Tuesday, November 27, 2012

World Heritage Historical Site - Malacca - in Malaysia

Christ Church is located next to the Queen Victoria’s fountain. It’s also the first attraction that most tourists would visit here.

Built by the Dutch in 1753 to commemorate the centenary of their occupation of Malacca, this church took 12 years to complete. No expense was spared in building it – from the wooden ceiling beams, each cut from a single tree, to the elaborately hand carved pews and frieze of “The Last Supper”. When the British took over the church in 1795, they put in a few additions, most notably the weathercock atop the bell tower. Originally a Dutch Reform Church, it was later consecrated as an Anglican Church.
The church is still in a very good condition. Photograph is not allowed in the church though, so I only spent like 5 minutes in the church. The church is relatively small, similar size to most of the contemporary churches in Kuala Lumpur. There’s no way it can rival the churches that I visited during my trips in Italy and Vatican.
Many of Malacca’s buildings are painted a distinctive shade of red
The building is owned by the Dutch Governer in 1650 as the governer office, it serves the purpose as Museum of History and Ethnography nowadays. Well to be honest, the building itself is much more antique and unique compare to the inside offering! Standing tall and strong with bright historical red wall, with one magnificent clock tower in its vicinity, it is sure a great place with a postcard view.
The Stadthuys Museum Complex is composed by History and Ethnography Museum, Literature Museum, Admiral Cheng Ho’s Gallery, The Governor’s Museum and The Museum of Government Democracy. If your history teachers always call out your name for getting A’s in history, this is really a Disneyland for you. Walking through the display will put you in a time travel machine showing the history of Malaysia throughout the decades.
Taking time between few hours up to half day tour, one can simply mesmerized  by the collection offered by the museum. Old rifle, porcelains, replicas, ancient weapons like swords, Kris exhibit will kill the time efficiently. Try to look for traditional wedding of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and Portuguese with plentiful of classic wedding dresses complete with altar or pelamin area carefully presented with detail of history.
Bukit St Paul (St Paul's Hill)
A’Famosa aka Porta de Santiago

St Paul, probably saying something wise like:
"Let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall"
Fantastically decrepit St Paul's Church (1521)
The courtyard, with the statue of Admiral Cheng Ho in the middle.
The internal of the Stadthuys
The Stadthuys (an old Dutch spelling, literally meaning “town hall”), also known as the Red Square, is a historical structure situated in the heart of Malacca Town, the administrative capital of the state of Malacca. It was built by the Dutch occupants in 1650 the office of the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor.
The Old Stadhuys Drainage System
Concrete staircase to St. Paul Church.
                   The Dutch Square is the starting point for a ride in one of these rickshaws.
Melaka Maritiem Museum
The Maritime Museum itself is a replica of the 'Flora de La Mar', a Portuguese ship that sank off the coast of Melaka while on its way to Portugal, carrying loot plundered from Melaka. The ship measures 34 meters high, 36 meter long dan 8 meter wide. The museum highlights Melaka's importance as a regional and international business centre from the period of the Melaka Sultanate, right through the Portuguese, Dutch and British era.
Maritime Museum (Replica Flor de La Mar), Malacca is also known as Muzium Samudera in Malay language. There are 2 phases of Maritime Museum. And together with TLDM Museum and Ex-KD Sri Terengganu Warship are part of the Maritime Museums Complex. We are going to explore Maritime Museum
It's surprising that you have to take off our shoes at the entrance of the museum. You can choose to put your shoes at the shoe rack provided at the entrance door or put them into a plastic bag provided by the museum and carry it with you to the museum. When you continue your visit you'll find the answer at the first deck of the ship museum. The floor is very well polished.
At the upper deck you'll see different models of ships showcased there. Also visualized are situations of how traders from Arab, India and China conducted business with each other in order to gain profit in Melaka port, which was known as Venice of the East at that time. Porcelain, silk, textile and spices were among some of the famous merchandises being brought into Melaka by the traders. Framed paintings and pictures that illustrate how Melaka played its role as emporium for traders from all around the world, were also hanged on the walls.

Moving forward to the other side of the ship, was the captain’s cabin. This is where you can see diorama of a captain's cabin although you are not allowed to walk into the cabin to have an actual look, you can still read about the roles of a captain at the door step.
The museum houses exhibits, artefacts and documents from the Melaka's golden era as the Emporium of the East and reveals how political control of Melaka was essential to the establishment of maritime dominance in the region.
The museum also traces Melaka's trading links from the earliest times through the colonial era, the Japanese conquest and brief period of Japanese rule, the return of Britain as the colonial master, the emergence of the independent nation of the Federation of Malaya and the formation of Malaysia.

The Maritime Museum is located along Quayside Road (Jalan Merdeka) at the  Melaka River. 
Opening hours
9am - 5:30pm (Monday to Friday)
9am - 9:00pm (Saturday and Sunday)
Entrance fee RM 5
Air Keroh lies about 15 km from Melaka city and there you will find the largest crocodile farm in the country. This sprawling 3.2 hectare park houses more than 200 species of crocodiles living in its natural environment. Some of the species include the humpback, albino, African Dwarf, Siamese, Tailless and many more.
The highlight of a visit to the crocodile farm is of course the exciting performances by the trained keepers with the crocodiles. The performances are sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. The times of the shows are usually displayed prominently at the farm. There are also fixed times when the crocodiles are fed and these are equally fun to watch. The kids will love this part of the family vacation.
The crocodile farm is opened to the public from 9am - 6pm everyday with an entrance fee charged.
Be amazed! Malacca Flyer

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Singapore Flyer

Since the Singapore Flyer started spinning its wheels in February (and officially opened on 15 April), it has become a favourite debate among local residents and tourists — is $29.50 (for adults) worth the 30-minute ride? To which we confidently say, yes. The experience is priceless and the view is spectacular, and will be even more impressive in the next few months.
In September, the F1 Night Race will be held here and you can get a panoramic view of the track while on the capsule. And by the time Marina Bay is fully redeveloped and the casinos are opened, riding the Flyer at night will be nothing short of breathtaking.
When the Flyer was about to open, people were under the impression that tickets were sold out for months. Not true. A certain percentage of daily tickets are reserved for walk-in visitors, though it’s easier to secure a ticket during the day than at night. We have not met a single person who was unable to purchase a ticket for the same day.
How does it look?
The Flyer is like a giant Ferris wheel, but it rotates very slowly. It’s height is equivalent to 42 storeys. One round takes 35 minutes. There are 28 glass capsules (the bottom is not made of glass, though), and each one can accommodate as many as 28 people. The Flyer, however, does not wait for the capsules to fill up. So, depending on your luck, you could end up having the capsule all to yourself or sharing it with 27 other people.
As of this writing, there is no electronic tour guide to help you along with the sites. So if you’re a tourist, it’s best to ride the Flyer on the last day of your trip, when you’ve already done the streets of Singapore and can more or less identify which building is which. Otherwise, you can always get one of those Singapore maps where the landmarks are indicated; 30 minutes is enough time to identify the rooftops of the buildings. On a clear day, you can also see parts of Malaysia and Indonesia.

What’s it like aboard?
If you’re expecting a thrilling ride aboard the Flyer, you won’t get it. The wheel moves very slowly, so you almost don’t feel it going for a spin. Let’s put it this way: it’s slow and stable enough for you to host a 30-minute dinner or cocktails.
Either way, each capsule is equipped with a closed circuit television so the operator will be able to see if anyone in your group is suffering from motion sickness and needs to disembark.
The best way to enjoy a ride on the Flyer is to pace yourself. You have to realise that you have all 30 minutes to enjoy basically the same landscape, though your view gets wider and wider as you go up, and narrower and narrower as you go down.
Sure, feeling the wind hit your face as you go higher and higher from the ground could make the Flyer a more liberating experience, but getting a view from top also works to put things on a different perspective. You’ll feel better when you reach the ground.

How much and what time?
There are three price categories.
Basic/Normal Ride Ticket, which means you queue up with everyone else, is at $29.50 for adults, $20.65 for senior citizens, and $23.60 for children.
Express Ticket guarantees you faster clearance through security for $52, $36.40, and $41.60. We recommend this to the VIPs. Then again, if you can spare 30 minutes for a Flyer ride, we’re sure you can afford a few more minutes queuing up with a Basic Ticket, so why pay double?
Signature Cocktail gets you one glass of the Singapore Flyer cocktail at a cordoned-off reception area, faster clearance through security, and a souvenir cocktail glass. These are limited seats and you have to purchase tickets three hours in advance. Costs $69, $48.30, and $55.20.
The first flight is at 8:30 am and the last flight is at 10 pm; scheduled in 30-minute intervals. You can arrange to stay for more than one rotation if you’re holding an event such as a wedding or birthday celebration.
How to get there?
The Flyer is in Marina Bay, which is where Singapore is hosting the upcoming F1 Night Race and opening up casinos in the near future. The nearest hotel is the Ritz Carlton and nearest MRT station is City Hall, around about 20 minutes away on foot. Here are the directional tips from the Flyer website.
Shuttle bus. The easiest transport from City Hall MRT is to ride the Flyer Shuttle Bus ($2 for adults and S$1 for children; redeemable off Singapore Flyer tickets) which picks up passengers at the Coleman Street bus stop, next to St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Shuttle buses arrive every half an hour starting from 10.00am to 11.00pm
By hotel shuttle. You can also arrange for the Flyer shuttle to pick you up at your hotel for $4 for adults and $2 for children. Book in advance through 67383338.
By public bus. You can catch public buses 106, 111 and 133 to Temasek Avenue. Singapore Flyer is just across the road.
If you’re still contemplating if you should shell out money for the Singapore Flyer, let us give you our final argument. When you’re in London, you go to Big Ben and ride the London Eye, if you’re in Paris you ride the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower, if you’re in New York, you up the Empire State Building. In the same vein, if you’re in Singapore, you should ride the Flyer: like the buildings we mentioned, it is also a national landmark, and a visit to any city is not complete until you experience what it is proud of.

The Singapore Flyer Opening Fireworks Display 2008

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Sentosa Island, an Iconic Island in Singapore

Sentosa Southernmost Point Asia Continent

10 years ago, Sentosa Island was a holiday destination for many locals in Singapore. My friends in Singapore (those in my age group) would relish and recollect many fond memories they had in this island. I supposed Singaporeans grew up and prospered together with this iconic island in South East Asia.
Sentosa Beach
A quick forward to today: Sentosa Island has developed into a world class resort island. Not many islands in the world can categorically consist and house so many attractions in a single island. Already, million of people have already flocked to this resort island.
Sentosa in Malay means peace and tranquility, has transformed and evolved over the years. The island offers a great numbers of attractions to tourists. You could easily spend days in this island full of fun filled activities.
Activities in the Sentosa Island are meant to please and stimulate your five sensory (Sight, Touch, Smell, Tastes and Hear). The experiences, recreation and entertainment I encountered drained my energy, so much so, I was totally exhausted.
Sentosa Beach
he many beaches in Sentosa – Palawan Beach, Siloso Beach, Tanjong Beach – are pure ecstatic to me. I am a beach lover. Naturally I am excited! I was impressed with the different theme and purpose of different beaches. Each beach has it own characteristics. Just grabbed a book and work on your tan. The sunny island does give you a very good complete tan. Bring your lotion! Of course, the many bikini babes are a pure pleasure to my sensory sight…
Sentosa Underwater World
If you want a touch of the animals in Sentosa Island, drop by the Dolphin Lagoon. You can feed, touch and watch the dolphin in action here. In the world famous Sentosa Underwater World, you will feel lost in the aquatic marine habitat. You can almost touch the huge turtles and sting rays in the shallow pools. The journey through the 83m long underwater travelator was simply mind-blowing…out of this world. Also, The Animal and Bird Encounter, Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom will add another touch to the list of animals display in Sentosa Island.
Sentosa Underwater World
The Fort Siloso tour brought fond memories of the many stories told by my grandfather during world war two. I was able to see life sized wax replica of soldiers in the scene of Japanese surrender. I even explored the old tunnel and having a good feel of the cannon and guns … The Image of Singapore is another wax museum that explains more of the history of Singapore, its culture and traditions. I brought home some souvenirs from the gift shop, perhaps just to prove that I have been there…

Fort Siloso
For a fun cinematic viewing pleasure with an impact, The Sentosa 4D Magix (Southeast Asia’s First 4Dimensional Theater) will provide another level of intrigues and fascination. The sight and sound of the theater, together with the special seats (for you to find out) will shock you! It was truly an interactive experience… The Cineblast provide another entertaining experience, simulation riding inside the cinema. I was seated in a capsule that cost over $150,000 and was transported to another world!
Sentosa 4D Magix
For some very thrilling moment, the Sentosa Luge and Skyride didn’t disappoint me. The self steering, gravity driven cart allowed me to race down a course of about 700m all the way to the Siloso Beach. It was as if I was transformed into a Formula 1 racer albeit this time round, I know I was in safe hand.
There are also other interesting sights in Sentosa Island, but less heart pounding moment. I visited the Tiger Sky Tower, which allowed me to have a panoramic view of the island. I was even able to view parts of Malaysia and Indonesia. I knew then I was standing 110 m above ground level and 131 m above sea level.

Fun and Thrilling Sentosa Luge
From the Imbiah lookout (everything is just a mere 7 minutes apart) to The Flying Trapeze (sport and recreation centre) to the Sijori Wondergolf (a miniature golf park) and to the Nature 101 Walk/Trail and finally to the Giant Merlion (Singapore Icon) I never once felt bored and lethargic. I supposed primarily because my 5 sensory had been working overtime all these moment. I had no time to feel tired and relax…

Tiger Sky Tower
Before you call it a day at this beautiful Sentosa Island, do make it a point to catch the sensational Songs of the Sea before you leave. Your visit to Sentosa will never be complete without watching this boasting majestic pyrotechnics display set in the seas. This is one of the newest showcases, a $30million investment display done at night, with great visual effect, stunning, dramatic and spectacular music performance. I bet you will start to tap your feet as the music play…your jaw will drop as the fireworks light up the sky.

How to get there.
Like the amazing race, you can choose a variety of transportation to reach the shore of Sentosa Island – By cars (taxi), by coach, by Mass Rapid Transit(MRT) or by Cable Car Ride. But the only different here is not about speed, rather, the scenery you can captured going by the choice of transport.
Cable Car
I would certainly recommend taking the Cable Car ride which give you a stunning view of the island; especially the exciting glass-bottom cabin. Unless you are afraid of height, it is also possible you can pop into one of Singapore largest shopping mall – HabourFront Vivo City – and walk to the island. Alternatively just go to the third level of the mall and take a Sentosa Express coach.

Slowing Down a Little with the Giant Merlion
Having enjoyed so much of those hearts pounding moment, we decided to slow down a little. It would be better to let my heart calm down after those adrenaline-pumping ride.
We visited the great Singapore icon: Giant Merlion. The Merlion has a lion head and a mermaid’s body. Standing at 37m tall, the Merlion offer a great scenic view of Sentosa Island and Singapore’s skyline.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Rose Garden and Thai Cultural Shows in Thailand

Rose Garden
Cultural Shows
Enjoy the unique and unforgettable experience of the world-renowned Thai Village Cultural Show. Daily, over 150 performers vividly portray a fascinating cross-section of Thailand's culture, heritage and way of life -- dances, ceremonies, rituals, sports and pastimes.
Thai Martial Arts
Thai-style boxing is extremely popular in Thailand. Accompanied by its unique ritual and ceremony, it is an art that demands a high degree of skill and fitness.
Thai Wedding Ceremony
 Witness a traditional Thai wedding ceremony performed according to ancient Thai customs. 
The Monkhood
 In Thailand, young men usually spend a period of time in the Buddhist Monkhood. To mark a young novice's entry into the monk-hood, the Buat Naag ritual consisting of a traditional procession followed by the ordination ceremony is performed.
The Fingernail Dance
 The Fingernail Dance is a graceful dance which originated from the North of Thailand. It is usually performed as a gesture of greeting and welcome.
Bamboo Dance
 Another North Thailand dance, which is usually performed during the the full moon. It requires great skill, practice and timing. Even a small slip can be very painful.
Elephants at Work
see how elephants work in teak forests and you will enjoy riding on them

The Grand Palace in Thailand

The Grand Palace adjoins Wat Phra Kaew in a common compound, and is where you will end up after exiting Wat Phra Kaew. Despite the proximity of the two, there's a distinct contrast in style between the very Thai Wat Phra Kaew and the more European inspired designs of the Grand Palace (the roof being the exception). The Grand Palace is nowadays used only for occasional ceremonial purposes and is no longer the royal residence. The present King Bhumibol (Rama IX) lives in Chitralada Palace (also closed to tourists), which is located not too far away in Bangkok's Dusit district. Though the interior of most of the buildings remain closed to the public
Highlights of it are: 
  * Boromabiman Hall, built by King Rama VI and every king since has lived here at some time. 
  Amarinda Hall, the original residence of King Rama I and the Hall of Justice. Nowadays it's impressive interior is used for ceremonial occasions and coronations. It contains the antique throne, used before the Western style one presently in use. 
  Grand Palace Hall / Chakri Maha Prasat. Visitors are allowed inside the spacious European style reception room. This building has not been used for royal residence since the mysterious death of King Rama VIII (the older brother of the current King), found shot dead in his room in 1946. The reverence for the monarchy in Thailand means that, even today, this remains a completely taboo subject to talk publicly about in Thailand.
  The impressive Dusit Hall, rated as perhaps the finest architectural building in this style. 
  The Museum, which has information on the restoration of the Grand Palace, scale models of the Wat and Palace and numerous Buddha images. Labels are in Thai only, but there are free English tours available frequently. Entrance is 50B. 
The combined compound is open 8.30am to 3.30pm everyday. Cost is 200B (if you are Thai, it's free), and includes admission to Vimanmek Mansion and Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, both in the Dusit area of the city, the Coin Museum in the compound, and so-so free guidebook. The entrance to the compound is on Na Phra Lan road, on the north side.
Don't listen to anyone on the street as you try to enter telling you it's closed for a 'Buddhist holiday', 'cleaning' etc, or asking if you want to see the 'Lucky Buddha' instead - it's all part of a sophisticated gem scam.
As Wat Phra Kaew is Thailand's most important temple, you are expected to dress appropriately or risk being turned away. Signs put up around the entrance show you are not permitted to enter wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, singlets or any form of open ended shoes. Sarongs and long trousers are usually available for loan should you forget.
Other attractions easy to reach from here are Wat Pho, Wat Arun, the National Museum, others sights in the Ko Rattanakosin area, and the Banglamphu district.
There's plenty of options for getting to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. Ordinary buses 44, 47 and 91 stop on Thaiwang road between Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew. Ordinary buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 82 and 91 also stop on Maharat road, on the west of Wat Phra Kaew. On nearby Sanam Luang, north of Wat Phra Kaew, ordinary buses 3, 15, 30, 32, 43, 44, 59, 64, 70, 80, 123 and 201 all stop, as well as aircon 6, 7, 12, 39 and 44. The Tha Chang river express boat stop is also very near. If you're staying in Banglamphu, it's possible to walk there via Sanam Luang. It's only about a 1 km walk, but involves crossing some large and busy roads which don't have any obvious crossing places.