Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review: Colmar Tropicale, Bukit Tinggi

Date of Travel: 27-28 Nov 2011
Bukit Tinggi's Colmar Tropicale, modeled after Alsace Village, France
The real look of Alsace Village

Bukit Tinggi, now known as Berjaya Hills Resort, is a small resort located 2700 feet above sea level. Located in Pahang, it takes approximately 1 hour to get there from Petaling Jaya (1 Utama) and costs RM1.60 + RM5.00 in toll rates.
Map of the Bukit Tinggi Resort area

1. Accommodation
The main hotel is called Colmar Tropicale, which is a mimc of a 16th century French village in Alsace. Rooms come with air conditioning and ceiling fan, have wooden flooring and are housed at different buildings along the main street (refer to map below). Mattresses were surprisingly firm, TV has a good variety of Astro channels (AEC, NHK, HBO, TV5 Monde, etc). Toilets come with a bathtub and standard toiletries. Be prepared for not-so-clean-water though.
Superior Room. Book it early, we paid only RM150.75 nett per room per night, including Breakfast

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chiangmai 2011 Part 3 - Focus on Playing

Date of Travel: 15-18 Jan 2011

Chiangmai has its usual fare of temples and animals like any other Thai city. But due to the hilly nature of the area, it has a variety of Xtreme sports you could try out. Things like Bungy Jump, Off Road Buggy Tours, Off Road Motorcycles, Xorb Ball, Drifter Go Karts, Paintball, etc. I found 2 activities that I truly enjoyed in this area.

1. Zipline

Zipline involves swinging from one tree to another whilst harnessed to a rope joining the 2 trees. In Chiangmai, this is taken to a whole different level, where you will be zipping around for 2 hours, some as far as 300m even. There are 2 main companies to choose from, which are Flight Of The Gibbon and Jungle Flight. Both of these companies have excellent reviews and is up to you to decide which to follow. I originally booked with Flight Of The Gibbon through the tour desk in my hotel. But due to a huge mess-up by the tour desk regarding prices, I ended up with Jungle Flight instead.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chiangmai 2011 Part 2 - Focus on Eating

Date of Travel: 15-18 Jan 2011
Crabmeat popiah - one of the highlights of our street food experience

Like any other city in Thailand, you are never short of places to eat in Chiangmai. Every street corner will have a stall/restaurant of some kind. You will be spoilt for choices here, especially for international cuisine due to the high number of expats in the area. In fact, Chiangmai is better than Bangkok for example, due to the smaller city area and concentration of these restaurants in the city. Street food is street food. Just pick out whatever you think looks interesting and try it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chiangmai 2011 Part 1 - Focus on Pampering

Date of travel: 15-18 Jan 2011

Chiangmai is a beautiful hilly city north of Bangkok. Its unique feature is a moat surrounding the old city, and newer areas developing just outside the moat. It isn't just all about temples, elephants and tribal villages as you may have heard. Crazydigest takes on a very different aspect of the city in this 3-part series appreciation of Chiangmai.

1. Do your hair

Chiangmai has quite a number of top-notch hairstylists, mostly frequented by the high number of expatriates in the area. One such place is called Absolute Hair Studio. They claim to be the first and only L’Oréal Professional Le Club hair salon in northern Thailand. They are so famous in online reviews and forums, that people from all over the world will make a stop at this place just to get a haircut done by a L’Oréal Professional stylist. If you are lucky enough, you will get Ong to do your hair, and he did an absolutely perfect job for my hair.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Europe 2011 - Day 9 Guten Tag Munchen

Date of Travel: 15 April 2011
Munich Marienplatz Cathedral

It's time to head to Munich for some beer and pork knuckle! No more crowded, stinky, kiasu airports for us. It's time to take the lovely trains.

Prague to Nuremberg = Bus ride, exactly 3 hours 47 minutes
Change to Trains = 11 minutes time given
Nuremberg to Munich = Train ride, exactly 1 hour 11 minutes

You gotta love the Germans' precision on time. You are given exactly 11 minutes to get off the bus with all your luggage, and lugging them onto the right platform and right train on time.

Buses from Prague to Nuremberg, Germany

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Europe 2011 - Day 8: Top 5 things to bring home from Prague

Date of travel: 14 April 2011

We dedicated a full day of some serious shopping in Prague. For some serious stuff, head to the suburbs where the locals go to. Our choice was Zilcin which has a huge shopping mall called Metropole, and another building housing Ikea.

Number 5: Bohemian Crystals

Bohemian Crystals are very well-known in Prague. It ranges from all kinds of drinking glasses to decorative pieces for your table or room. Shops selling them are all over the place, and you can even join a tour to see how they are made.
Photo courtesy of http://www.prague-stay.com

Number 4: Eggs from Blue Praha shop

This was something I look forward to visiting everyday. They look so pretty and dainty. I unfortunately had to give it a miss in bringing it home, as I didn't have a proper place to display this. One of the nicest things I've seen in Prague.
6cm Paperweight from 495 Kr. Photo credit to http://www.bluepraha.cz

Saturday, November 12, 2011

AirAsia BIG SHOT to Redeem Flights

Have you already signed up for the AirAsia Big Shot loyalty program? The free flight redemption details are finally out after much anticipation. In summary:

Spend RM2 = 1 Biggie Point
100 Biggie Points = RM1 worth of flight at Regular Rate

What exactly does this mean?
Take for example, a random flight booking which looks like the following:
21,400 Biggies required for one-way to Bangkok

RM214 if you paid in cash for the exact same flight

Friday, November 11, 2011

Europe 2011 - Day 6 & 7 to Cesky Krumlov

Date of Travel: 11 April 2011

Cesky Krumlov, UNESCO World Heritage Site

Český Krumlov is a small city in the Czech Republic, that is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for its architecture and arts and the Cesky Krumlov castle. We embarked on a 2 Day 1 Night trip to this historic town to see what the hype is all about.

Getting to CK is a pretty simple affair. Head to the Student Agency Bus website (http://www.studentagency.eu/) and make your booking and payment online. We chose the 7:00am bus which takes 2 hours and 55 minutes to get there. From the website, you can even choose your seats and view what movies will be showing on the bus. The bus even provides you with a free drink and has a very miniature toilet which I couldn't fit into. To catch this bus, go to Andel bus station Na Knezi and look for platform No.4.
Getting to Hotel Konvice

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Europe 2011 - Day 5 Royal Animals of Prague

Date: 11 April 2011

Note: 100 Czech Koruny (Kr) = RM17.00
Prague Castle, up close

Today's mission is to tackle Prague Castle! Found Tram 22, which is the only tram that takes you to the doorstep of the castle, stop Prazsky Hrad. The fee was 250Kr for full entrance and 150Kr for short visit. I love looking at castles from the outside, but inside is just as bad as museums .... *snore*. It's free if you just wander around the outside of the buildings. The best views of Prague are on the way down from the Castle. You get to see all the red roofs of Lesser Town against the backdrop of the river and Charles' bridge.

Huskies get to visit Castles too??

The Cathedral inside the castle

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Europe 2011 Day 4 - Backbreaking Prague

Date: 10 April 2011

Our Prague Hotel on top of the dreaded hill

Note: 100 Czech Koruny (Kr) = RM17.00

Our first night in Prague involved some serious discussion. Reality hit us that Prague is not friendly to people with back problems such as slipped discs, i.e. US. Almost everywhere involved walking on cobbled stone paths, some small, some large. And it did not help that the hotel was a good 10-15 minute walk from public transportation, on top of a hill even. These were our choices:
  • Change Hotel to prime location - Lose 4 nights hotel worth €220
  • Hire A Car - Dunno the roads, can't read the foreign road signs, risky
  • Hire A Bicycle - Riding bicycles on bumpy road = Earthquake Backside. Also dunno where to park it, though thanks to Karen who suggested riding it straight into my room
  • Leave Prague to somewhere like Santorini - And waste even more money on plane tickets
  • Take taxis
We settled on tackling the notorious Prague taxi drivers. Since any of the above would involve a lot of money anyway, let's bring on the taxi scams! Many have experienced scams to the extent of swapping notes you gave them with smaller denominations, and driving up to 4 times around the block.

Our first stop was to get some cash. Best rates in town are at the basement of a shopping mall called MY at Narodni Trida. Next up was the Lego Museum! It wasn't an official museum per se, but a single man's collection of Lego since 1984. 200Kr for entry plus 20Kr for photography. Going back to our childhood days, we had a challenge to see who can come up with a better dog. The judge was the shopkeeper and I won! We both received a Lego man as prizes. Yay!

At the Lego Museum

My creation of a dog, which won 1st prize!

HH's dog came 2nd, only because the shopkeeper thought it looked more like a lamb.