Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Working & Driving in KL

After months of contemplating about going back to the working world, I finally found a job which matched my skills and experience. The whole interview process took almost 2 or 3 weeks. After all things were settled and they want to "seal the deal", I bravely drove for the 1st time to KLCC. I still remember that early April when I took all my courage to drive... and that time, I was barely 3 months driving in Malaysia.

Despite signing last April (1st week), I only started working this week. Why you ask? Let's just say it's the process here in Malaysia -- it took almost 2 months to secure a work permit for me.

I have been staying in Malaysia with a dependent pass (based on husband's employment pass). Now that I am working, they had to cancel my current dependent pass, issue a single entry visa with the stamp journey performed, and lastly a page where they issued my working permit. All those stamp and permits totally finished my passport pages. Just great... time to go visit the embassy and get myself a new passport.

My trip to the Embassy of China was a pleasant one. The staff were helpful and nice. The only downside: it takes 3 weeks to process a new passport because they will have to send the old one (and other documents) to Hong Kong for processing.

On another note, just to share with you the horrendous parking fees I have paid the past days. I parked inside Suria KLCC.

1st day: I arrived really too early for work (around 8am) and had dinner in KLCC (left 9pm). My parking fee total was RM29.00 !!!

2nd day: I arrived a little before 8:30am and left around 6:40pm. My parking fee was RM22.

Plus on day 2, I learned a lesson: always keep small notes (like RM1's and RM10's) as this will be handy when you pay at the parking machine. They did not accept my RM50- bill. I learned the hard way -- and had to take a trip to Cold Storage and buy bread, just to break down my large RM50 bill.

Today, my 3rd day, I learned I can park at the KLCC convention center at a cheaper rate. It will be a longer walk, but imagine saving at least half of what I have paid! Well, will surely try to figure out my way there... and will use all that "parking fee savings" to just buy a pair of comfy shoes to walk to the parking!

Security is pretty tight inside Tower 1 and 2 of KLCC. One cannot wear shorts or slippers, else the guards won't let you go up the office (even on weekends).

The bright side is because you are inside a huge shopping mall, you have lots of choices for lunch. Food is relatively cheap ... I spend at least RM10 for lunch (if you eat at the food court of Suria KLCC). My lunch is even cheaper than my parking fee!

Well, having such a prestigious address for work has its up's and down's. One thing for sure, whether this turns out to be a short or long stint, having had the experience to work inside the iconic Petronas Twin Towers is definitely a thing to remember.


Driving to KLCC didn't seem as bad (as people have warned me). I was pleasantly surprised that the traffic is not as bad as in Manila. Though we will need to wait and see, because apparently the reason for enjoying such a "good traffic situation" is due to the school holidays in Malaysia. Many parents took the time off to spend it with their kids, which means less cars on the road heading to KL.

I honestly think that the traffic situation will not be worse than Manila traffic. Don't even get me started on Manila driving ... sigh, it is a gloomy scenario. That is why they say Filipinos are one of the best drivers in the world... while driving, we need to watch out for potholes, for the jeepneys & buses stopping anywhere, for the other aggressive drivers who never even took driving lessons; need to watch out for motorbikes and swerving cars; many pedestrians walking around the road which is meant for cars... All that, plus people love to text (SMS) while driving!


After 4-5 months of driving in Malaysia, I am quite comfortable already with some areas, as well as driving on the "wrong" side of the road. France and Philippines have the driver side on the left. Malaysia driver side is on the right. Funny, I still make a mistake sometimes and end up going to the passenger seat, thinking that is the driver side. Old habits are hard to break.

One pleasant thing though is there is less "honking" around. Because of the bad traffic situation in Manila, I used my "horns" to "beep beep" all the time. Yes, I mean all the time. It is hard to imagine a full day of driving without honking at someone. But in KL, well, with the wider roads (and no dark tint), you tend to not honk at all. That's a good new habit!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pictures of Langkawi 2007

After a long overdue, I have finally uploaded my pics to our new computer (loaded with Vista & got a good deal for it at SenQ with 12 months 0% interest).

As I said before and will say again, all Filipinos out there (like me) have quite high standards when it comes to beaches... only bec we were blessed with such pristine beaches like Boracay and Palawan (to name a few).

So when I went off to Langkawi, I held on to my high standards and expectations. I was surprised with what I discovered. Langkawi held a special charm, with nice beaches, many water sports to offer (including our yacht trip), many places to see & visit. Plus the place is not short of beautiful hotels -- so many to choose from, just depending on how much you are willing to spend. There's a place for every traveller, whether on a budget or on a honeymoon splurge.

Me and hubby truly enjoyed our stay. We will surely go back to Langkawi one day.

Enough words. This entry is dedicated for pics....

Can you see the passing airplane in the background? (see pic above)
This pic was taken from Pelangi Beach Resort. We enjoyed our stay in that hotel.

The pic below was taken when we took the cable car high up the mountains of Langkawi. It has a huge suspended bridge on top for tourists to enjoy the breath-taking view.

Hubby enjoying the cool breeze from the top of Langkawi!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Long Weekend...Off to Langkawi!

One of the things I love about Malaysia is the number of holidays they have. With the coronation of the new king, plus Labor Day and Wesak Day, this allowed hubby to have some vacation days so we jet-set off to the famed Langkawi for a long weekend. We stayed at Langkawi from April 28 to May 1, 2007.

When I compared prices for our flights to Langkawi, I was surprised to find out that Malaysian Airlines had good rates compared to Air Asia. What's even better is that MAS provided instant confirmation (meaning their website was working better than AirAsia when I was trying to book) so we took MAS to Langakawi. There were no problems encountered in our flight going and coming back. (For 2 pax, our flight KL-Langkawi-KL was RM1,100 in total).

Planning ahead always has its benefits. I did my Langkawi research at the start of April, and was able to compare prices, read reviews & the must-do things in the island. I booked our stay at Pelangi Beach Resort and Spa through (they use Asia Web Direct to secure the booking). In the past, I usually use for all my hotel bookings, but when I compared prices, I got a better deal at the site I used (which included free breakfast).

When we arrived at the hotel and saw our room, we were quite happy with the choice we made. I know there are many hotels, ranging from RM200/night up to RM1,700/night. We spent roughly RM1,870.00 for 3 nights stay with breakfast. Not cheap, yet not overly expensive. If only we had more time, we would have loved to stay longer. After our 4-days trip in Langkawi, we realized it is definitely not enough to see the beautiful sites of the island.

To find out "what-to-do" when we get to the island, I browsed through a number of sites. One can easily find different sites offering tours, activities, cruise, and more. I tried checking the prices, comparing and trying to book online ... but my tip to those out there : NO NEED to rush into booking and paying ahead unless you are going during the peak season. When you arrive at the Langkawi Airport, there are many, many tour operators who can offer services -- and all at the same price! The beauty of Langkawi is there controlled tourism. I think foreigners will appreciate the fact that all taxi fares are standard (meaning taxi fare from airport to Pelangi is RM16- whichever cab you take). No cabbie will try to con you out of paying more. Also, the tour operators offer almost the same prices, so you can actually just choose the best one who can give good service.

One of the best part of our trip was due to the research I made on the internet... we took a day cruise via the Stardust yacht. The cost is roughly RM300 per person, and it was definitely worth every ringgit! Lunch and all-day drinks were included in the fee, so we were not short of water, wine, Coke and beer. They only take a max of 20 person on board. That day, we were only 13 people, coming from different countries. It was nice meeting those nice people and spending the day together. There was a European family who lived in Egypt but moved to KL recently. An elderly German couple from Northern Europe. 2 girls from Germany but they are living in Singapore now. Hmm, now that I think of it, I was the only Chinese on board! We also had 2 Malaysians : the captain and his side-kick called "Jack Sparrow". They surely provided great service all day. I would recommend this day trip as part of one's Langkawi getaway.

On the last day of our stay, we checked out from the hotel and left our bags with the concierge. We took a cab to the Cable Car (RM22- from Pelangi to Cable Car). The view was breathtaking. It is a MUST SEE MUST GO to place!!! They charge Rm25- per adult and it was super worth it! I cannot believe they built such a high cable car, and with a beautiful hanging bridge at the top. You can see a great view of the island and it will definitely take your breath away. We almost forgot about that cable car activity because we enjoyed the beach, thr cruise and hanging around the hotel... but please, take time to go to that cable car bec it is worth your time!

Well, actually we almost forgot about it only because we didn't have enough time. Like I mentioned, 4 days is not enough. We actually took an afternoon off to visit a friend who was staying at Four Seasons hotel. Oh my, if I thought our Pelangi accomodation was "nice and great", the rooms and facilities of Four Seasons truly deserve a "WOW! OH MY GOD!" For couples or families whose purpose of going to Langkawi is to have peace and quiet, not going anywhere else (not even the cable car nor cruise), then it's worth it to stay at the Four Seasons. You get to maximize your stay for the beauty you pay for. But for others who want to roam around Langkawi and check out the activities the island can offer, well, maybe it's better to save those Ringgits and just stay in a less extravagant hotel.

Food is not a problem. Depending on where you go, it can be pricey! We experimented with different restaurants. One common thing about all of them -- they have great fresh juices! Me and hubby enjoyed fresh apple, pineapple, and honeydew for all 4 days! A quick run-down of some the restaurants we triedR:
1. Coco beach restaurant - the first meal we took after landing in the island. This is a very pricey place, yet the ambience is not all that great. They boast of their beautiful sunset (which we didn't get to see) but overall, I the food didn't strike us as "great or yummy". So maybe you guys can skip this place. We spent almost RM180-- (or more if I'm not mistaken) because of the seafood we ordered.
2. Rasa Restaurant - a short walk from our hotel and we stumbled upon this local restaurant which had a lot of customers. Sadly, we discovered this place only on our last dinner. I would highly recommend to people. Cheap food, great taste, good juices, friendly waiters. I cannot remember the exact price but we paid below RM60- and we were very, very surprised. Our typical meal in Langkawi always averaged from RM100-Rm190 per meal for 2 persons, so we were pleasantly surprised to see our bill!
3. Beach Garden Restaurant - walking distance from Pelangi, take the beach route. As you walk on the beach at night, you will discover a lighted area with tables and chairs outdoor. Hubby had a nice kebab meal for RM55- and it was a huge platter. Luckily I just ordered soup that evening because I wasn't hungry, so I helped him finish the food. I would say this is a good place which you can check out.
4. There was a local restaurant at the Cable Car place which boasted they had the best chicken curry in town. I think it was called Rasa also, but it's not the same as the one I mentioned earlier. The serving was small. The roti was ugly. I would recommend you to pass and just find another restaurant to go to if you are in the cable car area!

Overall, it was a super, super holiday. 4 days of beautiful island fun. I am sure we will head back to Langkawi one day. I never thought that island would hold such many surprises!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...