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Wednesday, 4 July 2018

6 Months & 4 Days into 2018

I’ve been missing to write here to be honest. But, I was struggling so badly with my shite. And the only thing I could do was only to look after myself. Anyhow, it’s July already huh. You know, back in December; I was all positive because I feel like there’s something with 2018. Believe it or not, there IS something with 2018. Both good and bad.

January was just another month to be honest but I was excited and relieved because I was finally done with UNITEN. I don’t even have New Year’s resolution because I feel like resolution changes every time hence I didn’t bother to have ones. Instead, I have a list of “THINGS TO BE ACHIEVED IN 2018” and so far I’ve managed to cross 3 out of 16. In February, I went to this overrated Krabi (like honestly!) and Phuket with a friend. More on that later.

The worst part of February was when Paramore had to cancel their show in Jakarta!!!!!!! I basically flew there for Ayam Penyet basically. It was all good from the start but it was a bit weird when we’re queueing to redeem out tickets but oh well it all made sense when they finally announced the cancellation. I was lining up to go into the hall whilst scrolling my Twitter and it wasn’t long until Hayley tweeted their official statement. Hayley had to push through because she cared about us fans as the organizer didn’t let Paramore to announce it because they wanted a new date first before informing us. We didn’t know what to feel to be honest but it was kinda sad as the last time we saw them was back in 2013. That’s like 5 years ago. Later that night at dinner we ordered Ayam Penyet Kremes (it was so good ffs) and mannnnn, it was so freaking hot. I couldn’t eat the sambal as it was that hot. Spicier than Samyang Ramen okay!! My ears rang for God’s sake. Tears were coming out. And suddenly My Heart Will Go On popped out from the radio. Sendu gila bodo hahaha. I mean like, we’re sad with Paramore then we had to eat the Ayam Penyet pedas nak mampus with My Heart Will Go On in the background.

March and April were just shit. In May, I went to Ireland and several EU and UK countries. I had the chance to join Game of Thrones Tour. That was the only thing that I enjoyed when I was there. More on that later.

Write soon.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Kingdom of Cambodia

Yeap. This trip happened a year ago. I went to Cambodia last December. Meaning to say that, I went there in December 2016. Totally overdue 😑 lol. Few days left before 2017 ends, I hope to finish my overdue-recent-travel. I know a lot of you don't wanna know how lazy or how I love to procrastinate just because it's always been my excuses in every start of my post after I came back from the so called  hiatus. But honestly, I am not that EXTREMELY busy, not experiencing major life adjustment and things like that. Somehow, the urge to blog or to write is suppressed ya know what I'm saying. It's not that I don't want to keep this blog stay alive but life happens you know. I went through shit and then I got busy with college. When I finally have the time to write, I'd get distracted and then I go binge my TV shows. Keeping up with yourself can be hard too. When I decide to make this blog back to its old looks, I realise how have I grown to some extent. I've been exploring and trying new stuff with this Legit Talks. And it's time to maybe finally return to your nest. Not to make this any longer, we shall go back to the main gist of the post!

This is gonna be a long post as I am compressing a 6D5N trip in a single post. But I will try to make it short as I can.

We were planning to do Russia-Finland-Russia initially but I only had 1 week break so we went to Cambodia instead. We managed to cover both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. You know what that means? 

Um, no?

Welp, it means there's no chance we're going to Cambodia again. I'd only consider going there again only for Sihanoukville but chances are; I won't and I don't want to. First, I'm not a beach bum. Second, island bores me. Third, for a country like Cambodia, it is expensive since they use USD. Fourth, back to reason no 1; not a beach bum. I sure do once in a while go to island but mostly for holiday. So yeap. Anyhoots, let's get onto the post!

Day 1 : Phnom Penh
Day 2 : Siem Reap
Day 3 : Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)
Day 4 : Phnom Penh (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum & Russian Market)
Day 5 : Phnom Penh (Killing Field & Central Market)
Day 6 : Kuala Lumpur

Upon arrival, I got a sim card for USD 6 that came with 5GB data. They definitely beat Malaysia though. Haha. For a cheaper option of travelling from the airport to your place, make sure to get your Tuk Tuk outside airport radius. Bargain till you get it but be reasonable. There were no Uber and Grab by the time so we didn't have much option huhu. Fret not, there are Uber and Grab in Cambodia now.

I had our receptionist to get our ticket bus to Siem Reap and each cost $10. The next morning, we head to the bus station. And to tell you, for 300+ KM journey, the bus took us 6 hours 🙂. I mean it's just Alor Setar - Ipoh...... Fikir-fikirkan kay ahahahah.

First stop;  Siem Reap Art Centre Night Market

Second stop; Angkor Wat

What's a trip to Cambodia if you don't visit Angkor Wat? We opt for sunrise tour that started at 0400 haha and the Tuk Tuk cost about $15 for the whole day. The Angkor Wat entrance cost about $20 and how lucky we were though, starting January 2017 the entrance ticket for Angkor Wat would be increased to $37! More reason why I won't go back.

#9 Sunrise at Angkor Wat

I finally got to see Angkor Wat right before my eyes. It was really amazing and I was in total awe. How? I mean, how did they do it? How did they build something so amazing with limited technology? 

and this is the tree that is potrayed in Tomb Raider

After sunbathing for quite some time, we then finished the tour and went for lunch at Muslim Family Kitchen Restaurant and had the Kaw Leng Phnom aka Lembu Naik Bukit in Malay. It's a traditional Khmer dish. It's nice and you should try it if you have the chance.

it's the way how the dish is cooked made its called as 'Climbing Mountain Beef'. 
My verdict : 7/10

The day was hot and really dry that after lunch, I parted with my dad since he wanted to go to the mosque whilst I had the tuk-tuk to send me back to our accommodation. It was close though. Later that evening, we just went around once again at the night market and onto Pub Street. Little did I know, Wil Dasovich was at Pub Street too..... Gosh. So anyway, I had the chance to try this roti canai-taste like pancake. It was $1 and it's really delicious.

With all those working and climbing that we did the whole day, dad suggested me to try Dr Fish spa/massage. It was cute and cheap???????? For $2, I could have my feet eaten (read : massage) by fish for 30 minutes. Or was it 45 haha not so sure but it was fun trying it.

dr fish spa

After having a quite thoughtful conversation with this local Cambodian, we head back to our hotel to pick up our things as we're leaving tonight for Phnom Penh. And oh the fare was $13/person. It was called Hotel Bus since there are actually 'bed' for you to lie in. It wasn't comfortable but bearable. Definitely a new experience!

After what felt like eternal, we were back in Phnom Penh. It was 0500 and I was so sleepy. My body wanted to just lie in bed and sleep for the rest of the day. But I realised that that's not what I came for and I have yet places to go. So around 0900 we walked to the Genocide Museum. It was NOT that close but we managed to walk there.

Third stop; Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Entrance fee = $3/adult and if you're a student, bring your ID for discount!

This used to be a school before it was transformed to place prisoners before moving and killing them at Killing Field. This was where the torturing the prisoners happened. There was this one place where the prisoner was held, and at the cells, the traces of dry real blood were still there. I had goosebump when I walked through it.

Fourth stop; Russian Market
courtesy of Google

If you want to get souvenir, Russian market offers cheaper option for the same product. Just a heads up anyway. The key is to bargain at its best.

Fifth stop; Killing Field

I had our hostel to book us Tuk Tuk for Killing Field as it's located on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. The Tuk Tuk cost us $13 for a return trip. I was amused for most of the time on the Tuk Tuk that I kept laughing silently because the roads were so bumpy. I mean, Phnom Penh is the capital city kot so macam proper sikit aa kot. So anyways, after that torturing 1 hour journey, we got to Killing Field or Cheung Ek Genocide Centre. The entrance fee cost about $6 that came with guided audio headphones. Every single time I listen to a particular point, I couldn't help myself to keep thinking; man, how ruthless Pol Pot was? I couldn't fathom the fact that he would do such thing to his own people. It was really horrible. I won't tell you everything aha so do your own reading.

memorial stupa

Sixth stop; Central Market
courtesy of Google

It's just another market really, reminds me of Ben Thanh Market. It's slightly expensive here but do whatchu gotta man!

So the next day, it was just us two hailing the Tuk Tuk for $7 to the airport. I left Cambodia with mixed feelings to be honest. I was grateful. I was amazed. I was amused. I was sad. I was bewildered with people that I met. It was an eye-opening experience. It was really a conscious trip. I had all these constant stream of consciousness inside me. You see, this is why I adore travelling so much. In a way, it keeps me sane. Be it from my life perspectives or country politics. Let's be real here, we all want a BETTER Malaysia that doesn't run by bigots. It's when we think we have it worst, somebody, somewhere, always has it worse than us.

I'm sorry if I, by any chance have yet to offend you with my commentary of Cambodia's 'well-being' and development. I had these conversations with this local guy and a fellow Brit traveller. The local guy was saying stuff like corruption and all. And when I had the chance to have a real talk with the Brit uncle, he was very unhappy with Cambodia because he felt like most ASEAN countries are really moving forward yet Cambodia has a lot more to improve. And he was very unhappy with Brexit though. I mean like honestly, for a country that runs their government with USD and their own currency, you sure have lots of duit for improvement kot. For Angkor Wat saja, they earn millions kot. I have a lot more to say but I guess I'll just keep my mouth shut.

Thank you for reading.

Write soon.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Saigon's Off The Beaten Path

As someone who doesn't like to follow what society normally does, in other words; as a traveller I always keep my options open. I normally would include some places or things that often people overlook and not overly touristy in my itinerary. Because sometimes, I just want to avoid the crowds. Chances are, the experiences you get give profound, richer, and definitely more satisfying. So in today's post, I will share with you some of Saigon's best of, that I managed to cross of my list.

First;         Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre
Where = 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, District 1
Price = VND 230,000/pax
Showtime = 1700, 1830 & 1945 hours

The show was really interesting and very unique even though it's fully performed in Vietnamese with no English translation. It is still a very enjoyable show and witty at some points. I think you could only see this in Vietnam. Anyhow, we bought the ticket on the spot and it is advisable for you to buy in advance as the seats often fully booked. 

courtesy of Google

courtesy of Google

Second;                      The Apartment Cafe 
Where = 42 Nguyen Hue Street

This is possibly one of the coolest building and honestly, if you have time or maybe an avid coffee drinker who drinks artisanal coffee, give them a go!

Third;                               Pho Muslim 
Where = Alley 505, 25/18 Tran Hung Dao Street
Price = VND 40,000/dish and VND 12,000/VN iced coffee
What to try = Pho & Bun Bo Hue

This is one hell of a street side stall that serves halal authentic Vietnamese food which is located near Jamiul Islamiyah mosque, locally known as Nancy Mosque. It serves pho in the morning (0600 - 1300 hrs) and bun bo hue in the evening (1600 - 2200 hrs). However, when we went there for dinner, both dishes were available. Admittedly, this is a hidden gem considering that most halal restaurants are typically located near Ben Thanh Market. If you want to dine here, it's not advisable to walk if you stay near Ben Thanh hence consider hailing Uber or Grab or taxi. 

courtesy of Google

I had Bun Bo Hue and to be honest, I prefer this over pho.
 It's sorta underrated and it was really delicious.

In conclusion, these 3 are worth a trip or trips. Hiks.

Anyway, I had the chance to try the infamous Vietnamese spring roll at one of the halal restaurant at Ben Thanh Market and I would say, I don't like it.

Also, I managed to drink a shameful amount of that Vietnamese coffee that I rated 5/10 in my last last last .. post. I didn't like it before but somehow, they miraculously taste good that I kept buying. Not to forget, I had quite amount (lol I only had 2 miahahaha) of Banh Mi Bun that I rated 5.5/10 before. I guess, your taste bud will learn to grow eventually.

Write soon.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

HCM City & We Got Scammed!

During my last visit here, I didn't had the chance to visit Reunification Palace so this time around I made sure to go there. The entrance fee is VND 40,000 (seems like they have increased the price). It was the home and workplace of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. When a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed through its gates, it became the site of the end of the war. 

Funny thing was, when we're walking to the palace, we actually got scammed. He was selling coconut drinks and he followed us pretending that he was guiding us. Suddenly, he stopped and gave my friend to carry that thing (idk what its called lol) for pictures. So,we thought it's okay and just played around.

After that, he just put that thing down and started preparing the drinks for us then he asked us to pay when we thought it's free!! Mind you, we didn't want to buy pon but he's the one yang pandai-pandai pi buat ugh. 

"150 thousand sir"

Innocently, Nik just gave him the money.......... That's freaking RM 30???? When we wanted to leave, he started asking me and Mimi to pay for ours since I drank it already lol. I mean, 150,000 dong for EACH, wtf???? So, Mimi handed the coconut back but he refused to accept it. Here when my brain worked wonders lol. I bargained. I asked for VND 10,000. Obviously he didn't accept. I looked at Mimi and Nik, they were pissed as hell. Nik was like "no no give my money back or you take this back". I told him my last price would be 20,000 each. Thank the Gods he finally accepted it. Since he already gave VND 100,000 back to Nik, I gave him another 10,000 and off we go.

Honestly, just don't entertain them. Things would turn around lol. Never accept their so-called offer for pictures.

when we went to Ben Thanh market, there were several people selling this and when I asked the price, "VND 20,000 miss" and damn right I did it!

So back to the palace, we went around for about 1 hour there and it was really crowded. And hot. Once done, we went to Notre Dame Cathedral but it was under renovation so we just went straight to Saigon Central Post Office. It's actually a preserved remnant of French colonial times. This building was designed by Gustave Eiffel - the eminent engineer who designed Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower.

I wrote myself since I had issues to deal and
 I'll write to myself from everywhere I go from now onwards 

Write soon.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Impromptu Vietnam

I still remember my Facebook post a year ago saying that I'd definitely go back to Vietnam because I genuinely like the place. But, who would have thought that I would go back so soon right but oh well, I did. As the title says, it really was an impromptu trip as initially I didn't have any plans of travelling outside the country for this year as I'm saving up for my big trip(s) next year. But then, my friend; Nik asked me if I'm going anywhere in the meantime. So he suggested that we do Melbourne but I told him that it's not gonna be fun if we were to do Melbourne for 4 days and actually have 2 solid days in Melbourne so chop chop no I said let me think about it first.

I asked my friend, Ulil to come with us but unfortunately he couldn't make it. I then asked another friend of mine: Mimi to come with us. She was excited as hell that she's the one making survey of places and at last, she came with Da Nang and Hoi An. We were so close to book our flights there until Nik said he wanted to go to Mekong Delta 😑😑. Bak kata dia; "Tak Vietnam la kalau tak pi Mekong". Apparently, everyone was okay with it and Ho Chi Minh it was!

For this time around; I bought a sim card which cost about VND 180,000 (RM 33.75) that came with 2.5 GB of internet for the sake of Uber and Grab. It was pricey compared to when I was in Cambodia. I could get 5 GB of internet for USD 6 which is approximately RM 25. Anyways, our hostel was located at Pham Ngu Lao street and this is where all them backpackers stay. The bars, clubs are all here too. It was halloween when we were there 😜😜. 

Other than that, you don't have to worry about having your hostel arranged for your tour(s) as this is where all travel agent office is at so we just simply picked the one we liked. 

For the next 2 days, we went to Mekong Delta tour and Cu Chi Tunnel tour hahaha and obviously I'll just skip about them and oh, I forgot to write in my last post that the tour exclude entrance fee that costs VND 110,000. So don't be mad if the tour guide asks you to prepare some money on the way there. In fact, read carefully the pamphlet. After we got back from Cu Chi, we went to War Remnants Museum. The price as stated;
  • Mekong Delta        =   VND 230,000 (USD 10)
  • Cu Chi Tunnel       =   VND 130,000 (USD 6) + VND 110,000
  • War Remnants Museum =   VND 15,000

I'm not sure if we did visit this pagoda during my last tour to Mekong and clearly I have forgot what its called but I think it's cool.

Write soon.