Friday, May 31, 2013

Day Trip up the East Coast to Kemaman and Cherating - Kemaman Zoo, Turtle Sanctuary, Club med Cherating, De Rhu beach resort and Pak Su restaurant

Going on a day-trip can be a whole lot of fun, and at the same time, extremely tiring. It's important to be prepared, particularly when children will be along for the ride.

Last Saturday we set out from Kuantan at 8:30am with our lovely friends and headed up the highway. We brought along a 5-litre bottle of drinking water, a bottle of isotonic drink, and a paper bag full of snacks for the children. We also brought the pushchair for Leah in case she got tired of walking around. Our friends had umbrellas. I was carrying my DSLR camera, bag and tripod, and Leah when she wasn't in the pushchair!

Posing at Kemaman Zoo by a unique tree trunk with bags, drinks and pushchair

I think the key to it all is having pleasant and easy-going company because the heat, the children and the baggage can be a large burden. But we managed everything with a smile and with a genuine excitement to be going places, exploring, and doing so with really good friends.

This photo was taken by our friend, Kenny

Kemaman Zoo is around an hour's drive from Kuantan. Kemaman is a town in the state of Terengganu, neighbouring Pahang to the north. We tried to get there early so as to avoid the heat, but it was still boiling anyway. A makeshift train pulled along by a tractor took us from the entrance to a central point in the zoo where we could explore.

The main animals of interest are the elephants, lions, a tiger and two bears. There are also plenty of birds, snakes, crocodiles and orang-utans. A smart orchid garden, children's playground and waterfall/swimming area are all present.

Lauren feeding the elephant

Leah was terrified of the elephants!

Sharmayne feeding the elephant. Leah waving goodbye to the elephant! Photo taken by Kenny

Having fun at the children's playground

Sharmayne and Lauren posing by the waterfall at Kemaman Zoo

There are 2 famous places in Cherating - the Turtle Sanctuary and Club med. At the Turtle Sanctuary we saw these very cute baby turtles:

We got in to Club med Cherating for a look around and were not disappointed. It's absolutely beautiful! Here are a few photos of this glorious resort:

It was a hot day! This large swimming pool was tempting...

Grace and Fidelia wanted to see some orang utans!

I love being with the children - they had so much fun!

Beautiful view at Club med Cherating

Lauren shows her favourite monster face whilst Sharmayne models the umbrella!

Good to see there is a tsunami evacuation route

Keeping ourselves hydrated with plenty of water, we stopped off to allow the children to try their hand at batik painting at a nearby roadside stall. We all got to sit down and relax for an hour.

It was 4pm by this time so we decided to set off for some swimming time at De Rhu beach resort, which is located nearby Swiss Garden Resort & Spa Kuantan. It was my turn to accompany the children in the pool while Fidelia, Grace and Kenny sat in the shade!

Sharmayne on the water slide!

Sharmayne gave me a good water fight in the pool, especially when I wasn't looking!

To end the day trip we drove to Pak Su seafood restaurant for dinner. Unbelievably, the children were still full of energy! I had to follow them around while waiting for our food to arrive.

I was too hungry to take photos of the food! We had fish, butter prawns, sweet and sour chicken and vegetables amongst others. After a long, tiring and really fun day trip, it was really good to eat yummy food.

Thanks to Kenny, Grace and Sharmayne for driving us around and providing perfect company. It was such an enjoyable day that I didn't really want it to end.

And I haven't had a day like that for years.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I'm a self-made expat!

Skimming through my email inbox from my ipad, I recently came across a newsletter from an expat site I occasionally browse.

One of the articles was titled "self-made expat", a term new to me but describing me to a tee!

Expatriatism is growing all around the world with better living conditions, job offers and the thrill of travel all large factors. But I'm not any usual expat.

I didn't get sent to Malaysia by a company, neither did I relocate here with my whole family for any specific reason. I have a number of expat friends, mostly in Kuala Lumpur, who were sent here on a working assignment with their company from back home. It usually lasts for 2 or 3 years before the contract is up and they return home.

I am a self-made expat. 

I came here to Malaysia with no job, no money, all by myself. My Malaysian fiancee and later, wife, was the reason I expatriated to Malaysia.

Another factor was that I already knew Malaysia very well after living there for 2 years before I met Fidelia. I had already developed a love for the place, the people and the lifestyle.

Nobody sorted out my flight tickets. Nobody took care of a work placement and contract for me. Nobody took the time to organise insurance plans for me. Nobody transported all of my possessions half way around the world for me.

I am a self-made expat.

I took what I could in my suitcase and completely started my life over in Kuantan, just me and my wife. Now that sounds scary, and for a short while it was, but it has also provided me with an immense sense of achievement and satisfaction. I made it! I started with nothing, in a foreign town and country, and made it!

I'm also unlike other expats in that I don't really mix with fellow expats at all. I am immersed into life with the local Malaysians. My wife and I have found some magnificent Malaysian friends, both here in Kuantan and around the country. I couldn't ask for anything more in my life. Several years ago, it was an impossible dream. 

We send our daughter to the local kindergarten. When I'm sick I go to the local clinic or hospital. We go shopping down the road and buy Malaysian food. In another 4 years I'm planning to become a Permanent Resident and have my own IC card. 

Rather than living the 'expat life', I'd say I'm living the 'Malaysian life.'

2013 marks 7 years of living as a self-made expat in Kuantan, Malaysia. 7 exciting years where I've grown a lot, have my dream job, am my own boss, and best of all, there is no expiration date for my time here!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dim Sum lunch at M.S.Garden Hotel, Kuantan

Dim Sum is a Chinese breakfast/lunch, like dumplings and filled with prawns and other meats and seafood. As you will see, they come in cute little baskets where you pay per basket.

Yesterday at M.S.Garden Hotel in Kuantan we enjoyed a dim sum buffet of RM19.90 per person. That is really good value!

Here is a selection of what we ate, and thoroughly enjoyed!

Lauren and her friend Sharmayne on another recent visit . . .

And a dessert table offering various kinds of jelly . . .

The M.S.Garden Hotel dim sum buffet promotion at RM19.90 is open until June 2013.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...