August 17, 2014

Have Sneakers, Will Travel

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Everytime I'm going for a trip, the most important item on my mind is the SHOES. To me, the shoes will make or break the trip cos I walk a lot. Like, A LOT. Especially when I visit Japan. Once I had to shop for a new shoes cos the shoes that I wore chafed my ankle and blisters were forming.

These days, my travel shoes are sneakers. They're chic yet comfortable. Good for a blogger like me. Travel, travel jugak tapi gaya tetap penting. muahahha..

The knowledge on styling your sneakers with any outfits you have in that closet of yours will definitely bring you its benefits. As sneakers may be assumed to be footwear suitable for sport activities, shoes designers from all over the world has created stylish and trendy designs to make it suitable to be worn as your casual footwear. Women do not necessarily have to wear their sneakers with those track suits or gym shorts as there a few ways to look more fashionable in them. 

The first way women could style their sneakers with is with those nice pair of skinny jeans. This type of combination shows off a perfect street style fashion look for women and the skinny jeans are versatile to be worn with high top sneakers, Converse to wedge sneakers without jeopardizing your style. The best thing is sneakers give you a comfortable feel all day while looking fashionable.



Besides that, the sneakers can also be matched perfectly with your skirts. Skirts are seen to be suitable for a feminine look but why not spice things up with a pair of sneakers. Add a little edge factor into your feminine character and have fun. If the weather is getting a little chilly, put on some tights or knee length socks to get a preppy school girl look. It allows women to feel younger at heart while maintaining their great fashion sense intact.



The third fabulous way a woman can perk up their sneakers look is by wearing it with your summer dress. Dress down your femininity with a nice pair of sneakers and be more relaxed. Forget those ballerina flats and feel super trendy with your colourful sneakers. You could also change up your style by mix matching your sneakers with long shirt dresses for a sporty look or appear flirty with an A-line dress.




Can’t wait to style your outfit this season? Grab a new pair of sneakers with creative and trendy designs from Zalora. Zalora offers its customers a wide selection of sneakers from various local and international brands online.  

August 10, 2014

Sawadee Ka Bangkok! : Mr Jones' Orphanage

While I was on my own exploring Bangkok, my friend whatsapped me suggesting places to visit. One of them was Mr Jones' Orphanage.

To be honest, I was confused. Did he ask me to visit an orphanage? Errr.. although it's a good cause, I thought maybe not today. But he later informed me the orphanage is at Siam Center. An orphanage inside a mall? Weird.

When I reached Siam Center and found the orphanage I was gobsmacked. Obviously I was slowwww. hahahhaha.



Mr Jones' Orphanage is actually a themed cafe, decorated with fluffy teddy bears and toy soldiers that brings back memories of childhood while you savor on cakes, desserts and drinks.

I was attracted by the decoration hence decided to go in.





You would expect from all the teddy bears and toy soldiers for most of the guests to be children, but during my visit I didn't see any children, just adults taking selfies (including moi.. haha). Children were at school I reckoned.



Teddy bears are strewn all over the cafe like a bear wonderland.







Anyway, the cafe has a wide selection of treats making it difficult to decide.




The beverages menu.



The desserts menu.



I ordered these!



Forgot their names but both were delish!! My overall bill came to 330 baht. A little splurge but still OK for me.

The atmosphere is good. The tables and seats arrangement is rather cosy, suitable for couples on dates or small group of friends for gathering. The food was delicious and the prices are quite affordable.

So I guess this is a must try whenever you're in Bangkok!

Mr Jones' Orphanage
3rd Floor, Siam Center 
Tel: 02-658-1163
Direction: Get off at BTS Siam

August 1, 2014

Sawadee Ka Bangkok! : Here Again

Continuation from here...

Days before my departure to Bangkok, Wisma Putra issued travel advisory to the capital due to the worsening of the 'Bangkok Shutdown', the anti-government movement protestors. Malaysians were advised to postpone or avoid visiting the capital. Oh noooo!!!



I was weighing down my options;
Fly direct to Vientiane?
Re-route the whole trip?
Cancel the trip and just stay at home?
when a friend who's working in the capital shared a write up on FB, on how the locals said life was pretty normal and the condition there wasn't as bad as reported in the media. He's been there for a few months as well so I counted on him to update me the real condition. Well you know la sometimes the media tends to exaggerate something, right?

Believing my friend, I made the decision to proceed with my plan. I should be fine as long as I avoided the protest areas, and always be on alert. Insya Allah.

As soon as I arrived in Hua Lamphong railway station, I contacted my friend to get direction to his house. Turned out he waited for me at the train station since afternoon. Haiyooo... so kesian!

I got a local simcard for data plan then, easier for me to upload gambar on FB/IG get connected to the world.



Happy Tourist Sim from Dtac. Only 49 baht which is really cheap OK. You can buy it from the many 7-11 stores in the city. If you're arriving at the Hua Lamphong railway station, you'll find a 7-11 across the road from the main entrance.

I needed to top up a bit to subscribe to data plan but still, it saved me a lot! For unlimited Internet usage, I paid 49 baht per day. That's less than RM 5 per day! Compared to using the international data roaming, it's at least RM 32 per day.

It's very easy if you arrive in Bangkok via Hua Lamphong cos the station is connected by an underground passage to the MRT subway system.







The station has a surau as well as cafetaria with halal counter. Great!


If you need to leave your luggage, you can do so at the luggage storage located near the main entrance. The rate is rather cheap I reckon.




storase? dolation? starge? hahaha...

Upon arriving, I headed to the ticket booths to secure my ticket to Vientiane.


 
The process was quite smooth, and I got my ticket within minutes. Train from Bangkok to Vientiane departs at 8 pm daily but I wasn't in a rush, gonna enjoy Bangkok for a while...   
 
From the MRT, I could see a few protests areas. It was massive, with the protesters piling the main intersections in the capital, forcing roads to be closed.
 
 
 
They even set up tents along the roads to camp overnight..
 
 
 
Crazy!
 
 
I visited the protest areas at Siam Interchange and Central World since I happened to be there. I knew it was dangerous but couldn't avoid the area since all the shopping malls that I wanted to go - Siam Paragon, Siam Center, MBK Center, Central World Plaza, Platinum Shopping Mall, Pratunam Market are all within the area.
 
 
 
I was hesitant to go near at first but the curious cat in me wanted to get a feel for what's happening and what the feeling is on the ground cos I've never joined Bersih in Malaysia. haha..
 
What surprised me was that the surrounding protest areas was turning into carnival-like atmosphere.
 
 
 
 
Like a street market.
 
 


Overall, I was glad I proceeded with the trip. Being there myself, I found the situation was under control it's not necessary to avoid the capital. But then again, I might be lucky that I didn't encounter anything bad during my stay there.

As for now, Thailand's military has taken control of the government and has suspended the constitution but from what I read in the travel forums, it's safe to visit the capital.

July 30, 2014

Raya 2014

Hope it's not too late to wish all my friends & readers.. 

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri
Maaf zahir batin

Sorry for all my wrongdoings, my bad writings, terkutuk terperli.. ;p
0-0 yeah??


May your celebration be filled with warmth and happiness.

Back to work tomorrow... and I sooo need to hit the gym soon! Food overload T__T 

July 16, 2014

Overland Penang - Laos : Butterworth to Bangkok by Train

Earlier this year, I planned to do an overland trip covering this route : Ho Chi Minh City - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap - Bangkok - Butterworth - Kuala Lumpur. But being a makan-gaji engineer, I couldn't afford to take leave for so long. 

So I broke the trip to two separate trips. 

The first trip covered Siem Reap -> Phnom Penh -> Ho Chi Minh City.

And here's the second trip, covering Penang -> Bangkok -> Vientiane -> Luang Prabang 

Notice I didn't start the trip from Kuala Lumpur?

The train heading to Bangkok would depart at 2.30 pm daily. Only one train per day. Matching it with the KTMB timetable, the best option for me was to take the Senandung Langkawi which departs from KL Sentral at 9.30 pm, and arrive in Butterworth at 5.30 am. However, 9 hours transit time sounds too long for me to wait, and too short to enjoy the attractions and food in Penang.


So I cheated and took a plane to Penang. haha.. 

And here's where the drama began...

You see.. I arrived in Penang ideally at 10 am. 

Time left before train departure : 4 hours 30 minutes

Still a lot of time left ey? So I sat at the airport lounge, played with my phone and read a book. Had brunch at McDonald's.

Time left before train departure : 2 hours 30 minutes

There's ample time left but let's make a move to the train station since I didn't know what else to do at the airport. Backpacker mode on: I chose the most economical way; ride the bus and then transfer by ferry.

From Penang International Airport, you can take bus 401 or 401E outside the arrival hall to get to the jetty.  
Operating time : 5.20 am to 11 pm

In my head I estimated I needed only an hour and a half at most.

Wrong!

What I didn't foresee was the waiting time, and the traffic. Pftttt. I waited from 12 pm and the bus only arrived about 40 minutes later. I was okay with that cos I believed I had sufficient time. I mean, just how long would it take from the airport to the jetty in Georgetown? Prolly not more than an hour?

Turned out the bus journey took longer than usual. It was a Saturday so there's a bit of traffic around the city. FML. I finally arrived at the jetty almost 2 pm!

Time left before train departure : 30 minutes

Breathe.. breathe.. I told myself. The ferry ride would only take about 15 minutes so I still could make it. I brisk walked towards the pedestrian waiting area only to find there was no ferry in sight. My heart dropped and at that moment, I knew I was going to miss my train. Damn!

One ferry then arrived shortly after, unloaded the cars and the pedestrians, loaded the cars and pedestrians and finally departed at 2.15 pm.

Time left before train departure : 15 minutes

It was the most anxious 15 minutes of my life! As soon as the ferry docked, I sprinted towards the train station which was conveniently located right next to the ferry terminal, hoping the train was delayed. But of course, it was gone. Looked up my watch. It was 2.37 pm. Gahhh!! Train y u no delay!?!

The station master asked me to catch it at the next station(s). He's afraid I might be late to catch it at Bukit Mertajam, therefore he asked me to straight away head to Sungai Petani.

So I walked to the taxi stand, negotiated unsuccessfully and was charged RM 60 one-way to Sungai Petani.

Lucky thing, I arrived safe and sound and most importantly, just in time for the train. Thank God!







What a way to start a trip eh?

Anyway, notice the logo on the train? Yup.. this Butterworth-Bangkok train service is operated by State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and not our KTMB. But fret not, you can buy the ticket locally. I bought mine at KL Sentral.


Leaving on a train...



This is an all 2nd class air conditioned train. No 1st class cabin, no 3rd class seater. So the choices are limited to a sleeper bed, either lower bed or upper bed.

Inside the coach...



The bed during daytime. You'll sit together (awkwardly facing each other) with your upper neighbour so borak la korang berdua or pretend to read a book while listening to the mp3 player. hahaha...



During dinner or breakfast time, a table would be set up in the middle so dinner/breakfast date la korang. ;p







There is a washing area, and both western and squat toilets at the end of the coach.



Plug points to charge your electronic devices. Awesome!

On paper, the whole journey would take 23 hours. A lot of people asked me how could I stand riding the train for almost a day? Won't I get bored? 

Honestly, it was a very exciting journey. I chatted with my neighbour and the nearby passengers. My coach was filled with a bunch of oldies heading to Hua Hin and a few backpackers. Then I read a book, stalked people on FB, checked out people's ootd and food they had on IG, played Candy Crush, and just enjoyed the view. 

The railway track was lined with rural villages, green landscape of the vast paddy fields, as well as karsts.






I did enjoy the scenery all the way.

At around 6 pm, we arrived at the Padang Besar railway station. All passengers were asked to get off the train here and prepared the passports for immigration and custom clearance.




There's a food court on the upper level if you want to buy drinks and snacks since they would be a little more expensive on-board the train.


Loading the food supplies.


We departed at about 6.45 pm. The train attendant then started to take orders for dinner as well as tomorrow's breakfast. This is not included in the train fare so you have to pay separately.



I didn't want to order anything initially as I already bought some snacks and a bun from the food court. But seeing everybody ordered something from the menu, I gave in. #peerpressure hahaha

Dinner was served after we departed from Hatyai at about 8 pm.
 

My dinner date.

Right after dinner, the train attendant started to make up the beds with a proper mattress and fresh clean bedding, as well as hook up the individual curtains which are provided for each bed to give us privacy. 



The fare for the upper beds are a bit cheaper than the lower ones. I bought the upper bed for safety reason but then I thought lower bed is much more convenient in case I want to go to the canteen or the toilet. As if he could read my mind, my lower bed neighbour offered to switch places while both of us were getting ready for bed. Thanks neighbour!


The night was still early but I couldn't do much since the bed does not come with personal reading light. I slept once I settled down in my little compartment, and woke up about 7 am the next day. Good sleep jyeah!

Our beds were folded back, and breakfast was served to those who ordered. I didn't succumb to peer pressure this time. Contented with my bun. haha..

All the oldies were getting ready and chitchatted happily. Excited as the train neared their destination, Hua Hin, although we were already more than one hour late from the original schedule.

After we left Hua Hin, the coach was rather empty so my neighbour moved to other seat so both of us had more spaces to ourselves. I continued reading my book as I didn't want to switch on my data roaming.

The train was moving rather slowly... we finally arrived at Hua Lamphong railway station at 3 pm!
 
 
 
 
That's more than 24 hours on board. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the entire experience.
Ready for Trans-Siberia trip now. *flex biceps