Why Perhentian Island is Better Than Bali, Lombok, Krabi and maybe Melbourne Great Ocean Road.

YES IT IS.

Ok, maybe I’m being a bit biased hear but here me out.

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The past week I finally got a chance to visit Perhentian Island after all these years (I wanted to go there since 2003). I love beach. The sand slipping through my fingers, the fierce waters and that annoying pebble stuck in between your feet and sandals. I don’t care. I love it.

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Over the past few years I went on many adventures. Melbourne Great Ocean Road (2011), Krabi (2013), Bali (2015), Lombok (2016). They were all awesome, but when I reached Perhentian Island, I can’t begin to compare with others. I effing LOVE IT!

Clean Beach

Undoubtedly, Melbourne would be the cleanest, followed by Perhentian then Krabi. Indonesia beach are pretty, but whereever you sit, you might end up sitting on empty cans, plastic wrapper, satay sticks, stuff like that. Even on deserted beach like Mawun Beach, I got trapped with rubbish.

Perhentian was cleaner. They had some rubbish on the beach but it was tolerable.

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So worth the trip with @aisyahrozi at the Twelve Apostle along Great Ocean Road.

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Melbourne Great Ocean Road. The water was damn cold, but very blue and clean.

Clear Blue Water

Perhentian is the best. At neck deep I could see my own feet! Just like in swimming pool. Having said that, other beach had clear blue water as well but sometimes can be murky or tasted like oil spill.

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I had the opportunity to dive with the turtle. We’re not allowed to touch nor feed the wild turtle.

Subtle Waves

Perhentian waves were very forgiving. My 1 year old kid had no problem standing on the beach as the waves ripple down the shore. Melbourne and Bali would be the toughest to swim against. But it’s definitely great for surfing (which I do enjoy).

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This is Redang Island. It’s much more commercialized compared to Perhentian.

Beautiful Coral

If you’re like me, loves to snorkel but hates scuba diving, then this is the place. Anywhere I swam, I could see beautiful live coral. They can be a little sharp, you just have to be careful. Corals break under harsh waves, frequent rain storm and too many boats. As a result, they were washed to the shores which made the beach floor really sharp.

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These were extremely sharp.

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This wasn’t far from the shore, with enough sunlight, you can see the floor of the ocean.

White Beach Sand

I’m a sucker for beach sand. The place we stayed at Perhentian Teluk Dalam had the nicest sand. It was silky and white.

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Family Friendly

Ok, this is a bit subjective, depending which part of island you stay. Personally, I prefer a beach where people don’t show too much of their skin. Whilst it can be a pretty sight, but 99.9% isn’t. So I’d prefer my odds of not seeing at all.

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Island life and booze. I was told they go hand in hand. But if you have to get drunk to enjoy the beach, then that’s pretty stupid. Fortunately, Malaysia doesn’t allow open air drinking. When drinking is prohibited, night life activities and loud lousy techno music are not present.

I truly enjoyed my sleep. On both days there, I slept at 11pm and woke up at 5.30 am (which is very rare). I had a solid sleep.

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Enjoy some timelapse of breaking dawn in Perhentian.

Full of Activities

The best activity is island hopping (besides chilling by the beach). We went to other side of Perhentian Island, Redang Island and Marine Park. The boat ride can be really long (almost 2 hours to Redang). Redang had amazingly clean beach and water. Marine park had tonnes of fishes and corals.

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Budget Friendly

The cost per person for this trip was RM 550 (something like that). This includes lodging, boat fares, marine park entrance fee, bus trip (from Shah Alam to Kuala Besut Jetty) and full board (all the meals). The food on the Island was slightly expensive, but wasn’t far any 7E prices.

Comparing going on overseas trip, this is the cheapest option for us.

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Where It Fall Short

1, The food! Perhentian food wasn’t bad, it was edible but just not that good. Every beach destination we went focused on their own cuisine, while Perhentian was trying to accomodate the tourist tongue. They should have featured their own cuisine like nasi kerabu, nasi dagang, keropok lekor and other delicious local delights.

Food is where it can seal the deal.

They didn’t have to attempt western food if they didn’t know what sear and medium well is. The island had abundant fresh fish, they should go with that. It would’ve been unique, fresh and awesome.

Top: Furuma, prawn and squid 300k Rp. (RM100) Bottom: Pantai Nipah, Prawn, Squid and Kerapu 170k Rp. (RM 55)

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Great food at Lombok. Truly amazing and authentic. Perhentian should do the same too.

2, Transportation.Getting there isn’t easy for foreigners. The nearest international airport (if you’re from outside Malaysia) is KLIA, and the closest local airport is Kota Bahru (KBR). KLIA to Kuala Besut (the jetty) is about 8 hours bus ride. While KBR to jetty about 1 hour drive. If only they upgraded the KBR airport, trip can reduced the time of travelling.

3, Mobile Data. On this side of island, there was no signal. In a way, it’s pretty good but bad for some. Good that I don’t spend anytime playing with the phone, bad is when I don’t know what’s up with the world (little things to worry about).

Summary

In short, I would definitely revisit this treasure island and spend the entire week not doing anything but dip in the waters. The cost is minimal going between island to island. The locals were very helpful and friendly. Though we converse in Malay, most know how to speak English (a little bit). However, if you come here for food, get ready to be disappointed.

ps: This post is for Traveloka Blog Contest. Get great deals at the website https://www.traveloka.com/en-my

pss: Images are taken from Video footage. Sorry if it’s not really in focus like how it should be. For vlogs, you can visit my youtube channel

I Never Thought Jungle Trekking Was Hard, Until I Tried SkyTrex

I am big fan of outdoor activity, jungle trekking is nothing more than a stroll in park for me. #SkyTrex hit me, how hard can it be? It turns out, it was really hard.

Few months back I PM-ed Azlan, the marketing manager for SkyTrex and asked him to accommodate bloggers. In return we will blog about SkyTrex. So he agreed to give SalamMedia (my marketing startup) some free passes to the Extreme challenge, the most difficult route. I did call in last minute to downgrade to Big Thrill, but Azlan insist we have ‘fun’. His definition of fun is definitely messed up.

Here’s some pictures of the awesome activity.

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Safety first! The harness does hold up the sack really well.

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I went first. Flying fox looked easy, yeah because this is the practice version.

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There’s a limit to number of people per platform. 1 monkey per tree.

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This is about 20m from the ground and we had to climb that!

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Flying into nothingness. I did imagine what if I stopped half way. That’s my fault for having a fat lazy bum. Thankfully it was one of the most memorable flying fox I have ever done in life.

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or what if I missed the platform, slipped and fell?  I can feel the movement in my bladder when I saw this picture taken by Abdus

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One of my favorite route, I call this the hammock. Reminds me of Sara’s baby hammock.

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Monkey bar, only for the weak. I took the easier route, glide on the ropes. Haha

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This V shaped string requires a lot of balancing. I did mess this up while trying to do too much in a single leap. I ended up almost loosing my head when the rope strangled my neck. Thankfully a hero doesn’t give up easily. I pulled myself up and retraced the step. For the moment, it did feel like defusing a timed bomb.

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Ammar decided to sleep, programmers sleeps at dawn. Can’t blame him for being sleepy all the time, their sleeping habits is all over the place!

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This was the easiest, if you know your way around the ropes. Noticed one glove? Yeah, I dropped one while trying to fart.

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The pulley is made in France, land of Peugeot and Zidane, it’s very sturdy for flying fox. The carabiner is also solid.

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Some camwhoring with ‘le wife.

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Every time I took a challenge, I enjoyed the scenery. It was breathtaking and downright beautiful. The guys at SkyTrex really planned the route well.

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Aisyah nearing the finishing line. I was a bit sad to see end. I really wanted another hour.

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The monkey swing was the last challenge and it almost broke my back!

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They even provided a hashtag for SkyTrex.

If there’s one complain from me is the plastic pipes which are being used extensively in the challenge. I guess because it’s cheap and strong hence the extensive iterations of it. Those pipes are slippery and sometimes too big to hold. It does require and additional effort just to grip it properly. Despite that, I am still giving SkyTrex a 5 star.

The SkyTrex Brochures

Conclusion

Overall, SkyTrex nothing but awesome. I could feel my adrenaline rushing up and down my veins while writing this blog post though it happened sometime last March. The greenery was perfect, the staff were really helpful and playful, which was good. They gave moral support and never wanted us to quit half way (but some participant did, age is really a factor).

My best recollection of #SkyTrex was the flying fox. It was the only avenue for me to be lazy, to enjoy the scene and for the first time, it felt like I kicked my acrophobia in the nuts that day (fear of height). I walked out a taller person, knowing that I’ve conquered my fear. If there was a stress meter, I’m sure it was down to zero.

Who is this for? Young executive, students, family, couples, Ranjits, Kumars, Chins, Alis or whoever wants quick escape, nerve wrecking, eyes squirming, lose bladder control or scream your lungs out, this my friend is for you. My advise, do wear long pants to avoid blister, bring your own gloves for better grip, and seriously, take your time doing the challenge, enjoy the scenery and don’t focus on completing it soonest.

If you want more information, check out the official site.

You Don’t Have To Be A Hero

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It was drizzling when we arrived at the fast food chain to get our fix on cheap caffeine. As much as I hate to admit, Sara is slowing us down, we had to be really careful when extracting her from the car. We don’t want her to get wet. Thankfully we had a huge umbrella enough to cover us three.

I deliberately left my red semi-broken umbrella outside because it was wet and someone might need it.

A family of was trying to get to their car which was on the opposite side of road, calculating the possibility of getting drenched by the monsoon. I wanted to offer my umbrella, but the father decided to take the leap of faith. He ran into rain towards his car. He’s taken care of, I told myself as I walked in and ordered our cheap caffeine.

Soon I saw the mother ushering the kids into the car using the umbrella. She was the only one outside the car, trying to fold the umbrella and put it where she found it. I dashed through the entrance and got the umbrella.

“Maam, let me walk you to the car.” Like any polite being, she refused the offer, but I insisted with my foot already in a puddle.

Everyone in the car waved goodbye. Doing good sends shivers down my spine. It’s like getting a customer to agree on a deal. It felt good.

We had our drinks and took turn to play with Sara till the rain stopped. We left the fast food chain soon for the following appointment and forgot about the umbrella. My wife will be mad if she finds out about this.

ps: Which reminds me about the yellow umbrella incident years ago.

Run Fat Boy Run!

No I’m no selling you an app or to enroll into a programme, I’m sharing with you the possibility of a healthier lifestyle.

It’s like a hidden gem, I found about C25k when I asked my friend his diet tips (see, if you ask, you’ll learn something). C25k is not an app or system (though it sounds technical), it’s a programme that you can follow to lose weight or attain a healthier lifestyle. C25K is short for Couch To 5 Kilometers, for fatties like me who spends all day playing computer games or a successful tv series marathon consumer.

The app that I’m using is called RunDouble.

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There are a total of 9 weeks for C25K programme. The first week it asks you to run for 1 minute. I could barely make it 1 minute in the first week. As the weeks progress, I was able to time a quicker run.

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Unfortunately after 2 weeks of absence, due to fever and haze, I timed a very slow run. In the forth week, it forced me to run 400m, walk 200m, run 800m, walk 400m and repeat this again. I could feel my legs starts cramping up. Skipping a few weeks is not ideal, but if you can’t give 100%, don’t jog.

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This chart plots the runs and walk. Basically anything above 10 mins per km is bad. It’s slower than walking. Slap yourself, go home, you’re drunk.

Some pointers to start:

  1. Use proper shoes, not futsal shoes. You might break your ankle or hurt your knees if you use the wrong shoes. I use Puma Faas. It’s not the best bet, but light enough for tiny steps like mine.
  2. Avoid terrain path. As a beginner I avoid going uphill or downhill. Also includes climbing on and off the sidewalk. This slows your pace. Remember, you are weak! Don’t be doing a Rocky 3.
  3. Jog when there is light. Avoid jogging at night. Motorist are dumbass when night falls.
  4. Watch for stupid drivers. Pay attention to the road, some cars tolerate runners, others don’t. A general rule, just watch out.
  5. Do it because it’s fun, not because you have to. If you can’t make a minute run, stop and walk. God will not send you to hell for cutting corners.
  6. Respect other joggers/ runners. Don’t check out other people’s perky ass and smile when you cross paths.

When you come across a posting on running activity in Facebook, remember to encourage. A hero acknowledges another hero. Happy burning fat!

ps: I lost 2 kg so far. It’s all downhill from here!

The Conjuring is the Best Western Horror Movie EVER by James Wan

We had the chance to watch The Conjuring last weekend and our verdict is as follows.

The Conjuring is a story directed by James Wan, a Malaysian from Miri who majored film making at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He is no stranger in directing Hollywood blockbusters. Some of the biggest movies he has directed is Saw (co-directed) and Insidious, which I thought was the all time scariest western horror movie, until I watched The Conjuring.

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Before we start, let’s see what the word Conjuring means.

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1. The performance of tricks that are seemingly magical, typically involving sleight of hand: “a conjuring trick”.

2. Call upon (a spirit or ghost) to appear, by means of a magic ritual : they hoped to conjure up the spirit of their dead friend.

The Conjuring is about a couple who helped families and citizens to solve paranormal activities. In their careers, they have kept one story a secret, that is the Conjuring. What bothers me most is that this story is based on true story, but of course all the sound effect, flying motions, screams, pain inflicted was a seamless exaggeration of the story. Nevertheless it was very well thought and adds heavy impact on the movie.

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The story revolves around a family of 7, with 5 daughters, which recently moved to a new home and ends up with exorcism, a typical western horror movie. Whats’ different was how the ghosts appeared in the movie. The sound, the timing and the spook factor was unbelievable. It literally robbed my manhood, I yelled at the top of my lungs when the ghost appeared. It didn’t happen once, it happened thrice! There was a Chinese guys next to me, he was dead calm. I salute his calmness and bravery, he must have balls of steel.

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The movie that robbed my manhood

We watched it early in the morning, by the time we got out, it was still mid-day. We decided to watch Wolverine just to re-write the images left in our mind. It was THAT SCARY. If I were to compare between the two, hands down The Conjuring. Wolverine is tad too simple, nearly put me to sleep. All in all, I can’t resist of giving the Conjuring a high score of 8.5/10.

When you’re done visiting your family this Hari Raya, pop in any cinema that plays The Conjuring. And if you don’t like it, come and scold me in my comment box below!

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That having said, there’s another movie by James Wan, Insidious Chapter 2, a sequel of Insidious, which was nothing short of awesome. Can’t wait for it to hit the cinema.