Traveller Yg. Sengkek

Its a journal of some sort about recollection of my journey to various parts of the world with my friends since 2009...and with my wife and our Rayyan Eusoff since 2014...no luxury is needed...its all about exploring new places...along with great buddies...accompanied by great foods...not to be forgotten...having great time...















Thursday, September 22, 2016

There is Always a Reason to Travel

Prior to 25 October 2013

When i was still single

I convinced myself that i have to travel before getting married because the expenditure will double afterwards.

After 25 October 2013 and before 25 August 2014

When i got married

I convinced my WIFE (no longer need to convince myself) that we have to travel before getting a child otherwise it will not be easy to travel with small baby.

25 August 2014 onwards

When i became a father

We convinced each other (wifey was bitten by the travel bug) that it is good to travel while Eusoff is still young (3 months when we went to Amsterdam) so he won't run and easier to manage.

When Eusoff is 1 years old

We think that it will be nice to travel when Eusoff started to walk. We don't have to carry him around anymore and it is easier to travel.

Before 25 August 2016

When Eusoff is nearly 2 years old

We convinced ourselves to travel one more time before we have to pay for child fare instead of infant fare (for babies less than 24 months old). Then we just have to relax before taking our next trip. 

22 September 2016

When Eusoff is 2 years and 1 months old

We just want to travel before we have another child. 

This is actually a true story. All the reasons created of why the travel has to be taken at that point of our life. But along the way we always come up with another reason just to travel. If you are a travel junkie, no matter what the reason behind your motivation to travel, you will always go for it regardless. Coz in the end, we cannot lie to ourselves, there is always a reason to travel.

T.Y.S

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Eusoff Keeping Up With Italia

Traveling as a single with friends and as a father and husband with family are two different matters altogether. The former tends to be more relaxed as you don't have to think much about others, its either you like it or not, feel free to do whatever makes you comfortable. The latter proves to be more challenging as you have to think about others. See the difference. Hahaha.


Italy is the most recent country crossed out from Rayyan Eusoff's checklist. Two cities in Italy to be exact, Rome and Florence.


Flown in to Rome via Alitalia from Prague. Alitalia has quickly became our preferred airlines. Super comfortable seats, convenient, collect Enrich points (partner Airlines for MAS) and lands in FCO (Rome's main airport) instead of Ciampano. This is an important point, please check which airport you are flying in. Big cities in Europe have more than one airport and usually low-cost airlines will land in a different airport. Be careful otherwise it will be a logistic nightmare especially if you pre-book the airport transfer in advance.


Took taxi from the airport to Via Isonzo, another good friend's apartment. Taxi from the airport to the city centre range from EUR55-70. Thank god that Eusoff has nice uncles and aunts who welcomed us to their home. Nice apartment surrounded by shops and near to public transport. Rest for the day and the next day the adventure continues.


The following morning we took an early train to Florence. Tips: First and Final train usually are the cheapest and children below 4 years old is free. Total train fare for the 3 of us was EUR70 return. Since we do plan to stay in Florence for the whole day, the price fits well into our plan. 2 hours later we arrived in Santa Maria Novella train station. Florence is relatively a nice city to walk. All the places of attraction are within walking distance. If you are not sure of your way around, just follow the crowd. You will end up to almost all place of interest. Our walking route were simple and uncharted. Just walk and walk, and we ended up in Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. Then we took a bus to cross the river up to Piazza de Michelangelo. The view was breathtaking. Had coffee at the nearby cafe and basked in the magnificent view.


One of the main attraction in Florence was the factory outlets. There are two of them. One is dedicated to high-end designer items called The Mall and another one is Designer Outlet similar to the ones in Bicester in UK or La Valle in Paris. We opted for the first. Took roundtrip bus from the bus station cost EUR12 return per person. For Eusoff, free again. En route to the Mall, once again we were granted with magnificent view of the italian countryside. Bought something for wifey and that's it. Here you can quickly do your tax refund, but you still need to have the tax refund forms stamped before leaving the EU. In our case, it has to be stamped in Prague airport as it will be our point of departure.


The latter part of the day, we went around town and have a rest in the train station waiting for our train. Stroller plays an important role in any of our trips nowadays. As Eusoff was tired out from excessive walking (not to mention running) around town and was deeply asleep by the time we were back in the train station. Took our train back to Rome and had a good rest before embarking on the final leg of the trip.


Rome is a city rich with its historical value. Lots of monuments and attraction. Planning is a must. The ones in our plan was of course the Colosseum and Fontana de Trevi. Bought one day transport pass for EUR8 which allows you unlimited rides on public transport around the city. Took the subway to Colosseum and walked to Fontana de Trevi from there, Both places were packed with people. Tips: Summer is a high season, if you really want to go inside the Colosseum, go very early in the morning. We spent most of the afternoon away in Fontana de Trevi then took a walk along via de corso, or the shopping street of Rome. Tips: Summer Sale is madness, beware of your wallet. Was planning to go further but since Eusoff looks a bit uncomfortable, we decided to go back to the apartment and had our dinner near the apartment. I have to say, the Rome experience was rather limited but that is the difference when you are on a trip with family, you prioritise and give further consideration on their limitations.


Next morning, we went back to the airport and took a flight to Prague. This time around we flew with Czech Airlines. Another comfortable flying experience as well and could collect the Garuda miles (Czech Airlines is part of Skyteam). Total cost for the flights were EUR370 for the 3 of us.


Italy is Italy. There is no word enough to really capture the experience. The whole country is an attraction and each city dignifies its own allure. It is really hard to truly experience Rome in one day. That is for sure. Florence is possible but not Rome. This has to be taken into account when one wants to travel to Rome. The last time i went to Rome, it was 4 days and 3 nights. Too much also. Hahaha. But one thing for sure, one really need to know what they want to see and do and from then further detailed planning needed especially to navigate around the city. The subway is connected to all the places of interest in Rome (but walking also needed), and always go to the farthest and detour back bit by bit back to the finish point. Summer is a high season so more extreme planning is needed. I had been comparing between the two seasons i have been to Rome (Winter and Summer), i rather enjoyed the Winter time. Less people and nice cool weather but of course it came with short daylight. Summer more people and more daylight but it was kinda hot. Whatever it is, it was a new experience for Eusoff and wifey (as it was the first time for both to Italy) and it was also a new additional experience for me to put into my own tips of traveling with family. I know that i will come back to Italy again in the future, to another city of course and it will be another new experience. For Eusoff, it will always going to be a new adventure for him and another place to cross out from the list. From the way i see it, Eusoff has been keeping up with Italia just fine.

T.Y.S

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Rayyan Eusoff goes Czech Republic



Czech Republic is not exactly an obvious choice to go for a holiday. At least not for Asians. In comparison with the countries in Western Europe, countries in the Eastern Europe are hardly noticed. But of course, it is always a new experience. Especially for Rayyan Eusoff and wifey. This time around, we planned for two cities in Czech Republic, Prague and Karlovy Vary respectively. 


We flown via Smartwings from Dubai to Prague. Smartwings is one of two low-cost airlines that flies direct to Prague, with the other one being Flydubai. The ticket cost AED2,500 return for three of us including 15kg check-in luggage and meal. Rather affordable as compared to other airlines. Flydubai also cost almost the same as they were also having promo tickets to Prague that time which include meals and 20kg check-in luggage. The main difference between the two airlines, aside from the services, is the timing. Smartwings' flight timing is 7.30 p.m. from Dubai and 10.30 a.m. from Prague and flies three times a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) while Flydubai's operates daily flight and fly 8.10 a.m. from Dubai and 1.30 p.m. from Prague. The flight took 6 hours and 30 mins from Dubai to Prague. 


Arrived in Prague in the middle of the night, the taxi from Prague Airport to the city cost about EUR25~KC600. We were lucky enough that a friend of ours picked us up from the airport and we stay at his home for the length of our trip.


The following day we went for sightseeing in the town and also i went for Friday prayers in the muslim centre in the town centre. The prayer hall consisted of two-storey building near the train station. It is not exactly visible from the street but it is rather easy to find. There is a restaurant that serves halal food within the area. As the first leg of our journey will be in Czech for 4 days, we bought the 72 hours transport pass which cost EUR12~KC310.


Sightseeing in Prague is rather enjoyable. As compared to the last time i went during Winter, Summer was packed with people. Each and every corner of the city was filled with tourist especially the tourist spots like the Old Town Square. Prior to that we went for sightseeing in a park near the apartment which boasted magnificent view of the city. 


Karlovy Vary was our destination after Prague. Took a Regionjet bus from Florenc bus station. The ticket was rather affordable. It was EUR6 one way, return was EUR12. There was wifi on the bus, and complimentary drink as well as LCD to watch movies (there was no entertainment LCD in the Smartwings flight). The journey took 2 hours and we departed at 8.00 a.m. from Prague, returning from Karlovy Vary at 8.00 p.m. Day trip for 12 hours, including the journey time. Karlovy Vary was beautiful. We just walked along the river, had lunch and coffee in between, and spent the day away in the city nestled between mountains. Sounds rather romantic. Eventhough it was marred by rain in between, we were actually feeling blessed as there are no rain in the UAE. Hahaha. We took our time to relax, walk and enjoy the atmosphere. 


The first day in Prague, the sightseeing was done in the city centre, so the third day we went up to the Prague Castle. Must visit place in Prague. Stood majestic above the hill overlooking the city, Prague Castle offers a view to die for. Went up with a tram, and went down by walking straight to the Charles Bridge then continued to the city centre. Can't get enough with the beauty of the town. The old buildings, the gothic architecture, the river, the hills, everything blends well to create an unforgettable memory.


We left Prague for Rome the following day and it will be updated in the next entry.


This marks the third time for me to Prague. The first time was in Spring, the second time in Winter and this time around during Summer. Each time it offers different perspective of the city and never fail to enchant me. For me Prague is one of those cities that you don't have to spend to enjoy. You would be happy by just walking around, then have a cup of coffee on top of the hill overlooking the city. In term of cost, it is also not beyond reach. EUR2~KC49 can get you a nice cup of cafe latte. For EUR6~KC149 could get you a hearty muslim meal. The rest of the days could be spend by just taking its tram and go around the city. One of the best thing about the city is also that the public transport are rather baby family. Pushing Rayyan Eusoff around in the baby stroller is not a problem at all. This is also will be Rayyan Eusoff's final trip before he reach 2 years in few days. After this, instead of paying 10%, Eusoff's ticket fare will be almost the same price like abah and mama. But regardless, it won't deter Abah to bring Eusoff around the world. This time its time for Rayyan Eusoff goes Czech Republic.

T.Y.S

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Utter Silence of Liwa


Middle East experience is not complete without some desert experience. True enough. Living in a country surrounded by sand dunes and beautiful desert landscape, one can't ignore the temptation of the how it is like. Me included.



As part of our one weekend one Emirate travel series, we booked one night stay at a hotel in the empty quarter of UAE, Liwa. Located 175 kilometers beyond Abu Dhabi city, we drove all the way to the Western region of Abu Dhabi, in close proximity to the Saudi border. Tilal Liwa Hotel, a secluded hideaway leisure resort perched on the edge of Rub Al Khali Desert. Getting to the hotel from Abu Dhabi entails a long road-trip across the desert through the small city of Madinat Zayed. One thing that was striking about the hotel is that it is literally at the end of the road. The hotel could be spotted a good 5 kilometers away, or more.



First of all, we have no complaint about the hotel. Tilal Liwa Hotel is a strikingly Arabesque 4-star (as accredited by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority) property that combine the elegance of the Arabian Nights. I am all into Arabian-style deco nowadays, from the solid panels, to the lights and intricate details of the carvings, everything are lush and classy. A lone property amid the whirling desert dunes, with the outer facade looks like an Arabesque castle complete with traditional wind-towers, a trickling fountain and a very solid, brass-studded door. Talking about the drive, please fill in full tank as along the way you will feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere. Better be safe than sorry, because the distance between one petrol station to another in between Abu Dhabi city and Tilal Liwa is enormous and not many of petrol stations along the way.


We originally booked a standard room online with breakfast for AED250 but were given a free upgrade to a room with balcony and pool views. The pool has stunning view overlooking the Rub Al Khali desert. It seems endless and magical as if it came out from those stories from 1001 nights. First thing we done after settling ourselves in the room was going on for the camel ride. Something new and different and totally Arab. Hahaha. Cost about AED40 for 10 minutes ride. Kinda expensive but it made such a good memorable photo. Was eyeing for the ATV but with the scorching hot sun, phewww, nevermind. Food was rather pricey at the hotel, mainly due to the fact that the hotel is the sole provider for food within the 20km radius. But we had lunch anyway at the restaurant, just a simple Thai food. Cost us about AED160 for the meals and drinks.  


Ever since we started traveling with Rayyan Eusoff, one of the deciding factors of any hotels that we will stay revolves around the pool. And I have to say that the pool was fantastic and Eusoff was all set and excited to take a dive in the pool. We stay in the pool for almost 2 hours and by the time we were going back to the room, Eusoff was not ready to go. Babies and pools. Ermmm.


That night we decided to have a dinner in the town. Drove 20 km from the hotel to the city centre of Madinat Zayed. One thing people have to understand is that, not all cities in UAE looks like Abu Dhabi city or Dubai. There are normal looking small cities that still capture that Arabian feeling like Sharjah, Al Ain or Ajman, to name a few. But Madinat Zayed is none of those. Hahaha. Small city with no tourist attraction per say. Dinner in one of the restaurant we had our eyes on. Can’t remember the name of the place but we just went ahead, ordered Mandi and Briyani and mixed grill. Burp. Knowing the portion of the food served here, it was more than we could take.


Comes morning, we were taken by surprise of the fog surrounding the hotel and compound. Wow, it felt as if we were in a tropical rainforest or some horror movie. Hahaha. But it was quickly dissolved when it was getting hotter. That morning we just stay in the room, went for that another quick dip into the pool after breakfast and headed back to the city.


Perfect weekend getaway I have to say. It was great out of the hectic life of the big city into a great silence in the middle of the desert. Pure relaxation and may I offer a suggestion for the next time in places like this it’s better to go full board or at least make sure you have enough to eat to satisfy your hunger. The hotel was beautiful, the service was good, with exception of the major blackout on the day of our departure (when there was no power, there was no water as well because the pump was not working). Will we go there again, yeah sure why not? Because you know you need it once in a while. Breaking away from that noise into the utter silence of Liwa.

T.Y.S

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spontaneous Sharjah


I just bought a car. Second hand car, wait, its actually third hand. But it is still in a good condition and could bring us around. Which is pertinent to our road trip activity by the way. While we are at it, we believe it is cool to go to each Emirate in the UAE if we have the time.

This time it is the Emirate of Sharjah.


Abu Dhabi is the biggest Emirate which accounts for 87% of the whole UAE. So while driving to another Emirate, one actually spent most of the time getting out of Abu Dhabi. From Abu Dhabi to Sharjah it took about 2 hours 15 minutes. We use the outside road and avoid going through Dubai city. Eventhough on the map it took longer, but believe me with the traffic, it is a better option.


Actually it was rather spontaneous. Woke up Friday morning and thought that why don't we go out of Abu Dhabi. Not to Dubai coz we have been to Dubai. Next to Dubai is Sharjah. Wifey said ok then immediately we just pack some clothing and started to drive from Abu Dhabi at noon and arrived in Sharjah around mid afternoon. The first stop was straight to the Corniche area near the Heritage area. Parked the car near the Heritage area (on Fridays, 1 hour of free parking, otherwise it is AED5 per hour), then started to walk. This is actually one of the must-do in Sharjah, to enjoy the Souks. There are few Souks within the heart of Sharjah area. The dedicated website for it is indeed useful to navigate your way around. (www.heartofsharjah.ae).


We also visited the Sharjah Museum, Sharjah Gallery and walked along the Sharjah Creek. Then move on to another must-see in Sharjah, the Central Souq. I love the building that housed Central Souq. While wifey was not too crazy about it coz almost the whole stretch of the ground floor was only jewelry and gold shops. The upper floor however was more to my liking. It featured some fabulous carpets and house deco. I am all into it since we bought a house but still under construction back in Malaysia. Cannot wait to start decorating the house once its ready by 2018. For the time being, it is the time for me to survey the prices and think of what concept we want to apply to our home. I have to say that nowadays i fell in love with the lights and lamps in the middle east world. Not to mention also the porcelain and carpets. Beautiful stuffs at a fraction of the price sold in Malaysia.

We did not planned to spend the night, but it was late and we immediately decided to spend the night in Sharjah. Stay at the hotel around Khalid Lagoon. It boasted fantastic view of the lagoon at night and also in the morning. We were given a room on the 12th floor, of course we were rewarded with amazing view.


The next morning after check out, we went to the Al-Noor Mosque which just next to the hotel. Beautiful mosque overlooking the lagoon. We should have spent the nite in the waterfront but decide against it as it was too crowded. One of the main attraction is the water show. Rayyan Eusoff would have love it. But maybe next time then. We went back to the city centre and wifey bought some stuffs in the Souk.


Overall it was great weekend getaway. It is nice to see and experience another Emirate other than Abu Dhabi. But like i said, Abu Dhabi is the largest Emirate and there are so many things that could be done in Abu Dhabi alone. We will do that as the time goes. Sharjah however gave you the more old-fashioned feel of an arab city. It is like wifey said, it felt like going to Malacca. But of course it is way different that Malacca. Rayyan Eusoff enjoyed every moment that we spent in Sharjah even under the scorching hot sun. Cannot wait for our next adventure to another Emirate. I have already set my mind to go to Ajman next. Will write an entry about our Ajman experience in the next entry. This time it was all about Spontaneous Sharjah.

T.Y.S.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Living in Abu Dhabi


As the title said it all. I have been relocated to Abu Dhabi since end of February 2016. So this entry will not be about traveling to Abu Dhabi. Instead it will be more about going around Abu Dhabi and hopefully the rest of the Emirates. 

Living and traveling to one place is different. When you travel you can basically plan the whole trip and make the best out of your budget based on a short period of time. Living on the other hand involves getting to know the city thoroughly and the lens will not only focused as a traveler but expanded towards living like a local. Or almost like one. 

Rayyan Eusoff and wifey joined me few days ago after i settled down and managed to get a basic idea of living in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully it could ease them with the transition of moving to a completely new world. Malaysia and UAE are different in plenty of ways especially the way of life. 

This is the first entry of the series of living in Abu Dhabi. More to come soon.

T.Y.S

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where Had I Been in 2015

Wow. It has been a while since i last updated my blog. 2015 has been an incredibly busy year and i barely had any time to do any writings which most are rendered to work-related matters. But i had traveled more in 2015 compared in 2014. Mainly because of work-related and mostly to the same place with exceptions with few new places that i have never been before. Lets see how 2015 was for me.

January

Kota Kinabalu

The view from the pier by Le Meridien Kota Kinabalu.

February

Langkawi Island
 
Eusoff's first trip to the ocean in Cenang beach.
 
March

Cebu, the Philippines

Sunrise by the sea in Shangri-la Mactan Resort Cebu.
 
April

Yangon, Myanmar

Sunset by the Inya lake in front of Sedona Hotel Yangon.

May

Manila, the Philippines

Sunrise overlooking the skyline of Makati City from New World Hotel.

June

Kuching

July

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Steep stairs going up and down of Angkor Wat.
 
 Beijing, China

The famous Tianamen Square from the road.
 
September

Manado, Indonesia

Morning view from Sintesa Peninsula Hotel Manado.
 
London, England

Few hours of transit in the Terminal 4 London Heathrow.
 
New York, USA

The yellow cab of New York City.
 
October

Hong Kong

Few hours of transit in Hong Kong airport.
 
Chengdu, China

Night view from Jing Jiang Hotel Chengdu.
 
November

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Dinner with a view of Prambanan Temple.
 
December

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Beautiful canals of Amsterdam.
 
The Hague, Netherlands

The International Court of Justice in The Hague.
 
Paris, France

The famous Arc de Triomphe of Paris.

The year 2015 was filled with travel for me. It left a lot of sweet memories for me as well as i ventured to new cities that i had never been before, going to places that i had dream about throughout my life and most importantly bringing Eusoff to see more of what the world has to offer. Regardless of the fact that most of the traveling i had done in 2015 are work-related, it still afforded me new experience each time. 2016 comes with a promise with more travel experience not only for me, but also for wifey and Eusoff.

T.Y.S
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