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Showing posts with label View of Malaysia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label View of Malaysia. Show all posts

Legoland Malaysia - My First Trip for Year 2013 (By Diana Diane Teo)

Boyfie and I just love to visit amusement and theme parks whenever we go. Just like Universal Studio in Singapore as well as Ocean Park and Disneyland in Hong Kong few years back. So when we knew about Legoland opened in Johor, both of us instantly listed this international theme park as one of our wishlist to go. Lucky us where we managed to secure a return ticket KK-JB-KK via AirAsia for only RM15 each, when initially both of our budget was RM50 each. So without any second thought, immediately we booked and here we are at one of the latest attraction in town. And with this, this is my official first trip for year 2013.


#1: Legoland Malaysia - Malaysia's first international theme park and the first Legoland theme park in Asia

 
#2: The entrance tickets where you can keep and bring back home

Just like every other theme parks, Legoland Malaysia has seven distinctive themed area of attractions to cater all ages, whether for the kids, teenagers and even adults who are young at heart.

[Note: By the time we visited, Legoland Water Park is still under construction]

The Beginning

This is where the adventures begin. Right after passed through the main entrance area, this is where typical amenities located - locker rental, stroller rental and ATM machine are available on the right-side whereas the restroom is located on the left-side. There are also a cafe and souvenirs stores available here but both of us intended to save it first and return back by end of the day. There is no any attractions, shows and rides in this themed area. 
 

#3: Ticket counters. I would recommend to purchase the tickets via online to save up to 20% and also to avoid the long queue.


#4: Big Shop - Legoland's largest store selling all kind of Legoland merchandise.


.#5: All of these life-size characters were made from Lego bricks. Impressive!

Imagination

We started with this area first before it was getting more crowded. Most of the attractions and rides here are designed specially for kids. However, there are two rides which attract us here - Observation Tower and Lego Studios 4D.

Available Facilities: Baby care and Prayer room


#6: Imagination Themed Area


#7: Observation Tower - where the guest could have the view of the entire Legoland as well as the areas surrounding it. [Warning: If you are afraid of height, then don't try this]


#8: Studios 4D. There are four appealing 4D shows for the guests to choose from and each show runs every 45 minutes (for weekday) and 25 minutes (for weekends and public holidays).

Boyfie and I managed to catch two of their 4D shows but frankly speaking, they ain't interesting as those 4D in Universal Studio Singapore and Hong Kong Disneyland. Quite disappointed. 



#9: Another colourful Lego bricks creation

Land of Adventure

This particular themed land reminisces the combination of Jurassic Park and The Mummy movie series where both are separate into two different section. The attractions and rides here are designed for both kids and adults especially the Dino Land ride. Unfortunately, we didn't experience this ride cause we afraid of getting wet as we didn't bring any spare of clothes.


#10: Land of Adventures Themed Area. The parrots on the right side were made from Lego bricks as well.


#11: Dino Island ride and prepare to get wet by the end of the ride.
 


#12: Kids will love this Lost Kingdom Adventure - a ride with a laser-blasting
 

#13: Good place for phototaking


Miniland


Situated right in the heart of Legoland, this is where the guests can enjoy some of Asia's notable and well-known landmarks in masterpiece and detailed miniature. This is my most favourite themed area compare the rest and we were also being surprised when the whole Miniland comes to life with the touch of a button. Pretty interesting, right?



#14: Petronas Twin Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower


#15: Can you name all of these South East Asia's landmarks?


#16: Pirates of the Caribbean boat?



#17: Taj Mahal of India


#18: Singapore City and Merlion

Lego City

Lego City is mainly designed for the little one where they can become a captain of a boat or even drive a car at the very young age. Like really? Passing through this area and Boyfie told me how he wish that Legoland open during his young age so he will able to enjoy this ride. So if you have the little one with you, now you know which themed area you should head first.



#19: Remove Control Boat - where adults can play along. Of course, we didn't miss out this for sure.


#20: The Shipyard - An adventure paradise for the little one to climb and crawl.

 

#21: Legoland Express - Board on Lego train for all sights of the theme park

 
#22: We took a break and ordered lunch in Market Restaurant. A set of chicken rice cost RM23.00 and a small bottle of Coke cost RM5.00 - No doubt the price of the foods in Legoland are slightly expensive cause this is theme park afterall.


Lego Technic


If you are looking for exciting and thrilling rides, this is one of the themed area that offer all; from wild high-speed ride in Project X, crazy spin wheel in Technic Twister or even get wet in Aquazone Wave Racers.



#23: Project X. The one and only ride we experienced here and we indeed love this. It's one of the rides not-to-be-missed.


#24: Albert Einstein Lego bricks
Lego Kingdom

This is where the legend and myths come alive. I personally love the design and structure of this particular themed area especially the looking strong and tall grey colour royal castle. This is also where the whole themed area are filled with dragons and knights which mainly built using Lego bricks. The main highlights here would be The Dragon and Dragon's Apprentice rides (these two are two different rides apparently).


#25: Lego Kingdoms Themed Area

 

#26: Once upon a time...


#27: Royal castle, dragons, knight and is that Joker?

 We ended our fun and adventures in Legoland by visiting Big C which located in The Beginning Themed Area


#28: Couldn't recall how much the T-shirt and keychains cost but the fridge magnet cost RM55 for a set of 3. That's the one and only thing I bought and it was eventually quite expensive right

TIPS:

Grab a guidemap once you enter the main entrance. Never underestimate the size of this theme park cause there is high possibility you might get lost. Bring along spare clothes cause some rides might get you wet; such as Dino Island in Land of Adventure, Aquazone Wave Racers in Lego Technic and even Boating School in Lego City.

Apply sunblock or even bring cap and umbrella along cause firstly, lack of shaded area within Legoland and secondly, Malaysia's weather is always hot and humid. Luckily, I always brought my umbrella whenever I travel.
It's best to arrive early cause besides to avoid the overcrowded, it's also to avoid the unpleasant heat.

Overall, I think the trip to Legoland is worth for a visit although most of the rides are not that as wild and scary as we thought. Both Boyfie and I were indeed fully utilised the amout of the entrance fee we paid by spending our whole day there in Legoland; from 9.45 am until 5.00 pm. Furthermore, we managed to experience majority of the rides except for few where we thought they might be kinda childish rides. As a theme park lover, I noticed there is no any character mascots or even parade in Legoland Malaysia but they don't bother me anyway cause the life-size characters Lego bricks creation were enough to impress me.

If you have little one and can't make up your mind where to bring them during this school holiday, why not plan your holiday by bringing them to Legoland? Trust me, they will enjoy all the fun and excitement here.

How To Get To Legoland Malaysia

For more information especially if you plan to take public bus, check out HERE.

I can't share my previous experience on how my Boyfie and I get to Legoland Malaysia cause I found out the bus number has changed apparently. But from my experience, it is advisable to reach the starting point station as early as you can cause at the late hour, it will be more crowded. If your station is JB Sentral, it takes about 45 minutes to reach Legoland Malaysia.


Diana Diane Teo
http://dianateo-dt.blogspot.com 

Searching for Wild Orangutans in Borneo (By Amy Blyth)

My only plan for our three-week trip to Malaysia was to find wild orangutans in Borneo. I’ve long dreamed of seeing these incredible human-like creatures in their natural environment and was prepared to do whatever it took to achieve my goal. Our search for the so-called man of the forest took us deep into the jungles of Borneo; we sailed down rivers and spent hours trekking through tropical heat to try and catch a glimpse of these secretive and endangered primates, but did we succeed?



The Search for Orangutans in Borneo

Our quest to find wild orangutans began with a difficult but extremely rewarding trip to Batang Ai National Park which took us well off the beaten track. We stayed with a local family in their longhouse and camped out in the jungle, but although we had an incredible experience we didn’t see any orangutans. According to locals we would have had to trek for days into the dense jungle, camping along the way to have a chance of spotting any.


The WWF says that there are only between 45,000 and 69,000 orangutans left in the wild due to deforestation, hunting and the illegal pet trade. This means that sadly there are very few places left to spot wild orangutans in Borneo; one of which is Sabah in Eastern Borneo, which is where we headed next to continue our search.

Our Trip to Danum Valley Field Centre


On arriving in Sabah we stayed at Bike and Tours, one of the nicest guesthouses we’ve come across on our trip so far. Our hosts Simon and Tish cooked us an amazing Indian-Malaysian meal and told us about the Danum Valley Field Centre, a scientific camp located in a prime location for spotting orangutans. While it’s not really meant as tourist accommodation, Simon and Tish were able to arrange for us to stay there a couple of nights and even agreed to drive us over the next day.


The field centre is set deep in the heart of Danum Valley next to a river; bearded pigs, deer and monkeys regularly wander into camp from the surrounding jungle. The first morning we were there we set our alarm for 5am and ventured out into the pale half-light of the jungle. Within minutes of shining the torch around we were met by two amber eyes gazing unblinkingly back at us – a deer perhaps. We slipped on the muddy uneven path until we got to a huge fig tree with a very precarious looking ladder attached leading up to viewing platforms. From there we could see the tree tops and part of the camp obscured in morning mist.


We spent the next day and a half trekking the jungle paths surrounding the camp searching for orangutans while being attacked by leeches and mosquitoes. Even though it was hot, sticky and exhausting work I loved exploring the maze of trees, spotting leaf monkeys and macaques, hearing the calls of birds and watching hornbills soar high above us – I felt so small surrounded by the vast infinity of the jungle.



All through our visit to Danum we kept hearing maddening rumours of orangutan sightings but as the final morning of our stay arrived we still hadn’t spotted any and we were beginning to feel desperate – we had only one more destination left to search for the elusive creatures.

Cruising the Kinabatangan River

Kinabatangan is supposedly one of the easiest places to spot wild orangutans in Malaysian Borneo. Sadly, the fact that the forest surrounding the Kinabatangan river has been so severely logged means that only a narrow strip remains on either side of the water, forcing all the animals into this small area. The best way to view the wildlife is to take a boat trip straight down the river; we arranged afternoon, night and morning boat trips, certain that we would finally spot orangutans on one of them.


We spent hours whizzing down the river, stopping to watch leaf monkeys, macaques and rare long-nosed proboscis monkeys in trees lining the river banks. We spotted all kinds of birds, from kingfishers to huge hornbills and we even floated just feet from a huge crocodile but sadly, we still didn’t spot any orangutans. Despite all the time and effort we’d put into our search, the hundreds of pounds we’d spent and miles we’d travelled we had somehow failed to find any wild orangutans in Borneo.


Visiting Rescued Orangutans in Sepilok Rehabitilition Centre

Although we were pretty disappointed about the outcome of our orangutan quest we did have some incredible experiences during the course of our journey. While our trip to Borneo had been all about orangutans to begin with, somewhere along the way it became more to do with the journey than the end destination. The experiences we had in the jungle, all the amazing people we met and the incredible animals we did see more than justified our visit to Malaysia.



In addition, the fact that we didn’t spot any wild orangutans in Borneo just goes to show how endangered they’ve become. We learnt even more about the plight of orangutans when we visited the Sepilok Rehabilition Centre before we left Borneo. The centre rescues orphaned orangutans and attempts to teach them the skills they need to go back to the wild while still providing food and support for them if they need it.



We got the chance to see some of these orangutans feeding when we visited Sepilok. Although the experience wasn’t what we’d hoped for, especially since we were surrounded by hordes of noisy and pushy tourists, it was still a magical experience seeing the rusty-red creatures swinging out of the jungle to feed. We’re determined to return to Borneo one day to see orangutans where they truly belong: in the wild.

Amy
http://www.ourbigfattraveladventure.com 

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Why travelling families will love stopping in Malaysia (By Tracy Burns)

Malaysia often gets overlooked or only gets a cursory glance as a stopping point between Singapore and Thailand. It isn't really on the tourist radar to the same degree that Thailand, Bali and Vietnam are. Which we think is a real shame for a lot of reasons.

We came here on a short holiday in 2009 when our children were 1 and 3. We weren't really sure what to expect but flights from Australia were cheap and the multiculturalism, level of development and diversity of Malaysia seemed to offer what we were looking for - developed enough to be easy with young kids but fascinating and diverse enough to satisfy our wanderlust.

We quickly fell in love with Malaysia on that trip and our experiences there, as well as a lot of conversations with other expat and travelling families around a pool in Sabah one afternoon were what inspired us onto grander travel plans. When we first embarked on our big trip two years ago and were looking for a place to stop for a month or two we chose Malaysia. A year later we ended up setting up a house here. And here's why ...



Visas!

As a travelling family you probably already know that visa fees can really add up and they can be a pain to organise if you have to arrange it in advance outside your country of origin. Particularly if it means dragging kids into immigration offices and waiting around. Are we the only ones that get just a little excited when we find a country that not only provides a visas on arrival that's free and is valid longer than 30 days?

Most nationalities can get a free 90 day visa for Malaysia upon arrival. When you compare that to Thailand where the free visa on arrival is only for 30 days visas, and that's only if you come in by air otherwise you get 15 days, 90 days looks pretty attractive right? Then compare that to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia where visas cost over 25 USD per person for 30 days and add in the fact that Cambodia and Indonesia often charge departure fees of at least 10 USD ... why wouldn't you consider Malaysia?

Free 90 day visa on arrival ... need I say anymore?

If you want to stay longer than 90 days it's also usually quite easy to extend it by another 90 days by just leaving the country for a few days and then returning. At least a couple of times anyway, after that it can become more challenging.

Minimal language barrier

We love the challenge and reward of travelling in countries where you need to learn at least some of the local language to get by. Give me a new script or alphabet to get my head around and I'm in heaven. Part of our reason for travelling with our children is to expose them to different cultures and languages.

But when we're looking for a spot to stop for a month or more and need to set up things like Internet, cell phone accounts, rent an apartment, find out about dentists or doctors and maybe even organise a playgroup or tuition lessons for the kids, choosing a location where there's minimal language barrier certainly makes life easier.

Malaysia is really not the place to come if you want a full language immersion experience because almost everyone speaks fluent English. You can enrol in language classes, even send your children to local schools or tuition centres to pick up Mandarin or Bahasa Melayu but outside of the classroom even three year old local children generally speak enough English to facilitate play. I'm sitting in a local McDonald's at this very moment writing this article as three separate Malaysian families sit next to me all speaking in English to their children. So you can see, it's a bit hard to come to Malaysia for a full language immersion experience. But as a place to easily set up a house or apartment for a month or more, while still experiencing a new culture and country it's perfect.
  
Bahasa Melayu utilises the roman alphabet so it really doesn't take long to be able to read the basic words for foods, directions, street signs etc. It makes navigating your way around a strange city or trying decipher a local menu a lot easier if it only takes you a day or two to be able to read the basic words!




Food!

Malaysia is fantastic if you have fussy eaters. Thanks to the diverse cultures who call Malaysia home, it's not like Thailand where anything other than Thai food can be a bit tricky to find outside of tourist strips. If your children don't like Malay food, there's always Indian or Chinese. If none of that is to their liking it's never hard to find plain fried chicken and rice, Indian breads like rotis or naans, or even toast with jam or a fried egg.

And of course if you are in a mid-sized town KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonald's is never far away.




Cheap but developed

Malaysia is cheap. Not quite Thailand or Cambodia cheap, but not far off it. Take a look at our cost of living in Penang and cost of living in Phuket articles - you can see that Phuket is slightly cheaper than Penang for most items but the cost difference isn't that great. We generally find daily expenses like food, Internet, sightseeing and transport cost 1/3 of what they would cost back home.

So why would you choose Malaysia over Thailand or another location in South East Asia then if you are looking for a cheap place to stop for a few months?

Well Malaysia is more developed than most countries in this region. Internet is usually fast and reliable, roads are good, shopping malls are easy to find, as are supermarkets stocked with familiar brands from home. Quality health-care is easy to find, whether it's a doctor, pharmacist, hospital, chiropractor or dentist. Most practitioners speak impeccable English and almost everyone we've ever been to see gained their qualifications overseas in the UK, USA or Australia. Bookstores are filled with English language books, inexpensive cinemas play most films in English.

We could live a slightly cheaper life than we do here by basing ourselves in Thailand BUT when you look at the cost difference VS level of development, we're happy to pay a little extra to live in Malaysia. Add in the free 90 day visa and what you pay more for in expenses you save on in not having to leave the country every few weeks or pay for longer visas.

Choose the experience that suits you

Malaysia sits halfway between Singapore and the rest of South East Asia in terms of development, but of course there's a wide range within Malaysia from region to region in terms of development, lifestyle and culture.

A nice apartment in an expat area with a swimming pool just a few minutes walk to either a local markets and food stalls or a shopping centre filled with Starbucks and familiar name-brands ... that's easy. Base yourself in Kuala Lumpur or Penang and you can have that. Want to live like a local in a smaller apartment or house but still have access to malls and the other trappings of modern life if you want to see it out - that's even easier. Fancy a more local experience in a smaller rural town but still like access to a reasonable amount of infrastructure and be less than an hours drive to a city with all those western luxuries from home you might miss ... no problems. I could name over 40 towns and cities that offer this. Or if a tiny village filled with local families and goats wandering along the sides of the road, or even a town where they use boats not cars is more your thing than that's easy too.

Multicultural

With such a diverse population of Chinese Malaysians, Indian Malaysians, Malay Malaysians and expats from all around the world, Malaysia is one of the most multicultural nations on earth. Islam, Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism all coexist peacefully with the major celebrations from each religion being celebrated nationally.

It's of course not perfect. There are ingrained stereotypes that each race believes of the other and for the most part people marry within their own cultural group and religions. But in day to day interactions everyone are friends. They do business together, go to school together, eat out together and live side by side. When we walk down the street, sit in a restaurant or hop on a bus we see more positive signs of respect towards other culture, religions and nationalities, and an acknowledgement of the benefits of multiculturalism, here in Malaysia than we have seen anywhere else in the world.

I also love the fact that we can expose ourselves to so many cultures and religions in the once country. In the one day we can eat Chinese, Malay and Indian foods. On the one street in Georgetown, Penang, we can visit a Christian Church, two mosques, three Buddhist temples and a Hindu temple. Just a few streets away are British colonial forts and cemeteries, Thai and Burmese temples, Little India, Chinatown and local wet markets. In the past two years our children have celebrated Christmas and Easter, Deepavali, Ramadan and Chinese New Years, just to name a few. They've seen giant gleaming shopping malls, eaten at fancy restaurants and played at modern indoor playgrounds. But just a day later we can show them traditional fishing villages, eat in street stalls, shop at a locals market and give them the opportunity to kick a ball around in a local park with children from a huge range of backgrounds.

If you want your children to grow up believing that everyone is a person no matter their race, colour, background or religion, Malaysia is a pretty good place to start. Like I said, it's not perfect by any means but Malaysians are doing a much better job of being tolerant and inclusive than most countries we've visited.




It's safe, particularly for families

Malaysia is safe. Petty crimes like bag snatching do exist, mainly in tourist areas, and home break-ins where purses are targeted aren't unheard of, but violent crimes towards foreigners are almost non-existent. As a family we receive nothing but positive attention. Like the rest of Asia, children are loved and we usually feel so safe here that we allow the children more freedom than we would back home. Walking down the street with my kids I've never once felt in danger nor experienced any time of crime.

In the past month my husband has left my laptop in a change room in a busy mall and his laptop behind in a restaurant (I just have to point this out because it's usually me that leaves stuff behind but twice recently it wasn't and both times were LAPTOPS!!!). On both occasions when we went back to get look for them the laptops were being looked after by the staff. Of course it's not always the case - a friend recently lost her iPhone when she accidentally left it in a toilet at an airport in Kuala Lumpur and didn't realise for 5 minutes. When she went back it was gone. But generally speaking, most Malaysians are honest to the point of insisting that you take that 5c of change they owe you.

Educational Opportunities

Like most of Asia, Malaysians place a strong emphasis on their children's education. After school tuition centres are plentiful offering everything from sports to music to language and maths. If you have been travelling for a long time and feel like the kids could do with some catch up or even just have the chance to experience a classroom with other children to make friends and learn some language, Malaysia is certainly a place you might want to consider.

Classes are also very cheap. A 1hr Tae Kwon Do class costs less $3 per child. A music class or maths lesson less than $5. It's very affordable and most places are happy for your children to attend for even just one month.

Finding Nemo and beach escapes

You may need to go a little further afield to find spectacular beaches to rival those you see in Thailand, but when you do find one it's usually less developed, less touristy and better managed in terms of sustainability and preservation! Quiet islands with no roads, minimal development and quiet palm lined beaches with shallow waters.

Just a few kilometers off the eastern coastline of peninsular Malaysia are several islands with some of the best snorkeling in the world. The Perhentians, Redang and Tioman all offer great snorkeling in calm blue waters. Then there's Sabah with all it's many spectacular islands. Most of these locations offer beaches where the coral is 3-5m offshore.

At our favourite location in Asia, the Perhentian Islands, we regularly find clown fish at every snorkeling site we've been too. Whole families of clown fish usually in 2m of water just a few meters offshore. Does it get any better for young kids?




Playgrounds galore for the littlies

Malaysia has some of the best playgrounds we've seen anywhere in the world. Outside you'll find Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur with it's giant fairytale playground and Penang's enormous Youth Park. Let's not forget the giant playground sprawling across the gardens at the base of the Petronas Towers. The largest playground we've ever seen to accompany one of the world's tallest buildings!

Giant shopping malls can be found in most large cities, many with great indoor playgrounds. Mid Valley in Kuala Lumpur, 1Borneo in Kota Kinabalu and Queensbay in Penang are some of the best. Each have fantastic indoor playgrounds at reasonable prices where kids can happiily loose themselves for half a day in tunnels, slides and jumping castles.

Something for the teens

Malaysia is fantastic for kids of all ages. There are endless opportunities for adventure holidays for teenagers - jungle treking in Taman Negara or in search of the worlds largest flower, volunteering at the Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary, canopy walks and caves.Learning to dive in Malaysia is relatively inexpensive and most schools run courses for children over 10 years of age, with some even offering a children's discovery dive for any child over 8 years of age.

Or how about theme parks? Malaysia has some fantastic theme parks. From indoor theme parks like Cosmos World in Kuala Lumpur to theme park resort towns like Genting Highlands, the attractions are world class for a fraction of the price you'd pay elsewhere.

And then there are the malls. Malaysia has incredible malls. You'll find familiar western fast food chains, giant bookstores like Popular and MPH that have the best range of young adult fiction I've come across anywhere in the world (all in English!), huge arcades and very inexpensive cinemas with movies in English.

Or how about a night time cruise through quiet rivers in search of fireflies. It might not compare to northern lights tours in search of the Aurora Borealis, but Malaysia has a number of spots where you can take boat cruises at night to see fireflies. Kuala Selangor, under 2 hours from Kuala Lumpur is one of the most popular but you'll also find them just south of Penang at Nibong Tebal and in Sabah.



Tracy Burns
http://www.vagabondfamily.org 



 
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