Archive for the ‘places’ Category

July 18, 2013

Escape Adventureplay Theme Park, Penang.

I’m sure most of you have probably heard of ‘Escape Adventureplay Theme Park’. It is the first theme park in Penang (like, big fucking deal). At first, I was like “Meh…”, but after a visit there yesterday for a ‘Company T’ teambuilding event, I am now like, “WOW!”. I had a blast there. It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed an outing so much.

First of all, I’d like to stress how glad I am to learn that this first theme park in Penang is such an awesome place. It would surely break my heart if Penang’s first theme park were to be some sissy ass place like that Legoland, Lost world of Tambun or some shit like that. This is a theme park made of creativity and pure fun! Just how fun it is? Well, the easiest way to gauge the fun level of any place, is by measuring the number of times you whip out your mobile phone (to kill time). The more times you whip out your phone, the suckier the place is. And at Escape, my colleagues and I could have gone the whole day without a phone! (if not for the compelling need to whip it out to record some crazy ass videos!)

If you don’t already know, the whole place is sort of like an eco theme park, and everything is close to nature (I like that idea very much – it reminds me of the greener Penang back when Teluk Bahang hadn’t had that damn dam yet). There’s one part of the theme park called ‘Monkey business’, a place where you’d spend most of your time doing what monkeys do best – climbing, balancing and go from tree to tree, through creatively designed obstacles. ‘Monkey business’ is all about ropes, nets, cables, zip lines and tricky steps. Think of it like, being in ‘Prince of Persia’ in real life, with obstacles on trees. Divided into 3 levels, 1 being the lowest and least difficult, to level 3, the most challenging of all. I could only complete level 1 and part of level 2, before I go all exhausted and bent out of shape. Suffice to say, one has got to have a reasonably fit physique and stamina to be able to tackle level 1, 2 and 3 all in 1 go. I now know that I am far from that category of a person. (if you have Acrophobia – extreme fear of heights – this is probably not your shit even if you’re fit).

For those who want to look for a respite from all that climbing, balancing and having to deal with vertigo inducing heights in ‘Monkey Business’ section, they can opt to take an unrestrained glide down a reasonably high slope on a tire, called ‘Tubby Racer’. This is a ride that’ll shrink your balls if you have them. I did a round in this section, and I learned about the dreadful feel of losing control over something you ride on at high speed. Wasn’t really a great feeling but, the adrenaline rush was massive. If you have heart problems, stay away from this thing, otherwise – I’d recommend to try it once. Then there are some other areas with more climbing & balancing, one with only pure zipping across high altitude above the trees, one that regulates a free fall from the height of a 8 storey building, et al. Didn’t get the chance to explore them all, due to the exhaustion from proving myself too damn much in “Monkey Business”. Also, there’s a section for the kids too, but I wouldn’t recommend bringing kids there – because it’s simply not worth the fee, which can be quite pricey (Google for the price).

All in all, it’s a great place to be if you’re into climbing, nature and something different. You’d spend the whole day here, and sleep the whole night well. You’d get muscle aches, blisters and bruises, but it’s worth it. The 2nd phase of the theme park is in construction now, and it’ll be a water based theme park – which I’m sure will make the place even better. I just hope they’d be able to sustain this place of attraction well, and Penang will surely get a shot at being one of the greatest place for eco-tourism…

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November 6, 2012

Langkawi Island

Went to Langkawi for the 5th time last weekend, and thought I ought to write a review about this place.

First of all, the very reason I went there again and again, is because of the booze. It is a duty free island, and the booze there is like, many times cheaper than anywhere else you can ever find in Malaysia. So naturally, miscreants who are looking to get shitfaced like me and my colleagues are attracted to it like flies to a rotten corpse. And a rotten corpse is coincidentally, a right metaphor to describe Langkawi, for it is nothing but a shithole (albeit not as fucking bad as Pangkor Island).

Recently, there has been news about the government wanting to turn this place into a world class top 10 tourist destination or some shit like that. Well, world class my ass. I don’t know how they’re going to do it. To me, it’s like making a bold claim of wanting to turn one of the most heinous looking old hag in your office into a Miss Universe finalist. I guess this will only happen if Langkawi were to be pitched against shittier places like Somalia or a patch of desert in Afghanistan.

Langkawi has literally nothing there. Trust me. I’ve been to all the tourist spots there – most of them suck donkey cock. Most of them are poorly maintained and holds little or no entertainment value at all. Examples:
– There’s an aquarium that looks like the old Pudu bus station (minus the Banglas).
– There’s a hot spring place that has dead water and shit floating around, that looks more like a massive breeding ground for mosquitoes.(photo proof)
– Shitloads of seedy & run down eateries that charge exorbitant prices for bland tasting food.
– A few waterfalls with garbage strewn all over and rotten amenities. Eco tourism fail.
– A small crocodile farm that looks like a red light district for terminally sick animals. (go to see it for yourself)
– A go-kart circuit that looks abandoned.
– Sight-seeing around the island will reveal a giant cement plant that looks out of place, and a giant landfill with incinerator facility bigger than its airport.
– Airport that brings you back into the 70’s. Considered a shame as it is suppose to be a major place for the annual LIMA event.
– There’s a cable car ride up a mountain called Mat Chinchang, which offers a somewhat mediocre view of the island. (but nothing else).

The only few places worth visiting are the vast stretches of beaches, which is quite spectacular if you’re into beaches. But then, the sea water isn’t very clean to begin with, so it is just really being mediocre. (You can opt to island hop on a boat ride or something, for a fee, which can be quite pricey depending on where you’re from, if you know what I mean).

So, Langkawi is really just a beach joint with cheap booze. If you’re into boozing and lazying around the beach looking and listening to the waves, then this is a place just right for you. World class top 10 tourist destination? Nuh uh. In another world perhaps.

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July 10, 2012

Penang Hill

I have not been to the Penang Hill for such a long time, that I have totally forgotten how shitty it is. About a week after I have joined Company T, the department organized a teambuilding up there on Penang Hill for a treasure hunt event and yes, I have confirmed it again – that place is a shithole.

A lot of people out of state always ask me about Penang Hill, and I always tell them that Penang Hill is a shithole. There’s nothing to do there. Like literally. No theme park, no mall, no nothing. I really don’t understand why would anyone want to go up there. There are only a few ordinary buildings there which hold no entertainment value at all. Eg.
– an Indian temple (Ordinary at best. You’d pretty much get more awesome temples with more historical value around the town than this one)
– a mosque (Same thing – you can get more awesome mosques around town – check out Kapitan Keling)
– several eateries (Overpriced and bland. Any shit down the hill is better)
– a hotel (That looks like it’s a working place for cheap geriatric hookers)
– an owl museum (Tourist trap. It’s not even a fucking museum)
– a police station (That looks deserted and a bit dilapidated.)
– a posh looking restaurant overlooking the ‘view’ (that’s about as ordinary as seeing white hair on an old geezer’s head)

Some say it’s a great place to hang out because the air is cool there. But that’s a complete bollocks. It’s not any cooler than my car air con at its worst condition. Some people say that the view’s awesome (or something along that line). But it’s just a view of the city, which most of the time is blurred with smog from the pollution and haze. So, without (or lack of) the view, the coolness, and places of interest, Penang Hill is reduced to nothing but a massive shithole.

The most interesting thing is probably the train ride up and down the hill. The new train is pretty fast, which makes ascending/descending the slope a little bit of an exciting event. But what’s the point if its sole purpose is to transport you up a giant stinking shithole? It’s sad really. Penang the fucking Hill. The only way to redeem its sad existence is to probably to pimp up the train to become a roller coaster, that meanders up and down the hill for a fee. Maybe to spice things up, we make it go under a fake log, throw in a few areas with close proximity with wild local animals and perhaps a couple of fake paranormal effects (hill spirits) or something like that. It’ll be a bomb. Or at least better than a stupid train ride up into a shithole. But alas, I’m not the government so, it’s still a shithole. Don’t go there.

(I see it more as a fancy rest stop for hikers hiking from the Penang Botanical Gardens. But if you’re going there by the train and expecting it to be interesting, you’d be disappointed)

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December 18, 2011

trip to Korea

Went for a winter vacation at Korea for a week with my wife and kid. Was it good? It was alright overall. Not world class but, it was ok for the price we paid. 

One funny thing happened before I went there though. A couple days before I flew there, I called up the bank to activate my card for my ‘vacation in Korea’. I didn’t bother mentioning which of the 2 Koreas, but the attendant had to ask if it was ‘North or South Korea?’.. like that. I was totally dumbfucked – does that mean that people actually go to North Korea for vacation? Or was the attendant just being retarded? I don’t know. Anyway, it was South Korea that I went to, if one has to ask. It was an 8-day vacation and at times, it felt like forever. Why? A few down points made me felt that way:

1) Food
There’s one thing very prominent about Korean people – they suck at making food. We’ve been introduced to heaps of ‘famous’ Korean delicacies and in my own observation, they’re basically comprised of only 3 types of food – barbecue, steamboat and kimchi. You just dump in different types of meat into the barbecue grill, or a pot with soup, and slap it with a fancy name – chances is high that it is a type of Korean food. Any vegetable or fruit can also be made into kimchi. So, it’s just maths from thereon, you just combine your meat vs vegetables vs fruits vs the either barbecue/steamboat/kimchi – you get a whole culture of Korean food. They’re more or less the same. It’s fucking depressing really (for Penang people, especially).

2) Language
I was told that English is a compulsory subject in Korean education. But to my opinion, that is a complete bullshit (well, either that or, everyone failed their English). Unless you speak Korean, you’ll never get your shit together there. Road signs, maps, amenities, they’re all in Korean hieroglyphics. Communication is a big major cockblock there, so, backpacking is totally out of the question (unless you speak Korean or good at figuring out alien languages at warp speed). I was thinking, why do we humans even bother beaming binary messages to outer space in search for extra terrestrial intelligent beings out there in the universe, when we can’t even fucking get around understanding the Korean people in planet Korea. 

3) Weather
I am a cold person. I like cold weather. But that’s about it. Having to weather the dry and sub zero temperature is not my idea of having a relaxing vacation, as I have to laboriously lug along thick winter clothing in and out of the chill and in between heated environments. It wouldn’t had been that bad if everywhere’s cold, because I could just keep my clothing on. But it had to be cold outside, and extremely warm indoor. So it’s either freezing to the bone, or hot to the core. That’s the part I hate most, adding and removing the layers as you go to places. It sucks and makes me appreciative of not having to worry about carrying extra clothing everywhere I go… here in Malaysia. 

4) Old people
Young Koreans are beautiful (plastic fucking surgery), but the old ones are on the exact opposite end of the distribution curve. They’re rude and ignorant. In the span of 8 days, I’ve been shoved and elbowed by old Korean hags (with oddly familiar cauliflower hairstyles) for not less than a dozen times. They would walk into my line of sight every time I wanted to take a photo and they do not bother to give any fuck. If you ask me, this seems to point to a disturbing trend – old people, they’re fucked up no matter which culture they’re from. But Korean’s worse because of the remnants of silicon and overly ebony wig, which give them the appearance of a stop-motion special effects creature from the past. 

And that’s about all I hated about Korea. Otherwise, it would be an epic vacation. The landscapes there are no doubt beautiful – I particularly enjoyed the view at a place called Seongsan Ilchulbong, at Jeju island – it’s basically a dead volcano by the ocean, and is a UNESCO listed site or something. Then there’s this place where we took a cable car up a mountain range at Seoraksan National Park, with a view to die for. Also, went to a fake island with a bunch of trees and stuff where a purportedly famous Korean love drama was made – it was just alright but nevertheless, better than something like our Cameron Highlands. Then there’s the ski thing we did, it was alright. We were also brought to a theme park owned by Samsung called ‘Everland’, which records one of the happiest episode of my daughter’s life. 

Also, I would like to mention this – I’ve never encountered a dirty public toilet at Korea during the entire trip. This is a feat that is hard to achieve in my humble opinion. Maybe I’ve been to only the good places but, they seem to be on the better scale than most people (I’ve seen bad toilets even in the U.S.). They have the respective janitor’s picture with contact numbers posted in each of the restroom, which I think could be the trick. They make the janitor own the fucking toilet like it’s his joint. The guy’s a phone call away from cleaning your shit and he can’t go very far – I think we needed that in our country because our state of public toilet is downright abysmal. It’s little thing like this that makes a whole lot of difference, don’t you think?

After we came back home, my wife and I agreed on one thing, the visit to Korea actually made us appreciate our home country more. We whooped some Hokkien Mee the first chance we had back home and 2 back-to-back meals of chicken rice for Regine. It’s one thing about saying ‘there’s no place like home’, feeling it is an entirely different thing. We needed this vacation and we had it alright.

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April 18, 2011

Pangkor Island

Pangkor Island, the tropical paradise. Heard of that many times. Never got the chance to visit it… until last weekend. It was a big stinking shithole. Would never go there ever again.

But I have to admit, the first impression at the marina (Marina Island – the place where my family and I boarded a ferry to Pangkor) was pretty good. It looked like an airport complete with landscaping and stuff. It even has an electronic ticketing system, where you don’t get to see middle aged creepy Malay blokes with strong B.O. going around asking for your ticket (like many places in Malaysia). I was like “Wow, this is impressive!”. The ferry ride was also quite pleasant. But that’s about the point where it ended.

Once we got to the other side (i.e. Pangkor Island), shit just went down 7 classes and negative 4 stars. It was like walking through a portal from a world class airport into a Mogadishu pirates’ fishing village. Filthy, worn out and fucked up. The whole place also reeked of dead animals – must be the fishes. And then, once we’re out of the fucked up jetty complex, we were swamped by a group of thuggish looking taxi drivers offering their services. I don’t know if it’s just me but, I felt intimidated by this… and felt strongly so much more after got up into their van-taxis. (total junk, no air conditioner, spewing black smoke – which is ironic about the claim of going there to whiff some fresh air).

So what about the place? It’s like a retarded version of Langkawi. But Langkawi is so much better because it has got cheap ass booze (otherwise, still suck as a resort place). But Pangkor, there’s nothing there – just some ridiculously narrow roads, giant landfill, expensive food and contaminated sea. I’ve heard people claiming it to be a world class resort, but that’s definitely a bullshit. World class for houseflies perhaps….

There’s another resort nearby – ‘Pangkor Laut’ – which I heard from some pesky housewives, is a secret hideaway for Brad Pitt and the chick who starred in ‘The Eye’ (hence the spillover claim of being world fucking class). But for a few grands a night, that better be fucking out-of-this-world awesome, but I seriously doubt it’d be just by being so near this big stinking shithole. Overall, it’s just an utter waste of time and money being at that few degrees on the surface of our planet.

If you’re planning for Pangkor, better fuck that plan. Go somewhere better instead – like Redang or something (but don’t come to Penang, we’ve got enough traffic already).

michaelooi  | places  | 8 Comments