Guess Now : Where Am I?

Posted by : foongpc | Sunday, March 31, 2013 | Published in


By the time you read this post, I am already spending my holidays somewhere outside Malaysia. Yes, I needed a break and I hope I will have an enjoyable time!

I am not really into shopping when I go on vacation - I rather go sightseeing and eating yummy food - but this time, I am determined to get some souvenirs for myself and for some of you.

Now it's quite impossible for me to get a souvenir for each and every one of you, so I have to limit it to just the FIRST THREE PEOPLE who can answer the following travel-related questions correctly.

So here are the questions....

1. Where am I going for my holidays? Name the country and the city or town.
2. Where did I watch the famous Korean rock band CN Blue performed live? Name the city and country.
3. When did I visit Taal Volcano? State the month and year.

If these questions are too tough for you, don't worry. I have provided some hints for you, so if you are willing to do just a little bit of extra work, you will have no problem getting the right answers!

Hints for Question 1 : It's slightly more than 3 hours flight from KL. I will be visiting the French Quarter and it will be my first time tasting the bun cha.

Hints for Question 2 : Just google it! : )

Hints for Question 3 : Click HERE.

Easy peasy, right? : )

Here's a bonus question. The first person to come out with the correct answer will win a souvenir from me.

Question : What did I eat for dinner on April 1st, 2013?

Hint : I do not know the answer myself as it has yet to happen haha! To get the answer, you will need to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram. I will be posting about it on all three social networks UNLESS the country I am in has blocked the access to them. In which case, you will just have to make a wild guess : )

To follow me on Twitter, click HERE.
To follow me on Facebook, click HERE.
To follow me on Instagram, just add my username foongpc.

Good Luck and Have Fun!!

1. Anyone can join this contest. International readers are welcome.
2. You can answer Questions 1 - 3 plus the Bonus Question or you may answer either Questions 1 - 3 or just the Bonus Question. If you are a winner for Questions 1 - 3, you can still be a winner for Bonus Question.
3. The contest closes on April 5th, 2013 at 12am sharp.
4. The winners will be announced in this blog on April 8th, 2013.

The AmanSari Hotel City Centre In Johor Bahru

Posted by : foongpc | Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | Published in


During my trip to Johor Bahru last December, I stayed at AmanSari Hotel City Centre.

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Located at Jalan Wong Ah Fook, this 3-star hotel is just 3 minutes walk to City Square shopping mall and 5 minutes walk to the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex (CIQ).

I had initially booked for just one night stay at this hotel but ended up booking for 3 nights. The reason was because I only wanted to visit Legoland and Johor Premium Outlets (JPO) and I thought a night stay would be sufficient. But when I found out that this hotel was so near to the CIQ, I decided to go for a 1-day trip to Singapore as well, hence I booked for another 2 nights.

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The great thing about this hotel, besides its location, is that it's actually quite a new hotel. So everything was pretty clean and nice.

I booked a Superior Twin room at the cost of RM138 (USD44.50) per night. The room was comfortable with a nice 32-inch LCD TV with Astro cable channels and free access to the Internet via Unifi-high speed wireless broadband.

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I do not know about you, but one important requirement of any hotels I stay is free access to the Internet with fast connectivity. I absolutely hate hotels that charge for internet use! This AmanSari Hotel did not disappoint in both the free access and fast connectivity.

The room also came with coffee and tea making facilities although I did not make use of them.

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I was happy that the bathroom and toilet were clean and tidy.

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Having stayed at hotels with dirty toilets, I am always grateful for clean toilets!

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They provide hand soaps, shower gel, hair shampoo and shower caps which were pretty standard for a 3-star hotel.

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I found this notice on the bathroom wall rather interesting. Towels on the rack means "I'll use again." Towels on the floor means "Please exchange". That's what I practised every time, but I wonder if everyone does the same?

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Sheets are also changed daily unless you feel it is not necessary. I did not call the Front Desk to tell them it is not necessary, but I did not think they changed my sheets. Hmmm.

The shower area was separated from the toilet via a shower curtain.

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A close shot of the shower head.

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That's all the good things about this hotel and the hotel room. Now for the not so good stuffs.

Since I booked for 3 nights stay, I was shocked when during my check-in, the staff told me I had only booked for one night! Yes, I had initially booked for one night, but later added 2 more nights. Somehow it did not register in their computer.

After making me wait for about half an hour, they managed to sort it out and told me I needed to check-out the next day and re-check back in. How ludicrous was that!!

So you can see here below - the date of my arrival and departure, which is only one day apart.

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When I asked them why they could not just let me stay for 3 nights without checking out and then re-check back in, they apologized and said that's how the system works! Fortunately, I did not have to change room when I re-checked back in the next day or I would certainly protest!

By the way, I did not know what happened that day when I arrived at the hotel but there was a long queue at the counter and some guests were fuming mad because they were made to wait for a long time. One guest who was there before me actually shouted at the staff and asked her why she was attending to me when he was made to wait for more than an hour just for a simple check-in!

Wow! More than an hour? That's seriously bad, I thought.

Another staff approached one of the guests and asked for his details. The guest (who must have waited for quite some time) angrily told her off and shouted that he had already given all his details earlier. I wonder if the staff were new and inefficient or something went wrong. I really had no idea but it did not give me a very good impression of the hotel.

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Luckily, I liked my room and was most pleased with the fast Internet connection, the LCD TV and the cleanliness of the bathroom.

The hotel breakfast, which was complimentary, was nothing to shout about although I did not expect much from a 3-star hotel.

I only hated their very narrow parking facilities. I had great difficulty trying to reverse my car to exit the parking lot at one time. So much so that I decided to park my car at a parking lot outside somewhere near the hotel to spare me the trouble.

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However, based on its close proximity to the CIQ, I think the AmanSari Hotel is perfect for those who would like to visit Singapore but preferred not to stay in Singapore. And that's what I did. I spent one day in Singapore visiting the impressive Gardens by the Bay and Marina Bay Sands which I will blog about in future posts.

A Japanese Dinner At Kirishima Shuzou

Posted by : foongpc | Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Published in


After more than half a day at Legoland Malaysia and a brief window shopping activity at Johor Premium Outlets (JPO), my friend Jim brought me to Kirishima Shuzou for dinner.

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Located at Crystal Crown Hotel in Johor Bahru, Kirishima Shuzou is, according to my friend, the best Japanese restaurant in town. Well, he should know since he told me he had worked there before.

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Two weeks before my trip to Johor Bahru, Jim had already made reservations at this restaurant on my behalf. Why so early? Well, we wanted a private tatami room all to ourselves and there is only ONE such room in the restaurant!

Look! That's my name and it's first on the list! Haha!

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Oh, and if you noticed the date, yes, it's Christmas eve that evening. All the more important to book the room early, right? : )

Before I show you our private tatami room, let's take a look at the restaurant interior.

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The restaurant was quite empty. I guess we were early.

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There were rows and rows of sake on the shelf.

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Staff at work.

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More sake and alcoholic beverages.

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Variety of alcoholic beverages in the fridge.

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There were books to read too! That is, if you can read Japanese.

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More photos of the interior....

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Beautiful glass cabinet

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Some magnified photos of the glass cabinet...
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Oh, and they also have The Asahi Shimbun newspaper - one of the five national newspapers in Japan!

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Japanese magazines and comics galore!

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So after touring round the restaurant, we went into our private tatami room. Here's a picture with my friend Jim in it, although he was not looking at the camera when I took the shot.

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Some shots of the interior inside the room...

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My pair of chopsticks and the appetizer on the table.

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I forgot what's the name of this appetizer, but it's yummy.

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The menu book.

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Jim ordered a Saikoro Steak & Tempura Set priced at RM38 (USD12).

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The set consists of dice cut Japanese beef in hot plate, and tempura served with egg custard, 2 small appetizers, pickles, salad, fruit, rice and miso soup.

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Tempura prawns

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Dice beef in hot plate

I ordered the Kirishima Gozen Set priced at RM48 (USD15.50).

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It consists of assorted sashimi, sushi, tempura and grilled eel deluxe combo.

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Grilled unagi (eel) deluxe combo

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Salmon sashimi

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Chawanmushi (custard egg)

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Temaki (hand roll)

I enjoyed my Kirishima Gozen Set especially the unagi! Too bad I had a medical condition which prohibited me from drinking alcoholic drinks otherwise I would have ordered a bottle of sake to chill the evening away.

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Nevertheless, I had a great dinner time chatting with Jim and with the nice food and nice ambience inside the private tatami room, what more could I ask for?

Kirishima Shuzou Japanese Restaurant
Crystal Crown Hotel
117, Jalan Tebrau
80250 Johor Bahru
Tel : 07-2752 838

Coming Up Next : Where I Stayed In Johor Bahru

My Visit To Johor Premium Outlets (JPO)

Posted by : foongpc | Friday, March 22, 2013 | Published in


After spending more than half a day at Legoland Malaysia, my friend Jim brought me to the much talked-about Johor Premium Outlets (JPO).

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Located at the Kulaijaya district in the Iskandar Malaysia region, JPO is the first ever proper Factory Outlet in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

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From Legoland, it was a quick 15 minutes drive to JPO. But if you come from Johor Bahru or the Singapore Tuas checkpoint, it will take about half an hour's drive.

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There were many international branded goods here selling at discounted prices. You can check out the complete store listings HERE. However, I did not buy anything (shocked?) as I was not really in the mood for shopping after spending a tiring day at Legoland.

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A case of wasted opportunity? Perhaps, but from what I heard, the branded items are mainly leftover stocks from past seasons and a quick check on the prices of clothes (at least for men's clothes) did not make them a very attractive buy, even after the discounts.

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Perhaps you will need to dig deeper and spend a longer time to find good bargains but clearly, I was not willing to do that! So it was more like a strolling and window shopping trip for me haha! Well, at least I can say I have been here. LOL!

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However, foreigners in particular Singaporeans may find the branded outlets here worth the trip. After factoring in the favorable exchange rate, they definitely stand to save substantial amounts compared to shopping in their own country or other even parts of the world.

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I think that building this Johor Premium Outlets in such close proximity to Singapore is one heck of a brilliant idea! Well, to me it's more for Singaporeans than Malaysians really. But of course if you are on the lookout for branded items and have no qualms about spending all your hard earned money, then JPO is the place to go!

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The two-storey complex also houses restaurants and cafes.

I took a photo of the large parking lot in front from the first floor.

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It looked as if the rain would fall anytime soon, so Jim and I decided it was time to leave.

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One thing I noticed about JPO - some shops restrict the number of people or customers in their shops. I saw people queuing up outside a Nike shop waiting for their turn to enter even though there were not many customers inside the shop!  I wonder what's the purpose of this practice? To make the customers feel more comfortable shopping there?

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Well, I definitely do not like to shop in overcrowded places, so maybe it's a good practice. So will I make a second trip to JPO in the future? Possibly, if I ever go to Johor Bahru again. Who knows, I may just do some serious shopping then!

Coming Up Next : A Japanese Dinner At Kirishima Shuzou