Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 104 - Sekeping Kong Heng @ Ipoh Old Town

Sekeping Kong Heng is a unique retreat located in Ipoh Old Town in a 3 storey neo-classical building which also houses a famous coffee shop of the same name, Restaurant Kong Heng on the ground floor that serves great coffee and some of the best local dishes in town. It was also our place to stay during our Ipoh weekend staycation back in March. 
Locating the place is not as hard as locating a parking nearby, and the backward parking coupon system surely didn't make it easy for outstation people like us. But I was glad that we were there because the place is just awesome. There's a small library and an art gallery at the ground floor. The Big Group's Plan B is just right next door serving great casual western food with couple of small stalls selling small ornaments, as well as a small Indian barber joint. I like the way they preserved the place and turned it into an architecture charm thanks to Ng Sek San and his team.  
Our room was rugged yet filled with wonderful touches that bring out the uniqueness of the old building. I like the wooden floor and ceiling, as well as its part exposed brick walls. It really took us back in time. However, the wooden floor gave us some problems during our night sleep as some inconsiderate people were walking back and forth upstairs at 2am causing so much noise. I almost lost my cool but decided not to cause a scene at 2am in the wee hour. 
Well, apart from the bad night sleep caused by the inconsiderate people, Sekeping Kong Heng is a nice place to stay and hangout. The old and new mixed so well together there and it's truly a work of art. For those who are looking for something different, this is definitely the place to go... 

Tel*: +6012-2272745/+605-2418977 (Ms Lau)
Email: kongheng@sekeping.com
*Call hours from 8am-7pm (Mon-Sat).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 103 - Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

One of Big Teddy's friends recommended Kuala Lumpur Bird Park as the place to visit when in KL, by telling us how close they got to the Hornbill and how amazed they were with the free flying bird park. I'd been to the KL Bird Park once when I was in primary school and since it's been a really long time, we decided to pay the park a visit on a Saturday morning. 
Parking was ample and tickets to the park was RM25 (Malaysian with MyKad) or RM48 (Non-Malaysian. The park is divided into 4 zones, Zone 1 and 2 make up the free-flight zone; Zone 3 is the Hornbill Park and Zone 4 is where the birds are placed in separate cages and mini aviaries. Just follow the loop path and you will cover the entire park soon enough. We saw lots of birds flying and wandering around, especially the peacocks and it was quite fun at the beginning. Then we went for breakfast at Hornbill Restaurant and the food was average and overpriced. It's obviously a tourist place so we can't complain. I was hoping there were some Hornbills flying close to us but unfortunately we didn't get any upclose look at the Hornbill. 
After breakfast we continued walking around the park and it got hot as the sun was all out during noon. We stopped for the daily bird show at 12.30pm and it was quite funny and interesting to watch how they trained the birds to perform. After that, we wandered around the rest of the park until we reached the mouldy flamingo ponds. It was an eye sore and I was sorry that the poor birds had to live in such condition. That whole mouldy flamingo pond kinda ruined our entire experience at the KL Bird Park. I hope they will do something about it soon else it will surely tainted the image of the park.
Overall, it's a different experience with free flying concept but Malaysia does need to improve on maintenance issue to keep the park clean and presentable. At the end of the trip, I then only realised that I didn't have a picture of a Hornbill... Oh what a waste....

The Love Birds
The peacock upclose

The peacock upclose

The big ostrich
The lovey dovey Flamingos
Parrot is the crowd favourite in the bird show
The blue parrot

The flamingo pond - I didn't want to show the mouldy pond
The Red bird is standing out in the crowd
The peacock in full glory

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm daily

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cuti Cuti Malaysia 102 - Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park

Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park is one of those tourist places nearby which I always wanted to go but never really got a chance to do so. Well, that was until Big Teddy came along and we started exploring new places together. So, one evening we decided to drive almost 70km into the wilderness to see the much talk about fireflies. 
The 1-hour drive was quite dreadful especially along the long and quiet highway. The last stretch of the drive towards the firefly park was even scarier along narrow road and without any street lights. Nevertheless, we made it to our destination in one piece around 9pm. Parking was ample and it's free of charge. The place was quite well organized as compared to other tourist places in Malaysia. We went to buy a boat ticket for RM50 per  boat (max 4 person) and were given 2 mineral water (since there's only 2 of us in the boat) before we headed to the jetty area. There wasn't too many crowd on a Saturday night and we were soon in a boat rowing away to take us to see the fireflies.  
Kampung Kuantan Firefly Park is the home to thousands of fireflies living well along Sungai Selangor (Selangor River) river banks and feeding on the Berembang trees (Mangrove trees). Our boatman was quite good in rowing the boat to the Mangrove trees along the river which we started to see the fireflies lit up like Christmas trees as the lights from mainland slowly faded away. I was delighted to see this amazing insects up close. Our boatman gave us 2 live fireflies which I thought wasn't the right thing to do. The fireflies should live free instead of being captured to be given to the tourists. Unfortunately, the one in my hand had broken wings but still blinking brightly. I hold it for a while before releasing it back to the Mangrove trees and hoped that it would somehow make it. 
The boat ride was a quick one and we were on our way back after 15-20 minutes. Overall, it was quite a serene and unique experience. I enjoyed it very much but wondered how clearly did Big Teddy see the fireflies as he forgot his glasses that night... Oppsss...

The small boat
The Mangrove trees
Christmas Tree! It was way better in real life
Slowly rowing back to the jetty
Without flash & with Flash