About Me

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 35 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 9 years ago when I lost my youngest son. Since then my life is forever altered but yet unbroken....

My Travel Journal

"There isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road and through it all there'd always be tomorrow's episode" - Elton John

I started traveling around the world since early 80s when I had the opportunity to combine business trips with vacations. Then later when my rezeki is in abundance, there were numerous other trips along the way for vacations, most of the time with hubby and the kids when the timing is right. I have also started to compile the journal and photo-pages covering almost more than 25 years of world wide travel. Some destinations I visited just once, others many times. Many of those places are the obvious famous places people would like to visit but some, the casual traveler doesn't even think to try. I have placed links to my travel at the side bar of my personal page, My Life Reflections, and will be updating them from time to time.

My wish is to continue my travel and complete circumnavigate the globe, insyaAllah…

Thursday, 21 July 2016

4x4 trip: Erawan National Park and Srinakarin Dam


"Step through new doors. Majority of the time there's always something fantastic on the other side..."

(Erawan Open Hills Resort)

After the busy festivities of Eid-Fitri we decided to take a good relaxing drive in our 4x4 Blackfoot pick-up into Thailand exploring the Erawan National Park and the Srinakarin Dam in Kanchanaburi. We covered a total distance of 3,300 km over 5 days and spent the nights in Phatthalung, Kanchanaburi, Chaam and Hatyai.


Day 01: 21 July 2016 (Thursday)
Route: Melaka – Phatthalung
Distance: 780 km

Our journey started around 2.00 pm from Melaka right after my nurse duty. It was raining heavily en route to Bukit Kayu Hitam border. We refueled at Simpang Pulai and changed some Bahts and bought insurance for the pick-up in Changloon. Border clearance was a little slow as there was a large crowd ahead of us. We drove direct to Phatthalung and checked in Chaikana Thani Hotel way after midnight.

(The usual coffee break at Simpang Pulai)
(Sunset driving to the Malaysia/Thailand border)


Day 02: 22 July 2016 (Friday)
Route: Phatthalung - Kanchanaburi
Distance: 850 km

Today we continued our driving towards north and hoped to reach Kanchanaburi before dark. There were massive roadworks along the route from Phatthalung to Cha-am. To save time, we made only a few necessary stops along the way for refueling and meals.

(A comfortable lodging at B700/night)

We checked-out early in the morning and had nasi lauk at a Muslim restaurant in front of Phatthalung Masjid Darul-Islam a short distance away from the hotel.

(Masjid Darul-Islam Phatthalung)

We made a stop for some photo shots at the cowboy town at Route 41 Phatthalung. It is a new landmark in south Thailand and is now a popular stop for bikers riding north.

(A western-themed R&R)
(A new establishment with complete amenities)

We had a late lunch of rice and soup at Khun Sarai R&R. There are Muslim stalls selling reasonable priced halal food, separated from the non-halal section. There are many stalls selling souvenirs, snacks and local produce. I bought my favorite dried salted fish from one of the stalls. There is ample parking area with clean toilets and bathrooms. It is a good half-way stop for travelers from Bangkok or Hatyai. 

(Local delicacies at the R&R)
(A large prayer room with clean ablution area)


Day 03: 23 July 2016 (Saturday)
Route: Kanchanaburi - Cha-am
Distance: 185 km

Luxury Hotel is our favorite hotel in Kanchaburi and we have been here many times during our Kembara trips. At B600/night inclusive of breakfast the hotel is cozy and clean, with free wi-fi and ample parking space. 

(A homely boutique hotel)

We checked-out after breakfast and decided to drive to Erawan National Park and explore the many attractions there. Before leaving town, we made a stop-over at the Bridge over the River Kwai for photo shots and bought some t-shirts for the four grand-kids.

(The infamous Bridge over the River Kwai)
(A must stop for a tall glass of iced cappuccino)

On the way to Erawan National Park we stopped at a few river and hill resorts along the way. Our first stop was a small resort by the River Kwai, followed by the Open Hills Resort and the Erawan Hub Resort.

(A floating restaurant in the background)
(Small cozy chalets by the lake)
(A newly opened hill resort)
(Tranquil and serene atmosphere)
(Vibrant colored chalets)
(A good coffee stop before the National Park)
(The Hub Erawan Resort)

Erawan National Park

Erawan National Park is located on West Thailand in the Tenasserim Hills of Kanchanaburi Province, it is one of the most famous national parks in Thailand.

The park consists of limestone hills with elevation up to 996 m above the sea level. The main attraction of the park is Erawan Falls with emerald green ponds, named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. The top tier of the falls is said to resemble the elephant's head. We had to pay a small fee to enter the National Park.

(The entrance to the National Park)
(The map of the National Park of Kanchanaburi)

Erawan Waterfall

Erawan Waterfall is located in the east side of the park in a convenient walking distance from the entrance. It is a 7-tiered waterfalls, each tier has a number of smaller falls. A series of trails and foot bridges lead visitors all the way up to 6th tier. One has to do some climbing up the cliffs to reach the highest tier.

(Outside food is not allowed in the area)
(A cemented pathway before the steep climb)
(Reaching the first level of the 7-tiered waterfalls)
(A smaller emerald pool of the falls)

After visiting the waterfalls, which we managed to reach only level one with blistered feet, we drove to a Muslim stall situated in front of the River Kwai Park Resort for a hearty fried rice lunch before we continued driving up the winding steep road to Srinakarin Dam.

(A Muslim Restaurant in Erawan)
(Delicious khaw Pod Thalay, seafood fried rice)

The Srinakarin Dam

The Srinakarin Dam is situated about 70 km from the town of Kanchanaburi. It is also known as the Srinagarind Dam. The main purpose of the dam is river regulation and hydroelectric power generation. Recently it is also seen as a landmark of Kanchanaburi province with many luxury resorts. Srinakarin Dam is the third largest dam in Thailand.

(The embankment of the River Kwai)
(Blackfoot arriving at Raya Buri Resort)

(The view of the dam from the terrace)
(The coffee shop is closed!)
(Fine dining at the luxury resort)

We visited Raya Buri Resort, one of the many luxurious resorts by the dam. We decided not to stay the night as it was nothing much to do here. It was already late afternoon when we drove out of Erawan National Park. We stopped at Erawan Masjid Darul-Salam for prayers then drove direct to Cha-am and stayed the night at Cha-am Villa Resort at B500/night.

(Balinese style decor welcoming visitors)
(The cute expensive chalets on water)
(A good view point of the Srinakarin Dam)
(Facilities for swimming and kayaking)
(Prayer break at Erawan Masjid Darul-Salam)


Day 04: 24 July 2016 (Sunday)
Route: Cha-am – Hatyai
Distance: 780 km


We checked-out the hotel very early in the morning and headed to one of the Muslim Restaurant for fried rice breakfast. We drove direct to Hatyai and had a few brief stops for refueling and light snacks.

(A short pit stop at the PTT)

We arrived at Hatyai in late afternoon. After checking in the Golden Plaza Hotel, we had a very late lunch or early dinner at Khaled Restaurant next door. Later we indulged in an hour of strong Thai Massage at Charawa Massage Center and then had the usual pulut durian and teh halia at Aji's stall.


Day 05: 25 July 2016 (Monday)
Route: Hatyai - KL
Distance: 535 km


We checked out after we had nasi kerabu and roti canai breakfast at Khaled's. The weather was bright and sunny. Border crossing was smooth and the drive back home was relaxing. We arrived safely at our Bidara House just before sunset.

Alhamdulillah....

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Ramadhan Kembara Masjid Vol.3


“When Ramadan enters, the gates of Paradise are opened, the gates of Hellfire are closed and the devils are chained…” - Al-Bukhari and Muslim

(The bikers gang)

Date: 17 -19 June 2016
Route: Johor – Singapore – Melaka
Total distance: 950 km
Bikers gang: Shawal, Mat Put, Nizam, Sani, Burn, Fuad, Akbar, Mus and Mun

This Ramadhan, the bikers gang visited six mosques, two each in Singapore, Johor and Melaka to perform prayers and i’tikaf. It was a leisure relaxing ride. The weather was cool all the way from KL to Singapore with intermittent light showers here and there.

Like the last Kembara Masjid in 2014, hubby and I had the opportunity to stay a night in Aliwal Hotel in Singapre and had our iftar and performed Terawih and Subuh prayers in Masjid Sultan. The rest of the gang stayed in the Five Stone Hostel, a short walking distance from the mosque.

While we were in Singapore, we went to Kelantan Lane to purchase bike’s parts and accessories. Some of us even made time to visit and shop at Mustafa Centre.

Alhamdulillah, we completed the Ramadhan Kembara Masjid and arrived home safely.


MASJID SULTAN

The impressive Sultan Mosque in historic Kampong Glam is the focal point for Singapore’s Muslim community. With its massive golden domes and huge prayer hall, Sultan Mosque is a must-see if you’re in the historic Kampong Glam district. The mosque was built in 1824 for Sultan Hussein Shah, the first sultan of Singapore.

Gazetted as a national monument in 1975, the mosque is a focal point for the Muslim community then as now. During Ramadan, the area around the mosque is bustling with activities. The mosque hosts Iftar and Terawih prayers. Stalls are set up near Sultan Mosque along Bussorah Street and Arab Street. Cafes offer Iranian, Lebanese and Egyptian dishes, and even western dishes.

(The majestic Masjid Sultan)
(The main prayer hall)
(The gang having nasi bryani for iftar)
(International restaurants around the mosque)

MASJID ABDUL GHAFOOR

Masjid Abdul Gaffoor is located in the area known as Kampong Kapor, which was an active business hub for Indian merchants and for those who worked at the old race course at Farrer Park. The mosque on this site was originally a building with timber partitions and a tiled roof known as Masjid Al-Abrar, built in 1846 to serve the religious needs of the South Indian Muslim merchants.

Today, the mosque stands facing a row of shop houses that are now used for Qur'an classes and other subjects, as well as for communal activities. Masjid Abdul Gaffoor was gazetted as a national monument on 13 July 1979. The mosque is rich in architectural features.

(Rich intricate architecture)
(A national monument of Singapore)

MASJID KOTA ISKANDAR 

The Kota Iskandar Mosque is located at Iskandar Puteri, the Johor State Administrative Centre. It is the second state mosque of Johor after Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque in Johor Bahru. This modern futuristic mosque was officially opened in June 2015 and was named after the late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail.

Kota Iskandar Mosque Is an awe-inspiring visual gateway to Kota Iskandar inspired by six towering minarets that cut through the skyline with a graceful yet reverent elegance. Intricate carvings of Quranic verses and Islamic motifs decorating the walls and grilles.

(Six modern towering minarets)
(The main prayer hall)

MASJID JAME SULTAN ABU BAKAR

The mosque is one of the most arresting architectural sights in the city, this mosque is a shining legacy of the conquest of Islam in this country more than half a millennium ago. It also marks the beginning of the modernisation of the Johor State, being commissioned in 1900 by Sultan Abu Bakar, a much respected monarch widely referred to as the “Father of Modern Johor”.

The mosque can accommodate 2,000 worshippers. The architectural style of the mosque follows the Victorian English architectural designs in which most of minarets of the 19th century were built. The building of the mosque includes elements of Moorish architecture but also retains minor Malay influence.

Presently, the mosque is under massive renovation. A temporary praying hall is relocated to a small building next to the grand mosque.

(The mosque is under renovation)
(A temporary building next door)

MASJID KAMPUNG HULU

Kampung Hulu Mosque is the oldest mosque in Malacca.The mosque is situated north of Jalan Tukang Emas, also known as "Harmony Street" because of its proximity to the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple and Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. The mosque was originally built around the year 1720-1728. It underwent renovation in 1892.

The architectural design of the mosque is a cross between Sumatran, Chinese, Hindu, and the Melaka Malay. The minaret, ablution pool and entrance arch were built at the same time with the main building. The minaret resembles a pagoda. Next to the mosque is an old grave site where the tomb of Sayyid Abdullah Al-Haddad, a renowned religious teacher is located.

(Famous for its medicinal water from the ablution well)

(Tent set up for iftar during fasting month)

MASJID AL-ALAMI MITC

Masjid Al-Alami is located at MITC Ayer Keroh Melaka. It was constructed on a 4 hectre land in 2001 and completed in 2003. The mosque which cost aound RM7.5 mil can accommodate 2,500 worshippers. The mosque is spacious, clean and well maintained. There is ample parking area around the mosque.

(Having moreh before the ride home)