Start of an adventure: YQ conquers M’sia

As a Malaysia, I am embarassed to say that I’ve not visited many parts of my home country.

My excuse was that Sabah is far away from the Peninsula Malaysia where the rest of the 11 states are.

Now that I am stationed (harhar) at Singapore, I have no excuse. I’ve decided to visit one Malaysian state a month (with disclaimer, of course). By the end of the year, I would have visited every single state–minus Sabah.


0814: Mekong river trip

As always, uploading photos before I slowly continue with the blog

We woke up around 7am in the morning. Very glad that my body is still living in GMT +8 or I would never be able to wake up.

Nguyen’s mom insisted on showing me her prized mangoes. They were bigger than my fist!

Nguyen made preserved green mangoes with them at night– preserving in boiled fish sauce and sugar.


I like the composition of this photo.


Osmanthus fragrans– very very fragrant flowers. There were two bushes of such flowers planted next to the bedroom windows.


Nguyen told me that her mother planted them so that when she opens the windows in the morning, she would be greeted by the fragrance.

However, she didn’t realised that she was allergic to them. In the end, the bushes had to be trimmed.


For breakfast, we went to the town guesthouse. We sat in the shaded courtyard, on small chairs– like chairs for kindergartners. The table was petite too.

Each meal in Vietnam comes with free tea. And I love tea, free or not.


We had the famous My Tho noodles for breakfast. It was very yummy bee hoon soup.


Nguyen said that if she would not be bored eating them even if she has to eat them for all meals for the rest of her life.

And at the guesthouse, I had my first taste of Vietnamese cofffee.


My first sip and I frowned. They got my order wrong! Why do I have chocolate when I ordered coffee?

Why is it so sweet? What is this smooth flavour on my tongue?

And I drank another sip. It is coffee. And it is the famous Vietmanese coffee–roasted with butter and mixed with sweet sweet condensed milk.

I am in love! With Vietnamese coffee.



After breakfast, Nguyen, her mom, her cousin and I went to the jetty for a tour of the Mekong river.


We floated around on a boat, adoring the gray water, blue sky and fluffy clouds. And reapplying sunblock on the boat.




Petrol station on waters


House that looks like it’s flooded.


Floating fish farm


And we landed at one of the islands on the river. There were stalls selling touristy things. A stage to perform touristy performance. And somewhere that shows how coconut candy is made. I missed out on the candy making but I can imagine how tasty it would be.

It was a very tourist thing to do– take a smaller boat ride on the streams of the island.





I spotted this and wondered who built an amusement park in the middle of Mekong river.


Turns out to be Phoenix Island where the Coconut Monk spent this day preaching.




The coconut monk was a guy who spent his days on the island eating coconuts. He told the world that he will be able to unite North and South Vietnam.


This is his meditation area.








A walk around the island and we went to rest. I love all this resting.





Hello mainland


All wrapped up


A very tasty drink of soda, sugar and lime, of course plus a huge block of ice.



Fish from Mekong river


Veg and noodles for your spring roll


Thick french fries


The rolling of spring rolls


0813: My Tho-village kids and ducklings

Today, I will be going with Nguyen’s mother to a village near My Tho where her office will be giving out exercise books to village children.

For breakfast is the very delicious banh mi. Vietnamese sandwich that has baguette instead of sliced bread. And I tell you, baguette is the best invention, not sliced bread.


When everyone ate their bread, they cracked it open before eating. I wonder if it’s a tradition or if people are just curious.

A 4WD picked us up and brought us to the village area. The scenery is actually very similar to those in Sabah so I fell asleep as well.

In front of the school, there is something like this. And it’s not a rest area, but a plaque with names of good people carved on it. There are a lot of these plaques around.



These Crocs are made for walking!


Lots of curious people turned up for the ceremony. I mean people being curious, not them as “curious”. Do I still make sense?

Parents crowded at the sides and entrance to see what the fuss was about. I was too shy to take their photos so I took the photos of curious kids instead. Cuteness!




And they are filmed too!


Makes me think how wasteful I am, taking exercise books for granted–buying new ones even though old ones still have some pages left.



After the ceremony, we visited the house of a “rich guy”. He has tens of bonsai in his garden. And he has quite a few antique furniture.

A bed. But imagine laying on a plank to sleep.


A sofa/bed




Nicely inlaid cabinet


And he served us river prawns. They were gigantic and yummy. The flesh was coarser than the ones I have at home, but this only means that they are not fed with prawn feed. If there are anything like that.


Then we left for lunch. At a U-turn where we were not supposed to U-turn, there was an accident because some one turned at the U-turn where we were not supposed to U-turn.

and like everywhere in the world, accidents attract by-standers, by-drivers and by-passengers, making it very crowded.




I can imagine their conversation:
Tsk tsk, he shold have know better.
Yaloh, just last week A-beng’s motor almost ran into A-seng’s
Tsk tsk


And, on the way to lunch, the rich guy told us about his nephew. Well, told everyone who knew Vietnamese, while Nguyen translated to me.

Turns out, Rich Guy wants to matchmake his nephew to whomever. Nguyen’s mom said that her niece (who’s staying with them) is available.

And Rich Guy brought us to his nephew’s “farm” and Nguyen was brought in to see said nephew. I pretended to be busy taking random photos of grass.


Lemon grass looks so much like wild grass that I was suprised when Nguyen pointed them out. I usually tear a bunch and keep them with me, later losing them somewhere.


After the quick get-to-know-the-nephew, we went for lunch. We had a private room and I was very disturbed to see a large Britney poster (from the period when she still claims to be a virgin) where she laid on the ground with half her boobs exposed.

And there were two other large posters of semi-erotic couples smelling each other’s neck. And mind you, they were taken pre-Twilight (where smelling necks are acceptable)

The uncles and aunty ordered ducklings and field mouse. I said OK! I’ll try everything

Wet tissue


Steamboat that Vietnamese eat not only on cold days! Soup stock is ordinary chicken soup (I think)


Cool Sarsi (coz the restaurant didn’t have Coke) It tasted different from ours, a more herby taste.


The duck-embryos (being politically correct) out of their shells. The redness I think is blood or just stuff from eggs. You and I eat eggs and ducks (sans feathers though) so eating embryo is perfectly fine.


Cooked egg. I admit that I’m not used to eating feathers, or else, I can finish it!


Field mice, on the other hand, was very yummy. Like chicken only with smaller bones and less meat. Yums!


Saigon beer. One of the uncles had too much beer and was insisting that I meet his son for matchmaking. And he shook my hand for too long. Bless his soul that he forgot what he did after he’s sober.


Later Nguyen and I were sent home. And we took a nap (which we did everyday in My Tho)


Later at night, Nguyen’s male companion came and us three went out. He took her to a petrol station for free petrol.


We ate snacks at the streetside.


Savory, like tutu kuih but with very nice toppings.


Very nice sugarcane with mandarin juice!


We tapau another with coconut milk to have it sweet.


After tutu kueh, we went to a cafe where I had preserved lime drink. We watched on the cafe TV Brandon Fraser in Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Very disturbed to find him kissing the girl in the end. He looked like Humphrey Humphrey with a blond Lolita wearing a sweaty singlet and short shorts.

We left for home after the movie. And slept v early.

Good night

7 Aug: JB overnight trip day 1

My first time spending a night in JB!

I decided to stay overnight at Suria City Hotel because I have to take an exam there at 9am. 9am!! I definitely do not want to wake up at 5.30am in Singapore and start my journey across the causeway.

I’ve heard horror stories about Johor Bahru (JB). Coming from a small place like Kota Kinabalu meant that I believe every story about how horrible crime in big cities are. Yes, even the urban legend about a man getting his fingers chopped off so that robbers can take his car with finger print identification system.

Still a girl has to do what she has to do, so I went off on a semi rainy afternoon to JB on the happy yellow Causeway link bus from Queen St terminal.

City Square shopping centre is located just next to the Malaysian immigration centre, about five minutes walk crossing the huge new immigration building. So I guess that makes City Square a more “safe” place because you wouldn’t be walking on the streets and attracting motorcycle riding snatch thieves (paranoia!)



City Square is different from the bright shiny shopping malls of Singapore. There’s more space and the lights are dimmer.

I had Secret Recipe’s “Aussie Beef Steak” weekday set meal.

Tapioca, appetizer with scary looking chilli dip


Main dish and soup.


The soup was wonderful, so much mushrooms floating around and it was very creamy. However, the beef was definitely NOT a steak, it was boiled in some sauce. I want unhealthy fried or grilled steak!!!

After my meal, I had to rush to the hotel because latest check in time is 5pm. It was around 4.10pm when I called Sunlight taxi’s hotline. Another thing I’m paranoid about are taxis– either they overcharge you or sell you off.

HOWEVER!!! Sunlight called back to say that there was no cab available. Hello?! You’re a taxi company, shouldn’t there be enough taxis?

In the end, I had to go to the taxi queue and ask the taxi drivers whether they are willing to take me to the hotel. Taxi drivers can be very picky. One taxi driver told me that I can walk there but it might be dangerous. DUH!

In the end, I got on a taxi driven by a guy that doesn’t look like he will kill me and dump me on the streets. The ride was RM8.

I checked in. The lady at the counter was very nice and she gave me a room near to the lifts after I requested for one.



The room was quite spacious and very clean. But no bathtub!! I had planned to waste hours in the tub. Oh well.


I had bought a chicken burger from McDonald’s (RM3 only), that will be my dinner.

View out of my room


I turned on the TV and checked the programme schedule. Nice movies are on! Mermaids at 6.30pm and then 1408 at 9pm. Yeah!

There was a firework display that night. Trying to out do Singapore’s National Day fireworks?


Cute delayed shutter photo: 3 bangs


As I channel surfed, I remembered how it was like not being able to choose your programmes. With youtube and the internet, I’m so spoilt that sometimes I complain there is nothing to watch. With TV, even if there’s nothing to watch, you’ll have to stare at the box and watch whatever’s on, and most likely, you’ll end up liking the thing.

 At 9pm, 1408 was on. I love Stephen King coz he makes the most simple things truly creepy. About a minute into the show, I realised that watching a movie about a haunted hotel room isn’t the best when you’re in a hotel room. But I really want to know what happens, so I watched the whole thing.


I had a scalp tingling moments watching it. Love it!


Took a photo of this, in case the scenery in the picture changes.

A note to mention, I happen to stay in room 404. No Chinese person would ever want to, but I didn’t realise it until half an hour into the movie. Oh well.



Signed up for NTS travel blog competition. I had been meaning to participate in the comp since it started, but then I never really had a solid enough blog to compete in.

For those who are here for the first time, you might think, why should I spend my time reading a blog about someone’s seven-week in Japan?

Well, you should to

  • destress
  • learn about ATW’s summer program (super fun)
  • procrastinate

It’s a seven-week travel blog, with some early posts of how I got my visa and things like that.

So enjoy!!

30 Jan 2009

I’ve decided to use this post as my update post.

I have a new blog on Kota Kinabalu

I’m sticking with xanga for travel blogs because the photo upload funcion is convenient.

12 December 2008

Dear all, I won’t be posting any new things on this blog because I am not travelling. And I would want this blog to stay as my travel in Japan blog instead of a blog with a mixed up identity.

But I would love to hear about what you think about this blog, so I can edit it and stuff.

So till my next travels!

Current Time ? September 24, 2008