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Showing posts from 2014

Kandy (Teas & Elephants)

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After sitting cross legged on the floor at the edge of a jam-packed rustic train for 3 hours, you expect nothing less from a famous city like Kandy to deliver.

And delivered she did.

Kandy, one of the more famous city in Sri Lanka surged in popularity after AirAsia connected most parts of South East Asia to Colombo. Sri Lanka has been popular for decades on its elephant conservation and tourism, but for the longest of time too, Sri Lanka had suffered from various tensions which have caused a lot of religious and political unrest.

But beautiful things do not need to fight for attention.

Over the years, the conservation efforts and wildlife tourism of Sri Lanka, or everything for that matter, which include its vibrant economy, people and culture crept through the ears and sights of traveler of all kinds, westerners largely who then slowly but surely put the word out there that Sri Lanka, IS the next big thing in Asia.

To be honest, I had no idea why we chose to visit Sri Lanka other th…

Counting Days

This year I volunteered myself to sing for carols and do my rounds of charity in a local hospital. While I expected lots of fun, and some kind of sadness because we're seeing kids who will be "stuck" more like in the hospital this festive season - I wasn't expected to be completely touched by the visit the way that I was.

The rounds in the hospital was already tough on me, and after the carols - each of us connected the kids the way we wanted to. Some spoke to them and their families, some played games, while others continued the rhymes.

I didn't speak to any because I was already depressingly affected by the whole visit of the wards and seeing these heroes through the hands and eyes of Doctors, Nurses and Medical assistants were the creme de la creme.

During my last round of the ward visit, I decided to speak to a boy (presumably around 7 - 9) who stood by the corner of his ward looking out for the group dressed adoringly in red and glitters. His mum came from…

Sutera Sanctuary Lodge at Kinabalu National Park

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I'm happy to see that the charm of the little town Kundasang has resonated with SO many over the years. With the majestic Mt Kinabalu as its setting, Kundasang enjoys it vigorous economy among the locals and tourists. I always suggest Kundasang to everyone because it's a cross between the highlands and the nature, and Mt Kinabalu Park is Malaysia's first UNESCO Heritage Site. With so much richness, history and charm, it's almost impossible for a small town like Kundasang not to find its way to the hearts of repeat tourists and locals alike.

My favourite thing about the journey up to Kundasang?




These local vendors along the way that sell delicious local fruits or foods and this breathtaking view of the valleys and the hills! Whenever we locals visit Kundasang, we always buy their fresh produce like fresh vegetables, chillies, flowers.

Mmm.

I had to visit Kundasang/ national park over one weekend in September for work and were lucky to have been given the opportunity to…

The Earnest Life

Ever since I moved back to KK a few years ago, my life has changed in many little ways that I personally felt... have saved me. The ideal life of a fresh communications Bachelors' graduate from Australia is to work with the fanciest, biggest in the industry with quirky perks like meeting celebrities, making big friends from the industry, with money-cant-buy social experiences.

In fact, I had them.

Fast forward 2.5 years later, the reality was, I had a 50% paycut, demoted one level, thrown into an industry I know nothing about, zero friends to hangout with (my high school friends were all over the world too and had now developed their own cliques) and to top it all - I had to stay with my mum. The reality was incomprehensible at that time, but I was busy adapting to the new life that I forgot time had helped me a lot more than I had credit it for.

And at that point in my life, I saw what people meant by - "give it some time".

I worked diligently in that new industry job …

The Newly Reimagined Volvo Xc60 is Now Available in Sabah!

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My plan next year is to lookout for a new ride, partly because my 9 year old Gen 2 is already giving way and maybe, just maybe I could finally afford one. When I was invited to the launch of the new Volvo XC60 my first impression was - oh man! There goes my money!

Look at its sweet sweet interior.



Cost of self-planned 9 Days 8 Nights to Paris - Amsterdam - Istanbul

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After the FunnyMalaysia article circulated around and went viral on my newsfeed, I was inspired to calculate my own Nine Days Eight Nights self-planned Paris - Amsterdam - Istanbul trip and log down how much exactly it cost me here.

I love the fact that some of us are really exemplary when it comes to budget traveling and are still able to enjoy every little thing during their trip. Which goes to show that really, you could go wherever you want so long as you plan it carefully and with a bit of a discipline, IT CAN HAPPEN! (without breaking your bank).

First of all, you must register into yourself that a euro trip (anywhere for that matter) is not impossible and is not as far as you thought. 

Cafe Culture in Europe

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One of the many thing that I missed and loved the most about Europe (Paris + Amsterdam) was its Cafe culture. Although I've only been to Paris and Amsterdam, I see the consistency in appreciating their coffees and that culture in these two cities.

Minus the fact that I don't really "drink coffees", I really love how you could catch up with your friends and families while enjoying the chill breeze of spring overlooking or having that adorable dandelions sprouting out around you as the backdrop, of course with french and dutch languages filling the air and buzz of the ever busy streets of Europe no matter how big or small. And that "see passersby" culture in Europe is so distinct to me I love telling everyone about it! What about the range of patisseries to choose from? Meringue? With cream or without? Green tea based teas or coffees? Light coffees? Eclairs? Chili sprinkles on top? The choices were endless. They have everything you could imagine!


Colombo, Sri Lanka

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Traveling can be the most ADDICTIVE thing.

Just by a flick of a phone, you would stumble upon one breathtaking picture of a place you never knew, yet already loved. You tell yourself that it is yours to discover, and it's yours to learn. And then you start Googling about this mystical place. And like any hidden gem, the more you know about anything, the more in love you fall for it. Then you start searching for flights into that mystical place, hoping you'd stumble upon something more affordable. You'd look at your calendars every minute hoping you could somehow lock those dates in your head and tell the world that you're going to the most awesome place. Or you'd dream you'd be able to telepathically try and bring those dates nearer to you as fast as you can. In the most complex of excitement you're tangled in, you'd want to both tell the world and keep it to yourself.

And when the day came, when you're actually queuing up to board the plane; you a…

The Future Birthday Letter I Wrote to Myself

"Dear Jacqkie,

You are probably going to regret reading this on your birthday. You are probably going to hate me for doing this world's most cliche thing, but for what it's worth, you have thought how this will (really) NOT hurt you, instead it could remind you of what your aspirations were for the year.

I have decided to not send this email to you on the 31st December, because I figured it will be too late to change the course of how you will remember your 2014.

You are writing this at your work desktop at the furthest corner of the office, and as you look around, you are reminded of how different things were a couple of years back when you were still in Kuala Lumpur. It's 6.38pm, and you have done most of the things for the day since 5PM. You have become a more organized person, a more reserved person when it comes to your judgement but most importantly you are slowly opening up to your colleagues. You have the biggest restraint when it comes to relationships, for wha…

Homestays via Airbnb at Sri Lanka!

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Sri Lanka was my first time trying out airbnb as a guest. My family has been hosting numerous people from all walks of life through airbnb and it's about time that we do the same in a place so foreign like Sri Lanka, to call our second home.

This trip was very close to my heart because I went with Daren after so long of not traveling together and to utilise airbnb seemed like the perfect choice.

Daren and I went through a couple of options, a lot of options actually, the more we read about all these wonderful hosts the more I fell in love with them, and the more I got indecisive. Eventually, we've decided that he is to decide on the stays at Kandy, while I needed to decide on the stays in Colombo.

Mr Dijen's House - First Home (First Night in Colombo)
Our first homestay via airbnb was in a very beautiful house with some very edgy black stone walls. Upon reaching the bus station, we followed Mr Dijen's instruction very closely  and options were the bus and tuk tuk. Beca…

Future Alam Borneo at Sandakan - 3rd & 4th October

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For more info: https://www.facebook.com/#!/futurealamborneo



Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

The Eco Wildlife City Sandakan

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I know I owe Sri Lanka's complete post for the longest time, but since I'm now going back and forth to Sandakan, I might as well share more on this beautiful eco wildlife city for all of you. Sri Lanka will take a LOT of my time which I'm working on at the moment.

For starters - If you and your family only have the weekends to spare to travel anywhere you could in Malaysia, please choose Sandakan. Especially if you have kids. Sandakan used to be British's main port after their first move from Kudat, and if you followed my Instagram you would have known that it was reputed to have the most millionaires in the world thanks to the timber industry. As a result? Till today, Sandakan houses some of the richest people in the world, but they camouflage with everyone else so humbly.



The last time I was in Sandakan was 14 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Not drastically, but you do have some international brands sprouting slowly now, and the charm of the wildlife reh…

MH - Malaysian Hospitality

When mum and I decided on our destinations for the Euro Trip back in February, we had left the vital bit the last thing to decide on - which airline?

Some friends told us to take Qatar Airways, rightfully so because they have had an excellent service record and they were in fact on promotion (which was just nice). Some proposed Singapore Airlines for the same reasons (which was quite expensive at that time). But mum wasn't sure about any other airlines but the airlines she grew up with, back in hay-day when there were absolutely no competitions.

So we did. "Plus, we should probably help them out"

We decided on Malaysia Airlines, largely because it should feel most like home when we're traveling 13 hours to Paris, and about 9 hours from Istanbul back to KL. Plus, the rates were pretty competitiv with Qatar Airways. So after locking in our tickets, we were ready for our long haul flights.

***

It was my first experience being on board Boeing A380 Double Decker that pro…

Birthday Weekend, Gathering, and Reunion

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That 9th of August weekend was one of the more happening weekends I've had in quite sometime. Naturally, I don't have happening weekends. I just don't. A few friends had their engagements and wedding at the same weekend but not at the same place.

Sister's 22nd Birthday 
I couldn't celebrate with my family that Saturday because I had another engagement to attend to, so we celebrated her birthday the Friday night before at this fancy restaurant called Kudos at town.

I got her a balloon bouquet and a tricky candle that relights after blowing. MUAHAHAHA. She kept blowing for a good 5 minutes only to realise that they were magic candles!


Simple setting, but food was to die for! We needed an alone time for the four of us too, so it was just perfect. That was the fastest fine dining experience I've ever had. I had my favourite pesto pasta, bro had his shank, mum fish, and seafood pizza. 

SUPER AWESOME. 
Genevieve's Engagement And then there was Genes' engagemen…

ATAS Motor Show 2014 Happening This Weekend! 15 -17 August

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Nothing like a kick ass motor show to kick start your weekend!

The Auto Traders Association of Sabah (ATAS) will be hosting their 6th ATAS Motor Show this weekend from 15th August - 17th August from 10am - 9pm at the Sabah Trade Centre in Likas.

Entrance fee? FREE.

This exhibition is the single biggest motor show in Sabah, so really, if you love all cars and motors, and are motor enthusiasts, you shouldn't miss this. I know a lot of Sabahans wouldn't, this is like their thing.

There will be over 40 participants during this ATAS Motor Show this year offering special promotions to visitors during the event and other lucky draw activities. Daring exhibitors will get to try a chance to conquer the 30 feet high Isuzu giant ramp.


The ATAS Motor Show 2014 participants include car dealerships such as Sime Darby (Ford & Jaguar-Land Rover), Universal Motor (Isuzu), Right Power (Hyundai), Inti Deras (Big Bikes), Edaran Tan Chong (Nissan), Fook Loi / Anak Sabah (Great Wall Motors), …

6 Days Ago

It's been five days since I've loaded newsfeed of any kind. Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram.

6 Days ago we were shocked with yet another airplane tragedy. And in all honesty, the recurrence and the violence of it all made it a far more heartbreaking news to digest, yet alone understand - after the news, I had an indescribable magnitude of disappointment on weapons and war between nations buzzing me like a circle around me following me all day and haunting me in all of my daily tasks. I was overwhelmed.

I was greatly disappointed in a lot of bigger things in the world. So great that it took all the words from my being that I just, didn't know how to express anything about it.. Nothing could come out from me.

Added on by people's own rendition, interpretation, theories, stories, sensationalism, comments  about the event - I didn't want to continue to be drowned by it.

6 days ago, I decided I'm going to take my time to recover from the shock, to withhold the questi…

Jazz Bar in Kota Kinabalu, Sully's Bar at KK Times Square

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It's been 3 years since I've started settling myself down here in KK. And within that year, I've got myself lingering around a good honest job, a good balance of work and play, restoring my faith back and creating adventures for myself.  
One of the loveliest found this year was this local Jazz/ Blues / Oldies band and/ or the Sully's Bar. Usually a 5 piece band, this band is probably as quoted by Chris the best band (musically) in Kota Kinabalu. They play the Bass, Cello, Organ, Harmonica and even the Congos.

I especially love how they sing and play to Malay musics as well, making them truly the coolest and most wholesome band around. If there's any one bar I truly recommend, this is it (and no they don't pay me to do this) I just figured a good gem should be shared. You see ladies in their headscarves, people coming with their kids - everyone comes to this bar!

Also, you'd be surprised to see some people breaking into dances at times. The crowd there is …

Istanbul in 3 Days

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"Like a Tequila Shot after a couple of Long Island Teas. A perfect closure." - that was first thing that came to my mind when my friends asked me to describe the place (after Paris and Amsterdam). I just couldn't think of another way to end the trip but with a jolt of energy like Istanbul. Istanbul was the final leg to our 11 Days Trip from Paris - Amsterdam - Istanbul.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Istanbul was One of its kind.

The more I know about the beautiful city the more I fall really really hard for it. The people, the east meets west culture, its scenic esplanades, THE FOOD. Good glorious food.

Turkey
Democratic and liberal, Turkey is a beautiful mish mash of a nation that is in the border with about 8 countries - Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Largely, of Islam by religion. Contrary to popular belief, Turkey's capital city is not Istanbul (although it is the largest, Ankara takes pride in being the main city). However, Istanbul is more no…

The different simple people I've met somewhere

I miss writing terribly.

This morning, I randomly browsed through my favourite blogs (travel ones, rightfully) and figured I should pen down some beautiful moments tonight, because, I just feel like it. After much thinking, I've decided to describe to you the different simple people I've met in my life while seeing the world.

Something tells me, that people who speak the same language as me are obliged to be better enough or kind enough to me (because I'm their people), so those who do not know how to speak the same language, or look like me - and yet, extended their kindness, must truly be something else.

That kind man that saw my mum carrying her own bags and decided to drive us to our destination

Yes, we trusted that man.

I asked this middle aged Turkish man in his full brown suit and small glasses drooping from his nose white hair on the sides, but barely, after 10 minutes of tossing and searching our hostel, failing miserably getting lost in the intersections of inter…

Voice Out Kota Kinabalu 2014

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Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

Amsterdam in 3 Days

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So we traveled to Amsterdam from Paris via train. Reached the tram / train station at Paris Charles de Gaulle at about 5.00am to catch the 6.15am bus.

We bought our tickets online via Nhispeed and I would strongly recommend you to do the same. There were only a few times the train travels to Amsterdam in a day, and we figured the earliest would be the best. We didn't want to lose any daylight - so it's always best to reach Amsterdam earlier. Best part was, the train ride wasn't as expected. Well it's always fine with me, but I was traveling with a 60 year old mother, so a lot of things do concerned me.

We learned that there were going to be only three stops. Of which you had to literally run your life for, because the transitions were only about 6 - 8 minutes. And with big luggages, it could mean the hunger games run.

Ride to Amsterdam. Kid infront of me was busy selfie-ing with himself :|


Two of the first stops were within France itself. From the first to the second …

Kaamatan Festival, Harvest Festival in Sabah, Kota Kinabalu

Malaysia is pretty reserved when it comes to partying. Malaysians on the other hand, know where to find the best parties or make the best parties.

And Sabahans undoubtedly, are the best at it.

If you ever wonder when exactly is the best time to visit this beautiful side of the world, try the month of May. Not only it is the best weather - all sun, all day (right on time for the harvest), it is also the month of learning of the natives in Sabah and also hum, partying. The month will start its monthlong harvest festival celebration, and this is when I strongly, strongly recommend you to explore the local districts in Sabah and get into their harvest festival parties.

Do not fly in Kota Kinabalu and flap around the city WAITING to be invited to these local village parties, you either make friends with locals to get into one, or humbly explore them yourself. Y'know, like classic old times exploration.

They start their games, drinking and singing the first thing in the morning right u…

Paris in 3 Days

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My mum and I just spent 12 days traveling from Paris, to Amsterdam to Istanbul. Our main purpose of this trip was, wait for it, wait for it, for a plant.

Well not a, but basically we were chasing tulips. It all started when I showed my mum Fresh's blogposts on the Tulip Festival in Istanbul when she sat down unfazed, and said, "this is my dream. I have always wanted to see tulips. Tulips everywhere." 

And knowing me, the moment I even start thinking about it I try really hard to make my way to it. I told her, then let's do it. This was in January, and right after that we started cracking our head.



Paris Day 1

Since we were from Kota Kinabalu, we had to take a flight into Kuala Lumpur really early in the morning, spent our day with the loved ones, and made our way to KLIA in the evening for an 11pm flight. We reached Paris really early in the morning, around 6AM and had to manoeuvre our way to the hotel via shuttle train and tram.


Art Heals: Eclectic Ecstatic Community Art Night Returns in Kota Kinabalu

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Eclectic Ecstatic, a monthly event that aims to bring together the entire creative community in Kota Kinabalu made its return at El Centro last month for its second installation with the theme of ‘Art Heals’.

One of the event’s main highlight was featuring the award-winning master piece from local naïve artist, Awang Fadilah (Jacqkie is a huge fan!!) and the Sabah Naïve Art Group. 50 over of their artworks which decorated the wall of El Centro added so much colours as well as creating unique visuals towards the event’s space. If you happen to love the artwork, you can purchase them as well because they are available for sale too.

On top of that, some of the Sabah’s top local acts came to show their support in which includes alternative-post rock band, Versatile; ukulele group, OrkesAkiuku; sister duo Alice Alive; and Jobless Giraffes featuring Scott Daryl Hadjiril from Diary of Us. There were other acts that took the stage were guitarist from melodic metal band A Million Evil Faces, A…

Quick Overview - Paris, Amsterdam and Istanbul

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Before I really start dissecting on my Paris - Amsterdam - Istanbul trip, I've decided to write an overview of each city that I could identify with. To start, I need to tell you that traveling in / to Europe is not cheap but NOT IMPOSSIBLE. I spent a total of MYR 8k inclusive of return flight, in between flights and trains, as well as accommodation and truckload of souvenirs which in my opinion is really-really cheap.

Give me a few weeks to update on my trip but for now, here's a quick run through.

Paris

While we were finalising our trip, Paris came last to mind and we were deciding between Brussels (simply because we heard really nice things about the city, it was a cross over between Netherlands and France) and London (because it's London) as well as Paris (because it's the most famous city in the world). After much consideration, we finally imagined ourselves more strolling around Champs Elysees towards the Arch de Triomphe. Eventhough we were heading to Europe (fo…

Quick Updates

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It's that round of updates again.

I'll start off with FMFA. I was meant to go to FMFA for the weekend, but the event got cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. So we skidded to an ice cream parlour to catch up over the remaining time I had left over there.

And then there's Chris' farewell.

I rarely talk about this dude because he just seems like a permanent parcel in my life like.. the box of stationeries on my table desk, or like my mum (cripes), it always seems like he's always there (in my case literally) because we hang out ALL the time so when he finally he decided to embark on the next journey back home -- it seems surreal that he's finally leaving all of us.

I think it's been 3 years since we've met, and we always seem to have great discussion discussing about earth, the heaven and everything in between. And also 3 years since #yolo. Dude, we will always be here. I don't know about the rest, but I'm practically planted here in KK. P…