Adventure Travel on the Islands of Cape Verde

The relatively unspoilt islands of Cape Verde, which are positioned around 350 miles off the coast of Western Africa, have become an admired destination among sun-seeking holidaymakers due to their white beaches, blue seas and constantly warm climate.

However, this archipelago also attracts more intrepid tourists, thanks to the adventurous activities and experiences on offer. Thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies are well and truly spoilt for choice with the following things to do.

SummitTrekking The rocky and rugged terrain of Cape Verde provides great scope for a spot of trekking. The islands of Santa Antão and Sao Vicente are ideal for daylong excursions, while easier walks can be found on Santiago. However, Cape Verde’s ultimate trek takes the form of Mount Fogo. Join a tour and scale the island’s highest peak (2829 metres) to enjoy panoramic views of awe-inspiring landscapes featuring lush vegetation, extensive white beaches and sparkling ocean waters. Snorkeling and scuba diving On the island of Sal, extensive underwater opportunities are waiting for you to capitalize on them. Even if you’ve never plunged the depths of the ocean before, you can still bear witness to Cape Verde’s incredible loggerhead turtles and colorful triggerfish with just a mask and snorkel. But for an even more immersive experience, give scuba diving a try. The island’s marine ecosystem is home to various species of tropical fish and manta rays that glide over and between everything from canyons and caves to lava rock ridges and volcanic boulders. Biking Nancy

Mountain biking

Back on dry land, mountain biking is another popular pursuit that gets the adrenaline pumping. Again, all abilities are well catered for with itineraries ranging from flat and smooth roads that run along the coast to steep and rough tracks down the side of a mountain.

On the island of Maio you can pedal along the level-riding field of its salt flats, whereas the slopes on Santo Antão, Sao Nicolau and Santiago continue downhill until reaching sugarcane and banana plantations.

Boa Vista


As a result of its Atlantic location, Cape Verde attracts the kind of winds that watersport enthusiasts will love. In particular, Ponta Preta on Sal Island provides superb surfing opportunities for intermediate to advanced surfers.

However, more accessible activities such as windsurfing and kitesurfing enable anyone to take advantage of Cape Verde’s alluring waters. You may even want to chill out one day by chartering a sailboat around the various islands.

So, with trekking, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain biking, and a variety of watersports to choose from, travelers with a sense of adventure should definitely find the time to visit Cape Verde.

Images by davetrainerdickdotcom and niall62, used under Creative Commons license

*Article by James Staney (a photographer and blogger who works out of a Bahay Kubo interactive base in the Philippines. She loves travel and especially beaches!)

Happy Birthday Darling!

It was Saucer’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and for the longest time, I was thinking hard on what to get for him. I wanted it to be something different, something that we seldom do but also something that he would enjoy, of course. I came up with the idea of having a staycation in the city itself! Staying in the suburbs in Sydney about an hour’s drive away means that we seldom venture out to the city especially at night. Ever since Jared came along, we have never spent the night in the city to enjoy the vibrance and colourful night life of Sydney. So I went ahead and did my research and managed to get a really good deal on a hotel stay, smack in the city centre. I did this a few months ahead and had to keep it as a secret too! When the day came, I obviously couldn’t hide it much longer because Saucer saw me packing a luggage and he was the one driving. LOL!


Little J was excited in the car too!

The hotel that I booked was the Swissotel Sydney, right next to the Westfield shopping centre. It was our first time there and I have to say, I was very impressed! The entrance to the hotel was a bit dodgy because we had to take a lift from the ground floor to the 8th floor where the reception was, but other than that, we were pretty satisfied with the service. We arrived around 11am that day, and normal check-in time was 2pm. However, since we were already there, I thought maybe we could just try our luck to see if there were any rooms available. And sure enough, it was our lucky day! We were given our keys within minutes of checking in!


Swiss Advantage King room


View of the windows


The massive king size bed

The room was a decent size but what matters most to Saucer is that the bed must be huge and comfortable. Therefore, one of the criteria during my hotel search was that the hotel must have a King size bed. Needless to say, someone was pretty pleased with the huge and comfy bed that was in our room. Loved that they displayed a customised welcome message on the TV screen too. I didn’t know about that or I would have asked them to put Saucer’s name there to surprise him. :)


Personalised welcome message!

According to the website, the Swiss Advantage King rooms were recently refurbished so it looked really new and the toilet was clean and modern too. I also requested for a baby cot (which ended up not being used *stares at Little J*) and it was set up very quickly after we checked in.




Toilet and shower



Another thing that I found impressive was the room also came with a Nespresso coffee machine with a few coffee pods too. Beats the normal coffee sachets anytime. :)


Mini bar with a coffee machine!


Snacks and cups


The happy birthday boy and Little J

The look of him says it all. :) After settling down in the hotel for a bit, we walked out to the city to look for lunch. It’s such a different atmosphere walking in the city compared to the suburbs. Everyone was just bustling around, there were so many restaurants within walking distance and so many things to see. There were buskers outside of Westfield, there were booths giving out free samples of drinks and we even met a giant minion!


Met a giant minion!

We had lunch at a nice Malaysian restaurant called Hawker (which deserves a separate post), and headed back to the hotel for Little J to nap. He had such a long nap on the comfy bed that I had to wake him up so that he didn’t continue sleeping through dinner! We still had some time before dinner so we went down to the heated pool for a dip. Little J was a little apprehensive at first but he soon warmed up to the idea of being inside the water, and was enjoying the jacuzzi thoroughly.


The hotel pool


Swimming time


Little J wasn’t impressed :P


Seeking for security


More comfortable in the Jacuzzi

Later in the evening, we walked to the beautiful Darling Harbour for dinner. It was a Saturday night and we made the mistake of not making any reservations beforehand (because Saucer couldn’t decide what he wanted to eat). By the time we knew what he wanted (steak), most of the good restaurants were already full and the next seating was at 9pm! Obviously we couldn’t wait until 9pm for dinner, especially with a toddler around. Luckily, we managed to find another nice restaurant which had a 20 minute wait and great food too (another post on that!).



Walking around Darling Harbour at night relived our experience pre-baby. We saw groups of young people dressed to the nines going to pubs, young girls celebrating someone’s hen’s night and couples on romantic dates, and it somehow made us grateful that we were enjoying that life but with our precious boy now. I know Saucer had a great time because he said, “Let’s do this again next time!” at the end of the night, and I knew then, that I had indeed made the right choice of a surprise vacation. :)


Let’s go down together Daddy!

The next day,we woke up to a gorgeous spread of buffet breakfast at the hotel. This was another criteria to make the hotel stay perfect for Saucer, because he was always telling me that he missed having breakfast buffets in hotels. In Sydney, most breakfast buffets are charged separately so we had never opted to pay for them since they almost always didn’t seem worth the price. However, with the deal that I found, the price for breakfast buffet included wasn’t too extravagant, and it meant a lot to me that the birthday boy got what he wanted! :) I didn’t manage to capture any pictures but the spread was pretty good with the standard bacon, sausages, baked beans, tomatoes, omelette station, toasts, lots of pastries, fried noodles, rice, congee, smoked salmon, cereal, muesli, fruits, cheese and lots more!

Before we left the city, we spent some time at the popular playground in Darling Harbour, where Saucer had lots of fun with Little J. They went up and down the giant slide multiple times, and also explored other parts of the park. As for me, I was contented with just sitting by the side and observing the bonding that was going on between the father and son, and sneaking a look at the happy hubby who was having the time of his life.


Pre-Birthday dinner


Home cooked birthday dinner

Overall, the staycation was an absolute success and even though many would prefer to have had the night out without any kids, we didn’t mind having Little J around at all. Most importantly, the birthday boy had a blast and that was all that mattered. Happy birthday my dear, and let’s celebrate for many many more years to come!


Birthday cake

Warner Bros Movie World, Gold Coast

After our visit to the Seaworld in Gold Coast, we used the same multi-park ticket to enter the Warner Bros Movie World the next day. If you had read my post on the 5 Tips for Visiting Sea World, you would know that we had bought our tickets beforehand, so we didn’t even have to queue to enter! Weather was still a little gloomy then, but at least it wasn’t wet!


Entrance to Movie World


Little J trying to escape from the stroller :P


Picture with mummy!

Due to the wet weather conditions beforehand, a few of the thrill rides were shut down, such as the roller coaster and this space shot ride. Well, fine by me! Have never been a fan of heights or thrill rides anyway. :)


Batman Space shot ride


Picture with the fountain


Family picture!


Picture with the roller coaster

After taking pictures at the entrance, we started walking around the park. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a bright red character walking briskly, and noticed that it was Flash, the comic character. Curious, I suggested to Saucer that we followed him. 😀 Turned out that he was walking to the photo op location, together with a few other superheroes! So we were one of the first ones who spotted them and took a picture too!


A grumpy-looking Flash :P


With the superheroes!

Next to where the superheroes were was the Hall of Justice. This was actually a 4D theatre that had shows at predestined times. Our show was Rio! The good thing was they allowed all ages in there, even babies! At first, I was a bit skeptical about bringing Little J in because it was a 4D theatre with moving seats! And I wasn’t sure if Little J would be able to sit still for the entire screening (which was thankfully only about 20 minutes). The only restriction was that each person, including kids, had to occupy one seat. If the parents need to hold the babies or kids in their arms or on their laps, then they would have to sit at the static seats at the back row. Little J was OK with his own seat at first but after a while, wanted to sit on our laps. Luckily, I had a lollipop with me, which saved the day! He was so engrossed with the lolly that he wasn’t even paying attention to the movie or the moving seat. :)


In front of the Hall of Justice

After the show, we walked past a dreary and unassuming corner only to find Batman standing there! We quickly went to him to take a picture before crowd started to build up. Little J was still sucking his lollipop then. LOL!


With Batman himself!


The famous Batmobile

The main area of the park was this Carnivale, which is a street filled with shops selling food, souvenirs and a large screen in the middle. We went to a few souvenir shops thinking of buying some memorabilia for Little J, but nothing really caught our eye. Plus, he’s so young that we don’t even know which superhero is his favourite. It’s OK, Gold Coast is barely a couple of hours flight away, we can always come back when he’s older and get him something that he really likes then!


Carnivale street


Individuals not interested in taking a picture :P


Roxy Theatre

Compared to the Sea World, there were not as many shows in Movie World. As you could tell, our day was spent mostly taking pictures with superheroes or cartoon characters. There was a Looney Tunes Dance Party scheduled while we were there, so we stayed on to see what it was. Turned out it was a few Looney Tunes characters (Sylvester, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird) coming out and dancing with kids, instead of a performance. We brought Little J close to the characters but he was just too shy and wasn’t going to participate. The sweet Sylvester was so nice to come near Little J to coax him into the group and gave him a cuddle too!


Looney Tunes Dance Party


Everybody dance to the music!


Sylvester giving Little J a cuddle *aww*

Probably the only show that got people queuing up was the Hollywood Stunt Drivers, which only ran twice a day I think. It featured a several stunt drivers driving rally cars and performing stunts like drifting and spinning and parking. Quite an interesting show except that there’s a lot of exhaust coming out from the cars which was not too healthy for us audience. 😛 I have recorded some videos to give you guys an idea what the show is about!


Hollywood Stunt Driver show

Hollywood Stunt Driver Part 1

 Hollywood Stunt Driver Part 2

After the show, we went to get some lunch. We made the same mistake of not buying lunch earlier, so we had to queue forever to get our food and drinks! And we were so hungry too! Never make the same mistake as us again if you ever visit theme parks in Gold Coast! After lunch, we took a walk to the kiddy rides and spotted the merry-go-round which didn’t have a queue. So Little J managed to get a ride on the Road Runner!


Riding the Road Runner!

By then it was already close to 3pm and Little J was exhausted. The weather was also hot and humid so it was impossible for him to sleep in the stroller. We decided to call it a day, but not before taking a picture with the duck and the cat! I would say, this was overall a pretty average theme park. We only went because our ticket was a multi-park ticket that allowed entry to the Movie World, but otherwise, it wouldn’t be a park that I would pay an entry fee for.


With Daffy Duck and Sylvester

Most importantly, we made some nice and fun memories with Little J. Hopefully he would remember them by looking at these photos later on! :)

5 Tips for Visiting Sea World, Gold Coast

After checking in on our first day, we took a nice nap, freshened up and went for dinner at a Japanese restaurant nearby. It was also raining so we didn’t do much afterwards but stayed in and watched some TV. The next morning, we woke up early because we were heading to the Sea World theme park! The morning looked quite unpromising with clouds looming above, but we persevered, thinking that the weather might change once we got there. The drive took around 20 – 30 minutes and once we started our journey, it was pouring! It was heavy rain with thunderstorms as well, so my heart started to sink. I still had a tiny hope inside that the weather would change for the better in half an hour’s time, and sure enough, it did! In fact, the sun started to come out after we parked our car and the sky continued to stay bright and clear for the rest of the day!


Penguin Encounter at Sea World

We thought there wouldn’t be that many people due to the unpromising weather in the morning, but we were wrong! There was a long queue just to get tickets at the counter so we had to stand in line for almost 1 hour! The good thing is that the ticket we bought was a multi-park entry, so when we went to the Warner Bros Theme Park the next day, we didn’t have to queue for tickets anymore.


Swimming penguins

Once we’re in, the first stop we went to was the Penguin Encounter. It was the first time I saw a penguin in real life! In fact, when I first saw them, I had to look really hard to differentiate whether they’re real or fake. LOL! But a closer look revealed smooth, shiny, waxy feathers, which was unreal! They look so pretty in real life, them penguins. The penguins area was also one of the few that was indoors and hence had air-conditioning, which was very welcoming in the hot and humid weather in Queensland that day! Little J was excited to see these cute-looking birds swimming and waddling around, he kept reaching out to touch them!


Penguins on ice


Little J admiring the penguins


What a beautiful penguin!


A different species

Right after that, we had to make a pit stop for some frozen yogurt, because the weather was getting too warm and we were all sweating. The frozen yogurt was just next to this place where they had helicopter rides, so we got to see one family take off in it. It didn’t seem like a long ride though, for I saw it coming back down maybe in less than 15 minutes?


Helicopter ride


I want ice-cream mummy!


Little J and pelicans in the background

There were also cable car rides and the monorail rides, which were the more popular ones in the theme park. Since we were traveling with a young toddler, we didn’t want to spend so much time queuing under the hot sun so we had to give those a miss.


Cable car rides

Instead, we went for those little kids rides which had somewhat shorter queues, such as this Merry-go-round here. Little J was a little apprehensive at first, but soon warmed up to the idea of horses moving around and up and down, so much so that he refused to leave afterwards! We could have gone for a second ride if we wanted to, but we were in a rush to watch some shows!



The first one we went to was the Dora the Explorer show, which was mainly a musical with songs and dances around. It was quite a hit with the kids around but Little J was not paying much attention to her. LOL. So we stayed for about 10 minutes and left to go to another show.


Dora the Explorer

The Dolphin show! We heard so much about the dolphin show from friends and colleagues so we made it a point to fit it in our schedule. Sure enough, the arena was packed to the brim when we reached! Luckily we still managed to squeeze in between some empty spots in the middle rows. The show was pretty entertaining with dolphins flipping and flying about, and performing tricks according to the instructor’s cues. It was nice to be able to feel like a kid once in a while. :) Little J was still too young to appreciate shows like this so he started getting restless after a while but we managed to bribe him with some snacks and drinks.


Dolphin show!


Dolphin flip #1


Dolphin flip X 2


Dolphin flip #3


Anyone care for a dolphin ride?

We continued walking around the theme park after the show, and decided to have lunch. It was bad timing because everyone who just came out from the show decided it was time for lunch as well, and there were limited choices available. The most popular joint was the burger fast food which had almost 10 lines of at least 20 people each! It was already past noon so we had to get something to eat anyway and Little J was getting hungry so we decided to brave the crowd. It took almost half an hour to finally get our food and they’re not cheap too! I think we ordered 2 sets of burgers with chips and drinks which came to AUD$40+! I guess that’s to be expected whenever we get food from theme parks, prices are usually marked up really high because we’re left with no choice anyway since we’re not allowed to bring outside food in. But if we do return next time, our tip would be to buy the food way before lunch time (11am or earlier) so that we could avoid the long queue. We could always keep the food for consumption later if it’s still too early for lunch but at least we didn’t have to fight with the rest of the hundred people in the queue!


Riding with daddy

After lunch, we continued our tour around and saw this airplane ride that wasn’t too busy, so Saucer went in the queue. It was getting really warm and you could tell from Saucer’s wet shirt. LOL. We also went on another Merry-go-round ride after that, but didn’t manage to take any pictures.


Up, up, in the sky

Last but not least, we went for the last show that we had planned to watch, the Sea Lion show. This was also quite popular as the arena was full but it was a much smaller arena compared to the dolphin one. I didn’t find this as entertaining as the dolphin show, maybe because there wasn’t much action involved with the sea lions. It was mostly about them trying to get fish from the entertainers.


Sea lion show


Where’s my fish?

By the time we’re done, it was close to 3pm and everyone was tired from the hot weather and walking around. I could tell that Little J was already getting tired because it was way past his normal nap time, but he couldn’t nap in the stroller because it was just too warm and uncomfortable. So we decided to go back to the hotel since we had covered most grounds and watched all the shows we wanted to anyway.

5 tips for visiting Sea World Gold Coast

If we do return to Sea World in the future, these would be the 5 tips for visiting Sea World, Gold Coast that I would want to keep in mind:

1) If possible, buy the tickets from the counter a day before the actual day, preferably in the afternoon so that there won’t be any queue. It is usually more value for money to get multi-park multi-entry tickets that are valid for a few days (at least) anyway, so it wouldn’t matter if you lose one day by getting the ticket earlier. It saves so much more time when you enter the theme park on the actual day itself, because with a ticket, you go through a different queue which is much faster.

2) Bring a large bottle of water that can be easily refilled. There are some (not many) water fillers around the theme park and having a bottle to fill up would be very useful especially when it’s a hot day. Otherwise, there is also unlimited soft drink tumblers available from the fast food joints/booths. If you plan to get the soft drink tumblers, it is more value for money to get them earlier in the day so that you could get more refills throughout. :)

3) As mentioned above, buy your lunch earlier to beat the crowd! If you go during weekends or public holidays (like I did), there’s bound to be a crazy queue at ALL restaurants around. So if you don’t want to waste your time queuing in hunger and sweat, buy your food earlier and keep them in a bag until lunch time.

4) Plan your schedule in advance. Other than rides, there are also multiple shows in the theme park. Each show usually happens twice a day, so try to look at the timetable and work out which shows that you want to watch and keep time. There are some shows which do not allow entries after they start so it’s important not to be late.

5) Bring a change of clothes (even for adults) because some of the rides could end up getting you wet! We made the mistake of not bringing any extra clothes and got soaking wet at one of the rides we took! So we had to buy shirts from the souvenir shops, which turned out to be overpriced (as you would expect).

There you have it, our experience visiting the Sea World theme park in Gold Coast and what we learnt from it. It was overall a fun experience especially for families with kids because it’s a very family-friendly place where strollers could go almost anywhere and had designated parking areas. We would certainly return when Little J is a little older and learns to appreciate more of the rides and shows!

Holiday in Gold Coast

During the long Easter weekend a few months back, our little family had a short getaway to one of Australia’s most popular holiday destination – Gold Coast! I have been meaning to blog about the trip much sooner but there was always something that got in the way. Anyway, as they say, better late than never. :) We only went for a 4-day trip, and being our first domestic vacation that required a flight, we, especially Little J, were particularly excited! Everything was pre-booked, from our airport car park, accommodation, car rental, travel insurance and of course, flights. Yes, even though it’s just a short domestic trip, there are lots of things to arrange!


Grumpy face at the airport

There were plenty of flights from Sydney to Gold Coast daily, and I chose the 11+am flight allowing us enough time to drive to the airport, park, and take the shuttle to the departure gate. We left home at around 8.30am, thinking there should be plenty of time for us to get there since we only needed to be there about an hour before departure time. However, as luck would have it, Saucer missed a turn into the tunnel when we were about 10km away, and we were stuck in terrible traffic then! The traffic was so slow and clock was ticking (we found a stalled car in the middle of the road after ages!!), so needless to say, I was getting really worried about missing our flight! Also, because we wanted to save on the expensive car park fare, we had pre-booked to park at the Blu Emu car park which was a few kms away from the airport. We were also meant to take the shuttle from there to the airport, which meant extra time that would eat into our buffer. I think we eventually parked with about 45 minutes left to departure! We quickly removed all our luggage and a stroller from our car and ran to the shuttle, which was thankfully making its rounds just then, and just prayed for the best. By the time we reached the check in counter, we saw a message saying flight delayed for 30 minutes! Never was I so happy to see a flight delayed in my life! :) At that point, we heaved a sigh of relief and just continued queuing in our line.

After about 5 minutes or so, there was a ground staff walking up and down the line, asking if anyone was going to Gold Coast on a specific flight. It turned out to be our flight! So she asked us to move straight to the front of the counter and allowed us to check in straightaway. I love how the Australian airports operate – when it’s near the gate closing time, they would just give priority to whoever was still in the line queuing and allow them to check in first. I’d say I’d rather they do this than to keep everyone in the plane waiting!


Much better :)


Daddy and Little J

Once we’re at the gate, Little J was curious with everything and sat on various seats just for fun. Thankfully, the flight itself was short, about 1 hour plus, so it wasn’t too tough to handle the toddler. We kept him occupied with iPad and snacks most of the time. Once we reached the Gold Coast airport, we had to call our car rental company for them to come and pick us up to their depot. It only took 5-10 minutes for them to arrive and their depot was less than 5 minutes drive away. So it wasn’t that much of an inconvenience for almost 1/3 of the price compared to rentals at the airport!


Waiting for our rental car pickup

We stayed at the Meriton in Broadbeach, which was rated #1 in TripAdvisor. Unfortunately, our check-in experience was far from #1. We arrived at around 1.40pm and were told that our room would take about 20 minutes to be ready. That was fair enough because the standard check-in time according to their website is 2pm. I was hoping to get the room by then so that Little J could have his nap. However, more than 20 minutes had past and still no one came to inform us that our room was ready yet. I got a little annoyed and asked Saucer to check with the counter again. He was told that the room was being made up so we just needed to wait for another 5 minutes or so. Needless to say, 10 minutes passed and still no word. Worse, we saw people who arrived after us getting their room keys! At about 2.30pm I was getting quite frustrated because we had already waited almost an hour and still no room. The guy at the front counter told me that it’s going to need another 20 minutes (!!!) and apologised for the delay because we requested for a baby cot so that needed extra setup time. By then, we were hungry and tired and Little J was getting cranky too. Finally, at about 2.50pm, we got our room keys! Once we got in our room, what do you know? The cot was not even there!!! I was furious to be kept waiting for more than an hour, to be told that our room needed more time due to the cot, only to find that the cot wasn’t even there in the end. Anyway, no point getting angry at the start of the vacation, so I just quickly let Little J nap on the king size bed. The cot eventually only arrived when we were out for dinner, and only because I reminded them again by then.

Chilling at the lobby

Chilling at the hotel lobby

Making himself very comfortable :P

“I can slide down this!”



Other than the sour check-in experience, the stay at Meriton was pretty pleasant to be honest. I loved how the rooms were kept tidy and modern, how the kitchen was so completely equipped with lots of utensils, gas cook top, range hood, microwave, oven, full-size fridge, toaster and dish washer! Basically, everything you need is there. The living room floor was still damp when we arrived, which meant that it had just been mopped minutes before we entered. The room’s bed was as big as a King-sized one, but it was really 2 king single beds joined together (a shame). Otherwise, the pillows and sheets were plush and comfortable. There was also a fully-equipped laundry room with a washing machine, dryer, laundry basket and detergent provided. It was so convenient because we were sweating every day from going to theme parks, so I could do all my smelly laundry before heading home!


Kitchen and dining area


Living area (floor still damp)




View from the balcony 1


View from the balcony 2 – Jupiter Casino




Toilet and bath


Shower too!


Laundry area




Cooking utensils


More utensils!

Our room was situated on the 20th floor and boy, was it windy at the balcony! Saucer and I used to live in high-rise apartments back in KL and we never had problems with height. However, after a few years of living in a landed property here, suddenly we were terrified when we were standing at the balcony! LOL! We also made sure Little J never stepped out to the balcony because it just felt so open and insecured with the strong wind.

Another plus point with the Meriton was the proximity of the beach. It was merely a few minutes walk to the famous Broadbeach and we took a walk there before our dinner on the first night. The weather was nice and cool but not freezing in autumn. Little J was so happy to be walking on the super fine sand on the beach that he didn’t want to leave. Our only regret was not allocating more time to go to the beach during the day time because we spent most days at the famous theme parks in Gold Coast. Will write about them in the next few posts!


Chilling at the beach before dinner

Visiting Malaysia 2014-15

Work has been really crazy for the past couple of weeks. I finally have some time to take a breather and post a long overdue update on our trip back to Malaysia! In the interest of time, this post will contain mostly pictures and less words since a picture speaks a thousand words right? So I have tens of thousands of words worth in this post. 😀 As mentioned in my previous post, we made a trip back to Malaysia during the year end holidays with Little J for the first time. If you haven’t already read, I also shared some tips on flying with a baby, which might be handy to you some day should you face with the same situation.

Char Kuey Teow from Kampar market

Char Kuey Teow from Kampar market

As expected, a trip back home wouldn’t be the same without the familiar food from the familiar places! Our first stop was back in Kampar where my hometown is, and breakfast was at the market without fail almost every morning! It’s just amazing how things were still the same after so many years. More expensive, no doubt, but generally still the same food, the same style and the same people. Some hawkers even recognised me as the daughter of so-and-so even though I had not been back for years. Anyway, that’s the beauty of a small town. Enough of that, let’s see some of the pictures of the food we had over the course of a week there. I really miss the variety of food you could get just for breakfast alone back in Malaysia. Over here in Sydney, the most common breakfast is bacon and egg roll, toasts or pancakes if you like at McD’s. Can’t even think of much else!! Even those HK congee and noodle places only start at 10am, which I think is too late for breakfast.

Roti canai

Roti canai


Nasi Lemak


Fried noodles


Nasi Lemak bungkus


Char Kuey Teow #2


Apam balik

Of course, we also had plenty of home-cooked meals by my dear grandma. It still amazes me at how she could whip up dishes after dishes for close to 10 people every day and night! And all of them so yummy too! Sigh, looking at this picture just makes me feel miserable now. :(


Home cooked dinner

After a few days in Kampar, we made a road trip to Penang, just the 3 of us, for a little getaway of our own. We chose to stay somewhere near Gurney so that it’s easy to travel around and close to the sea. The cheapest hotel (if you could call it that) that we could find was the Apple1 Gurney, which cost RM120 per night. It’s located just next to One-Stop shopping centre, which was a good landmark. The room was reasonable – clean, decent-sized and had a clean bathroom. It’s similar to Tune Hotels I would say, except that there’s no extra charges for air-con, towels, TV, etc. So, I guess we’re quite satisfied with it considering we’re only there for sleeps and out most of the day. It was small but had just enough space for our portable cot!


Chilling in Apple1Gurney Hotel Penang


Little J’s OOTD


Ooh, is that a button?

What did we do in Penang? Honestly, we spent way too much time in the malls here because of the hot and wet weather! The first day was spent at Queensbay Mall since Saucer had to get something from his friend there, and then we went to check in to our room. After that, we went to Gurney Plaza because it was raining, and had dinner at Dragon-I. Next morning, we wanted to have the famous Super Hokkien Mee at One Corner Cafe Penang, but it was sold out! :( So we ate whatever the other stalls were selling, and went to Gurney Paragon because it was still raining. Little J had a blast at riding all the different cars in the amusement park there. When the rain stopped in the afternoon, we decided to go to Kek Lok Si temple so that our Penang trip was not all about shopping malls! Luckily it wasn’t crowded and we managed to get there quite easily. Left Kek Lok Si and went back to hotel for a rest, before coming out to Paragon again for dinner with friends. On the last day, we had breakfast at our favourite kuey teow thng place in Taman Sri Nibong, went back to Queensbay Mall to meet Saucer’s friend, did some shopping and visited Saucer’s brother before we left to Kampar.


Hmm, should I get into this car or the next?


Next one it is!


What’s that green thing?


A bigger car!


With the Christmas tree at Gurney Paragon


With daddy at Kek Lok Si


Learning to pray


At Kek Lok Si temple


One for the album


With our niece!


Busy with toys

The next few days in Kampar were spent chilling out with family, going out for breakfasts and eating home-cooked food. It was awesome not having to worry about cooking, cleaning, chores, etc. Feels nice to be pampered once in a while eh? :)


Start ’em young!


Free rides in Giant


With great grandpa!

On the last day in Kampar, we decided to bring Little J for a hair cut at the local barber. He was all fine and still when the barber was shaving the back part of the head off. Then, he started to use scissors to trim the front part, but Little J started moving frantically and was crying too. So the barber said he had no choice but to use the trimmer to shave the front part off as well, since that’s the fastest method. That’s why poor Little J ended up with almost ‘botak’ head. LOL! For the record, it was only RM5, which was less than AUD$2, so it’s well worth it still. :)


Oh no! Where’s my hair gone?


Tom yum soup in KL


Just chillin’, don’t mind me

We spent the last few days in KL with Saucer’s family, where Little J fell in love with this egg-shaped chair. He loved to sit on it and to have us push and rock him. Maybe I should get something similar here so that I could have a few minutes of peace when he sits on it. :) We spent the last few days doing a lot of shopping!


No daddy, I want to stand here on this piece of glass!


Hui Lau Shan for tea


Waiting for us to finish our Chilli Pan Mee

Overall, I think it was a pretty great trip! Flight was good on both ways, Little J was generally good too, except during meals with extended family members where he got very cranky, maybe because of unfamiliar faces? Otherwise, he had a great time there and we also managed to meet with lots of family members and relatives and did lots of shopping! So that’s a lot of agenda ticked. :) We should probably do this more often! :)