Wednesday, July 20, 2016

[Hokkaido 2016] Day 1 - Suage+ Soup Curry and Sapporo Beer Museum

As soon as AirAsia X announced their flights to Sapporo, Hokkaido mid last year, I immediately locked down the cheapest tickets I have ever seen for myself and the family for a vacay in June 2016. Come 19 June 2016, I was comfortably seated in the Quiet Zone, looking forward to the flight for once. Mainly because I had the whole row to myself and I wasn't the only one. By some miracle, my entire family had a row to themselves in an otherwise full flight.

We landed in New Chitose Airport in Sapporo, feeling refreshed after a relatively decent sleep on-board. The weather forecast warned us of a rainy day but we had no idea how rainy as we took our sweet time exploring the Domestic Airport that was linked to the international terminal.

There was so much more things to see and eat in the domestic side and I only regretted not spending more time there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mid-Autumn Festival Mooncakes by Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur‏

With the mid-autumn festival just around the corner, it's time to load up on delicious mooncakes!

The Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur is presenting a showcase of exquisite and delectable mooncakes to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on 15 September.
Twelve varieties of hand-crafted mooncakes, both traditional and five new flavours, are now available at the Mooncake Counter in the Main Lobby. There is time to savour, choose and purchase mooncakes at this counter till 15 September.

The five new varieties of mooncakes include Black Sesame Seed Paste Single Yolk, Mini Ping Pei Spirulina Paste, Mini Ping Pei Avocado Paste, Mini Ping Pei White Lotus Seed Paste with Walnut and Mini Ping Pei White Chocolate with Orange Flavour.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Climbing Mount Kinabalu - My Checklist and Climbing Tips

Planning for a climb can be a headache. First you need to ensure that your check-in weight for your flight has enough space and weight allowance for you to bring along your stuff. I flew Malindo for my Mount Kinabalu climb and that came with a 30kg check-in.

But first things' first. What to bring and how to pack. Here is a rough checklist that I put together. I've sectioned everything to when I would need them during the hike and kept them in plastic bags for easy retrieval and to keep them dry should it rain.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

[VID] What to do in Sapporo, Hokkaido in Summer

Hokkaido is really unlike the rest of Japan

With vast lands of flower fields, mountainous landscapes with weaving roads cutting though and alongside the majestic green slopes and flanked by pristine waters rich with the abundance of the sea all year round. Hokkaido in many aspects is younger than mainland Japan and this allows its God-given attractions to bloom and blossom naturally, drawing visitors near and far. 

In the winter, Hokkaido undergoes a complete transformation as everything becomes coated in a sheen of whiteness and even the types of attractions change from hiking to skiing for example. 

When I visited Sapporo, Hokkaido for the first time this June 2016, it was summer and we encountered its sunniest days as well as its wettest. Here's a quick video of my recent family vacay. 


*Best to watch on desktop as it's not viewable on mobile. 

Accommodation: Khaosan Sapporo International Hostel
Flight to and from New Chitose Airport: AirAsia X (link)
Car rental: Toyota Rental

Stay tune for my upcoming blog posts about my itinerary, accommodation, where to eat and what to do.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

6 Hong Kong Wheres for Outdoorsy People

Whether you’re visiting Hong Kong for the first or tenth time, there are always new and exciting experiences to be discovered. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong and explore the other side of Asia’s World City for some experiences that simply shouldn’t be missed!

Here are FIVE spectacular spots to include on your vacay list, courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. 

1. Hong Kong Global Geopark of China 

The Hong Kong Global Geopark of China is a dramatic rock landscape in the New Territories that was formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Explore its vast natural landscapes by walking tours provided by operators around the area, or by boat, starting at Sai Kung pier and winding through other worldly rock caves and beaches for a truly picturesque experience. Visitors to the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China can learn more by visiting the Volcanic Discovery Centre, Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and Northwest New Territories Sedimentary Rock Region and view geological features such as twisted columns, dyke intrusions and hexagonal volcanic columns. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Getting an International Driving Permit for Malaysians

It's almost a global knowledge that Malaysian drivers are notorious on the roads. Hence why our driving licenses aren't recognized internationally except in some countries. So in order to rent a car in certain countries, we are required to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) beforehand.

Japan is one such a country and for my trip to Hokkaido, I was the assigned driver and had to get my IDP sorted out before the trip. Initially I was informed that I could get my IDP done at the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) and also at the Road Transport Department (JPJ) office but a quick call and internet search told me that AAM had ran out of IDP until further notice.

So it was off to the closest JPJ office to my house. To get it done, I needed to prepare:
1. Photocopy of my IC and driving license
2. RM150
3. 1 passport-sized photo

Friday, June 17, 2016

Climbing Mount Kinabalu Part 3 - Reaching the Summit

Continuation from Climbing Mount Kinabalu Part 2

The alarm went off at 1am and one by one, we reluctantly rolled out of bed to get ready for the hike to the summit of Mount Kinabalu. By the time we went downstairs to the common area to grab a bite from the supper buffet served, it was 2am and other groups of hikers were already chewing at their breakfast/supper of fried rice, meehoon, eggs and sausages. You would think we might overeat but the anxiety of the summit hike curbed our appetites. For that extra kick later, I also took a power gel.

At 2:30am, we were rounded up by our guides Jasili and John and were briefed on the ascent. We were told to stick to the white rope, basically our visual guide to keep us from straying off the path in the dark and if there was mist. Sayat-Sayat hut was our checkpoint and we needed to reach it before 5am or else we were not allowed to go on.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Climbing Mount Kinabalu Part 2 - Chilling at Laban Rata

Continuation from Climbing Mount Kinabalu Part 1.

After 4 hours 30 minutes of crawling climbing, my sister and I were eager for rest and a hot drink at Laban Rata. As we had booked our climb six months in advance, we were able to secure a room for our group of eight in Laban Rata. At 3,272.7 meters above sea level, even to step a 100 meters outside the rest house took effort so we counted our blessings.

Towels were provided at the reception upon check-in but as our change of clothes were with the porters and guides who stayed with the rest of our friends still making their way up the trail, we opted to freshen up quickly in the surprisingly clean showers first. There wasn't any hot water though as the showers were solar heated and reliant on the sun. As we had anticipated the delay of our clothes, we pulled on our outer jackets from our day bags to fend off the cold while waiting.

Laban Rata was much much much so much more equipped than the mountain huts on Mount Fuji. The dining area had magazines, games and free hot coffee, tea and water available for hikers. The walls honoured the guides and porters who has gone above and beyond their call of duty even before the earthquake to help hikers. One picture showed a porter carrying a huge water catchment basin up the mountain.

Monday, June 13, 2016

AirAsia and AirAsia X Free Seat [Promo period: 13 - 19 June 2016]

Have you already started planning for your 2017 vacays?

Well, if you haven't, this might given you that incentive to start planning on where you want to go next year! Because the AirAsia Free Seat campaign is back and gamed to run from 13 - 19 June! The travel dates are from 4 Jan to 21 Aug 2017!

AirAsia is giving away up to three million promotional seats in its latest Free Seats campaign across its entire short- and long-haul network. Starting from a base fare of RM0, excluding taxes and fees, guests can fly to any of the more than 120 destinations in 24 countries served by AirAsia and AirAsia X, the low-cost carrier said in a statement.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Simbae Pet Care - Dog Shampoo and Leave-on Conditioner

Doggy bath time is something my furkid, Cody and I do not look forward to. But it is a much needed evil to keep his fur clean, shiny and tick and fleas-free. The belief that dogs enjoy water does not apply to my PAWS-adopted furkid. He hates water and hates the smell of his usual doggy shampoo. A sentiment I share mainly because it gives off a medicinal scent that always has him diving for the earth and mud post-bath.

Enter Simbae. 

Prior to this, I have not heard of Simbae but a quick Google search showed a very elegant and refined collection of pet care products.