Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2-Days Retreat at Harmony Valley Retreat, Janda Baik

We just had an awesome retreat at Harmony Valley Retreat in Janda Baik last week. :)
Harmony Valley Retreat is rated as the best value in Bukit Tinggi on Booking.com
The price we paid was RM357nett for a Double Deluxe Room with a breakfast included.

Janda Baik is an ideal place for a short retreat because the weather here is chilly and it's only about 56km from where I stay or slightly more than an hour of drive from city center. The road to Harmony Valley Retreat is quite accessible as compared to some accommodations here which have very narrow road.

Here is what I like about this place:

  • The public area on each floor is really spacious so that you can hangout with your group
  • The staffs are very welcoming
  • The view is fantastic
  • They have a common balcony for you to chill on both floors.
  • They had an in-house restaurant so it's really convenient

Harmony Valley Retreat

The parking area

The common balcony

View from the balcony

 Hall area

Dining area

Our room

Love that their had lots of wild flowers as decor

More wild flowers

Pond with lotus flowers

 Me & Shirley

Lunch is at Restaurant Foon Lock at Kg Bukit Tinggi which is about 6km away from Harmony Valley.

Dinner at the resort.
We had Mediterranean chicken with rice, lemon grass chicken with rice, spaghetti & pumpkin soup.

Our breakfast which was included with the room price.

After checking out at 12.30pm, we went to check out Saufiville Resort @ Janda Baik which was about 13km away from Harmony Valley

Saufiville Resort @ Janda Baik
Saufiville was one of my shortlisted place to stay but I was unable to book because the booking system in the website is not working. Here is the contact that I got when we were there :
Tel: 011-123 60123
The road to Saufiville is very bumpy and narrow so it's recommended to go with a 4-wheel drive.

That's all for now! Bye! 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

5 Days Visiting Xi'an & The Terracotta Army - Part 1

I told myself that I had to blog about this trip. One is because not many people have blogged about Xian so I thought that my post can be helpful to those who is planning to visit. Two is because my memories are failing me (no big deal, just that I forget things very fast), so I need to blog this to capture my memories. Lol

Xi'an is actually a very important place in the history of China. Before you visit Xi'an, you should know this:

"Xi'an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang'an (长安) in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here." -Wikitravel

The fact that Xi'an is so ancient will make you marvel that you can still see many well-preserved places, sculptures & antiques here.

Gonna start with my first breakfast in Xi'an. Ta-dah!

Noodles in tomato broth. Yummy!

Saga Shopping Mall

If shopping & dining is your thing, then you have to check out Saga Shopping Mall, which is the largest shopping mall in Xi'an. They have 2 dining floors (5th & 6th floor) filled with restaurants that guarantees to make you salivate!

One of my favourite dish in Xi'an, you can choose the ingredients that you want and they will serve in a big hotpot to keep the food warm.

Do check out Queen Sophie's pastries. As a fan of egg tarts, I have to say that their egg tarts are one of the best that I have tried.

Queen Sophie, Saga Shopping Mall
Queen Sophie's egg tart

Their super long escalator which connects to the dining floor on Level 5
Restaurants with glass floor
Courier companies have these scooters as collection center outside the mall. How brilliant & convenient! 

Saga Shopping Mall
Add123 Chang’an Nan Ru, Yanta District, Xian 西安市雁塔区长安中路123
Webhttp://www.sagabuy.com/Open Hours: 10:00 – 22:00

Shaanxi History Museum 

Next stop, the Shaanxi History Museum which is very close to Saga Shopping Mall.

It is a huge museum that houses the artifacts of Xi'an back to the Neolithic age. Their exhibits has the history of over a million years from prehistoric times (1,150,000 years ago - 21st Century BC) to about 1840 AD.

According to Wikitravel, they gives out 4,000 free tickets everyday. There was a long queue for the free tickets when we were there at around 3pm. So if you have the time to kill or arrive very early, you might try to go for the free tickets (Bring your passport to redeem the ticket).

It will be good to spend around 2-3 hours here. Most written display is quite brief so it will be more interesting to follow their guided tour or rent their audio device that explain about their exhibits.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda

What a strange name for a Pagoda, I thought. Then I found that there is a legend behind the name. Read it here

It is a huge park with gardens and it was nice to have a stroll here and just to people watch. There are also some restaurants and shops around here.

This pagoda is really unique because it was built with layers of bricks without any cement.

In front of the pagoda is the biggest music fountain in Asia. 

The photo above is only one part of the fountain because my camera couldn't capture the entire fountain. Do go earlier so that you can get a good spot to see the musical fountain show. For us, we got bored of the show after watching for about 5 minutes. Lol.

Ramada Xi'an Tower

After a long tired day, back to our hotel.

We stayed in Ramada Xi'an Tower throughout our trip. The location was really strategic because it is within walking distance to malls, the Muslim street, the subway, Bell Tower & others. We booked via Agoda and the rate was only RM122/day for their cheapest room.

Check out their full glass wall separating the bed room and bath room. Haha, you will be able to see your roommate doing everything in the bathroom in full view.

Ramada Xi'an Bell Tower Hotel

The next day....

Mt. Huashan

Mt. Huashan is known as “the Number One Precipitous Mountain under Heaven”, and is one of the five sacred mountains in China so you can imagine how majestic it is. 

As an avid hiker, I cannot let go of any hiking opportunities moreover when this place is so magnificent. I told my hub that we had to conquer all the 5 peaks of Mt. Huashan (kiasu much). 

Be prepared that most of the tourist attraction entrance fee in Xian is going to break a hole in your pocket. The entrance fee to Mt. Huashan alone is CNY180 and we paid CNY220 for the cable car. 

Do come with a full stomach because the choice for food is very limited here.

Looking cool before the hike. lol

So many persimmons!

I called this the slow roller coaster. It will take you to the entrance if you are lazy to walk. I was quite excited because I never dare to sit on a real roller coaster so this is a good choice for me.
There are two lines of cable car at Mt. Huashan. We took the cable car to ascend to West Peak (ticket price: CNY 140) and descended via the cable car from North Peak (Ticket price: CNY 90).

View from the cable car

Depending on how much you would  like to walk, you can always plan the route to take.

Signboards for all the 5 peaks.
Fluffy cats at the mountain.

 Mt. Huashan: West Peak

Having grilled lamb along the way is happiness :)

The killer stairs

The most exciting part of Mt. Huashan is the infamous plank walk which is a must for all the thrill seeker. This hiking trail is also dubbed as "The World's Most Dangerous Hiking Trail". Read and see photos here.

Plank Walk: At the entry point

You can rent a harness here and you will need around 40 minutes to complete the walk. 
We didn't go for it because hub is a scaredy cat and we didn't have enough time to catch the last cable car. *cries blood*

So here is a photo from others:
Credit www.misstravelography.com

My knees started to hurt badly half way of the journey. Every steps down then was a struggle :( 
 I have actually seen a women with high heels around here. Not sure how she survived.

By the time we reached the cable car station, it was already dark and we were just in time for the last ride. Haha...we were so afraid that we might miss the cable car because there was no indication along the trail on how long is the distance to the station. If we were to miss the cable car, we would have to walk down or check in the hotel here.

One of the hotel at Mt. Huashan. This was our last photo of Huashan.

If the weather permits, do schedule this trip towards the end of your trip so that you can rest your legs afterwards. I think I've never walk so much in a day, we started around 11am and ends at 7pm.

This was our dinner for the day at the Muslim Street.
Yang Rou Pao Mo (羊肉泡馍)
It's a signature dish at Muslim Street. It's consist of chewy bread in flavourful lamb soup.

That was all for Day 1 & 2 of our Xi'an trip!

P/S: Oh god, took me so long to complete this post. Not sure if there will be a second part. :P

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