Saturday, 21 December 2013

Perak 2013: Ipoh And Pangkor Island *Photos Intensive*


Hello!

A few weeks earlier, a kind neighbor has undertaken the task to organize a trip to Perak, Malaysia and had invited some of us neighbors to come along.

The big day finally arrived after much anticipation. We woke up in the wee hours of the morning to board a chartered coach which brought us across the causeway.

Everyone spent much of the journey catching up on much deprived sleep until we arrived for breakfast at Batu Gajah.

Mum's breakfast

Does anyone know what this palm-sized packet is called?

It is wrapped like Nasi Lemak but the content is just rice with shrimps and gravy and not the usual ikan bilis, egg and peanuts.

To be honest, the taste of the rice with the sauce is quite nice actually.

Dad's Wanton Mee

The Wanton Mee is satisfactory except for the disappointing Char Siew.

My ideal Char Siew should be caramelized on the outside with bits of fat on the inside.

This Char Siew is too dry for my palate.

My Kolo Mee

Tried my first Kolo Mee but I do not like the instant mee styled noodles.

Same problem with the Char Siew here.

After breakfast, we arrived at Loong Thow Ngam Temple (龙头岩) which has a history spanning more than a hundred years.

There are several natural-occurring rock formations inside the cave that resembled dragons, toads, elephants and even a claw and a fist.

I guess when you are stuck in a cave for too long, you become imaginative.

The temple is seeking donations for expansion


Noticed the ceiling?

It was blackened by a decade of incense offerings from the devotees.

The temple wiped away a portion of the blackened parts to reveal a bagua!

A ladybug flew onto me

This ladybug reminds me of my primary school days spent catching ladybugs in the school field before morning assembly.

We boarded the coach and was barely settled when we reached our next destination - Gunung Lang which is just a stone's throw away from Loong Thow Nam Temple.

Gunung Lang

Magnificent lake hemmed by majestic limestone hills

You could pay for a RM3 (half price for senior citizens) boat ride to the park opposite where a beautifully landscaped garden and mini zoo awaits.

We did not cross over to the other side as it was not included in the itinerary. We just took some photos here before heading to Ipoh to check into our hotel.

Kinta Riverfront Hotel is a relatively new one-year-old hotel. Guests had to scan their card keys for the lift to go up to our level.

My only complaint is with a young-looking frontdesk staff who did not maintain eye contact with me when I inquired about the wifi. He had his head down at his paperwork the whole time.

I feel he is being rude and disrespectful.

Our tour guide liaising with the front desk

Room 1018

Scan your card key to enter the room.

If the door is left unlocked, it will, in Mum's own words, "cry" which is actually the security function.

Switches for the lights

Interior

Beds are comfy but the pillows are extremely flat

Since we are only staying for one night, I did not bother asking for one more pillow.

The extra pillow in the cupboard was given to Mum while I folded mine in half. 

TV reception for room 1018 is bad and all channels were in black and white

Complimentary beverages

Loved the high tech feel

The bathroom could get pretty cold with
the air con directly above the W.C

The showerhead

We woke up for breakfast at 7am on the fourth floor.

First round: Nasi Lemak

The taste is ok except that the egg and rice were cold (taken out from fridge and not properly reheated).

Round Two: Plain Porridge and Beehoon

Round Three: Prawn Mee

After breakfast, it was time to check out of the hotel and head for Pangkor Island!

At Lumut Jetty

"S'kius me, Stewardess coming through..."

Waiting for the ferry

RM10 for a two way ticket

On the ferry

Do take note that the ferry will be making two stops.

The first stop is at Sungai Pinang Kecil Jetty while the second stop is at Pangkor Jetty.

You do not want to disembark at the wrong one.

Approaching Pangkor Island

All the vans (they call it taxi) on the island are pink!

The first thing we did after disembarking is to go for a round-the-island tour.

First stop, Dutch Fort!

Pufferfish for sale

Soon after alighting from the van, I tripped over a porthole in the road.

The camera had a bad fall so there was no pictures of the fort.

My left ankle had a slight sprain while my right knee and knuckle had lacerations but my ego suffered the most as it was witnessed by so many people around yet no one came to help me up.

I am disheartened by the callous attitude of men...

Next up, to Fu Ling Kong Temple!

Fu Ling Kong Temple
福临宫

It is said that there is a drum made of cow skin that apparently still grows hair but I did not managed to see.

There is also a mini Great Wall that is built along the slopes of the temple which involves a bit of stairs climbing but due to my earlier sprain, I decided to just stay around the front of the temple where the stalls selling knick-knacks are.

Ice Kachang RM3

That proved to be a brilliant idea because while the others are visiting the temple, Mum and I had all the time we need to finish this bowl of Ice Kachang.

I am not entirely sure if it was due to the scorching weather but I find this Ice Kachang exceptionally refreshing and delicious!

Moving on, we are brought to this local produce shop.

Local produce shop

This is keropok heaven

Did I just say this is keropok heaven?

Ikan Bilis heaven too

We bought many bags of ikan bilis, some local produce and tidbits for my siblings.

Our last stop ends at Lin Je Kong Temple (灵慈宫) where the statues of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse welcomes visitors within. 

You can see Donald in the photo below right in the middle near the steps.

Brackish water - where fresh water meets sea water

Leaving Lin Je Kong, we finally checked into our resort at Coral Bay. We have only one day in Pangkor and will be returning to Ipoh the next day.

Our room at Coral Bay Resort

Yay to double pillows!

Basic amenities checked

We wasted no time in making our way to Pasir Bogak Beach which is about 2 - 3 minutes walk from the resort.

Going out to sea for our sea activities!

We went island hopping and visited some strange rock formations that looked like an apple, crocodile's head, etc and even passed by Pangkor Laut Resort (a neighboring island) where Malaysian International star Angelica Lee held her marriage.

Spot the fishes

Snorkeling!

The speedboat brought us to a designated location where we snorkeled.

I was quite sad when we had to leave as I still have not had enough fun yet.

There is not much photos here as we were in the water. I guess it is time to invest in a underwater camera!

Dinner is at Restoran Pasir Bogak (高佬海鲜饭店).

Dinner for the night

Breakfast at Coral Bay Resort next morning.

Nasi Lemak again

Is Nasi Lemak a national dish of Malaysia?

It is served as the main dish at both Kinta Riverfront Hotel and at Coral Bay.

After breakfast, it is time to check out and head back to Ipoh.



Back at Lumut, we shopped at the nearby shops.

Our next destination is headed for Tanjung Tualing (督亚冷) to have freshwater prawns for lunch.


The stars

Ready to serve

Below are some of the other dishes we had for lunch.


The julienned vegetables on top of the fish are very appetizing

Midin Fern - I last had them in Sarawak!

After lunch, we saw many people crowding this stall.


They are selling freshly made Sak Kei Ma

I find the Sak Kei Ma a little bland but we still bought a few packs nonetheless.

We were next brought to this shop selling soya bean milk and soya bean curd otherwise also known as "tau fu fah" in Malaysia.

The long queue in front of the shop is testament to its brisk business.

Although named "Funny Mountain", the atmosphere inside the shop is anything but relaxed.

The never-ending queue means the staff can hardly take a breather!


Apparently, their "tau fu fah" is said to be one of the best in Malaysia.

They are so popular that they even have a devoted "drive-thru" service for vehicles!

A staff will take your order then bring them to you where you can eat your "tau fu fah" in your car and someone will come to collect the bowls when you are done.

I did not have the "tau fu fah" but opted for the soya bean milk instead.

According to my parents, the "tau fu fah" is smooth and rich but it is quite a small bowl which can be finished in just "two mouthfuls".

My soya bean milk

The cool, refreshing soya bean milk provided some temporary respite from Ipoh's harsh weather! It is smooth and fragrant with the sweetness just right.

I would recommend Funny Mountain to anyone who visits Ipoh!

Ling Sen Tong
灵仙岩

We were brought to yet another built-in-the-cave temple.

This temple contained several folklore statues which bear some uncanny resemblance to our very own Haw Par Villa.




Built right next to Ling Sen Tong are another two temples - Sam Poh Tong (三宝洞) and Nam Tin Tong (南天洞) which we did not visit as the heat was getting to us real bad.


This Salted Chicken was highly recommended by the tour guide hence, we ordered one to try out.

Throw all dining etiquette out of the windows when having this salted chicken.

The chicken, which is the size of a spring chicken is best enjoyed with your bare hands! Just pull and tear off the flesh to eat.

 Not very appetizing looking, I know because the wax paper sticks to the skin

The chicken is first marinated with pepper, salt and angelica (dong guai) then wrapped in wax paper and baked for an hour while buried under heaps of coarse salt. I love how flavorful the chicken tastes and even the normally tough and tasteless chicken breasts tastes tender and succulent.

These chickens fly off the shelves real fast as customers buy them by the boxes. We had to call and order in advance to "chope" our chickens.

After returning from Pangkor, we checked back into Kinta Riverfront Hotel.

This time, we are at Room 1003. The power socket near the TV is spoilt while the water pressure in the shower is wonky.

I realized that in both room 1018 and 1003, there are similar strange stains at the bathroom entrance that looked like wax. A coincidence or some mark left behind after performing certain rituals?

Lou Wong Tauge Chicken/Nga Choi Gai
老黄芽菜鸡沙河粉

Believe it or not, after having Aun Kheng Lim Salted Chicken in the afternoon, we had Lou Wong Nga Choi Gai for dinner. The number of people waiting to get a table is sheer madness!

Luckily we had reserved our tables in advance.

Tauge

I don't think you could tell from this picture but that is a humongous plate of tauge seasoned with pepper and soy sauce.

The plump and crunchy Ipoh tauge that grew on water from limestone hills

The Ipoh chicken with skin yellow-er than Singapore chickens

My first time having chicken feet with dong guai!

Chicken gizzards

The entire Lou Wong Tauge Chicken affair

So, what is my verdict after trying out this Tauge Chicken that Ipoh is so famous for? To be honest, I felt the chicken is over-rated. It is not that special except for its yellow skin.

However, I do enjoy the Dong Guai Chicken Feet and the kway teow soup which is particularly tasty. 

After dinner, we had a short shopping at The Store before returning to Kinta Riverfront Hotel to retire for the night.

This is to be our last night at Ipoh.

The next morning, we had our breakfast on the fourth floor.

As expected, it was Nasi Lemak again.

Love the sea of mist in the mountains opposite my room

After checking out of the hotel, we moved our luggage into the coach and headed to this coffeee shop for white coffee.

It was too crowded so we ended up having none

Next destination on the itinerary is yet another temple-in-a-cave.

What is up with Ipoh's Chinese and their fascination with building temples in caves?


Pretty spacious inside

The other end of the cave revealed a world of unparalleled beauty

View of the entrance taken from inside out

Magnificent!

Macaques gathered near where the coach was parked

By now, we must make our way back to Johor Bahru but we stopped by Tambun along the way for their Pomelos.

Tambun Pomelos
打扪柚子

Had always loved these green mangoes but never knew what they are called

What do you call these green mangoes anyway?

We like to put the unriped ones in the rice bucket and the kitchen will permeate with their fragrance.

I found Vanilla Coke!

We stopped by Gopeng (务边) roadside for kampong durians without pesticides

Om Nom Nom!

We also stopped by Kampar for lunch at this restaurant famous for its "Golden Pillow".

This restaurant was co-owned by three friends

The famed "Golden Pilliow" - what secret does it hold?

Curry Chicken!

From Kampar, we made a really long journey back to Yong Peng where we had our dinner before returning to Singapore.

Although this is just a short 4 days trip, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously and I hope there will be another trip to Pangkor Island soon. 

I wished to have the opportunity to feed and take photos of the wild Hornbills that roost on the island which was not included on the itinerary this time.
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