Saturday, November 23, 2013

Topspot Food Court in Kuching, Sarawak MALAYSIA

When you visit Kuching, Malaysia, you can visit this roof-top food court by the name of Topspot at Jalan Mata Kuching off Jalan Green Hill, Kuching, Sarawak. It is right in the town centre, next to Pullman Hotel. The food court is located on the top floor of the car parking floors.

It offers sea food cuisine like steam fish, oyster basket, fish curry, fresh prawns, soups, shark's fin soup and other sea food.

The place is clean and has no air-conditioners, only large fans to cool you off.  You have to walk up the stairs in order to be there or take a lift. If you come in a large group, it is better to book early as this food court is always full of people.

It opens everyday from 4.00pm until midnight. The price of food is reasonable. So, it is good to enjoy dinner (traditional food) here. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Glimpse of Jakarta

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, has more than 10 millions inhabitants. Located on the north west of Java, Jakarta has attracted many foreign tourists to visit and enjoy the food and tourist places. I had spent 4 days and 3 nights in Jakarta and  had time visiting Monas, Pasar Abang, Istiqlal Mosque, Old Batavia, shopping complex, and Blok M. Below are some pictures that I took during my stay in Jakarta. Lovely place to visit....

A statue at Jalan Sudirman. 

Commuters at Sudirman train station (in the morning). Fare is cheap and is subsidized by the government.

Old Batavia. It is big square (Fatahillah Square)  with many old buildings around and were being restored and conserved by the authority. Take a transjakarta bus to Kota and walk a few meters to this place....

An attraction to the Old Batavia Conservation Area.

Top floor of the Tanah Abang commuter station where tickets are sold.

Quenching his thirst....Old Batavia Conservation Area.

A must for visitor to try  Avocado drink. Cost of 10,000 rupiah per glass.

Menara 46 along Jalan Sudirman, a new landmark of Jakarta.

Private vehicles in Jakarta. Traffic congestion is a common sight. You are advised to take Transjakarta bus which has dedicated lane to avoid congestion. The flat price 3,500 rupiah for any distance along the line (route). TransJakarta bus has 13 lines and it functions like any metro or LRT in other cities, the difference is the vehicle is the buses  while LRT/MRT are trains.

Tanah Abang shopping complex.

Istiqlal Mosque, the biggest in Indonesia which can accommodate 200,000 prayers at a time.

Monuments at Jalan Sudirman near Monas.

View of Monas, a must visit. Entrance via the tunnel underneath. Fee: 5000 rupiah and another 10,000 rupiah if you want to go up. It advisable to be early in the morning if you want to go up  to avoid long queue which might take hours.....

5 star hotel along Jalan Thamrin.

Small souvenirs sold at Monas.

A kind of bench for the visitors to is inside a restaurant called Selero Jumbo, near Sarinah Shopping Mall. Selero Jumbo offers authentic Sumatran cuisine. Price per plate is around 40,000 rupiah.

Gambir Railway Station in central Jakarta. It is a station for people going to Bandung and other cities.

At the top of Monas. Smiling Indonesia scouts joined in.

A village right in urban Jakarta, similar to any south east Asian cities around.
Tanah Abang Complex.

Note for the Muslim travelers: 

The airport (Terminal 3) has a few prayer rooms. Arrival hall has one musalla (on the left before you exit the hall) while the departure hall has separate musalla for men and women. 

The DAMRI bus cost 30,000 rupiah/person which goes to the city centre (Gambir Station). Taxi may cost more. Venturing Jakarta:  try walking, commuter train and buses. Occasionally take blue taxi (has meter). 

Shopping for common items, try Tanah Abang while expensive ones in Plaza Indonesia or Grand Indonesia which are located at Jalan Thamrin (next to each other). 

For food, try at Food Court at many supermarkets. Cheaper food at roadside mobile food stalls. Accommodation is best along Jalan Thamrin, as you can visit many places nearby.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tips To Move Around in Jakarta

This posting is meant to guide travelers who visit Jakarta. Once you had landed at the Sukarno-Hatta Airport, you have two basic choices to the city either by bus or taxi. If you choose a taxi, please choose the registered taxi like Blue Bird. This taxi has a meter or fixed fare. The normal fare from the airport is around 200,000 rupiah. However, if you choose a bus, you take DAMRI bus, a blue striped with silver background in color, you pay around 30,000 rupiah (at the booth or on the bus). DAMRI bus goes to many city destinations such as Gambir Railway Station and Blok M. The bus moves every 15-20 minutes. This bus has a fee wifi. If you have many luggage, it is better to take a taxi.

Most tourists will take DAMRI bus to Gambir station and from Gambir, they took blue bird taxis to the hotels. The fare is around 20,000 rupiah.

It is better to stay in central Jakarta hotels if you want to move around for site visits, shopping and relaxing. Choose good hotels according to your budget. I suggest you find budget hotels around Jalan Thamrin/Sudirman as it is very easy and convenient to move around. 

Staying around Jalan Thamrin, you are closer to interesting places such as Istiqlal Mosque (the biggest mosque), Monumen Nasional, Kota (old Batavia), Pasar Tanah Abang (shopping), Plaza Indonesia and Grand Indonesia (big shopping complexes catering for rich people) etc.

Note that places of interest such as Monas open at 8.00am and close at 3.00pm. Entrance is Rp5,000/person and going up to the top, you pay another Rp10,000 (to view Jakarta from the top). It is better to go early as the queue is long if you want to go to the top.

Menara '46, along Jalan Sudirman.
Monumen Nasional (Monas)

Tanah Abang Multi Storey Shopping Complex. It has many shopping floors (bags, clothes, batik, food court, banks etc)

Kota (old Batavia). It is now being conserved  by the government

One of the activities at Kota. Man in grey has attracted many visitors here.

For halal food, you may go to food court in many shopping complexes. The price may a bit more than the road side stalls. You may go to good restaurants such as Selero Jumbo which serves nasi padang, which is near Sarinah Mall. 

For Muslim travelers, as far as food is concerned, you have many choices. I suggest you go to food court. The food court in Grand Indonesia has food from various part of the world (western and eastern food). Food court  at Pasar Tanah Abang serves many Indonesian delicacy.

Restaurant Selero Jumbo at Jalan Timur, near Sarinah Mall offers Nasi Padang.

Food Court at Grand Indonesia, offering many western and eastern dishes including fast foot outlet like pizza, KFC etc.

The famous Indonesia gado-gado. Cost around 20,000 rupiah at food court .

For internal transport, you can take TransJakarta bus which has many lines (13 lines). If you stay along Jalan Thamrin, you can take Line 1. It starts from Kota to Blok M (vice versa) with a flat fare of 3500 rupiah. If you want to go to Monas, take tranjakarta bus and stop at Monas station and walk a little to Monas. You may also take commuter train to go to Bogor or Tanah Abang. The fare is reasonable.

The TransJakarta Bus. The bus runs on tyres and wheels and has dedicated lane to it. However, the bus has to stop at  traffic light junctions.

Happy travelling.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Visit to the Chimelong International Circus, Guangzhou

Last March 2013, I had the opportunity to visit the world's biggest circus in Pangyu, Guangzhou, China. The travel time from the city to Pangyu is about one hour. Pangyu is located to the south of Guangzhou, at the edge of the city, near the mountains.

We went there with a chartered van driven by 29-year old man by the name of Mr. Lee. When we reached the area, it is already 7.00 pm. Lee just left us at the gate of the Chimelong International Circus. We walked across the road and started queuing at the entrance gate. There were many people, thousands of them waiting outside. I guess, it is Saturday night, many parents bring their children with them.

We took our time and took pictures of the area, their sign boards and the patrons. The entrance fee to the show alone cost us RMB270 per pax. By 7.20 pm, we were already inside the hall. This hall can accommodate easily 7000 people at the a time. I looked around the hall and saw 3/4 is occupied.

We took our seat at the centre of the gallery overlooking the big stage. The large stage is separated by a water body (a canal ) from the audience. The ceiling is high with glittering lights all over. The circus is using the high tech with big screen at strategic places.

The trapeze, acrobat and other performers comes from all over the world. The animals are also introduced and make performance : horses, chimpanzees, tigers, lions, ducks, birds, elephants, pigs, dogs etc.

Among the highlights are the trapeze swinging at high ropes and had triple somersault; bikers in a cage (racing in the circular cage without knocking each other); women riding horses in various ways; acts of balancing on a moving wheel; performance of clowns playing tricks; parading  of animals on stage including the ducks in the waterway.

One impressing moment to me, was a flock of white birds coming from one upper right window entered the hall, making their noises and exit through other left window and a chimpanzee playing guitar and had gangnam style dance.

The  1.5 hour show (7.30 pm-9.00pm) is not boring at all. It entertains us very well. Later, Lee picked us up at 10.00pm at the spot where he dropped us and brought us back to the hotel.

If you wish to visit this circus, it is recommended, you book the ticket first.

Happy travelling.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mosque and halal food in Bangkok

There are many mosques and halal restaurants in Bangkok. For Muslim travelers, you do not have to worry about this. Just find a mosque, you will get information where to get halal food.

Darul Aman Mosque (A) is close to BTS Ratchadewi.

For those from the Middle East, lots of halal outlets along Sukhumvit Road. For those who like Malay or Thai food, you can visit Darul Aman Mosque area where there are many halal restaurants. To go there, you can either take a taxi or sky train ( the nearest sky train station is Ratchadewi near Asia Hotel).

If you take sky train, stop at Ratchadewi station and walk across Thanon Petchaburi towards the mosque. There are  many Muslim restaurants that serves Malay-Thai halal food at affordable price. You can speak Malay here.

There is another cluster of Muslim restaurants around Pratunam  (clothing shopping area), which serve Middle East and Indo-Pakistani cuisine. The price is reasonable. If you take sky train, stop at Ratchadewi, and walk towards Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest hotel around, then you will reach Pratunam.

Happy travelling.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Halal Food in Hong Kong

I travelled to Hong Kong from Shenzhen by train. The train ride from Lo Wu station to Hung Hom station in Kowloon is very smooth stopping at various station along the way. It only takes 45 minutes.

While in Hong Kong, I found halal eateries centred around Nathan Road in Kowloon especially the Indo Pakistani cuisine such as garlic nans, chicken curries, biryani, fried rice etc. It is just around Chungking Mansions and inside that mansion there are lots of small eatery outlets. This mansion is actually a shopping area and lots of budget hotels. It is a walking distant from the Kowloon Mosque.

Chungking Mansion at Nathan Road

Chungking Mansions at Nathan Road, Kowloon.

Islamic Centre, Ammar Mosque, Wan Chai.

Tasty dim sum being served at level 4, Ammar Mosque. The canteen opens at 10.00 am.

On the island side, I found the canteen at Ammar Mosque (Masjid Ammar and Osman Ramju Sadick Islamic centre)  in Wan Chai serves halal food too. Its dim sum is tasty and nice. You can take MTR train to Causeway Bay station and take a walk to Russel Road and Bowrington Road towards Wan Chai, you will notice a mosque green in color.

There are many other outlets but I recommend you try these two. Happy travelling.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Halal Food in Guangzhou

Recently I visited Guangzhou, China. This time I ventured Guangzhou on foot, train, bus and Metro. It was quite hectic but I am satisfied as I learned more.

I found a few restaurants near Xiaobei, one stop from Guangzhou Metro station (line 5). The restaurants are Hydramayt Restaurant (serving Arabian, Indo Pakistani dishes); Al Jazeera (serving Arabian Middle East cuisine); Bukhara Restaurant and Salam restaurant serving halal Chinese dishes, and Uncle Cafe (serving Beriani rice, curry and nan ). The first four are located near the station i.e. Huanshi Road Middle while Uncle Cafe is located 400 meter away. Salam Restaurant is located on the first floor of Donfranc Hotel, Baohanzhi Road).The price relatively higher than the normal Chinese restaurants as the food served is based on your order (no ready made).

Toothpic beef, fried prawn etc are served at Salam and Bukhara Restaurants.

Al Jazeera Restaurant, opposite the Hydramayt Restaurant.

Nan and breads are sold at road side at Baohanzhi Street near the wet market.

Hydramayt restaurant on the second floor of this building.

Road side stall, Baohanshi Street.

Located at Xiatang road west

The nan is crispy and the curry is ok. Uncle cafe served a delicious Chicken Beriani rice. Hydramayt and AlJazeera serves many kinds of food to your taste where you have many choice to choose.

For those who look for cheaper halal food, you can stroll along Baohanzhi Road nearby where you can find small halal eating shops and street mobile stalls.

If you come in a large group certainly, those restaurants can accommodate all of you. Happy travelling.