Touring Phang Nga Bay in Phuket with Simba Sea Trips

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Mention “Phuket” and eyes light up at the thought of shimmering beaches and aquamarine sea waters. The island has been immortalised in movies and regarded as the perfect destination for an “exotic” beach getaway. Google images depicting day cruises, sunbathers and picnics on the beach convince you that yes, this is paradise on earth.

The allure is slightly diminished with the volume of tourists in Phuket during busy seasons, but with the right tour company, you can still have a sandy-beach perfect vacation. I was struck when I came across rave review after rave review for this tour company called Simba Sea Trips, when scouting for a good tour of Phang Nga Bay. So I booked, with confidence, albeit with a tiny sliver of too-good-to-be-true doubt at the back of my mind. Plonking down mucho money for two (4,200 Baht per person) via PayPal can make you a bit nervous. Continue reading

Batik Printing Workshop At Muzium Negara

Malaysia - National Museum

If a visitor to KL asked me to tell him about the exhibits in Muzium Negara, I wouldn’t have been able to — my last visit there was when I was still in the single-digit ages. So when an email invitation to the museum for a batik printing workshop showed up in my mailbox, it came as a welcome surprise, and a good chance to revisit the museum.

The event was organised by Tripovo, an online travel platform that offers personalised itineraries and holidays, to tie-in with creating awareness of International Museum Day on 18 May. Looking at my email, I thought that the time of the event seemed rather long — were we really going to be working on batik printing for five hours? This was a serious workshop! — but it turned out there was a reason: it was actually a museum tour and batik workshop that we were attending that day.

The only real memory of the museum from my childhood was that the lights in every room seemed so dim. That part hasn’t really changed, creating the perfect setting for a haunted museum scenario. Now there’s an idea for Halloween, or Hungry Ghost Festival…but perhaps the idea of turning a museum into a fun space might be too much for locals right now. During this visit, we were accompanied by a tour guide, the knowledgeable Mr. Yee. Continue reading

Five Things Not To Miss In Ipoh Town

Everyone has a hometown outside Kuala Lumpur that they usually balik kampung during festivals and holidays. I was always a little bit jealous when friends said they were going out of town to see relatives in whichever state their parents families were at. While they were having a rowdy good time with everyone in their hometown, my family and I were one of the families left in an empty town. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds really — we liked having the roads to ourselves, and my brothers and I got to practice taekwondo moves right in the middle of main roads with no one to run us down.

If anyone asked, my closest claim to a “hometown” would be Ipoh. I was born in Hospital Fatimah and spent my first year of life on earth in Ipoh. Of course I don’t remember anything — or did I? I have fuzzy memories of facing upwards, looking at fluorescent lights, a fan spinning overhead and those patterned air vents built into the walls — but if we did join the balik kampung crowd, it was usually to Ipoh to visit my parents’ friends. Continue reading