Pulau Sembilan

September 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm

We’d not heard about Pulau Sembilan (九岛屿) until our friend recommended the place to us. This is a small island just South of Pangkor, which is popular among scuba divers and anglers, and only recently the island started getting overnight visitors. Overnight trips are organised by a couple of operators, and for the trip we made, we went with 9 Island Agency (环岛旅游业).

The overnight tour was RM280/adult and RM200/kid, accommodation is in a tent, and all meals included, i.e. 2 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 tea, 1 steamboat dinner and 1 bbq supper. We’d never been on a camping trip as a family before, hence we thought this would be a good opportunity for us to try out camping.

The meeting point for the tour was Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村) at 7:30am. The day before, we were already spending the night in Teluk Intan, at 6am, we started our drive to Bagan Sungai Buring, which still took us about 1hr (if from KL, it’ll be around 3hr +).

We were given a simple breakfast, and then got ready to leave for the island, which was a 30min ride away on a speedboat.

The side of the island we arrived at had a long strip of beach. A couple of tour operators have set up facilities here and ours was the biggest set up, which could accommodate around 200+ people. The facilities included a main shaded communal area where meals are served, and then next to it, clusters of tents were closely laid out in rows sheltered by zinc roof, and then between the clusters of tents, the toilet cubicles.

As we were the first boat to arrive the island for the day, we got to choose our tents first. We took 2 x 2 person tents on the 1st row closest to the sea, and not too far from the toilets. It’s no glamping, as the tents are basic, and we were given a straw mat and 2 pillows for each tent. ‘House keeping’ was done by a couple of people tilting the tents to shake off any sand (actually that barely got rid of the sand), and hastily wiping the mats with rags (which were not washed or changed the whole time we watched them ‘clean’ the tents).

I had to pick out the sand, wipe and air the mats before I allowed anyone in the tent; the pillows were so disgusting, we didn’t want to use them. We were told to bring along sleeping bags, and so that was where we slept on.

This is where we slept for the night (see how close the tents were packed).

And this is our view, check out how close we were to the sea.

Despite the basic facilities, we were taken good care and well fed by the operator. The island itself is also very beautiful, with clean sandy beach, and clear blue sea. Girls immediately changed and got busy swimming and exploring the beach.

And for me, I just took it easy.

A simple buffet lunch (seafood mixed rice) was served early. After a short rest, we were then brought out to sea to snorkel (part of the package). Unfortunately, the water around the common snorkeling spot was murky on that day, so we got back to the main island.

Then tea was served, eat as much as you can – red bean soup, prawn pancakes and some teochew cake. Red bean soup and prawn pancakes were so so so so good.

We walked further down to the island, passing 2 more tour operators (accommodate is all tents), where we were told the rocky coast is a good spot for snorkeling too.

Those who went ahead of us, somehow managed to find a squid (and caught it) and also a sea cucumber, and was showing off to us.

This side of the island is more picturesque.

(the show off)

The girls and I swam around, and did find school of fishes among the rocks.

There were lots of barnacles and sea creatures clinging on the rocks and we spotted crabs too.

Don’t know what they are, but we thought they looked like some aliens from sci-fi movies.

Before an early dinner, there were long queues at the toilets, everybody wanted to shower after a whole day of fun. Toilets are basic here, each cubicle has a toilet bowl and next to it a big container of water with a dipper. Water supply comes from the mainland, brought in by the operator in boats. It can get quite disgusting after many people have used it, as some uncivilised folks left sanitary pads, used toilet paper, plastic containers and bags behind after them, even though there were dustbins right outside the toilet cubicles.

We had steamboat for dinner (eat as much as you can) before sunset.

After dinner, we took a stroll and saw many tiny fishes washed ashore.

They were still alive, but when we brought them back to the sea, they got washed up to the shore again, as if they were not able to swim against the current.

After it turned dark, at around 8pm, we started combing the shore, in search of Bioluminescent Phyto Plankton (蓝眼泪), the highlight of the trip. The girls spotted the first one, tiny blue luminous dot, then another, and another. Everyone got excited seeing the shore sprinkled with more and more blue luminance dust, although they were not bright enough to be photographed. (Click here to see how a beach looks like with bioluminescent phyto plankton.)

A BBQ seafood supper and karaoke came after this. We decided to go back to our tents to sleep instead. With the tents so closely packed, it wasn’t easy to sleep as we could hear our neighbours talking, laughing, whistling. Moreover, it was a hot night with no breeze. Some people actually decided to lay their mats on the beach and slept there.

At around 4am it started pouring, some rain actually splattered into our tents and made it more difficult to sleep, and people around us were waking up too for the same reason. By 5am, most people were up and about, waiting for the rain to stop, good thing was it did, before breakfast.

Boatloads of new tourists started arriving, and some people started leaving. We decided to take our time.

Found this on the beach, and wonder if the little spots were the bioluminescent phyto plankton.

Before noon, we left the island, and back to Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村), and got fed again, our last meal which is part of the deal, a seafood lunch at Hai Yong Seafood Restaurant 洋海鲜餐馆 ; extremely good. In fact, we have no complaints about the food served, every meal was pretty good and the serving generous.

A short tour around Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村) later, it was time for us to head on home.

A Stop Over Trip – Sitiawan

August 28, 2015 at 5:41 pm

In June, the girls have a week of holidays, and despite the crazy schedule at work, we managed to plan for a weekend holidays to Perak.

We signed up a 2D1N package to Pulau Sembilan, and because we had to be at the Bagan Sungai Burong (双武隆渔村) by 7:30am to leave for Pulau Sembilan, we decided to spend the night in Teluk Intan, which is around 1hr away from Bagan Sungai Burong.

We decided to spend the afternoon in Sitiawan, as it seemed to be a nicer town to explore compared to Teluk Intan. My BIL is from Sitiawan, a couple of whatapps later, he told us where to have lunch and which gong pian is good.

Both my BIL and sister recommended lunch at Lido Restaurant (52, Jalan Dua, Taman Sitiawan Maju, 32000 Sitiawan).

This ugly looking plate of fried fish was so good, ok?

The oyster egg was delicious! I’d not eaten oyster egg this nice in Malaysia.

After lunch, we searched for the gong pian that my BIL recommended. Actually there were a few he recommended, but searching for the one near the ‘yellow’ old Courts Mammoth building was the easiest, i.e. Sitiawan Cheong Cia Gong Pian (曾家福州光饼) (12, Jalan Tok Perdana, 32000 Sitiawan)

By the time we arrived, that batch was sold out and they were going to make a new batch which will be available in 2hours time. We told them we came from KL, and asked if they have a piece or 2 to let us try. They did!
It was still warm, very crispy with a very flavourful onion filling. It was so good!

Guess what? The hubs decided to stay and watch them make the next batch. O.o The owner Mr Cheong, is more than happy to let us watch and photograph him, since it’ll be free ‘advertisement’ for him.

Gong Pian/Gong Piah/Kong Piah/Kompia is a traditional Fuchow biscuit baked in an earthen oven, it can be plain, savoury or sweetish. Cheong Cia’s has only one flavour, which is the onion Gong Pian. We saw them mixed equal amount of chop shallots and lard for the filling. No wonder it’s so fragrant, and crispy!

The dough stuffed with the filling was then flattened into disc, and stuck to the earthen oven to bake.

Once they were done, they were ‘scooped’ out, and ready to be sold.

2hrs after the previous batch was sold out, the next batch of gong pian was ready, and the crowd started forming.

We spent so much time watching the gong pian making that we didn’t have much time left. Out went our plan to visit the near by Teluk Batik, supposedly a beautiful beach.

We headed towards Teluk Intan instead, and checked into our hotel, Yew Boutique Hotel for the night. There’s nothing boutique about the place, but the facilities are still quite new, and rooms are clean and comfy.

Johor – Kluang UK Farm 2014

December 19, 2014 at 9:14 pm

Continues from here

We spent 2 nights in Kluang. Stayed in a nice hotel, Hotel Merdeka, which has been refurbished recently. The family room is extremely spacious and the big beds very comfortable.

Of course when in Kluang, one must go to Kluang Rail Coffee to have breakfast. There are a few Kluang Rail Coffees in Kluang, all under the same company serving similar stuff, but the original one is located right at the Kluang KTM Station.

Honestly, there’s really nothing great about the food or drink, but it’s something you have to do when you are in Kluang.

Even after spending a full day at Kahang Organic Rice Eco Farm (KOREF) the day before, the girls wanted to go back there for a second visit; since they like farm visits so much, we decided to bring them to UK Farm, which is on the way from Kluang to Ayear Itam toll.

There are different packages for visitors in UK Farm, adults and children pay the same amount. We took 2 x RM30 package and 2 x RM45 package. Both include guided farm tour, but for RM45, a bottle of passion fruit drink, a muffin, an ice cream are given to the guest, but the main reason we chose this package was that it also included animal feeding.

UK Farm is a much bigger farm, we had to ride on a bus to tour the farm with a guide.

1st stop, goat pen. The girls get to feed the goats dried grass provided, and also bottle feed the goat milk.

The goats were quite fussy, the girls discovered that once the (bottle) teat has been sucked or licked by one goat, the others won’t touched it any more.

They had a chance to cuddle a baby goat too.

Next we were brought to see goats being milked. The goats with full udders were herded to the milking station, and while being fed, they had their head locked behind bars to prevent them from escaping while being milked. Their udders and teats are sterilised before being attached to pumps goat by goat to milk them. We could see the udders shrinking once the milk has been pumped out.

We were given some goat milk produced in UK Farm to try, hmmm, no one liked it, too errr muttony? If there’s such a word.

We met a group of Anqingban (安亲班)kids on a field trip at the next stop. The girls have to wait for their turn to feed the ostriches and turkeys with the feeds that were part of the RM45 farm package.

The animals at UK Farms all look pretty healthy, they must have been well taken care of.

Together with the big group of kids on field trip, we were brought to the Jakun Village next. There’s only 1 Orang Asli hired to stationed there, with a couple of houses built to look like an Orang Asli’s house, not really a village per say. The Orang Asli did a blow pipe trick to the cheers of the kids, and then we were free to enter the bare “show houses”.

On our way to the next stop, the mushroom farm, we saw a herd of sheep in the big grass field, like the picture that attracted most on the UK Farm’s website.
We probably missed the sheep herding timing, the tour guide didn’t stop for us, but continued to the mushroom farm.

The mushroom farm was the last stop of our guided tour, being close to the main entrance, we were left to explore the rest of the farm on our own.

There’s a big wishing tree next to the mushroom farm with a small tree house, the girls fooled around there..

while I took a rest on the hammock.

Walking back to the entrance, we saw healthy looking horses behind horse rail.
There were more horses in the shed near by. The girls, romancing the thought of riding on a horse galloping across the meadow, asked that we let them go on one.

We paid the extra, and they went on the horses, but both claimed it was so boring since the horse they rode on was led on a reign by the horse handler.

The girls were unwilling to go home after the horse ride, so we walked around more, and found not far from the main entrance, away from the horses, was a small enclosure where chickens, guinea fowls, ducks and geese roamed freely. The girls dug out their last packs of animal feed and had a swell time feeding the birds.

Zaria found her equal here, a duck glaring at her asking for seconds.

They had fun chasing after the birds too, making them all excited/scared fluttering about.

Further in the enclosure, Zaria found this little cutie at the side of the pond.

The duckling was joined by mother duck and more ducklings when Zara tried to go near it.
However, with Zaria’s agility, she did manage to catch one of the ducklings with her hands. She was quite reluctant to release it after.

UK Farm over all is a very well run farm with healthy animals, their produce here is goats milk and passion fruit juice, but both are not found in Klang Valley.

Both girls had a great time here, and Zaria prefers UK Farm over Kahang Farm (KOREF) because of the animals found here, Zara likes the latter because she enjoyed the rafting so much.

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