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3 Apr

Skippin’ Down Memory Lane: Tokyo

at April 3rd, 2011 by | permalinkpermalink | category Posted in Asia, Wanderlust

For no particular reason, 2 weeks ago I asked my Dad the name of the hotel we stayed at when we had a family vacation in Tokyo.. ummm, 19 years ago. Not surprisingly he replied, “how could I remember it?!?? It was aaaages ago.”

Today, the name of the hotel suddenly popped up on my mind. Crystal clear. I googled to check if the hotel still exists and it does. AND it still has the same exterior look, I recognize it right away. It made me so happy for some reason. I guess memorable moments do stick forever and give happy feelings.

Shiba Park Hotel, Tokyo

I remember the hotel room I shared with my sisters. I remember we mimicked Minnie and Goofy’s poses at Tokyo Disneyland. I remember being tired, with my newly puchased then prized possesion of a softball Mizuno bat, following my dad who insisted to have dinner at the cafetaria where he used to eat when he lived there for a few months, but then we got lost and arrived there only to find that the cafetaria was already closed. Oh yes, I remember I cried right on the middle of the road then! I remember I switched my full bowl of matcha with my dad’s empty one because I couldn’t bear the bitter taste. I remember how I was so shocked to learn that I had to go 3 levels up (at least) for an empty seat at KFC.

I am soo happy that I remember so much from this trip and other family vacations we had. Good memories of time well cherished. If I haven’t said it today, thank you Allah for putting me in a loving family. Alhamdulillah.

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1 Apr

Skippin’ in Malaysia

at April 1st, 2011 by | permalinkpermalink | category Posted in Asia, Wanderlust

The iconic KLCC

Despite the (sometimes) sensitive relationship between the two neighboring countries, Indonesians and Malaysians still like to visit each other. And I got asked a lot about places to go, accommodation, etc.. because.. I lived there for almost two years and in the last 5-6 years I went to KL almost every year. My last visit to KL was during the Chinese New Year 2011, so just about 2 months ago. I went with Raissa, my sister-in-law and her son.

I lived in KL in the mid 1990s and well… many things have changed since then. A lot! KLIA did not even exist then. Now, there are more malls, the iconic Twin Towers and there’s IKEA too!  :)   If anyone asks for recommendations, to be honest I don’t really have much to say because more often I go to Malaysia (very often to KL only) not as a tourist but instead to visit friends who are like a dear family to my family, plus many attractions in Malaysia can be found in Indonesia too. Personally, going to KL would be about shopping for brands that are nonexistent in J-town.

So, here’s my picks on Malaysia:

Accommodation:

1. Jeumpa d’Ramo, Bangsar – Kuala Lumpur

My all-time favorite choice for accommodation in KL. I stayed there twice, the first one was in May 2008 and again on our last visit two months ago.

JdR is a bed and breakfast with style. The homy place is so tastefully decorated but cozy at the same time. The service was superb. Everyone was very friendly, the room was spacious, and the price was affordable.

There’s a large, clean and modern kitchen which can be used by guests. Then, there is also a small swimming pool which is always loved by the kids when we stayed there.

Then, the area where it’s located, Bangsar, is an exclusive neighborhood. There are two big shopping complex within walking distance. However, it’s quite a distant to LRT station though. Meaning you can’t really walk there. What we did was calling a cab (which was very easy because JdR is right on a main road) to take us to the LRT station then did the city tour by LRT. I highly recommend the place for those travelling with young kids and those looking for a bit of serenity in KL.

Beautiful and serene Jeumpa d'Ramo

2. Cititel Midvalley – Kuala Lumpur

I also stayed twice at this hotel. The hotel is conveniently located above one of the larger shopping malls in KL. It means access to public facilities is not a problem. The rate is affordable but JdR definitely offers better rate with larger room.

Must eat:

1. Nasi Lemak

2. Roti Canai

3. Anything served in hotpots, special nod to a beef and mushroom hotpot served in the food court at Suria KLCC.

Point of Interests outside of KL:

Fortunately, I’ve travelled a bit in Malaysia. I’ve gone to Malacca, Genting Highland, Penang, Cameron Highland, and Johor Bahru. From all the places I’ve visited, my favorites are listed below. Please mind that the recommendations below are based on my vague, very blurry memory.

Cameron Highland

It takes about 3 hours drive from KL to get to this mountainous region. The climate there is very similar to Lembang with its strawberry farms and tea plantations but Cameron Highland has an English feel to it. I really like it up there. The tudor architectures of the many buildings there really make a difference. They even installed a red telephone booth (I think there was only one) just like in England.

Malacca

I just remember lots of red buildings, which makes it memorable for me I guess. It is one of the oldest cities in Malaysia, I think. Anyway, it’s worth visiting at least once if you’re interested to know “where all started” in Malaysia.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember anymore where I stayed outside of KL. Complete blank. I’m sorry :-(

Final Note:

If I go to Malaysia again, I’ll make sure to visit Perhentian Islands. Two friends went there and they loved it so I just need to check it out as well. *my-kiasu-self talking here* hehehe

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