Trip to JB – Our Stay at Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre

It was our first trip after 18 years of friendship. A 2D1N shop-and-eat-till-we-drop trip to Johor Bahru. To minimise traveling time, we booked ourselves into Holiday Villa Johor Bahru Malaysia which is right next to one of JB mega mall KSL.

This is a quick review of the hotel we stayed, pardon the photos cause I was traveling ultra light and only had mobile phones with me.

Holiday Villa hotel is relatively new and the lobby is modern, clean and nice. The check-in wasn’t as nice though.

We requested for connecting rooms and were almost not given the rooms even though this was confirmed upon verification via email. We had to insist that we were already assigned the rooms and after few checks before the guy behind the counter gave it to us. One of the rooms were not ready at check-in time and we had to wait till much later.

The twin sharing room at Holiday Villa JB

Toilet with bath tub which you can’t see cos lens not wide enough lah!
The other room with King size bed.

When 3 out of 4 ladies traveling are mums, you get this kind of loot after a few hours of shopping at KSL. No prize for guessing where we spent the most time shopping at, the Supermarket of cos! LOL!

Breakfast the next day looked like this….

The hotel is clean, comfy and near KSL, ideal for short family trip. I would consider going back there again if I plan to just shop at KSL over the weekend with my family.

Holiday Villa Johor Bahru City Centre is a 4-star trendy hotel strategically located along the main road of Jalan Dato’ Sulaiman in Century Garden, the road leading to and from Tebrau Highway.  The hotel is 28.6 kilometers or 29 minutes drive from Senai International Airport and 4 kilometers or 9 minutes drive from the ferry jetty at Stulang Laut.


When in Malacca, Ride in a Overly Dressed LED Decorated Trishaw at Night

It was an impromptu trip for us in January and I had no idea nor expectation when we sat in the coach onwards to Malacca early that morning. And the most memorable and happiest moment from the trip for Ayra was a RM30 ride from Jonker Street night market back to our hotel.

That night, she felt like Queen Elsa.

The road was jammed pack in the evening and there were many colourful flashing LED lights decorated on many trishaws. You’ll find all kind of cartoon characters used on these trishaws, from Garfield, Hello Kitty, Frozen, Disney Mickey and Minnie Mouse, super hero themed rides and lots more.

If we were there without the kid, we would never have had the idea to want to give these rides a go. I felt a little embarrassed when I first saw it on the road that evening. But of course, when Ayra saw her favourite princesses and snowman on some of these trishaws, we couldn’t escape the night without giving it a try.

And it was the best RM30 spent! Seeing that big smile on her face made our heart full.

Accompanied by loud Frozen theme song “Let it go” blasted through almost broken speakers was like a million-dollar ride for 4 years old. Doesn’t matter if the road was bumpy nor the traffic was honking us from behind, as long as we are together in this pretty Frozen trishaw, she was happy.

We will be back again, next time with Zara too so she can be a happy princess in her own pretty carriage ride.

My Encounter with EVF in New Zealand and You Won’t Know You Need It Till Now

Thanks to technology, we no longer have to go snapping photos through the tiny hole in our cameras. When was the last time you did that anyway? Unless you’re a DSLR user, I’m assuming 99% of us go around snapping looking through the LCD monitor or our mobile phone screen. But my oh my, when I had the chance to try out the Canon PowerShot G5 X when traveling to New Zealand, I wouldn’t be able to snap some of the photos if I had my own camera with me on that trip. Because the electronic viewfinder was super useful and awesome! I could see what I was capturing even if the object was far far away and under bright sunlight.

The advantage of electronic viewfinders is you get to see exactly what the camera’s sensor sees and your view of a scene is never obstructed when taking a photo (Source). Especially useful when trying to take photos of object far away under glaring sunlight, you just can’t see clearly through the LCD monitor.

Before zoom as viewed on the LCD viewfinder
Viewed, zoomed and taken as seen on the electronic viewfinder

The Canon PowerShot G5 X equipped with a high definition EVF and a vari-angle touch screen LCD panel was a great companion for trips oversea, weighing lesser than my own Canon PowerShot G1 X Mark II, I was super tempted to switch over but my current camera is still so new and awesome. Anyone wanna take it over from me? 😛

Air New Zealand domestic flight, my first flight on a propeller plane

The Canon PowerShot G5 X comes with a large, 1.0-inch type, 20.2-megapixel image sensor, DIGIC 6 processor, bright f/1.8-2.8 aperture, and 4.2x zoom lens. Making this camera an almost all purpose compact camera that gives superb image quality.

The camera also has a large grip that is more secure to hold and has many dials that enable quick, convenient setting adjustment. Once you are used to the dials, switching between different settings is a breeze. This is something that I don’t get on my G1 X Mark II. The vari-angel LCD touch-screen is very useful too and I could take low or high level shot and still able to see the subject through the screen.

Here’s sharing some of the shots I took with the Canon PowerShot G5 X camera when I was in New Zealand.

Couldn’t get close to these sheep as they will run away, so this was taken with help of the 4.2X zoom on the G5 X.
Wide view of the beautiful scenery from on top The Farm Cape Kidnappers at Hawke’s Bay.
And with the help of the EVF I could see and zoom all the way in to capture this from where I was standing. (See previous photo above for the wide view.)
That’s our bus that brought us all up to The Farm Cape Kidnappers and presented us the amazing view of the birds nesting.
Even spotted one baby amongst the many birds and eggs. So cute right?

Overall I personally feel that the Canon PowerShot G5 X is a great camera for anyone who wants an all-round, all-purpose kinda camera that’s light and compact that captures great photos. I can’t wait to print my own coffee-table book from all the photos I took during my trip.

The Farm Cape Kidnappers is located at 446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Find out more about them at

More of my New Zealand adventures coming up on Alvinology and The Loving Mum. Look out for it! 🙂

All photos in this post taken with the Canon PowerShot G5 X, no post-processing done on the photos.

Penang 2014 – Food To Try When Traveling in Penang

The Indian Stall Along The Street
Streets of Penang

Streets of Penang

Their vada is to die for! We bought some to try and went back for more! Crispy and flavourful. I miss munching these, and I cannot find anything close to these in Singapore. Just take a closer look and it’ll make you drool!

Streets of Penang

The stall is located across the road from this super mart building.

Look out for this man, he makes awesome indian snacks!
Streets of Penang

The Famous Penang Teochew Chendol
Streets of Penang
This is not far away from the indian stall above. Should be easy to spot as they are the only one with a long snaky queue around the area.

The Dancing Rojak Man

Penang, Gurney Drive

This one is located at Pusat Penjaja Anjung Gurney aka Gurney Drive food street. Make sure you have your camera ready when you are in the queue so you can capture this man sing and dance while serving you rojak.

Penang, Gurney Drive

Penang, Gurney Drive

Chepedak Crepe Cake at Cat Cafe
At Cat Cafe, eat Chepedak Crepe Cake. We had to slowly savour it so that we can spend more time enjoying the air-con and the cats. The whether outside was just too hot for a long day of walking around Georgetown for me.
Penang, Cat Cafe

Ali Nasi Lemak
Penang, Georgetown

Very cheap and good! 50cents you get a packet of their nasi lemak and I ate two! Am drooling now just thinking about this cheap and yummy breakfast.
Penang, Georgetown

This stall is located near the jetties, opposite from this building.

Bear Bao, Fried Chicken Skin and More at Night Market

Penang, Georgetown

Every day the night market stops at different neighbourhood around Penang. This is very much a local hang out with lots of yummy food and also night market shopping fun. Will share more about this night market in another post.

Penang, Georgetown

Penang, Georgetown

Penang, Georgetown

These are just some of the many food we had while we were in Penang during the June school holidays.

As you can see from this post, I am a very bad travel blogger. Show you the nice food to try but I cannot tell you exactly where they are. So so bad of me! But isn’t it more fun food hunting like that? 😛

Have fun in Penang!

Read more of our Penang adventures.

Penang 2014 – Street and Food Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Gurney Drive Hawker Centre, also called Pusat Penjaja Anjung Gurney, is one of the biggest and most famous eatery in Penang. Started in 1970s and has moved to various locations over these years. Now located next to Plaza Gurney.

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Long rows of food on both side of the market.

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Super long queue for this Fried Kway Teow stall.

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

This famous indian rojak stall…
Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Probably not famous for the food as it was so-so only, but surely famous for the singing rojak man who dances and sings to whatever tunes the radio plays. Super fun to watch, makes queuing for his rojak more entertaining.

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

We didn’t have that much space in our tummy that night, so only managed to try three dishes from the stalls, and sadly, none were memorable. Amongst the three, I think the satays were the best. Personally prefers the food we had the night before at the weekday roving night market.

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

Market at Gurney Drive Penang

More of our Penang experience here.

Probably Our Worst Experience Ever at Legoland Malaysia

So we thought our girls would totally enjoy a trip to Legoland Malaysia with the grandparents and us, we planned and booked our first trip out of Singapore with our two little ones. It was supposed to be the “Everything is Awesome” family trip and Zara’s first passport chop. But we were so wrong.

Knowing that both the girls would not be able to survive an entire day of play at Legoland, we decided to spend just 4 to 5 hours at both the theme parks before we head back to Singapore on our second day stay. After our first day of relaxing and some shopping, we tried to let the girls sleep as early as they can and wake up as late as they can so they get enough rest before our fun time at Legoland Malaysia.

I was all pumped and ready for some fun time with the whole family. We arrived at Legoland Malaysia around 12.45pm, the weather was cool and sky was covered with clouds. A great weather to soak up some fun. Expecting Ayra to scream and shout when she saw the theme park, but instead all she wanted to do was to stay covered inside her stroller. Zara was slightly more enthusiastic and were looking everywhere curiously.

The very first ride we saw was the Legoland junior driving school, Ayra saw it and said she is able to drive the car on her own. So off we went to join the queue which was relatively short in my opinion. Before we were half way through the wait, Ayra got tired of waiting and we exited. First ride attempt failed.

Then we walked towards the Legoland Express which all of us got to get in together. Again Ayra was asking to get out of the queue almost immediately. This girl just hated the wait I think. But we insisted to ride it together and so we did. And well, the ride was… just a ride. I think the girls had more fun when we were onboard the train at City Square Mall few weeks earlier.

Legoland Malaysia for TLMtravel

Upon exiting the train station, we saw an actor asking everyone to enter the theatre for a Christmas show, and since Ayra and Zara had all enjoyed live stage performances we thought this could be something they would like. And the place was kept cool with air-conditioning, big welcoming feature after sweating outdoor. The show was entertaining with Christmas characters singing and dancing. But the sound system was a little bad and I couldn’t quite hear the words they were talking and singing.

Next we took flight at the LEGO City Airport, the last ride both our girls took before they got tired and before the sky started to drizzle. This ride is so not for adults, even photo taking is not possible since the height of the plane is designed for kids. My face gets strategically chopped off.

Legoland Malaysia for TLMtravel

While Ayra snoozed in her stroller and Zara drinking her milk, husband and I had a go at Project X. Due to the drizzle there wasn’t any queue for this thrill ride. I had a good scream on this one. I am so not a thrill ride person.

With the on-going drizzle and Ayra still sleeping, we headed to the water theme park. Yes, you read it right! The above were just the few pathetic activities we did at the much hyped about Legoland Malaysia! There are so many more things we could have done there, but we did not even get close enough for a photo of it. Lesson learned, never attempt another trip to theme parks with both girls until they are old or tall enough to truly enjoy all the activities!

And off we went to Legoland water theme park…

It wasn’t any better at the water theme park which was much more packed than the main theme park. We had some fun in the wave pool and in the build-a-raft pool. Before we could dip our feet into the DUPLO Splash Safari, I had to carry Ayra as close as I can against my chest to keep her warm. This poor girl was shivering from the chill. With that we wrapped up our super short time at the water theme park.

And again my face is strategically blocked by dear Ayra and her brick…

Very sad day right? This is and would probably be our worst ever experience at Legoland Malaysia. But we are not giving up the hope that one day we will head back there again and enjoy our time there 101%; and it better be a 3D2N fun instead cos 2D1N is just not enough to enjoy everything Legoland has to offer. Perhaps a stay at the Legoland hotel might help since its nearer than Traders Hotel which we stayed at during this visit.

Family Staycation at Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour Johor, Malaysia

When you have little ones waking up happy, you know your staycation was truly enjoyed and loved by them. That’s what we did at Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour at Johor Malaysia. It was our first family trip with Zara and they girls enjoyed their hotel stay with Ayra calling it our home.

Premium room with connecting Harbour view deluxe room

The premium room with King sized bed and huge bathroom

The living area in the premium room

With four adults and two toddlers, we opted to go with a connecting room so we can all be together during our 2D1N stay at the hotel. Having the two girls going around the rooms excitedly checking out every corners of the rooms was enough for us to say it was money well spent.

The harbour view deluxe room

Both the rooms come with spacious bathroom with bath tub. The fittings and features of the two bathrooms were slightly different with more premium features like the TOTO washlet which I super love. The last time I used something similar was in Tokyo many many years back. Both the little ones loved the bathtub most as they spent a long time playing in there together on both days. Ayra didn’t want to get out! I think she had more fun in the bathtub as compared to our trip to Legoland.

The pool and jacuzzi just above our rooms was super nice. Sadly we didn’t have time to get in for a dip during our stay. At least the girls got to chill a little on the deck chairs.

The hotel is highly recommended by a few of our friends who had been to Johor and I must say Traders Hotel Puteri Harbour did not disappoint. The room, the facilities and the sumptuous breakfast buffet spread were awesome. Ayra was quite sad when we had to check-out of the hotel. She said “Goodbye home.” before we closed the room door; too funny this girl. We hope to return one day for another family staycation.

Find out more about Traders Hotel Johor Bahru on their website.