Tuesday, January 25, 2011

KL & Penang Trip (14th - 21st Jan 2011)

First trip of 2011 was a 5D4N stay in KL with the main purpose of attending one of my cousins' (Hong Mun) wedding. Followed by a getaway to Penang for a 4D3N stay.

It has been 6 years since I last came into KL and the little girl who was just 4 years old when I last saw her is already in her Pri. 3 now ! Xav met the little friends for the first time and he hit off with them immediately !

From the left (Jun Yong, Jia Ying and Jia Xin). The girls are pretty good with Xavier, each time, they gave in to him and really taking good care of him, holding his hands while shopping in mall. And this is the first time, Xav allowed himself to be hold on to for so long !

The jiejie's entertained him with peek-a-boo while we were still at our meals.

We stayed at Melia Hotel this time round with Times Square just directly opposite us.

As usual, we allowed Xav to have bathtub fun @ each shower and he loved it !

Dinner was at Klang and two rabbits were spotted in a cage.

The kiddos loved them !

On our way back to the hotel, we visited I-city. A place where all the tress were lit up with lights ! Admission fee is required. I forgot if it's by per head or per car though.

Next morning, had a surprise call to my hotel room ! Because I didnt switch on my mobile !! hahaha... Got a shock when my mum told me that my uncle and her were waiting at the hotel lobby and they were denied access by the staff as they were not the guests staying there ! Thumbs up for their security heh !

Uncle drove us to this coffee shop @ Selangor for lunch. Recommended by him as he told us that this is one of the nice yong tua hu with thick fish meat fillings !

One of my cousins whom I didn't see for years !

Dinner was on the following evening @ Heng Loy Deng, a less than 10 mins walk from our hotel. Congrats to Hong Mun & Ann ! Finally, tied their knot and here we wish them eternal bliss !

A fast catch up with the Wongs

He's one of the cousins am closer with. Had always stayed over at his place and played together whenever we went into KL during our childhood days.

One of my aunts
An uncle whom I have really not seen for years !
With Jo's god papa and god mama

Next day, was really a F&E day for us. We wondered on our own. While waiting for deardear to be out from the bathroom, Xav posed with his newly bought devil's headband. Just nice to match the caption on his shirt ! "I'm a Handsome Devil" wahahhaa

We shopped around the vicinity of Sungei Wang Plaza, Times square and went to Pavilion as well. One of the latest mall there.

Drumming for PEACE

Surprisingly, we didn't really do much shopping in KL. Seriously, nothing much to buy and things were not relatively cheaper than in Singapore. We spent mainly on eating and going for services instead. Deardear went for their massage services which was of course about $20 cheaper than comparing to Singapore. For me, I gave my hair a new shade ! Seriously worth it @ RM 155, using Loreal products. It's like less than $80 SGD !

Can't really go out much together with deardear this time round as Xav would wake to "look" for us. He has been in a rather cranky mood for this trip. Not sure if it's his molars are erupting. He kept complaining of pain on his left cheek which was a bit swollen even before we left for the trip.
Only managed to get out for a fast lok-lok along Jalan Alor @ the usual truck which we normally patronize whenever we are in KL. An unforgettable one for this time, half way dipping my sticks into the hot pot, I heard an explosion and saw through the reflection that the truck was on fire !

Soon got to know that the gas actually exploded and caught fire. Luckily, it was nothing major. But we were still cautious about standing too near the truck to consume our sticks. A fast one and off we went, back to our hotel.

After a 4 days spent in KL, we departed for Penang next.

We booked Traders Hotel, which was near to the heart of George Town.

George Town went through tremendous transformations over the last two centuries, from a swampy frontier, to a bustling trading post, to the present city of living history, filled with nuances in every corner.

Day 2 in Penang, we booked a taxi @ RM 40 per hour. Our first stop was to Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest buddhist temple complex in SEA.

After walking through an arcade of souvenir stalls, we reached Ban Bo Thar or the Ten Thousands Buddhas Pagoda.

This seven storey pagoda has the influenece of Chinese, Burma and Thai Architecture. The striking white statue of Kuan Yin, Goddness of Mercy stands nearby.

Made some donations to contribute to the construction of the temple by purchasing the tiles for the roof.

Spotted a ribbon wishing tree.

From the base of the statue, you can have an overview of Penang.

But we went the reverse, the driver drove all the way up to the statue of where the Goddness of Mercy Statue as I was not well then. From there, we slowly made our way down by car to Kek Lok Si and the Pagoda.

From the seventh storey of the pagoda, we get to see Penang Hill infront of us.

Our second destination was Pinang Peranakan Mansion.

The Peranakans, also known as Babas and Nyonyas, are a community of acculturated Chinese unique to this part of the world. They are also known as the straits chinese, having settled along the British Straits Settlements of Penang Malacca and Singapore. The Peranakans adopted the local Malay ways and the British Colonial Lifestyle. These influenced its rich culture, customs, cuisine, Language and lifestyle that are still evident in Penang today.

The Pinang Peranakan Mansion, typical of the home of an affluent Baba a century ago is re-created to allow visitors a glimpse of the opulent lifestyle, customs and traditions in those days.

The mansion was built at the end of the 19th century by local history's famous personality, the Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee.

The central courtyard with an open airwell leads to the dining hall with a "Tok Panjang" hosting festive occasions.

There are some galleries decorated with beautiful glass panels.

In one of the rooms, a table set up for a game of Cheki

The Chung Ancestral Temple adjoins the Pinang Peranakan Mansion through a hidden passage between the two buildings.

The Ancestral temple is ornately decorated with intricate Chinese wood cravings embellished with gold leaf.

On the walls above, ceramic figurines in tableaux casting dramatic scenes from Chinese legends peer down at the visitor.

The second floor houses galleries of bridal chambers of three different eras from 1900s - 1950s.

A dazzling display of exquisite glass epergnes is also being showcased.

We visited Penang Butterfly farm, located at Teluk Bahang. It's the world's first live tropical butterfly sanctuary featuring a Nature Farm and a Museum of Asia Artefacts. Four thousand live butterflies live in their natural habitat in the Nature Park. The Museum of Asian Artefacts consists of an Insect Museum, an Art Gallery as well as a Gallery of Asian Artefacts.

Thrilled by the thousands of butterflies fluttering around him !

The staff even showed us a pair of butterflies mating. After which, both butterflies flew up to the top and continue with their mission.

Something which I find it interesting and never seen before - Gray's Malayan stick ! It's an insect which looks like some twigs or mini branches ! And the lucky daddy got a butterfly landed on his collar. May good luck be with him always !

If you can tell me what's so special about this plant below before you read on. This is known as the Moving Leaf. the largest leaf insect walking on planet earth ! Spot that piece of leave on the middle left, with some "spots" on it. It's an insect ! The females of this insect looks strikingly similar to a leaf while the males are thinner.

Xav seriously enjoyed himself @ this farm !

If you see the below pic of Xavier trying to hold the butterfly. He actually caught the butterfly later on by the wings and was so thrilled by it ! We were so afraid that he might squashed the lil' life !

After the butterfly farm, we visited a Tropical Fruit Farm located within the same vicinity as well and got to have a fruit buffet after the visit.

After that location, we went back to our hotel and called it a day. By evening, we wondered out to look for food again! We went to Macalister Road and indulged in their hawker food after feeding Xavier.

Last day in Penang, we went to Gurney Drive. Shopped at Gurney Plaza befoer we headed to Gurney Drive Hawker where you can find mouth watering food ! Try these if you ever get to Penang !

Hokkien Mee : It has a strong, spicy and flavourful prawn taste. It is normally served with slices of hard boiled eggs, fried shrimp, slices of lean pork and sprinkled with crispy fried shallots. Costs about RM 3 to RM 3.50. It's the most popular hawker food locally.

I am totally in love with their prawn mee soup ! The soup base is really sweet and tasty !

Asam Laksa: A must try ! This is Penang's signature dish ! It is noddles in fish broth, garnished with alot of different vegetables. It's soup base is spicy hot and sour (because of the large quantity of tamarind used) . Broth is made from mackeral fish, which is first poached, deboned and added to the soup together with lemongrass, chillies and tamarind to boil.

Noodles used are thicker rice vermicelli, placed at the base of the soup, after which chinese lettuces, chopped pineapples, finely shredded cucumbers and onions and most importantly fresh mint are added. Piping hot soup is poured over, followed by finely chopped ginger buds.

Some stalls pour out the soup and rescooped the soup into the bowl again to make sure that the noodles are piping hot. Before serving, a thick, sweet and salty shrimp paste is swirled on top of the dish. (To further enhance the taste of the dish) Each is around RM 2 to RM 2.50

I had my cravings satisifed when I finally got to eat the fried intestinal porridge, They added the "Sheng Chang" in as well !

Their rojak's nice too !! Somebody pleae help to get me the rojak paste if you are going to Penang ! I missed it !

Chee chiong Fun : This is really different from the ones we ate in HK dim sum restaurant or in any of the dim sum stores in Singapore. The sauce for the chee chiong fun is what that makes this dish special. The rice noodles in Penang are served together with a mixture of chilli sauce, shrimp paste, thick red, sweet sauce and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds.

The shrimp paste is a smooth black paste made from prawn stock and salt and had a fishy flavour but it does not leave a lingering smell in your mouth. A plate costs about RM 2 to RM 2.50.

To conclude about the trip, Penang is a nice place for their delicacies but if you want to shop, I wouldn't recommend it.
Was recommended the following below from a friend, we tried and it was good !

Goh Huat Seng Steamboat is a must try. A Teochew restaurant that use charcoal instead of electric stove and order any of their chi char dishes to satisfy your taste buds !

Craving for Chendol ? Here's the recommendation, Penang Road Chendol

That's about all for this short getaway ! Till the next trip !

Am hoping to go Bangkok for the next trip ! To shop, shop and shop !!
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