it is very good.  From LY I learn to be more organized.  Well can't say I had mastered it, but I am trying to be more organized.  

For the KL trip LY planned out the itinerary for each day.  While we didn't follow 100% of the itinerary, but it was always good to know what to expect next.  She would have the numbers of the place we wanted to go and operating hours of the the locations we were headed to.  It was amazing. While most of the time when I travel with H, we were fly by the seat of our pants kinda girls.  Always last minute changes and we just randomly plan out the itinerary. Both of us were not good planners.  

But for this trip to Korea, LY made an itinerary for every day of the week we are there.  She had the address, the operating hours and the entrance fees all calculated.  It was amazing.  There were excel sheets emailed back and forth between LY, J and I, with various alterations in the itinerary.  Yes I learn something. 

With J, she is like the treasurer of our group.  She normally handles the money aspect of any trip we go on.  Each time we go on our foodie outings, shes the one that keep tracks of the expenses.  Something that I am never good at.  I am learning so I try to keep track of all my expenses.  So far I am not succeeding coz I am bad at it.  But I do try.

MC and PC are my colleagues and they are way younger than LY, J and I.  I am pretty nervous about having all of them on this trip. I am not sure if they would get along with each other.  LY and J are more refined and more mature while PC and MC are so much younger and well....not so refined, shall we say.  But I am taking this as a learning experience and hopefully they do get along, especially for that 1 week. 

Well I think this post is long enough...and it is time for me to go to bed.  Hopefully I will have some time to come back and write more about the preparations for the trip.  My random erratic thoughts on the trip.  And perhaps some gorgeous foliage photos from Korea. 

Till next time. Byeeeeeeeee