klia2

Snapshots of KLIA2–AirAsia’s new airport at KL

Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2

Most important photo of this post: Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2

KLIA2 is the new terminal for budget carriers flying in or out Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s largest budget airline AirAsia moved its operations from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to KLIA2 on May 9.

I was flying to KL on May 10 so I had the chance to see the airport while it was still new. Here’s a peek at what the new airport looks like.

Why KLIA2 is so huge?
Before flying, I’ve read advisories from AirAsia telling travellers that the boarding gates are quite far so everyone needs to be early. The walk from the arrival gates to the main terminal did feel quite long, although the view of airplanes from the large windows helped pass time.

Things were still kind of bare when I was at KLIA2. I didn’t get much photos of the arrival hall because I wanted to catch my bus to KL Sentral.

KLIA2 FAQ person

There were these human-FAQ walking around at the airport. They’re helpful with directions and bad at finding a normal trashcan.

The buses are located at Basement 2. I had booked a shuttle bus to KL Sentral from AirAsia. Turns out I could just hop on the bus and show my ticket.

Leaving KLIA2

AirAsia checkin counter at KLIA2

Not many people check in their luggage so the counters are bare.

I had more time to take photos when I was leaving KL. The departure level is the highest of the building and getting here takes more time than I expected.

I like that there are a lot more restaurants at KLIA2 than LCCT. Finally, more food choices. But I only got a cup of latte from McCafe since I ate multiple meals before leaving the city center.

After having my coffee, I had a really difficult time finding a normal trashcan to throw my cup. The human-FAQ couldn’t help me and only pointed to the recycling bins.

More than 95 percent of the trash cans are recycle bins.

KLIA2 is overdoing the recycling bins. It seemed like every corner I see one of these but not a regular trash can. Recycling won’t work if everyone throws their regular trash inside.

International Departure at KLIA2

Departure lounge

Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2

Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2

Long walkway at KLIA 2

The walkway to the international departure lounge was pretty far. The shops weren’t opened so the walk was boring.

KLIA2 depature hall

Empty KLIA2 depature hall

Resting lounge at departure lounge at KLIA2

Resting lounge at departure lounge at KLIA2

south east asia aquarium cheap ticket

Where to buy discounted entrance tickets for S.E.A. Aquarium

[Update Jul 2, 2015 Check out RWS’s promos for S.E.A. Aquarium.]

Even though I’ve stayed in Singapore for almost nine years, I didn’t know that it was possible to buy cheap tickets to various attractions. I always thought that I needed to pay full price, and thinking about it makes my miserly heart cold.

Luckily, my friend Lilian showed me where I could get discounted entrance tickets. Lilian who is now back in China (and whose wedding I attended) wanted to visit the South East Asia Aquarium (SEA Aquarium) before leaving.

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How Malaysians celebrate Chinese New Year

I’m back in Malaysia for Chinese New Year. Here’s a post from last year about how I spend my CNY. Gong Xi Fa Cai.

YQ travelling

Chinese New Year lantern

Today is Chinese New Year eve, the second most important day of Chinese New Year (CNY).

CNY eve dinner is an important time for family to gather together, eat good food and be nagged by elders. [Note to YQ: Do not be a patronizing aunt when you grow up.]

Enough bitterness, I want to share a two-part series of collaborative posts to mark CNY.

Early this week, I asked on Facebook for information on how different people celebrate Chinese New Year in different countries. For the feature, I was planning to have many Chinese folks in different countries to talk about their traditions.

Unfortunately, not many random strangers on the internet took up the challenge. I guess this might also be a good thing since it makes the post more cosy.

How Malaysians overseas celebrate CNY

First up is Max Yam from maxayam.blogspot.sg. Max is a fellow Sabahan who…

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Ghee dosa

FoodFriday: Ghee dosa

Even though I grew up in multicultural Malaysia where Malay, Chinese and Indian are the three biggest races, I am terribly unfamiliar with Indian food. It’s because we don’t have as much Indians where I live.

To tell you the truth, the only Indian dish I can order confidently is plain roti canai (which is yummy and flaky).

So when my friend Debbie introduced me to the wonderful world of Indian food, I was curious. And now, I am proud to say that I have a favorite Indian dish: ghee dosa.

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yq visits melaka

I’m going to Melaka for a weekend trip [Weekend Traveller Series Part 9]

Welcome back to the fortnightly Weekend Traveller series where I share tips and strategies for travelling during the weekend so you can travel more using less work leave. You can find all of the previous posts for weekend end travel here.

Today’s post doesn’t have any travel planning tips. Instead, I want to share about my upcoming weekend travel. I will be going to Melaka for a 3-day trip next weekend.

Since my round-the-world trip, I’ve stopped most of my short-term (aka 2-day) trips because I do not have the budget and I already have too much free time.

However, my friend Debbie suggested that we take a trip overseas since she has an extra day of leave. We initially planned to head to Medan because of cheap plane tickets but there was volcano activity last month.

Check out the rest of the post…!

i love singapore postcard

With love from Singapore + postcard giveaway

Hello everybody, it’s YQ writing from Singapore. Yes, I am back in the land I am most familiar with. Yes, I’m more familiar with Singapore than my hometown Kota Kinabalu.

It’s been more than a week since I came back and I am now in full job hunting mode. I’ll update you guys on my job search if I have any happy news. Oh, if you know anyone in Singapore hiring writers, do drop me a mail at hello@yqtravelling.com.

I am actually very glad to be back in Singapore, for five reasons:
Check out the rest of the post…!

kuala terengganu

A street with two names in Kuala Terengganu’s Chinatown

[I haven’t written a lot about my last Visit Malaysia trip which I did with my friend Debbie. As a break from my past posts about my round-the-world trip, I’d like to take you to Kuala Terengganu.]

When I was in Kuala Terengganu, I was surprised to find that the street passing through Chinatown had two names: Jalan Bandar (City Street) and Jalan Kampung China (Chinese Village Street). If someone told me this sooner, I might have felt less anxiety when I was searching for a food outlet.

When preparing for our trip to the east coast of Malaysia, Debbie scouted a list of food places to check out. Among the eateries was Madam Bee’s Kitchen in Kuala Terengganu’s Chinatown which specializes in Peranakan food.

On Madam Bee’s website, her address was Jalan Kampung Cina so I set that location on my Google Map.

Detour from Madam Bee’s

When we arrived in Kuala Terengganu, we were famished so we decided to head to Madam Bee’s. All was well as we walked to the street, based on my Google Map app.

We decided to get of the map and turn into a very Chinese street. The whole road was over-the-top Chinese with many lanterns and colorful walls. It was already a month after Chinese New Year so I don’t think the deco were put up for the festival.

End of Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

End of Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

While on the street, I kept checking my Google Maps app to see if we were on the right street. The apps showed that we were on Jalan Bandar so I thought that we might run into Jalan Kampung Cina if we just keep on walking.

We walked and walked. It didn’t help that the only sign I looked at listed Jalan Bandar.

Sign with Jalan Bandar

Sign with Jalan Bandar

I was quite embarrassed that I’ve brought us to the wrong place.

Then suddenly, we saw Madam Bee’s Kitchen with its prominent sign. Hurray!

Madam Bee's Kitchen at Kuala Terengganu's Chinatown

Madam Bee’s Kitchen at Kuala Terengganu’s Chinatown

I also saw that one of the road signs kept the old name Jalan Kampung Cina.

Jalan Kampung Cina sign at Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Jalan Kampung Cina sign at Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Sights from Kuala Terengganu’s Chinatown

The only thing I knew about Terengganu was that it has a large Malay population so I was curious about Kuala Terengganu’s Chinatown.

The street had many Chinese-influenced shop houses but since it was a public holiday period, I didn’t see a lot of inhabitants.

Kuala Terengganu Chinatown shophouses

Kuala Terengganu Chinatown shophouses

Retro hair saloon sign at Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Retro hair saloon sign at Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Reflection of Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Reflection of Kuala Terengganu Chinatown

Do you know any streets with two names?

Related posts:

jogoya buffet

Glutton at Jogoya buffet, Kuala Lumpur

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today we’re flying to Kuala Lumpur for an amazing all-you-can-eat buffet.

 

Here at YQtravelling, I don’t usually talk about one particular restaurant on FoodFridays.

Usually, it’s either a dish or a particular place where I’ve eaten. Today everything will change because I went to the most amazing buffet place while mom and I were out in Kuala Lumpur on September 11.

Prologue

My mom loves sashimi so when I told her about eating in KL, she requested that we go to an all-you-can-eat buffet and EAT ALL THE SASHIMI!

I did a bit of research and found a buffet restaurant near where we were heading to. (Mom needed to do some paperwork in KL, that’s why we went on the 1-day trip.)

From Jogoya’s website, I found out that they have a RM56++ lunch and supper promo where we can eat all we want for 2 hours. Initially I thought that if we paid the regular fee of RM89++ we were able to sit from 11:30am to 4:30pm, but I think I got it wrong. Anyway, 2 hours of stuffing our faces is more than enough.

The restaurant is located in Starhill Gallery which is kind of a maze since it wasn’t obvious how we could get onto the third floor. (We’re indeed a pair of country bumpkins.) We got directions from one of the security guards and found the place.

At Jogoya, you pay before heading and the person would jot down your deadline on your receipt. I’m not sure if they will remind you about the timing if you happen to stay a bit longer since we left before out time was up.

Jogoya’s decoration was nice, the furniture were all dark brown. We were seated at the two-persons seat area and there weren’t a lot of customers around.

Beginning of a feast

Starters of sashimi and raw oyster

Starters of sashimi and raw oyster

At first, mom and I piled only salmon sashimi onto our plates as the sashimi stall was nearest to us.

Sashimi as appetizer

Sashimi as appetizer

Later, when I went out to check what other things were available, I was amazed. This wasn’t just a buffet place. This was a food court disguised as a buffet restaurant.

Many of the stalls would stir fry or steam dishes for you. Others served cooked soups in little bowls. Two ice cream stalls were around, one serving Haagen Daaz out of buckets while the other selling New Zealand natural ice cream and waffles.

Jogoya's dessert stall is like a bakery

Jogoya’s dessert stall is like a bakery

The dessert stall had a display fridge that you find in bakeries filled with small cakes and pastries. The drink stall had sweet iced drinks and there was even a several drawers of tea bags which you use with the teapots there.

I’ve lost count of how much salmon sashimi mom ate. I was almost filled to the brim with food so I only had one (!) green tea ice cream with a tiny serving of bread pudding.

Mom brought over a plate of fruits with purple dragonfruit and watermelons. After the fruits, our brain started signaling to us that we were done with the meal. Of course, I washed everything down with green tea and rose tea.

There was a promotion going on when we were there. We paid a total of RM130 for the two of us, after the service charge and tax. I’d say it’s a very reasonable price considering they have salmon sashimi (which didn’t taste fantastic but we just make do with what we have).

I’ve read reviews about Jogoya where the reviewer had food poisoning because he/she visited the place for supper. We didn’t have major problems on the day but the next night, I had stomach problems and even threw up my dinner. I’m not sure if there is a correlation between Jogoya and my sickness but just take note if you have a weak stomach.

Do you like all-you-can-eat buffets? Which is your favorite restaurant for buffet?

If you enjoyed this post, you might like:

Lamuko’s Lokanta: A delightful Japanese restaurant in Pamukkale
亚罗斯打人早餐吃什么?晚餐[YQ游大马]

Travel planning for weekend trips [Weekend Traveller series part 4]

Welcome to part 4 of the Weekend Traveller series, a fortnightly segment where I share tips and strategies for travelling during the weekend so you can travel more without using your work leave.

Trip planning is stressful. What if you cannot eat all the food, see all the sights or buy all the things?

Travel planning is essential for weekend trips.

Travel planning is essential for weekend trips.

Actually, you don’t have to eat all the food, see all the sights or buy all the things while on a weekend trip. The whole point of being a Weekend Traveller is that you will be able to travel frequently and do all those things on multiple trips.

However, it doesn’t mind that you should throw all travel planning out of the window and wing it. The times I haven’t made plans for my weekend travel are times which I did not have productive trips (Kuching and Jakarta comes to mind) and that makes me very annoyed.

On the other hand, my Bangkok trip was almost perfect because I did take time out to plan and even make my own travel guide (that’s a post for another day).

Narrow down your travel to-do list

Once you have decided on your destination (another potential headache if you are tracking budget flights), it’s best to plan for your stay if you want to have a productive trip.

There are some who recommend not planning and just going with the flow when you arrive. This will work if you have plenty of days to spare. If you only have 48 hours, walking around aimlessly while hungry is not a good plan.

[This guide is partly inspired by Taiwanese travel writer 943 who wrote an awesome book on round-the-world travel on cheap.]

I will use my 2-day Bangkok trip in October 2012 as an example because it was my first trip there.

List down the sites you want to see. You can think big at this stage. My initial plan was to eat a lot of Thai dessert (something I didn’t manage to do in the end), visit Khaoshan Road, pray at Erawan Shrine and get a massage.

Then I realized that getting a S$190 air ticket only for a massage was not worth it and I threw in other sites based on recommendations by friends, the internet and guidebooks.

I ended up with more sites in my list: Grand Palace, Chatuchak Market, Chinatown, ride on boat public transport, Cabbages & Condoms restaurant, Terminal 21, Platinum Mall, MBK.

The updated list was much better than the first but it was too ambitious. I mean, how many malls can you visit in a day without overdosing on air-conditioning?

Narrow down your sites using a pros-and-cons list. I list down the places to go and write down the pro’s and cons of visiting it as well as what other sights are nearby. You can find out what is nearby when you have a travel guide that lumps sights based on how they are clustered.

My Bangkok list looked like this:

> Chatuchak
+ (because everyone says so)
– I hate crowds. It is far from the city. Mom didn’t like it.
Nearby sites: NOTHING

> Platinum Mall
+ Recommended by a friend, lots of people shop there
– I don’t like shopping.
Nearby sites: Erawan Shrine.

> Grand Palace
+ It’s shiny!

– Entrance fee
Nearby sites: National Museum, Khaoshan Road

> Khaoshan Road
+ Fake IDs
– Loads of unkemptly backpackers
Nearby sites: (See above)

Chinatown
+ It’s Chinatown
– A bit far from other stuff
Nearby sites: ???

Cabbages & Condoms
+ Fun name and for a good cause
– Is it in the middle of nowhere? (I later discovered that it’s very near my hotel.)
Nearby sites: ???

In the end, I added National Museum to my To-Do list and took out Chinatown and Chatuchak. Since Erawan Shrine and Platinum Mall are near each other, I decided to go to both despite not liking shopping. By narrowing down my list, I only focused on bits of the city and did not have to run around a lot.

After having your real list of To-Do, it is time to make your own travel guide. I’ll be sharing how in another 2 weeks’ time. See you!

Do you somewhere to go for a weekend trip? Which parts of the city will you focus on?

Brush up on your weekend travel skills:

Part 1: Pros & cons of weekend travel
Part 2: Where to go for Weekend Travel?
Part 3: Choosing transportation for weekend travel
Part 4: Travel planning for weekend trips
Part 5: Make your own travel guide for a weekend trip
Part 6: How to pack for a weekend trip
Part 7: How to use Foursquare to plan a day’s travel
Part 8: Why a weekend trip is the best time to start solo travelling
Part 9: I’m going to Melaka for a weekend trip

what i miss home

Things I’ve missed about home

I’ve been home in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah for about a whole month now. That’s the longest I’ve been home since I started working in Singapore in 2009.

Before coming home for this long stretch, I was confused about where home was for me. In Singapore, I had a rented place, a job and friends but in Sabah, I have my family, my old bed and friends too. You see why it’s a bit confusing for me to pinpoint which exactly was home.

But after 4 months on the road and coming home, I’m glad to say where home is. It’s temporarily Sabah, and specifically my parent’s place. Eventually, I will still need to get out of here and find a job.

Until I do move out of the country, here’s a list of things I’ve missed about being home (in Sabah):

Clothes dried in the sun

I've got a pocket full of sunshine.

There’s a branded softener that even has a scent with the word “sunshine” in it. That’s how popular the indescribable scent of sun-dried clothes is.

At home, we have a backyard where we hung our clothes. When there is a lot of sunlight in the day and you collect the clothes at the right time, the clothes feels soft and has a strange chemical-like smell. (Or maybe that’s just our soap…)

Back when I was in Singapore, I didn’t have a lot of space to hang my laundry. In the tall rise HDB (Housing Development Board) flats, I either hung them inside or outside where most of the times the clothes are shaded. Wind-dried clothes just aren’t as good as sun-dried ones.

While travelling, my only option for laundry was to handwash them in the hostel bathroom sink and hang them from the laundry rope I tied to the under-bad planks of the upper bunk. The clothes dried reluctantly in dorms but I still wore them because they were my only 5 (or is it 6?) garments I have with me.

Only twice in the entire trip did I “splurge” in laundry when I sent them to the cleaner’s in Arequipa. I even had to shop for the cheapest laundress. When I spilled my laundered clothes onto my bed, I was delighted at how clean they were and I might have waltzed with my jeans for a bit.

Good Chinese food

Roughly translated as "Raw meat noodles".

I always thought that I was very open about food and wasn’t a food snob when it comes to how “authentic” a dish is. But right before I was flying to Hong Kong, I started vividly imagining all the Chinese food I would get to eat. I would space out on the bus or even at a restaurant and see plates of rice with crispy pork, noodle soups (Peru doesn’t do good noodle soup).

While the food choices back home aren’t as much as in Hong Kong, I enjoy eating all the food that are familiar to me and visit new places.

Driving and having a car

Times I don't have a car

In Singapore, I didn’t need a car to travel. The public transport is so perfect that I didn’t even have to take taxis much. I love that part.

However, not every place I went to during the trip had good public transport so I walked a lot. A lot. I didn’t rent any cars on the road because I cannot afford to splurge when taking buses are a lot cheaper and safer.

Here back home, we need a car to get anywhere. I’ve forgotten how nice it is that you don’t need to walk a whole kilometer because you don’t have door-to-door transportation. I could get used to this.

My parents

I didn’t get to see a lot of my parents when I was working. A phone call here and there doesn’t really match seeing them face-to-face.

Recently, I think I’ve been seeing them a little bit too much because we are starting to get on each other’s nerves.

Oops.

Do you live away from home? What do you miss about home? Share them in the comments below!

Read other posts on YQtravelling:

museums backpacker homestay
Museums reflect how I travel My first backpacker moment Homestays are not for me