Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sekinchan - Nine Emperor Gods Temple, Paddy Field and Fishing Village

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On the New Year Eve of 2010, my wife and I planned for a roadtrip to Sekinchan bringing along my almost 4 years old son, it’s about 1 ½ hour drive (70km) from my home in Petaling Jaya. Main objective was to visit the famous rice producing area, fishing village and savor the fresh cheap seafood.

Our first stop was to pay visit the Nine Emperor Gods Temple. It’s located on the right hand side of the main road where there was a small road leading to the paddy field. If I’m not mistaken, it’s either one of the road name called Jalan Parit or Jalan Tali Air. From there, we drove almost one kilometer passing by the paddy fields and it’s immediately evident that we have chosen the wrong time to visit as most of the paddy fields have been harvested, no more luscious green scenery. From far, we saw two beautiful 3-storeys high towers.

I climbed up to one of the towers by using the narrow stairways which gave an awesome view of the surrounding harvested paddy fields.

In the middle of the paddy fields, some farmers also cultivating swiftlet nest for the bird nests

The temple roof is decorated with porcelain tiles which look quite new. Simply beautiful and breathtaking.

After spending 30 minutes on the tower enjoying the surrounding view and photo shots, I went down to the entrance of the praying hall. I did not take the photo of the deities’ statue.

While my wife and son have no patience waiting for me photographing the temple vicinity, they went into the car enjoying the air-cond.

I believed during the migratory season, flocks of migratory birds can be seen resting or flying over the paddy fields

Next destination was the fishing village located on the right side of the main road at the cross junction.

There are many restaurants right in front of the fishing jetties and that’s show how fresh the seafood could be. We settled for Jiann Chyi Restaurant, as recommended by Axian TV show, a famous local food critic when we saw the banner in front of the not-so-fancy type restaurant. It’s a family run business mainly patronized by local residents or regular customers.

A must try drink is the home made pear sour plum.

Asking what was the signature seafood dishes, the waitress who is the restaurant owner’s daughter recommended shark dishes. Unfortunately, my wife did not fancy it so we decided to give it a miss this time as I definitely be back next time to try the shark dishes. So we ordered a steam fish in Teochew style, deep fried squid, famous chili fried prawn and plain fried vegetable. The total bill was about RM40++, which was pretty cheap.

After the hearty lunch, we drove straight to the fishing jetties, about 1-2 km from the restaurant. It’s almost 12++noon and not much activity can be seen near the jetty, where most of the fishmongers have gone home or cleaning their boats.

I drove further down the gravelly road until I reached a shore

An iron-cast anchor near the shore

At the river bank of the fishing jetties

After spending 30 minutes at the shore, we headed back to the Sekinchan main road and we saw many stalls selling mangoes. My wife bought few kilos and it’s not cheap, RM8 per kilo. The mangoes we bought did not have any mango taste or sweet, a bit of disappointed.

We remembered we saw few green paddy fields near on the way to the temple and we both keep looking for a strategy spot to park our car along the main road. Finally we found a reasonably average luscious green scenery paddy field and we were overly-overwhelm.

After photographing the picturesque landscape of the paddy field, we headed back to Seremban, my hometown to celebrate New Year with my family. I will make an effort to return to Sekinchan again in near future.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Singapore Universal Studio

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My main objective for this Singapore trip was to visit Universal Studio together with my wife and my almost 4 years old son, since children before 4 years old has free admission. This allowed me to save SGD48 for other purposes like souvenirs. To avoid any disappointment, I had purchased the ticket online months earlier as it was a peak season in December which was SGP66 per person on weekdays. Since Singapore has the most efficient public transport, we decided to take the MRT from Little India to Harbour Front Station via the North-East Line. Travel time was less than 30 minutes, sweet!!! From the station we transferred to a public bus RWS8 outside of Vivo City bus stop to Universal Studio for only SGD2 per person roundtrip. We reached at the Universal Studio entrance almost 10am and the crowds were terrible, queuing to redeem the ticket and long queue to the main entrance.

It wise to rent a stroller when you are bringing your kid, it’s only SGP10 at the Beverly Hills Garage (near the main entrance)

According to the park map, it was divided into 7 themes, Hollywood, New York, Sci-Fi City, Ancient Egypt, Lost World, Far Far Away and Madagascar. The entrance to the park is called Hollywood which hosted most of the merchandise shops with colorful building back in the heydays.

Just coincidence, we managed to catch a cartoon character called Winnie as per my wife. Correct me if I’m wrong.

As we walked to the Mel’s Drive-In, we took a few photos of the classic cars

Due to different time schedule, we skipped the Pantages Hollywood Theater showing the famous Universal monsters in a rock-n-roll musical.

Then we headed to the Brown Derby to borrow a funny, crazy and silly hat for photo shooting. Darn, the backpack spoiled the picture…

Suddenly, I saw a replica of Marilyn Monroe and into the queue to have a photo session with her.

From Hollywood, we headed to Madagascar theme based on the famous animated movie with a huge ship, but too bad the boat ride at A Crate Adventure still not in operation.

So my wife brought my son to a carousel with the movie soundtrack Move It, Move It at King Julien’s Beach Party-Go-Round

While my wife in the queue for the carousel ride, I just wandered around and luckily managed to catch a glimpse of Shrek and Princess Fiona

After the carousel ride, we headed to Far Far Away theme for a junior roller coaster ride at Enchanted Airways. The ride was too fast for my son and he got stunt for a while when the ride completed. I’m just worried he will pass out or pee in his pant. Asked if he want to have another ride, he shook his head indicating NO. Probably my son has a low adrenaline level.

Opposite of the ride, we saw a long queue at Shrek 4-D Adventure and we followed. It’s a 3D animation and feels the action right from the seat related to Shrek and Princess Fiona in a fairytale adventure.

A crown fountain

Still queuing inside the castle, luckily it has air-conditional.

An almost similar Facebook logo, haha

Right after the show exiting the castle, we were lead to a souvenir shop called Fairy Godmother’s Potion Shop as a marketing strategy to boost the sales of the Shrek and Princess Fiona’s merchandise.

Inside the shop, there was a fantastical ferris wheel for children

As it’s almost 2.30pm and checking out the restaurants, we found Mel’s Drive-In was the best choice and we walked all the way back for around 10 minutes. The diner served all American favorites like burgers, fish and chicken sandwiches with fries and non-adult beverages. We used the free food coupon and SGD25 voucher to redeem the meal. The free coupon was given when collected the entrance ticket at the ticket booth and SGD25 voucher when purchased online using the Mastercard. Not a bad deal.

The moment I finished my meal, I strolled the streets nearby of New York theme, streetscape of 40’s New York with brownstones building and gas lamps.

The replica of New York Public Library which was famous for the movie The Day After Tomorrow

After leaving New York, we emerged to Sci-Fi City theme

Unfortunately most of the attractions were not ready especially for the Battlestar Galactica Cylon (Blue track) and Human (Red track). These coasters basically go up, around and upside down with intense swirl and twist up in the air.

At least, we had one ride called Accelerator which was a whirling twirling ride on the round ‘cup’.

From the future Sci-Fi City, now we headed back to the past, Ancient Egypt theme where we were greeted by 2 huge pharaohs.

Amongst all the attractions, I believed Revenge of the Mummy has the best ride where we were plunged into total darkness on the indoor roller coaster. You will regret if you missed this ride. I had this ride 4 times!!!

Trekking out of Ancient Egypt leaded us to the last theme, The Lost World, experiencing hit action movies Jurassic Park and Waterworld. Here, I had the Canopy Flyer ride where I boarded on a flying vehicle and enjoyed the bird-eye view of the surrounding. It’s almost 5pm and we quickly rushed to watch the stunt live action show with awesome explosions called the Waterworld. One should not miss this show. Insider tips, inside the open-air auditorium, if you sit near the first 5 rows, you will get wet with the splashing water gun or even bucket of water. I was too busy with the show and I did not take much photo here.

When the show finished after 30 minutes, we took a slow stroll back to Hollywood to get some souvenirs at the merchandise shops.

A close encounter with Frankenstein

A beautiful Christmas tree

The attraction closed at 7pm and we left the place before it’s getting crowded especially the bus ride. Outside the attraction, we bumped into Hershey mascot and quickly grabbed him for a photo shot.

There another lighted Christmas tree

A full day trip to Universal Studio will be sufficient if the itinerary was planned properly. I will probably return again when all the rides are opened and with additional attractions, probably in another 3 years time before my girl turn 4 years for the free entrance. Haha.