Saturday, 19 April 2014

Bali Day 3: A Doing Nothing Afternoon [Short Entry]

If you read about my previous article, we only can get into our room after 2.00pm. It was still early and we decided to do few hours walk in Kuta area, specially to find money changer and to find something for lunch. Even-though its early noon, the sun was really burning. We discovered that it was hard to find local stall along our way because this is the centre area for tourist in Bali, and everything can be expensive according to our budget.

Finally, we decided to have a local lunch at a "look local" restaurant not really far from our restaurant. Yes, this restaurant is by local, but if I compare the price for similar lunch as the day before, this is 3 times higher. But it was fine. Chris said that the foods here are delicious and I am agreed with him.

Finished lunch, we plan to have short walk at Kuta Beach, but seriously, its only last for least that 15 minutes. The weather was so hot, the sky was beautifully blue, and the soft wind blowing our face make us sleepy. So, we finally decided to go to hotel and wait until 2.00pm for checking in. We did nothing for the whole afternoon because the weather was just killing us... too hot and too humid. 

Bali Day 3: My Poor Stay at Grand Istana Rama Hotel, Kuta, Bali

Hello everyone. It has been awhile and this posting is about my 3rd day travelling in Bali, Indonesia. We woke up a bit late on that day because the night before, we were hang out until 2.00am at Dyana Pura street. So, after breakfast and a short swimming in the pool, we pack our things and check ou
t from the New Pondok Sara Villa with a very heavy heart. Oh! How could I leave such a nice place with comfy bed and chilling pool right?

The distance from New Pondok Sara Villa to our next hotel, Grand Istana Rama is about 30 minutes travel by taxi. I think it is easy to travel by taxi in Bali, as long as your timing is good. Travel on mid afternoon normally will resulted you to stuck in bad traffic of Bali mainroads. Like us, 10am is just a nice time to make a move.

About Grand Istana Rama Hotel, this is a 4 stars hotel and it is located at Jalan Pantai Kuta. In another word, this hotel is exactly at the famous Kuta Beach which is just a stone throw away from the hotel. Since we arrive early at 11.00am, we only can register and need to wait until 2.00pm for check in to our room. 

But that is fine, because we decided to put our bag at the concierge and take a look on the things around Kuta area. I will share about my wandering experience later. But now, let me share about our room in Grand Istana Rama Hotel.... hahaha... I sound so serious isn't it?

I personally think that this hotel is old. I mean, really old and old (again). My not fun feeling started since I arrived to the hotel. The front office staff are beautiful, but too bad because the smile look so plastic. In another word, I don't think that they are warm to guest. This is far different compared to all staff at New Pondok Sara Villa which is superbly helpful, warm and understanding.

After we received our key around 2.30pm (which is 30 minutes later than expected time), the bellman brought us to our room with number 602. Basically this Grand Istana Rama Hotel was comprised of 3 story building and you room can be at ground, middle or upper floor. Our room was at middle floor and luckily the strong hand bellman helped us to curry our luggage.  

Our bed experience continued once we stepped inside our room. The antique smell greeted us and the lighting here was so poor. The room is just enough with a queen size bed, side tables, and two old style chairs. We do have a balcony, but I am sure no one will sit there because of two reasons; there might be mozzies if you sit there for long and nothing to see as this unit is not facing the sea. The TV? As expected, there is no time to dream for a flat screen here. 

The worst part actually is the toilet. The tiles colour, stain, bad smell (maybe because of air ventilation problem) really made me judge this place as the worst 4 stars hotel ever so far in my life.

Even-though this hotel is bed, there are still 2 good factors which made us to stay here. The location is really strategic at Kuta Beach and the mattress was really comfy. After long day outside, this is what we need, a good sleep on a comfy bed. Other than these, all were KO in our judgement about this hotel.   

Our conclusion, this hotel is just not suitable for honeymoon-maker or for someone who are very particular on good facilities and services. It is just okay if you will spend most of your time outside and just go back to hotel to sleep. Last but not least, if you can take a very old style of bathroom with stains, you can stay here. 

Last but not least, lets judge this face. Is he happy or angry? Hahaha...

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A "Just Okay" Dinner at Imperial Chakri Palace, Pavilion KL

Today I am suddenly craving for Pad Thai. Maybe it is because of seeing most of my friends now in going to Bangkok to celebrate Songkran over the weekend. So that, they did posting a lot of photos including this Pad Thai photo. Well, basically Pad Thai is a Thai style fried flat noodle with prawn, dried shrimp, peanuts and Thai special paste.

So, I browse for Thai restaurants in Kuala Lumpur and search if they sell Pad Thai in their outlet. There are few Thai restaurants in town but unluckily it is not convenience to go there by public transport. Then, I discovered that Groupon Malaysia have a promotion 'buy RM15 voucher for RM30 spending and buy RM30 voucher for RM70 spending. So, without any delay, I do my reservation followed by buying the Groupon voucher and this is just to fulfill my craving for Pad Thai today.


So, how was the foods in Imperial Chakri Palace? Is it good? Well, overall I would say that the foods in this restaurant is just okay. Maybe because I used to work with a Thai restaurant when living in Ho Chi Minh City, and from my experience, the restaurant served the most authentic Thai foods that I ever had in my life.

For the appetizer, I ordered Som Tam or I should describe it as Sour & Spicy Papaya Salad and I request the spiciness level for my Som Tam should be less spicy. Our Som Tam came in a good portion and actually it is just okay. It would taste better if they add more dried shrimps and ground nuts. Anyway, it is still fine.   

Then, we orderd Seafood Tomyam, and again it is not up to my expectation. Perhaps, they don't add enough kaffir leaves and lemongrass, so, the taste is not as strong as I expected for a Thai Tomyam. 

Next, I love to highlight about my Pad Thai, It was OK for me. The dish is a bit wet, but actually I am expecting a dry version of Pad Thai. If they add more fish sauce and extra dried shrimp, the Pad Thai will definitely will be my favorite. I think the business owner should taste again the foods in the restaurant. It is not fusion, but not an authentic Thai foods. Just wonder if I order other foods which is might be more expensive, I will feel like wasting because I am paying for something that not up to standard as a classy restaurant in the Pavilion.

As for drink, our Thai Ice Milk Tea seems like don't have enough sugar or milk. But it is okay for me, as I am cutting my sugar consuming. 

Last but not least, I ordered Mango with Sticky Rice for dessert and again, the serving come with a plate of disappointment. The sticky rice is too hard, maybe because it was early prepared and uncovered. SO, it turned to be hard. Then the mango is too ripe, and the coconut milk was served too little as a dipping.

So, I shall conclude that my dining experience in Imperial Chakri Palace, Pavilion is just a normal dinner with nothing to shout out. If without Groupon, my total spending for such below par dishes will be RM127. Thanks for the RM70 voucher from groupon, I don't feel so much lost. Will I come back to Imperial Chakri Palace, Pavilion? I am definitely nope. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Bali Day 2: The Sunset and Lovely Evening at Seminyak Beach

It has been 4 weeks since the day I went to Bali for my mate's birthday. If previously I wrote about my 2nd day activity in Bali from morning until afternoon, now I will write about my evening and midnight activities while in Seminyak.

After coming back from sightseeing in Seminyak, we go back to New Pondok Sara Villa around 2.00 pm and really exhausted after almost 4 hours walking. Then, we had a long nap until 5.30 pm until we almost missed our plan to shoot the sunset view at Seminyak Beach. So, we were rushing walk to the beach which is located about 15 minutes from our villa.

Luckily we arrived on time and the sunset view at Seminyak beach was so spectacular. There are local guys playing beach football, kids running here and there, people taking selfies and couple walk hand in hand which enjoying the romantic feeling at the beach. For me, Seminyak beach is a super nice place for chillaxing.

Other than the romantic feeling along the Seminyak beach, there are many beach front lounge and bars along the beach which is really cool. Just imagine you sipping a glass of cocktail, lazying on the bean bag and enjoying the sunset moment with your love one. Besides, you also can enjoy the live music here and trust me, the song selection really nicely blend with the environment of this place.

Well, we didn't go to the beach front lounge here because our stomach had singing for foods. Furthermore, we want to save money and will spend it later for a nice expensive dinner in Jimbaran on the 4th day in Bali later.

So, when talking about my hungry stomach, my intention is actually to hunt for cheap but delicious local food here. But then, since we stay in Seminyak which is considered as a tourist place, eat like local for dinner is kind of hard because most of the eating places here are for tourist or practically I will say for the White. 

But then remember in the afternoon, we bought some cooking paste in Bintang Supermarket and we have a complete kitchen in our villa? So, we decided to sample some of the ingredientsfor dinner and we shall grab more of those if it is delicious. Beforehand, we need to come back to Bintang Supermarket again to grab boneless chicken, coconut milk and lettuce to complete our cooking ingredient of the night.

Immediate after arriving to our villa, without any delay we swiftly cut our chicken, turn on fire, pouring the paste, mix everything well and wallah! our dinner is ready. I did sampled the Ayam Rujak Pedas paste, Opor Ayam paste and since we don't have rice, we changed it to porridge from Super Bubur brand. Hell yeah, instant paste really make our life easy.

So, my personal advise is, if you travel to Indonesia, try to spend few hours in supermarket to discover local foods ingredients or paste because I'm pretty sure, you will love it and have an authentic taste of Indonesian food when you go back to your country. Well, this is also one of the souvenir that I gave to my mates in Malaysia instead of giving them key chain or whatsoever.

The only thing that I regret is I suppose to buy checkin luggage when booking my flight ticket before and so that I can buy more instant paste to bring home. But its okay. Bali... I will come again to you for more cooking paste.   

Sunday, 6 April 2014

My 3 Days 2 Nights Stay at the Ambassador Row Serviced Suites by Lanson Place, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur

Hi all, it has been awhile since the last time I did my entry in this blog. I am not even complete my blog posting about the last Bali trip too. Its all about time. I recentl spent most of my time in office (7am till 10pm daily) and when I go home, all I need is a good rest before starting the new day with same routine. 

So, to chill myself over the last weekend, me and my mate Chris went for a quick escape or I should called it as a 'hibernation' mission at the Ambassador Row Serviced Suite by the Lanson Place (ARSS) which is located in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

Well, I actually stay in Puchong and why did I spent my time just in KL for a quick escape? Actually, I am too lazy to travel far and it is just a weekend gateway for us. I am not sure about others, but for me, I love the relaxing feeling during the stay.

So, this is a quick review about ARSS during my recent stay at Room 712. I did the booking on last week and actually I suppose to stay here during the Labour Day off on 1st May till 3rd May 2014 through But then, since my body demand a good rest over the weekend, I did called the and request to change the date to 4th till 6th April 2014 and we did it with and price change at RM420 for 3D 2N stay.

My first tip is, ARSS is a good place to stay during the weekend, and maybe not so practical for weekday vacationer. Since the ARSS is located in Jalan Ampang, it will be heavy traffic jam from 7am till 10pm on weekday daily. This may give you difficulties if you plan to travel here and there while staying in ARSS.

My booking actually was for Superior One Bedroom Suite with size about 585sqf. So, it consisted of a living area, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom which is quiet spacious for 2 person stay. I overheard some long term stay guest mentioned that, it is good to stay in old units compare to renovated one as it is more choosy with classic style furniture and carpeted floor. Well, I am not sure about it, but for my unit, it is a old one and I love it especially the lighting effects in the room.

About the living area, it is really nice with controlled air conditioner,  comfy seater for 2 person, a flat screen plasma TV, coffee table and the glass wall really give a good natural light effect at day time with Klang Valley city view over the balcony. The good thing is, ARSS provide the unit with 2 TV which is another one is in the bedroom. So, this is perfect for someone who likes to watch TV before sleeping.

In terms of the kitchen area, it is very reasonable with complete cooking utensils, microwave, induction kitchen and mini size fridge. So, guest are welcome to cook their own food and feel like at home here. It is a closed kitchen which is perfect for me, as I don't really like food smell been spread out to my suite unit.

Since we have our own kitchen, buying groceries can't be difficult. Just few minutes walking from ARSS, you will find a Hock Choon supermarket and here you can shop for wet or dry cooking ingredient and I think, this supermarket is great. There are lots of things even-though the size is not so big. if you are lazy to cook, you may go to Ampang Walk which is located at the opposite side of Hock Choon Supermarket with some foodies outlets available for you to choose there.

Overall, my last stay in ARSS was great. Even-though at the first place, I read some reviews say that this ARSS is old and might have some stains here and there, but I am okay about it. I just want to enjoy my stay and be more tolerate with some weakness point at this place. Maybe the toilet is abit old, and as for myself, there is no hair shampoo in the bathroom, and the bath rope is really old... and I mean it. The hair dryer also have some kind of antique smell (I can't define it well) and I think they need to do something about it. 

So, if you are looking for a cosy place to stay over the weekend and also hungry for a value for money accommodation, ARSS is my personal recommendation. Great room, great lighting and yes... a very nice (chill) air conditioner temperature too.  

Ambassador Row Serviced Suites by Lanson Place
No.1 Jalan Ampang Hilir
55000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Telephone No: +603.4253.2888