Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts

Monday, October 10, 2016

My Travel Tips : Top 4 Places to Visit in Desaru, Johor!

Last weekends I had some fun with some girls in Desaru courtesy of Johor Tourism. As a Johorian, I have really fond memories of Desaru because it is my family favourite beach holiday destination! After so many years, I'm glad I have chance to revisit Desaru again!

In fact, Desaru has developed so much actually, I can't recognize the place anymore.. however those memories lingering on my mind remains forever :)

Desaru is located approximately 88 kilometers east of Johor Bahru (JB), on the South China Sea and now it's only 45 mins drive from JB through the new expressway. From Kuala Lumpur, it took about 4.5 to 5 hour drive to Desaru.

I'm going to share 4 places to visit in Desaru, Johor! 

First thing first, let's check out the accommodation I'm going to stay in Desaru. We had a short 3 days 2 nights stay in Desaru courtesy of Tiara Desaru Seaview Residence (TDSR) which is the first condominium in Desaru that provides hotel service to buyer & residence. The main town Penawar is abou 5 mins drive away where there are restaurants, banks, grocery and police station nearby. With 24 hours gated guarded security, tenants can stay without any worries.

With 10 acres of land, TDSR build only 579 units to ensure the quality living of tenants at the best conditions. I was very impressed that there are a total of 4 pools within TDSR and the one in the picture is the main pool which is also opened to the public. Besides pools, there are also gym, tennis court, bicycling, garden and beach side cabana BBQ area and private beach! 

I stayed in 1 room apartment where we have a huge living room and bedroom! There is a dry kitchen with fridge and kitchen cabinets. A little different feeling from staying in hotel cos the space here is huge and it feels like home! Great for gathering with families and friends!

In our living room, there is sofa, TV and nice balcony with pool view. And yes all the rooms are equipped with air-conditioned! 

The room has huge space, I think can fit like 4 double bed! I love spacey bed room with plenty of natural light. 

There are 2 bathrooms in this unit and the toilet also super huge! Look at the space! Although the WIFI service is not available at the room during our stay, we were told it would be ready by Q1 of 2017.

Besides the main pool, there are 3 more private pools that are located between each condo blocks! 

Happiness overload because pool is my favourite hangout area! 

The private beach is just 5 mins walk from the condominium.  

The first place you need to visit in Desaru is definitely the beach. Desaru has 22km of beach and if you want to enjoy clean and unpolluted beach best to stay at accommodation that has private beach! 

The private beach at Tiara Desaru Seaview Residence is really clean and private! In case you are wondering, there is also black sand at the beach too. Scenery of tiny marine creatures such as baby crab and hermit crabs crawling over the unpolluted beach can be seen if you are lucky!

And if you are looking to invest for a beach home in Desaru, you might want to consider TDSR. We were told it is now open for sale from RM500k. Long term leasing also available from RM1,600 and daily homestay RM250. 

Tiara Residence Desaru Seaview
Jalan Tanjung Jump, Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia

Next I would recommend you to check out the Desaru Fruit Farm.

With 180 acres Tropical Fruitland, Desaru Fruit Farm is awarded the “Best Agro- Tourism site” in Malaysia 2006 and Innovative Tourism Attraction – Agro Tourism Conservation by Malaysia Tourism Awards 2010. They are more than 100 fruits and vegetables plantation in the farm for you to discover and learn! 

Let's try out our tropical fruits at the Fruit buffet! I really love this because their fruits are so sweet and juicy because it was harvested daily. And depends on seasons, different fruits are being served. Unfortunately we missed out the durian season! 

Lunch served are cooked with tropical fruits. It's really unique & refreshing. My favorite are stirred fry shredded papaya with seafood and deep fried squid with dragon fruit sauce.

After a scrumptious lunch, we went for an Agro Educational Tour at the fruit farm with Steve ; the son of the fruit farm who acted as our guide. 

We have fun hands on activities at the fruit farm such as harvesting dragon fruit.

This fruit farm is really different from the rest I visited because it's well planned with proper signage and sharing from guide. The farm is really clean and easy to walk! If you plan to visit, please don't forget to wear a cap/hat to cover yourself...

Besides learning about the fruits, there is also a small mini petting zoo at the farm. Lots of cute  rabbits to play with! You can buy carrots to feed them too! 

Meh meh.... Super curious goat looking at visitors! 

Others animals available at the farm. 

Just before we left, we were told there is a Go Kart Ride we can try.

Racing in the farm

Desaru Fruit Farm
Nearest Bidder, No 1, River Pollution Desaru, Kota Tinggi, 81900, Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia
Price for this is Tour + Lunch + Fruit Fiesta Buffet for Adult is RM58.30 while for child (3-11 years old) is RM50.90 including of GST.

Next sightseeing you can consider visiting is the Desaru Crocodile Farm which the Largest Crocodile Farm in West Malaysia where there are more than a thousand crocodiles are kept as pet. 

This lady introduced herself as the 3rd generation owner as the crocodile farm is passed down to her by her grandfather. She is really knowledgeable and passionate about his father favourite pet i.e crocodiles.

So many crocodiles are rear at this farm and all of them are rear as pet not for commercial use.

The huge pool at the middle of the farm. Looks calm but not really lah... cos gor hundreds of crocodiles in the pool.

This one here is 155 years old and it's one of the oldest crocodiles at the farm. Looks at the huge head. Scary eh....

Desaru Crocodile Farm
Teluk Sengat, Kota Tinggi, Johor, 81920, Ayer Tawar 2, Johor, Malaysia
Entrance fee is RM8 for adult and RM4 for children.

So we have a visit to Fruit and Crocodile Farm, what's next?

Why not to Malaysian largest Ostrich Farm?

There are a total of 100 of ostriches in this farm. The farm is clean and the birds are really gentle and friendly.

Are you looking at me ?

You get to have the opportunity to get close and personal with the ostriches like this. Buy them some food to feed, they will come close to you.

This largest bird on earth is even taller than me :(

Chickaboo... say cheese to my camera! 

Oval egg, oval face :P

This huge ostrich egg looks as big as my face... 1 ostrich egg is equivalent is 24 chicken eggs. We were told this egg is really healthy to consume as it has lower cholesterol compared to chicken egg.

1 ostrich egg is about 1.2kg and it can withstand up to 130kg weight on sandy ground.

To open an ostrich egg, you need to use a drill to open because the shell thickness is 2-4mm. 

Guess what the ostrich shell egg can be made into lamp decor! This ostrich farm has restaurant offers ostrich egg omelette, satay (bbq ostrich meat)....

Desaru Ostrich Farm
EMR 15, Teluk Ramunia, Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia.
Office Number: +607 826 5846
Opening Hours: 10:00am - 06:00pm (Daily)
Entrance Fee is RM12 for adult and RM8 for kid

And one of the most memorable dinner I had in Desaru was in Seafood Restaurant in Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa. From the outer look of the building it seem like a fairy tales concept whereby the building looks like a Castle from the Fairy Tales story line which the children and also the parents were enchanted with the concept.

Seafood Restaurant is located next to the beach. Super huge dining hall and I believe can fit more than 100 people at one time.

 I don''t usually think hotel food is nice but this seafood dinner is really superb! Fresh and cooked to perfection. Thanks Lotus Desaru for the dinner!

Bessides that there is also a waterpark in Lotus Desaru Resort. For patron living in this resort, they have fee entry to the waterpark.

It also features water play areas, such as water slides, splash pads, spray grounds (water playgrounds), lazy river, or other recreational bathing, swimming, and bare footing environments.

 Lazy river is a water ride found in water parks, which usually consists of a shallow (2½ ft. to 3½ ft.) pool that flows similarly to a river. There is generally a slow current, usually just enough to allow all too gently ride along lying on rafts. And best of all, it’s free & fun.

Lotus Desaru Beach Resort & Spa
Address: Lot 1854, Jalan Desaru Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi Johor Darul Ta’zim, 81930 Kota Tinggi, Johor, Malaysia 
Phone: +60 7-884 2800

Desaru has so much to offer besides being a beach holiday destination. All the farms (Fruit Farm, Ostrich Farm and Crocodile Farm) we visited provided really interesting educational tours and it would be great destination for family. There is also a new golf club that is newly opened ELS Club Desaru Coast which offers 27 holes of championship golf designed by Ernie Els. Not only that, we were told that Hard Rock Desaru Hotel would be opened by fall of 2017. Woohoo... Desaru going to be a really happening travel destinations in next few years! See you again Desaru!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This is how I plan my first solo backpacking trip to Japan!

I wanted to write about this for the longest time... my first solo backpacking trip to Japan last Christmas & New Year because it was my first time trip travelling alone. I was thrilled, have so much fun and glad I finally achieved one of my personal bucket list!
I always wanted to do so but always wondering would I be able to do... who is going to take my pictures, will I be bored because I'm all alone... 

Well let me tell you ... You will meet plenty of awesome travelers who will help you to take pictures. I still keep in touch with these awesome backpacker I met along my trip! 

I bought Yi Camera action camera just before I went to Japan so that I can take wide angle selfie) and you get to meet a lot of new friends when you are travelling alone! Traveling with your friends and partner are fun but travelling alone makes you learn about yourself more and the experiences are really rewarding. Though almost 8 months have passed, it is amazing how like yesterday it seems in my memory! 

All thanks to the lucky draw I won at the AirAsia media event (thank you AirAsia!!) I got myself a round trip ticket to Sapporo. I have actually been to Sapporo few year back and I traveled with bullet train from Tokyo to Sapporo during winter but I did not manage to visit a lot of places.... So this time around I picked Christmas season to travel to Japan since AirAsia allowed me to redeem my ticket even on peak season.... yay I wanted to experience White Christmas in Japan! 

So a few of my friends have asked me what do I plan or prepare before I go for my solo backpacking in Japan?

Well here are some my travel checklist before I depart for my solo backpacking trip to Japan.

1) I only booked for 1 night stay in Sapporo because I have not plan for others night. I booked Social Hostel 365 paid ¥3,000 (about RM118/night) as it's highly recommended by my friend Sherrie who have stayed there earlier on . 
Very cosy and nice hostel to stay in Sapporo! Highly recommended!
I noticed that it's cheaper to book via compared to their website. A very decent hostel to stay actually... more reviews on this hostel later ya! 

2) Since I am going to travel in Japan for 12 days, I decided to get 14 days Unlimited Japan Railway pass from Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) located in  Amoda building.  I paid about RM 1716 , it's not cheap at all I know but transportation fee in Japan not cheap either ( one way train fee from Sapporo to Tokyo cost about  ¥27k which is about RM1k). I personally like to travel with train in Japan so convenient and flexible to move around within 14 days with (from North to South and East to West!) Now they also have a sales counter in Isetan KLCC now.

3) I bought data sim from Sakura Mobile ; paid for ¥5,940 (about RM210) for 11 days usage of LTE DATA SIM 3GB together with express shipping to my hostel so that I can use when I check in. Although Japan is really an advance country but there are still a lot of places which don't offer free wifi and I need data to check and plan my trip on-to-go. 

My trusted data storage systems! 

4) Make sure I installed my mobile phone with My Cloud app so that I can sync and backup all my photos to personal Western Digital My Cloud Mirror at home when I travel in Japan. I could conveniently search and backup all my pictures easily via my My Cloud App.

You know one of the worst nightmare one can have ...losing our precious travel pictures when  camera got stolen, memory card got corrupted etc. Plus my family in my hometown was able to view all my travel pictures in My Cloud with the access I gave to them :)

5) I have researched roughly where I wanted to go for my winter trip and one of my highly recommend site is because they have really extensive travel guides  also forums to ask questions (which is super helpful!!). I was lucky to fond out a lot of places of interest are closed during New Year from the website because apparently to the Japanese, New Year is one of their most important celebration. Didn't waste my time & effort to travel these places to find out they are closed. 

6) I used Hyperdia to plan all your trip schedule ; they provide very comprehensive timetable of their railway and flight service within Japan. You will be able to know which stations, platforms and trains to get on in this . I installed their mobile app and it's super fantastic, I can just swipe and check on their timetable to decide on my next destination. A must have mobile application if you are travelling in Japan on your own!

7) Lonely planet book is good to have but mobile applications are always better! These are mobile applications I have all the time with me; super useful when I'm travelling. Besides, AirAsia apps for me to do mobile check in, I have used accommodation booking apps like Agoda, and Expedia. For me apps like Tripadvisor & XE Currency converter is a must have for traveler lah... can do quick check on places of interest, reviews of accommodation and do quick currency conversion.

8) Last but not least ; the most important of my travel plan is to get proper attire for my winter holiday. Since this a winter holiday, I need to make sure I layer my clothing appropriately to make sure you keep warm. I am not sure about you, but I felt it's pretty hard to know what to wear during winter holiday because we are not used to it. So this is what I have learnt about dressing appropriately for winter holiday in Japan where temperature fluctuates between -10 Celsius to 3 Celsius. Bear in mind, wind is pretty strong and it was snowing in Japan during Christmas ..

For Body : 1st layer I wore Uniqlo HeatTech followed by Uniqlo Fleece Top or Cotton Long Sleeves Shirt and Uniqlo Fleece Jacket (as I easily get cold, I wore another fleece jacket lol) and most outer layer Down Jacket as windbreaker (best to a long one that can cover your thighs too!). Best to wear few layers, so you can remove the necessary layers when you enter indoors. And it's better to buy Uniqlo from Japan because it's so much cheaper and have more choices! In New Chitose Airport  (Sapporo airport) itself, there is a big Uniqlo outlet for you to purchase your clothing! 

For Pants :  I wore Uniqlo HeatTech Legging before I wore my jeans...for better protection against the wind, wear windbreaker pants.  

For socks, hat and gloves : Remembered to get wool socks or Uniqlo HeatTech socks or hat to keep yourself warm. The last time you want frostbite! I would personally prefer leather gloves over wool gloves because they are water resistant.

Let me share some of my personal experience about picking shoes for my winter holiday.... I hope you can learn a thing or two!

For shoes : Ideally wear winter boots which are waterproof with wool insulation inside. But to be honest, those winter boots selling in Malaysia are not only expensive, bulky but it's ugly (old fashioned). Hence would strongly suggest you to buy from Japan. Price ranges from RM50 to few hundreds depends on the quality and brand, but definitely more choice for you to pick!

I wore this cheap boots I bought from online to Japan. It's okay to walk on ice (slippery okay!!) but not on snow because it's not a waterproof boots. I remembered how my socks are wet and my feet are cold when I walked on snow! Ewwww...

You can travel with sports shoes during winter but bear in mind, it would be slippery when you walk on ice, hence best to get ice grip for your shoes or boots. It's easier to walk. I got this from online. You also can also buy this from Japan convenient store.

After a while, the bottom of my boot is coming off... So I need to buy new shoes! 

I bought this super comfy boots from ABC Mart in Sapporo station. As this is not really 100% waterproof,  I bought and apply waterproof spray on this boots for better protection. I think I paid about RM237. A good winter boots makes your walking on snow and ice easier...

Here are all the 8 tips I can remembered so far, I will add in more tips along the way if I can remembered more. And if you have not try solo backpacking, you should consider Japan as one of the option. Japan is a great country to do solo backpacking for female traveler because the country is safe, people are nice, transportation network is extensive and lots of other female backpackers you will meet along the way! 

That's all for now, I will continue my solo backpacking story in Japan for my next posts :)

 Hope you enjoy my story & tips so far! 

Leave me a comment, if you have any questions, I will try my best to answer you :)

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