About Me

My photo
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 38 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 11 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…

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Bandung, Indonesia 2007 - A Shopper's Paradise...

"If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish..." - Sam Walton

Bandung, Indonesia
(21 - 24 July 2007)'

The 2-hour flight to Bandung was full. Normah and I chit-chatted to while away the time. Iwan and Ella slept the whole journey. From Bandung International Airport we took a taxi to the Grand Preanger Hotel situated at Asia-Afrika Road. The Grand Preanger Hotel is a 4-star hotel and has two side entrances: the old wing and the modern wing. The old facade has an interesting story. And the new wing art-deco style blended with the local culture. It was a controversial issue the time the new wing was built, but that gives a unique style to the hotel. We checked in and requested for adjoining rooms. As we were early, we decided to take a day tour of Bandung in a taxi.

(The volcano is still active)

The taxi driver suggested the Lembang trip to the north of Bandung. We took the uphill winding road to Lembang, a cool resort city. On the way, we stopped at the roadside to admire cute little rabbits in cages. You may want to enjoy cold fresh milk drinks with many flavors at the roadside restaurant and ask for the local delicacies of satay arnab and ketan bakar. After an hour’s drive we reached the top of Mt. Tangkuban Perahu, a still active volcanic mountain. We circled around Kawah Ratu on foot to see the volcanic activity closely. The crater is a touristic spot where you can smell the sulfur, watch the hot water springs closely or even boiled eggs from the boiling hot surface.

(A photo shot of the scenic view)

Later we went for a jungle trekking to the other craters: Kawah Upas and Kawah Domas and had to unnecessarily pay the tour guide IDR200,000 whose service we could do without. Along the trek we were hassled by so many tourist hawkers who were trying to sell souvenirs at unreasonably expensive prices. From the rest area at the Mt. Tangkuban Perahu we could see the panoramic view of Bandung, The lower crater is reachable by car, though it is more fun for us to hike from the top by foot at an elevation of 2084 m above the sea level and the path is not too steep although at certain places we have to crawl on hands and knees.

At some points, Iwan had to help both the emaks from toppling down hills. We were not prepared for the jungle trekking and were in our flimsy walking slippers and were not dressed appropriately.

(A comfortable lodging for 2 nights)

After the exhausting and strenuous jungle trekking, we continued our journey to Sari Ater, a hot water spring resort complex with natural hot water spring pools, some recreation parks and health spas. We stayed a while and dipped our tired feet in the hot water until our feel become as red as grilled prawns. On the way back to Bandung, we passed tea plantations and stopped at a strawberry farm and tasted freshly ice blended strawberry juice.We reached Bandung at night fall. After a light shopping and a simple dinner at the food court we went back to the hotel and slept like a log…

Other attractions

(One of the factory outlets)

Bandung is famous for food and factory outlets. Rumah Mode is the biggest factory outlet in town and sells various types of branded clothes. And it can get very crowded on weekends. Most of the visitors are from Jakarta as it only takes 2 hours via the new toll hi-way.

(Fireworks at night)

Other good outlets are at Cihampelas Street and in Setiabuhdi and along Dago and Riau Streets where they have converted bungalows into boutiques selling varieties of clothes of all sizes, colors and brands and at cheap prices too. Shopping in Bandung is fun, simple but quite tiring!Pasar Baru is where you can test your bargaining skill. Textiles, batiks and clothes at cheap to moderate prices are available here. Kain telekong with intricate sulams are sold at reasonable prices too.For visitors who really want to truly enjoy your visit to Bandung, you should also try to ride the Angkot, or eat the local delicacies at the roadside stalls.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Chittagong, Bangladesh 2007 - A seaport City...

"Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behaviour does..."

5 July 2007
Day-1 : Summer Blossoms'

The discussion with the boss ended right after 6 o’clock. I went to the gym to take a quick shower. By the time I took the Komuter train, it was already 7.30 p.m. The line was long at the check-in counter at KL Sentral so I took the ERL direct to KLIA. My flight was at 10 p.m. so I have time to solat and had a light dinner at McD.

(A wet day in Dhaka)

The 4-hour flight reached Dhaka Zia International Airport around midnight. Hubby was already at the airport waiting for me. It was good to be with him again, even just for the weekend. Tonight we spent the night at Asia Pacific Blossom Hotel in the Baridhara area.

6 July 2007
Day-2 : Top of the Town

We slept late last night. It was really difficult to get out of bed early in the morning but we need to get ready. Munir, the driver came to pick us up and send us to the Bus Station. This morning, Yin and Saba joined us to board the Shohagh Classic Line for a 6-hour bus trip to Chittagong and spent the weekend there.

(Vibrant colored Sari material)

Chittagong is the second largest city in Bangladesh. It is the Commercial Capital City of Bangladesh. The surrounding mountains and rivers make the city attractive. Karnaphuli River falls in Chittagong. Chittagong is the chief port of Bangladesh and has extensively developed port facilities for ocean steamers. Chittagong is an ancient city which passed from Tippera (Buddhist) dominance to Arakan (Hindu) and then Moghul (Muslim) rule.

(The common public transport)

It was monsoon season at this time of the year. There were reported floods and mudslides at certain parts of Bangladesh. It was raining heavily when we arrived in Chittagong. We checked-in the Tower Inn Hotel and had late lunch at the hotel restaurant. The rest of the afternoon was spent in a shopping complex, window shopping. Tonight we had our dinner at the revolving ‘Top of the Town’ Restaurant at the Zia Sriti Complex. After dinner we had the opportunity to watch an elaborate Bangladeshi wedding, complete with a musical band.

7 July 2007
Day-3 : Barbeque Tonight'

We woke up late again this morning. Breakfast was at the hotel restaurant. We had time to kill till 3 p.m. and the best way to get around is by the CNG. We directed the driver to bring us to Foy’s Lake. We were too early for the Adventure Land and Paradise Valley Amusement Park so we detoured to the Zoo, situated next to Foy’s Lake. We took the CNG and got a few locals to help us to direct the CNG drivers to Zia Museum. We ended at another amusement park and another round in the CNG got us where we started. At the end we gave up and directed the driver to send us back to our hotel where we had early lunch to ease our disappointment. To make matters worst, we got into a heated argument when we checked-out as they had charged breakfast to our bill when breakfast was inclusive.

(A huge elephant at the entrance)

Our trip back to Dhaka was uneventful. I slept most of the time. When we reached Dhaka we had to wait for the driver to pick us up and send us to ‘BBQ tonight’ restaurant for a hearty dinner. We reached our hotel near midnight and slept like a log…

8 July 2007
Day-4 : Goodbye again...'

We skipped breakfast and stayed in bed till noon. We had early lunch before we checked out and the driver drove us to Elephant Road where I bought a pair of tracking shoes at a very cheap price. We later went to the apartment and spent the afternoon napping. When Rani and Saba came home from work, we drove to Asia Pacific Blossom Hotel and had a light dinner. We later went to Movenpick to indulge in ice-cream delights. I have to catch the flight back to KL tonight.

Hubby sent me to the airport and we kissed goodbye with heavy hearts. We’ll be seeing each other again in KL this weekend, but already, I’m missing him…..

Monday, 30 April 2007

Pokhara, Nepal 2007 - A gateway to the Annapurna Circuit...

"The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach..." - Benjamin Mays

30 April 2007
Day-4 : Sunset and Moondance at Phewa Lake

Pokhara was only 200 km from Kathmandu but we have to drive along a winding mountain road which took us 6 hours to reach the resort city. Pokhara is one of the tourist hub of Nepal, one of the happening places, where you can find almost everything. We stayed in Barahi Hotel a minute walk from Lake Phewa. Barahi Mandir is a tiny temple island on Phewa Lake, has an exceptional view of the Annapurna Range as the backdrop.

(Sunset reflections on the Phewa Lake)

01 May 2007
Day-5 : Breathtaking view of Sarangkot

(The spectacular Anapurna Range)

Sarangkot, 1600 m high hill situated at the Northern shore of Phewa Lake where we could view the Pokhara valley and the spectacular view of the Anapurna range. To the south we could view the Phewa Lake and its tributaries. Sarangkot is also famous for paragliding.

(A paragliding site with a scenic view)

02 May 2007
Day-6 : Off the beaten trail

(Very clear water of Begnas Lake)

10 KM east of Pokhara, we trekked along less frequented trail up to a vantage point where it offers lovely views of two lakes with a breathtaking mountain-scape. On one side we could see the Begnas lake and the other side the Rupa Lake. We rented three boats to transport us to the other side of the Begnas Lake.

(An open Mountain Museum)

The beautiful Fishtail Mountain dominates the northern horizon of Pokhara and its name derives from its twin peaks. On the hill overlooking the lake from the South is the World Peace Stupa. That evening the sunset was magnificent. We met the rest at Moondance restaurant for a sumptuous dinner of local fish delicacies.

(Flowers blooming everywhere)

On the way back we visited the International Mountain Muzium and later stopped at the Tibetan Refugee camp to observe carpet hand-weaving.

(Underground waterfalls in Gupteswar Cave)

We went to Devi’s fall and explored the Gupteswar Cave. The water comes from the Phewa Lake and thunders into a hole and disappears only to reappear underneath Gupteswar Cave. At some part of the cave, the walkway is too narrow that we need to crawl. But it was worth the effort as there is impressive underground scenery of Devi’s fall. I have not seen anything like this before.

03 May 2007
Day-8 : Long and winding road

The trip back to Kathmandu was eventful, the scenery beautiful. We stopped to experience crossing the hanging bridge across the river. There were so many mountains and rivers, with their tributaries created deep gorges and impressive canyons. The road was narrow, winding and bumpy. When we took a sharp corner, everyone held their breath. A roller coaster ride will never be fun any more after this.

(Caves and underground rivers)

04 May 2007
Day-9 : Mountain flight

This morning we went for a mountain flight on Buddha Air which cost us USD200/pax. The 20-seater plane circled the mountain range twice and we had the opportunity to take pictures of the magnificent Himalaya range. It was an hour of breathtaking views from around 25,000 feet.

(Chartering a private plane)

Although this morning the weather is a little cloudy, we enjoyed an endless chain of snow capped peaks, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges.

(A painting of the Everest)

Today, I didn't climb Mt Everest, but I touched it with my heart....


Friday, 27 April 2007

Kathmandu, Nepal 2007 - The fabled and inaccessible Shangrila...

"Live your life and forget your age..."

27 April 2007
Day-1 : On the Hippie Trail

(Attraction around Durbar Square)

I joined the Puspanita group for a 10-day trip to Nepal. And dear hubby took time off from work and joined me together with Sara. Our flight supposed to be at 8.30 a.m. was postponed to 5 p.m. To while away the time we stayed in the departure area, listening to musics, and reading story books. I have my sudoku book with me to keep me busy.

(With Sara at the hotel lobby)

The 4-hour flight reached Tribhuvan International Airport at 11.30 p.m. Nepal’s time. We checked-in Vaishali Hotel at Thamel, a lively tourist area. We had late supper of chapatti and hot chocolate at the restaurant.Tonight, we slept like a log although the bar next door was playing loud funky music all night long.

(Souvenirs shopping in Thamel Street)

28 April 2007
Day-2 : Colorful scenes of Kathmandu

Today we walked along the Thamel streets. The shops were colourfully decorated. T-shirts, pashminas and cashmere shawls were sold cheaply. There were exotic collections of precious stones. Bargaining was highly encouraged here. We bought us lots of t-shirts and other things and later stopped at Shalimar Restaurant for a hearty beriani lunch.

(Nepal embroidered t-shirts)

After lunch, the rest went shopping. We walked along the Royal Palace back to our hotel. At the hotel we slept till 9 p.m. and later ordered room service of roti nan and vege curry.

29 April 2007
Day-3 : Exciting History and Culture

(Painting of little Nepal girls)

There are numerous historical monuments, old palaces, shrines and temples featuring ageless traditions and legends. The Kathmandu Valley boasts of seven UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites all within a radius of 20 Km. The birth place of Lord Buddha is in Lumbini. In the morning, we spent time visiting the two most important Buddhist stupas, Boudhanath and Swayambhunath.

(Snake charmers by the road side)

After lunch some wanted to go back to the hotel and rest, some continued shopping. The three of us took a trishaw to Durbar Square located at the heart of ancient Kathmandu. It is a complex of beutiful temples and shrine, both Hindu and Buddist. Most of them are built pagoda style with intricately carved exteriors. We visited a unique temple, where the entire structure contains no iron nails or supports and is made entirely of wood from a single tree.

(Buddhist Stupa and Shrine)


Think I'm going to Kathmandu,
that's really, really where I'm going to.
If I ever get out of here,
that's what I'm gonna do.

I'm tired of looking at the TV news.
I'm tired of driving hard and paying dues.
I figure, I've got nothing to lose,
I'm tired of being blue.

That's why I'm going to Kathmandu,
up to the mountains where I'm going to.
If I ever get out of here,
that's what I'm gonna do.

(Bob Seger)

Monday, 26 March 2007

Dhaka, Bangladesh 2007 - Noisy and chaotic place...

"When you talk, you are repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new..."

Bangladesh Trip
(26 - 30 March 2007) 

26 March 2007
Day-1 : Home of the Royal Bengal

The SIA flight transited in Singapore and we have to rush to board the connecting flight to Dhaka. The fight was uneventful and I slept all the way while listening to light music. He watched the in-flight movie until touched down at Zia International Airport where we were met by his staff and driver and checked in the Chalet Hotel somewhere down town Dhaka. I was dead tired. His voice was droning and I was fast asleep by the time he kissed me goodnight. He continued tapping on his lap-top in the wee hour, preparing for the slide presentations for his briefing tomorrow.

27 March 2007
Day-2 : Pronounced dry and dusty

(Riding on a rickshaw) 

The weather was fine for a walk around the hotel so I headed towards north but the road led to no where in particular. It is the hot season in Dhaka now and I was sweating profusely. The air is dusty and humid too. Along the narrow road the side-walk was crowded with hawkers, peddlars and roadside vendors selling knick-knacks.

(Mangoes and plums)

And the streets were made even more busy with rickshaws conquering half the road. I while away my time looking at colorful drawings at the back of the rickshaws. I was amazed at the creativity of these people.The rickshaws of Bangladesh are said to be the gaudiest in the world!

28 March 2007
Day-3 : Exciting History and Culture

I planned to explore Dhaka on my own as the rest of the team need to work. And Munir, hubby's driver, is going to be my tourist guide for the day although I envisaged that communication between us would be very difficult as his English is limited to ‘yes madam, no madam, alright madam…’

(Visiting the National Memorial)

We started early, after the hotel Manager gave a series of instructions to Munir. He drove away from the congested Dhaka city into the suburb. We took the hi-way then into a village road criss-crossing several rivers. Located on the northern banks of the river Buriganga, Dhaka is virtually an island framed by many rivers and a watery landscape. We avoided the busy waterfront road but I could see that it is crowded and bustling with activities.

(The National Parliament)

Our first destination was the National Memorial located at Savar, 35 km from Dhaka city. The memorial designed by architect Moinul Hossein, is dedicated to the sacred memory of the millions of unknown martyrs of the 1971 war of liberation. Jahangir Nagar University and its sprawling campus is also located nearby. An attractive village bazaar is held at Savar every Saturday and Tuesday where typical Bangladeshi sweets, vegetables, fish, seasonal fruits and handicrafts are available.

(The Zia Uddan)

On the way back to Dhaka, we stopped at the Chandrima Uddan, sometimes called Zia Uddan. It is a park situated in the road beside the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban. The name literally means "Moonlight Park" in Bengali. The park is notable for being the place where the former Bangladeshi President, Ziaur Rahman was buried. It is connected to the road with a bridge which runs over the Crescent Lake. The park is a common place to spend leisure time in the vicinity.Right across the road is the Parliament House: Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar has distinctive architectural features. Designed by the famous architect Louis I. Kahn, it may be called an architectural wonder of this region.

(A blooming flower at the roundabout)

Then we passed the Central Shahid Minar, a symbol of Bengali nationalism. This monument was built to commemorate the martyrs of the historic Language movement of 1952. Hundreds and thousands of people with floral wreaths and bouquet gather on 21 February every year to pay respect in a solemn atmosphere. Celebrations begin at zero hour of midnight.

(Dhaka green CNG tuk-tuk)

The next prominent building is the Baitull Mukarram. It is the national mosque of Bangladesh. Located at the heart of Dhaka, this mosque was founded in the 1960s.The mosque complex was designed by architect T Abdul Hussain Thariani. The National Mosque of Bangladesh has several modern architectural features, and at the same time it beautifully preserves the traditional principles of mosques architecture. Baitul Mukarram’s resemblance to the famous Ka'abah at Makkah makes this a unique mosque in Bangladesh.We stopped to take photo of the High Court Building, originally built as the residence of British Governor. It illustrates a happy blend of European Mughal architecture.

(The Shaheed Minar)

The National Museum and the Bangladesh Bank were centrally located but the streets were busy for us to stop for photo shots. The museum contains a large number of interesting collections including sculptures and paintings of the Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim periods.

We ended our tour at 2.30 p.m. By that time I was feeling very hungry so I ordered room service for lunch. I slept the whole afternoon only to wake up when he returned. We ordered room service again for dinner as we were tired and too lazy to go out...

29 March 2007
Day-4 : Bangla Local Scenes

Cycle and auto rickshaws are the main mode of transport which cause traffic congestion and have been banned from many parts of the city. Scooters, taxis and private automobiles are becoming increasingly popular and run on compressed natural gas to avoid pollution. Can you imagine being caught in long hours of traffic jam in the middle of Dhaka city!Dhaka is connected by highways and railways to other major cities. The Kamalapur Railway Station and the Biman Bandar Railway Station are the main stations providing trains on suburban and national routes. Another form of transport is the public bus, which will only move once filled to the maximum. You can choose to ride on top of the bus with the rest of your belogings...

(Passenger bus - overloaded)

For those staying along the river, the Sadarghat Port on the banks of the Buriganga River serves to transport goods and passengers up river and to other ports in Bangladesh and South Asia. During the dry season, water subsides to expose dry river bed...

(Crowded and packed with people)

Tropical vegetation, paddy fields and moist soils characterise the land surrounding Dhaka, which is flat and close to sea-level. This leaves Dhaka susceptible to flooding during the monsoon seasons owing to heavy rainfall and cyclones.Each year Dhaka and its surrounding low areas experience severe threat of flood with devastating death tolls reported across the country, from drowning and diseases. Many were made homeless and live in temporary shelters in unhygienic conditions...

(The rickshaw pedallers in sarungs)

30 March 2007
Day-4 : End of Bangla Holiday

This morning we woke up late then the 4 of us went for a shopping spree. Our first destination is the new market where we bought t-shirts and track-bottoms. Blue Jeans and bone china are also cheap here.We went to Elephant Street to change some Taka and bought Punjabi shirts and leather shoes. Then we headed to Baitul Mukarram to order wedding cards for a friend in KL.

Our last stop was at Arong, one of the famous super-markets in Dhaka. We finally reached our hotel around 3 p.m. and had a very late lunch. The whole afternoon was spent packing and napping.

Our flight tonight is at 11.50 p.m. My holiday is coming to its end. There's sadness in my heart…


Life is just passing by the window
catching a glimpse or two
nothing is precious in the end, but the journey.

There may be no apparent right or left turn
in the heart of turning, there is a joy
Embracing that joy is a unique fulfillment.

Life is just passing by the window
catching a glimpse or two
that is the ultimate experience......

M Iqbal Hussain