The Jewel at Changi Airport

In April the Jewel finally opened at Changi Airport and I got the chance to have a look around a few weeks ago as I had a 4 hour layover between KL to Melbourne.

20190501 02 Jewel Changi Airport

The Jewel is a mixed-use development at Changi Airport in Singapore that opened on 17 April 2019. It includes gardens and attractions, a hotel, aviation facilities and 300 retail and dining facilities.  It was nothing short of spectacular being a multi floor circular building with a huge cylindrical waterfall in the middle and wonderful gardens.  However I could not believe how busy it was as. At times it was pedestrian gridlock!!!

20190501 03 Jewel Changi Airport 20190501 07 Jewel Changi Airport 20190501 10 Jewel Changi Airport

You have to go through immigration and enter Singapore as it is situated between Terminals 1, 2 and 3 with land bridges from Terminal 2 and 3 while the external of Terminal 1 is integrated.

20190501 16 Jewel Changi Airport 20190501 14 Jewel Changi Airport

The shopping did not strike me as anything that different to elsewhere but for food there are a number of speciality places and branches of famous Singapore eateries that will give the infrequent traveller to Asia an enhanced experience and a chance to try a few different things.  For now the queues at these places were enormous with an hour wait at most, but I am sure this will settle down over time.  The Jewel was so busy that many people there must have been Singaporean just visiting the Jewel and not travellers.

20190501 22 Jewel Changi Airport

When the top floor gardens and activities are fully open then this will defiantly be a place to break your journey with kids or to have a relaxing meal between flights.  I certainly see it as a reason to have a 4 hour layover when coming from Australia to Europe as it enable an experience while you refresh between long haul flights.

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Bait KL – Bangsar Village for Kerrie’s 55th

For Kerrie’s 55th birthday we had a relaxed dinner for 2 at BAIT at Bangsar Village.  We had avoided this place mainly because we knew that with my love of oysters it would be an expensive night.  However I managed to contain myself to just half a dozen which left room for the other lovely seafood dishes on offer.

20190429 03 Kerrie BDay Dinner - Bait - Bangsar Village - KL

I had eaten here a few times over the years and it never disappointed with its awesome seafood dishes.  When seafood in Malaysia can often be consumed by spices and sauces it is great to have a place like BAIT where the menu keeps the seafood in its basic form with dishes that enhance and not take over the natural taste.

In addition to my half a dozen natural oysters we also went for the Baked Avocados, the Hokkaido Scallop and the Prawn and Mango Salad.

20190429 07 Kerrie BDay Dinner - Bait - Bangsar Village - KL 20190429 04 Kerrie BDay Dinner - Bait - Bangsar Village - KL 20190429 05 Kerrie BDay Dinner - Bait - Bangsar Village - KL

Early in the day I had arranged for the girls to video call in and we sang happy birthday to Kerrie while she blew out the candle on the small cakes that I got.

20190429 00 Kerrie BDay Dinner - Bait - Bangsar Village - KL

After dinner we walked back home to get Ruby and then out again with so Kerrie could have a neck and shoulder massage while I waited at VCR over a coffee.  Ruby does not like it when we separate while out with her and so for the whole time at VCR she stood in the middle of the outdoor area watching and waiting for Kerrie.

20190429 08 Ruby waiting for Kerrie from Massage - Bangsar Village - KL 20190429 09 Ruby waiting for Kerrie from Massage - Bangsar Village - KL

Ruby and I basically had 3 main hangouts at Bangsar Village for morning coffee being:

  • VCR, had the best coffee and a very Melbourne type vibe.  Staff are really friendly and love Ruby so she gets a lot of attention.  It can be a bit noisy however and the WiFi is not reliable which was generally main reason I would go elsewhere.
  • Meet Joe, coffee is good, WiFi was great and best of the outdoor area for Ruby.  She tended to rule this place making her way around to other patrons to be petted.
  • Yeast Bistronomy, if Kerrie was joining then we tended to go to Yeast.  Very elegantly done and so gave the chance to sit outside at nice tables with a French feel.  Their bread is fantastic and Kerrie would always buy a loaf plus coffee with their fresh croissant was a nice change.  Also a lovely host who could speak French and also loved Ruby.

Although Ruby liked socialising and coffee mornings, I think she will enjoy being back at Ocean Grove and the beach much more Smile

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2019 Melb Uni Inter-College Sports – Newman Rowing and Hockey

Timed the move back to Melbourne perfectly to be able to watch Em in action for Newman College in both the Melbourne University Inter-College Rowing and the field Hockey.

20190504 23 Em - Newman Inter College Rowing

I had missed a bit of Em’s sport recently and so it was great to see her back in action again.  Although in a less competitive more social spirit as Newman is not exactly known for its sporting prowess as a college.

In the rowing they seemed to enjoy themselves even though they were put into Division 1 to ensure there were four colleges to compete.  So they got to row twice in both a one on one heat with Trinity and then in the second final Smile

20190504 07 Em - Newman Inter College Rowing

20190504 04 Em - Newman Inter College Rowing 20190504 05 Em - Newman Inter College Rowing 20190504 11 Em - Newman Inter College Rowing

Likewise with Hockey they were against Ormond and were competitive for most of the match being 2 – 1 down at half time and almost equalising late in the second half with a strong shot on goal from Em, which went wide, before Ormond got their 3rd in rebound.

20190510 01 Em - Newman Inter College Hockey 20190510 02 Em - Newman Inter College Hockey 20190510 05 Em - Newman Inter College Hockey

Em got their only goal off a great short corner play which was a handoff to her from the their striker.  The fact that Newman celebrated having scored a goal, as it was the first time in a few years they have scored, showed the spirit they played with. 

Em played well with a number of solo runs down the middle and a lot of two on one plays.  The Go Batterzz chant was heard loudly from the side-lines but then I can have selective hearing!!!

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Jalan Alor at Bukit Bintang

Jalan Alor is a unique food destination in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Visit this street at night time and you step into the heart of a modern Asian city that epitomises the chaos yet beauty of life in Asia as centred around food, family and eating out. 

20150424C 56 Jln Alor 20150424C 47 Jln Alor

20150424C 22 Jln Alor

During the day, there is not much activity as it is generally too hot. But when the sun goes down, the street becomes a mecca for all food that is Asian boasting many Malay, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and other restaurants.  All these restaurants flow onto the street all with their own touters to try and get you to take a seat and eat.

20150424C 24 Jln Alor 20150424C 26 Jln Alor

20150424C 70 Jln Alor

When I first arrived in KL, back in 2010, the restaurants in Jalan Alor only really covered one side of the street while now they overflow on both sides making it very crowded.  The positive however is that since the subway opened, this area, which was red light district, has been tidied up and now is a spot for tourists and local families to enjoy.  You will see just as many locals as tourists enjoying the range of food to offer.  Many dishes quite unique.

20150424C 20 Chicken Fish - Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish - Jln Alor 20150424C 12 Chicken Fish - Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish - Jln Alor

20150424C 14 Butter Prawn - Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish - Jln Alor 20150424C 16 Butter Prawn - Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish - Jln Alor

The street takes on a life of its own and as a visitor to Kuala Lumpur you will definitely be missing out if you don’t spend an evening browsing and eating at Jalan Alor.  Don’t confuse it with Changkat Bukit Bintang which is its sister street with clubs and bars and as such decide not to go to Jalan Alor with the family – you must go!!!

20150424C 02 Restoran Meng Kee Grill Fish - Jln Alor 20150424C 48 Jln Alor

If you head down to the far end of the street (away from Changkat) you will find the food cheaper and more on offer. You will also be less targeted as a tourist.  The other watch item is don’t fall into the trap of trying Durian here.  Not only is it well over priced but it is not good quality and so you will risk not appreciating just how great Durian can be.

Take your time to stroll Jalan Alor and look in the little stalls and shops and other happenings along the way.

20150424C 36 Jln Alor 20150424C 40 Jln Alor

20150424C 43 Jln Alor

Once you find a place you like, make sure you take your time with a bottle of Tiger Beer and sit back and people watch and  take in this very Asian experience. 

20150424C 55 Jln Alor

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Last Minute Road Trip to Sekinchan and Ipoh

The BMW went up for sale last Wednesday through the Carsome process. An interesting, largely online, process where we took the car in for an inspection after which they put it on their site for 3 hours for dealers to bid.  Basically watched the site for 2 hours and 58 mins to see no activity only to then see, in the last 2 minutes, bid after bid to reach a price we were happy with based on various valuations.

Anyway this meant a rushed road trip to Sekihan and Ipoh last weekend before we settled the car on Monday morning.

I will not write much on Sekincahn or Ipoh as numerous posts already on these places.  Instead I will just cover some of the things we did this trip with the key note being what I thought would be a highlight, but not really appreciated by Kerrie, being the probably illegally Disney themed apartment we stayed at in Sekinchan.

20190418 27 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan 20190418 21 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan

20190418 23 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan 20190418 24 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan 20190418 22 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan

20190418 26 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan 20190418 25 Disney Apartment - Sekinchan

This place was over the tope with 3 Disney bedrooms each with full wall murals.  The TV area and Lounge ceiling had Mickey motifs and all sorts of Disney gear was displayed in locked cabinets throughout the apartment.  Ruby (our Beagle) did appreciate the choice of 3 beds and the fact they were all low to ground for her old self to easily get onto.

Although the apartment was not a hit with Kerrie the view certainly was as this was a new 17 storey apartment complex rising out of nowhere in what is a relatively rural and simple town in Sekinchan.

20190418 28 View of Sekinchan

20190419 03 Sunrise - Sekinchan 20190418 43 View of Sekinchan

The drive to Sekinchan was of course via Kuala Selangor to not only say goodbye to the monkeys that many years ago put us in a hospital rush as one bit my young niece, but also to get the last taste of the delicious seafood restaurants that line the river.  When we first went some 8 years ago there were only a couple of places. Going back we now see well over a dozen along the river.

20190418 17 Crab Restaurant - Kuala Selangor

20190418 15 Crab Restaurant - Kuala Selangor 20190418 11 Crab Restaurant - Kuala Selangor 20190418 12 Crab Restaurant - Kuala Selangor

Sekinchan is now a very popular place with local weekend holiday makers and to go there on a weekend can be very busy.  As such the place has grown with many more restaurants and things to do.  Unfortunately, like most tourist impacted places in Malaysia, they do not plan well and as such do not set themselves up to handle this and so Sekinchan also looks very worn and tired. 

Pantai Redang Beach was a good example.  Years ago a lovely little place with little tree house setups where you could get some food and a beer and just relax in fishing nets in the trees and watch time go by.   Most of these are now in poor condition and the number of food places tripled with the focus on push the holiday makers through and make money.  Of course there was also the rubbish and more rubbish that you expect in Malaysia.

20190418 31 Pantai Redang Beach - Sekinchan

20190418 30 Pantai Redang Beach - Sekinchan 20190418 36 Pantai Redang Beach - Sekinchan 20190418 40 Pantai Redang Beach - Sekinchan

From Thursday night in Sekinchan we then drove onto spend the Friday night in Ipoh. 27 Concubine Lane was our stay for the night. A restored 2 story place right in the middle of the old town and its markets, cafes and shops.

20190419 22 Around Old Town - Ipoh 20190419 11 Around Old Town - Ipoh 20190419 16 Around Old Town - Ipoh

We did the original must do’s in the Gerbang Malam night market area. This included Chicken Rice and Ipoh Bean Sprouts which were much enjoyed by Ruby as pieces of chicken accidently found themselves dropped in her direction.

20190419 33 Chicken Rice and Sprouts - Ipoh 20190419 29 Chicken Rice and Sprouts - Ipoh 20190419 32 Chicken Rice and Sprouts - Ipoh

Plus we did some newer cafes and bars with our favourite find being Cafe Bareeseta in the renovated old town area. They served probably the best espresso coffee I have had in my time in Malaysia – as close to Melbourne perfect coffee as you can get (outside of Melbourne).

20190420 13 Bareesta Coffee - Ipoh

20190419 06 Bareesta Coffee - Ipoh 20190419 07 Bareesta Coffee - Ipoh 20190420 09 Bareesta Coffee - Ipoh

Another great find and highly recommended was The Tiga Bar in Market Lane.  Perfect for late afternoon when you are trying to escape the heat.

20190419 27 The Tiga Bar - Ipoh 20190419 24 The Tiga Bar - Ipoh 20190419 25 The Tiga Bar - Ipoh

But all was back to the old and original Saturday morning with breakfast at Nam Heong White Coffee (2, Jalan Bandar Timah) and their absolutely fabulous Egg Tarts much enjoyed by Kerrie.

20190420 03 White Coffee - Ipoh 20190420 04 White Coffee - Ipoh 20190420 05 White Coffee - Ipoh

Finally it would not be a successful Ipoh trip without the drive through Tau Foo Fau at Funny Mountain Soya Beancurd. I have been going there since our very first trip to Ipoh back in 2011 when this place was just a small almost hole in the wall place.  I have watched it grow over the years as its popularity is now over the top – so much so that we saw them bring in large vats of Tau Foo via truck with a winch system set up in the shop.  It has grown from the tiny place I first saw but lost none of its charm and flavour.

20190420 16 Tau Foo Fau - Ipoh 20190420 15 Tau Foo Fau - Ipoh

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Bye Bye Bangsar Baru

In exactly a week (3 weeks for Kerrie) I will be flying out of Kuala Lumpur for the last time after almost 10 years to take on new things back home in Melbourne.  Later posts will continue as I reflect on time in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia.

For the last 6 months we have been living in a lovely Bungalow in Bangsar Baru just 50m to Bangsar Village. This has been a great way to close out our KL chapter. 

Bangsar Village is by far the most balanced little area of KL with a trendy breakfast, dining and nightlife scene.  Supplemented by a number of local Nasi Kandar / Banana Leaf eating places and by all the other amenities you need. 

Being only 50m walking has been awesome and has also meant that Ruby (our Beagle) has become well known around the place as she comes with me for a morning coffee at Coffee Joe or a night cap at Gridiron Sports Cafe or dinner and a G&T at Mercat – all being our most regular places.

For those not familiar with the standard Malaysian Bungalow, which is by far the most common landed property type, I have provided some pictures below.

  • you generally have a small space at front behind secure gates to put your car.
  • Some corner block Bungalows will generally have a grassed yard but the Bungalows in between are generally car space / carport only.

201904 13 Bangsar Baru House 201904 12 Bangsar Baru House

  • step immediately into a living room (shoes always left outside and never worn inside).

201904 06 Bangsar Baru House 201904 08 Bangsar Baru House

  • back half of ground floor is a very small maids room and kitchen where they will have a dry kitchen inside and a wet kitchen (where hotplate cooking is done) outside (in very small back area). Note our place was unique with a single western style kitchen only which meant the luxury of hot water in the kitchen and and oven as well.

201904 11 Bangsar Baru House 201904 10 Bangsar Baru House

  • upstairs 2 to 3 bedrooms.  Three very large bedrooms in ours but then Bangsar Baru is an upmarket area.

201904 04 Bangsar Baru House 201904 01 Bangsar Baru House 201904 02 Bangsar Baru House

We were lucky to find this place as it was bright and westernised in its finish. Many Bungalows are Malay style which tend to be dark wood finishing and yellow tinted paints and not as many extras / fittings.

We will miss all the convenience here but then again, given we are stepping into a CBD Apartment in Melbourne and our main house down at Ocean Grove Beach, we will not exactly be doing it tough Smile

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Restoran Santa Chapati House – Kuala Lumpur

As part as my farewell to Malaysia I took Kerrie to this little chapati oasis in Kuala Lumpur city – the Restoran Santa Chapati House.

20190411 04 Restoran Santa Chapati House 20190411 09 Restoran Santa Chapati House

A basic hole in the wall type of place that charges only RM 2 per Chapati server with a thick dhal and other curries (lamb, beef, fish etc.). This place really shows the typical Malaysia food culture where a restaurant does one thing but does that thing exceptionally well and hence ends up with a huge queue while other places near it can be almost empty.  Once you get the reputation then Malaysians will come from everywhere to have.

20190411 07 Restoran Santa Chapati House 20190411 02 Restoran Santa Chapati House 20190411 06 Restoran Santa Chapati House

This place was a regular go to for me when I came to Malaysia almost 10 years ago and would often head down with colleagues from Maybank and Bank Muamulat. It is only open Monday to Friday as in financial services area of KL. Location is:

No 11, Jalan Tun H.S. Lee
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50000

The streets between these two bank offices are awesome to explore during business hours as there is a hive of local and almost historic food places.  I wrote about it back in 2012 it interested – Old KL

Also a truly Malaysian thing, Kerrie gets a Lassi to go which means it is served in a plastic bag with straw.

20190411 10 Restoran Santa Chapati House

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