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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cameron Highlands + Kelantan Trip

The first thing people ask you after a long holiday is usually "How were your holidays?", to which I always answer "Boring". Because it's totally true (most of the time).
However, there was some respite from the boredom on the 2nd week of March, when my dad decided to go on a 'road trip' to Cameron Highlands and Kelantan.

So the 3 of us set off (dad, mum and me) from home around noon with a week's worth of clothes and me with my trusty laptop (more for safety than usefulness, lol). The weather had taken a turn for the better, with beautiful blue skies and white fluffy clouds, after a horrible week of daily downpours. We arrived at the Equatorial Hotel around 6 p.m. and after a short drive around, went to the hotel's Chinese restaurant, The Golden Pheonix, to have their famous steamboat dinner.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the coffee house and then went for a walk around the hotel, enjoying the cool fresh air and admiring all the flowers in bloom. It's so colourful up there; you can see flowers blooming everywhere! ^^ After checking out from the hotel, we stopped by the Boh plantation to have some tea and take a tour of the factory. It was pretty educational, and I, for one, could never say no to my favourite and most beloved drink - tea! XD

Mooo~ Cowie enjoying the morning scenery. =P
Green, green grass... Yummy!

From Cameron Highlands, we then continued on to Kelantan.
Most people would be wondering why of all places in Malaysia would we be heading to Kelantan, which is a predominantly Malay state with very few Chinese. Well, it's my mum's hometown and we have quite a few relatives there, so why not? =D

Anyway, if you're thinking that you'd probably starve to death there due to lack of Chinese food and/or pork, let me reassure you that that will not be the case. At all. I ate so much I fell sick on the last day! LOL

Here, I'll highlight some treasures of Kelantan that you should definitely check out if you're heading that way.
  • Nasi dagang - Nowhere in KL/PJ can you find nasi dagang as good as those in its native state. Heck, even the anonymous stall by the roadside is better than those sold here in fancy+overpriced places.
  • Nasi kukus - No comment on this one. The only thing I eat when I'm there is nasi dagang, but my parents love it. *shrugs*
  • Laksa - Admittedly, these are harder to find. But they're different from those you get here. It's a Kelantan specialty.
  • White House - This little kopitiam only opens at 9 p.m. and closes at 1 a.m. Four hours of business each day and how does it survive, you ask? Take a sip of the coffee, a bite of kaya+butter toast, and a slurp of the half-boiled eggs. It's been around since before I was around.
  • Beaches - Yes, the 3S - sun, sand and sea. Which totally kicks the West Coast beaches' ass'. Seriously. Refer to the reviews below. XD
  • Thai stuff/food - Thanks to its close proximity to Thailand, you can get lots of Thai stuff in the border places like Rantau Panjang, Pengkalan Kubur, etc. Golok isn't exactly safe at the moment, so most people would opt to go to these places.
  • Native accents - I adore the Kelantanese Malay accents. Sure, they're sometimes hard to understand, but it somehow seems much.. friendlier. (Maybe it's just me, since I've heard it since I was small.)
  • Price - RM2.50 for nasi dagang with a quarter egg and a curry chicken drumstick? No way in Hell and the Klang Valley. NO freaking WAY.
  • There's probably a lot more, but I think I'll stop here.
First beach stop - Pantai Sri Tujuh
Soft, golden sand. Blue skies. White feathery clouds. A refreshing sea breeze. Bright sunlight.
The sound of the waves. Great company. Orange juice. Coconut jelly. Food. Not too much people.

Life is good. =)

Second beach stop - Pantai Irama, Bachok
Same as above, except for the fact that it had rained earlier in the day, so the sand wasn't as nice. But the sea breeze was really cooling and there were a lot of families having fun with their kids.

Two extraordinary things that happened was 2 people in something like a motorized glider flying past above our heads (it looked fun and kinda cool, if you had money for that kinda stuff) and a guy riding a horse bareback on the beach. We could see both the horse and rider going pretty far in, maybe for a swim or something. It was pretty awesome. XD

The pretty sunset clouds soom became angry grey-layered clouds. I swear, that photo was not photoshopped or anything. The sky really was that colour.

Oh yeah, before going to the beach at Bachok, we stopped by a temple for - get this - sauna. Yup, the herbal sauna was quite a new experience for me. The smell of ginger and lots of other herbs was really strong, and the steam was super hot. I had to go in and out of the sauna room to get some fresh air, otherwise I'd probably have fainted or something. -lol-

So basically, that's it. Obviously I'd left out the boring bits, since we were there for 5 days or so. I finally finished updating, along with pictures.

Hope you enjoyed reading this! ^^


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