Europe - A new beginning

Being far away from your own country and in a foreign land with different languages and cultures is not easy. The first days, you could feel that sometimes you have missed food and places that  you used to go if you craved for example ‘Maggi Goreng’ in the middle of the night especially going to mamak restaurant that opens 24hours.In Europe, there’s no such thing as 24 hours restaurant. Shops or Tabaks and restaurants closed as early as 5pm and the only food that you could get was either a piece of giant pizzas slices or perhaps some Doner kebabs that cost around Euro 5 or 6(MYR20-24!). Not to mention, all off the shops closed in Sunday.
I’d remembered the first day of my journey; it was on 23rd June 2014. I had a flight from Kuala Lumpur via Hanoi and a direct flight after to Frankfurt. It was the cheapest flight I’ve got to go to Europe for one way ticket. I was so excited about the trip that I hardly get enough of sleep or rest the day before. I make sure that I arrived early at the airport and do the check-in on time. Luckily, the check-in counter staff was really friendly and she actually gave me the window sitting instead of aisle. The Vietnam Airlines offers long-haul direct flights to Europe and there’s no sitting numbering unless once you have checked-in. It was a 3 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA1) to Hanoi international Airport before took off for Frankfurt. The Hanoi International Airport doesn’t seem like what I’ve imagined before, that is modern and sophisticated instead, it reminded me of the old Ho Chi Minh International Airport. I was back on the plane 1 hour after that. The journey went smooth and the steward & stewardess of Vietnam Airlines were really helpful and friendly throughout the 13 hours journey.
As soon as I reached Frankfurt Airport; went to the immigration counter. I was impressed by the immigration systems they use for the EU (European Union) citizen. Just a scan and they are ready to go and collect their luggage. As for me, I have to queue and get my passport stamped and so does the other passengers especially from Vietnam. I smiled at the officer and I have in my hand my return flight ticket from Europe just in case if the officer asked me. My instinct is right. The officer asked me few questions:
Immigration officer: Do you have return flight ticket?
Me                             : Yes! (And I gave the officer the copy of flight itinerary)
Immigration officer: What’s the purpose for your stay and how long you will be here?
Me                             : Holiday and for 2 months!

The officer looked at me and finally she stamped my passport. I feel relieved and picked my backpack from the conveyor belt and walked through the security and left the arrival hall.From then on, I knew that a new adventure awaits me as soon as I stepped outside of the airport.

It’s windy and chill outside of the airport (Flughafen is in German language). I waited for the bus for my Berlin trip. First time booking a bus in Europe and unsure what to expect. The bus came on time. I was amazed when everything is punctual as scheduled. I could see from far that a green color bus call Meinfernbus ( approached and stopped to pick up the passenger. It was 9 a.m. bus. The bus driver, clad in white colored shirt and a green and orange color tie came up from the bus with a blackberry in his hand. He asked one by one and finally scanned the bar code on my printed ticket. After that, I put my bag in the bag compartment and went up on the bus and get a sitby the window. Another awkward moment was that the driver drives on the left hand side. The bus is fully equipped with WIFI, electrical sockets, food and hot drinks and also the toilet (WC). After everyone went on board, as schedule the bus depart on time. We passed through Frankfurt and make our way to the auto bahn towards Berlin. More adventures awaiting for me!

The beginning - Eurotrip 2014

I haven't been updating my blog since I have a job with an odd working hours. Since then, I focused more on work and getting more money for my next travel destination. And that destination is Europe. Where, why, when and how?? These were questions I had in my head. I've always been asked, how I could travel for a long time. For those who wants to know, I took a job that offers me a 6 months contract only. Although in my case, I have been offered to continue my tenure but I have to turn down the offer.

I have had the idea of travelling to Europe since 3 years ago, that is after Alex passed away. There's always a distraction or my plan back fired on or some other excuses that made me still stay in Kuala Lumpur. Not that I don't like Kuala Lumpur but my urged to travel is long awaited,This year, I make sure that I go for my trip.

My Budget
Pocket money including transportation, accommodation and food : EURO 650 @ EURO11 per day
No of days spend in Europe : 56 days (minus travelling day)
Flight tickets * : 1) KUL-HAN-FRA  - EURO250
                      2) OSL-BKK  - EURO245 (Why until Bangkok??I am going for hitchhiking till KL!!
* Tips: To get a cheaper flight, sometimes you'll have to compare with other airlines for it's return tickets. If
            not, the best is to look for a single journey ticket. Before you book the airlines, make sure you read
            the baggage allowance and also the diameter allowed by the airlines. Just to make sure you're not
            going to be over the baggage allowances. Certain airlines are pretty strict about this rule.
            Paying the additional baggage allowance on the counter is really expensive! Weigh the bag before
            you go to the airport or after packing your baggage.

Total budget for my Eurotrip is EURO1,145 or MYR5072.

What to pack and bring to Europe?
1. Always look at the weather forecast before leaving.
2. At least bring 1 sweater, 1 long jeans, 1 long shirts (who knows if the weather forecast says summer but
    it still feels like spring!)
3. Pack some light weight clothing and including the light weight towel.
4. Bring at least a shoe and a slipper and not forgetting the sunglasses!
5. In case, bring along an umbrella. The weather in Europe during summer is unpredictable!

Wish me luck!

Thailand: Songkran for the week

It's been almost a year that I didn't even posted anything in my blog.So many things happened in my life..since I have no longer working and spending most of my time in the house, with my family and ever since I've met a friend whom now become my close friend, Johannes and also Joseph.
I would like to share my journey to Bangkok for Songkran where I met a lot of new friends along the way and the day I say 'Goodbye' to Johannes and Joseph in Bangkok.

The plan
My friend, Nick and I have been planning to meet up for Songkran in Bangkok as this is the first time we will be joining to an event as big as CS Songkran Boot camp. The organizers for this boot camp comprises of people from Singapore,Malaysia and Thailand. They have put their best afford to make sure that this event will be a successful event starting from the place of meet up and the accommodation.

I have thought that I would go to Bangkok via plane but that idea seems to be so luxury travel. I sorted out and I finally I bought two train tickets to Bangkok via Butterworth since there is no direct train going to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur. I bought the lower berth at MYR110 per person for a 20 hours train journey (minus the time train stopped for immigration check point!).

Nick and I decided that we go to Butterworth on the 11th March at night as we can easily catch the train just on time. We took the late night bus at 12am operated by Transnasional. The bus was comfy and there were less traffic at night. This is the first time Nick travelling abroad with his backpack. I was like a mentor for him. We actually reached Butterworth bus station at 4.30am. It was cold and less people in the bus station and plus, we were a bit sleepy.My knees are like wood. It is really hard to move it once you sat on one place and not moving at all! Going down the stairs is painful. We finally decided to look for food. Luckily there's a restaurant that is open on that hour. From far, we could hear they were playing some 'Dangdut' song. Gosh!
We finished up our food and try to queue to the ferry ticket counter which opens at 6.30am. The ferry ride were smooth and we reached to the island less than 20minutes. It was still early in the island as the shops are still closed. The only restaurant that opens are the kopitiam just opposite Ananda Bhavan at Little India. The restaurant that we had breakfast was a few shops away. Eventhough we had our food earlier at Butterworth, we still have the space for Teh Tarik and some Roti Canai.

We made new friends throughout the journey from Butterworth to Bangkok. The train did make a stop at Hatyai Junction, where some passenger aboard the train. We were so exhausted and went to bed quite early.
I was lucky as my friend Meow Meow waited for me at Hualamphong station. She has to wait for me for an hour as our train arrived later than expected. I could expect that there's a lot of people with water guns on their hand and eyeing on you for their next victim!.. Well,I'm all prepared! I can't wait to see Johannes and Joseph at the guesthouse. We were sharing rooms as most of the places are fully booked plus, the Songkran Bootcamp Event 'HQ' is at the same place.The moment I saw them, I knew that we are going to have some fun soaking in water for hours!! The rest of the days in Bangkok are history. Some of us catch a cold because of the water. Nevertheless, we are so lucky to have Couchsurfing friends from Bangkok who are really friendly and accommodating. Thanks to all the committee and organiser of the event!

I cried the last day that I have to leave Bangkok. Too many memories and fun time here in Bangkok and sad to leave people that I knew for few days. Perhaps, we shall see each other soon!

SONGKRAN 2014, Chiang Mai.. Here I come!!!....

INDONESIA: Medan & Lake Toba (Sumatera Island)

Medan, Sumatera
March 2013

I could have never imagined I'll be travelling to Sumatera. I heard a lot of nice thing about Sumatera especially Lake Toba (In Indonesian - Danau Toba). My ancestors are originally from Sumatera but in Bukit Tinggi, Padang which is a little bit far from Medan. 

There's few routes or ways to get to  Lake Toba from Malaysia.
  1. By direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Medan. Then from Medan, you need to take the mini bus or van to Parapat, that is a small town where you can take the boat to Tuktuk in Samosir Island, Lake Toba.
  2. By boat crossing from Malacca to Dumai. This is the longest route and will take you a lot of time.
Lake Toba
According to Wikipedia, Lake Toba is a lake and a supervolcano. The lake is 100 kilometers long, 30 kilometers wide and up to 505 meters (1666ft.) deep. Lake Toba is the site of a massive supervolcanic eruption that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago. This is how massive Lake Toba is!

My new adventure
This time I am not travelling alone. I have a travel partner and his name is Johannes. I met him when he was in Kuala Lumpur attending one of my friend's event. Back then, I hardly spoke to him. We become close friends ever since these one incident. I met Joseph too through Johannes. The three of us hang out a lot in the city until one day, Johannes and I have to say goodbye to Joseph. It was hard a little bit as we wouldn't be seeing him again in Kuala Lumpur once we are back in town. He will be in Thailand by the time we comes back. As a token of friendship,I gave both of them a 'friendship wrist band'. 

Couchsurfing and Medan
I was so lucky that my host, Diah and her husband Yudi agreed to host me and Johannes even for a night. They have waited for us at the airport. The airport in Medan is call Polonia International Airport. Although it is an international airport, this airport has only one departure and arrival hall. This is how small the airport was!.

There's one funny moment I had at the immigration counter in Polonia. He asked me in Indonesian and was amazed that I replied back in Indonesian language with Jakarta slang!

IG: Ngapain masih belum menikah?? (Why you are not married yet?)
ME:Ngak mau lagi pak...tapi udah punya pacarnya. (Not at the moment but I have my 
     boyfriend with me)
IG: Yang mana?? (Which one?)
ME: Yang bule itu pak...rambutnya kerinting.(The white guy with curly hair-> Johannes)
IG: OK...! 

Gosh!I was surprised.Is it a sin I travel alone and I am still single? Thank god, Johannes is with me at least I feel safe. We walked out from the airport walking towards the petrol station as instructed earlier by my host, Diah as our meet up point. 

She was super nice and so does her husband. They brought us to one of the restaurant in the city to meet up  few CS from Medan. I was a little bit tired and exhausted from the long journey. After a while, we left and went back home.

The next morning, Diah left us at the bus station and negotiate price for our journey to Lake Toba.

Lake Toba,Parapat,Samosir,Tuktuk
We left Medan and get the minibus for Rp50,000 per person. We passed some small city on our way towards Parapat, where we were supposed to take the ferry to cross and go to Tuktuk, Samosir Island.

Once we were in Parapat, we head to some local restaurant. There's a lot of Halal restaurant in Parapat especially Padang Restaurant. The local was a bit surprised that I communicate with them in Indonesian and disbelief when I told them that I am from Malaysia!

After we had our food, we walk a little bit to get tuk tuk to the jetty in Parapat. The ride cost us around Rp1000 per person. The jetty is really small surrounded by some big hotels which seems to be unoccupied.We hop on the boat and get the best view of the lake.
It was breathtaking view!.The ride to cross from one side to the other is Rp10,000 per person.

After an hour ride, we got off the boat and go to the guesthouse call The Reggae Guesthouse. We are lucky enough to get the last room which is 5 meters away from where the boat left us. I was there for 3 night before I head back to Medan and left Johannes at Samosir. No words can describe the beautiful and tranquil of Lake Toba.

The last night in Medan
I reached Medan from Lake Toba at 10pm and was hoping that I could just stay at the airport and wait for my early flight in the airport. But my plan failed. The airport closed at 9pm and the only place I could go was to my previous host place. Diah was kind enough to host me for that night and send me off early in the morning. I am lucky to have her and her husband as my friend together with the rest of CS from Medan that I've met earlier that night. Thank you very much! I really appreciate your kindness.

I left Medan with the thought that I would be going  there someday to visit Medan city which I didn't do during my trip.I had a lot of good memories in Medan. Thanks to you too Johannes for being there for me and the adventure we had. I am looking forward with you.

Sampai ketemu lagi Medan!(Until we meet up again, Medan!)

In the memory of Taufik, Thank you for being a good friend when we were in Medan. Your cheerful smile,your funny jokes and your kindness would be in our heart for ever. Rest in Peace my dear friend. May ALLAH bless your soul.

MALAYSIA - Chinese New Year Celebration, My Way!

Feb 2013
Chinese New Year - My way
Kuala Lumpur - Penang

Where it begins
I've never thought that an unplanned weekend become a really enjoyable moments spend with really good friends on this auspicious day of Chinese New Year. It all began when me and my friends decided to skip the hustle bustle city of Kuala Lumpur and head up north to Penang Island. As some of you might know, Penang is famous for it's food and beaches (which I prefer beached on the East Coast Island!). On the way to Penang Island, we passed through some historical city such as Ipoh. Ipoh is also famous for it's 'pau' (steamed bun with some red beans/kaya/and etc in it), the 'white coffee' and also the famous Chicken rice shop.

We are unlucky that day as all off the chicken rice shop were full of patron and some of them standing more then 5 minutes just to get the seat.We left the restaurant and went to other shop as all off us are pretty much hungry. We wait no more and ordered. The food wasn't what I've expected but it is just fine for me to stay full and not complaining.

The journey then continues.

Penang Island - Celebrating Chinese New Year
We reached Penang after 5 long hours of driving.We directly went to the apartment(one of us lives in Penang and he have his family apartment for rent during holiday).The place located near to the Gurney Drive.(

The main attraction in Penang during Chinese New Year is the Kek Lok Si Temple in Ayer Itam. This is the biggest Buddhist temple/pagoda in South East Asia. The best to visit this temple during Chinese New Year is at night time. This is where they light up the temple for 14 days of the Chinese New Year and only during this time of the year. They even have the fireworks on the first day of Chinese New Year here.

Our trip doesn't end with the visit to Kek Lok Si Temple. We went to Tanjung Bungah and went for a day trip to 'Monkey Beach'. We had the chance to try out fishing on the boat and BBQ by the beach. It is all in the package offered by local travel agent along Ferringhi beach.Some tip, please ask them the rate before you agreed to take the package. Make sure that they list what is in the package. If not, you can always go to the other travel agent.

Food,food,food....and all about food
Nothing can compare to our full fill our gastronomy pleasure rather then going out and look for good food in Penang. This is what we've been doing since we started the trip from Kuala Lumpur. Nothing can describe the food the way my photos did. All I can say is the food is yummy!From Georgetown to Ferringhi and then to Gurney Drive....

The celebration is not complete if no one plays any firework. Although it is illegal here but  some people did sell some of the fireworks. What is more important, we celebrate the Chinese New Year together without differentiate who we are, where we come from and what is our religion. I am proud of my friends and I am proud of us. May this Chinese New Year bring us more prosperity, peace and harmony.Happy Chinese New Year!

THAILAND - Phuket by land

Feb 2013
From Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia - Hatyai,Thailand

The post-holiday swing mood
I've made a quick gate away from the big city to a small little place call paradise island name PHUKET. My plan was not having a plan at all. I've bought only a one way train ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Hatyai and the train leaves Kuala Lumpur at 8.30pm. I was lazy enough to buy the train ticket by myself that I just booked it through a travel agency. The cost for one ticket (Upper berth) for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) is MYR90.
This is the website for Malaysian rail

At first, I was hoping that the train is as good as the train from Straits Railway of Thailand(SRT). As usual, the timing is not always punctual.I get on the train at about 8.40pm. I had the upper sleeping berth near the doorway. I was unlucky this time. The space was small and the seats on the lower berth can't be change to the seating position! How are we supposed to sit when we woke up the next day? On the bed?? The journey took us almost 20 hours of train ride.

Train adventure
In the same train, there were 7 families, with 8 small kids and 3 infants from Malaysia who were heading to Langkawi Island for a holiday. The train stopped at Arau Station. The kids were running around, the moms were chatting loudly on the aisle, the babies were crying while the dads,smoking near the entrance door. And where I am at that time was like in a circus. I couldn't sleep no more as the compartment was too small and the noise that they made. I was wondering what if some of my European friend would feel like as they are way more taller and bigger size then myself. That would be a different stories.
Finally I felt asleep once the hop off the train. It was a total silence. At that time, it was almost 6.30am. 

Border Malaysia - Thailand Padang Besar station is no too far away from Arau Station. This is the border station between Malaysia-Thailand,where you have to bring along all your baggage and prepared your passport for the immigration stamped from both Malaysia and Thailand side.

At this point, the train will change it's 'head' from the KTMB's(Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad) to the Straits Thai Railway (SRT). I've spend almost an hour in the border. I had the chance to buy myself a simple Malaysian breakfast that is Nasi Lemak and Teh 'O' Ais. Price wise is a bit expensive then the normal 'warong' or the street stall.

We board the train once they have change the head. The journey continues to Hatyai.
From Padang Besar, the train took almost 4 hours to reach Hatyai Junction. As soon as I arrived in Hatyai, the first thing I did was to have myself clean and fresh. I knew that I'll be having a long day to Phuket via minivan.

Across Hatyai Train station, there's a lot of travel agency that offers minivan service, bus services and also tour services to the islands. Price differ from one place to another. I had booked mine at one of the agency, minivan to Phuket. From my understanding, the journey will take me around 9 hours to reach Phuket. My minivan leaves Hatyai at 2pm.

Journey to paradise
After a 8 agonizing hours in the minivan and a car, finally I reached Phuket town. At this moment, my phone battery went out and I have no access to call my host in Phuket.
Didn't I tell you that I am using Couchsurfing (www, for me to stay in Phuket? 
My luck, finally my host found me in the middle of the junction towards KAMALA BEACH.
Yes, that is the place that I stayed for few days in Phuket before I left for Malaysia by flight to Kuala Lumpur. There's a lot of beautiful beaches around Phuket but you need to go there by motorbike as part of Phuket are hilly and curves. 

For those who loves to party, I would recommend to stay at Patong Beach area. There's a street call Banglamphu which you can find a stretch of pubs, discotheque and bars that offers you cheap alcohol. Not to mention that this street looks like the 'Red light district'. Prostitutes and 'Lady boy' anywhere and everywhere looking for their customers. Patong beach is not all about them. There's so much more! 

If you are up to good Thai food, Indian food and some western food, head up to more quite place such as Kamala Beach. It's 15 minutes motorbike ride from Patong beach.
There's a restaurant at a junction (I forgot the name, but very famous for westerner who lives in Kamala Beach). They serve good 'Pad Thai' and Mushroom Omelette.

Kamala Beach
This place is one of the place affected by the tsunami. It is more quite and lay back small fishing village. Majority of the resident are Muslim. For those who are particular regarding 'HALAL' food in Phuket, need no worries no more. You can come to Kamala Beach and get your yummy Thai food without having worries. Here's the link on all about Kamala beach.
This is my adventure in Phuket...which I think it is still so touristic.

Till next time...

CAMBODIA - Land of the ancient temples (Part 3) - Day 2

Angkor Wat Tour
4th Jan 2013 (Day 2)

It was a chill morning. I had sleepless night before, was to excited to explore the ancient site.This is my first time, travelling alone to Siem Reap.I have been to Cambodia especially Phnom Penh years ago when I was in high school.

As promised, my tuktuk driver; Yen arrived on time infront of the guesthouse. We quickly went off to the destination. Luckily for me that I bring along my sweater.It was chill to the spine! We passed through a few 5-star hotels on the way to Angkor.There's a lot of tall trees along the way until Yen suddenly stopped his tuktuk near the entrance. I went off and go to the counter to get the day pass which cost me USD20 for one whole day!

It was cool enough to have my photos taken for Angkor Pass. I had my 'morning wake up' face.

First destination: Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm (Khmerប្រាសាទតាព្រហ្ម) is the modern name of a temple at AngkorSiem Reap ProvinceCambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara (in Khmer: រាជវិហារ). Located approximately one kilometre east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray, it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university( Taken from Wikipidea). To know more look at

There's a lot of conservation work done to the temple.I felt that I was still dreaming that I was in Angkor.The roots of a sprung running along the corridor of the second enclosure. This also reminds me of the 'Tomb Raider' film which Angelina Jolie was one of the main cast.It was breathtaking.I left Ta Prohm before there were many tourists especially from Russia came in a group.

Second destination: Bayon

On the way to Bayon.......
 Takeo is a famous Hindu temple of the Angkor complex, built in late 10th century under the reign of the King Jayavarman V. The first name of the temple was Hemasringagiri which means the Golden Peak Mountain before the King Suryavarman I built a part of it and changed it name to Jagisvara Pandita. 

Nowadays, Takeo is one of the must-see temple of Siem Reap as well as of the Angkor group. With the special in structure: pyramid - shaped temple of five levels with 40m in height. Takeo is the only temple built by the biggest blocks of sandstones in the Angkor and it dedicates to the god Shiva - a powerful Hindu god. For more info about Takeo, you can look up at

According to Yen,my tuktuk driver; there has been some incident happened in Takeo not so long ago. A Japanese tourist fell of the stairs and died instantly from the fall. According to local believe, if a temple has been struck by lightning, it is a sign of bad omen.

We continue  our ride to Bayon and passed by a small temple with some elephant carvings on it.

The Bayon

The Bayon (Khmerប្រាសាទបាយ័ន, Prasat Bayon) is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom. Following Jayavarman's death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.
The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak.[2] The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythologicalhistorical, and mundane scenes. The current main conservatory body, the Japanese Government team for the Safeguarding of Angkor (the JSA) has described the temple as "the most striking expression of the baroque style" of Khmer architecture, as contrasted with the classical style of Angkor Wat.[3]

(Source from Wikipedia: )

We left Bayon and went off to Angkor. It was almost 2pm and the sun is really hot. It was worth a visit to the Angkor area.

Angkor Wat