7 Essences of Travelling

imageI always enjoy traveling. I was a traveller practically from birth. When I was 4 month old, my parents took me on my first flight off to the USA, and my life is full of journeys & wonderful experiences since. I always kept track on the countries & Malaysian states I visited. I studied abroad, work overseas & I’m always excited about outstations, better yet international postings ; which make me feel like a global citizen. Til this day, I still travel a lot, often along with my family. My journeys are what define me & make me grateful of my life.

While it is common to say that people travel to gain new experience, meet new people, & try new things, here I jot down some 7 essences & lessons in traveling that you can realize in every journey you make:

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Pengembaraan Ke Sempadan Vietnam-China

April 2015 – Sebahagian daripada kerja kejuruteraan subsurface & geologi adalah mengkaji pembentukan muka bumi, sistem pemendapan sedimen, peristiwa tektonik, dan mengkaji singkapan batu.

Saya bersama rakan-rakan sepasukan berkesempatan mengembara selama 6 hari ke utara Vietnam sehingga ke sempadan China untuk mengkaji formasi-formasi batu pergunungan dan pemendapan di sana. Kami mengembara merentas 2 provinsi: Ha Giang & Cao Bang, untuk mengkaji bumi Allah demi menyingkap secebis dari rahsia-rahsianya buat manfaat sejagat. Kawasan melintas 2 provinsi ini diiktiraf sebagai taman geologi negara & kesemulajadiannya dipelihara dengan baik & juga menjadi tarikan buat pencinta keindahan alam.

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Saya tak pasti sama ada sudah pernah ada orang Malaysia menjejaki pergunungan ini. Namun, dalam catatan ini, saya akan bercerita dari sudut pengembaraan, dan tempat-tempat menarik untuk dilawati biarpun bukan dari ahli kaji bumi. Mungkin akan ada lagi orang Malaysia yang tertarik untuk datang menikmati keunikan utara Vietnam ini.

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On The Banks of Chao Phraya (Bangkok)

_DSC3549 23-27 Feb 2015 – Alhamdulillah, we’ve finally arrived in Bangkok. We’ve been thinking about this trip for quite awhile & we’re so glad it has come to real. After googling around & asking friends with experience about Bangkok, we put together a family friendly trip suitable for ourselves with children & babies.

We spent some 5 days in Bangkok, with 3 full days getting around the city. We stayed at Waterford Diamond serviced apartments near the Philippines embassy in Sukhumvit.

We spent the first whole day resting at our hotel after long consecutive journeys the past few days. By sunset, we walked the streets around our hotel, just to experience a stroll in Bangkok. We initially planned to walk around Siam Square, but found that it was difficult to bring a baby stroller up the BTS Skytrain, so we continued walking within a 1 km radius from our hotel. We eventually stopped at Thong Lor night market to try out some local food. New favourites discovered were mango sticky rice & fried squid roe. We then walked back to our hotel, preparing for tomorrow’s rounds.

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JB Kids Riot

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This past Tet/CNY break, we had a lil family trip to Johor Bahru.

Our main activity during the trip was visiting Little Big Club & Hello Kitty Town in Nusajaya. The kids really enjoyed the day.

The star of the trip was none other than my young toddler Aflah Muhajir, who is just 2 1/2 years old. He was the first to pick a Barney doll when we just stepped foot into the place; and he was the most excited to see Barney & other characters in person.

Those who wish to visit this place should come in the morning. You will definitely spend the whole day here. There are many shows, games, & rides scheduled throughout the day that you don’t wanna miss.

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Sapa: Sing With All The Voices of The Mountain

IMG_1748Winter, Feb 2015 – Travelling to north of Vietnam, our exploring intuitions brought my friends & I to the beautiful mountain city of Sapa. Sapa is located some 300 km north of Hanoi, near the Vietnam-Yunnan (China) border. The city is well known for its cool climate, beautiful sceneries and unique local ethnics. Traveling in February, we already expected the very cold winter, mountain climate that awaited us.

From Hanoi capital, travellers normally get to Sapa via train or by bus. We instead rented a car with a driver from Hanoi to be more flexible. It took 6 hours from Hanoi to Sapa, via the new Noi Bai – Loi Cai highway, including a rest break. The scenery along the way is beautiful, with rice fields, rivers, mountains and scenes of farmers plowing with buffalos & planting rice. On the way back, it took us 4 hrs 45 mins, non stop from Sapa town to Noi Bai airport.

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My Sparse Experience In Hanoi

20130710_152840I’ve been to Hanoi for work a few times throughout 2013 to 2015. In those working days, I also took the chance to tour around the city with my colleagues. I think all the interesting places I visited, which I’m about to share, could be compressed into a single day tour of Hanoi.

In Hanoi, there are a number of sites to visit for gaining knowledge, learning cultures, connecting with people or just simply to relax. Hanoi is an old city, existed for hundreds of years, and has been the capital of the Dai Viet people for centuries. Thus the city is rich in original Dai Viet history & heritage, also modern history & depiction of the current state & regime of Vietnam. There are many lakes in the city which provide a soothing view to the capital city.

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Sultan Kudarat

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Kami sekeluarga dihadapan tugu Sultan Kudarat di Ayala Triangle Garden, Manila

Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat merupakan Sultan Mindanao dari keturunan Shariff Kabungsuwan, pendakwah ulung dari Malaya yang membawa Islam ke kepulauan Filipina. Baginda memerintah selama setengah abad dari 1619 hingga 1671.

Baginda seorang yang berani, bijaksana, pemurah dan terkenal sebagai Sultan Mindanao terhebat sepanjang sejarah.

Baginda telah menyatukan kaum Muslimin dari Lanao, Cotabato, Davao, Sulu, Zamboanga dan Borneo Utara.

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