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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Flying Express Bus

Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Exactly, it pictures the entire contents of what my recent post is all about. What I’m gonna share here is pertaining to a dream that has come true. Not a mere daydream but a reality of my own life!

Back in the early 90’s and I was still a small kid, I used to be carried by parents to Sultan Mahmud Airport which is approximately 20-minute drive away from where I live. That moment, a small kid like me had to envy every passenger on board. Let alone, enjoy the ultimate glory in the blue sky. “How’s it like, huh?” I wondered.

Malaysian Airlines

More interestingly, daydreaming of reaching the blue sky, conversely, has never seemed impossible for me. Lucky me! I was on board for the first time at the age of 18 and my first flight was Air Asia, so much well-known with the tagline, ‘Now everyone can fly’. One factor that contributed to the success was because of the strategic location of my previous higher educational institution, in Petaling Jaya, the satellite city.

On board: Air Asia prior to departure to KLIA in June, 2011
Location: The Kuching International Airport, Sarawak

I saw it such a golden opportunity. And I really was an idiot for missing the boat! Don’t you know that opportunity seldom knocks twice? Aha. The choice I had with me was only ‘to be or not to be’. Intelligently, I chose the road-not-taken.

August 4, 2006 was a very momentous day in my life. Confirmed! I could afford to realize my dream which had been ‘planted’ ever since 1 decade ago. Huhu. I dared to go to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Sepang, Selangor even though I had never been to. In order to make a dream come true, sacrifice is truly essential. Cash of RM88.99 wasn’t supposed to be my barrier anymore. It’s a brilliant investment instead!  

On a Malaysian Airlines plane prior to departure to Kuala Lumpur in October, 2007
Location: Sultan Mahmud Airport, Kuala Terengganu
More interestingly, I got a student price ticket!

Me and the Terengganu-born celebrity Ally Iskandar checking-in

Figure: Sultan Mahmud Airport, Kuala Terengganu

Today, I’ve felt contented so much! I’ve been fed up flying with a domestic flight as yet! Watching a group of the snow-white clouds ‘live’ in a shorter distance, ‘exploring’ the clouds ourselves, observing the indescribable beauty of high hills, mountains, etc from the sky view in the daytime, not to mention the overflow of light around a corner of the Earth at night – all this is definitely not an experience everybody chances to feel themselves. Some of us can only keep dreaming on and on till death. Not everyone seems fortunate.

Alhamdulillah…I’m just lucky! ALLAH has changed my dream to a reality. I’ve never supposed at this very young age (Well…I’m still young, aren’t I?), I’ve been on board for no more than 15 times already! 15 times is certainly a lot. No wonder if I expressed how fed up I’ve felt just barely flying with a domestic flight. I’m presently dreaming of getting on an international flight and may this dream come true someday. Ameen.
Figure: an Air Asia plane

If you ask me, spending your cash for the sake of your dream isn’t called a waste. Everyone can afford to be on board only and if only are they thinking as I am. Well…it’s up to you to make your mind up.  

PS: The flight duration from Kuala Terengganu - KLIA, Sepang only takes 45 minutes long compared to a 6-hour journey by vehicles. It takes 1 hour and 40 minutes long to arrive at KLIA Sepang, Selangor from Kuching, Sarawak but takes 2 hours long to arrive in Bintulu from LCCT, KLIA.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holidays to 'Little England'

This isn’t the recent activity I’ve just done and I have never been to the UK as yet. Full-stop! Please, don’t get misunderstood. Frankly speaking, it was a couple of years ago that I went sightseeing to Cameron Highlands, one of the most well-known districts in the state of Pahang, Malaysia. It was named after the British surveyor, William Cameron. Kalau tak tahu, jangan jadi rakyat Malaysia la!

Tanah Rata

Persoalannya, why now did I start writing? Simply because I’ve never ‘presented’ all the memoirs there in black and white or more precisely, just because I never blogged in the past, as a matter of fact. My memory can be fading away from time to time and in order to perpetuate it, blogging is the best step! By the way, I forgot to mention that my ex-roommate also kept me company. I dared not go alone, hello! And, nobody wants to get you into hot water, betul tak?

Both of us agreed to choose Chinese New Year break and took a package tour offered by a travel agent in Puduraya Bus Station in the City Centre of Kuala Lumpur. We never made any booking so we just decided to directly go and buy our tickets there. Alhamdulillah. We’re lucky. The bus was told to be leaving at 10:30am. We reached Pudu around 9 o’clock so we took breakfast at a Mamak stall near Mydin. Due to the traffic jam in the city, our bus delayed for half an hour. The bus looked damn old…eww! I wished it were like an express bus. Huhu.

For your info, Cameron Highlands is located approximately 85km away from Ipoh, Perak and 200km away from Wilayah Persekutuan. The journey from the Capital City to Cameron Highlands usually takes 4 hours long – they said. I did have done some research about the well-known tourist destination before travelling and that’s also when I found out where the package tour was operated. Ada ciri² orang nak ambik Ph.D ni… 

On the way to Cameron Highlands, the bus had stopped in Tapah, Perak to have it repaired, according to the old Chinese driver. Oh now, you can imagine what I meant a really freaking ‘old’ bus! There’re all Mat Sallehs and Bangladeshis on the bus and I think we’re the only Malaysian passengers. We arrived in Cameron Highlands a bit late on account of the unexpected delay in the morning. There, we didn’t even know where our budget hotel was exactly located so we just walked around to find it. Guess, did we manage to find the hotel? The answer is ‘No, we didn’t’. When we noticed there’s a tourism centre in the edge of the mini market, we went there straightaway to make everything crystal clear. How embarrassing it was in that our hotel was beside the bus station where we just barely took off. What the F! Kitaorang dah jalan² makan angin 1km kot.

The Cool Point Hotel where we stayed
We found this lily around the hotel area

The town

We checked-in hotel and subsequently performed solah. Always bear in mind that wherever we are, even on the top of Mount Everest, solah is compulsory for all Muslims to implement. Hmm…I didn’t take any photos of our room which was really quite OK and comfortable! Oops! I forgot to tell you that the package tour was fully complete with our accommodation (i.e. a 3-star hotel booking), four-hour non-stop visit and two-way bus fare. It’s worth at RM130++. This was so very affordable, wasn’t it? Oh please, don’t you ever say ‘Yup’ as long as you have yet to get there. So, shut up! Aduhai…budi bahasaku!

That evening, we had a long walk around the town. Sorry for, once again, forgetting to tell you one more thing…that in fact, we’re in Tanah Rata. We also spent our evening hooking up around the park nearby. The park was full of plants which were in bloom. Not forgetting, we also took a lot of photos and here are some photos in the park.  

The park

Unfortunately the fruits are too big to eat!

The stem was so very short but look at the bigger flowers! Erm...what kinda flower is that?

Aaaah! Strawberry monsters in the park!

I was like a bee with the red flowers

The weather in Cameron Highlands seems to be getting much colder when it comes to evening and I’m pretty sure it still remains the same till present unless the global warming has affected the area so badly. Dunno!

That night, we had our dinner at a Malay restaurant. The strawberry juice I drank was super awesome and I must say! It’s really worth paying for 2 big glasses of fresh strawberry juice. That has made me feel like coming again the next time if opportunity really knocks twice, then! Insha-ALLAH. Besides dinner, we enjoyed our night shopping at the Tanah Rata mini market as well as breathing with the much fresher and colder air which was likely to be lower than 19°C, was it possible?

According to, the temperature at night can drop to as low as 12°C. Wow…really amazing! No wonder when Malaysians call it ‘Little England’.

The café where we hooked up at night

We got up early on the following day. I can still remember how freezing the water really was that I wasn’t in the mood to take my morning shower. No matter how chilly it was, I still took my bath, OK. After Fajr prayer, we went out the hotel just like ‘the early bird catches the worm’ but the thing is we’re not flying birds. Kwang³… Seeing that the breakfast at the hotel had yet to be served, we hanged out at the park again, plus, we loathed wasting our golden time (Poyo je) because ‘time is money’, is it not?

After breakfasting, we’re back to our room. All of a sudden, our door was knocked. Erm? Who’s outside, huh? A receptionist. He reminded, “Sir, a tour guide is already downstairs waiting for you”. Oh my God, we’re blamed for being late! Tak pasal pasal kan?

We got on a tourist van and there’re approximately 9 tourists in including us. We’re tourists too, hello! …even if we’re merely local ones. One of them is a German – who had been our foreign friend throughout our holidays, three of them are Thais – the chatterboxes, another two are Colombians and us? Malaysians, for sure. This is called ‘One World’, not ‘One Malaysia’ anymore. LOL.

Outside the temple

We were first taken to a Buddhist temple. That’s the first time ever I entered a Buddhist temple with permission. Don’t be afraid in that they aren’t gonna convert you to Buddhism, trust me. Nothing’s really interesting or weird I could find in the temple. All were statues and blah…blah…blah… We left for Rose Garden and Cactus Valley shortly after that – a must-visit garden! I had been looking forward to feeling this fantastic moment since ages! This is where one is able to smell, see and touch a wide range of beautiful roses and cacti ‘live’ and most of ‘em have originally been imported from diverse continents in the world. Not to mention that there’re so many other plants planted as well, such as sunflowers, carnations, camellias and a lot more. One thing for sure, it’s already at noon – yet it was still a foggy day (siot) in Cameron Highlands!!! Incredible! I could feel like I were already somewhere in the United Kingdom. Hehe…dah mula dah…

One of the roses I snapped

At the peak of the Rose Garden

The sunflowers

It's still a foggy day at noon! Can you believe that?

Look at these really big Camellias!

A photo with my German friend, Arnold

The Rose Garden

Cactus Valley

Such a beautiful white rose

Snow White & the gang in the house! I can't buy it!

What flower is this? Wrong! It's a carnation

Our next destination was Strawberry Farm. FYI, strawberries are my favourite fruit. I have already eaten strawberries umpteen times – however, when considering the quality and freshness of Cameron Highlands strawberries, we all have to agree that these ones are way fresher. In terms of size, the strawberries there are a lot smaller than USA’s imported ones. More fascinatingly, we were allowed to do self-plucking. 

By using a rectangular basket provided, I myself filled it with a great number of strawberries fresh from the farm. To tell you the truth, there’s no restriction on how much fruit you may pluck but then, here is the deal! The quantity will determine how much you’ve got to pay later. Uh-huh! I was to pay RM12 something and found that the price was expensive like hell!!! Oooo…the bloody sellers seemed to be taking an advantage of us, I guess. Jaga kau! Before I forget, we ate some strawberries with honey and glucose. So sweet!

Some strawberries that had been plucked. Did I look quite greedy?

In the strawberry farm

We ate these fresh strawberries with honey and glucose

After visiting the strawberry farm, we moved to the most tip-top destination there, namely the tea plantation. It’s such a wide, big TEA BOH plantation! I had a cup of tea which was worth at RM2.80. It’s fucking costly! Our new foreign friend from German, Arnold kept us company whilst enjoying the best scenery of the tea plantation. Just look at the photos I’ve shared below and you can interpret by yourself how my feeling was like.
The very wonderful panorama of the tea plantation at noon!

Seems like a small village there, doesn't it?

 "I believe I can fly...I believe I can touch the sky"

About 15-20 minutes afterwards, we were then taken to Butterfly Farm. It’s incredible, you know, that there’re lots of cacti and roses in the farm compared to the number of the butterflies themselves. Well…there’s nothing much I could describe about a boring farm like that. We two would much rather snap our photos with roses in bloom than ‘fool around’ with the endangered butterflies, honestly! Kalau tak percaya, just see what we had been up to.

You know what? Those rose plants were way taller than me!!!

See...I told you so!

So big, aren't they?

A butterfly available here!

The cacti seemed to be far taller than I was.

The Equatorial Hotel  a four-star hotel. That was the hotel we didn't stay.

The cactus which we spent more time with.

Bee Farm was our final destination. Oh yeah! So weird that as if we went there for nothing. Memanglah…there’s really a swarm of bees flying around and I knew that they live happily ever after in the man-made beehives but unfortunately no beekeepers around. What the fuck! Not only that, even worse, there’s also a warning signboard written, ‘We shall not be responsible for any visitors if they are stung by bees.’ Ada aku kesah? Surely not a welcoming place! But then we’re safe as expected. Alhamdulillah. Praise be to Him. Finally, we were taken back to the hotel. Since it was only a 2-day-&-1-night package tour, we were leaving for KL that evening.

The bee farm without beekeepers around

That isn't a bee OK but a mere statue

With the little time we had in the afternoon, we spent for something that most women in the world love to do most... it’s…


Ironically, both of us are men. LOL. Well…men go shopping too, don’t they? We carried our camera along…aset penting tu weh! While we shopped, our eyes happened to catch a two-storey Great Britain-like building built high on the top of the hill in front of us. It is, in fact, SK Convent. I could see clearly a cross (salib) on the top of the main building roof. Astaghfirullah al-azim! Not only did we see it, but we also went visit the school by ourselves and at the same time, took some more photos as future memoirs. It is a very nice elementary school indeed, established by the British during the British occupation once upon a time in Malaya (currently known as MALAYSIA). In the past, it was a British military hospital. Deep in my heart, I wish I could be one of the staff. Hehe. Hey, stop daydreaming, pak cik!

SK Convent located at the top of the hill behind

Once upon a time, that elementary school was a British military hospital

Standing in the front of the school main building

Upon reaching the school, we're presented with the rain. Thank you ALLAH. So cool!

Apparently, that’s all I’m able to share with you guys. We left for Wilayah Persekutuan after 4 o’clock and reached there before midnight. Why did it take so long? Errrr…frankly, a bad incident occurred! Very unexpectedly! All of a sudden, our bus broke down in Selangor like a flat battery. Couldn’t help that I’m not a mechanic. What a bloody nightmare! We had to have an express bus stop and then pay RM5 for t’other new bus fare which was fairly unfair! Whatsoever, we really had a good time! You know what? If you ask me, Cameron Highlands is best described with an imperative…‘YOU SHOULD COME HERE YOURSELF!