Thursday, October 5, 2017

One and a half year later...

Suddenly, an email pop-up on my laptop screen. "Unknown has left a new comment on your post "Skytrex".  Oh wow now I remember I had a blog. I mean I still have, but being abandoned and left behind, because life is so much more than blogging kahkahkah. But when I received a comment on old posts like this, I feel something is incomplete, I miss writing and sharing. To be honest, even though I browse instagram, facebook, twitter many times a day, when it comes to travel review, parenting experience, and some other concerns, I still looking/ searching for a blog. Because it is more details and convenient.

I just realize my last abandoned post was longgg time ago during my 2nd trimester. and today, one and a half year later, I am a mother to 1 year old son. Ahh how times flies.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New Zealand Part I

No, don't guess. This was obviously taken at Queenstown. Sooo cantik like everyone should really at least 'know' this place. Alhamdulillah I was lucky enough to be there. 

I've always wanted to visit New Zealand. Tapi bila dengar pasal cost, gulp gulp delay niat murni tu. Almaklumlah duit gaji sekarang masuk keluar macam air tanpa segan silu. Oh I'm not the "last minute" or impromptu type of person when it comes to traveling. Biasa nya kalau jauh2 ni I planned it soo early ada yang more than 1 year earlier kihkihkih. 

Tapi berbekalkan concept 'installment', semua trip goes well in term of budgeting. Tak penah la rasa like totally broke I couldn't even breath. And I applied this 'installment' method to all trips especially yang mahal2 and jauh. So how this 'installment' method works in traveling?  

1) First thing first. Survey flight ticket awal. Not that you have to browse airlines website everyday, but at least get the rough ideas of the price trend/range so whenever you see great deals, boleh terus grab without hesitation. 

2) I normally grouped my travel budget into 5, transportation (air/ground)-accommodation-activities-pocket money
a) air transportation - flight tickets/ luggage/ visa/ in-flight meal
b) ground transporation - public transport/ rent/ fuel/ toll
c) accomodation 
d) activities - entrance fees/ adventure fees
e) pocket money - souvenir/ emergency money/ food 

3) So the reason I planned my trip early is to ensure I don't have to cram all costing into my 1 month salary. Takde la sesak gila takde duit time nak pergi tu. Normally on the very last month/ my last salary before the trip, just tinggal nak spare duit for "pocket money" only. The rest should be settled monthssss before. My tripmates pon seems comfortable with this method. 

4) Sample of 'installment' method and how it works in my NZ trip?

March 2015 - air transportation (Air Asia KUL/MEL - RM 750)
July 2015 - air transporation (Jetstar MEL/QZN - RM 1140)
September 2015 - accommodation (booked all hotels Te Anau/ Wanaka/ Tekapo/ Queenstown/ Glenorchy - RM 1120)
November 2015 - air/ ground transportation (flight baggage + meal/ apply visa/ pay for car rental - RM 914)
December 2015 - activity (booked bungy/ skyline gondola/ milford sound - RM 790)
February 2016 -  ground transportation (fuel) and pocket money (RM 300) + additional RM 1000 for souvenir and fun moneyyy 

So overall cost for my NZ trip for 11 days 10 nights is RM 5000 per person all in (excluding souvenir sebab totally depends on what you spend). See when you apply this 'installment' method takde la rasa terbeban sangat macam sedebuk duit nak keluar kan hihi. You have some space to breath, relaxx, pay, and repeat, breathh againn until your trip. I am purposely sharing the cost breakdown as my first NZ post because I really want people to know, it is not that mahal. and sooo doable :D :D So you can start dreaming of New Zealand now.....until my next post! which definitely gonna be moree excitinggg. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Jiuzhaigou Costing

My husband promised to write for Day 5 & Day 6, (Yeay!) so I think I'm done for now hihi except for overall budget. 

How much we spent? Roughly around RM5000 overall for 2 persons which I think very affordable. Awal2 time planning rasa macam omg mahalnya entrance fee, mahalnya domestic flight etc. but after dah tengok view yang cantik sangat, like dream comes true punya level, sangat sangat worth it. In fact takde la mahal sangat pon. Here is the summary of all my expenses for 6 days 5 nights:

(2 person)

Transportation

Flight AirAsiaX                RM 1062
Flight Sichuan Airlines    RM 1052
Ground Transportation     RM 400

Accommodation

FlipFlop Hotel Chengdu
2 nights (Day 1&5)           RM 180
Caiyun Hotel JZH
3 nights (Day 2,3,4)          RM 368

Entrance Fees

JZH Park x 2 days
1 adult + 1 student             RM 700 (RM 207/adult/day, RM 135/student/day)
HuangLong x 1 day
1 adult 1 student                RM 360 

Meals + Pocket Money      RM 600 (RM 50/day/pax)
Visa                                 RM 180

Total = RM 4502 for 2 persons
RM 2251 per person

But there are a few ways you can do to reduce the cost more:

1) Buy the domestic ticket earlier. About 3months before the trip, it was around RM300-400 per person tapi orang tamak slalu rugi. Bajet nak tunggu lagi murah skali hahhh a month before check dah mahal
2) Take bus both ways from Chengdu to JZH (But I wouldn't really recommend this, 11 hours were more than enough plus you'll need an extra day)
3) Spend only 1 day in JZH park. You might miss a few attractions but if you plan wisely you can still get the best out of it. Tapi 2 hari memang just nice. Not too rush and tenang and dapat cover everything
4) Ask everyone to bring student cards. kahkahkah Pity my husband. Too old for a student card ;P

Anddd if you asked me about food, to be honest I didn't do research on that too much, we brought enough beriyani from brahim, instant porridge with serunding, snacks biscuit chocolates, tuna and nutella with wrap. Kenyang selamanya. hahaha Tapi we bought fresh peach, apples, bananas etc everyday. So life is good :D

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jiuzhaigou Review Part III

Day 3 & 4

We started the day a bit early. The weather wasn't look promising. Gloomy, cloudy, no blue sky. So we prepared rain coat and sweater. Bila sampai entrance, tengok manusia pergh ramai ya amatt. Dah kenapa semua orang bangun awal kekeke. So we went straight to the ticket counter. 1 adult for my husband and 1 student ticket for me. Thanks Vandy for letting me keep my Vandy card. I'll use it wisely (Ehem!) The ticket price for student was half okayyy sape taknak rugi la :P After entering the park, I realized they didn't check my student card, so bermulalah idea idea jahat untuk hari esok which I thought was brilliant until........

Jiuzhaigou Park Map -taken from Google

You see the Y shape? so that was pretty much everything you will cover in Jiuzhaigou National Park. We started the first day with the right branch (which I think sangat bijak because more attractions and still fit to walk), meaning from Premival Forest, Swan Lake and all the way down. We already paid for the shuttle bus (terpaksa) so better make use of it. In the beginning, we're quite lost on how the shuttle bus works, so belasah je. Naik mana yang sampai dlu (blue bus/ green bus) lepas tu baru pikir. Then we figured out that the shuttle bus wont make any stop on the way up. So you have to stay in the bus from the entrance until the very upper right/left branches. The bus will only stop at every attraction point on the way down. But we prefer to walk down instead of bus hopping. You better take my advice on this, WALK as much as you can because the walking trail punya view lagi cantik, mendamaikan, tenang dan sebagainya which you wont get to see if you take the bus. and the rest, I'll let you explore by yourself hehe





We ended our first day at Suzheng Village, sebab hujan and kaki dah penat lapar dan sebagainya. Keluar je park, we rushed to the Bus Terminal to buy ticket for HuangLong. Where is the Bus Terminal? Good Question, go out from the park entrance, and take right, walk straight ~15minutes until you see this building.
Jiuzhaigou mouth travelling passanger transportation center- even my Chinese friend doesn't get the meaning until now. Like seriously your mouth is travelling?

Our hotel was at the left side of the park, so we had to walk about 25 minutes back from Mouth Travelling (macam best pulak term ni) to our hotel. Anddd we saw a halal restaurant yeayy. Good news to all muslim. hihi From the park entrance, no need to cross the road,just take left, walk about 10minutes, there is one street where people sell souvenirs, ubat ubatan, buah etc, keluar je from that street carik kedai ni (green color with obvious Halal sign), opposite tu Jzh Local Taxation Bureau Office (I think red color). Don't forget to ask menu in English and enjoy! :D

We really underestimated the second day, we thought it was going to be raining all day, we thought the crowds were less, we thought it was okay to buy 2 student tickets since they didn't check it on Day 1, but... we were totally wrong. kahkahkah. Day 2-very nice weatherrrr, blue skyy, hot and sunny (we wasted some space in our bag with sweater raincoat etc).

So my husband bought 2 student tickets, we were happy queuing, planning, laughing (happy to save hundred bucks) until we arrived at the gate. Guess what? The ticket lady asked for student card pffftttt Kantoi... So I was passed, thanks again Vandy, but my husband didnt make it. He acted like finding the card in his bag sambil berfikir untuk melompat pagar dengan aksi yang sangat mengkantoikan (nasib tak buat phew). kahkah, And I was inside alone, observing the other gates, carik idea utk meloloskan suami, sambil tergelak dalam hati confident sangat tdi. kahkahkah and finally I got an idea, TINGGTONGG I asked husband to change gate since not all staffs were that strict, and he made it with full of confidence hahahahaa. 





We covered the left branch on the second day/last day. We pretty much covered everything except for Mirror Lake. It was raining on the first day so we didnt make it, and windy on the last day. Sobs sobs Visit mirror lake memang kene right timing, pagi when there is no wind, and tak hujan, baru the reflection clearr. Watch this video and don't missed Mirror Lake like we did :(

We ended our second day in Jiuzhaigou with having a big fat dinner at the Halal Restaurant. Yeay. It was so tiring, rasa macam kalau dapat massage memang syiokk gila. haha But Jiuzhaigou is very beautiful, heaven on earth, hidden treasure or whatever you wanna called it. World Class National Park. 5 star.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jiuzhaigou Review Part II

Day 1 & 2

I bought the flight ticket to Chengdu during AirAsia promo few months ago around RM550/person. It was quite a good catch I guess because I never saw the same/ cheaper price anymore (I re-checked the price a few times for my friends but the price was going higher everytime).

We departed from KLIA2 at 6.35pm and arrived at Chengdu International Airport around 10.40pm (no time different between KUL and CTU). It was easy to get taxi outside the airport, however, try to avoid the ulat ulat ticket yang approach, go straight to the taxi queue.

English is very rare in Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou. I saw a few signboards in English at the airport but  communication in English wass sooo hard. Really talking like alien and human. As I had seen that coming, I prepared flash cards just like my previous trip to Seoul. It was much much helpful this time around. A good tip is to put all the address, instructions, reservation number and hotel phone numbers on the flash card with both English and Chinese font. Flash cards will really come in handy during your trip.
Flash cards. Yes this is what I did with my leftover namecard.
We stayed at FlipFlop Hostel in Chengdu. A good hotel. Great location (10 mins walk to Xinnanmen Station), Staff was good in English and all instructions were written in both languages, clean and cheap. It took about 35 mins from the airport to this hotel (~50RMB). Our journey to Jiuzhaigou started on the next day.
Nice simple room - Flip Flop Hostel Chengdu
Cozy lobby. Boleh lepak2 ade foosball and snooker.
A lot of foreigners stay here.
Xinnanmen Bus Station
Since there are 2 options to get to/from Jiuzhaigou from/to Chengdu, we decided to try both options. We took 10 hours bus ride from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou and domestic flight for the return. There was no midnight bus from and to Jiuzhaigou. The first bus was 6.30am if I'm not mistaken. We immediately searched for the ticket counter when we arrived Xinnammen Station that morning around 6.45am (Walked thru the entrance, the ticket counter was on the left side). We only managed to get 8.30am bus (135RMB per person). They provided quite a lot of buses to Jiuzhaigou (every 15mins), just make sure you come as early as you can.  I swear that was the longest bus ride I've ever had. But the view along the way was Subhanallahhh breathhtakinggg.
Feel like stopping every ten km for pictures.
 Too bad I was sharing the bus with another 30 people. *sigh*
Taken randomly from the bus. Cantikkannn T_T
Experience naik bas 10 jam? Hmmm ours was 11 freaking hours to be exact. It was a longggg one. Pheww. The driver was ok, no crazy driving skills, or speeding etc. The road/ highway development was very impressive. I felt like surrounded by the high mountains everywhere. We crossed at least 6 tunnels with the average of 5.5km each. Helooo macam mana boleh buat tunnel tembus banyak2 gunung ganang sampai 5km??? Perghhh power gila! The majority of the bus passengers were Chinese so you should expect to hear the sound of spitting every 10 minutes of less. Like petuihhh here and there. That was "ok" too.

Howeverrrrr, we had a bad experience with the toilet. Huargh. Me and my husband called it a Nightmare-toilet. The bus stopped 3 or 4 times for lunch/ toilet break. During the 2nd stop kot, we went to the toilet. I've been to anywhere in this world, tapi ni first time jumpe expensive nightmare-toilet. We had to pay 1 RMB okkk almost RM0.70cent. So I expected a very nice comfortable, luxury, clean, candle-light-dinner type toilet (over). Berangan puiii. Skali masukk Oh Oh OH MY GOD. How I'm gonna do my business heree?? I didn't know how they even called it a toilet? It was more like a peepoo-cubicle? the wall was at my chest level around 1 meter, without door. Tak perlu pintu pon as you can clearly see/hear what others were doing. Urghh. As I walked to the very last cubicle, kiri kanan kalau toleh boleh nampak this girl was peeing that lady was .....etc. Like so transparent anddd to make it worse, they didn't even provide the bowl. Yes no toilet bowl. It was just like a longkang panjang. 1/2 meter depth and shared with between whole line. Sad but truth, what the front people discharged will eventually flow just "under" you. Euewww. Like really eeuwww. Andddd I managed to snap a picture of it. curik2 snap sambil tergeli2. Go imagine now. 
Hi orang sebelah orang depan buat apa tu T_T

Anyhow, it was a memorable one :P

3 hours before we arrived Jiuzhaigou, the assistant driver was promoting tour packages and guides to us. He wrote down names and contact numbers for those who were interested. He made the Jiuzhaigou park sounded scary, hard, tiring and all so that you'll be attracted to his tour package. No no obviously he was not talking in English hihihi So macam mana kitorang tau apa die cakap? Jeng jeng jeng. We're lucky we met this guy on the bus who was from Italy but has been working in China for 2 years. He speaks basic Chinese, so he was our translator all the way. So don't take the tour. You're not gonna need it.

The bus arrived at Jiuzhaigou bus station around 7pm. It was already late so the ticket counter was closed by then. We're supposed to buy another bus Ticket to HuangLong, but we bought it the next day. We took taxi, I showed my hotel flash card to the taxi driver, checked-in and we're done for the day wuhuuuu!

p/s: Our hotel in Jiuzhaigou was 15minutes walk to the entrance which was among the nearest one. Try to find the nearest hotel to the entrance to save your walking time and energy.