Wednesday, 20 April 2011

3 Reasons Bali is "User Friendly" to Malaysians

I know of many Malaysians who seek the comforts of home whenever they travel. They prefer to travel to a country where they can communicate easily with the locals, where the currency is lower than the Malaysian Ringgit, where the food agrees to their tastebuds and stomach, etc.

Bali is one destination where Malaysians would feel at home, and here's why:

The Malaysian Ringgit Talks
The Malaysian Ringgit (RM) is accepted in most currency exchange and money changer in Bali. Eventhough the rates are lower compared to changing RM into Indonesian Ruppiah (IDR) back in Malaysia, it beats having to bring US Dollar or some other currency that's more widely accepted.

Bali is probably one of the few international tourist destinations where the RM is accepted in currency exchange. The other place I know of is Chiang Mai in Thailand.

                                                   So proud to see the RM at number five!
                                           (Photo taken along Monkey Forest Road in Ubud)

No Chicken & Duck Talk
Bahasa Indonesia which is the national language in Bali, is similiar with Bahasa Malaysia, so communicating with the locals is not a problem.

Malaysians don't have problems ordering food, asking for directions, choosing which spa treatment or even having a simple conversation with the locals about life in Bali.

            If you're Malaysian, you don't have to read the English translation to understand what's being said in this signage. (Photo taken at Tampak Siring).

And you would certainly understand this signage too:

Photo taken at Tanah Lot.

Hot & Spicy
Traditional Balinese food is spicy like Malaysian food.

(Note: When I say "Malaysian food", I'm referring to Malaysian Malay and Malaysian Indian food but not Malaysian Chinese food which is usually not spicy.)

Due to similiarities in cuisine, Malaysians would feel right at home during meals in Bali because the dishes would definitely agree with their tastebuds and stomach.

And if you don't know what to order, always go for nasi goreng (fried rice).

The first time I was in Bali I had nasi goreng for lunch and dinner for 3 days straight. You can't go wrong with nasi goreng!
(Photo taken at Jimbaran Bay) 

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Ipoh - Land of Food

This post has been sitting in my list of draft posts for ages. But now it's time I share the story with you.

Angie and I celebrated Malaysia Day last year with a day trip to Ipoh to gorge ourselves silly a.k.a. food trip lah.

Before travelling to Ipoh, we did our homework on what to eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks in between. Our schedule was Restoran Foh San (Dim Sum) for breakfast, Hor Fun for lunch and Ipoh White Coffee in between. Do we sound like gluttons or not? But then again, most Malaysians are, hahaha.

Foh San started off in a small shop somewhere in Ipoh many years ago. Business must be damn good cause they recently upgraded their business to this 3-storey super duper dim sum building. Foh San has brought dim sum to the next level. If you ask any Ipoh fella where is Foh San, for sure they'll know where it is.

Here are some of the food that we had at Foh San:

Carrot cake.

Don't know the name for this dish. But it tastes like chee cheong fun.

Don't know the name for this one either. I really suck at Chinese food names.

Siu mai black pepper style. Different but nice.

I call this Yam Cake.

Dim sum for me will be incomplete without the egg tart. Foh San's one very delicious.

Use this order sheet to make your yummy orders.

After pigging out at Foh San, we walked around and explored the lovely St Michael's Church. Beside the church is SM Convent Ipoh and Sam Tet which produces top scorers in major exams year on year. Yeah, to missionary schools!

(Note: Since this entry is about food, food and more food, I don't want to distract your attention with photos of the buildings I mentioned)

Next we headed to Pasir Pinji where we sat under cool trees and had more to eat.

The huge trees provided shade to the stalls under it.

Here are some of the food we had under the tree:

Noodle soup, noodle vermicelli and some fried stuff which I don't know the name. Told you I suck at Chinese food, right? 

First time drinking this drink called "Red Bean Ice". Verdict? I can go on drinking this till my last days.

After the eating session at Pasir Pinji, we headed back to town for some Ipoh White Coffee, which is famous for its aroma, taste and smoothness. You can drink it either hot or cold. Since it was a hot day we opted for cold Ipoh White Coffee.

Behind the drinks you can see our Ipoh-mari host, Lim Yong Kim licking his coffee. Very nice boy ...

I went home with a belly full of Ipoh-mari food. Satisfying nonetheless ...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Review: Farah Hotel in Amman - Friendly English-Speaking Staff, Good Tour Packages

Farah Hotel was one of the hotels we stayed in during our trip to Jordan. The hotel is located in Downtown Amman and within walking distance to the Citadel, Roman Theatre, shops and restaurants. All its staff can speak English and are helpful.

A flight of stairs leads to Farah Hotel.

We were attracted to stay at Farah Hotel mainly because of the various tour packages it offers. Sure saved us a whole lot of trouble had we travelled to these places on our own.

       We joined the Dead Sea tour (JD 17.00) that took us to Madaba, Mt Nebo, Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan and the Dead Sea. Can you spot the tour in the photo above?

                          Write your name under the tour that you wish to join one day before.

Farah Hotel offers a range of rooms from privates to dorms. Because the Jordanian Dinar is super huge (equivalent to the Euro!), we had to save every penny for Petra. So we opted for the female dorm that costs JD 5.00/person/night.

Since it was a female dorm, I could sleep soundly cause no one farted or made funny noises like when I slept in a mix dorm in Bath, England.

We stayed in the female dorm for JD 5.00/person/night.

Bathrooms and toilets were located outside the dorm. Most of the bathrooms were clean with the exception of a few toilets that stank with human excrement.

One guest even yelled at the staff for not cleaning up the mess. The mess was left there throughout the couple of days that we stayed there! So yeah, the guest had every right to yell.

                                          This is one of the cleaner toilets in Farah Hotel.

Like most hostels or backpackers joint, the hotel has internet, laundry, international phone calls, etc. They also sell hot and cold beverages. Take a look at the list of services and items and their prices:

If you feel that the prices are too expensive, there's a small shop opposite Farah Hotel that sells hot and cold beverages and sandwiches for a cheaper price.

But don't tell them I told you.

                                  Enjoy a cup of coffee at the little shop opposite Farah Hotel.

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