Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Highlights of 2019

This is my customary look back at what happened to me in the past year.

1) Citizen Action for Tiger (CAT) Walk at Sungai Yu in February

I wanted to do some environmental and awareness work at the beginning of the year.

Since tigers are at the brink of extinction in Malaysia, I decided to join this walk to learn more about efforts by the authorities and NGOs to save these magnificent creatures from extinction.

Click here if you wish to learn more about this programme.


2) South Korea in May

I flew into Seoul and did a considerable amount of shopping. Then I took the bus to Busan and stayed at Haeundae beach for a change from the hustle and bustle of Seoul.

I wrote a short note about my South Korea trip which you can read here.

South Korea was a milestone because it was my thirtieth country. This means I had completed one of my bucketlist to visit at least thirty countries.

I stayed at Haeundae Beach when I was in Busan.


3) Travelled to the island of Koh Rong, Cambodia in June

Tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Sihanoukville (entry point to Koh Rong) were bloody cheap. Like most things in life that comes cheap, there was a reason for the cheapness and it was because June was the monsoon season in Koh Rong. It rained almost everyday. However there were times when the weather was lovely and we could walk to Saracen Bay and enjoy a swim.

I remember the time when a thunder storm at night caused a blackout whilst I was in the shower. I pulled on a towel, came out to look for my mobile phone, switched on the torch feature and continued my shower. Life is too short to mope in the dark.

Another thing I need to add here is that the town of Sihanoukville was a mess. The place looked like a mini China as casinos were built all over the place catering to the Chinese crowd.

There was construction work going on in almost every corner which stirred up dust whenever vehicles passed by. Rubbish, especially plastic blottles and wrappers were everywhere. The island of Koh Rong was clean and relaxing, but Sihanoukville was bad.

Pristine Koh Rong.


4) Ran my first 21km in July

I participated in this race as a ghost runner because the venue was changed to near my house at the last minute. The initial venue was miles away and I couldn't be arsed to travel so far just to run a race at the break of dawn.

My mistake was running too fast at the beginning. Naturally I couldn't maintain the pace and fell short of breathe and energy by the eleventh kilometre. In the end I completed the race in an unimpressive three hours.

I've signed up for my first official half marathon in 2020. It's going to be held in March at Dataran Merdeka. This time I hope to be more prepared and wiser.


5) East Europe in October

I had initially wanted to do Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. But flights to Kiev (Ukraine) were pretty expensive when I looked at it. Moreover there were at least two transits which were long and painful.

Then one fine day British Airways had a sale and a return tic from Kuala Lumpur to Prague (via Heathrow) was going for RM2,100. It would have been a sin not to buy it.

My journey began in Prague, followed by Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Ljubljana in that order.

Amongst all the cities on that trip, my fav was Budapest. The city had a certain vibrancy to it, and not to mention the weather was almost perfect. Our hostel was located near the stunning St Stephen's Basilica and I spent a good many hours in it looking at the interiors, attending Mass and also a concert.

My only regret is that we should have spent more time in Budapest. Three nights was certainly not enough. Well, there's another excuse to visit Budapest again.

Upon completion of this trip, I had completed 35 countries.

The colours of fall was very pretty in Cesky Krumlov. We made a day trip there from Prague.


6) A year of attending concerts

I attended six concerts this year, an unusual number compared to previous years.

Concert 1: Euphrasia - the Musical @ KL Performing Arts Centre (April)

Concert 2: Phantom of the Opera @ Istana Budaya (June)

Concert 3: Haydn and Handle Orgn Concertos @ Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (October)

Concert 4: U2 - The Joshua Tree Tour @ Singapore National Stadium (December)

Concert 5: Madagascar: The Musical @ KL Convention Centre (December)

(no pics - hehehe)


Today is the last day of the first decade of the new millenium. I'm thankful to have come this far and look forward to another decade of hope and love.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

3 Interesting Things to See on Lokrum Island

This is a throwback post to the time when I made a day-trip to Lokrum Island in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2017.

Getting to Lokrum Island

Ferries leave from the Old Port (Gradska luka) in Old Town Dubrovnik to Lokrum Island. The ride takes about 10 minutes.

This is the ferry that I took:

The fare (return trip) was 120 Kuna (as at September 2017). It's now 150 Kuna (I checked the website).

After about 15 minutes, the ferry reached Lokrum Island:

The first signboard that greet visitors reminded that the last ferry to leave the island was 6.00pm. The time changes periodically so make sure you check the time when you arrive on the island. The latest ferry timetable is also available here.

'Is is forbidden to stay on the island after the last departure of the boat!' 
I wonder what happens to visitors who miss that last ferry. Where will they stay since there's no lodging on the island? Will they get fined by the authorities? So make sure you don't overlook the time and miss the ferry. 

There was no entrance fee to the island. The ferry ticket was the only cost to get to the island.

There're no vehicles on the island, so you have to walk everywhere, but it's not a super huge island anyway.

You don't have to worry about getting lost because all locations are marked clearly by signboards such as this:

The numbers indicate the route number based on the map of the island here
The numbers are not the distance or time taken to walk to that particular spot.

So what's to see on Lokrum Island? Some of the notable spots include The Bay of Portoc, The Monastery Complex, Botanical Gardens, etc.

Here are the Top 3 items that I like about Lokrum Island:

No. 1: Game of Thrones (GoT) Exhibition Centre

This centre is a dream come true for all GoT fans because this stone building ...

... houses the Iron Throne:

Visitors are allowed to sit on the throne for pics. 
Since there were not many people around, I took so many photos that will make selfie queens green with envy. I used one of the pics as my WhatsApp profile photo and got many questions on where did I find the Iron Throne. Well, now you know.

Apart from the Iron Throne, the centre has an exhibition about the popular drama series especially about its filming locations in Croatia. The centre was too dark to take pics.

Here's a little info I found in the centre on The Benedictine Curse:


No. 2: Rabbits everywhere

Before coming to Lokrum Island, the guide for one of the walking tours in Dubrovnik said that there're many rabbits running free on the island.

Apparently someone had brought a pair of rabbits to Lokrum Island, the rabbits bred like rabbits (pun intended) and now there're so many of them.

The guide said visitors can take the rabbits home because they're breeding rapidly, but I didn't see anyone doing so.

Here's a photo of the rabbits eating, sleeping and chilling on a field:

The rabbits seems to hang out on this field only. I didn't see rabbits in other parts of the island.

Sometimes you have to look hard as they're hiding in the bushes:

Can you see me?

They like to dig holes and bury themselves in it:

Apart from rabbits, there're also peacocks on Lokrum Island:

Peacocks are bold birds who're not afraid to come up to strangers, like this one who came up to me as I was lazing on a lounge chair:

One rabbit also came up to me and here's a pic of it running away before I could touch it:

Random photo of my pedicured feet:

The weather was beautiful that I slept on that lounge chair for about 2 hours.

No. 3: Fort Royal

Fort Royal is located towards the east side of the island and is a bit of a walk through the forest to get there:

Here's a pic of Fort Royal from outside:

Fort Royal is essentially a ruin which was too dark to take pics inside.

The fort is located on a hill with views such as this:

It was drizzling when I reached Fort Royal and a rainbow appeared:

A rainbow is a rare sight and makes me feel all tingly whenever I see one.

After roaming around Fort Royal, I made my way back to the opening where I had entered the area. But I couldn't find it! And there was no one around to ask for directions.

At that point I thought I should have put a bright red marker or leave a trail of bread crumbs like Hansel & Gretel.

After walking around in circles I managed to find the inconspicuous opening and started running to the ferry area. It was almost 6.00pm!

I managed to reach the port about 20 minutes before 6.00pm. Thank heavens for that!

So do keep in mind of the time if you visit Lokrum Island.

Monday, 20 May 2019

A short note on my South Korean trip and other things

This blog has not been updated since January 2019 and I'm ashamed of it.

I got back from a 7-day trip to Seoul and Busan last week. It was a relaxing holiday with lots of shopping. Bought dresses, skincare products, etc. Also bought a pair of original Samsung earphone since I was in Samsung birthplace. Costs me 17,800 KRW.

I found Korean food too pungent spicy, the type that makes my eyes water each time I eat it. So after a few meals of Korean food, I started living on burgers, instant noodles and chips. It was an unhealthy trip, but now it's time to get back to healthy eating.

South Korea was my 30th country and with that, I've achieved one of my bucket list of visiting at least 30 countries. But I ain't gonna stop here. Maybe I should up the target to 50 countries.

I'm abit embrassed to admit that I didn't visit a single UNESCO World Heritage site in South Korea because I was too lazy to navigate myself there. But travelling is about going with the flow and my mojo didn't direct me to any of the UNESCO sites.

Apart from my trip to South Korea, I had been busy with my Chartered Banker modules. The assignments were time consuming and the exams were nerve wreaking. So much for being a heroine wanting to take up this course eventhough it's not compulsory for my career. But I'm a firm believer in lifelong learning and it's always good to learn new things. 

That's all for now. I'll blog soon when time permits. Many back logged posts waiting to be written.

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