Friday, June 28, 2013

Coffee... How do you take yours?

As she brews, so shall she drink ...

To the devotee, it's the solution to a problem. 
To the detractor, it's the problem to a solution.

To the addict, it's imperative. 
To the sober, it's inessential.

To the needy, it's a shot that changes the landscape in a second. 
To the non-indulgent, it's a concoction to be avoided at all cost.

To the lover, it's a source of joy. 
To the hater, it's a constant disease.

To me, it's inescapable. 
To you, it's a choice.

How does one brew the perfect cup? One cannot because one's own taste is the boss. But the one rule to the exception applies: You can brew the perfect coffee, simply by loving it unconditionally.

Welcome to my world.


P/s: When I'm good and caffeinated, everything else is irrelevant. That being said, I'm not sure I'm being coherent right now. But you go ahead, have a cup on me!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

M'sian Premier League 2013 review: All's fair in love and game ...

[Note: Ini review dari sudut pandangan seorang kaki bangku. In other words, hopeless in games.]

I'm not going to lie to you. I am no football whiz. In fact, among all the field sports out there, football is my least favorite, right next to golf, and ping pong, and squash, and rugby, and baseball, and basketball, and hockey... Basically that's about almost All. While I'm not exactly altogether clueless on the mechanics of how they work, it's more like a case of altogether couldn't-care-less on the mechanics of how they work.

Confession: My half-tankful of knowledge on football died a natural death on the day I resigned as a sub-editor from a local paper The Malaysian Today, way way back. That's a bleak history and somewhat a stepping-stone in my career life that I shall not delve into, but suffice it to say that everything I need to know about football I picked up along the line of work back then. Crawling, hating some confused moments of never getting the match points right, or not memorizing some international footballers' faces if they weren't good looking or ugly enough to remember, or seldom having a clever comeback line when arguing with the then-editor-boss on game predictions. Tedious stuffs, constant learning. Wonder why they put me in the sports section in the first place. I like to believe it was my spongy attitude towards a challenge presented. It's a man's world after all.

 
License to cheer!

How I found my way into the stadium match after match is almost the workings of a miracle same way how the ball finds the back of the net each time. Love makes you do funny unthinkable things sometimes. Some people might make the mistake of thinking a girl would want to watch football games because of the guy she's dating. Perhaps in some cases that could be true, but for the rest of us loyal girlfriends, that is not the case. I'd like to clarify that if I'm not keen on something, no guy could make me. (Experience will tell you that if you go into something halfheartedly or because of a person, it will not last). Take for instance, I'll skin myself alive first before I let any man make me eat sago worm. 

That rationale aside, so it is really a testament that I don't hate football at all, I'm not that crazy about it either. It's just that I never had the chance to actually truly know how much of a complicated relationship the ball and I have until I met a guy who says ''Let's go watch football'' and there wasn't even time to ponder upon it. 

Oh hoho yeah. I hope I'm not being confusing because this entry is fast getting out of track.

National Anthem. See the fans behind? (Pics: SarawakCrocs)

Slow forward: I was actually going to congratulate Sarawak the Ngap Sayot team, on their recent heroic victory in football. They went undefeated throughout the season. It was a really proud teary-eyed moment when Sarawak FA won the Malaysian Premier League 2013! We (Yes we the supporters) were crowned champions last night. It was an uplifting moment, a history remade after 15 (some say 16) years of drought. And I was right in the middle of it last night!

Well hey, I shall not review the game or the games before that or how they got there, read it yourself HERE at their fans/games-dedicated-page SARAWAK CROCS. An awesome review has already been written. And the rest you can Google

 We are the Champions! (Pics: SarawakCrocs)

You know what's awesome? Going to football games has taught me a lot of stuffs. In fact, it has been a very humbling experience. I love my Country, but I'm a supporter of all things Sarawak because I love my State more. Sitting there with a bunch of avid fans -- ordinary people with extraordinary game spirit, shouting cheers and jeers -- makes me realize no matter how much differences we have, we can still sit down together lending our best collective supports to the one team on the field that matters. Not, you understand, that they even need our on-the-side coaching tips. It's more of the sense of belonging and pride to be under the same flag. And also a common understanding between players and supporters that we have a common goal - to win the game.  

 Red black stripes! (Pics courtesy of Ezam Ariff)

And here in the stadium, racist remarks are tolerated and even forgiven after the game's over. The prejudiced talks and quips are rampant, nasty and sometimes funny to a point that you just can't believe what you're hearing but you laugh anyway because the shock is on you. In a game we all understand we need to take sides after all. 

You know what else is awesome? Not having the game aired live on any national or paid TV that night, and no one raised a ruckus pre-match. Hey, we're too classy for that immature play of politics hey. The blessing in disguise manifested itself as the packs arrived at the stadium in full force. You should've seen the love these fans displayed. It's downright emotional!

 
What's a little hindrance? (Pics: SarawakCrocs) 

You know what's more awesome? Going to a game with a guy who has the patience of a saint. Hahaha I'm totally justified, because if I don't ask in advance, I might not know what's what who's who where's where when's when. Worst, I might be cheering for the wrong team! Hahaha. But fortunately for us both, hey a sponge right here -- absorption power very high.  

All geared up for the next season? Let me ask my Captain first. 

So in the end, this isn't a review on football. You've been duped! Hahaha. You call this a review? I'm not even sure it's in football language! Duh...

See you next season!

p/s: My former Editor taught me the basic in-house editing rule: In Asia and Europe, it's called Football. In America, it's Soccer. See? Not clueless after all hey boss!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Vacation Part 2: BALI, Island of the Gods ...

Notes of Warning: First of all, picture heavy, so let it load easy first. Secondly, journalized for sharing purposes only, not for showing off. Thirdly, might be boring and long-wordy so read at your own leisure or go ahead scroll for visual effects.  

So after spending 5D4N in Phuket, it wasn't nearly enough. If you ever found yourself feeling down the moment you board the outbound flight home, you know you will miss the place and what it represents. You also know you should return someday. But if you feel happy leaving, there's probably something wrong with you. Hahaha. So if you missed reading Part 1 of this holiday, not a problem, just click HERE.

Four hours transiting in KL before the next adventure with low phone battery, low netbook life, and nothing much to do, what's a partly sunburned lady gotta do but kill time with the conveniently packed DIY manicure?

 Asking two guys' opinions proved to be a little colourful. Tada!

All geared up and ready after a strong dose of coffee, next Destination: Bali!
 
Abiding by the usual trademark ... Hello Bali!

Oh we can never have enough adventure in our lives. There's always something new to discover about a new place. But after that amazing restful I'm-totally-a-tourist few days in Phuket, the next adventure is a bit of an anti-climax and more of a recuperating period, although never any less fun. And if you've been to Bali, you'd know why.

I had only one purpose to be in Bali, and that was to fulfill the wishlist of experiencing Bungee Jumping - the daredevils' game. However, we were told that the bungee jump tour in Seminyak has been cancelled (or put on hold) for the last 3 or 4 months due to a hotel construction happening nearby. Boo. Disappointed, yes, but crushed? No-o way.

Gateway to the Legian beach... a trace of religious influence


This famed island of the gods, a small part of Indonesia, Bali is a much hyped exotic international holiday spot. Like most resort city, Bali also offers the same island tours, snorkeling, diving, elephant rides, and visits to tourism spots. Which, I must add, we decided to forgo since we already did much of that in Phuket.

If you read your wiki right, Bali is a majority Hindu community who observe worship rituals in their everyday lives. These you would practically notice everywhere all around you in Bali. Most of the tourist attractions here are of ancient and unique temples. These hospitable community have a high sense of respect and awe for their places of worship, and they expect no less from visitors.
 
We didn't know there was a temple behind us until a guard told us to 'Be Careful Leaning'..

We arrived a bit late in Bali that day and thanking God for small favors of the wisdom to book a transport in advance with the hotel. Otherwise you would have a massive human traffic jam waiting outside at the airport arrival hall in the form of taxi drivers, van operators, etc. and you might never know how they'll charge. Besides, having your name written on a placard and held up for everyone to see is secretly kind of fun you know.  (Tips: It's always safer to request the hotel/villa or wherever you're staying to arrange transportation to ferry you there. Pay a little more for convenience or if you're lucky, they're complimentary.)

If you do your homework prior to getting here, you'd realize that Bali offers nice hotels and private villas. Some come cheap, some with extra deals, some with impressive views, some with strategic locations, some with well written reviews ... but all come with the right amount of hospitality. It's only a matter or preference. So, hotels over private villas? Obviously the best deal won.

This Suntara Villa Legian is a luxurious cheap (by our standard) villa in Legian, about 10 minutes walk to Legian Beach. We found this via Booking.com and Trip Advisor and per-arranged via the same spots. Sites really help huh?

L-R clockwise from top: Entrance, communal and dining area, 
kitchenette, and private pool

For those who prefer hotel's service like breakfast buffet, dining etc, it's best to just stay in a hotel. This villa offers a chef service with a fee, but we decided nah... we can prepare our own breakfast and dine outside. [Tips: Staying in a villa offers you more privacy and freedom of space and movement. If you travel with kids, it's probably better to stay in a hotel where you have the staff's attention at all times. Here, they practically leave you alone (with phone numbers for easy reach in case of emergency), and only come the next day at noon for housekeeping tasks. WiFi is free and internet connection is awesomely fast.]

(L-R clockwise from top) Overall building outlook, poolview,
master bedroom, and living room view from top.

Although the walkway to the villa is poorly lit (and so is mostly everywhere else at night, as we noticed) and being Malaysians who are normally paranoid about thieves, muggers, snatchers, and whatnots ... our guide who brought us there kept saying 'Di sini aman saja' (it is safe here)... like reading our collective thoughts. I didn't even see a guardhouse nearby. But well hey, the whole time we were in Bali, he was right! Bali is, in their own words, 'AMAN' (peaceful or safe).

The beaches in Bali are relatively longer than in Phuket. Less crowded with tourists, but almost the same activities going on: surfing, sun lounging, mobile markets, etc.

Entrance to Legian Beach... Never Say Maybe?

According to a taxi driver, it is a stretch of beaches than combined Legian, Seminyak, Kuta and Tanah Lot. If you walked the whole stretch on bare feet leisurely, you'd reach the end in perhaps, 45 minutes to 1 hour? We only got to the end of Legian and almost crossing to Kuta  in less than 15 minutes. What a walk! Oh did I tell you? We stayed in Legian, not far from Kuta, where all the hype is. It's a walking distance everywhere man. I can't believe the amount of walking I had on this holiday alone! Amazing energy too! Haha. [Suruhlah I jalan kaki di Kuching, sorry la...]

Barefoot and loving it ...

The walk wasn't without its trials and temptations. Everywhere we went, some locals were ready to intercept you with offers of goodies or services to purchase. Some were less pushy but some were a trifle insistent. When we stopped by and rented the sunbeds (about RM10 each for 4 hours, I think), a few ladies came over immediately. And as usual, we thought it would be a good idea to get a massage while sun lounging (we never learn... sigh) ... But a cheap deal of RM15 per person for an hour, it wasn't a bad service at all. What was bad was this lady selling bracelets and bangles who won't go away. She begged me to buy her bracelets. Uh-huh, begged. Ignoring her didn't work obviously, she sat rooted to the spot even as I closed my eyes. See that white bead bracelets in pic below? Yes, in the end that piece caused me RM30 to take home. Oh well...

Good beach massage by a strong-hand aunty...

The bracelet lady walked away happy with her bounty and went to harass someone else. There were like more than 10 ladies in the same area offering the same goodies, so each time one passed by, we pretended to be asleep or keeping busy conversing with each other. That lady below wasn't so lucky...

Read both their body languages...

Tips when on the beach: Smile, be friendly but try to ignore the mobile sellers, unless you do intend to purchase something from them. If you buy from one, another one will harass you to buy something else from them. They usually target your human compassion, playing on your weakest moment, and score a deal with a sulky look. I don't know how but yes, they literally resort to that. Rent a sunbed nearer to the Legian Beach, it's more private and quieter on that end than in Kuta. Sunbeds costs about the same.

Hair braiding anyone? 

Henna tattoo, hair braiding, meni-pedi, food ... and more offered at the beach. Cool huh, if only my hair was longer.

Then there's swimming and surfing. Some of the locals even offer you surfing crash course with a minimal fee, but on the day we contemplated just that, it rained in the evening. So yeah...

 What's the point of going to the beach if you don't plan to get wet huh...

Some moments are to be cherished forever ... good company, good mood, lovely place... What more can you ask for?

That classic old school moment...

Walking the streets of Bali is an unforgettable experience by itself. If you don't join any holiday tours (like we didn't), the next things to do are sightseeing and shopping for souvenirs. From Legian to Seminyak to Kuta, they basically offer the same tourists bring-home stuffs.

Le guardian angels...

Spas, tattoo parlours, souvenir shops, gift T-shirts, dresses, etc... they're everywhere in Legian. And currency exchange outlets are practically everywhere for that emergency moment. [Tips: Remember to do your souvenir shopping in the daytime because they mostly closed by 5pm or 6pm. Only the malls open at night, but those sell standard items you'd find in your own country too. And if they asked you, try not to tell you're from Malaysia. Apparently this will give them more bargaining power over you, like using their 'Harga Tetangga' they called it. As if calling you to return the favour. It's not a bad thing, it's just that well, neighbors code of conduct stuff that you sometimes kinda have to oblige with.]

An interesting sight: A mobile 'bubur kacang' peddler...

Don't know what to buy for your loved ones at home? There are plenty of 'I Love Bali' teeshirts, household items and decos, replicas of branded stuffs etc. And for the single friends... look what I found! For that brow-raising moment with your mothers... try this!

Oh they're massive bottle openers, with tiny balls ... found abundantly in Bali.

I also discovered an interesting and unique brand in Bali... a whole building dedicated for it. Atticus - the dead bird concept store, as I'd like to put it. Poor mockingbird. The brand, originating from the US, is quite cool. They offer street wear, sport attires and gears, sunglasses, etc... mostly for men though. I wonder why I never saw this anywhere in Malaysia before.

Poor birdie...

All I got which was a statement in itself, was this lovely singlet. And one or two beach dresses besides. I gotta shop too right?

Indeed!
Next on my favourite subject: Food!
This place is mostly memorable to me because of the food. Not just any food -- street food. I heard tell when in Bali, forgo the restaurants in favour of smaller shops by the streets. They're much nicer, cheaper, and you get the same hospitable service. I mean, this Warung Enak was just 5 minutes away from our villa and to think that we almost didn't cross the road to go there because the outer appearance looked unimpressive. They serve a really mean Nasi Campur (mixed rice) which consisted of white rice of the best quality, chicken meat partly shred, curry potato, chopped long beans salad, peanuts, salted vege, hard boiled egg, and the hottest yummiest sambal I've ever tasted. A little bit of everything goes a loooong way for the taste buds.

 Nasi campur...

Bali is also famous for its 'Babi Guling' or suckling pig. They say, you can't leave town without trying this dish. The famous one, as per our taxi driver's recommendation, is near Kuta but they only open in the daytime. So we tried it instead at this small unknown shop not far from where we stayed, and it was equally (I hope) nice.

Nasi babi guling ... also a bit of everything...

The price is almost the same as the mixed rice and their condiments are nearly similar. I don't know what it is about Balinese and long beans but they're an exquisite addition and goes well with any dish. I don't even eat that much of it back home.

Not enough? They're so crispy you must ask for extra...

When evening came, the only eateries open are the restaurants, hotel cafes,and bars. They're not bad either, but a little pricey than our usuals.


 Clockwise from top left: Nasi merah bebek goreng (fried duck), 
lombok ayam nasi merah (chicken dish), seafood basket, and mixed rice hotel version

[Tips: Finding food in Bali could prove to be a challenge for Muslims, but there are available halal spots if you know where to look and they'll post a sign outside too. But for the rest, hey indulge! Opt for street foods as they are cheaper and way nicer. Avoid the mobile food sellers because those stuffs have been everywhere. Unless you see a smoking hot dish, better to eat at a proper shop or eateries.]

Nightlife in Bali is nothing much compared to Phuket. Kuta is the center of it all so if you want to get there, you can walk for about 10 to 15 minutes if you know your way. Or you could hail a cab (there are a lot of taxis in Bali going around every other minute and they're not that expensive) and tell them where you want to go. Better yet, ask them to recommend the best hangout bars in town. Some taxi drivers are known to be really friendly and tourist-oriented... when they're not trying to sell you a tour or something.

This is one of the sights we passed by in Kuta... a dance club with dancers doing their hip moves calling for patrons.


The reggae club we went to wasn't bad except I didn't know half of their songs, and the vocalist plus band members weren't much to look at. We ended up finishing our drinks, getting bored and started checking our phones for nothing...

 Anti socials...

On our last evening in Bali, we decided to revisit the club we went to on the first night. The band was average only, and while there were one or two eye candies up there on the stage, they lose out in the talent department. We had fun nonetheless cracking up jokes among ourselves and observed the other patrons having fun.

 Here's to the last evening in Bali...

Someone is apparently promoting he was single that night... however mommy and daddy didn't approve much. Hahaha

 
 Break for advertisement...

On our way back, taking the long route home to enjoy the night scenery, we passed by the Bali Bombing Memorial, a stone's throw away from the club. If you remember, the tragedy which occurred on 12 October 2002 was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia. The memorial was dedicated on 12 October 2004, the second anniversary of the attack. On its wall are names of victims and it's sad to note some of them are half locals and half tourists, and some are quite young too.

 
 The Bali Bombing Memorial...

Across the road from the Memorial, according to the taxi driver who drove us home that night, is the ground zero... where the most famous and popular club back then stood. Now it held nothing.

 
The bombing site across it...

Okay. This trip is rapidly closing up and heading towards the end. Sadly I didn't get to try the famous Kopi Luak, not because there weren't any, but because all those walking kept me thirsty for colder beverages. And taking coffee at night recently proved a bad move, so yeah. However I did try Bali Kopi -- at least la kan -- unfortunately I didn't like it much because it was a little too bitter and too tangy for my preference.

Bali Kopi... looks nice but I think I like my own local white coffee better...

To wrap things up... Remember when you leave Bali, you have to pay service fee to the government of Indonesia. This will be collected at the airport before you check in for your flights. It's only Rp150,000 (do your own conversion). Nothing is free people. Be a good tourist and don't question anybody.

 Pelayanan Jasa Penumpang...

So then. How have you all been doing thus far? You all doing okay? Feeling attractive? Good! Feeling like you need a holiday? Yes? Great! Feeling a little envious? Oh don't be, because I'm here to give you a push in the right direction. No matter how many reviews you read, you will never know until you experience it yourself. And no matter how many times you say you want to go on a holiday, it will never happen unless you do something about it.

Remember, planning is essential. The company you join with is crucial. Go with people you love and enjoy hanging around with. And there cannot be too many decision makers in one trip alone. Whatever it is, keep your finance in good order and don't spend more than you can afford. So start filling in that piggy bank now, or start a new fund. Who knows, the next trip might be just around the corners.

The end.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vacation Part 1: Helloooo Phuket!

Oh hello there... I am back! Been away across the seas and here I am jet-lagging the holiday mood away. That's what happened when you let your mind rusticate. Excuses. How have you all been doing? I received two reminders over the weekend to not let the spiders take over and nest and multiply. Some sweet readers I have. Haha.

To sum it up: THAT was one of the longest and most relaxing holidays I've ever had. No emails to respond to (read and proceeded to ignore), no calls to pick up (official ones anyway), no pending tasks to worry over (all disseminated and re-assigned) and no one to answer to.

Anyway, the opening in brief:
Wishlist 1: Take a maiden trip overseas. - CHECKED!
Wishlist 2: Visit Phuket and its acclaimed beaches. - CHECKED!
Wishlist 3: Visit Bali and its acclaimed beaches. - CHECKED!
Wishlist 4: Country hopping! - CHECKED!
Wishlist 5: Bungee jumping - Put On Hold due to technical reasons. (Theirs, not mine)

It started with this fancy feeling of going holidaying away from the country because Cuti-Cuti Malaysia is getting overrated. Don't get me wrong, I love my country, but I have been to most places in my backyard for the past many years and while there are some still yet to be discovered, I think it was high time to fly further away from the nest. [Some of you may already have been everywhere else and this post is like 'nah... been there done that', well lovelies, this is just a sharing post and it just happens to be my biggest adventure yet. In other words, I don't really care what you think].

Then it started with this plan to go to Phuket because it's one of the nearest resort city. If you remembered, we started this Phuket Fund back in January. And it was all made possible by cheap promo airfares and awesome hotel deals, thanks to someone's grueling effort on checking the airline's website every waking hour. Such a rewarding endeavor considering flying cheap gives you extra budget to spend more when you get there.

Half full Phuket fund...

While we were all geared up on the subject of Phuket, a few weeks later, that same person suggested, why not divide that long days planned for Phuket to go to Bali too, since the flight tickets were also cheap? And that's how we found ourselves not just island hopping, but literally country hopping! RM600 per pax on a return deal, is a really good bargain if you asked me.

Le threesome...

So before I bore you... MORE ON THE TRIP

We stayed in this beautiful resort hotel I found in TripAdvisor and booked via Booking.com - Sea Sun Sand Resort and Spa. Actually there were like hundreds of other nice hotels but gut instinct told me this one sounds just nice with complimenting reviews from past guests. Just 5 minutes walk to Patong Beach, and about 10 minutes walk to Jungceylon Mall (the biggest mall in Phuket), and about extra 4 minutes from that mall to Bangla Road (where the life of the city is).

The seaview deluxe room...

Probably the best thing I simply love about this hotel is its outdoor pool and its nearby Infinity pool. If you read Phuket hotel reviews, most offers Inifinity Pool. Yes it's the current obsession of most five star hotels and resorts everywhere else in the world. 

Totally the non-swimming mermaid...

The thing about hotels in Phuket is that most of the entrance to the hotel looks small and crowded, in fact we were quite taken aback with the abundance of electrical wires/phone cables hanging low and messed up the overall first impression. But once you get in, you'll realize it's actually bigger and grow towards the end and uphill giving it a massive perspective view. That's how I felt anyway...

Leaving our typical standard prints...

Patong Beach in Phuket is reportedly the most famous and tourist-crowded beach in the whole resort city. There are other smaller and more private beach but they're a bit far from where all the action is. Everyone (mostly the ladies) wear bikinis and the men were practically shirtless on the beach. Everyone is also a tourist of some kind, so don't worry about being insecure of your body, you have friends everywhere there who don't care about what you wear or if your tummy bulge or if you're short or if you have scars or if you have uneven tan or if you can't swim. Nobody cares... not even the locals. 'Be who you are' seems to be the invisible motto all around. So don't judge my chubby short feet ...

Sun lounging ...

Tip: Beware of locals offering you a massage on the beach though, it might not be worth your money. Better to get them from a local massage parlours or spa abound in Phuket. We got tricked into getting one... but well... now I live to tell you not to. Hey.

300baht for an hour's feet massage ... it was ok...

One thing very distinctive about Phuket is that they served pork mostly everywhere... hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars. I had my first shock at the breakfast buffet in the morning, and experience or more like Malaysia-oriented mentality made me gasp at the menu served. Pork sausage! THEN... I realised, hey, I'm not in Malaysia where most hotels need to adhere to the Halal policy. This is Phuket - a majority Buddhist community, of course there's no rules about what a hotel can or cannot serve. Haha. First shock subsided...

Pork sausage left pork ham right ...

If you're a fan of tom yam kung, or tom yam in general... if you're anywhere in Thailand, it's a must try because this is where the food originates from. So for 3 nights in a row we had tom yam dish. Couldn't get enough of that. My partner in crime even went to all the trouble of checking out all the reviews on the best place/cheap/worth-your-bahts to have tomyam. Paid off, I tell you.

Thailand's original tom yam kung taste ...

Lobster is relatively cheap in Phuket. Most of the seafood restaurants we passed by offer fresh lobsters, so somehow I talked my companions to have a get-go since none of us ever tried lobster. Why not, right? After all I'm with the right company, right mood, right place, right time. After that first taste, we somewhat agreed that tiger prawn is still way way better... and we probably won't order lobster again in perhaps what, 10 years?

 Lobster in garlic sauce ... 1400baht perkilo. This guy was 1kg

Fast forward... to the night life! It is one unforgettable experience which you mustn't miss if you ever come to Phuket. Bangla Road is where all the hype is. From our hotel, we took a standard-priced 200baht tuk-tuk to get there (better to get there with your makeup and heels intake than to sweat the 10mins walk). The whole stretch of road was totally alive at night, with some bars open until way past 3am.

Oh, if anybody offered you (and I believe there will be scores of free lance promoters aggressively approaching you) to watch the Ping Pong Show, I suggest you think twice and if you're traveling with kids, do not go at all. We got sort of deceived into believing it was the world famous Tiger Show, and with cutthroat cost of drinks offered in there, it was an experience you should go through only once. That show is nothing but a strip show (literally) with half of us wondering whether that's a girl or a transformed girl up there on the stage. Actually I closed my eyes or looked everywhere else when the girls on stage started gyrating poorly like they know no other dance move. The so-called ''ping pong'' stunts they performed left us with a terrible after-taste. I shall not elaborate. No picture taken because they banned cameras or phones in there.

As for Live bands performance in Phuket, one word: Awesome! There's this Red Hot Club, famous for its live bands, didn't disappoint. We tried one other live band the night before, and it was equally fun and lively (I forgot the name of the place).

Red Hot Club ... vocalists were really talented

We should've spent all that money on the real Tiger Show instead, the famous Moulin Rose or Simon's Cabaret. But we didn't find out more until on our last day there when the beautiful 'ladies' were doing promotion for their upcoming show outside on the streets. So that's how the picture below came along ... Those did not come free though, there's tip money to be paid (although I don't know why they called it tips, more like fees to me).

Too bad we didn't get to watch the real show by this lovely ladyboy...

Hey, I've been dispensing tips as we go along! Did you pick any? Don't get bored on me now! Haha

You know, you never run out of activities in Phuket. Whether you just plan to hang out at the beach sun lounging, or walk about town sightseeing, or buying souvenirs to take home (remember to bargain, better yet, learn to bargain, and don't waver), or stay indoor enjoying the pool or the comfort of your hotel room, or visit tourist attractions ... there is always fun to be had.

We had one day free and we dedicated that for Island Hopping - buying a tour from a tour agent just outside our hotel. There will be many promoters as you go along, offering you these same packages, but it's always safer to let the one stationed at your hotel arrange it. And off we went visiting 3 islands including the Hollywood famous Maya Bay from Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach. The trip took a whole day via speed boat, lunch provided, and snorkeling gears offered with a minimal fee. The sea is not even blue here man... it's an unbelievably rich warm turquoise!

 
Mermaiding in sea of turquiose at Maya Bay...

Island tour tips for you, because I care:
1. When in the boat, sit in the front area where you get to navigate. It's rougher up there in front and you'll also be exposed to sunshine and rain, but it diffuses any feeling of seasickness, and trust me, even the strongest of us went down. And it's a mood killer, I tell you. No it wasn't me (although almost). Sitting at the back area of the boat will expose you to engine fume and this could induce motion sickness.
2. Take as much chewing gum as you can. The tour agents will also dispense motion sickness pills. Take those in your bag for that hour of need. Look out during the ride, watch the horizons, and stand up if your butt feel numb. It's a 45 minutes boat ride to the first island... that's not short when you're already seasick.
3. When snorkeling, do not swallow any sea water. If you remember, Phuket was struck by tsunami years ago, remnants of toxic and whatnots is still there, although slowly decreasing. I swallowed two gulps by accident and for 3 days I had abnormal tummy upset. Helped only by easy access to a Pharmacy.
4. Wear sunblock. You might think you don't need it ever, but it's different here.

(up) The tour boat which can fit roughly 30 pax at one time...
(bottom) Rainsoaked ride & loving it! Showing our cheap friendship bands...

Hey look at that! That was a loooong one. I have so much more to write about and even this took 3 weeks to finally focus on. Hope I didn't bore you.

By the way, if you must know, Thai Baht has lower value than RM so you might feel a little 'rich' for a while, but when it comes down to it, some of the branded stuffs actually cost about the same. I only brought RM500 for my own pocket money and it was enough. The rest we collected RM200 each on food, fun, logistics and entertainment and it was nearly enough too. So great deal right?

That's all for now folks. Enjoy the pictures!

From Phuket, we hopped directly to BALI, but that's another upcoming post. WAIT FOR IT!