Sunday, December 20, 2015

Grand Margherita Hotel

In my many visit to Kuching since I was a child, I never stay in Grand Margherita Hotel (previously Holiday Inn Kuching). So, when the opportunity present itself, I decided to stay in this hotel while in Kuching.

Dubbed as Sarawak's first international hotel, the facade suggests that it had stood at its current location for quite sometime now. Its location could not get any better, at the heart of the city centre and beside Kuching Waterfront. Even one of the famous cat statue is right at the door step with Sarawak Plaza just right beside it.

The lobby area is spacious and comfortable. The management has renovated it in order to stay competitive with other 4 star hotels in the city. Check in was a breeze.

Deluxe room (RM 180 with breakfast, RM 160 without breakfast) is modern and comfortable. The only thing I don't like is the old carpet at the walkway leading to the room. However, I notice some of the floor had its walkway's carpet changed.

The room has more than enough pillow one can ask for. They are pretty soft and comfortable. The bed is nice and the room temperature is just right.

The room is what to be expected of any 4 star hotel. One can choose between the city view or river view. I would recommend the river view as it offers a breathtaking view of the Sarawak River, the State Assembly Hall, Mount Santubong and the villages across the river.

There are small swimming pool at the ground floor, one for adult and another one for children. One can walk to the waterfront via an access gate from the swimming pool.

The breakfast here is a pale shadow of what the hotel used to offer in the past. There seems to be lack of variety when it comes to the main dish. Well, I guess that is all part of the austerity measures in uncertain time like this.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Sibu Christmas Deco 2015 @ Sibu Gateway

 This year there is no annual Christmas trees competition which usually held at Sibu Town Square.

Most of the Christmas decoration of the town has been shifted to Sibu Gateway and I must admit, the deco here did not disappoint me.

To be frank, it is way better than the annual Christmas tree competition held annually at the town square. I believe it is the lighting effect at night which make the whole atmosphere more lively and everyone is having a good time here.

Maybe the municipal council can consider this venue to be the permanent venue for Christmas decoration in town as patron do not have to negotiate muddy grass or soil as compare to the town square especially during the rainy season at the end of the year.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sibu Christmas Parade 2015

Christmas parade in Sibu is an important annual event and usually held on the Saturday, 2 weeks before the actual Christmas day.

God definitely bless this very day as is has been raining almost whole day. The rain only stopped around 4pm, just in time for the parade to begin from Sibu Town Square around 7pm.

Many throng the parade route to witness the float, bands and the procession  by various churches. It is a colourful event where people of all races, regardless of religion convene at the town centre to witness the parade.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Harbour Bay Mall, Batam

Harbour Bay Mall is one of the newer shopping mall at Batam, strategically located not far away from the Harbour Bay Ferry where ferries depart and arrive from Singapore.

From its facade, it gives an impression of a huge and modern shopping mall.

However, the mall is mostly empty on the inside. I am a bit surprise with this finding as I saw the potential of this mall but did not expect it to end up like this. The mall is also attached to the Swiss Belhotel which should make this place more vibrant.

There are a number of decent food and beverage outlets at the ground floor with a cinema at the top floor. The mall has a huge concourse to hold a major event.

OG Home at the basement which specialize in home furniture and decor.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Coffee Nowhere @ Nagoya, Batam

I was looking for somewhere decent to chill out while walking aroung Nagoya, Batam when I stumbled Coffee Nowhere. It is located not far from the hotel I normally stayed, Formosa Hotel. However, the shop is located at a small alley, not so obvious if one is not paying attention to details.

The outlet is air conditioned, modern and comfortable. I really like the ambience and the wifi is good. I notice a few coffee making machines and I have confident that they know how to brew a good coffee.

The latte (Rp 29000) is well presented and taste alright. It is quite hard to find a decent cup of coffee at this area and this is a much needed drink after exploring the island.

Cheese Pizza (Rp 99000) is quite decent with its thin dough. There is not much food varieties here but they offer excellent service.

Coffee Nowhere
Nagoya Central Blok B, No. 1-2 (next to City Centre Hotel)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Quan Am Tu Temple @ Galang Refugee Camp

One of the best preserved and still functional structure at the Galang Refugee Camp is the Buddhist temple, the Quan Am Tu.

Although the camp has been closed down, the temple is still operational and frequently visited by the Chinese community in the island.

The temple was built by the Vietnamese refugee and I'm quite impressed with what they achieve here with little resources.

The temple offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. It makes me wonder how it really looks like from up here when the camp was still up and running.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Humanity Statue @ Galang Refugee Camp

 The Humanity Statue was sculptured by one of the boat person named  Nguyen Van Tuyen of boat no. SS1716TA with ID no. 800022 in commemoration of UN Day on 1st January 1985.

The statue was sculptured to pay homage to a young woman refugee named Tinh Nhan who committed suicide by hanging herself to a tree after being raped by the male refugees at the location where this statue stands.

The surrounding area here has a lot of monkeys hanging around and visitor is advised to take precaution so as not to be attacked or had items been taken by them.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nghia Trang @ Galang Refugee Camp

Nghia Trang literally means grave in Vietnam and there is a massive grave at the refugee camp in Galang Island.

There is a monument at the entrance which reads "Dedicated to the people who died in the sea on the way to freedom" inscribed in 5 different languages; English, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tamil.

The deceased of all religions (mostly Buddhist and Christian) were buried here with some nameless grave which dedicated to those perished at the sea.

Each grave has a sad story to tell and from the physical look of them, those who were perished were not forgotten.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Vietnamese Boat @ Galang Refugee Camp

Another attraction at the Galang Refugee Camp is the boat replicas which were used by the Vietnamese Boat People in 1975 who fled their country ravaged by civil war.

The boat replicas here are actually been sunk and burned by the refugees as a sign of protest as they were forced to be returned back to their country after arriving at Galang island. These boats were restored in 1995 after all the refugees had been repatriated.

It is hard to imagine what life was like on the boat where it was said up to 100 people were onboard such a small boat and many had lost their lives in mid ocean.

The actual diesel engine with its exposed crankshaft which was used to power the boat can be found next to the boat replicas.