October 3, 2015

Gotemba Premium Outlets

If shopping is one of your agenda when planning a trip to Tokyo, consider a trip to Gotemba Premium Outlets. I've been to a number of outlets in Japan (Mitsui Outlet Park Makuhari, Mitsui Outlet Park Kisarazu, Rinku Premium Outlets and Gotemba Premium Outlets). Among those four, my favorite is Gotemba Premium Outlets.

The outlet mall is located in Gotemba City, which is about 1.5 hours drive from Tokyo.

You see more or less the same stores in all the outlets, internationally known brands of fashion, sports, household goods and electronics etc. But if you're aiming to buy Prada, come here! hahaha. Prada is not available in other outlet malls around Tokyo. :p

♫ Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya.. 

Gotemba City is located at the base of Mount Fuji so on a clear day, you can admire the beautiful mountain while shopping!

The outlet has two zones, West and East Zones. When you get off the shuttle bus, you are at the West Zone area. West and East Zones are connected by the Yume-no-Ohashi Bridge. This is one of the best lookouts for Mount Fuji in Gotemba.

Since I went during winter time, the mountain area was rather foggy. Hence, Fuji-san was hidden T_T

Luckily, the fog cleared for a while later in the afternoon!

Yup.. that's how close Mount Fuji with the outlet mall. This was taken from the bus stop.

My Japanese friend told me that the mall area used to be a large amusement park, the Odakyu Family Land. That explains why suddenly there's a giant ferris wheel behind the mall.

 I didn't ride the ferris wheel but I think it would be fantastic to watch Mount Fuji while riding it, kan? How romantic ;p

Anyway, the outlet also has free WiFi spot at some area and a prayer room. * thumbs up* Click like please haha.

How to go there from Tokyo:

From my experience, the easiest way is by train, the cheapest way is by bus.

1. By train from Shinjuku Station. Take Odakyu Limited Express "Romancecar Asagiri" to Gotemba Station. The ride will take about 95 minutes. From Gotemba Station, there is a free shuttle bus to the outlet. It is rather pricey though, the ticket was 4950 Yen for a return trip or 2720 Yen if you buy one way.

2. By bus from Shinjuku station. One way trip takes about 100 minutes and costs 1680 yen. Get down at Tomei-Gotemba IC bus stop, and from there, wait for the free shuttle bus to the outlets.

For other train or bus options, operating hours, store listings etc, check out the official website.

September 30, 2015

Halal Food in Bangkok - part 2

During my first trip to Bangkok, I found halal restaurants in Phetchaburi area.

Then, during my second visit to the city, my friend brought me to Arab Street (Soi Arab) in Sukhumvit. The street is filled with numerous Arabic and Middle Eastern restaurants, I was like.. Why I never knew about this place?? My friend is Chinese some more.. hahaha...

Anyway, there's sooo many choices of halal restaurants there.

We walked till the end of the street and turned back. Too many choices until we didn't know which one to choose. haha..

Finally, we settled for Persian food at Shater Restaurant.

Total bill = 240 Baht (I forgot the name of the rice already.. )

The thing about Middle Eastern restaurant is that their portion is usually big. I had a hard time finishing mine! My tummy was sooo full! If you come here, you can order one meal and share with your partner.

Since this Arab Street is very near to my friend's place, I came here again the next day. This time, only tapau the kebab cos I was too tired after a day in Ayutthaya.   


Kebab is 60 Baht only.

If you wanna go to Arab Street, the official name of the street is Sukhumvit Soi 3/1. It is just a short walk from Nana BTS station.

September 28, 2015


If you follow my instagram, you'd know that I cut my hair short a few months ago. 

Super short ok. 

And because of that, I got a lot of questions. 

"Why did you cut your hair?"

"What happened to you?"

"Why so drastic?"

"Patah hati ke?"


One thing for sure, it's a head turner and an ice breaker. Girls from other departments who've never spoken to me, greeted and commented on my hair while we were in the ladies. hahaha...

Well.. the actual reason behind my decision was because I hated my hair condition. Dry, brittle, split ends.. My hair was badly damaged due to all the chemical processes -  straightening, bleaching and frequent colorings. 



Green je I haven't tried. haha.. 

When I complained about the state of my hair to my hairstylists, their answers were always the same. 

"You mesti buat monthly treatment." 

But I knew hair treatments or new hair care products won't fix this problem. Plus, hair treatment that I always do in Number76 is so expensive how to do it monthly? T_T 

So, I guess it was time for a change. 

Been receiving a lot of comments that I look younger. haha..

So gonna keep this hairstyle! 

September 23, 2015

Halal Food in Laos - Nazim Restaurant

During my stay in Vientiane, I came across a few halal restaurants. One of them was Nazim Indian
Restaurant but I didn't have chance to try it since I had my meal at another restaurant.

I came across this restaurant again in Vang Vieng, and later in Luang Prabang. A quick search on the Internet, I also discovered that there's another one in Pakse. Great! Your halal food in Laos is sorted. hehe..

The restaurant is owned by Indian Muslim so no worries, it is halal. It is also a known fact that most halal restaurants in Laos serve beer, but other than that, the food and drinks they serve are halal and alcohol-free. So again, no worries!

All the restaurants are strategically located on the main road in the centre of the town, so you will not have problems locating them.


Address: Fa Ngum Rd (Mekong riverside)
Tel : 021-223 480 / 217 958
Operating hours : 8.30 am ~ 10.30 pm

Vang Vieng

Address: 33 Ban Sengsavang
Tel : 023-511 214
Operating hours : 10.30 am ~ 10.30 pm

If you don't like Indian food, there's also Malay food, soups, salads, snack etc. Prices vary from 5,000 to 70,000 Kip. Main dishes are only around 30,000 Kip.

I ordered Cheese Nan and Tandoori Chicken. 


Total bill = 55,000 Kip  [Cheese Nan (10,000 Kip) + Half Tandoori Chicken (35,000 Kip) + Fruit Shake (10,000 Kip)]

Luang Prabang

Address: 78/4 Ban Visoun, Visounnarath Rd
Tel : 071-252 263
Operating hours : 11 am ~ 11 pm

I'm not really a fan of Indian food. I like Nan and Tandoori Chicken but I've already ordered it before in Vang Vieng. So this time around, I ordered their Malay food.

Not bad la..

Total bill = 35,000 Kip  [Chicken Fried Rice (30,000 Kip) +  Plain water (5,000 Kip)]

Prices in Luang Prabang vary from 4,000 to 100,000 Kip. I noticed that the price in Luang Prabang is a little bit higher than in Vang Vieng. For example, Chicken Fried Rice is only 20,000 Kip in Vang Vieng, but in Luang Prabang it is 30,000 Kip. Same goes for Tandoori Chicken. In Vang Vieng, full chicken is 70,000 Kip but in Luang Prabang it is 100,000 Kip. Well, maybe because Luang Prabang is more touristy. 

September 21, 2015

Overland Penang - Laos Trip Cost

So finally habis jugak blog about this trip.. haha.. 


Butterworth - Bangkok - Vientiane - Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang
Duration : 25 Jan 2014 ~ 3 Feb 2014  (10 days)

Refer here and here for the posts about the trip.


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Flight KL - Penang (MAS) - RM 58
  • Flight Vientiane - KL (AirAsia) - USD 49 ~ RM 158
Total = RM 216

  • Bus from airport to jetty - RM 2.70
  • Taxi to Sungai Petani - RM 60
Total = RM 62.70

  • Train Bangkok - Nong Khai - 758 Baht
  • BTS from Nana to Asok - 15 Baht
  • MRT from Asok to Hua Lamphong - 27 Baht
  • Train to Ayutthaya - 15 Baht
  • Ferry to island - 4 Baht
  • Rent bicycle - 50 Baht
  • Ferry to mainland - 4 Baht
  • Train to Bangkok - 15 Baht
  • MRT from Hua Lamphong to Asok - 27 Baht
  • BTS from Asok to Nana - 15 Baht
  • BTS from Nana to Siam - 25 Baht
  • BTS from Siam to Nana - 25 Baht
  • MRT to Hua Lamphong - 27 Baht
  • Train to Thanaleng - 20 Baht
Total = 1027 Baht ~ ( RM 114 )

  • Minivan to hostel from train station - 150 Baht
  • Tuk-tuk sightseeing around Vientiane - 100,000 Kip
  • Bus ticket to Vang Vieng - 50,000 Kip
Total = 150 Baht ( ~ RM 16 ) & 150,000 Kip ( ~ RM 70 )

Vang Vieng
  • Bicycle rent - 10,000 Kip
  • Tuk-tuk back to town - 30,000 Kip
  • Bus ticket to Luang Prabang - 120,000 Kip
Total = 160,000 Kip ( ~ RM 75 )

Luang Prabang
  • Bicycle rent - 10,000 Kip
  • Minivan to Kuang Si Waterfall - 50,000 Kip
  • Flight Luang Prabang - Vientiane (Lao Airlines) - USD 99.50
Total = 60,000 Kip ( ~ RM 28 ) & USD 99.50 ( ~ RM 320 )

Total transportation costs = RM 901.7

  • Bangkok : FREE!
  • Vientiane - Sihome Backpackers : 50,000 Kip for 1 night
  • Vang Vieng - Bountang Hotel : 150,000 Kip for 1 night (share 2 person = 75,000 Kip )
  • Luang Prabang - LPQ Backpackers : 100,000 Kip for 2 nights
  • Vientiane - Dansavanh Hotel : USD 22 for 1 night
Total = 225,000 Kip ( ~ RM 106 ) & USD 22 ( ~ RM 70 )

Total accommodation costs = RM 176


Penang : RM 26

Bangkok/Ayutthaya : 808 Baht ( ~ RM 90 )

Vientiane : 28000 Kip ( ~ RM 13 )

Vang Vieng : 68,000 Kip ( ~ RM 32 )

Luang Prabang : 87,000 Kip ( ~ RM 41 )

Total meals cost = RM 202


  • Wat Mahathat - 50 Baht
  • Wat Ratchaburana - 50 Baht
  • Wat Phra Si Sanphet - 50 Baht
Total = 150 Baht ( ~ RM 16.70 )

  • Buddha Park - 5,000 Kip
  • Pha Tat Luang - 5,000 Kip
Total = 10,000 Kip ( ~ RM 4.70 )

Vang Vieng
  • Blue Lagoon - 10,000 Kip
Total = 10,000 Kip ( ~ RM 4.70 )

Luang Prabang
  • Tour to Pak Ou Cave - 70,000 Kip
  • Pak Ou Cave - 20,000 Kip
  • Kuang Si Waterfall - 20,000 Kip
  • Wat Xieng Thong - 20,000 Kip
 Total = 130,000 Kip ( ~ RM 61  )

 Total attractions cost = RM 87.10


  • Sim card - 49 Baht
  • Top up - 160 Baht
  • Toilet @ train station - 3 Baht
Total = 212 Baht ( ~ RM 23.70 )

  • Sim card - 30,000 Kip
Total = 30,000 Kip ( ~ RM 14 )

Vang Vieng
  • Bridge crossing - 6,000 Kip
  • Pants - 50,000 Kip
Total = 56,000 Kip ( ~ RM 26 )

Luang Prabang
  • Souvenirs - 85,000 Kip
  • Massage - 70,000 Kip
  • AirAsia Excess baggage - USD 36
Total = 155,000 Kip ( ~ RM 73 ) & USD 36 ( ~ RM 115 )

Total miscellaneous costs = RM 251.70

GRAND TOTAL = RM 1618.50

Quite cheap kan? No wonder all the Mat Sallehs like to travel in the South East Asia countries.

September 18, 2015

Laos : Exploring Luang Prabang - A day in the Old Town

Continuation from here...

I was looking forward to explore Luang Prabang cos it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Much of the old town can be reached on foot but on my last day here, I rented a bicycle from my hostel to get around.

Just followed the bicycle route on the map.

First stop, the Monument Du President Kaysone Phom Vihane. He was the first Prime Minister of Laos who then succeeded Souphanouvong as the second President.

Couldn't get closer to the monument as the park was gated and it was closed at that time.

So I just continued cycling through the route and had a quick stop at another monument. This is Monument Du President Souphanouvong, the country's first President.

Initially I wanted to go to Ban Xang Khong and Ban Xieng Lek to watch the villagers making Posa paper (made from Mulberry bark) and weaving silk.

Had to cross this old wooden bridge.

After a while, I got lost. I couldn't find the turn to the village. It look so easy on the map but I dunno why I couldn't find it, I came to a dead end of a dirt road. Oh well.. it wasn't a main attraction pon (bitter.. haha), so I decided to turn back.

little monk

From one of the wats nearby the river, I saw the bamboo bridge.

Must check it out later..

Then I passed by Wat Visoun. Founded in 1512, it is Luang Prabang's oldest temple. On the grounds are a sim of fairly plain architecture and the That Makmo.

the sim

That Makmo

Wat Visoun is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm
Admission is 20,000 Kip

Next to Wat Visoun is Wat Aham. It is just a small temple, and practically deserted. Only saw some monks there..

 Wat Aham is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm
Admission is 5,000 Kip
Moving on, I reached the bamboo bridge. Once a year, after the rainy season, a bamboo bridge is built over the river. When the rainy season returns, the bridge has to be removed otherwise it would be swept away by the strong current.

Crossing the bridge is not free though. You have to pay a fee of 5,000 Kip, to help maintain the bridge and pay a small salary to the family who built the bridge.

It was rather hot and I needed to take a break, so I stopped by the road and chilled at one of the riverside café.

Sooo relaxing! I almost fell asleep on the couch..

cute local kid

My next destination was Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang's most prominent wat. There are a few structures on the ground of the temple but the most impressive one is the sim, the temple's congregation hall. Both the sim's exterior and interior are richly decorated with intricate gold stenciling on black lacquer.

the sim

The sim's back wall contains a colorful mosaic, the symbolic 'tree of life'.

The sim is surrounded by several chapels and stupas. One of them is the Chapelle Rouge or Red Chapel, which boast a colorful mosaic on its pink wall.

The wall is even featured on the cover of Lonely Planet Laos.

Another highlight at Wat Xieng Thong is the Chariot Hall. This hall houses the funeral carriage of King Sisavang Vong who died in 1959.

the funeral carriage, decorated with large dragon snakes at the front

details at the door

Wat Xieng Thong is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm
Admission is 20,000 Kip

Next stop was the Royal Palace Museum. Formerly a Royal Palace, it is now converted into a museum, offering visitors a chance to see how the Laos Royals used to live.

the Royal temple
Taking photos inside the museum is not allowed. Pfttt.
Royal Palace Museum is open daily (except Tuesday) from 8 am until 11.30 am, and from 1.30 pm until 4 pm
Admission is 30,000 Kip

Just opposite the Royal Palace Museum is the stairway to Phousi Hill. I parked my bicycle in the museum's compound and hiked up the steps. However, halfway after climbing 138 steps.. there was a ticket counter. Need to pay 20,000 Kip to visit the hill. Wahh.. Such a rip off!!

Terus patah balik. -_-

I'd rather spend the money to buy this fruitshake!

Just 10,000 Kip.

After all the cycling, I thought a traditional Lao massage was a good way to relax. Went for a 90-minutes session at a spa nearby my hostel for 70,000 Kip. Not bad..

About 5.30 pm, the hostel staff helped me to call a tuk-tuk to the airport. Would be flying back to Vientiane with Lao Airlines. Splurge a bit here cos I didn't want to endure a longggg bus journey to the capital. hehe..

Luang Prabang International Airport

Flying time from Luang Prabang to Vientiane was only 45 minutes.

Once I reached Wattay International Airport, I just wandered in the small airport, filling my time. I actually planned to spend the night there cos I was too cheapskate after splurging on the flight ticket from Luang Prabang to Vientiane. hahaha..

After the last flight out, the airport slowly became empty. No other travelers around.. looked like I was the only sleeper that night. I just sat at the benches, reading a book. A guard was nearby but he just watched me cautiously. But around 11 pm, an immigration staff came to me and told me that the airport will be closed and nobody is allowed inside.

Oh no where should I go? There's no tuk-tuk or taxi outside. The guy then told me there's a hotel just across the road in front of the airport. He was so nice to walk me to the hotel but in my mind, I was cursing myself. Plan nak jimat tak jadi.. haihhh!

Luckily I managed to bargain with the hotel staff, so I got a discount for the night.

The next day, I had another unfavorable experience at the airport. At the airport counter, the staff asked me to weigh my backpack cos I had no check-in bag. Dengki la teww.. Unfortunately, I was about 1 kg overweight. I told the staff I would transfer some of the items to my daily backpack to reduce the weight. Annoyingly, the staff said handcarry items are only limited to 7 kg, which they said, including my daily backpack.

Sooo, they asked me to weigh my daily backpack as well! Arghhhh!!! I exploded right away at the counter. Tried to argue but to no avail. In the end, I had no choice but pay USD 36 to check-in my bag.

Hmm.. although I love the country, I hate Vientiane's airport!