Friday, December 6, 2013

Shanghai 6.0

Back to blog-sphere again after my 1-month hiatus. November had been a busy month at work coz I had a mission to complete, i.e. to finish all my work before I go on leave for the whole month of December. Mission is accomplished and I'm now chillin' in the hotel while working on wedding prep stuffs, still lots more to do but at least I've got this whole month off to work on it. =P Before I move on to blog about wedding prep stuffs, I shall blog about my last overseas work assignment for the year earlier this month. 

5th trip to China this year...2013 has definitely been my cuti-cuti China year. The 2-year China visa that I made for China Rush has been put into good use. 
Jan 2012: Shanghai
Feb 2012: Shanghai
April 2012: ShanghaiYangcheng, Suifenhe, Yanji, Pinghu, Moganshan, Huangshan, Nanjing, Chengdu
Sept 2012: Shanghai
Jan 2013: Beijing, Shanghai
June 2013: Nanning, Guilin, Yangshuo 
July 2013: Dali, Mt Yulong, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Kunming
Sept 2013: Beijing
Nov 2013: Shanghai, Suzhou

7-9 November 2013: Suzhou Work Trip

Stayed in Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel & Suzhou Marriott Hotel. Magnificent 'polluted' view of both!!

Was too lazy to do any sightseeing so I spent most of my free time bumming in the hotel. =P

Took a direct airport shuttle from Suzhou to Pudong airport for only RMB 84...very convenient. 

As compared to the empty flight from KL to Shanghai, the flight back was totally full. It's a wrap for overseas traveling in 2013. =)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

India 1st Experience...Bangalore

Counting down 2 more months before 2013 has your year been? As for me, even though 2013 hasn't been as extraordinary as 2012, it has been a pretty good year so far. I've had the chance to travel a pretty good bit for both work and leisure, especially in the second half of the year. I've been infected by the travel bug so as long as I get to travel somewhere new every year, I'm a happy kid. =P 

I know I've said this over and over again but I really do count my blessings for all the opportunities to travel overseas for work. I always blog about my trips not to show-off but for my own records and for me to remember the places that I've been to and the things that I've experienced. My blog is like my own encyclopedia, a good back-up for my Dory memory. 

23-29 October 2013: Bangalore Business Trip

My destination...Bangalore...first time stepping on Bollywood land. =)

Met up with Rachel during my transit in Changi to be 'postwoman' to Shanghai. Thanks Rae for the Singapore immigration! Travelled twice via Changi last year and dumb dumb me juz found out about this transit voucher thingy now. Better late than never. =P

4-hours flight from Singapore to Bangalore. Found out that Kingfisher is brewed in Bangalore. Not a good idea having it in the flight when I had to stay up 2.5 hours more due to time difference. First time realizing that there are actually places with .5 time difference, I always thought time difference is on the hour. Watched a documentary about Hallyuwood, and yes I've been swept by! =P

Landed at Bangalore airport at 10pm (12.30am Malaysia time) and we were greeted by Leela's staff who then led us to the 5-series that brought us to the hotel. 

The Leela Palace. This hotel is so huge it took about 10 minutes for me to walk from the lobby through all these corridors to get to my room.

Niceeee room!! Absolutely what I needed after a long tiring journey. =)

This is how we travel to work everyday...Rolls-Royce & BMW. =P 

Hahaha...I wished!! This cute lil' thing is what we used to travel to work everyday. This auto-rickshaw is pretty cool right? Honestly, it's so much better to travel on these than a car with the horrible traffic there. It's so cheap and convenient! But depending on the driver's skill, it could turn into an exciting roller-coaster ride. That's why the company policy in India disallow its employees to travel by rickshaw. =P 

Our PW office in Bangalore.

First dinner in Bangalore...I guess this is the most 'Indian' meal that I had throughout the trip. We had Korean, Chinese, and Western for the other dinners. =P

Spent my weekend chillin' in the hotel instead of doing any sightseeing.  

Went for a swim...gotta fully utilize the facilities of a 5-star hotel. =)

My weekend workstation. Absolutely enjoyed the 5-star service and amenities in this 'palace'...feeling like a!!

That's it for my Bangalore trip...basically my impression of Bangalore consist of The Leela Palace, rickshaws, 100ft Road, and helpful clients. =) I'll save Taj Mahal for the future. =P

Friday, October 25, 2013

Langkawi Getaway

15-16 October 2013 (Tues-Wed) ~ Langkawi Family Getaway
It's been 2 years since our last family trip to Sabah. Seems like our family trip has become a biennial 'event'...wished we could do these more often though. =P Big bro was the one who planned this trip and our main purpose was actually to stock up on some wine for the wedding. It was good that all of us managed to take leave for this short getaway. =)

It's been more than 20 years since grandma & grandaunt last visited Langkawi! 

Lotsa things may have change over the last 20 years but the eagle is still there. Of course we've gotta take a family pic with this iconic eagle. =P

Sunset at Dataran Lang.

Thanks Sheng for booking this 5-rooms villa for all of us. =) 

Gotta have a meal at Red Tomato every time we visit Langkawi. =P

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Krabi...Same Same But Different?

4-6 Oct 2013 (Fri-Sun) ~ "The Krabi Call" Annual Teambuilding Trip
It's the time of the year again for our firm's annual trip. This is already my 3rd annual trip with the firm, time really flies!! Our destination this time was Krabi...again. We were there 2 years ago and honestly, it didn't leave me with any good impression. For those who've been to Phuket & Krabi, you would have realized that these 2 places are pretty much the same and the only difference is that Phuket is much more happening. If given a choice, I'd rather go back to Redang instead. 

Unfortunately, this trip was handled by tour agents...again! =.= You know what my comment is about travel agents. Our trip 2 years ago was pretty much ruined by the annoying tour agent so it was another 'same-same' experience all over again. Apparently, all the organizers didn't get to experience the 'lulu' tour 2 years ago and decided to experience it for themselves this time around. Dear Gen-Y'ers...whY la engage in tour agents when we already know that 70% of the time they screw you up and you could have done a much better job yourselves?! The amount of money that the 2 tour agents earn could have been enough for all of us to stay in 5-star hotels...just sayin'. =P Anyway, my strategy this time was to stay away from the tour itinerary and spent most of my time chillaxing in the hotel. =)

Our hotel for 2 nights...Centara Anda Dhevi Resort & Spa. Since it was raining almost non-stop for the entire trip, I spent 80% of my time bumming in the hotel room. =)

Too bad we didn't get the pool view room but I hardly had any chance to sit at the balcony at all coz of the rain.

What 'great' timing for us to have this trip during the festive vegetarian season (a.k.a the rainy season). It was raining THE WHOLE TIME we were there...not exaggerating at all. Didn't even bother taking any nice pics with such gloomy weather. Worse still, we were stranded by the street one-freakin' hour standing and waiting for our bus in the rain to pick us up to the dinner place (which was half an hour away). It's not that I'm being judgmental about tour agents but they keep doing things to prove that they are lousy! =.=

After being stranded by the street the night before, I was more certain that I ain't gonna join the island hopping trip the next morning. So bro, SIL, and I ended up having a good time at the pool with our 2 new cute ang moh buddies before it started raining again. =) Thanks to the rain, I guess this was the first time ever that we didn't have any teambuilding activities in a 'teambuilding'!! Good for me coz I couldn't afford to get tanned any more after being barbequed during my last Sabah trip. =P

Gotta have some good Thai food in Thailand...Pineapple Fried Rice & Tom Yummmmy!

Got these in an enveloped slipped through our hotel doors in the morning. Pretty impressed by the sub-committees' graphic design skills. I'm not even doing this much for my own wedding..."boh lui"!! 

Goin' all RETRO for the annual dinner...Krabi Night Fever!! Night fever night fever...we know how to do it ~~~

Group pic to wrap up this trip!

Love this quote (I think I love the font more) but Mr. D doesn't quite agree in this statement. Buying property makes you richer also...haha!! My favorite quote for now is still "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." =)

Aight enough of venting. Busy months ahead for work and gotta plan for wedding. Will also be traveling for work end of this month so hopefully I'll get some time to blog about it. =P

Thursday, October 3, 2013

We're the Champions!!

Here's a quick update of our inter-firm badminton competition 2 weeks ago. This is the 3rd year that I've been playing for the firm and unexpectedly, our team finally won the champion this year!! =) During my 1st year, we won 2nd and last year we lost in the first game. So this year's champion really came as a big surprise, not just for me but for everyone in the firm. 

I can't deny that lady luck was on our side this year. I was also very lucky this year coz our team cruised into the finals smoothly. Even though I was supposed to play women doubles and mixed doubles, I didn't have to play at all coz our team won 3-0 for the first 3 games so I only played in the finals...more exactly, the last 2 games in the finals. Absolutely nerve-wracking and stressful coz we lost the women doubles and the last deciding game was the mixed doubles. I admit...I'm only an amateur and our opponent was very good, and the points margin was very tight throughout the last game. It was even more stressful for me coz we got into the finals without me playing any games and I can't afford to lose the only 2 games that I played for this competition!! 

Anyway, it felt awesome to win the last game and it was great to see all the supporters coming together to cheer for us. =) Also thanks to my colleagues for taking all these pics.

Women doubles with Marianne. Haha...I looked kinda pro in the top right pic (slap)!! =P

Mixed doubles with Azhar. Since I'm not as good as the opponent's female player, our strategy was to give Azhar all the space he needed to play 'single' coz he's really good!! So basically, my job was to stay front and low...just like the bottom 2 pics...hahaha!! Ain't easy thighs and butt were sore for 3 days from all these!! =P

It was pretty crazy the moment we won the game point coz all the supporters ran down to the court to if we won the Thomas cup...hahaha!! We've definitely got the best bunch of supporters on that day...this is what you call team spirit!!! =)

The awesome badminton players!! P.S. I look really now brown cow??

Sunday, September 29, 2013

'Maldives' of Malaysia

13-16 September 2013 ~ Borneo Islands
Right after returning from my work trip to Beijing, I flew straight to Sabah for our family trip. In fact, mom booked the tickets for Tawau back in January and what coincidence that my overseas work trip was scheduled on the same week. Yeah tell me about good timing. I thought I was gonna miss my flight to Tawau when my flight from Beijing delayed for an hour but fortunately, I made it to LCCT just in time after running around like crazy woman from airport to airport. 

Since I only scaled Mt Kinabalu and totally missed out on the beautiful islands during my last trip to Sabah 2 years ago, our destination this time was focused on the islands in the east shore of Sabah. This part of Sabah is generally known as 'Sipadan' by a lot of Malaysians but most people don't know that Sipadan is only one of the many islands in that area and the nice water villas pictures that we see online are actually not in Sipadan island. For poor people like me who can't afford to travel to Maldives or Bora-Bora, look no further for a much cheaper alternative with pretty similar landscape. =P 

Even though we've booked our air tickets 9 months ahead, we didn't plan out our itinerary until 2 weeks before the trip. Thanks to bro's slowness, we didn't get to splurge and stay in the water villas coz it was fully booked but instead we managed to work out another better itinerary that allowed us to have the same experience at a much lower cost. =) OK enough of words, time for lotsa 'blue' pictures! 

13 September 2013 (Friday): KL - Tawau - Semporna - Mataking Island

I arrived Tawau one day later than my family due to my work schedule so bro arranged for this Mataking van to pick me up from the airport to Semporna. I was napping throughout the 1.5 hour journey from Tawau airport to Semporna coz I was too tired from the overnight flight and the mad rush to catch my flight. 

Semporna is the main gateway to get to all the islands in this region. The sky is so clear and blue here!! What a huge contrast to Beijing! I literally traveled from one extreme to the other...from land of pollution to land free of pollution. =P

I was too hyped up and was taking photos non-stop during the 45 minutes boat ride to Mataking Island even though it was all the same sea, sky, and clouds. Too much of influence of 冲上云霄, I'm obsessed with!!

After traveling for 20 hours by flights, cabs, van, and boat, I finally arrived Mataking Island at 5.30pm! Pheww...what a long journey!! We received a warm welcome by the hotel staff playing guitar and singing, wet towel to freshen up, and lemonade as welcoming drink. Haha...felt like I was in the movie set of 夏日嬷嬷茶 or 夏日乐悠悠!!

I arrived just in time to catch the baby turtle release activity...swim turtle swim!!

Wanted to see the sunset but it was too cloudy. I was looking pretty haggard coz I haven't even had time to go into our hotel room yet since I arrived. 

Took some photos from the pier. The water was so clean and clear!! That's mom swimming on the right pic. =P

Our Malay-style chalet. All meals are covered under the 2D1N package that we booked for the Reef Dive Resort. 

14 September 2013 (Saturday): Mataking Island - Semporna 

Breathtaking sea view from the restaurant deck. =)

We had the whole morning free before checking out at 11am so we went for a stroll to Mataking Kecil after breakfast. Love the fact that the resort is so deserted. =)

Adding one more to my jump shots collection! Thanks bro for making me jump only 2 times (not 50 times) to get this perfect pic...haha!! =P

I did a pretty good job with bro's jump shots too!! =P

Mataking Kecil (Small Mataking). We had the whole island for ourselves...even the tree looks lonely. =P

Mom & dad bought a Nikon underwater camera for this trip. Here are some examples of all the wrong ways of using a underwater!! I think we scared all the fishes away. =P

Climbed up this watch tower hoping to get a good aerial view of the island, mana tau the view was all blocked by trees...what a waste!

Can't stop taking pics of the beautiful many different shades of blue!! This is definitely a perfect place for a tranquil and relaxing vacation.

I have no idea where the other tourists are but I'm glad that the beach was deserted! I guess we were the only ones that didn't mind getting tanned under the hot sun. =)

Can't get enough of the clear blue sea. Last glimpse of Mataking before leaving and head back to Semporna.

Goodbye Mataking! 1st round of barbeque completed...more to come tomorrow!

Our hotel for 2 nights in Semporna...Dragon Inn. This hotel is entirely built on stilts and the exterior looks really nice in pictures! =)

We didn't get to stay in the water villas in Mabul but we've got our very own over-the-water family suite bungalow here...not bad huh! =P The exterior of our room looks much better than the interior...haha!! See how we transformed the room to make ourselves at home...we even had our own clothes!! 

Our hotel lookin' picture-perfect at dusk. 

Seafood dinner...must-haves in Semporna.

Night-view of our hotel from where we had our dinner.

15 September 2013 (Sunday): Semporna - Kapalai Island - Mabul Island

Chartered this boat for a day to bring us to Mabul and Kapalai Island.

Scenery along our 1-hour boat ride to Mabul Island.

Beautiful day for sightseeing and tanning. Here's a demonstration by bro on how to sunbathe on your private!!

Arriving Mabul Island to get our snorkel equipment. You must be are these the so-called water bungalows that I was talking about earlier...comparable to Maldives??

This is the 'reality' side of Mabul...Mabul village. Seems like tourism hasn't benefited this immigrant village at all. Our boatman decided to bring us to Kapalai island first so keep scrolling down to see the 'fantasy' side of Mabul. 

At least the people there are blessed with such a priceless swimming pool. =P

 This is what I'm talking about...the 'Maldives' of beautiful!! In fact, Kapalai is not quite an 'island' and the only thing on this 'island' is the hotel. It's pretty unique coz all the chalets are built on wooden stilts sitting on the shallow sandbanks of Ligitan Reefs so it looks as if the hotel is just floating in the middle of the ocean. =) 

This is by far the best place I've been for snorkeling! What's better than being surrounded by such amazing landscape while you snorkel?? Haha...apparently I was more interested in what's above the sea than what's in the!!

The water current kept pushing us into the chalet area and we didn't know that we weren't supposed to get on the platforms. But since nobody stopped us and luckily I was holding the underwater camera, I managed to capture these beautiful pics. =P

Honestly, I didn't notice that 'love' in the sky while I was taking this pic. I only realized this when I was editing my pics. proud of!! =P

From one paradise to another...Sipadan Water Village. The name of this hotel is kinda confusing coz this hotel is actually in Mabul island and not Sipadan island. So glad that the weather was perfect allowing me to take so many nice pictures!! Once again, thanks to SIL for borrowing me her camera. =P

Notice those kids in that boat? These Sea Bajau kids are one of the most photographed people at Mabul Island and I bet they don't know that their pictures have gone viral on the internet. We were observing them for awhile and noticed that they were actually begging for money from the tourists. Oh well, this is the sad fact about tourism. 

Mom was enjoying her 'private' pool on the top right pic while bro & I walked around the hotel taking pictures. 

We noticed that majority of the tourists that come to these islands are Chinese tourist. Good thing is most of them come here only for photos, not to snorkel or dive, so even though the hotel is fully booked, you don't really see people around when it's hot and sunny...haha!! Now this explains how we got so 'barbequed'!!

Another interesting hotel near Mabul island is this Seaventures Rig Dive's a converted oil rig. This hotel looks kinda scary...imagine falling off the platform!! =P We didn't go to Sipadan island this trip coz there is a permit system limiting the number of visitors per day and Sipadan is more suitable for people who dives. 

Dinner in Semporna. We were all 'barbequed' from being out in the sun all day.

That's all for my 4D3N Borneo trip. Very satisfied with this trip coz I managed to see the places that I wanted to see and managed to take lotsa nice pics at this paradise. =) For all those who have yet to been to this part of Malaysia, you should totally visit this place  as soon as possible before the serenity, tranquility, and natural beauty is ruined by tourism.