Friday, April 20, 2012

Manikar Beach Resort, Labuan

I've always thought Labuan has so much potential. It's a port hub, basically some areas are near some beaches but still (strangely) underdeveloped. Most importantly (being one of it's biggest attraction), is it's duty free! 

Last weekend, Daren came by to visit. Daren has heard so many (cheap) things about Labuan, but never really knew anything about the place. We decided to spend a Saturday night, check out the Manikar Beach Resort and get to know the little Labuan.

You can travel to Labuan by flight, by Ferry or by land plus boat. It is about 45minutes flight away from Kota Kinabalu or 3 hours Ferry Ride from the main Jesselton Point's Terminal. Another way to go to Labuan is when locals would usually drive up to Kuala Penyu and from there they would boat up to Labuan for another 20minutes.

Received good vibes about this place since my first correspondence with the Communications Personnel. She duly informed me about the upgrading they are working on when I was inquiring about my reservation. Even furnished me with all the necessary details one needs to know.

Before I get to the crummy, I must say we were lucky that our stay included a Complimentary Transfer from/ to the terminal. The only unfortunate thing during the whole trip was the fact that the van they rented was really old and dirty :( Apparently it was a temporary van that they had to use to transport some of the guests. So all was forigven - and maybe next time it will be better.

We got ourselves the Deluxe Twin (Sea View) and the room was massive. I thought it was perfect for families, could probably fit two more singles or if you have small ones that are younger than 9 maybe, I'm sure you can squeeze them in perfectly with you on the bed :)

Some friends from TripAdvisor actually commented that the place looked scary, creepy and a little overworn. I must admit that I could tell the place must have been around for quite sometime now, but I experienced nothing like those (e.g damp and smelly). Yes, some parts were rusty, the water shower was a little too strong but I personally was fine with it because I used it to massage my back (haha). But you may want to use the tub for the kids instead.

I also had more in mind - we could host awesome small parties in there! Some drinks and a couple of small chats maybe. That would be perfect for a close get-together :) 

There's a quaint television just in case you'd like to stay in and catch some shows. In fact, there were a lot of channels to choose from.  From sports, to news to HBO, that quaint TV is quite an entertainment box.

The entire room is basically massive. I forgot to take a photo of the bathroom -  that TOO was huge. You could practically fill the tub up, let it flow and swim around kind of huge.

Super long and huge hallway. I could imagine all the shoes being lined up all the way.

Daren and I received these Complimentary Welcome Drinks upon our arrival - some juice, which till today I was still not sure whether it was mango or some passion fruit. But it was really nice :)

The dining area is massive too. Seems like everything about this place is huge. Wait till you see the pool! For dinners, luncheons or breakfasts, I can assume this place can cater up to 300 people or more at one time. The restaurant's indoor section.

Outdoor. Perfect for the cool nights, or those who want to take some ciggy breaks. It's a great place to have team building events - imagine it being filled up by groups that can mingle and chat around. Good place to organise events in.

Even the lobby or waiting area is massive. Manikar must have this thing where everything must be huge o.O There were only like 2 sofas but the entire area was huge. A little disproportionate though I must say.

We get to see the lovely sunrise from our room :)

I saw a couple of kids playing 'bola tampar' wee early on Sunday morning. I thought that was rather lovely! Youngsters should opt to play more outgoing games. It's always good to stay active under the sun. Things are a little too digitalised nowadays.


And the pool. Ah, the pool. It was gorgeous and really inviting. There was a dude who was cleaning up the pool when I went in on Sunday morning, I could say it's very well maintained.

Look at how massive the pool was. I swam for only 20minutes, and I already got myself burned


Not quite sure why exactly, but Labuan is almost everywhere by the sea, and for some strange reason, Labuan is extra hot too. I had sunburned on both of my calves in like 20minutes -_-".

If you could see clearly from this view below, there's this small hut right across the pool and another a little to the right. These are beach pavillions which were used by some dudes partying on the day we came. They were blasting some real "happening" music - one could only assume it was an awesome party. I saw some silverwares on the table, maybe they had dinner there too. You can think about hosting your birthday parties (with barbeque) at this resort too :)

It has a football/ sports net. Friends can actually play some football here, and bask in the sun. It could be fun and convenient.

Doesn't have a fantastic beach, I thought the water wasn't that inviting too, but the stretch was "fairly" clean. There weren't as many trash as some beaches. The sand wasn't soft, it was brown a little muddy but I'm sure you could find a spot to sunbath still.

Breakfast here is moderate. There's nothing to shout about really, you have the usual Mee Goreng, Cereal, Juices, Turkey Ham, Toast, Sausage, Hash Brown, unlimited coffee and tea and then some.

There's this long stretch of greens beautifully landscaped and maintained along the corridor to our rooms. Things like these are nice and refreshing :)

Location wise - bear in mind this is NOT in the city, it's off the city about 20minutes away. If you're from Kota Kinabalu, Brunei or other neighbouring areas there's a huge parking space for you and maybe you're family could find useful of. What I find was most commendable was the fact that they actually made sure hat we're well informed we could use the complimentary shuttle bus at night as and when we want, to wherever we want. That was quite a service from them. They brought us to the city at 8pm and actually fetched us from where they dropped us at 10ish.

Though I also do think that it's because there were so few people in the hotel that they could actually attend to such requests.  Helps that most of guests were driving :P

So for RM 188.00++ and the rate includes:
  • One (1) night's accomodation 
  • Welcome drinks on arrival day 
  • Complimentary breakfast for two (2) 
  • Early check in - and late check out - (subject to availability) 
  • Complimentary broadband internet access and wi-fi in the lobby, Bunga Mas Restaurant and Pantai Lounge 
  • Complimentary airport and/or ferry terminal transfer 
  • Complimentary use of the swimming pool. 
  • Complimentary schedule shuttle bus service to the shopping mall (Financial Park) (latest to city was 8pm, and return from city was 10pm)  
  • In room coffee & tea making facilities 
  • 20% discount off food & beverage except in room dining and alcoholic beverages 
  • 10% discount on laundry is applicable for guest stay in the Suite King/ Twin Bedroom only. 

I think Manikar is perfect for school holidays. Drive down to Labuan, bring your family once in a while, check it out and you might be pleasantly surprised :)

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Things kids should do

For some strange reason all the places that I've visited these couple of months have been either beachy or just by some river, water or sea. Thanks to that, I've been sunburned over and over and been getting darker and darker. While it challenges and confuses my self esteem and my pride, I'd like to admit that... 

I have been feeling so ... "outgoing". 

I love this camera my friends gave me when I was in ChurpChurp :) I refuse to call them ex colleagues because I know that regardless of whatever time and situation we're in, I'm sure we could still get a long like we used to. Lovely bunch of people.

That said about being outgoing and stuff, here are some activities that kids should opt to do instead of sitting in the whole day.

#1 Kite

#2 Balloon

#3 Telematch or some group beach activities

# 4 Climb some trees

#5 Hug some trees

And last but not least, some plain ol running. In  Sabah we call it, Bubut Bubut (Chase).

Place: Tg. Lipat, Likas
Event: Cousin Ameera's 16th Birthday Party

This is what a 16th birthday party should be like. Outdoor and filled to the brim by people from all walks of life that matter most to you.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Guess where I'm heading next, excited

I never consider myself lucky whenever I get really cheap rates. I make sure I pay for something that is worth it. Only when I stumble upon some valuedeals, will then I sign for it.

For only RM 288 return (6N), guess where's my next destination;

Photos of Ariel's Point, Boracay
Courtesy of TripAdvisor

How odd! After so many years, I've never really thought of the place as a "destination", really.
Until I Googled more about it then I realised, this IS a gem; Philippines is going to be my next sanctuary. English speaking natives, super affordable and downright beautiful.

Excited :)

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ah decisions

The guy up there can never seem to package all things good, bundle it all and put a bow on it just for once can't he. There's almost nothing in life that comes together that will fit perfectly for you.

There must be some sort of misfit - your wishes, your wants, and your needs clashing, hitting hard at each other, nudging you by the second making you wonder what is the compromise between what is good for your soul, and what exactly do you really want.

Is it the pursuit of the temporary luxury, with the time for yourself at expense? Or the mediocrity, simple happiness but you may be living with the ever lasting what if questions.

People assume that most of us forget or do not want to chase our dreams. Sometimes, we just work hard all arounds all our ways to realize them, longer.

Should we fulfil little ones along the way (me travelling whenever I can), or put all the eggs in one basket and work hard to realise all of it next time (finally flying somewhere for a really long time) to travel the world?

Ah decisions.

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Pulau Mamutik, Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks

Ah, I could never get enough of sun, beach and fun. I would especially kill for some snorkelling, love the natural beauty of some simple fishies to colourful sea snakes, ah you gotta love the colours of the sea! It's like an entire nation in there. You could almost feel like there's a song playing in the background when you see all these underwater creatures. Particularly Little Mermaid's Under the Sea. Well mine did O.O 

Last Sunday, I went to the Mamutik Island with my friends. I've heard really good things about Mamutik from close friends, and since I love exploring places and experiencing new things, I decided this one is next. Mamutik too is listed under the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks, just like Sapi Island. It is conveniently situated about 20minutes boat ride from Jesselton Point (ferry / boats/ terminal point) from KK. Pulau Mamutik is probably the smallest among the Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks, but definitely one of the nicest. It is also recorded to be the second furthest island from the Port between the other islands. 

From what I Googled and learned more of, Pulau Mamutik is considered an 'off-a beaten-track' and apparently it's because of the lack of tourist facilities. See, I'm not quite sure what this means, because when I went there they have everything from cafeterias, to public toilets, so this mention must has been ages ago. It has resting tents, bbq pits for rent, diving classes. Everything for you :)  

Welcome to Mamutik :) 

Pictures are a combination of mine, and courtesy of Ying Ying :) 

We started the journey around 11AM, got our tickets at a cheaper price (from my previous post) because we went through this agent Green Holidays. So instead of paying RM 30.20 for the boat + terminal, we only paid RM 24. Hah, nice isn't it. Without the conservation fee of course, the conservation fee is paid to the island and is only another RM 3 :) 

We started almost immediately. We reached the island nearly 12, and jumped into the water straight after we reached the beach. There were a lot of coral rocks. A lot. Coral rocks are not the coral reefs, there are usually smaller in sizes (sometimes the breakages of the reefs, sometimes it's just the rocks), while some are huge buried nearby, and most are in smaller sizes of coral rocks. Something like this; 

And in Mamutik there are tons of them - both big and small. They can be quite painful, but nothing you can't handle I believe. Okay, here's where I can do my quick comparison for all of you; 

Pulau Manukan - A lot of coral rocks, and not so many fishes or corals (anymore). 
Pulau Sapi - Not a lot of coral rocks, and quite a fair bit of colourful fishes. 
Pulau Mamutik - A LOT of coral rocks (small and huge ones) and a lot colourful fishes and other sea creatures probably the most among the three islands. 

Look at how the small fishes give way to the massive fish 
I couldn't really choose between Pulau Mamutik or Pulau Sapi because I loved Pulau Sapi for not having too much of coral rocks (I nearly injured myself because some of the rocks in Pulau Mamutik were too sharp), but I loved Mamutik too because it has a lot more sea creatures. And that's bonus, because I Love Snorkeling. 

So if you have your little ones joining you - maybe it's best you bring them to Pulau Sapi. It's less rocky, maybe less dangerous too and perfect for them to play by the shore :) 

The twins in the office -_-" Bryan & Russel 
Ah, the colourful blue fishes. These were the ones that swam and swarm me when I was in Pulau Sapi the other day. It went from freaky to quite Pocahontas-ish like. I felt like like I was literally one with the nature :/ But they have tons of them here in Mamutik too! :) 

These small fishes kept lingering around us too - it would be with everyone. They're very friendly, and harmless. It's quite a fascinating parade to see all these fishes dancing and playing around you. They're really so adorable.

Amy and I - haha look at how the fishes just casually photobombed our photo

Love Precella's nail colour. 

Look at how dark I've becomed. Holyness. Lovely Ying Ying, me and Amy :)

When you reach the island, choose left or right side of the beach, and this area (which is the right) is a lot more exclusive and secluded.  Most locals would assume that if it's too empty it could be dangerous, but in fact it's really not. Just make sure you have your life jacket at all times - and are always aware of the height of the water. If you know how to swim, then please, swim away :)

Ah I forgot to mention that when we went the other day, the sea was rather choppy (that was last week, April 1). Everytime I swam, I was pushed back to the shore so it was a little bit of a struggle. There are times the sea was calmer, but mostly it was very choppy. So please be careful, we were alright because most of us know how to swim but to some of you, it might cause some panic reaction. 

Blue Spots Sting Ray 

*points to Sting Ray* 

*back up on the surface* 

Why did you ran?? 
What if it's the sting ray that killed Steve Irwin? 
*facepalm* You mean it swam here?
YES. Most whales do that nowadays!! 

The girl who said it :) Funny Precella. 

Add caption

Apparently at some parts and some seasons of the year, you get to experience some turtle sighting as they must have migrated from Sandakan (where you can see / experience turtles sighting) mostly. You can read more of it here

What else are they to see besides the long stretch of  blue? 


Apparently Pulau Mamutik also publicly acknowledges that there is a site where it is actually a "cemetery". You can see quite a number of gravestones in that framed area, but don't worry - nothing too creepy. They're all nicely gated. Nicely. 

And this. The rocky part of the island was MY FAVOURITE. The waters are cooler, it's shady by the trees and the sounds of splashing waters to the rocks are just so so therapeutic. I  could hide from the world just by sitting there for a good 20 minutes :)

Love this spot :) 

So come to Mamutik for day in the sun, and do yourself a favour - get a tan! I'm sure it would look so much healthier and better on you :)  

Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.