great_ocean_road
Blog, Travel

Hit the Great Ocean Road

Not only was it nothing like I’ve expected… IT WAS BEYOND WHAT I CAN EVER IMAGINE. Never have I seen a sky as clear and high roads stretched out into an endless horizon as I hit road.

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Not just any road but – The Great Ocean Road.

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It’s been more than a year since I visited to Melbourne, Australia. It was a spontaneous decision to make and that was my first solo trip. Almost. I’m lucky that I have friends in Aussie to show me around.

I’m afraid I can’t tell you the complete itinerary for this trip. I did not book a standard tour. In fact, I did not manage to see all the highlights there.

YES I KNOW. I’M MISSING OUT.

Still, it wasn’t the destination that moved me. It’s the experience between the milestones. Really.

The moment I touched down Tullamarine Airport, I was simply thrilled! There’s something different about the air in Melbourne. It’s so much fresher and no wonder Australia is known as the treasure trove of natural greenery and wildlife.

I spotted a possum crossing the road. You’d never see something like that back in Malaysia.

It was around November when I got there where everything is lush with the beauty of Spring and Summer.

My friend, Cindy and I rented a car for the day from Economy Car Rentals.

We thought it’d be an adventure to go on our own. Besides, DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN DRIVE AROUND AUSTRALIA WITH A MALAYSIA DRIVING LICENSE? You don’t really need a permit if you’re just planning to travel short term (less than 3 months).

But of course, make sure it’s still a valid license. The laws in Australia is a lot more strict than how it is in Malaysia.

For instance, if you spot a signboard saying drive at 70km/hour, you should be driving at 70km/hour. Nothing less or definitely not more.

So, adventure begins. As we were leaving the city, I could see the entire Melbourne skyline whizzing pass me.

at the petrol station and situated just right beside it is where Hungary Jack’s at.

Hungry-Jacks

My first meal in Melbourne! I had the Double Cheese Burger. Hmm.. the patty was slightly dry for me but aside from that it’s pretty alright for a quick bite.

When I said the view is simply spectacular, it really is! Just like how countrysides are depicted in magazines, they were all happening right in front of me.

Surrounded by authenthic Australian countryside with bales of hay spreading across the wide fields, local bred cows and pure rural beauty, nothing speaks calmness like it.

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There’s no rush throughout the journey. It feels like a place where time slows down so you can be free from stresses in life. Everything at the countryside is so soothing, giving you the feeling where you have all the time in the world to be in tune with nature.

The major downside is that there was no reception. When I say it’s a rural area, it literally is. So we kind of lost signal and ended up driving ahead. Directionless. Guess what they say, not all who wander are lost.

After driving into the unknown along the beautiful coastline, miraculously we found our first attraction.

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Castle Cove.

I still remember the wind blowing through my hair, the sight of turquoise waters and the sounds of the waves calling out surfers who are just looking to ride with the waves.

I could gaze at it all day but time was limited.

Even if I don’t get to see every single attraction of The Great Ocean Road, The 12 Apostles is a must-see-before-I-die buck list that I’m determined to achieve. Apparently, it’s another 30 minute drive from Castle Cove.

I’ve got to admit. I was panicking. Somewhere deep in me know I wouldn’t get there in time.

Just as I was about to lose hope, there it is. Paradise right at the perfect timing and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

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Watching suburban sunsets turning sand into gold spendour and memorizing the rhythm of the waves crashing into lime stones.

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That’s my unforgettable experience. Accompanied by an old friend, an adventurous road trip and being rewarded by a view that’s to die for!

Followed by a quiet night drive under the pitch dark sky only lit by the bright stars that seem so far away.

Keeping my fingers cross that one day, I’ll relive the moments. But more importantly, to satisfy bold and adventurous streak in me.

That’s my memory of The Great Ocean Road. Bet you can create a voyage just as amazing as mine. For more info, visit www.visitgreatoceanroad.org.au.

dating app
Blog, Chats

Why is Having 5 Potential Dates Better Than An Infinite Pool of Singles?

Months ago, I’ve wrote this article to a dating app company to see if I can score an interview.

In case you’re wondering, no I didn’t get it. ūüėõ

But no effort goes to waste. I shall dump it here.

Let’s call them ABC.

——————————————————————————————-

Love is complicated. You know what’s more complicated?

Finding the one true love that lasts forever.

Is there really such thing as finding THE ONE ?

If you’re Asian, you’ve probably heard dem materialistic gurls saying “No money,no honey”.

Well, they ain’t entirely wrong.

Since cash is king and if you do have it, there’s nothing wrong about spending money on ABC to find love..

WHY THE HELL I WANT TO SPEND MONEY WHEN I CAN DOWNLOAD FREE DATING APPS WITH UNLIMITED SWIPES?

The answer is simple. Having too many choices make it harder for anyone to choose.

Ever wonder why the question, “Where to eat?” is the toughest question of all time? It’s a first world problem and the smarter move would be to limit your choices.

What???

Are you saying it’s more likely to find better matches in a pool of¬†5¬†instead of a thousand?

Yup. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

With the endless romantic options, people are exhaustively searching for The One and it sabotages their relationship prospects instead.

No wonder kids these days get married so old.

The man you can’t stop thinking about is currently banging his wife in the office while texting you and atleast 4 different girls.

People behave differently with a seemingly infinite pool of choices. With unlimited (you mean, UNFILTERED!) dates, it reduces the possibility of finding THE ONE in the pool with god-knows-what-his-or-her-intention is.

He’s a 28 year old ambitious professional, single and ready to mingle on his profile.

When he’s actually 40 and balding, happily married with 5 kids. Cat fish!

And you wonder why you’re single.

A typical speed date would cost you $50 where two singles meet up, have a 5 minute conversation,maximizing your odds of having mind blowing chemistry and if not, you move on to the next person.

Think of it like, the fast food version of The Bachelor.

Minus the sexy chocolate bath and extravagant places around the world for every over romanticized date, it really isn’t as fancy as it is. Unless you fork out more money.

But I’d say, fuck it.

Usually when shit goes down, it’s likely speed daters go looking to see what’s out there instead of working to repair it.

It’s not about the money. It’s just that speed daters ain’t got time for all that shiz.

That’s why it’s called SPEED DATING.

Think about many more $50s you’ll have to chip in and¬†go through the same old agonizing cycle of soulmate searching before you finally found your best suitor.It’s pretty much the same as the old-fashioned way of courting but only with more options in one session than your usual network of people.

Speed dating is so 2012. 

You’re a grown ass adult with a high flying career who’s way over short term hook ups. What you want now is slow dating where relationships gets serious. You’re looking at quality over quantity.

They say take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

But what they didn’t tell you is that, THERE’S A WAY TO REDUCE THAT RISK.

Being selective is the way to go instead of putting your desperate single ass out there and settling for shit.

ABC can help you with that. ( Oh no! Another dating app. )

Wow there. Hold your horses.

ABC isn’t your average dating app. You can count on them to be your wingman because they¬†genuinely care about your happiness. As all users are thoroughly screened through by professional matchmakers.¬†No spam with creepy pick up lines. No fake profiles. No more lame conversation starters like “a/s/l?”

Users will receive up to only 2 to 5 compatibles matches daily – focusing on a more curated dating experience with accurate matches based on your choices.

It’s no longer about how fast your thumbs can swipe. It’s designed to give you more high quality matches for more successful relationships in the long run.

With an 86% of success rate, true love may just be a click away!

All you’ve got to do is fill them up with the deets about your preferences in mate and the rest is sorted out. Then, decide whether you’re interested. Hot or Not?

And if it’s a match, of course, show up for the date. Don’t ghost, ok? You’re a mature, reasonable grown up with balls of steel (or ovaries).

ABC encourages going for real dates rather than in-app chatting. Go premium for GUARANTEED offline dates.

OMG I’m too shy to meet IRL. Not handsome. ūüė¶

Talk to dating consultants. Take a tip from the blog. They are more than happy to give you tuition about everything from basic manners to image coaching. Every bozo can easily transform into a superstar in dating with a little extra help from the experts.

If “No money, honey” is your rule of thumb (not judging), you’d need to be in a certain financial position to use ABC’s services. After all, it is to bring working professionals together despite their busy lifestyles.

<INSERT ABC hyperlink>

or for more info, visit www.abc.com

Still not sure about finding THE ONE for you? Your gut feeling is probably correct because there’s no such thing about “the one”. Could there be someone or many people out there? Ultimately, finding love is about taking the leap of faith and deciding whether someone has a set of qualities that suit you and together,the both of you can mold the relationship into something better.

mount kinabalu
Blog, Travel

Mount Kinabalu, Sabah : I Came. I Saw. I Conquered.

Many years back, I saw a postcard of the Mount Kinabalu with words imprinted, ‘I came. I saw. I conquered’. I visioned myself of standing on the peak and high above the clouds with a heart full of pride. What was once believed to be a mere childhood fantasy and a seemingly impossible task has finally been realized when I turn 25. What an adventure of a lifetime! Or at least a quarter of a lifetime.

With my loyal and reliable travel buddy, Sook, we made a booking with Amazing Borneo Tours three months ahead and we got everything finalized pretty quickly and efficiently. Everything was communicated via email and the instructions given are clear and straightforward. I would highly recommend anyone to reserve a spot with this tour agency if you have plans to go for the hike, just like us.

We took the 3D2N Mount Kinabalu Climb and Kinabalu Park Stay tour package (RM 1780.00 nett per person) since the budget package was sold out. You will need to provide a copy of your identity card or passport for permit application and it will take them a few days for processing. Meals, accommodation, transportation, climbing insurance, entrance fee, a mountain guide and other essentials are included in the package.

Day 1 : Kinabalu Park Hostel 

On the first day, the driver picked us up at Warisan Square, the heart of Kota Kinabalu, around 1pm and it took approximately 1 -1.5 hours to reach Kinabalu Park. As per the itinerary, we had to make a stop at Pekan Nabalu for 20 minutes. In my honest opinion, it’s just a quaint little village in the middle of nowhere with nothing much to offer but generic touristy souvenirs. We got there around noon and it was like a ghost town.

I’m pretty disappointed at that moment because it’s sad to see that there are people still trying to make a living this way. Like come on, it’s already 2018! There must be someone who can come up with something more creative and innovative than ‘ I love Sabah’ key chains, magnets and t-shirts. We had to pay RM0.20 if you want to go to the toilet but that’s totally fine, considering that fact that it needs daily maintenance.

Thankfully, that did not dampen our excitement especially when we finally arrived at Kinabalu Park. The weather was crisp and refreshing. Far from the hustle and bustle of town and feeling the fresh cool breeze in what only pure nature can offer. We were greeted by the guide and was assigned to our rooms.

We got to our rooms using the shuttle service. It was written in the email that the room will be a dorm with a shared bathroom and toilet but it isn’t as bad as I imagined it would be.¬†It was like a chalet with one large shared bathroom. I think we stayed at Rock Twin and not the Grace Hostel.

Here’s a map that I’ve got from the site.

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I’m not sure but yeah, it was better than I expected. The bedrooms are equipped with very basic amenities; two single beds with a bath towel each and a dressing table.

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They aren’t air-conditioned or installed with a fan but you wouldn’t be needing them because the simple, spacious room is airy enough and it gets colder especially when night falls.

Dinner starts at 6pm at the Balsam Buffet Restaurant. Surrounded by lush greenery, the rustic wooden furniture and brick walls enhances the cosy ambiance of the al fresco dining area with a romantic feel.

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The buffet line serves a unique variety of international cuisine, a fusion of east and west, to suit your preferences. My personal favourite among the selection of dishes is the roasted lamb that has a savoury sweetness to its juicy tenderness.

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Once we were done with dinner, Sook and I decided to walk back to our room instead of using the shuttle. After all, it was only a 5 minute walk away. We walked down the dimly lit roads accompanied by the sound of chirping crickets that break the silence of the night. We went to bed early, preparing ourselves for the long day ahead.

Day 2: Park HQ – Timpohon Gate – Panalaban Hut

We woke up at 6am, packaged our bags, left the comfort our bedrooms and had a quick breakfast at the restaurant before we start our hike to Panalaban. We were given takeaway lunch boxes as the hike is estimated to take roughly 5 to 6 hours (depending on your pace and stamina). There are trekking poles for rent at the Park HQ for only RM10 per stick. Somehow I had a feeling I might be a little under prepared for this (or are trekking poles for the weak?). For my own self-assurance, I rented one and all I can say is… hell yeah, I’m glad I did. You’ll see why later. We hopped on the shuttle and ascend to the starting point at Timpohon Gate.

Just 1km from Timpohon Gate in a mere 15 minute hike, you will be greeted by the spilling sounds of a tranquil waterfall, Carson Falls.

carson falls

Surrounded by lush greenery and a cloudless blue sky, the weather is perfect for hiking. I love how the view changes and there’s a rest house every few metres. Never a dull moment!

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Although a 7km hike up may sound like a walk in a park, it’s actually a little more challenging than it sounds. Not forgetting to mention that it’s a 7km flight of stairs.

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The only advise I can give is to pack light. Otherwise, you can rent a porter to help you with your luggage (even your emotional luggage if you’re lucky!) and you will be dumbfounded by how extremely tough these guys are. Stacking up baggage after baggage towering twice their own height before lifting them up all the way up, it’s crazy how these guys managed to find balance.

As a novice hiker with an average fitness level and no climbing experience, I finally arrived at Panalaban Hut. Located at 3,720 metres high above the clouds over 6 hours hike, the view is spectacular from where it is.

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Stinking of dried, cold sweat, I thought I could unwind a little with a hot shower. To my horror, the heaters were not working. The base camp is powered by¬† solar panels and because it is usually cold and rainy up there, there’s only enough electricity to power up the lights.

Beverages including basic water is sold for 500ml for RM7.00 and 1.5L for RM14.00. It may seem like a ridiculous idea to pay such amount for such necessities but we are actually paying for the manpower needed to transport them all the way up to the base camp. Aside from the lack of water and hypothermia-inducing showers, the buffet dinner is enjoyable and the view from the deck is one you definitely wouldn’t want to miss.

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This picture is taken at the deck. See if you can spot a natural waterfall running down the mountain. It looks a lot better in real life than what my phone camera can capture. From right outside the base camp, you can already see Low’s Peak through the mist. It kinda gives you the chills, doesn’t it?

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Day 3: Panalaban Hut – Low’s Peak- Panalaban Hut – Timpohon Gate – Park HQ

We adjourned to Low’s Peak at 2am. After having a light breakfast and gearing up for the final hike, we stepped out of the hut and it was still a pitch-dark morning, hours before dawn.

Led only by a million sparkling stars in the night sky and a single ray of light from our head torch which illuminates the narrow stair way, we braved our way through darkness and the cold and up to the peak. You know what everyone says to never look back and just keep moving forward (also in life)? But that night, I did look back and what I saw was simply amazing. It looked like there were at least a hundred other climbers behind me and from the glaring shine of their head torches, it was like a long twisted luminous trail of star shine.

The weather was so cold that our mobile phones were drained all the way and completely dead. Thankfully, we’ve brought our GoPro with us to capture the moment. After hours through ultra steep slopes and rocky terrains, tears of joys sprung to my eyes when I finally reached the peak.

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When the day got brighter, I can’t believe what I’ve went through all the hours in the dark just to get up there. I guess the key is to keep going, slow and steady.¬† It would seem like an impossible task for anyone with acrophobia.

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It takes a whole lot of dedication and patience to reach the Climax, the grand hurrah, and for that moment, nothing else seems to matter but the immense feeling of achievement in your heart.

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