May 8, 2018

6 Exploring Eco Sky, Kuala Lumpur

EcoWorld doesn't do things in a half-half kind of way. This property developer is known for adding a little magic into their construction projects. I don't mean real magic, of course but small things that make us go ooh and aah or is visually captivating. Expect an environment with art and nature infused in its designs.

I'd been wanting to visit Eco Sky since Hubs had driven pass the area several times on our way to Tesco Selayang. Eco Sky is located right beside this hypermarket. Plus point - don't have to go far to purchase groceries!

Eco Sky is a mixed development comprising three towers of serviced apartments which are about forty floors high each, and 140 commercial units in 4/5-storey buildings that face each other like two giant pieces of macaroni.

Eco Sky, Kuala Lumpur

The place is fairly quiet with few tenants in the commercial units and seemingly empty residential towers; slow-moving because it is priced beyond what most Malaysians can afford.

Eco Sky

Eco Sky

In the middle of Eco Sky is a tiled park with a smatter of trees and a beautiful water feature. Neat, but it was the art piece I couldn't take my eyes off - a red sculpture of a person jumping into the water, apparently in slow-motion.

Let's Go Swimming at Eco Sky

Splash!

Hubs and I took the lift up to the highest floor of the retail lots for a better view of the area. Overall, it was pleasing on the senses and quite the place for a cuppa with the girl friends.

Oi! No Swimming Allowedlah!

Eco Sky Commercial Units

Eco Sky Carpark and Serviced Apartment Tower

It was a hot afternoon so we settled down for a cold drink and ice cream at myNEWS.com. My first choice was actually Donutes, a cozy looking bakery cum cafe with large glass windows but I made a quick u-turn out when I saw the crowd! The ambiance in Donutes was cheerful and all good vibes - I love it ...but cannot sit long-long and ceritalah (storylah).

I Scream For Ice Cream

The public toilet is located in a hidden tunnel next to the red bench with the sign 'The Deck' above it.

Eco Sky Public Toilet

Eco Sky Public Toilet

We left feeling like this would be a great place to stay seeing how we could lepak downstairs.

The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was the illegally parked cars on both sides of the inner road leading to Tesco and the daily traffic jam that is Jalan Kuching's (?) trademark.

In case anyone's keen, Maybank has a Rent To Own scheme (#HouzKEY) for this property starting from RM2.6k per month. More about Maybank's #HouzKEY here and here.

Apr 20, 2018

13 KTM ETS - Train Ride To Penang

Train to Butterworth and back. ETS, short for Electric Train Service, is currently my favourite way of traveling. No more worrying about getting bus drivers with an adrenaline high on the road and braving the menace of traffic jams. That, and how we have to hold off our toilet needs until we reach a rest area; Plus how boring to remain seated the entire journey!

The ETS has given me a freedom I find refreshing.

KTM ETS At Butterworth Station

I took my ride from KL Sentral. The waiting zone was on the upper floor. When it was nearly time to board the train, the ticketing assistant approached us and held up a placard with train details. Everyone assembled in front of her. With card held high, she herded us like tourists a floor down, leading us to the boarding area.

Boarding The ETS To Butterworth, Penang

Ten minutes into the journey, a train conductor checks our ticket and gives it a stamp of approval, for real.

Platinum tickets gets me to Penang in the shortest time at 4 hours with the least stops made in between. Passengers get a drink and snack/s. I was given a bottle of soybean drink on my first trip down. On the more recent trip, they gave us a bottle of mineral water, a cookie and a packet of nuts.

No snacks or drink was provided for free on the Gold ticket train I hopped on once - this ticket is priced cheaper and takes a longer travel time.

Platinum Tickets Train Snacks

What. The. Hard-boiled eggs, char siew pao, pulut panggang, a huge tin of peanuts. I turned to look at the group of happening senior citizens seated across the aisle who seemed to be having a picnic on the train. Food is a little pricey here and runs out quickly, so it's best to bring your own which was what our cheerful neighbouring passengers did.

There is a total of 6 coaches, 3 toilets and 1 FnB bar. More than enough overhead luggage compartment above the seats and a dedicated section for larger bags.

KTM ETS Toilet
This is the most spacious one on board to accommodate wheelchair users.


I love going to the FnB bar as an excuse to stretch my legs and enjoy hanging around the connecting area near the glass doors. These doors open with the press of a button located in the middle. Watching the scenery made the journey peaceful and zen-like. I could have done that from the comfort of my seat but my itchy legs wouldn't have allowed it - gotta walk or stand a bit.

KTM ETS FnB Kopi Centre
There's sandwiches, noodles and rice.

For those who can't let go of their electric devices, there is a power socket below each pair of seats where you can charge phones or power up laptops. It must be said though that it is difficult to reach in the tight space we had between seats. I saw a sweet young chap volunteering to assist an uncle with it.

3-Pin Socket Below

There's a tray table for each seat like those on aeroplanes. If you're traveling in a group, there are seats that face each other, just for 4 or 8 if you take the ones across too. The best thing about these seats is the large shared table in between - I'm thinking monopoly and a host of card games.

Tray Table

The air-con is really cold and many people had their sweater on along with a cup of hot milo or coffee in their hands. I was already dressed in warm clothes when I boarded the train so I didn't have to go digging my bag for a long-sleeved anything.

Eh, what's that on the wall? A secret trash bin! Not so secret now that I've noticed it. This is my lepak spot on the train.

KTM ETS - The Bin and My Lepak Spot

When we arrived at Butterworth station, we hopped onto the free shuttle bus service heading to the ferry terminal. Even though it was within walking distance, construction work of a new building made it difficult and unsafe to access on foot.

The ride across by ferry to Penang island took a mere 15minutes.

KTM ETS Butterworth Waiting Area

KTM ETS Butterworth Waiting Area

I was impressed that train was punctual in leaving and reaching our destination. On my second trip however, there was a 15-30 minute delay due to construction works of a new track in Kuala Lumpur. It was going slow as a safety measure when it passed this area.

A short footage of the scenery I saw on my train ride on the earlier part of my journey back to KL:


Tickets can be purchased online (http://www.ktmb.com.my/ktmb_ui/) but I have yet to try this. I get mine from KL Sentral.

Apr 5, 2018

21 Penang : Wat Chaiyamangalaram, The Reclining Buddha

I blogged about the Reclining Buddha at Wat Chaiyamangalaram, a Thai temple in Penang about four years ago. If it was impressive before, it is more so now.

Back then, the dragons and serpents at the entrance were painted in matte gold. Today, it is adorned in coloured glass tiles lending it an air of royal grace and strength.

The Serpent Guards at Wat Chaiyamangalaram

The Back Of The Serpent, Wat Chaiyamangalaram

I'm skipping straight to the photos since I've already written about this place before. Within the main building lies the famous 33-metre long (108ft) Reclining Buddha.

Reclining Buddha in the Main Hall at Wat Chaiyamangalaram

Reclining Buddha, Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang


Some of the other statues outside the building.

Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang

The Guardians of Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang

Mythical Statues at Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang

The Grounds of Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Penang

Entrance to Wat Chaiyamangalaram, Lorong Burma, Penang

Entrance is free. If you have not been here for many years, it's time for a revisit!

Wat Chaiyamangalaram
Address: 17, Lorong Burma, Pulau Tikus, 10250 George Town, Pulau Pinang.
Telephone: +6 016 410 5115

Mar 27, 2018

14 This And That, The Stuff We Get

Would you believe that my plastic Chinese New Year tree of pink and red blossoms is still up? I am reluctant to take it down because I love how it brightens up my home. Not that it isn't bright enough with yellow and orange walls, and no curtains to block the sun out. It's thoroughly cheerful but I figured more is better? Lol. Minimalism is obviously not my thing.

Anyway, we received this gift from a business associate recently. A classy men's briefcase out of a James Bond movie? Not so. It's a wine case - a complete set with glasses, wine and accessories. Since I have never owned one before, you can imagine my excitement - like a kid opening up a shiny new toy. 

Wine Case

Wine Case with Accessories

I'm not big on alcoholic drinks. I cook most of it off in meat dishes, like a can of beer in braised pork or half a bottle of wine in a stew. That's how I use up all the alcoholic drinks in my house, rarely enjoying it as is.

The next time I go on a road trip, I will bring this case along complete with bottles of sparkling grape juice. Livening up my holiday, non-alcohol style! ;)

Then, I got these awesome 100plus golden bowls that came with a spoon each from buying F&N canned drinks. We bought two cartons of sarsi and two cartons of orange at RM13 each to give away to relatives for the festive season. I'd almost walked away without knowing about these free items. It was by chance that I bumped into a salesgirl who told me about it.

So I loaded two lovely sets into my shopping cart and told hubs that I was going to enjoy bubur cha cha the Datuk--Datin way. Bubur Cha Cha is a soupy coconut based sweet potato, taro dessert.

100plus Golden Bowls and Spoons

There you go, I'm practically hopeless at resisting cool stuff like these. High 5 if you're like me!
 

Mar 22, 2018

18 Penang Eats

There's good food in every corner of Penang island - at least I think so. And I'm really glad I don't live there because you'd never find me cooking in the kitchen then. Haha!

These are some of the yummy food I've enjoyed over a couple of trips there. I didn't note down exactly where or which stall we ordered from so forgive me for leaving out accurate location details.

Macalister Road's Char Kway Teow. Good wok hei (that wok charring taste) here. The Chee Cheong Fun is delicious too with silky strips of rice noodles and thick gravy. Couldn't shake the image of rat glue out of my mind though.

Char Kway Teow (Fried Flat Rice Noodles)

Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Noodle Rolls)

Bali Hai Restaurant on Gurney Drive is one of our favourite dim sum hangouts. I love the place because of the ambiance. The waterfront view and sea breeze makes the experience of eating here so satisfying.

Bali Hai Restaurant - Dim Sum

Bali Hai Restaurant, Gurney Drive

Hameed Pata's Mee Sotong. This is the stuff of legend in Penang. Fried noodles paired with super spicy squid that's guaranteed to draw out beads of sweat. I consider it a great achievement to finish a plate of this.

Hameed Pata Mee Sotong, Fort Cornwallis Food Court

Edgecumbe Road's Fried Noodles. It was ok-ish. Satisfying but not something I would purposely make my way here for.

Fried Noodles, Edgecumbe Road

The pork belly and pickled veggie dish at a hawker stall in a shop along Jalan Burma. This was served with plain rice and an egg on top. It's the kind of meal that says comfort food, Asian home-cooking style. I totally enjoyed this one.

Pork Belly with Pickled Vegs

Finally, the famous Penang Road Teochew cendul! An iced jelly, coconut dessert that will always be the perfect thing to have in Penang because of the humid weather.

Penang Road Teochew Cendul

What's your favourite Penang food? For me, Batu Lanchang's jelly fish pasembur (not pictured here) takes top spot. I'll try to take a pic of it one day.

Mar 14, 2018

19 Penang : Gurney View Inn

With a waterfront view, Gurney Drive is one of the most happening places to hang out in on Penang island. It's a stretch of road known for high end condominiums and pricey hotels. There are many eateries offering authentic local food along it, modern shopping malls and even a local products center for the tourists . Across the road is a promenade lined with trees and tiled benches.

Gurney View Inn, Penang

Nestled between impressive tall buildings is the hidden gem that is Gurney View Inn - a small, cheap hotel for budget travelers. It was RM130 per night for a family room. A surprise find considering the expensive hotels along the stretch! Housed in the same building is a Thai restaurant on the ground floor.

Gurney View Inn - Entrance

I was pleased with the compact sized room - one single bed, one double bed. Bath area was clean with nary a hair nor mould. An old rickety aircon kept us cool at night. The bonus was the unobstructed view of the waterfront. 

The only thing that would have been a put-off was the worn out peeling wallpaper, but hey, we're not fussy people! A comfy bed at a reasonable price to lay our head and within walking distance to several tourist attractions is a dream thing for us.

Gurney View Inn - Family Room

Gurney View Inn - Family Room

Check-in was quick and efficient. Arriving hours early than recommended check-in time, I was prepared to be turned away but the hotel staff was kind and accommodating, and we got our room after half an hour of waiting.

Gurney View Inn, Penang

There is a smoking corner right behind the reservations counter.

Smoking Corner at Gurney View Inn, Penang

The view from our window.

Gurney Drive, Penang

Gurney Drive, Penang

A short walking distance away behind the hotel is the famous Thai reclining Buddha temple and a Burmese Temple with an impressive Golden Pagoda Bell Tower. If you're into wet markets, the famous Pulau Tikus wet market is a street down.

To summarise, this is a good place to stay because it's convenient to get around. I saved on taxi fare. It's near several tourist attractions, has great scenery and food is abundant. I loved the sea breeze walks and having my cuppa at Mr. Pot, a roadside cafe that sits under a big old tree that looks out into the blue of the horizon.


Gurney View Inn
Address: 75, Gurney Drive, Pulau Tikus, 10250 George Town, Penang
Telephone: +6 04-226 1668

Mar 6, 2018

11 Two Weeks Into Woof Woof Year

If it were possible for blogs to collect dust - FuuuUuuhhHh ..*cough-cough* .. that's how long I've been away. Life happened and it happened interestingly. Weeks were spent spring cleaning and redecorating the home.

I took my sweet time too, having read at least fifteen books in between, my hands unable to put any down once the first page is turned save for food and the occasional cuppa. It was difficult trying to disconnect myself from tales of vampire romance and sword wielding unearthly creatures.

Then there were meet-ups with close friends and relatives to pass on CNY goodies. We caught up with what's going on with each other. There was the traveling - seven days in Penang! I'm now back in KL and ready to rumble.... at least I think my washing machine is,looking at the pile of dirty laundry I have to do.

Penang Island

I thought to ease into the New Year with some quiet time but phlegmy cough and a runny nose made me miserable for a week. Miserable, but not wholly uncheerful. That didn't stop me from tidying the home and cleaning up the mess left by my partying pigeon buddies - and boy, did they party!

These are some of the food I enjoyed in the early weeks of the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration. It began with an eight-course Reunion Dinner at Baview Hotel.

Prawn Dish

Reunion Dinner

On the first day of CNY, mee sua (longevity noodles) in herbal chicken soup is a must for us as it is a symbol of longevity. MIL never fails to cook this. It's a family tradition that has been practiced for decades. Long live Sharon!

Mee Sua in Herbal Chicken Soup

We headed out to catch the lion dance after that. It is an auspicious thing for us, all about ushering in good luck.

Lion Dance

Tong Tong Chiang

Days later, MIL treated the family to her famous 'kiam chye boey' - a sour, spicy, moreish stew made from leftovers. Roasted pork belly, roasted duck, chicken, mustard greens, dried chilli and preserved plums cooked in a huge pot until the flavours come together in a rich gravy best savoured with rice or noodles.

Kiam Chye Boey (Mustard greens, leftover meat stew)

To summarise, CNY is mostly about food, friends and family for me. So there you go - my first couple of weeks into The Year of The Dog.
 

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