Thursday, April 29, 2010

Langkawi Island - Mangrove Tour (Final Part)

While we were waiting for the guys and Ash at the Fish Farm, our boatman told us that for another RM100, we could extend the tour by another hour and he would take out to the open sea as well as visit some of the surrounding islands. He said going out to the open sea is a totally different experience compared to the mangrove. As tempting as it might sound, we decided not to go for it because it was way too hot in the mid day sun. If the weather was cooler or more cloudy, we might have taken up that offer.
After they have finished with their Fish Farm tour, we were ready to head out to see the eagles! Our boatman told us that this section of the river was wider and doesn't have that many bends, therefore he would pick up speed and told us to grab on to the rails and hold on tight. Check out the short vid that I took (no, I wasn't holding on to the was fast, but not THAT fast :P). Please excuse the lil typo at the end of the vid...I know :P I only realized it after I uploaded it onto YouTube.

Boy, that was fun! At certain times, our boat was literally flying above the water. What a thrill! After about 10 minutes or so, our boatman slowed down and turned into what seemed like a lagoon. There were tall trees and high cliffs all around us. He told us that this was the eagle feeding site.
When we first arrived, I looked up and saw maybe one or two eagles flying above us. I was thinking to myself, is that all? I hope there would be more eagles or else, I'll be pretty disappointed. Our boatman explained to us that two types of eagles can be found in Langkawi. The Brahminy Kite Eagle and the White Bellied Sea Eagle. The Kilim mangrove area has been their home since about 40 years ago. The Brahminy Kite Eagle lives in the tall mangrove trees while the White Bellied Sea Eagles would have it's nest up in the sea cliffs. Remember the picture of the huge eagle that we took on our first day in Langkawi? Well, thats the Brahminy Kite Eagle and Langkawi is named after it's reddish brown feathers.

While he was talking about the eagles, he was also making lots of noise with his boat motor. He explained that the noise attracts the eagles and it was like a signal to get them to come out. They would usually feed the eagles chicken skin or chicken parts, so when the eagles hear the motor sound, they know that it's feeding time! True enough, more and more eagles started appearing. Before we knew it, the sky was just filled with eagles and they started to swoop down towards the water to grab it's food. I seriously have never seen so many eagles together at the same time before. Photos doesn't really do justice at how cool it was, so I took a short video clip too. Check it out!

Wasn't that just awesome? If you are ever in Langkawi, you should totally go for the Mangrove Tour. From the thousands of bats at the Bat Cave to the shooting/spitting Archer Fish at the Fish Farm and now this. It was really an interesting experience. After the tour, we went back to the hotel to check out, ate some lunch, did some last minute shopping and soon, it was time to head to the airport to fly to Penang! We were in Penang for a week to celebrate Chinese New Year as well as my Dad's 60th Birthday. Will have more posts in the future about the stuff we did and all the things that we ate in Penang :P Overall, our short vacation in Langkawi was superb. Fun places to visit, cheap booze and chocolates, yummy fresh seafood and most importantly, time well spent with the family. That was indeed the best part of the whole trip =D Thanks mom and dad for planning and sponsoring such an awesome vacation!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Langkawi Island - Mangrove Tour (Part II)

After coming out from the Bat Cave, we hopped onto our speedboat and we're off again! We went back the route we came from, pass the Kilim Jetty and before we knew it, the river grew wider and there wasn't as many tall mangrove trees around anymore. It was mostly limestone caves with high cliffs and some trees (of course). Looks like we were heading nearer to the open sea.
We also passed by quite a number of small yachts and sail boats. I'm guessing they dock their boats in the calm waters whenever they are not out sailing in the open waters. After a couple more turns, we saw this floating pontoon like structure ahead of us. Our boatman told us that it was the Kilim Fish Farm.
By the time we arrived at the Fish Farm, it was already almost mid day and it was scorching hot. My mom and I were not really interested to brave the super hot sun to visit some smelly fish farm so we decided to stay in the cooling shade of our boat :P So, it was just Kevin, Ash and my dad this time around. After getting off the boat, they were greeted by a 'tour guide' and they were brought to an area of pontoon walkways with man made cages filled with various kinds of fishes.
According to them, their guide was really funny and told a lot of jokes. Not only did they get to look at the fishes from afar, they also got some hands on time with a few of the fishes. Here is Kevin with the guide at the Archer Fish cage. The guide placed a tiny piece of bread on Kevin's finger and without missing a beat, the fish shot a spray of water and it hit the piece of bread, spot on. According to the guide, the fish would sometimes jump up and get the bread too. Kevin was pretty amazed at how accurate it's aim was, especially from under water.
Here is my dad and Ash with the horseshoe crab. Not only were they given the opportunity hold the horseshoe crab but the guide also placed the horseshoe crab on their hands and head for a 'massage'. I guess it must be some sort of Fish Farm guide humor. :P

Ahhh this is pretty cool. This is the Stingray cage. It was quite an experience for Kevin to actually get a chance to touch and pet a Stingray. I think he looks pretty nervous here. I would be too, those guys are hugggeee! Apart from learning about fishes at the farm, there is also a restaurant where you can have lunch or dinner. We didn't have lunch there but from what I hear, the prices can be a little steep. You can basically get seafood just as fresh from the seafood restaurants in town for half it's price. There is also a small sundry store where you can buy snacks, ice cream and drinks as well as a restroom (not so sure about the cleanliness though). Next stop on the tour - Eagle feeding! Woohoo!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Your Answer to Pesky Mosquitoes!

* This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Mosquito Magnet. All opinions are 100% mine.

Boy, I'm so glad spring is here at last. The days are getting longer and it's beginning to feel warmer already. Before you know it, summer will be here! Oh I love the summer time, oh yes I do. Both Kevin and I enjoy being outdoors, be it a backyard BBQ, working on the garden or just hanging out on the deck. As much as we simply love being outdoors, there is one thing that really irritates me tot he max. Mosquitoes!! I just hate it when they would make that buzzing sound around your ear and of course, the bites. We would get mosquitoes bites everywhere! From our legs to our part of the body is spared! Argggh!

Not only are mosquitoes irritating, they can be harmful too. Yes, those tiny bites can itch a little but it's nothing compared to the diseases it might carry. Did you know that mosquitoes can infect you with the West Nile Virus, Encephalitis, Dengue Fever, Malaria and Yellow Fever? Yeah, that's right. Mosquito bites can be deadly!

I was surfing the Internet the other day and came to know about an amazing product. Mosquito Magnet! Mosquito Magnet traps are the only long-term, scientifically proven mosquito control solution in the marketplace. That caught my eye at once. I continued to read for more information and found a mosquito magnet review. Looks like many people from all over have tried it and now they are sharing their stories with the rest of us. There are just tons of people from all over America telling how Mosquito Magnet has helped them save their summers. Mosquito Magnet actually works and they had bags full of dead mosquitoes to prove it! They can now go about their daily lives, be it gardening, BBQing or any other outdoor activities without having to worry about mosquitoes. I don't know about you but I am sold! It's time I get my hands on a Mosquito Magnet so that we will have a fun and safe time outdoors, with pesky mosquitoes!

Visit my sponsor: What are People Saying About Mosquito Magnet?

Langkawi Island - Mangrove Tour (Part I)

On the last day of our trip to Langkawi, we thought that it would be a good experience to go on a tour of the Kilim River mangrove. The tour would allow us to explore the Kilim River ecosystem by boat, with stops at the Bat Cave, Fish Farm as well as witness some Eagle Feeding. There are many tour companies around Langkawi offering such packages, with prices ranging from about RM80 til up to RM200 per person! We know that all the tours cover the same things and they start from the same place. So, the cheapest way to go about this is to go to the source, the Kilim River Jetty itself. This way, you can eliminate all the middle men and deal directly with the boat operators.
Getting to the Kilim Jetty is pretty simple. From Kuah town, just head towards Galeria Perdana. Once you pass Galeria Perdana, keep a look out for small signs saying 'Kilim Jetty' or 'Kilim Geopark'. Once you see the sign, turn into that small road and it will lead you to the jetty. There are ample parking spaces in front of the jetty. The best time to go would be either early in the morning or late in the evening. We were told that that's the best time to spot wildlife and of course, it won't be that hot.
The price is pretty much fixed (so don't bother trying to bargain), RM150 per boat for a 1 hour tour which includes stops at the Bat Cave, Fish Farm and Eagle Feeding. You can fit up to 8 people per boat, so if you have a small party, you should just hang around and try to share a boat with other tourist. Since there are 5 of us, we just decided to get one whole boat to ourselves. Only RM30 per person, not too bad at all.
After paying the boat operator, we were off! It was pretty interesting to navigate through the twist and turns of the mangrove, with tall trees and abundent wildlife. We saw some kingfishers while we were there and if you are lucky, you would be able to spot a few monkeys as well. After a short 10 minute ride, we saw the pier of the Bat Cave ahead of us.
The Bat Cave actually consist of two caves. The smaller cave is only approx 270 square meters, with a low roof and the bigger cave is about 750 square meters, with a 10m high roof and is about 60m long. As the name suggest, the Bat Cave is home to four different species of fruit and insectivorous bats. Unknown to many, Malaysia has a high species diversity of bats, with 117 different species (20 species of fruit bats and 97 species of insect bats). One would also be able to have a breathtaking view of many stalactites and stalagmites formations in the caves.
The entrance to the cave is just a short walk from the pier. There is a wooden platform that runs throughout the entire length of the cave, so it's pretty safe and you can stay dry at all times. However, it can be quite dark inside, especially on cloudy days. So, it would be wise to bring along a powerful flashlight to fully enjoy the experience. You can rent a flashlight at the pier for RM1 before you head out to the caves.
Check out the magnificent stalactites and stalagmites formations! Initially when we first entered the cave, we didn't want to use any flash photography, because we didn't want to disturb the bats. Therefore, we couldn't really get very good photos. Most of them turned out all green and grainy, like the photo above. We also commented that there were not many bats around, maybe because it was too dark and we couldn't really see them. After a while, I realized that everybody else was using flash photography, so I decided to join them. Check out this pic!
YESSSSS....those are alll bats!!! OMG! I was totally grossed out when I saw that photo on my camera view finder. Thousands and thousands of bats, all hanging above us. Now I was pretty glad that we were in semi darkness. If not, I wouldn't even want to go into the cave! I knew that my mom and Ashley were really freaked out, just by being in the cave. So, I didn't show any of them the photo until after we were out of the cave and out in the bright sunlight. gross.
Here is another one. Look at how terrified Ashley looked, and that was even before they knew there were so many bats hanging above them. At certain parts of the cave, the ceiling was really low and I bet, the bats were just mere inches above our heads. Sooo gross! Thinking of it now still makes my spine tingle! :P

Ahhhh he looks relieved to be getting out of the cave and out in the sun! I would say that as much as it was gross, it was a pretty good experience. Now it's time for us to hop back into the boat and head out to the Fish Farm. Stay tune...all that and more in the next post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Time to updated your GPS System's Map!

* This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of NAVTEQ. All opinions are 100% mine.

How many of you have a portable GPS device or GPS system built into your car? I'm pretty sure most of you have at least one, if not more. If not, I'm telling you, you are missing out! My life was never the same again since we bought our first GPS device about 3 years ago. Having just moved to Jersey, both Kevin and I really relied on the GPS to move around. It's totally amazing! It really helped us get from one point to another, without getting lost. Today, we rely so much on the GPS, we don't know how we will survive without it!

Having a GPS system is great but guess what? Having a GPS system without an updated map isn't all that useful. Roads are constantly changing, with new ones being built and certain old ones being blocked off. How frustrating can that be when you follow the directions of a non updated map only to find yourself at a dead end? Kevin and I use the GPS lots too when we go on road trips or when travelling long distance. It always helps to know when the next gas station or food stop is coming up. Without an updated map, you really cannot get accurate information in regards to this.

For those of you who have not updated your map recently, I have some news for you. Have you heard of NAVTEQ? Well, it is the company whose technology and maps drive most of the in-car navigation systems and the leading brands of GPS-enabled devices in the US and yes, you are able update your map from their website. Also, May is NAVTEQ’s Map Update Month, so it's the perfect time for you to head over there and update your maps!

Still not convinced that you need to update your GPS maps? Well, check this out. According to the NAVTEQ Navigation Benefits Study, updating your maps could help you save up to $200 a year just by using a navigation device! Not only that, a traffic enabled GPS device can save you four days of driving time. Wow, I'm sure that will help you save on fuel too. The study also shows that it plays a part in helping the environment too. Did you know that you can reduce your CO2 emissions by 20% just by driving with a GPS device? That's right, going green is the thing to do these days! So, what are you waiting for? Head over to for more information today!

Visit my sponsor: May is Map Update Month for many GPS Systems

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Look what we won!

Man, you have to admit it. Marlboro has some of the best contests around! They run all kinds of sweepstakes all year around, always with totally awesome prizes. As many of you know, I won an awesome pair of sunglasses (worth over $100) early last year. Then came the big win! A fully paid 4 days 3 nights trip for two to the Marlboro Ranch. When they say fully paid, they mean fully paid. Everything was included, the airfare, accommodation, free food, free booze...I even got a check for $1,250! After we got back, Kevin was invited to their NYC Roadhouse Nights @ SoHo party where we enjoyed a steady flow of free food, drinks and music all night long. In between then and now, we won a few 'small' prizes in the various contest/sweeps by Marlboro. Among the prizes were ashtrays, wall mounted bottle openers, a money clip, wallet size bottle openers, zippo lighters, playing cards and some coffee beans.
The latest ongoing contest by Marlboro is the Flavor Break Sweeps. It started sometime mid March and it will go on til the end of this week. It's really simple actually. All we need to do is enter our emails daily at the Marlboro website. At the end of every week, there will be a drawing for various prizes. Week 1 was for a Viper Dartboard (worth $129), Week 2 was for a Weber Smokey Joe Grill (worth $39.70), Week 3 was for a Sony Noise Cancelling Headphone (worth $99.99), Week 4's prize was a Viper Pool Cue (worth $139.99) and Week 5 was for a Samsung HD Camcorder (worth $179).
A couple of weeks ago, Kevin received an email from Marlboro saying "You've Won A Sony® Lightweight Noise Cancelling Headphones‏"! Woohoo! How exciting. Looks like he was one of the Week 3 winners. We have never owned 100 bucks headphones before, so that will be pretty cool. From the reviews that we read online, those are a pretty decent pair of headphones :D

Think that is cool? Well, check this out! I woke up this morning only to find an email from Marlboro. Guess what it said? You've Won A Samsung® U10 Full HD Camcorder!! Wow! How awesome is that?? Out of all the prizes, this is what I wanted the most. We have been looking at HD Camcorders for quite a while now but we cannot justify spending money on one, so we just let the idea slip. Yay! Looks like we will be getting one for free now! The grand prize for this sweeps is a trip to Vegas for 4 people. The drawing ends this weekend. Let's keep our fingers crossed, who knows...maybe we might win that! :P

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dr Pepper's April Fools' Day Prank!

* This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of goviral. All opinions are 100% mine.

Everybody seems to have a web cam these days. With a web cam, it takes chatting, whether on IM or on other platforms, to a whole new level. Now, not only do you see words but you can actually see and hear the person you are chatting with. Sure, a lot of people go on web cam to chat with their friends and family these days, but what about chatting on web cam with complete strangers? Well, have you heard of Chatroulette? If you haven't, Chatroulette is the latest web phenomenon to hit the headlines! It is a website that randomly pairs strangers for web cam conversations. Visitors to the website can randomly begin an online chat, be it video, audio and text with another visitor. That's right, the pairings are completely random and it gets everyone chatting without knowing who is next up or what they are going to see.

On April Fools' Day 2010, Dr Pepper played an awesome prank on the unsuspecting population of Chatroulette! If you haven't seen the video, you totally have to check it out. It's really funny and it gets me laughing each time I look at the faces of the guys being pranked! So here's the deal. The people at Dr Pepper decide to let a sexy cheerleader loose on Chatroulette. When she pops up in the screen, you can see her dance, shake and shimmy all over. Just check out the reaction on those guys faces! They must be thinking that it's their lucky day! Well, the whole video ends in a very funny twist, I won't tell ya what it is. You just have to watch it yourself. Man, the expression on the faces of the guys are worth a million bucks. Good job Dr Pepper! Now, sit back and enjoy the video!

Visit my sponsor: The Chatroulette Cheerleader

Applebee's - 2 for $20 deal

We were out getting Kevin some new shirts in Jersey Garden Mall a couple of days ago and since there was a Chili's there, we wanted to go try out their new $9.99 deal promo. However, we later found out that the outlet in Jersey Garden Mall is one of the few outlets that wasn't participating in that promo. What a bummer :( We then remembered that Applebee's was also having some sort of promo. So, we headed back to Kearny to check out Applebee's instead. By then, it was already nearly 8pm but the restaurant was still packed! We were however lucky enough to get a table without having to wait, so all is well :D
We have seen the ad on TV for the "2 for $20 deal" just about a million times but have yet to actually try it. It's a pretty decent deal actually. You get to choose one appetizer to share and you will each get your own full size entree. There were four different appetizers and seven yummy entrees to choose from.
We chose the Boneless Buffalo Wings as our appetizer. We had a choice of Classic, Hot or Honey BBQ sauce. Since we both have a really low tolerance of spiciness, we stuck to the Honey BBQ. When the wings came, we were pretty surprised at the portion. It was pretty big! We figured that we would get a smaller portion, since it's part of a promo but no, it was a huge full sized portion. The chicken tenders were lightly breaded, with a little crunch and it was tossed in just the right amount of sweet honey BBQ sauce. Yummy yummy!
Kevin ordered the Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger. The burger was nicely grilled, really juicy and nicely marinated. It came with some lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles and was topped with some gooey cheddar cheese and crispy bacon. Oh and it was also served with a side of fries. Good stuff!
I ordered the Riblet Basket and got to choose between the Southern BBQ, Sweet & Spicy or the Honey BBQ sauce. I went with the Honey BBQ and what a good choice it was! I just love the Honey BBQ sauce! :D The Riblet Basket originally comes with a side of fries and since I am not a big fan of fries, I asked if they would change my side to something else. The server rattled on a whole list of other sides and I went with the Southwestern Rice. It was a little spicy, not a whole lot but just enough to give it a nice kick. Pretty good actually. The riblets were good too.

I think Applebee's hit a home run with this new 2 for $20 deal promo. Our total bill came up to $26.56 (2 for $20 deal and two refillable sodas). For that price, it's really a very good deal. A nice two course sit down dinner at a restaurant for a lil over $25! The portions were just right, not too small and not huge either. Good job Applebee's. Two thumbs up!

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar
175 Passaic Avenue,
Kearny, NJ 07032
Tel: (201) 246 0020

The Jacques d’Azur Lifestyle Revealed!


*This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of goviral. All opinions are 100% mine.

Have you heard the breaking news? French socialite and legend of The Cannes Film Festival, Jacques d’Azur, has been reported missing after last being heard in an emergency transmission off the coast of Tahiti. Therefore, the search for Jacques' heir has begun. As the search continues for Jacques’ heir, his glamorous and high flying lifestyle has been revealed and guess what? It is ready to be inherited! Are you ready to see what awaits the future heir of the legendary Jacques d' Azur?

1st Class Flights - One thing that we know for sure is that Jacques d'Azur always travels in style. Not only does he know what he wants in life, but he oozes class and sophistication. Not only does his lucky future heir gets to go to France, he gets to do it in style. He will travel to the Cannes Film Festival in the South of France on a 1st class flight. Nothing but the best for the heir of Jacques.

Helicopter Pick Up - Upon arriving the South of France by first class flight, his heir would be be whisked off on a helicopter ride to Cannes Harbour, where it's only a quick stroll away to his five star hotel, where he would be able to check in.

A Tailored Suit - Jacques was that ladies wanted to be with and that guys can only wish to be. Mind you, I am not just talking about regular people. Movie starts flock to be around him too. One things for sure, Jacques was always dressed to the nines. The heir of Jacques would of course be expected to do the same. So, not only will this lucky heir will be taking over Jacques’ place at Cannes and he will be looking forward to having his tuxedo tailored, d’Azur style.

So who will take the place of Jacques at Cannes this year? The search goes on for the heir to his exquisite weekend at the Cannes Film Festival. Are you the one?

Visit my sponsor: The Jacques d’Azur Lifestyle Revealed!

Century Buffet Bar & Grill - Clifton, NJ

Let's take a break from the Langkawi travelogue for a bit and see what we have been up to recently back here in NJ. We were out shopping in Clifton last weekend and before we knew it, our tummies were rumbling and it was already time for lunch. For those of you who are familiar with the Clifton Commons area, you would know that they are many restaurants and eateries to choose from. So, we decided to get in the car and drive around to see what there is to eat.
We drove by Century Buffet and saw quite a number of cars in their parking lot. We have driven past Century Buffet quite a number of times before and we always wondered, what kind of buffet it was. There wasn't any sign outside indicating if it was a Chinese buffet, Pizza buffet, Seafood buffet...etc. So, we decided that today was the day that we would go check it out.
From the moment that we walked into the restaurant, we knew that it was a Chinese buffet. It had all the typical 'decorations' and 'furnishings' of a Chinese buffet. There was a big board at the entrance with all the prices too. The prices looked pretty reasonable. A regular weekday buffet lunch is $6.95 per adult and dinner is $11.95. On weekends, they have a special buffet brunch which cost $11.95 and dinner is $13.95. There is also a 10% discount for all senior citizens and kids under 2 ft eat for free!
We ordered our soda ($1.50 each with free refills) at the counter and they brought us to our table. On the way to our table, I took a quick glace at the buffet and it looked larger than the usual Chinese buffets that we are used too. Good! :D We started by trying out some of their soups, I had the Hot & Sour Soup and Kevin had the Wonton Soup. I believe there were 6 or 7 different types of soups to choose from.
Next, we headed to get our appetizers! There were all kinds of salads (crab salad, pasta, salad, potato salad, garden salad...ect) to choose from but we went straight for the seafood :P Fresh oysters, mussels, scallops, broiled crawfish, jumbo shrimp, two types of crabs, a few types of sashimi, freshly made sushi rolls...there were so many stuff to choose from, I just couldn't remember everything! Very very good selection for the price we paid.
After the appetizers (we were already pretty filled up then :P), we headed to check out the hot food section. It is basically split into three sections. There is the 'American' food section - pizzas, chicken wings, roast chicken/turkey, nuggets, know, the whole works, the 'American Chinese' food section - BBQ pork ribs, sweet sour chicken, teriyaki chicken on a stick, pretty much the stuff you would get from a typical Chinese take out restaurant and lastly, the 'Authentic Chinese' food section. There was a dim sum section as well as a host of super yummy Chinese dishes like Steamed Fish, Vegetables with Mushrooms, Stir Fried Lobster Tails, Peking Duck, Stir Fried Venison and the list goes on! The picture is the selection we got from the American Chinese food section. I didn't take anymore photos after that, we too busy eating :D

By the time we were ready for dessert, we were already too full to take too many things. Apart from the stuff in the photo, they also had quite a big selection of cakes, donuts, sago, different types of pudding and ice cream (both soft serve and regular). Overall, we had a awesome lunch and I think that the food served here is tasty and fresh. The price is also reasonable and if you were to head over to their website, you can print out some coupons too. Definitely worth a return visit!

Century Buffet Bar & Grill - Clifton, NJ
166 Main Avenue,
Clifton, NJ 07104
Tel: (973) 471 8018/8718
Fax: (973) 471 8665

Play Charades and Win Free Music!

* This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of goviral. All opinions are 100% mine.

Do you like games? Well, I know I do. I think like would be an understatement. I love games, any sort of games! From outdoor games to board games to party games, I play them all. However, there are certain games that I love more than others. Sure, board games like Scrabble and Monopoly is fun but I love games that involves a whole lot of people and that is fast, quick and exciting. Charades is one of my all time favorite games! It's quick, exciting and fun for all ages. Boy, I used to play charades all the time back in the day.

Do you like playing charades? Are you good at it? Are you always the first person to guess the charades mime? If you answer yes to any of the above, guess what? I got news for you! Just head over to the Fiat website where you can discover the universal language of gestures and learn how to talk 500. There, you can check out the practice mime and once you get the hang of it, you might be on your way to winning free music for a year with a premium We7 subscription ! That's right, all you need to do is sign up now to join in and receive a new charade each day. So, what are you waiting for? Go on, learn to talk 500 and your charades skills are bound to improve. After all, it’s all about the hands - because in Italy, words only tell half the story.

Visit my sponsor: Charades - Talking 500

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Palm View Seafood Restaurant

After a whole day of sightseeing, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for a bit before dinner. My parents and Ashley went down to the beach for a swim and also to redeem their welcome drink from the poolside bar (I believe it was some Lemongrass drink). Kevin, who was still trying to recover from jet lag, was totally knocked out cold and I spent the remaining afternoon surfing the net in our nice A/C room (the jet lag didn't really bother me but I was having a tough time adjusting to the heat). It was good just to relax! :D
By the time we finally got ready to head out to dinner, it was pretty late in the evening. We decided to return to Pantai Cenang and try another one of the seafood restaurants there. There were quite a lot to choose from but we ended up going to Palm View Seafood Restaurant. I guess we were attracted by the bright lights and red lanterns :PJust like all of the seafood restaurants along Pantai Cenang, Palm View Seafood has a host of different live seafood to choose from. Since we didn't get our crab fix from Orkid Ria the night before, we were really looking forward to some yummy crabs that night. The lady told us that a new fresh batch of crabs just arrived and she brought us to a back room to pick out a few. I guess that was the first mistake of the night. When the waitress brings you to a 'special room' to pick out seafood, you know that it wasn't going to be cheap!
The waitress also kept on 'promoting' the mantis prawns. She said that it was very fresh and they just brought in some new stock earlier that day. So we agreed to go take a look at it. While we were out there choosing our seafood, we changed our minds about the mantis prawns and said that we would like regular prawns instead (cos the only way they would cook mantis prawns is to steam it and we wanted butter prawns). The waitress wasn't too happy and gave an excuse that the kitchen was too busy and they won't have time to make butter prawns, so we should just get the mantis prawns instead. We know that it's just an excuse because, A: how can the kitchen be too busy? The restaurant wasn't even half full and B: mantis prawns cost about 3 times more than regular prawns! So, if she were to sell us regular prawns, she would make less money. In the end, we didn't really want to argue with her and picked out a few mantis prawns. Check out the size of the prawn!
So, apart from crabs and mantis prawns, what else did we order? Well, we ordered a plate of sea scallops cooked with shark fin (yes I do eat shark fin and I'm not ashamed of it!), shitake mushrooms, garlic and superior stock. It was pretty good actually. The stock was really sweet and yummy.
We also shared a plate of Hokkien Fried Noodles. It wasn't as nice as the noodles from Orkid Ria but it was alright. They used a lot more dark soy sauce and there wasn't as much shrimp and meat in this noodles. I guess it could have been worse, so no complains here.
Ahhh the controversial mantis prawns :P It was steamed with Chinese herbs and topped with cilantro. It's funny that they should call it a prawn. In my opinion, the meat tasted more like a lobster instead of a prawn. This dish was pretty good too. You couldn't really taste the Chinese herbs (it just enough to compliment the prawns) at all and the meat was firm and fresh.

Here we go. The piece de resistance! Sweet and Sour Chili Crab. Mmm mmm mmmmm. We have been waiting to eat this for the longest time and boy, I'm glad we were not disappointed. We finally got our dose of crabs! The crabs were indeed very fresh and the sweet and sour sauce was good too. Definitely worth the wait. Generally the food in Palm View is pretty good and the seafood is fresh. You just have to be careful when ordering. If not, you will end up with a really big bill at the end of the night.The waitresses would just try and push the most expensive dishes. So, do not get swayed by the waitresses, order what you want to eat and not what they try to 'recommend'. With that in mind, I'm pretty sure you will have a good meal in Palm Ville Seafood.

Palm View Seafood Restaurant
Lot 1584 Pantai Cenang,
Langkawi 07000,
Tel: (604) 955 9008

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Loaf - Telaga Harbour Park, Langkawi

After the Oriental Village, we headed towards Pantai Kok to check out Telaga Harbour Park. Langkawi is well known as a major sailing and yachting destination, so it is no suprise that many marinas can be found all over the island. However, Telaga Harbour is one of the more popular ones and is said to be the most beautiful. From the moment we got there, I can see the reason why. The whole marina is landscaped and designed to resemble a Mediterranean-style harbour town of the French Riviera, with beautiful luxury yachts docked at the harbour. For a split second, I forgot that I was actually in Malaysia! Of course, the amazing view of the Andaman Sea as well as the Mt Matchingcang range reminded me that yes, we are still in Langkawi :D
Perdana Quay is the place to go if you are looking to wine and dine in Telaga Harbour Park. There are many restaurants (mostly high end ones) for you to choose from. Since we were there in the afternoon, there wasn't much activity going on. I can just imagine how it will be like when the sun goes down. With awesome views of the Andaman Sea, you can choose to dine al fresco or inside. I can't remember exactly all the restaurants that is there but I know that there is a Russian (Restaurant USSR), Seafood (Pulau Pulau Seafood) and Italian (Mare Blue) restaurant. Of course, the famous Loaf Bakery & Bistro is also located at Perdana Quay.
I have heard so much about The Loaf that we just had to go check it out. Opened in 2006, this is the original branch of The Loaf (there is now a branch in Pavillion, KL too). Owned by Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir, The Loaf is well known for it's bread and pastries that are baked using traditional Japanese techniques.
Check out the almost full basket of pastries that we picked out (RM4 - RM7 a piece)! I must say that they don't come cheap but they sure taste awesome :P Apart from it being a bakery, The Loaf is also a dine in cafe with a full ala carte menu. If you are ever around the area during breakfast, it is said that you have to try Tun Dr Mahathir's favorite breakfast set (RM22). It consist of a bowl of fragrant mutton curry, two soft boiled eggs and chunky toasted bread. Sounds good to me!

Another 'must have' when you are at The Loaf are their Mini Uhu! Uh!s. Mini what??? What's that? :P Well, let's just say they are little cups of heaven! They are tiny cup cake size cheese cakes, available in many different flavors. I believe there are 20 flavors in total, some with wacky names like Coco Loco and Glitzy Strawberries. There are also some 'Malaysianized' flavors like Splendid Kaya, Refreshing Longan, Enticing Rouge (air bandung) and of course, Durian Obsession. These tiny cheese cakes don't come cheap though. A single cup cost RM3.20, 1/2 a dozen is RM16.50 and a dozen will set you back RM31.90! I guess it's worth it if you are a big cheese cake fan :D I'm glad we stopped by The Loaf to pick up some snacks. The pastries were yummy and even though it's a little bit on the expensive side, I think it's well worth it. Maybe we should have brunch there the next time we are in Langkawi!

The Loaf Bakery & Bistro
Lot No C9 Perdana Quay,
Telaga Harbour Park,
Pantai Kok, 07000 Langkawi,
Kedah, Malaysia
Tel: (604) 959 4866
Fax: (604) 959 4803

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Langkawi Island - Langkawi Cable Car

Our ride on the Langkawi Cable Car was the highlight of our visit to the Oriental Village. It officially opened in 2003 and it's one of Langkawi Island's newest and most popular attraction. We boarded the cable car gondola from the Base Station at the Oriental Village. Each gondola can hold up to six adults. A round trip ticket would set you back RM25 (approx US$8) for adults and RM18 (approx US$5.50) for children. There is a discount for Malaysians though. All you need to do is show them your MYKAD and it's only RM15 for round trip tickets.
The total length (from Base Station to Top Station) is about 2.2km (1.4 miles) and the trip takes about 30 minutes. The ride itself from the Base Station to Middle Station is pretty cool. You will get an opportunity to glide over the rainforest while taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the Andaman Sea. If you look hard enough, you will be able to see the Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells) waterfalls. On good days, you can also sometimes catch a glimpse of wildlife like monkeys, hornbills, eagles as well as other birds.
The Langkawi Cable Car has also been endorsed by the Malaysian Book of Records as the "The Longest Free Span Single Rope Cable Car – 919.5 meter (in total length)". Oh and a little warning for those of you who are afraid of heights. It also holds another record. At 42 degrees, the Langkawi Cable Car has one of the steepest gradient in the world!

There is an intermediate Cable Car station between the Base and Top Station. The journey from the Base Station to Middle Station covers 1,700 meters in length and the Middle Station at an elevation of 650m above sea level. Upon arriving at the Middle Station, we were able to walk onto viewing platforms where we got an awesome panoramic view of sea as well as the opportunity to view the unique rock formations of the Matchingcang Mountain Range up close. Check out the vid that I took from the Middle Station. Boy, it was such a windy day!
From the Middle Station, we could also see the Top Station as well as the Curve Hanging Bridge. The bridge was opened in 2005 and since then, it's unique design has won many reputable awards worldwide. I must say that the bridge is definitely not for the faint hearted. It is a 125m curve pedestrian bridge that goes across a deep chasm, linking the Top Station with the Machincang mountain range. Just looking at it gives me goosebumps! :P

Alrighty, it's time to board the cable car gondola again for a quick ride upwards to the Top Station! The distance between the Middle and Top Station is a mere 450 meters away. Woohoo! Off to the Curve Hanging Bridge we go!

After a short cable car ride, we are at the Top Station. A short walk up a few flights of stairs took us to two viewing platforms, at the top of Mt Matchingcang. At 708m above sea level, it provides an awesome 360 degree panoramic view of the islands surrounding Langkawi Island and Kedah. On really clear days, you can even see Thailand from there! The view was truly breathtaking. There is also a cafe where you can purchase light refreshments as well as a traditional massage parlour up at the viewing platforms. Next stop, the Curve Hanging Bridge!

To get to the Curve Hanging Bridge, one has to trek downhill for a short distance. There is no shade and with the direct mid day sun above you, it can be quite tedious. If you think the trek down is bad, wait til you try to climb back up. It's alright for younger people but the older folks and those that are not exactly fit can find it to be a little taxing. Cardio baby, cardio! With that said, I must admit that the experience on the Curve Hanging Bridge itself was worth all that trekking! It's totally awesome! However, if you are afraid of heights, this can be quite a terrifying experience. With a hanging bridge over such a deep chasm, looking over the railings of the bridge can give any person (not just those who are afraid of heights) white knuckles! :P Overall, we had a great time at the Oriental Village as well as a fun ride up the Cable Car. From the Oriental Village, we went to get a snack at the most famous bakery in Langkawi. Know where that is? Stay tuned to find out!