Travelogues

Posted on Thursday, 31 March 2011 by haan | 1 comments
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Here is a summary of the travel articles available in this blog, for easy retrieval and references.

1998
Dec - Taiwan round island (3 weeks)

2002
Bangkok, Thailand

2003
Apr - Brisbane, Australia
May - Sunshine Coast, Australia
Jun - Mt Tamborine & O'Reilly's (Gold Coast), Australia
Jul - Tangalooma, Australia
Sep - Noosa, Australia
Dec - Sydney, Australia

2004
Feb - Melbourne & Wagga-Wagga & Canberra, Australia
Feb - Sea World (Gold Coast), Australia
May - Movie World (Gold Coast), Australia
Jun - Fraser Island, Australia
Jul - Dream World (Gold Coast), Australia

2005 
Feb - Sunflower Farm (Cambooya), Australia
May - Sydney, Australia
Oct - AmsterdamVolendamRotterdam, Netherlands (2-week trip)
Dec - NSW Summer X'mas Camping, Australia

2006
Jul - Skydiving, Australia

2007
Mar - Sungai Lembing, Malaysia (weekend getaway)
Jul - China, Hong Kong, Macau (1-month backpack)

2008 
Jan - Northern Thailand (1-week backpack)
Jun - Sungai Lembing, Malaysia (weekend getaway)
Jul - Redang Island, Malaysia (OW certification)
Jul - Anyer, Indonesia
Jul - Jakarta, Indonesia
Aug - Bandung, Indonesia
Aug - Islamabad, Pakistan
Sep - Brunei
Nov - Cameron Highlands, Malaysia (Photo Albums 1, 2, 3) (weekend getaway)
Dec - Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore (2-week backpack)

2009 
Feb - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mar - Bandung, Indonesia
Apr - Hanoi, Vietnam
May - Bali, Indonesia (1-week backpack)
Jul - Redang Island, Malaysia (AOW certification)
Sep - New Zealand (2-month backpack & self-drive)
Nov - BundabergLady Musgrave Island, Australia (diving)

2010 
May - Perhentian Island, Malaysia (diving)
Aug - Tioman Island, Malaysia (diving)
Dec - Sipadan Island, Malaysia (diving)

2011
Jan - Laos & Bangkok, Thailand (16-day backpack)
Apr - Lamma Island & StanleyHong Kong
May - Koh Lipe, Thailand (diving)
May - Hong Kong city
Aug - Xinjiang, China (17-day backpack)
Oct - Project AWARE in Tioman, Malaysia (diving)

2012
Jan/Feb - Hong Kong
Mar - Sumatra (Samosir Island & Weh Island), Indonesia (backpack + diving)
Apr - Taman Pertanian, Malaysia (day trip)
Apr - Tioman Island, Malaysia (diving)
Jun - Parit Baru Aquaculture Park, Malaysia (day trip)
Jun - Malacca, Malaysia (weekend getaway)
Jun/Jul/Aug - Sichuan & Yunnan & Hong Kong, China (65-day backpack)
Aug/Sep - Sungai Lembing, Malaysia (long weekend getaway)
Sep/Oct - Nepal (1-month backpack)
Oct - Narita, Japan (layover)
Oct/Nov/Dec - Hawaii, US (attend course)
Dec - Los Angeles & Grand Canyon & Sedona & Las Vegas, US Mainland (1-week self-drive)

2013
Jan - Hawaii, US (attend course)
Feb - Tokyo, Japan (attend course & travel)
Mac - Miri & Mulu, Malaysia (caving trip)
May - Boracay & Clark, Philippines (island trip)
May - Singapore (visit friends)
Aug - Busan & Jeju Island & Gyeongju, South Korea (11-day backpack)
Aug - Lembeh Island, Indonesia (diving)
Sep - Betong & Hatyai, Thailand
Sep/Oct/Nov - Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan (63-day backpack)

2014
Jan - Kyoto & Nara & Osaka, Japan (12-day travel)
Jan/Feb/Mar - Niseko, Hokkaido Japan (48-day accommodation exchange)
Mar/Apr - Tokyo, Japan (26-day accommodation exchange)
May - Turkey, Cyprus, Greece
Jun - Greece, Macedonia (FYROM), Albania, Denmark, Germany
Jul - Germany, Czech Republic, Poland


Travelled & Lived: 

01. Albania
02. Australia (lived in Toowoomba QLD & Sydney NSW)
03. Brunei
04. Cambodia
05. China Mainland
06. Cyprus (Rupublic of)
07. Czech Republic
08. Denmark
09. Germany
10. Greece
11. Hong Kong, China
12. India
13. Indonesia
14. Japan
15. Laos
16. Macau, China
17. Macedonia (FYROM)
18. Malaysia (lived in Selangor & Penang)
19. Nepal
20. Netherlands
21. New Zealand
22. Pakistan
23. Philippines
24. Poland
25. Singapore
26. South Korea
27. Sri Lanka
28. Taiwan
29. Thailand
30. Turkey
31. United States (lived in Hawaii)
32. Vietnam


Un-categorized

Bus Tickets around Laos

Posted on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 by haan | 0 comments
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This post is to share the price of bus tickets around Laos. Please be noted that the stated prices are valid as of the mentioned dates. Hopefully this info is helpful to those who are budgeting for a trip to Laos.

Please be noted that the price is on per person basis.

Vientiane town to Buddha Park
  • 30 Jan 2011 - by local bus No. 14 - from Talao Sao bus station
  • Pay while arriving at the destination: 5,000 Kips (RM 2)
  • Tuk Tuk driver will provide service at about 700 Baht (RM 70) for a return trip, and tell to you that local bus takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach
  • The bus takes about 1 hour to reach, while picking/dropping passengers along the way
  • The bus could be very packed at the beginning, but will get better especially after passing the Friendship Bridge (this bridge is crossed to go into Thailand)
  • Tuk Tuk is not recommended because it's pricey. After passing the Friendship Bridge, the roads are quite dusty. By taking bus, at least you are more "covered".



Vientiane to Vang Vieng
  • 31 Jan 2011 - by air-cond bus
  • Buy from accommodation provider: 50,000 Kips (RM 20)
  • Toilet break after 1.5 hours
  • Four hours to reach destination



Vang Vieng to Phonsavan
  • 1 Feb 2011 - by minivan (MPV)
  • Buy from ticket agent (same price offered by accommodation provider): 105,000 Kips (RM 42)
  • Toilet break after 2.5 hours
  • Five to six hours to reach destination



Phonsavan to Luang Prabang
  • 3 Feb 2011 - by minivan (MPV)
  • Buy from accommodation provider: 100,000 Kips (RM 40)
  • Toilet break after 3.5 hours (driver did not intent to stop, but we forced him to stop)
  • Meal break after 5 hours (driver's option)
  • Seven hours to reach destination
  • It costs only 90,000 Kips (RM 36) if you buy directly from minivan station
  • If you take bus, it costs 80,000 Kips - informed by other travelers



Luang Prabang to Vientiane
  • 6 Feb 2011 - by VIP bus
  • Buy directly from Southern Bus Station: 130,000 Kips (RM 52) - can get seat number assigned directly - means you can request for front seat if required
  • Twelve hours to reach destination
  • VIP bus ticket comes together with a food coupon. You can use it when it stops for a meal break. Mineral water will also be provided on the bus. 
  • You have gotta "check in" before you could put your luggage and board the bus. 



Vientiane to Nong Khai (Thailand)
  • 8 Feb 2011 - by air-cond bus
  • Buy directly from Talat Sao bus station: 15,000 Kips (RM 6)
  • One hour to reach destination
  • While buying ticket, your passport will be needed for verification (because this is a cross-country journey). 
  • You can take local bus No. 14 to Friendship Bridge, being stamped for departing Laos, then get another transport to Nong Khai. Choosing a bus going directly to Nong Khai is because, we won't have to deal with our luggage till we reach the Nong Khai bus station. 
  • If you were to travel from Nong Khai Bus Station to Nong Khai Railway Station, it will cost 30 Baht per person by tuk tuk. 

You might be curious why I mentioned from where the tickets were bought. That's coz if you do not buy directly from the bus station, normally there is surcharge of at least 20,000 Kips (RM 8). Half of it, 10K Kips, are the costs of pickup; another 10K Kips are earned by the seller (i.e. agent or accommodation provider).

Of course, it's the cheapest to buy directly from bus station, but imagine, if you were to take tuk tuk to/fro the bus station, that will already cost you 20K Kips at least. So sometimes, it's easier to just buy from your accommodation provider. They earn their commission, while you can save some money.

I cycled to Luang Prabang Southern bus station, which is located around 3km out of town, to get my VIP bus ticket. Therefore no additional amount was spent. Just that I had to cycle for quite a distance :)

Minivan might not be a good choice if you are very tall. Bus will give you more room for your legs. 

Intha Hotel, Vientiane

Posted on Saturday, 19 March 2011 by haan | 0 comments
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Intha Hotel was the first place I stayed in Laos. Pre-booked this hotel online prior to departure, based on its price and the reviews given. In short, it's quite a good place, but I personally feel it's still not as good as Mixay Paradise Guesthouse.

The boss of the hotel doesn't seem to speak fluent English. However, the young guys there do speak okay English and very helpful.

If a critique is really needed, I'd say, why the window does not let natural light in?

Read some negative reviews, but I was lucky, for not having those smelly, leaking kind of experiences. 

You can enjoy Chinese shows from the TV. However, the clothes hanging rack is not very stable. 

Complimentary water and coffee. 

The road where Intha Hotel is located. Just within walking distance to the popular Fa Ngum Road.

Night external view of Intha Hotel.

What I most concern with is always the shower. Don't worry, it's strong enough to be enjoyed.

Basic toiletries are provided.

Prices (USD, Euro, Baht) differ for different floors. However, we paid USD18 for a twin room, and stayed at Level 3.

Free breakfast every morning, served between 7-9am.

You can have a selection of ham, bacon or sausage. For drink, it's juice and/or coffee.
Contact details to share with you. 

Intha's Hotel location map. 

Eat, Pray, Love

Posted on by haan | 6 comments
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Finally, I finished reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love" on this date, 19 March 2011. After taking a vegetarian meal as breakfast, read today's newspaper, did some online research about the northeast areas of Urumqi, I took up this book again on this rainy day.

Yesterday, I was just talking to my good friend about this book. I asked, do you know in Bali, how the people deal with an issue where the male is unfertilized, causing his wife unable to get pregnant? I then elaborated what I've read from the book. Yes, that's unbelievable but this is still happening in today's society, at somewhere not too far from where we are staying.


The author, Elizabeth Gilbert (Liz) writes about her search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia, in this book. In the last chapter (108), it's great to see these statement from her:

Since I was last here, I've circled the world, settled my divorce, survived my final separation from David, erased all mood-altering medications from my system, learned to speak a new language, sat upon God's palm for a few unforgettable moments in India, studied at the feet of an Indonesian medicine man and purchased a home for a family who sorely needed a place to live. I am happy and healthy and balanced.

I'm very glad to read such a beautiful ending.

I used to be on a similar trip too, but of course, mine was very much "not-worth-to-mention" compared to hers. I didn't meditate everyday, I didn't go to countries in different continents. That was just my self-claimed "working holiday across NZ and AU", where eventually, my working holiday visa was never utilized, but I did work and earn back all my traveling expenses :D

The journey was embarked in a mood filled with disappointments with my own life, having a lot of questions unanswered in mind. Went to a country that was new to me, making myself busy with traveling, driving, photography etc everyday; then went back to a country I used to stay. Once I reached back the places I used to live in the past (Toowoomba, Sydney), I realized that I've never made a wrong decision. Because, if I were to make the same decision again, my selection would still not change. Furthermore, by talking to my friends who have been living abroad for years, I was pretty confident with the "answers".


Not sure about others, but for myself, I strongly believe this kind of journey is helpful to individuals. I do not tend to possess a lot of things especially big-sized assets, as everything is gone in split second when a nature disaster hits; whilst various experiences we undergo would contribute to our self-growth. I do not pursue the kind of life where most people deem to be "normal". For me, I just know, I wish to pursue what I love in my life, and what I love could be a place, a thought, a style etc. There is no way for me to accept something I do not love from my bottom heart, but just to demonstrate to others that I'm "normal", still following the standard flow of life.

"Traveling is the great true love of my life. I have always felt, ever since I was sixteen years old and first went to Russia with my saved-up babysitting money, that to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. I am loyal and constant in my love for travel, as I have not always been loyal and constant in my other loves. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby - I just don't care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it's mine. Because it looks exactly like me. It can barf all over me if it wants to - I just don't care."

By reading the above paragraph by Liz, it's hard for me not to love her writing. Meanwhile, the following are the questions which a lot of people tend to ask but heck, please, please do not apply your XXX (a bad word here) SOP thinking onto others who do not embrace them!

"He asks why I can't keep a relationship going, why I ruined my marriage, why I messed things up with every man I've even been with. He asks me where I was the night I turned thirty, and why things have gone so sour since then. He asked why I can't get my act together, and why I'm not at home living in a nice house and raising nice children like any respectable woman my age should be. He asks why, exactly, I think I deserve a vacation in Rome when I've made such a rubble of my life. He asked me where I think I'll end up in my old age, if I keep living this way."

I remember that after I came back from my AU-NZ trip and before getting a job offer, I stayed at home everyday. Though having no income, I was living good. The stress did not actually come from financial worry, but more about how the people around think of me. I enjoyed reading books at home everyday, looking into dictionary for each word that is new to me; but the auntie cleaner helping my relative family next door came and "provided me her kindest advice", saying that YOU CAN'T BE LIVING LIKE THIS, YOU SHOULD GO AND LOOK FOR A JOB.


This made me absolutely pissed. I don't understand why people tend to be busy body to CARE about others they don't actually know, some more wanting to APPLY their personal standards onto other's life. Shouldn't that enough for you to just apply your standard onto yourself? I bet she would also faint if she reads the following:

"The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement." Once, I really wished to reply to the auntie by saying - I'VE A LOT OF MONEY IN BANK. I CAN LIVE WITHOUT A JOB. DO YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEM WITH THIS? Of course, I didn't, therefore I use the word "wished" here.

I've marked a lot of sentences which I love (at first sight) in the book - too many for me to share here. After reading the book, am now longing to watch the movie, to see how different/similar they are.

Before I end, allow me to share the last one:

"The search for contentment is not merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people."

If you want to read the book, you are welcomed to come to me :)

P/S: My friend has a similar post. Click here

Mixay Paradise Guesthouse, Vientiane

Posted on Friday, 18 March 2011 by haan | 8 comments
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During my time in Laos, Mixay Paradise GH was the best place I've stayed, and yet, it was not the most expensive. Would like to share some photos here, together with descriptions.

It's an eye-catching building, situated just next to the popular Wat Mixay. Therefore, it's absolutely easy to locate it. It's full EVERYDAY!

The prices are quite reasonable.

A double room with air-cond and fan. That's a king-sized bed.

What I most concern is always the shower. It's definitely strong enough. You will enjoy it :)

The balcony. I should have gone to the top floor to capture a photo, but I realized that only after I left.

The dining area. Breakfast is served here every morning, up until 11am. WiFi is available too.

This is the set offered to each guest. Didn't expect a fried egg in heart shape. 

If the default set is not enough, you still have other options to make yourself more filling - salad and biscuits. 

I was excited to see this. Have been eager for some curries but didn't make it. It comes at the right time! Furthermore, this is the type I love - with carrot and potatoes. 

My breakfast.

Hot water for you to make tea or coffee. Cream and sugar are provided too.

The reasons I recommend this GH to other travelers are:
  1. Reasonable price.
  2. Free breakfast is provided, and you won't feel the quantity is not enough. Free "add-on" is available.
  3. Breakfast is served up until 11am. For people who are leaving, they can wake up late, take a brunch before going to airport. Checkout time is 12pm.
  4. Location is strategic. Impossible for tuk tuk driver to not know Wat Mixay.
  5. Not far from the popular Fa Ngum Rd and Setthathirat Rd.
  6. Various food options nearby.
  7. WiFi is available for free.
  8. Staff have very good attitude and service.
Last but not least, would like to share with you its contacts because it doesn't have a website for online booking:

Tel: (+856 21) 254 223, (+856 21) 254 224
Email: laomixayparadise@yahoo.com

The staff mentioned that, it's best to call them and send them an email. Hope you enjoy your stay there!

Slow Motion Notice

Posted on Thursday, 17 March 2011 by haan | 1 comments
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Seems like I'm still not doing much travel writing. Am really not as productive as I used to be. Please pardon my slow motion. I'd still choose to do it when I feel I most want to, instead of forcing myself to complete a task/responsibility. The output from both is very different!

Recently, the Internet connection at home is kinda slow. Not really feel wanna spend much time online as most of the time would just be waiting, waiting and waiting. I rather shut the laptop down and transfer my attention and energy to books. Am at the final chapter of "Eat, Pray, Love" where the story now is about the writer's life in Bali. After reading her interesting parts in Italy and India, I found Bali is more attractive, especially due to the people she met and shared in the book.

It's shameful to say, I haven't been able to finish the book since January. This week, it has become my book before going to bed. Meanwhile, am also reading some magazines which are new to me.

Stepping into March 2011, this week I've got a few accomplishments. Firstly, my second trip of the year is settled. Now, I just have to wait for mid May to come. I believe there are 6 other people doing the same as me.

I will never ever forget about the third trip of the year. For something I've been planning for months, in a split of second, what I did was to change mind! Not a big surprise, just change from "outer" to "inner" (you might not understand now but you will in September). Booked the flight ticket too, while the MATTA fair promotion is still valid. What I didn't expect is, I'm going to travel with THE 2 PERSONS again. One, we went to China in 2007 for a month of backpack. Another, we were hanging around in NZ for almost 2 months in 2009.

Yesterday, celebrated a friend's birthday together with some college friends. Though we didn't go for very special meal (we went to organic vegetarian restaurant), but it was still a good moment to sit together and chit chat. You might not be able to imagine how warm it feels where these people, you knew them before you were 20. But when you are steeping into 30, they are still together with you, not feeling out of topic, still communicating just like 10+ years ago.

The most obvious change would be, in the past, we rode on motorcycle all around Penang for a lot of delicious food. Nowadays, we all agree to go eat something vegetarian :P

After having a laptop bag stolen, I'm now having problem with the keypad of my laptop. Some keys just do not work! It happened in the past but only one key was problematic, and would become okay again after awhile or a restart. This round, there are a bunch of keys not working. Therefore, I got an external keyboard from MIS this morning.

Now, when using this external keyboard but without an external mouse, I'm feeling kinda weird.

Whilst hearing about the news of tsunami everyday from radio, I'm telling myself, if 22/12/2012 is really the end of the world, I still have one year plus to get my dreams come true one by one. When the testing at work does not produce positive results and I need to keep capturing logs for him to fix, I keep telling myself, 好事多磨.

Tomorrow is Friday again. Let's look forward to another weekend!

Burglary Again

Posted on Monday, 14 March 2011 by haan | 2 comments
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Some people might have been expecting me to write about the last trip here. Sorry. I've been writing at another space to "enhance the knowledge base" there, somewhere I sourced a lot of useful info for the trip. I've finished writing at the space. Will switch my attention back to this blog.

However, I'd still hold on awhile for some "breaking news".

In my life, there were a few dates which I could hardly forget. Talk about the bad ones:

1) 21 March 2007 - House was broken in and I lost my laptop and a very new DSLR camera.
2) 28 July 2009 - Car parked behind the house was badly damaged early in the morning, coz it was hit by a drunkard.

Today, 14 March 2011, another item is added to the list. Early in the morning, when I reached office, I found that the laptop bag I put next to my desk had gone missing!! I clearly remembered it was there last Friday, before I left the office. Very sure!!

You might ask, don't you bring back your laptop, together with the bag? Yes, I always do. Apart from my personal laptop, I had 2 additional ones, which I previously lent to vendor for development and testing. They returned to me in mid Feb. Due to having limited drawer space, I only locked the laptops in my drawer, leaving the bags next to my desk. Those power adapters and mice, I also left them on my table, thinking that, the office should be very safe.

I was wrong. Seriously wrong.

Am not sure if the latest Dell laptop bag is really that beautiful. As how I put the 2 bags, the Dell laptop bag always leans against the wall, then the HP laptop bag leans against the Dell laptop bag. Meaning, the Dell bag is usually covered by the HP bag. Perhaps the HP bag is really less attractive, making both of them have stayed SAFE there for almost 1 month.

I reported the case to MIS, as I'm supposed to return them the complete set (laptop, mouse, adapter, bag) in the future. When I submitted my report, saw another similar piece. I briefly read through. It's also another missing case, but that is a power adapter.

In fact, normally there is a surveillance unit functioning in the office. When I intended to check that, I was told that the unit had stopped working since last week due to certain problems. Co-incidence doesn't happen so timely when you need them, but happens when you least expect!

Honestly, I feel very disappointed with the work place. When I saw the notices in the toilet, saying "please flush after use", I already wondered, is this kind of friendly reminders actually necessary? We are all working adults. We don't know that we should flush the toilet after use? Even we know, we are unable to practice it nicely?

When I was about to leave today, I tried to see if my drawer can really fit the only-left HP laptop bag. Not able to. Did something very funny. I carried the empty bag home. I feel very unbelievable with what I did, but if I don't, seems like people will call me stupid.

Since today, I will lock everything in drawer before I leave, inclusive of power adapter, mouse etc. When I'm trying to ask myself trust others around, incidents keep asking me not to. Quite sad!!

The Taste of Memory

Posted on Thursday, 10 March 2011 by haan | 3 comments
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前两天的早晨去上班时,由于“之前发生了一起严重的车祸”(电台说的),那条路超超超塞车。走了1.5小时,竟然还走不完那10km。真的快晕掉。

过了那个“瓶颈”交通灯,我转进Glenmarie,找一间咖啡店上厕所,再继续路途,不敢再侥幸地希望联邦大道不会塞。平常的那个时间,我都已经到了公司。

很久没有去Glenmarie那带了。虽然每天下班后的回途都会经过,但都不曾转进去看看那些久违的食肆。以前常常和同事去那里吃东西。屈指一算,也快过了一年半。昨晚心血来潮,就转了进去。发现到,似乎有了很多新的小吃店,而且还包括一间板面店。

刚才,又转了进去,想要到那新开的板面店品尝板面。虽然昨天看见那里不如梳邦的面对面板面店般高朋满座,就是感觉要去试试。去到那里,板面店负责人过来殷勤招待,我们聊了几句。他说以前的旧店在对面,我问说那是什么时候,他说是大概一年前,我再说,我不在这附近工作已经快一年半了。

看看餐牌,其实和面对面板面店的很相似。不只是名字,卖相也不相上下。点了之后,负责人拿来不同的的辣椒,总共有五种。等着的时候,看着不太多人的四周,脑子里又浮现了很多以往的记忆。关于以前的那份工作、工作的同事、和同事的许多时光,包括出外吃午餐、一起打羽球、一起打乒乓、一起“泡”面对面板面店,在那里总是可以待上一两个小时,八很多公司的东西、互吐苦水等等。

就算是我离开了之后,我们见面的地方也是我们的“老地方” - 面对面板面店。

延伸到板面之外的人,我也想起了一些人,比如彩云姐姐、高佬哥哥、欣仪妹妹等人。以前我都常常参这些RD组的人一起午餐,多人之中我是最奇怪的,因为我每天参不同的RD同事吃饭,就是没有参跟自己的组员,每天当别人一家人中的“外来人”。当然我不是和自己的组员关系不好,只是和RD的人比较合拍,就自然混在一起了。记得有一次是去Glenmarie那里吃玻璃叉烧,那间店的地板,油油的,走的时候真的要小心。彩云姐姐生日时,我们也是去那里的一间店吃饭。

后来,板面来了。吃着吃着,觉得真的和面对面的没有什么分别。连汤匙、筷子、大小碗都是黑色的,也和面对面的一模一样。付钱的时候,负责人特意过来问我说味道如何。我很客套地说了一句“还不错”。

事实上,是否好吃对我来说,已经不重要的了。去哪里,似乎只是在吃一种回忆。幸好我所有的回忆,都是美好的。

我深深了解到,今时今日的我已经失去了一种相信别人(新认识的人)的能力。也因为这样,我不可能再次拥有与旧同事的那种关系、也不能真正去享受大家在一起的时光。问题不在别人身上,而是在我自己。我不敢说自己有很努力地去改变目前的状况,反之,我在很努力地甩掉自己对现实的消极想法。

我将来是否会常常光顾“王子板面”、重温旧梦?不会,我不会。吃一餐板面,对我来说已经是很大的伤害了。冬菇、各式辣椒,有它们,我就控制不了自己。还没有回到家,就好像觉得不懂那里又开始痒了。够力。

一切都有待我自己去看透、接受。吃多少碗板面,都帮不了我。

Review of Lamphu House, Bangkok

Posted on Wednesday, 2 March 2011 by haan | 1 comments
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Prior to leaving Lamphu House, I managed to leave a review on the 2nd page of their 14th guestbook. Not able to complete it nicely as the pick-up driver was already there, rushing us to get onto the shuttle, to go to the airport.


These were what I wrote...

Before checking out, I was still not sure I'd leave a positive or negative review for Lamphu House. It's really good in terms of:

1) location - not far from everything yet not noisy for a slumber
2) room - nice, clean
3) staff (reception & tour desks) - patient, good-mannered, nice
4) environment - cosy

However, last night (my last night here), after coming back from outside, I found that my universal adapter (which can be used throughout the world) was already broken. That must be broken (unintentionally) by the cleaners, based on the damage it has. That's truly a good one and I've been using it for years.


I tried to ask for compensation from Lamphu House. I feel my request was fair enough, because if I break any of their things, I'm supposed to pay/replace too. Am not trying to create trouble but that's something really important to me. Else, I can't charge my batteries, mobile phones, use the hair dryer etc.

After a lot of hoo-ha, finally they are willing to buy me a new one. I agreed with a "less advanced" one but can serve basic needs. Mine costed around 800 Baht when I bought it. The one they could find here is 205 Baht.

They drove out to buy at around 11pm last night, came back and said that the shop was already closed. This morning, I've gotta leave early at 8am. When I came back from breakfast at around 0730, the staff already gave me a new universal adapter. The old one was returned together.

I truly appreciate their understanding and good service, even though they used to try not admit it's due to cleaners, or said the adapter was only partly broken, not 100% broken. I just need problem to be solved. By the way, the power point is really not well located in the room.

Thanks.

After leaving, on the way to airport, I actually realized some details were missed out in the article, especially on how they tried to refuse a compensation. However, I couldn't really recall much now.


In short, the incident was mainly due to the design or layout of the room. The power point is not well-located. We had to move a bed in order to make space to use the power point. When their cleaners went into the room (I only asked them to clean the dustbin but they were so kind, helped to make the bed too) and worked at the limited space, one was stumbled by my multi-plug, which was connected to the power point via the universal adapter.

Before I told them how much did my original adapter cost, I already expected they would think I'm crazy, and took chance to ask for a large amount of money. But, I really paid that much (RM 79.90 if not mistaken). That's coz it's Travel Blue, a popular brand. I bought a good brand coz I don't want it to spoil my electrical appliances. When I was at the airport, I saw a shop selling Travel Blue's items. Went over to check for their universal adapter. Though the design and color have slightly changed, the price is still 810 Baht.



Now I recalled what I missed out. The boss of Lamphu House used to say, your adapter is easily broken because it's of bad quality. Honestly, I was very pissed when I heard this statement from him. Bad quality in the sense that it can survive throughout so many countries but not a room cleaned by your staff?

In fact, during my first visit to their reception, they didn't get what I mean. They thought I wanted to borrow an adapter from them, so they gave me one. I took that one, went back to my room, thought of not returning the adapter to them them afterwards, but since then, I've to carry 2 adapters whenever I travel. Pretty sad. Told my mum what happened. She was the one reminding me I had the rights to ask for compensation!


In total, I had 3 conversations with them. The last two involved some arguments. Before the incident was amicably solved, I wrote in my diary, saying that, not sure what will happen but I try to believe I will be lucky (coz we got 2 lucky coins - total 7 Baht - from the Lucky Buddha that day).

When I was handed a new universal adapter, again, I realized that, the law of attraction does work!

My Checklist of a Good Guest House

Posted on Tuesday, 1 March 2011 by haan | 2 comments
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Thought of doing this checklist while I was still traveling around NZ back in 2009. Every time we checked into a room, right after putting down our luggage, we would check for the availability of a few things. I believe someone who used to be on a long period travel and need to often stay at different accommodations, would basically do the same.

However, after I finished my trip, it seemed to be difficult to come out with such a list.

Therefore, took the chance this round (the Laos-Thai trip) to make it. This is how I judge a guest house. More ticks means better.
  1. Strong shower
  2. Clean - no spider web, no algae, not smelly 
  3. Comfortable, able to sleep well - no intolerable noise, no other unintended creatures eg. insects
  4. Nice quality pillow
  5. Nice quality duvet/blanket - based on different weather/environment. At least does not make you feel "insufficient".
  6. Power point
  7. Mirror in the bathroom
  8. Mirror in the room
  9. Dustbin in the bathroom
  10. Dustbin in the room
  11. Hangers for clothes
  12. Somewhere to put hangers
  13. Somewhere to hang clothes in bathroom
  14. Toilet paper - right quantity & good quality
  15. Window - I personally do not like a room without window
  16. Heater / Air-cond - sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to pay more
  17. Hot shower - sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to pay more
  18. Breakfast - sometimes it depends on whether you are willing to pay more
I came out with the list only when I was back to Vientiane, and stayed at the Mixay Paradise Guest House. Basically it fulfills all the requirements above. That's definitely a place which I'd recommend my friends to go. 

When I stayed in Lamphu House in Bangkok, a place which is highly recommended by the Cari forum members, it achieves a slightly lower score, based on my personal checklist. 

Will share about these places in future posts. 

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