A day trip to Padang Besar, Perlis.

Travelogues May 1st, 2007

Tiredness is the only word which can describe my day for today. A 3hours drive to Padang Besar, Perlis is really a tiring journey under the hot sun.

Padang Besar, Perlis is a small border town bordering Malaysia and Thailand. Padang Besar ( direct translation from malay language is “Big Field”). What makes Padang Besar so popular is the duty free shop which offer products at cheap prices. Don’t be surprise ya if you are able to buy Gucci or Prada handbags which sells as low as USD10. Opps! Did I tell you the handbags are mostly replicas or imitation. There’s a catch there!

If you ask my opinion on this replicas or imitations, my answer will be simple . If the quality is there, no matter what handbags and what brands you buy, surely it will lasts. Why pay more if you are able to get the same quality with those branded stuffs. With the temptation and very hard to resist cheap price, surely your car booth will be filled up with goods bought from Padang Besar.

My tips for Padang Besar trip:

  • Buy bottled mineral waters before entering the ‘arked’ or mall. It’s very hot inside the arked and crowded.
  • Try to check prices from shop lots located just outside of the arked . They may offer cheaper price comparing buying from the inside.
  • Bargain hard!
  • Only cash transactions. So make sure you have enough cash as the nearest bank is 1 kilometer away.
  • Foodcourt available beside the arked but cleanliness is questionable. Many other clean restaurants available outside the arked.

Timah Tasoh Dam Signs to Padang Besar

The Egyptian Museum

Travelogues April 20th, 2007

We have done our Thursday with visit to the pyramid of Giza and Cairo Citadel. An advise from an Egyptian friend, it’s better to avoid going to pyramid on Friday as it is believed by the Egyptians that Friday brings bad omen. I don’t know whether to believe this or not but last Friday there was a group of our friends who went over to pyramid and they were caught in this sand storm. So, we took their difficulties by having our pyramid tour on Thurday instead. So what about Friday? On Friday we decided to spend the whole day to camp inside the Egytian Museum with thousands of artifacts to be examine by us. True to its claim, Egytian museum has thousands of artifacts on display. The time that we have spent there, about 5 hours is not enough to see everything. We have to skip certain items which to us it’s either too small to spend much time or repeating items. To be fair, we should at least give 2 days to the museum alone. So, we should be able to cover all the artifacts and really understand the history behind them.
The entrance ticket to the museum is EGP50 and ticket to enter the Royal Mummy Room is EGP100. It is really a worthwhile experience to have while in Egypt. To be able to see all the artifacts, learning about the historical culture and past civilizations. Life after death is viewed as the grandest things to have for the pharaohs and to prepare for that ultimate steps, it require an extraordinary feat by not only the pharaohs but also the peoples of Egypt. And to link that in today’s world, there is hardly any who can match them.
The museum itself is not really systematic and organized. Some items are without description labels but to make your own conclusions. It’s all forgotten once you get used to the way of the display in the museum. We were inside the museum from 12noon until 5PM. Camera is not allowed and if you have one, it should be left at camera counter next to the scanning gate.

Museum Entrance Gate Entrance Museum Entrance

The Great Pyramid of Giza & The Cairo Citadel

Travelogues April 19th, 2007

I have never before thought of seeing one of the wonder of the world, pyramid. It’s only thru the medias or published books that I have seen them often.When my company sent me for a marketing trip to Cairo in March 2007, it is going to be real..Really real . To be able to see the histoy of human civilizations traced back to thousand of years and to see the structure which ancient peoples built, the feelings is very hard to convey in words and it is a truly magnificient experience.

Because this trip is more towards business trip, not many days available for myself to actually explore Cairo. Only 2 days available for me and my collegue to do the tour to all the historical places within Cairo. So we have to carefully planned our itinerary to visit a few places in order not to waste our precious time. We rent a taxi for USD30.00 for a day trip. The taxi driver’s name is Mr Fauzi and he will be our driver from 9am to 5pm and will drive us to the places we wished to go. Mr Fauzi is able to speak english, so he can give us some information on board like a tour guide. A day before the trip, I have made some research by asking a few Egytian friends about interesting places in Cairo. A few quoestions like how to get there, how much tickets that I have to pay to enter those places and etc. This is to avoid myself being conned in paying excessive money. So, I’m ready with all the infomations to fight the waves of Nile.

Early in the thursday morning at about 9am Mr Fauzi came to pick us up from our hotel and there we go. It took us 30 minutes drive from our hotel to reach there. When reaching there, we were brought straight to the back alley where we saw many camels and horses there. My friend has told me that the horse is only optional for pyramid tour and you skip and can go directly to buy ticket at the entrance. But Mr Fauzi has told us differently. Only buses are allowed to go into the entrance while cars have to park outside and far from the entrance. According to him, to walk from the taxi parking area to the entrance is too far. So we have to rent horses or camels. We had no choice but negotiated the fare with the stable’s owner for USD10.00 each person for two hours ride. From there I can smell that Mr Fauzi actually have some kind of agreement with the stable’s owner to bring customers to him. It’s because after taking the horse ride passing a block of building, we can see the entrance to the pyramid area. It’s about 100 metres from the stable. What a scammed!. But we took it as a positive move as the ride is actually quite cheap. Even back to my country we can’t get that kind of fare to ride a horse for 2 hours. It’s a pleasant ride feeling like cowboys in the movie. Seeing others that have to walk from the entrance to the pyramid, I felt like I want to scream at them and tell them to take the horses as it is damn cheap and I don’t have to walk.Be positive! Be positive! With us there is one tour guide who explaining pyramid’s history and we paid him USD15 for his services together with two boys who were guiding our horses while they were walking.

Pyramid!.What can I say.? Here I’m, standing there in front of one of the wonder of the world. So magnificient considering the workers needed for the contructions. This shows the pharaohs are the most tyrant rulers during that time. To fulfill his ambition of living after death is such a tragedy for the people of Egypt during that time. Hundred thousands of workers has been used to build the pyramid. But after a while, or after taking into consideration of what I have seen during my stay in Cairo, I came into conclusions that pharaoh is not actually tyrant but the most visionary leader. (Warning: This is my assumption only!) He can see the future of Egypt. Why I’m saying this? It’s because unemplyment rate is very high now in Egypt. So, By building pyramids and other extraordinary monuments, the pharaohs has created a lot of jobs within travel industry itself and at the same time bring tourists money into Egypt. What a thoughtful leader he is. Don’t you agree with me. Of course Egyptians will say NO! err, Sphinx is not as big as in picture. We have been offered to go into the pyramid but you have to pay some money or ticket to get in. As been advised by our guide we have refused the offer. According to him, there is nothing inside the pyramid . All has been taken to the Egyptian Museum and it’s better to pay the entry ticket to the museum rather than paying to go inside the pyramid. Before ending our tour, we have told the guide that we do not want to visit any of the papyrus or perfurme shop as we have bought enough at the bazaar. So, without trying to bring us to those shops, he bring us to our Mr Fauzi after receiving his deserved tips. We paid EGP15 each for the two boys and EGP50 to the guide.

Finished with pyramid, off we go to the Citadel located in Old Cairo. It’s 20 minutes drive from the pyramid to the citadel. We have to pay EGP50 the entrance ticket. There are 2 mosques and 2 museums that we can visit at the citadel. The first mosque is El Naser Mohamed Ibn Dalawoon mosque. The architecture of the mosque is the same as Al Moayyed mosque in Syria. Infact, most of the mosques that I went to in Egypt has big influence from Al Moayyed Mosque is Syria in term of architecture. After that we went to Mohamed Ali Pasha mosque where the look of the mosque is so picturesque. It is said that the mosque was built by Muhamed Ali in memory of his son Tushun Pasha who was died. The one that should not be missed at the mosque is to enjoy the great scenery view of Cairo from outside of the mosque. It is so beautiful.We spent about one hour going around the citadel and after seing military museum, we decided to go out.

We have not taken any lunch yet as we are so occupied with pyramid and the citadel. We started to feel hungry only when we has finished our tour of the citadel. So, we have asked Mr Fauzi to recommend us a good, clean and cheap restaurant for us to have our lunch. He brought us to one restaurant where I forgot the name. It is nice and cheap where we paid below USD10 per person for our meal. We finished our meal and Mr fauzi sent us back to the hotel and ending our tour.

Mohamed Ali Pasha Mosque PyramidsPyramidView from Mohamed Ali Pasha Mosque

Dubai, UAE – Is this Dubai or Mumbai?

Travelogues January 5th, 2007

Right after Bahrain, the next stop is Dubai, United Arabs Emirates. We arrived in Dubai on Friday night and staying at Grand Palace hotel which is in Al Karamah area and opposite BurJuman..They claimed it as a 4 stars hotel..Heh!! really 4 stars??..AED600 a night.During exhibitions, the rate will go up to AED1200. Hotels are expensive here in Dubai. To us, it is better to stay at nice and prominent hotel as it will make our client easy to come and meet us at the hotel. If you stay at without star hotel, it will make our life difficult..

a unit of UAE Dirham is roughly equal to a Ringgit Malaysia (Dhs1.00 = RM1.00)..
Visa for Malaysian = Free or PERCUMA!!! In Dubai, it’s all about money,money and money..a short distance taxi ride at least you have to pay +/- Dhs30..So!! Dare to live in Dubai!!..??

Dubai has really one of the exciting architechure scene in the world. They have Burj Dubai, once completed will the tallest building in the world, Palm Jumeirah, a reclaimed island which resembled palm tree (David Beckham own a house there). But to me, if you take out those concrete structures, what do Dubai has (think!)..Hookah maybe..At this moment, they are starting to claim a lot of no.1 spot (tallest building, the biggest airport, etc..etc).

Abu Dhabi is not so hectic as Dubai and it’s hard to be stucked in a traffic jammed ..That is what I saw during my visit to Abu Dhabi, other than that, don’t come and bark at me if you stucked somewhere in Abu dhabi..To go to Abu Dhabi, I took an express bus which costs me AED15 one way..If you take taxi, Dhs200 will be taken away from your pocket..Going to abu Dhabi, it is very common to be stucked in a jammed along Sheikh Zayed Road. We were stucked there for almost 1 hour..After that it took us 45min to reach Abu Dhabi..Coming back is another tiring journey..45 min to reach the emirates tower ..Only after 2 hours stucked in the traffic jammed then only we arrived to our hotel..Normally it takes 15-20min to reach Al Karamah from that Emirate Towers..How can this people stand this kind of jammed road daily..!1??/

Taking the bus to abu Dhabi make me think that this bus facility is only to cater for expatriate ..Want to know why.?.Because you can only see faces of Pinoy, Paki or Indians and of course including us who are coming from Malaysian..Rich Emiratis dont take bus..Why take a bus when you have Cayennes in your garage..Me too won’t bother!!!

Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai Creek Jewellery shop in Gold Souq Jewellery shop in Gold Souq

The Kingdom of Bahrain

Travelogues December 30th, 2006

Ok..Travel itinerary for this trip..

10 Dec 2006 PEN-KUL-DUBAI-BAHRAIN
15 Dec 2006 BAHRAIN-DUBAI
23 Dec 2006 DUBAI-KUL-PEN

This time quite difficult to get flight tickets. maybe it’s because of peak seasons and Doha games in Qatar. During check-in, I have to endure a very long que for an hour and because of this I have missed my dinner..planned to take dinner after check-in..Flight has been delayed because of this check in trouble. Not only this flight was delayed, my flight to bahrain also been delayed by 1 hour..all the planes are queing to take off make me smiles as I recalled my primary schools day where we have to que almost in all activities..!!!HaHa

Arrived Manama, bahrain at 9.45am 11/12/06 and checked-in at Baisan Tower Hotel. The rate was BD41 excluding tax. 3 stars hotel but they provide free internet access and breakfast..Weather at this moment is very cool as daytime is around 19 degree celcius and below 10 degree celcius at night..Last night, I have been told by the cab driver that they have had a little bit of rain..

Taxi in Bahrain is easy to get within Manama and Airport but if you go a little bit outside the city, is difficult to get taxis especially industrial area. This is due to only Bahrainis are allowed to drive taxis and most Bahrainis are wealthy, so they cant afford to leave their lamborghini at home to drive taxi.Bargain is a must before taking the taxi.Make sure you know the places you want to go and the estimated fares by asking hotel receptions..Those taxis did stick a sticker showing fare structures and other infos..but they don’t normally follows..but who cares..This is their country!!.Hail Bahrain!!

Currency Bahrain Dinar..BD1.000 is around RM11. Smaller denominations is Fils in denomination of 100.. 1000Fils = 1 Dinar.

I have to look for foods which suited me..Over here in Bahrain, I am having Mutton or chicken Briyanni daily ..There are a lot of restaurants available, only price is the main factor for me to choose which one to have my briyani..The portion of briyani is quite large for malaysian standard like myself and because of this I have the luxury to skip my lunch .81kgs!! A kilo slightly over my ideal weight!..Is anyone has extra gymnasium membership card??..I might need one now…

From the hotel From the hotel From the hotel