Category Archives: Travel

It’s official, MAPS to open on 26th June 2017!

So it’s official this time, that Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) is opening on the 26th June 2017. Despite all the rumours that they can’t make its opening in June, we now have an official date to look forward to, finally. For those who have bought an annual pass, you are advised to get your photo ID done on your first visit to MAPS. The annual pass will be valid from their opening date (not on the date of your first visit, remember!) for a year. Those who have bought a day pass during their promotional period will have their day pass valid for three months from their opening date. If you haven’t bought any yet, you can purchase a day pass from their ticketing website at https://ticketing.mapsperak.com/.

Hope this theme park is going to bring many many tourists to Ipoh, projected to be one million a year! And that it will help boost the economic activities in Ipoh, which has been dire in my opinion for the past 2 years!

Tyre punctures

What’s with me and tyre punctures I wonder. Bought a car only three weeks ago, went on long distance to Cornwall for a holiday, then one of my front tyres went flat on the second day! Similar things happened to me after I bought my bicycle. Three or four punctures within the first month or two. Very unlucky. This time it was costly as well, as the object that pierced through the tyre was too close to the side wall to mend, which means the whole tyre needed replacing. Ouch!Looking on the positives, we have car breakdown cover so we didn’t have to even change the car tyre ourselves. And we have a full size tyre that comes with the car so we didn’t need to go looking for a local tyre shop to deal with the punctured tyre immediately. Thus we were able to carry on where we left off for the rest of the day. Lastly I think we saved almost 30 quid on our Michelin tyre thanks to the advice of one of the mechanics at Kwik-fit, a tyre shop. Actually his advice, which was to send my punctured tyre to another nearby tyre shop to get it mended, did not work because that tyre shop does not mend punctures that are close to the sidewall as well. The mechanic personally thought the puncture was not that close to the sidewall and could be mended, but he is restricted by company’s policy, hence the suggestion. Anyway we wanted to keep all four of our tyres to be of the same make, but the second tyre shop did not have one in stock. So we got a quote and called Kwik-fit to see if they have one around. Had it not been this initial quote, Kwik-fit was planning to charge me 30 quid more for the same tyre! My friend was surprised as well as he thought Kwik-fit is normally fairly competitive. Looks like these shops will rip you off if you have not done a bit of homework beforehand! Well at least not all is bad. And we had excellent weather throughout our holiday as well 🙂

Understanding the surge in business

Have been overwhelmed with queries lately. Businesses in terms of revenue that we can secure this month can potentially exceed what we managed to achieve last year! Future is looking a bit better for our travel business once again. Just when we thought everything will remain quiet for the foreseeable future, and W has gone home on holiday, big clients started coming in. W is sorely missed and I have been working almost non-stop for the past one week. Through the process I have also discovered new things, which is really good.Think the sudden surge in queries could be to down to a number of factors:1) the holiday season is coming,2) troubles in Thailand are sending tourists to alternative destinations like Malaysia,3) our website ranks much higher recently on certain key search terms which might have helped,4) people feel more “secure” now that the UK economy is more stable, despite the fact that Pounds have taken some beatings, which I find difficult to believe.But anyway am glad that the business is doing better, and that clients are happy with our services. What’s more, a client took time to tell me what a wonderful country Malaysia is. We Malaysians must be doing something right to merit such praises. Let’s not sell our country short.

Liquid ban is flawed at KLIA too!

Reading the blog post by Bruce about liquid ban flaws at Schiphol, Amsterdam, reminds me of the same style of security system being used at Kualu Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia too! Basically KLIA also allows passengers with printed boarding pass to go to the duty-free shopping area, which is located at the satellite building, without having to go through any security checks, yet.KLIA LayoutThe passengers will only be checked when they want to enter the waiting lounge of their respective gate. Because the airport allows passengers to buy duty-free goods there, the security personnels will have to allow passengers to bring lots of liquids up the plane as well. There lies the flaw, where passengers can potentially exchange the liquids inside the bottles of liquids they bought at the airport with those they brought in from outside the airport. I could not remember whether bottles of liquids bought at KLIA are sealed. But it does not matter. Passengers can still get pass this by doing what the reporter did as described in the above blog post.I remember asking questions some time ago about not having central security checks before allowing passengers to enter an airport. It makes sense to distribute security checks to gates as passengers then do not have to queue together with passengers of other planes, thus potentially shortening queueing time. But it does bring questions to my mind about whether this is a good way to secure an airport. To me terrorists can bomb the airport relatively easily even though they may not be able to bring liquid explosives up the plane. But now it seems that the terrorists may be able to bring large amount of liquid explosives up the plane as well!

MalaysiaParadise.com

Purchased an additional domain for our travel business. Not entirely convinced that it will drive more trafic to our website, but since it is freed up recently, and it costs peanuts to buy, why not 🙂 Bought the domain from godaddy.com, because I have seen them everywhere, and they sell domains a fraction cheaper than any other domain sellers I can find. But I must say that buying a domain is getting more confusing nowadays. They have a price for the domain, and then they have a host of add ons that cost money, like domain privary, business registration, autorenewal etc. And there are at least 5 or 6 checkboxes that I need to tick or untick to save my mail box from being spammed by email newsletters, promotions etc, both from them and third parties. I have bought from Yahoo and 123-reg before, and the process as I remember was a little more hassle free.After purchasing the domain, I proceed to transfer the domain to my hosting provider. Gosh goodness I am back to something I am back to an interface I am more familiar with. Now I am just waiting for the domain transfer to complete which can take up to 48 hours.

I’m hooked to the Internet

Bar in Heathrow Terminal 1, by arctanck

It’s incredible to think about it now that we can get access to the information almost anytime anywhere. Before iPhone it was still a pain in the arse. And iPhone has really exceeded my expectations. Today I was still able to use MSN to keep in touch with W while I was waiting for a coach to the airport. And I can make free phone calls using Skype via the free wifi service provided by the coach. Now as I am waiting at the airport for my flight, I made another free call to my brother in Malaysia, who is incidentally using iPhone too. Then of course I’m blogging here in the meantime too. On top of that I can check my Facebook to see what my friends are currently doing on Christmas eve. Enough said, and I think I can spend a lot of time on my iPhone! Merry Christmas all!

Trip to Egypt

It was two weeks since we got back from Egypt, a trip to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Not exactly a relaxing holiday, which we know, as there are so much to see in Egypt! You know, civilisation started 5000 years ago there 🙂 Good decision that we booked ourselves into a sea side resort at the end of our holiday for a bit of relaxation. It was wonderfully relaxing, facing the Red Sea, good, warm weather throughout. Here is a photo we took at Luxor Temple, which you can click onto to see the set of photos we have uploaded.Luxor TempleThere are plenty more I want to write about our trip to Egypt, e.g. the inconvenient truth that we have been scammed by a shoe-shine guy, ripped off by some “government controlled” shops selling souvenirs in Cairo, met some lovely local and foreign people during our holiday etc. But I guess I just have to find myself some time to really sit down and write everything. Not the most pleasant holiday I must say, but I hope our experience will still encourage you to visit Egypt without having to go through much hassle or unpleasant experience.

A hectic holiday to Malaysia

Have been back to Malaysia for three days now. Strangely this time I’m not feeling quite as hot as what I used to want to believe. Although it is still very hot, about 34 degree Celcius! I think I’m trying to condition myself to learn how to adapt back to the hot and humid weather, knowing that at some point in the future I will eventually move back to Malaysia. And surprisingly I’ve not been suffering from jet-lagged as well! Considering that the time difference between Malaysia and the UK is 7 hours!It’s always good to be surrounded by family members (haven’t really met up with my local friends yet even after 3 days! :)). And new family members too, as my brothers and sister all have children/babies now. But I must admit that I’m not very good in coping with all these family affairs. I still feel that it is very time consuming. And our family is not that big either, with no relatives living in our home town! Thank god.Since we are only going to be in Malaysia for 2 weeks, we make sure that most of our time is spent with our family. It’s always good to catch up with friends too. But unfortunately we have to prioritise. And we have a wedding to attend in Singapore as well! Goodness. What a hectic trip. Hardly feel like we are coming back for holiday!Tomorrow we are going to Langkawi, via Penang. Only for two nights. When people talk about Langkawi, surely it’s about seaside, relaxation, holiday etc. But we are going there for business as well. So it’s probably not quite as enjoyable as one would like to think. Nevertheless I think it should still be quite interesting, considering that we are such young looking couple, meeting up with hoteliers and tour operators who must be thinking what on earth are these two kids doing here! :)That’s the downside of trying to get a lot of things done within a short amount time. But I’ll try to enjoy it the best I can. Afterall there’s no reason why we should not get the most out of any circumstances.

Weekend to Prague and Cesky Krumlov

I recently went to Prague and Cesky Krumlov with C for a long weekend. We saw some incredible prices for free and easy tour to Prague at lastminute.com and thought that it would be fun to go away for some sightseeing.For someone who is prudent on spending, I obviously triple checked to see if we were getting the best deal. Like our previous experience, we actually found it cheaper to book our flights and hotels separately with easyjet and expedia. Better still, expedia offered 50% off for a guided day tour to Cesky Budejovice and Cesky Krumlov (a UNESCO heritage town). We thought it was fabulous price because had we gone on our own, it would be a lot more hassle and perhaps cost more as well. The day tour only cost £28 per person including transport, lunch and English speaking guide! So it was a real bargain for us.It is actually my second time to Prague, the first time was 9 years ago. I find that the city is still more or less the same. Due to the economy downturn, there were much fewer tourists than I had expected. The economy downturn has obviously had a huge impact on tourist numbers to this city where tourism plays an important role to its economy. However, the city is cleaner than 9 years ago and prices have obviously gone up, but not by unreasonable margin.One thing that impresses me most is that even as a small country where the cost of living is comparatively low compared to other European cities, the public transport is extremely well run. It was snowing when we were there, the roads were very well-gritted and things were as per usual. It puts Britain to shame when a heavy snow has literally frozen the whole country with public transport suspended and people unable to get to work. I do not think that ‘the heavy snow was not usual’ would be a good enough reason for such a large scale failure.Cesky Krumlov has a lot of charm being a very old town and still retain some medieval character at parts of the town. You have to enter through the town gate, which is a very narrow passage and cars are not allowed in the centre of the town. When we were there on a Sunday, the town was extremely quiet. As a tourist, I obviously liked it because there were no crowds and you could spend as much time as you wish taking photos or wandering about. However, I understand from our guide that businesses are suffering for the town relies almost solely on tourism business.

Wherever I walked to at Cesky Krumlov, the views were very pleasant. The town is so old that it looked almost a little unreal. It is as though you have travelled back in time. Sometimes, I wish that cities would preserve their old medieval buildings better and we would be able to see more of them today. They are obviously so much more lovable than tall bland glass buildings.Prague is a little like Cesky Krumlov but much bigger and more modernised. But it still retains a lot of character especially where the old town square is.Food was relatively cheap when compared to other European cities. Also, I am an official Czech beer lover. They have totally converted me. I tried a few pilsner and they were so much smoother than some other beers that I have tried before. It is also not very gassy which makes it easy to drink.As a whole, I think the city has a lot to offer. We had a very pleasant break and C was obviously a very happy man so long as he got to drink his beer.

Weekend trip to Zurich

On the way up Mt Titlis

Went to Zurich for a weekend two weeks ago. Mainly because W won a pair of flight tickets to Zurich through her company’s lucky draw. Very lucky. Would have loved to stay longer, but I have run out of annual leaves. Such a beautiful country. I have been to Switzerland in summer. Love it. Been to Switzerland in winter, also love it, although not particularly a good time for sight-seeing or taking photos. This time it was autumn, love it too. Still plenty of sunshine, and the view from the top of Mt Titlis was just amazing! It must be a lovely place to live in. Full of outdoor activities all seasons, good transportation system and centrally located in Europe. The Swiss are so blessed!