Thursday, October 17, 2013

Passport tragedy

"7 days in the Philippines" was my most recent trip before I got busy with my final year studies. Will blog about it in another post because what happened before the trip will take a post itself. Long story. Actually forgotten about the travel dates, I had to check my passport wtf. And this has to be the most random and absurd trip I or we had ever made, if not for Cambodia (and if being kicked by an elephant was not crazy enough wtf)

Even at the beginning it was tragic, and this is to be a lesson learnt to me and to everyone reading this post, however I do trust that you are not as blur and (almost) as brainless as I am fml. So we all know that passport has to be "at least 6 months before the date of any journey abroad" as stated on the last page of the passport itself, in bold

I knew it all along but I guess I was being ignorant. Because my Thailand trip was less than a month before Philippines trip. Passport was valid for Thailand so I thought it would be valid for Philippines. And I did counted the months, but maybe my maths is too poor I did not include January itself fml.

And I only found out my passport was invalid at the check-in counter. Tell me who at the age of 20's would be so dumb, this is like an old woman mistake, cannot see the dates clearly, forgotten to renew or cannot count fml. Worst come to worst, my luggage was already checked in, under my friend. =.= As my other 3 friends board the flight and dragged my luggage along with them, I stayed alone at the airport. Initially wanted to just buy a flight back home but how could I let my friends bring along my 15kg luggage with them for a week ftl.

The flight to Philippines was the earliest flight around 6.30am. After I was left alone, I went to AirAsia counter to tell them I could not board the flight so I inquired about the next flight. There were only 2 flights per day and the next one at night was super expensive, so I had to take the next day flight at the same time. 

I also checked other airlines but they cost more and some involved transfer in Singapore so I guess that will be more time and energy consuming. Approximately 7am, I took a taxi to Putrajaya to get my passport done. Went early to avoid traffic jams. 

Upon arrival at Putrajaya, we (me and the taxi driver) both didn't know where exactly is the Immigration office wtf. I just followed the signboard and told him to stop next to a building with a BIG immigration office signboard. It was still dark and there were so many foreigners waiting. The quite was so long. It was my first time there and I was alone so I really did not know where to go. I felt that it was weird with all the foreigners and no sign of any Malaysian. So when the office opened at 8am, I went straight to the counter to ask where I can renew my passport. 

The officer saw that I am a Malaysian and she said I was at the wrong place fml. I was supposed to go to block X (couldn't remember exactly but it was somewhere far). I asked her whether it was walking distance and she said will take me a day to reach if I walk wtf.

So again I took a taxi. Almost cried because I was frustrated and lost. Took taxi to the correct place, which was really kinda far, and was told that I need passport size photos. Of course! So there I was looking haggard and took the ugliest passport photo ever. I was expecting to rest in the plane and arrive Philippines soon at that hour fml.

After I took the photos and went to the office, I was given a number. The number must be my life saver, which I will explain later. Because I went to the wrong office earlier on, I was behind few other people. Only half an hour after office hour started, they announced "system down" wtf. So we all waited for 2 hours, or maybe more. After all the waiting, we were told to go to another building because the system there was working. And what pissed me off was, it was the building I went at first, the building which they said was the wrong place. So again I took taxi back to the place I first arrived fml

Now thank God again for I managed to get the number earlier on. They said they will only process passports for those who already took the number, meaning those without number will need to come on other days. I cannot bear another day! All my friends are already waiting for me in the Philippines, they even got a hotel near the airport because of me. It was Friday, so it took longer time due to Friday prayers. Everyone left for prayers and lunch so the office was empty, I was there alone waiting and falling asleep fml.

After waiting for 3 hours, I got my passport done and had to eat snacks from a 1Malaysia mini mart for lunch. Went back to the airport, bought my flight tickets to the Philippines, and started waiting. I slept anywhere on the chairs, on the floor, on the rails fml. It was like a torture. But LCCT has always been like that. You see backpackers all around you. They sleep anywhere while waiting for their flights. Because it was so uncomfortable sleeping, I bought a novel which helped past time much faster. 

24 hours since I was devastated by the invalidity of my passport, looking sick and totally worn off, barely slept and my eyebags were hanging off me...I finally board my flight to the Philippines, with only a backpack, an finally a valid passport. Thankful for all the taxi drivers, took 4 taxis on that day fml, they were all very helpful. And I am thankful for such experience, hopefully once in a lifetime, which brought me valuable lesson: check your passport before getting your flight ticket. If expired, renew asap!

Friday, October 11, 2013

41 days in South Korea

Links to all posts on South Korea.
Traveled in Sept-Oct 2011 during post-Summer pre-Autumn season:
Covered Jeju Island, Seoul, Busan and some countrysides from joining WWOOF Korea.

Look forward to enjoy Seoul more in the future!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thailand Part 2: Surat Thani-Koh Samui

This is the continuation from Part 1:
So in Part 1 we went around Bangkok town and visited the historical Ayothaya.
Part 2 is just a short relaxing trip to Koh Samui, 3 days 2 nights

Domestic flight taken from Bankok (Don Meung) Airport to Surat Thani Airport.
Because we arrived quite late, we stayed a night at Surat Thani town.
A piece of advice, Surat Thani town is quite "deserted" after dinner time. 
During our arrival, we stayed at Tapee Hotel, Surat Thani.
They have tuktuk from the airport, I booked few days earlier while still in Bangkok.
This hotel is however quite old and has a musky smell but we stayed there afterall
because it was just an overnight stay before we depart to Koh Samui.

We didn't take photo in Surat Thani upon arrival because we were too tired to go around.
Upon arrival, we told the receptionist that we would like to go to Koh Samui.
We paid in advance for the bus + ferry which was around 500baht.
Receptionist arranged a pick up van from the hotel to the bus terminal, which was very early.

From the bus terminal, we took a bus to the jetty at Don Sak.
Getting to Don Sak Jetty by bus takes more than 2 hours, it was a double decker bus. 
The ferry we took was the Lomprayah ferry.
The ferry system was not really organized.
Do not expect the best service as they just pile your bags together.

Seats view inside the ferry. You can sit inside or enjoy the air/view outside...

of course someone like me would opt for something more tourist-y ;)

bags were just stacked, since most were backpackers.
If you are more of a "luxurious" travelling, speedboat or private boat would be a better option.

The ferry ride took almost an hour to Koh Samui.
And there could be long waiting for the ferry's arrival, bring some snacks with you.

Upon arrival at Koh Samui island, you can take tuktuk to your hotel.
The tuktuk driver may request you to share with other tourists.
I do think it is best not to go with other tourists because you will be making many stops.
We also got scammed because we didn't actually know the exact location of our hotel.
He just stopped somewhere and we paid.
We showed him the map and address, he acted like he knew but brought us to the wrong location.
Make sure you approximately know where is the location of your hotel.
We took another tuktuk from the wrong location to the right hotel.

At Koh Samui we stayed at CS Park Hotel.
This hotel is really recommended. The staff is friendly and the location was 
walking distance to the beach and night market.
It also has a pantry with dining table (though no stove or cooking allowed)

There are many things you can do at Koh Samui as there are package trips.
Like on most islands, you can rent motorcycles or bicycles to go around the island.
But all we did was roaming around the night market and enjoying the beach due to limited time.

Too bad we couldn't make it for a Muay Thai show

Rent a motorcycle or scooter and move around! It's an island, you'll never get lost :D

Jetski for rent

Sun tanning chairs are provided for free! (as long as you manage to get one) or just lie on the beach since it's super clean. Like many other islands, they have oil massage on the beach. There are also little huts for extra privacy

To get back to Surat Thani, we requested from the receptionist to get a taxi.
So we took taxi to the jetty and took the same ferry back to Surat Thani.

The best view which I love love love about trips are sea and sky!
Seeing the combination of these 2 (other than mountains) totally makes life worth living ^^

The ferry

From the jetty, there are already buses waiting to depart to many destinations.
This time we did not take the package so we just asked the driver which bus is going to town.
We took the bus and it was open air bus O.o
We were feeling okay because there was a family with little kids seems to be enjoying the ride.
But the bus stopped somewhere really random (doesn't look like a proper bus terminal)
At first we were not sure whether we were at the right stop but the driver
asked everyone to get down. So we all did.

There were already some tuktuk waiting to get the tourists to their destinations.
So we made an agreement with a tuktuk, with one young backpacker, off we went.
Again we stayed at Surat Thani for one night, but this time at SR Hotel.

SR Hotel. Really recommended, it was really nice and great deal for our budget

This hotel was much better than the first.
It was near a Korean restaurant!

The restaurant name is "Sarang" (Love) ^^

Of course not the highlight and we didn't eat there.
There was a night market nearby and we bought soooo much food that night.
You can find most of Thailand local food there!

of course, what's Thailand without this exotic food. Ate some in Cambodia so this was my 2nd try! 

Pretty lamps for sale on pathway between our hotel to the night market

will plan for a more proper koh samui trip in future :)

(Because all of the trips were quite impulsive and my parents paid for them,
thus I didn't take much note on the budget.)

Koh Samui Travel Summary:

Departure to Koh Samui
Arrival at Surat Thani airport
Tuktuk from Surat Thani airport to Tapee Hotel (overnight)
Next day, van from Tapee Hotel to Bus Terminal
Bus from Terminal to Don Sak Jetty, Surat Thani
Ferry from jetty to Koh Samui Island
Tuktuk from Koh Samui jetty to CS Park Hotel

Arrival from Koh Samui
Taxi from CS Park Hotel to Koh Samui jetty
Ferry from Koh Samui to Don Sak Jetty, Surat Thani
Bus from Don Sak to some random spot(?)
Tuktuk to SR Hotel
Flight back to Kuala Lumpur

Places to go: 

upon arrival at your hotel at Koh Samui, you can arrange for tour or rent a motorcycle.
To see places around, 2-3 will be sufficient.
If you missed out the crocodile show in Bangkok, you can try the one in Koh Samui.
Watch a Muay Thai show if you manage to make it at the right time.

p/s: photos are not HQ because I just copied from my Facebook album, lost the folder with resized photos

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Herbaline Facial: Overall Review

Yesterday I was feeling slight itch on my face and thus decided to go for facial treatment. Was supposed to go 2 weeks ago but I was lazy. The Chinese saying is true, there is no ugly woman, only lazy woman >.<

Due to my skin condition, I am supposed to do facial treatment every month, or once in 2-3 months. But due to my schedule, sometimes I cannot make it till 4-5 months. Now finally back home, I have all the time in the world, and free transport of course.

I went to Herbaline Kuching! My first facial was also at this exact location, 3 years back. Back then I saw their first trial promo at RM38. Blogged about it here. Good news is, they still have the first time promo! 

The reasons I came back to Herbaline, read on~! ^^

After my first time with Herbaline Kuching, I tried many other places. Famous places include True Harmony (half an hour late from my appointment even though I came 15 mins earlier) and New York Skin Solutions (review). Both of those places gave me really bad experiences, I never went back. Also did facials at some beauticians and dermatologists saloons/clinics along the way. Some were okay but since I was always on the move it was not easy to stay with one place.

Herbaline Logo (credits to Google)

Since I do not have major skin problems, Herbaline offers basic and natural facials. They do not have much varieties but just what I need for monthly cleansing within budget!

What I like about Herbaline, they have franchise in most of the states in Malaysia! So far I went to 3 branches, in Kuching, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur (addresses and details provided at the end of this post).

Yesterday was my third time with Herbaline Kuching. Good thing about being a regular (and satisfied) customer, they won't force you to purchase their products. Truthfully I am not using Herbaline products, I am currently using a clinical brand during to my super sensitive skin. I tried their blackhead gel, aloe vera gel and serums, none of the products I tried caused any breakouts.

I just did normal facial (Herbal Facial Spa), which is RM85 for 90 minutes treatment. For some branches it is RM79, I think West Malaysia branches (?). Any facials below RM100 is considered cheap (at least to me). There are other packages which are also considered within budget of RM100+-. Tried the moisturizing facial of approximately RM120 at Herbaline Ipoh and it was really satisfying.

Usually when I go for facial, the extraction part is so painful because I have many blackheads. I ended up with my face with reddish spots. I never exit Herbaline with reddish spots. 5 times in 3 different branches, I walked out free of blackhead and reddish spots. In Ipoh Herbaline I was most satisfied. They did not use steamer but just used some gel so that the blackheads "float" on their own. I always think steamer is not good for the pores.

Here is what I love most about Herbaline, their cooling and soothing mask! It is like the best thing ever, especially after the extraction. The mask helps me relax and actually makes me feel fresh :)

Herbaline also provide their signature treatments before/after your facial ^^

Natural sea salt foot spa



Fish foot spa

Here are the 3 branches I went and feel really satisfied:

G5 (Ground Floor), Precinct 88, Jalan Song, 93350 Kuching.
+6082 366 980

Kuala Lumpur (Lot 10 branch)
3rd Floor, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, 50, Jalan Sultan Ismail, 50250 KL
+603 2141 2581
+6014 2158 840

For the branch in Ipoh, it is a beauty saloon as Herbaline agent. It is not solely for Herbaline so the signboard is not Herbaline. I forgotten the name T____T but it is behind Jusco, a corner lot and located next to a Vegetarian Restaurant. Do call if you are unsure about the location. I was most satisfied with the treatment here :) 

23, Jalan Medan Ipoh 6, Bandar Baru Medan, Ipoh, 31400, Ipoh, Perak
+605-547 2533