Friday, November 24, 2017

Visit to Aceh Tsunami Museum

Aceh Tsunami Museum, built in 2009 (five years after the tsunami)  is located at Jalan Banda Aceh. Its existence is to  inform the public regarding the tsunami which hit Aceh in 2004. Its building is unique in its physical design and beautiful too. 

Once inside, you can get information on tsunami and its impact on Aceh via its physical model (pre and post tsunami), colorful displays, videos, writing on the walls,  names of the dead, name of contributors  from other countries who help and donate and many more. Those without geography or geology background can understand how tsunami occurs and why it occurs.

It is estimated more than 300,000 death resulted from this tsunami. Some were found and buried and thousands were missing. Mass burial sites scattered around the city. Thousands of properties were destroyed and some were not reconstructed due to the missing owner and now remained either as vacant land or agriculture land.

Many nations came and helped. Now, Aceh has 7 evacuation centres around the communities. The research centre was formed with the help of Japanese government and also functions as evacuation centre.

Those who are already in Aceh and wish to know more about tsunami and its impact to Aceh township and her people, you must visit this museum. It has lots of information. I enjoyed my visit to this museum. Next to the museum near the entrance, there is a gift shop where you can buy products and souvenirs of Aceh.

External of the Museum

Inside the museum, you can look at the computer terminals depicting information

Names of the dead

A circular column where names of the dead are portrayed and this chamber also has Quran recitation

Names of the known dead

One of rock balls (part of the overall design)

Visitors listening to the Presentation by the museum staff

Watching the video presentation in the  room

Visitors inside the Museum

Model of the Museum

Shipped that stranded

Visualisation of Tsunami waves and people were running

One of Tsunami's survivors, now become the speaker of the Museum
Helicopter used during tsunami geohazard

Visitors (my team)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bangkok- the Baiyoke Sky Hotel

Having breakfast at the 78th floor at Baiyoke Sky Hotel, the tallest hotel in downtown Bangkok is something to look for. Rich in food variety brings more visitors to this floor and enjoy the view while having food and coffee. 

Viewing from the large glass window, I can see Bangkok city layout, its double layer highways,  traffic movement and traffic congestion. The cloud was hazy indicating the coming of rain very soon.

While enjoying my breakfast (as the food served has varieties: wide selections of fruits, drinks, breads, croissant, egg and omelette, salads, nuts, vegetarian diet, Japanese tofu and miso soup, cakes, puddings), I can see many foreigners coming into this hall, largely from Europe, India and Japan. Thanks to the food variety  and honestly I had to be careful in selecting them as it does not have halal certification.

I like the soy drink that is being served. The drink is so thick  and it is carefully put in the big thermos flask to make it warm and hot. It comes with side add-on like syrup, sesame seeds, sugar free jelly, and honey. You can add honey or syrup to satisfy your  taste bud.

Other lower floors, it has restaurants which caters many oriental and western dishes.

Not far from the hotel, down the alley in Pratunam, there is a large shopping mall, called Platinum Fashion Mall. The six-story commercial floor offers much sought after garment, clothes, jeans, leather, accessories, souvenirs, gift shops and of course food court. The price is reasonable, the principle is the more you buy, the more it will be the discount. Each floor is named after famous world city streets like Orchard, Nathan, Ginza, Soho, Oxford and Camden. 

Platinum Fashion Mall

For the convenience of Muslim visitors and shoppers, food court at level 6 serves halal food at some stalls, and small praying rooms are provided at level 5 for men and level 2 for women. You can spend hours and hours here to do shopping. Why not? The price is very competitive and it is a fully air-conditioned mall. 

A few kilometres away, there is another shopping mall called Terminal 21 which I consider as  a lifestyle mall. It consists of 9 floors: LG, G, and M and  floors up. With M floor, it is named after famous world city such as Rome, Paris, Tokyo, London, Istanbul, San Francisco and Hollywood. Each floor,  which has city names, you see the shops displays that city image. For example, London floor, you will see red telephone booth or London bus. For Istanbul, you will see lights and lamps like the ones in Istanbul Grand Bazaar.  There is a large food court in level 5- San Francisco. However, it has not cater for the Muslim visitors. However there is a small Muslim prayer room at level 2 next to the parking. 

London Floor at Terminal 21
Istanbul Floor at Terminal 21

I found it quite an interesting shopping complex. But the product price here is a bit on the higher side against the ones in Platinum Mall. Here the design and architecture of the building is unique in its own way. This building is located next to Asok BTS station. You can take taxi, tut-tut or skytrain to this shopping centre.

In the hotel vicinity, there are a few halal food restaurant offering north indian cuisine. But accidentally, I found one small restaurant serving Thai Muslim cuisine by the name of Sanneya. It is located at Soi Petchburi 17. Co-incidentally, it is the first day of its operation. The owner is very happy to welcome us to their new restaurant. Not only the food is tasty here, the restaurant has a small praying room for the Muslim patrons at the third floor.

Saneeya Thai Muslim Restaurat

Baiyoke Sky Hotel's large lobby at at level 18. You need to take an elevator to level 18. Its room is large and spacious, more than 32 sq meter. There is a gymnasium, a spa and swimming pool at level 20. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Visiting Madinah in the beginning of 2017

1-12 January 2017, I had the opportunity to visit Madinah in  Saudi Arabia for a few days. I joined a  group from Kuala Lumpur who are going to perform umrah. We took a flight direct from KL to Madinah.

Once we reached Madinah, it was a plain easy journey to our hotel. Madinah's new airport terminal was just opened. The passing of  immigration and custom was smooth and fast. The next time, if you are going to Mecca for umrah, entry and exit from Madinah is a good option.

As usual, during our short stay, we performed congregational prayer five times a day at Masjid Nabawi, visit historical places around Madinah, visit the Prophet's grave and sahabat's graves, and a bit of sight seeing and shopping.

Madinah is a cooling city, surrounded  by a chain of hills, where core activity start from the mosque. During the night journey from the airport to the city, I was surprised to see a good lighting (blue in color)  beaming around Mount Uhud making it so beautiful. This is naturally, to me,  a new spot suitable for night tour  in the distant future.