Chiangmai & Chiang Rai 4-8 Jan 2017

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Wat Phra Singh, Khantoke Dinner, Hot Spring in Chiang Rai, White Temple, Blue Temple, Black House, Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, What Phra That Doi Suthep, Walking Street

Went on a 5D4N trip to Chiang Mai from 4 to 8 January with my 2 BFFs to kickstart a wonderful year ahead!

Good times seems to pass by rather quickly and it has been a very enjoyable trip!

On 4th January, we went to visit Wat Phra Singh which is about 20mins walk from our accommodation – At Ease Bijou Place. After which we walked to Old Chiangmai Cultural Centre to have our Khantoke Dinner. The dinner started at 7pm, and they will refill the food in the bowls every now and then. From 8pm-9pm, there will be dance performances in the courtyard and the stage! It was a real eye-opener for us!

On 5th January, we woke up super early to take a day trip to Chiang Rai with a local tour operator. It was stated in the email when we did the booking that it was an English Speaking tour, but when we boarded the bus, we were shocked that it’s almost filled with PRCs!!! This must be the start of the nightmare!

We visited Maekhachan Hot Spring first after a rather ‘intense’ 1.5hr bus ride since the traffic condition was really bad on a weekday. The little PRC girl beside us ate so much junk food that she vomitted halfway! ARGH! Luckily we reached the White Temple in another 1.5hrs. At the White Temple, it was packed with people! The temple looked pretty yet gory! There were rather weird paintings in the temple where photography is forbidden. I saw Batman, Transformers, and even Thor amongst those Buddhist paintings! hmm….

We had lunch at the food court opposite the White Temple. After that, it was another half an hour journey to the Blue Temple, which is known to the locals as “Wat Rong Seu Ten”. The temple was rather new, according to the tour guide, and the sculptures were very pretty!

The last place on our 1 day tour was “Baan Dam -Black House Museum” which is the house of the National Artist Dr. Thawan Duchanee. It is filled with lots of strange art works I must say. Maybe most artists are eccentric.

On 6th January, we went for a morning half day tour to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary where we fed and bathe the elephants! We were allocated to Camp 8 where there were 6 elephants in this camp. A gentle reminder for those who were interested in visiting Elephant Camps around the world : PLEASE ENSURE THAT THERE IS NO ELEPHANT RIDING IN THE CAMPS! The elephant’s spine is not ready to support the weight of humans even though you may see that they are large and sturdy! In fact, the seat they placed on top of the elephant is already 100kg! Imagine if two people ride on the elephant and each weigh more than 50kg, the poor elephant has to support more than 200kg of load on its body! That’s a torture!!! Furthermore, elephants’ feet are so soft they shouldn’t be used for trekking! Do you know that you can hardly hear any noises when the elephants made their way to the jungle? This really shows how soft their legs are!

So PLEASE DO NOT RIDE on elephants in future!

On 7th January, we used UBER to go to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which is on the mountain top! Our UBER driver was kind enough to wait for us at the car park area so that he can send us back to the main city. We were supposed to be able to get a panoramic view of Chiang Mai city from the temple, but it was foggy… so we can’t see anything. But the temple was packed with people since its the weekends. To get to the top of the temple, get ready to climb up a flight of 100 steps to reach the entrance!

In the evening, prepare for some shopping and bizarre crowd at the Walking Street. They sell almost everything at the walking street – Food, Souvenirs, Toys, etc… The street is very packed but you can get very nice and cheap street food along the way!

There’s so much to see in Chiang Mai that I think 5D4N is not enough! Perhaps we should go back again another time!

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Santa is gone… here comes the Giant Rooster for Chinese New Year!

It’s only 5 days after Christmas but the Chinese New Year decoration is already up in Chinatown!

There are many chickens along this stretch of roads, and I can’t help but think of the “Why did the chicken cross the road?” jokes as they really seem like they are ready to jump onto the roads and dash across it!

Keep a lookout for the giant Rooster, as well as the smaller chickens and chicks by the roads! Don’t count your chickens before they hatch! and make sure they cross safely to the other side where the Force is strong!

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Met the chef at Legoland Malaysia, Johor Bahru

Went on a short getaway to Legoland Malaysia with my niece and sister-in-law from 13th to 14th December.

Some of the rides at Legoland Malaysia are quite thrilling even for adults.

We were all wet taking the boat ride in Dino Island where we plunged from at a high level and splashed into the water… Luckily the weather was quite hot and we eventually ‘dried’ ourselves without the help of the electric dryer which requires RM$10.

We loved the NinjaGo Ride so much we took it 4 times in total! It is a 4D ride where you need to move your arms at the sensor to shoot the objects and harness your ninja powers to kill enemies.

There’s a similar ride at Adventure Land where you need to point and shoot with a gun. However, the gun was rather difficult to control, but its a similar concept to NinjaGo.

We also took The Dragon roller coaster where some of the turns were quite sharp and fast.

We enjoyed ourselves at the theme park and would perhaps return the next time for the Water Park.

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Visited Godson Zavier and received souvenirs from Hokkaido, South Korea and Toyko from my Bffs

Although Godson’s baby shower was on 3rd December, we couldn’t attend as 1 of the ‘fairy godmothers’ was in Tokyo, while the other 2 have prior appointments. So we rearranged with Godson’s mother, who is our BFF, to visit them today (10 December) instead.

Godson was sleeping when we visited at about 5pm. We couldn’t really disturb him much.

We also took this opportunity to present one of the ‘fairy godmother’ her belated birthday present since we were too busy to meet up on her birthday in November.

In the end she also presented us with souvenirs from her recent Hokkaido and South Korea trip. The other ‘fairy godmother’ who just returned from Tokyo also presented us with some goodies in a MyMelody folder.

I will buy them some souvenirs when I go to Legoland Malaysia next week since I didn’t buy them anything from Batam.

Till the next time we meet, BFFs and godchildren! Stay healthy and happy!

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At Nongsapura Ferry Terminal waiting for ferry to go back to Singapore on 9 December 2016

Stayed at Batam View Resort with my sister-in-law and 2 nieces on 8th December 2016. Was quite upset that the service of this resort was not as good as before.

They don’t serve you ‘welcome drinks’ anymore but were busy checking their handphones or talking to their colleagues.

This very blur and inefficient receptionist “Catherine” really made my blood boil. We asked to hire a taxi to go to the Mall beside Batam Center Ferry Terminal. The taxi took us to Nagoya Hill and told us that we are going to Batam City. I told him I gave specific instructions to Catherine that I wanted to go to Batam Center Ferry Terminal. Then he kept saying he heard Nagoya… so I told him, “nevermind, Nagoya Hill then.” To our surprise, he just u-turn and drove towards Batam Center… What the hell!! And he still demanded 188,000 Indonesian Rupiah from us!

My ride from the Mall back to Batam View Resort was only 150,000 Indonesian Rupiah!

Then when we requested for late check-out for the rooms on 9th December since our ferry is at 430pm, she said usually the rate is SGD10 per hour. Why don’t we just extend for one room? I used to get free extension for 1hr in the past. So has Batam View Resort become more ‘atas’? Don’t forget Montigo Resort is just beside Batam View and people might just go there next time!

The free shuttle to the malls are also not a guarantee. The concierge states that the shuttle bus is at 1:30pm, but when we went there to check, he told us “there is, but subject to availability”. Out of curiosity I asked him “today is a weekday and there are not too many people, so there should be availability right?” The person just replied “No, it depends on if there are enough people to go to the City.”

Seriously, Batam View Resort should pull up their socks!