Monday, August 31, 2009

Sungai Lembing

Our friends invited us to Sungai Lembing for a premature National Day getaway. It was a 30-minute drive North-East of Kuantan.

Sungai Lembing is a tiny town hidden away between tree-infested hills, so when we arrived at our chalet named the Country View Inn, I was extremely surprised not to be met with some wooden shack half-way up a mountain with no proper toilet. In fact, it was quite luxurious and homey.

The entire Inn was crafted in dark wood and appeared very elegant. Our room was basic and had very comfortable queen-sized beds, large enough for my wife and I and Lauren to comfortably fit on sleeping sideways. Urai had the other bed all to herself!

The bathrooms were clean and well equipped with the most powerful hose I have experienced. I almost blew the door off when testing it! The water was warm and relaxing and the shower head could be changed to many different styles of water output.

A flatscreen Panasonic TV lay on the second floor minus the sport channels, so unfortunately we didn't get to watch Man.Utd, as I later found out, beat Arsenal 2-1 at Old Trafford! There was a nice balcony where we ate Mee Hoon and Red Bean Soup shortly after we arrived.

I also enjoyed resting for a while looking out at the restaurant and morning market which clogged the small road from as early as dawn on Sunday morning.

Saturday evening we travelled a short distance down the road and across a typically muddy river to a friend's house for our barbecue. Piles of food had been bought and readied. We loved tucking into pork chops, satayed chicken, sausages, and in particular, a special dish of 'porcupine' prepared by the house owner! To me it tasted rather like lamb. I think we must have got through a half-dozen cans of sprite and revive too, whilst all the other Chinese were swilling down can after can of beer. Crazy.

We went back to the Inn around 10pm to settle down for the night, although Lauren only fell asleep after great difficulty coming to terms with the chill of the air-cond which she is not used to at all. So we turned it up to 28 degrees and pointed it over to Urai's bed, which she gladly thanked us for!

In the morning our friend bought us some distinctly flat Mee Soup. No other type of Mee can compare to Kolo Mee. Just ask my wife about that and she will quickly verify that truth!

We then made our way through the jungle on a long, winding road that I thought would never end, to Sungai Mas, a clear, stone-filled river which we enjoyed playing in and throwing stones in. It was quite a cloudy day but I still managed to reach home looking like, as my wife put it, a lobster.

Shortly before we made the short trip back home, we saw some Iban people cooking a dead fox and its baby. All of us were mesmerized so everyone stood around watching this amazing scene flash before our eyes. The men had shot the fox in the trees and were now cooking it on their barbecue!

After they had burned and scraped away all the fur, they commenced in slicing it open, decapitating it and cooking the insides in preparation for a good old feast.

Fidelia and I experimented with the delights of out-in-the-open urination as there was no toilet anywhere to be seen. Well, we were kind of spraying behind someone's car which acted as a shield to protect our dignity should anyone by the river happen to look our way!

On the way home, we travelled back down that long, winding road, past all the cows, goats, ducks, dogs and cats, past the 'orang asli', the native inhabitants of the land who live in simple, old wooden houses, (although some are in reasonbly nice cement shacks now) and back out onto the motorway. By this time, Lauren had fallen asleep in mummy's arms. The signs were there on the narrow, topsy-turvy road...

When we arrived home I asked Fidelia and Florina to rate on a scale of 1-10 how much they had enjoyed the previous 24 hours. Fidelia came up with a 6, Florina gave a 5, and I also voted for a 6. We all enjoyed the food at the barbecue, and the Inn was much better than I had expected or imagined it to be. However, our time there was a mere 24 hours. We couldn't get to see the town, or climb the hill that it is famous for, where I wanted if it was possible to see a stunning early-morning sunrise from, though given that it was a cloudy day, I probably wouldn't have seen much anyway.

It was a very enchanting place to be in, tiny in size, so eerily but refreshingly quiet at night, contrasting with the hum of people flocking around the morning market at dawn the next day, where all of a sudden, this place seemed to explode to life. I wondered where they all came from! But reflecting on it, I'm sure a place so secluded and small would soon elude my interest. Perhaps 24 hours was the perfect time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Teluk Chempedak AGAIN!

Yes well we are a little addicted to the beach at Teluk Chempedak nowadays. Sorry if these recent posts bore you, but we are having a great time relaxing, playing, chilling at the beach. Because after all, it's not every day you get to go to a beach, or live merely 15 minutes drive away from one. So I have decided to make the most of the beauty God has blessed us with here in Kuantan.

This time we took along our friend, Sharon, our neighbour and Urai's schoolmate. It was drizzling a little for a long while so we had some McDonalds before the Sun finally showed its face just as we were leaving. Typical!

Here are some of the things we did this time...
Lauren borrowed my sunglasses for a while, even though the conditions were more like those in England!

Lauren had lots of fun again in the sea...

Urai and Sharon chilled out on the mat...

Me and my cute little wife...

Me and my cute little daughter...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teluk Chempedak Fun

Yesterday was a glorious day in Kuantan and I just had to go out and enjoy the sunshine. I persuaded my wife and Urai to come along too, although we did wait until 4pm to do it! We are being blessed with gorgeous sunny days and rainy cool nights at the moment, so I'm trying to make the most of it, because hey, not everyone lives 15 minutes from a beach!

We arrived at the beach and sat under a piece of shade from a nearby tree, and then wondered what to do. I soon got busy doing the thing I came here to do...

Well, that sunbathing only lasted a few minutes, although next time I would like to lie on the warm sand for much longer.

My little daughter Lauren really enjoyed herself at the beach this time, and even went with her aunty Urai down to the sea to play in the cool shallow water. We were pleasantly surprised!

My wife is not one for taking hundreds of pictures, striking numerous poses. She is too beautiful for that and reserves her beauty for the very special moments. However, I did manage to get one snap out of her!

Urai and I just had to do something, so we made a little collection of action photos which we laugh at a lot as we look back on them. Here are a few examples of what we got up to...

I love to be by the sea and to appreciate the scenery, especially on bright, sunny, beautiful days. Here a couple of pictures my curiosity took...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Federer wins in Cincinnati

Roger Federer brushed aside Serbia's fourth ranked Novak Djokovic in a thrilling display at the Western and Southern Group Masters in Cincinnati, Ohio, early this morning.

Federer has now beaten Nadal in the Madrid Masters in May, and both Murray and Djokovic in the last two days. They were all done in straight sets, and the Swiss has now sent out his warning for the upcoming U.S. Open in New York.

Federer cruised through the first set thanks to his precise, accurate hitting and perfect timing of his shots, in particular a laser-like cross-court forehand that gave Djokovic all sorts of problems. The Swiss was looking sharp and deadly, and made Djokovic's stunning performance against Nadal yesterday look very much like a one-off.

This was the fourth best player in the world, being given the run-around and a harsh lesson in tennis excellence.

Djokovic did up his game at the beginning of the second set however, racing into a 3-0 lead, only for the Swiss champion to haul him in immediately to level it up at 3-3.

It seemed Federer could break at will, and as Djokovic continued to miss first serves, it was inevitable that the Swiss would take advantage. It came in the 11th game, and Federer served out for a 6-1, 7-5 victory.

He is enjoying his tennis and looked relaxed and comfortable throughout. He is one-up on all of his major rivals going in to the U.S. Open, and I wouldn't bet against him sweeping everyone aside on his way to a 6th consecutive title at Flushing Meadows.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kuantan Hotels

During the last week I have braved the blistering Sun, expended great amounts of energy cycling around Kuantan on my bicycle, and admired the luxury of this city's top hotels. I have the sunburn to prove it too!

My wife and I decided we would love to stay at a hotel for a night some time in the future, just to kick back and relax for once, to refresh our bodies in the luxury of a hotel, to not have to cook dinner, do the washing, bring the bed out, and all the other house chores for a day and a night. So I have been busy surveying a collection of the best hotels in Kuantan, and here are the results.

1. Grand Continental

Well, let's say the exterior does stand out in the Kuantan landscape, but the interior is far less impressive. The giant marble door handles are as far as the quality goes. The hotel appeared to be quite poorly maintained as I perused it's corridors. The room rate of RM161 per night, not including breakfast, is arguable. Even the swimming pool, as seen below, is not that impressive and is hidden away behind a couple of ballrooms.

2. Shahzan Inn

I really enjoyed the Shahzan Inn during my brief visit there. Maybe it was enhanced because I had just arrived after the disappointing Grand Continental experience. Anyway, the hotel has a simple layout and great views of the city from the 14th floor.

The swimming pool is rather small but kind of cute, the sort of pool that you would probably have to yourself the entire day, so if you're after a private swim, this might be perfect. The rate of RM150 including breakfast is encouraging too.

On my way out of the hotel I stopped at the second floor and took this lovely view of the chandelier hanging amidst the spiralling stairs.

I was rather impressed with the hotel and the price.

3. LA Hotel
This is a smaller hotel situated a stone's throw from our house and directly opposite East Coast Mall, the Stadium, and the Bus Terminal - ideal for travelling tourists who want to cut down on travel time between arrival and hotel check-in.

A very modest RM95 per night fee is charged for a very modest hotel. There are no elevators, just two sets of stairs leading to the first and then second floors.

4. M.S. Garden Hotel

This was the second most expensive hotel I checked out, and it was well worth the RM262 room rate. I was informed by the concierge that the rooms start at Deluxe level - they don't do standard here. The rooms are very large which is just what I like. Breakfast is included in the price. There are many shops and restaurants to keep oneself busy too, and which will also empty your wallet rather quickly!

The swimming pool area is spacious and impressive, much more so than the Shahzan Inn's pool. There is much to see and do at M.S. Garden Hotel, and it lies in prime position in the heart of Kuantan city centre.

5. Vistana

The Vistana Hotel is situated on the road that leads directly to the popular beach, Teluk Chempedak, and is also just around the corner from the city centre, enabling one to live the best of both worlds.

This is a luxurious hotel and I soon discovered that as a visitor only, I had limited access. A card is required in each elevator to take you up to the rooms. I did manage to rise to the first floor where a few shops littered the level, along with this pretty looking flower display.

Priced at RM241 including breakfast, it is one of the more pricy hotels, but appears to be well worth it.

6. Hotel Seri Malaysia

Just beside the Vistana is this rather odd looking hotel which doesn't really look like a hotel at all. There were a number of what looked like entrances, but luckily I selected the right one. There were no signs of the rooms however until I discovered them from the side road at the Vistana Hotel.

It was actually the second cheapest hotel in my survey, and though it looks quite nice from this picture, and is priced at just RM140 per night with breakfast, it is largely dwarfed by it's more illustrious neighbour, the Vistana.

7. Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort

Well well well, I have saved the best for last. The Hyatt Regency Kuantan Resort is the most beautiful and luxurious hotel I have seen here. From the moment I entered it's compound, I could smell quality in the air. I even spotted a few monkeys playing in the trees near the entrance.

The woman at the reception desk was friendly and helpful and spoke in excellent English. The lobby was stunning, a vast area with ample seating and water displays with a lovely sea breeze drifting in from the South China Sea.

I loved everything about this hotel. There is a tennis court in lovely gardens, and rooms which overlook the sea.

It has such a tropical feel to it accompanied by a real relaxing holiday atmosphere that keeps drawing me to it like opposite ends of a magnet homing in to each other.

Even the sign boards dotted around the corridors are gorgeously designed in simplicity.

The room rates start at RM310 but from what I saw about this resort, I would gladly pay a larger fee to stay in such a glorious place. This is by far my favourite of all the hotels and I hope we can stay here just for one night some time in the future.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...