Thursday, September 8, 2016

Malacca, Malaysia

Malacca is one of my most favourite place in Malaysia, besides Langkawi and Johor Bharu.

My vivid memory of Malacca must be the one where my late sister brought my family for a short vacation in 2007, a year before she passed away. It was our last trip with her.

Malacca is a very historical place in Malaysia. It is considered as the most historical state in Malaysia. It is significant as a trading port in the early days of 'Tanah Melayu' or Malay Land. Malacca was also awarded as one of Unesco's World Heritage Site in 2008.

More of Malacca's history can be read here.

Below are the things that you may do in Malacca:

1.Visit all the historical places in Malacca, if not all at least some of it. Of course, one cannot finish visiting all the historical places in one go as there any many interesting historical places to visit in Malacca. Depending on the numbers of days you are staying, you can choose and decide which historical places that you do want to visit.

Here are my recommendations and reasons :


Image result for a famosa fort
 Credit : Google

This historical fort was built by the Portugese named Afonso de Albuquerque who came to Malacca from Portugal in 1511 with his fleet of army who then attacked and defeated the Malacca Sultanate's armies. He built this fort near a natural hill, as a place of protection and hiding. It is the only Portugese fort that still exist in Malacca till this day.


Image result for stadthuys
Credit : Google

Now who wouldn't want to visit these beautiful bright red buildings in Malacca. Not only, it would make a nice background for your pictures due to it's vibrant colours, but these buildings were are part of the heritage left by the Dutch in Malacca when they defeated the Portugese over Malacca. These building have now been converted to a museum and was formerly used as an administrative building.


Image result for Malacca Sultanate Palace Museum
Credit : Google

This museum is actually really not the real palace of the Sultanate of Malacca but is a replica of what it looks like. Inside the museum, replica's of how the important leaders of the Sultanate are seated in a royal seating before the Sultan of Malacca/King of Malacca are placed. It in this manner, is how they discussed the affairs of the state.

The Sultan of Malacca had numerous trusted leaders. These leaders will take instructions for the ruling Sultan unconditionally. Among the most trusted and famous leaders of the Sultanate are known as Hang Tuah, Hang Lekir, Hang Jebat, Hang Lekiu and Hang Kasturi. They were known as the famous 5 Malacca warriors for their unconditional dedication and absolute faith to the Sultan's orders and safety.

There are other historical places that you can visit, depending on your time, but the above are the most recommended ones.

2. Stroll along and shop at Jonker Walk

Image result for jonker street
Credit : Google

Jonker Walk is one of the famous scenes in Malacca. One simply cannot miss going to Jonker Walk if you are visiting Malacca. The whole street is filled with food hawkers, to vendors selling toys, jewellery, paintings, t-shirts, and many other stuffs. The vendors operate only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7pm to 12pm on Fridays, and from 7pm-2.a.m on weekends.

Souvenirs and cheap items can be bought here. If you have nothing to buy, just embrace the lively and colourful atmosphere. Just be cautious of the crowd.

3. Take the Malacca Cruise 

Image result for malacca cruise

Water transportation used to be such an important part of Malacca's history as an international business and trading port. Businessman and traders from China and India would travel to Malacca and sell or exchange their goods using the Malacca straits.

The cruise will pass along the Malacca river and as you pass along the river, you can see beautiful art work on the walls of the shops facing the river. If you are taking the cruise at night, the whole boat will be glittered with shiny and bright lights, creating a calming and romantic atmosphere.

Street art in Malacca/ Melaka
Credit :


Because Malacca is situated along the Straits of Malacca, you may find that it is also famous for serving some of the most fresh seafood. Umbai is one of the known places in Malacca for it's fresh seafood. There are a few shops to choose from. The seafood are fresh and it is best enjoyed at night, with the cool breezing air from the beach.

Image result for fresh seafood display
Credit : Google

You may choose the seafood that you will like to enjoy and the price will depend on the size and weight of the seafood. You may also choose a variety of different styles of cooking for the seafood.


Image result for taming sari tower
Credit : Google

If you are interested to view the whole of Malacca town, riding this tower would be the best way to do that. The tower is a gyro tower, the only one in Malaysia. The observation deck will revolve 360 degrees to allow you to see the town of Malacca and beyond in 7 minutes.

This tower is open during the day and at night and the entry tickets are quite reasonable.

Image result for taming sari tower
Credit : Google


One of the best heritage in Malacca is the Peranakan or Baba Nyonya heritage. Their food is exceptionally unique as it is a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian cuisine. From their 'asam pedas' to their unique flavoured 'laksa', anyone who visits Malacca must try some of these cuisines. 


I totally lurvee the Klebang coconut shake, though sadly I only got to taste it once. But it was enough to last me a memory of a lifetime. If you are visiting Malacca for the first time, I highly recommend that you try this marvelous coconut shake. It is a combination of coconut juice with ice, ice-cream and milk. And although you may find there is a long queue for you to buy this coconut shake, then you may want to have it at their food stall. It will take less time as the long lines are usually for take-away. And you may want to just kick back and enjoy this drink for a moment longer.

Image result for klebang coconut milkshake melaka
Credit : Google


This is the latest attraction in Malacca. This 42 storrey building is not for the faint hearted or for acrophobics, because the viewing deck is made of glass and can be a little eerie due to the heights. However, the view of Malacca city when viewed from above is priceless.

Image result for melaka sky tower
Credit : Google

Do share if you have any nice experience of visiting Malacca at the comment section below.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Beijing, China 2015

*Caution : This is a long entry*

The winter just ended about two weeks earlier when we visited Beijing for the first time. It was supposed to already be Spring but the chilly air told us otherwise.

Our flight to Beijing was a tumultuous one. A 6 hours flight from KL to Beijing, was not really a long flight but considering we were constantly shaken by air turbulence, we really felt that it was indeed one of the longest journey ever.

We arrived at the airport safely, and find ourselves greeted by the super chilly air. With limited Mandarin and their limited English, we managed to ask for directions at the airport. We needed to locate another set of visitors that will be part of our tour. And as we met them we found out that the girls and another pair of couple had a worst flight journey than us. We thanked God for the safe journey of both groups.

While waiting for the other group to arrive. Didn't expect it to be so cold...brrrr...

We headed to the hotel and slept like a baby the first night.

It was actually my first time following a tour in my adult traveling years. My verdict? Never again!

All in all we visited Beijing for 8 days, 5 days with the tour and 3 days on our own.

Below are the places that we visited during the whole trip:

1. Tiananmen Square
2. Forbidden City (The Imperial Palace)
3. The Great Wall of China
4. Hutong Tours
5. Summer Palace
6. Temple of Heaven
7. The Beijing Olympic Stadium
8. Niujie Mosque
9. Wang Fu Jing market
10.Yuyuantan Park

The Tiananmen Square, including Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, one of China's prominent leader

The looming Forbidden City. I actually took time to re-study about Forbidden City before I came here. It was worth the study. This place was huge and full of history.
The courtyard of the Forbidden City

Admiring the beauty and the pain of building the Great Wall of China

Temple of Heaven
There were also some significant points I wanted to share about our trip. I will list them down in an order and share the summary of it.

MH 370

Credit : Google
A year before we flew in MH360 from KL to Beijing, a similar flight like ours was also heading to Beijing from KL. And that was when history was changed forever. That particular flight never made it to China and has seem to never be found until this day. It was a really tragic loss, not only to Malaysians but also to the Chinese people. Around the same time a year later, we visited China in another flight now renamed MH360. Knowing the resentment and feelings of the Chinese towards the incident, we tried our best to keep calm as we've heard rumours that Malaysians were not really welcomed. But we were glad that nothing really happened when we arrived, although we did get pointed at, and yelled at when riding the trishaw at the Hutong area.


We really experienced a strong air turbulence on our flight to Beijing. Not helping was the fact that the MH370's tragedy was still lingering in our minds. All of us pretended to be cool, when inside we were reciting zikr' and prayers for the whole 6 hours journey. None of us could actually sleep. We kept looking at the route map on the flight wishing that we will arrive soon. My eyes kept looking when our route showed that we were crossing the water near Vietnam and just wishing that we would not crash in the sea. Yes, that was what exactly I was praying for.


It lasted almost half an hour and scared my friends like crazy. My bag fell open in the van and somehow I was left alone in the van, picking up my stuff. When I finally finished, all my friends including the tour guide and the whole tour just disappeared. So being me and not getting panicked at the first instance, I made my way to Fu Jing market and simply took a stroll while looking for my tour group. I took the time to capture interesting things that I saw at the market and was devising a plan on how to get dinner if I actually didn't get reunited with the rest of the tour. I was quite confident I could survive on the basic Mandarin I learned on YouTube and get a taxi to at least go back to my hotel (didn't occur to me I could get kidnap, haha). But Alhamdullillah, as I was returning to the place where I started, I bumped into my teary eyed friends. Bless their hearts!

The night we were reunited after being separated

On the 5th night, while the rest of the tour prepared to leave for the airport, we also prepared ourselves to move to another hotel. What we didn't expect to happen was that our Mongolian driver would just abandoned us by the side of the road after dinner. We pleaded with our tour guide, to at least send us to the nearest train station but she convinced us that the train station was just a few minutes walk.

What was supposed to be a few minutes walk turned into a 25 minutes walk. One of the worst experience ever in my life. The weather was so cold, around 11-13 degrees celsius, we were struggling to carry our suitcases (we had to bring lots of warm clothes due to the weather). After a long and difficult walk, we finally arrived at the train station. But our nightmare, didn't end there. That was just the beginning.

The train station or lrt station were not equipped with any escalators or lifts. So we had to exchange about 5-6 train stations carrying our huge suitcases. I really believe I was going to break my spine with all the heavy lifting, because there were only long flights of stairs. When we finally made it to the station nearest to our hotel, there was no taxi around. Buses passed us by, none stopping in our way. We were so clueless, cold and worried.

Finally we met a few out of town girls who helped us to ask a local (using the local lady's GPS) to locate our hotel. And guess what, it was just across from where we were.

I forgot to mention earlier, a local lady in a red car offered to take us to our hotel. She said it will only be 30 minutes. I was cold and desperate and almost agreed to take the ride with the said lady but was stopped by my friend. Alhamdulillah, I am grateful I didn't go with the lady. I really could have been kidnapped because the hotel was just a 10 minutes walk from where we were. Lesson learned!


Out of all the not so nice and scary experiences I had in Beijing, there was this one incident that actually made me shed tears and really broke my heart.

We were visiting a masjid for our Asr' prayers and after taking photos of the beautiful architecture of the building, I stumbled upon a Muslim lady in front of the masjid. She greeted me with Salam and gave a toothless smile. I asked my friend to take a picture of us since it is rare to meet a Chinese Muslim lady in Beijing.

As I was approaching her, I could strongly smell that she had not bathed for days, (thanks to my experience of doing dock brief in my chambering months). My heart just broke and the moment I left her I broke into tears and wept uncontrollably. My heart felt for her. Here, I was complaining about my tour guide, the toilet and water system in China, this lady was too poor to probably have access to clean water.

That incident gave me a wake-up call and I promised myself, never to take anything for granted anymore and be grateful for every each and little blessings that I have been bestowed with.


This lady is one of kind. She probably is bored of bringing people to the same places daily, and have no patience whatever especially when we spent more than 5 minutes for photography, but she surely has lots of knowledge.

I enjoyed asking her about politics and the world economy of China, and the other international relations that China has with the world, political conspiracy theories and other political stuffs. She was more than happy to share this with me since she knows a lot. And surprisingly, it seems her information were quite accurate.

The wonderful people of our tour group

During half of the trip, the flowers finally bloom. Sakura was everywhere, pink, red and white. Subhanallah such an amazing sight! We enjoyed watching the flowers and just embraced the beautiful sights.

Here are some tips before you visit Beijing, or China

1. Find a good and reliable travel agent. Make sure all your needs are met. The agents can be a little disrespectful, so stand your ground.

2. Take the time to learn some basic Mandarin. I studied for weeks through Youtube, reading a book, asking a Chinese friend to correct my pronunciation. It helped me to bargain for shopping and also to speak to the locals, asking for directions.

3. Always have a Chinese-English dictionary with you. In case you have no clue how to pronounce the words, the least you can do is show the word to the locals.

4. If going with an agent, beware of them constantly changing the itineraries without consulting you. Do negotiate with them diplomatically as they can be quite harsh and rough.

5. If following a tour with the agents, be sure that they will bring you to their local government shops. If you feel like spending, do so, but if you don't want to, the choice is totally yours. Do not feel pressured or intimidated by the agent, to buy anything.

6. Please check the weather before you fly. It is really important to come prepared. Bring enough warm clothes for cold weathers and other necessities.

7. If traveling by public transport, do pay attention to your stop. Each station sounds similar, thus may create confusion.

8. Do if possible travel light if you are using the public transport. Bring sturdy walking shoes as there will be lots and lots of walking when visiting China.

9. Always know the name of the place that you are staying at. If possible have the business card of the hotel as the Chinese may not understand your pronunciation. Also because the card will have the address of the hotel.

10. Be prepared of the huge crowd. There are millions of people living in China. Even when visiting a park on a weekday, there will still be huge crowds of people. The throng of people can cause some annoyance, but have patience and do not let this hamper your mood.

11. If you are a Muslim visiting China, please google (if not following an agent) the Masjids and halal restaurants. There are a few halal restaurants in China where you can enjoy nice Chinese cuisines.

12. For Muslims, do be prepared to bring an empty bottle every time you go to the toilet. There are no water pipes in the cubicles, so you must take water from the sink before you do your business.

13.  Do take the time to study about the historical places of China. It is really worth understanding the history of the places that you will visit.

14. Shopping in China is wonderful as some of their stuffs are way cheaper than other countries. Their thermal clothes, winter clothes are reasonable and way cheaper than Malaysia. But do beware of some items being so cheap because they may contain dangerous chemicals.

If you have any additional info, do not hesitate to add in the comments section. Thanks for reading.
Read On >>>

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Where Next?

After beginning to seriously travel occasionally since 2010, I have been blessed to be given the opportunity to travel to so many interesting and beautiful places. Some of those places were indeed my dream places such as Bali, Bandung, New Zealand and Melbourne.

After 6 years of traveling, you'd think that the the list of destinations would get less, but no way. The list just seems to add more and more. There will always be more destinations to explore, more places to visit, so the question is where next?

Over the 6 years of traveling, I have learned that I no longer travel for purposes like shopping and I no longer dig places with too many buildings. For me, it feels a little overwhelming and overrated. Hence how do I choose my next destination. Do I choose a place with more beautiful sceneries or a place with beaches? So many places to visit...

Since there are just too many locations to cover and see in this world, and I don't really know whether I would have the time and finances to cover it all, I have came out with a strategy.

Each year, I would focus on a big trip and then maybe 2, or 3 smaller trips (depending on money and time). Last year, I had extra budget and alhamdulillah managed to do 3 huge trips. I went to Beijing in April for 8 days, then in October went to New Zealand (both North and South Islands) for 21 days and to Australia (Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney) for 13 days from December to January this year.

This year my big trip was to perform my umrah in Mekah and Madinah, Saudi Arabia for 11 days last April to May. Ever since umrah, I have been thinking of places to visit before end year.

My other strategy would also be, to try visit friends from around the world. Not only will I get to meet and catch up with them, but I get to visit their places as well. It was really fun last year when I visited friends in New Zealand and Australia. So far, I already have friends and family in South Korea, Canada, Spain and South Africa. Insha Allah I am saving up for Spain next year. 

So what I have decided in the next few months left of this year is to visit places around my country which does not cost too much. Since a lot of my budget went to last year's trips, this year I decided to be more frugal due to the instability of the world economy.

I was making a list of the places that I have visited and have not visited, and realized that I've never finished visiting my whole country yet. The only place left yet to be visited will be Sabah. A few years ago, I did purchase tickets with friends to Sipadan Island. Sipadan is known to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world. With its' crystal and pristine clear water and beautiful underwater reefs it was definitely a sight to behold.

Unfortunately due to unavoidable reasons I could not make it to the said trip. And now, after so long, I am really considering of visiting Sabah before end year. I was also considering Lombok or maybe even Boracay Island, but I do think that Sabah would be the perfect choice.

What do you guys think?? Please leave a comment..
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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why I Don't Travel Alone

If you are one of those who loves to read the blogs of other travellers around the world, one theme that is always common between them, is that they almost always travel alone.

Besides the point that as a Muslim, I am not encouraged to travel alone there are other reasons why I usually don't travel alone.

For one it is more fun travelling with friends or friend. Travelling alone would mean being in the 8 hours flight and not having someone to talk to. Sure, you can always start a friendly conversation with the stranger sitting next to you, but in most situations, people just like to keep to themselves and prefer to sleep than entertaining my excitement of seeing the place that we are heading to. I realized nobody really cares to share with me their travelling plans like I do.

That happened to me when I was flying solo to Melbourne last December, and the solo traveller sitting next to me just pretended that I did not exist. I tried to make eye contact, and smile the brightest smile I could muster but she just shut her eyes and went off to sleep.

The only communication we had was when I was already asleep,  and the girl woke me up just to ask me how to fill in the visitor's country entry form. Geez, thanks girl for being so friendly.

Sometimes you are lucky and there are people that you meet for the first time, that you can instantly strike up a conversation with. But again you are not always lucky.

Having friends travelling with you makes you feel special because you have other people to share your experience with. The memories do not only belong to you but it also belong to your other friends. From time to time, it will be fun to revisit and reminisce the memories together. If that experience changed you, there is a possibility that it had changed them as well. Wouldn't it be sweeter for you to face the changes together.

Another big motivation to travel with friends is that you can share the travelling costs. Although there are more ways to do budget travelling nowdays, having friends reduces the costs tremendously.

You can easily get a nice apartment, with 2 bedrooms, a nice kitchen for a price of below than RM100 per night each in New Zealand if you share with 4 person. Now, isn't that sweet?

Having conversations with your travel buddies and planning your itineraries before your next day of travelling before sleeping is already in itself a novelty. 

Two heads are better than one. Sometimes in travelling, it requires a lot of planning and strategies. People take months to plan for a certain trip, often causing inevitable stress and sleepless nights depending on the scale of the trip itself.

From choosing your travelling dates, to booking the flights, to calculating the cost of the trip, to booking accommodations, to applying visas (to places that require visa), to making itineraries and choosing places to visit can cause quite a headache. But having friends going for the same trip, can save you a lot of time when you know how to delegate tasks to each person.

I always prefer to check out the prices of each places that we want to visit and calculate the distances of each place of interest and the logistics of each accommodation rather than booking flights and accommodations. So hence, this is the time when each individual in the trip would illustrate their strengths.

Another plus point for this would be during the trip itself. Each individual has their on strengths and weaknesses. Travelling together means we can utilize the strength of each person in different ways.

Take me for an example. I am no expert in cooking. I just know how to eat food. But often there will be friends of mine in those trips that will know how to cook. So I would always volunteer to do the dishes or chop some onions at least rather than cook.

Another advantage of having friends is relying on them during the trip. Knowing you are always surrounded with friends gives you a sense of security. If you fall sick, you can be sure that someone in the trip would care for you or provide you with some medicine. 

During my trip to Beijing in April last year, there were 2 very significant incidents on which both incidents demonstrated how much I relied on my dear friends. The first one was when I got lost in the middle of the chinese market, and had no idea where were the rest of the tour group. I got separated for a good 30 minutes (I honestly felt it was only 10 minutes). Hadn't it been for my friends searching for me, I would probably have been lost by myself and end up starving the whole night or worse.

Another incident was also the night when we spent in the cool chilly air, feet and hands were numb from the cold, despite our termal wear and layers of warm clothings, abandoned by our Mongolian van driver in the middle of Beijing, not finding our hotel location. It was really a pretty scary night. Not understanding Mandarin, not finding any taxi available to send us, (we were offered by a mischievous stranger to ride with her) and just standing there praying and keeping faith of Allah's protection. But luckily there were a four of us, and we took turns to figure out our location and eventually found our hotel.

Point is there are many reasons why for me travelling alone is not my thing yet. Some  might argue that there might also be some disadvantages to travelling in a group such as being way too comfortable and not making new friends but I find that not to be true. I managed to make friends when visiting a friend in Australia, granted the friends I made were her friends, and I also made a new Canadian friend during our trip to Madinah recently while travelling with my sister, aunt, uncle and cousin.

So in short, it depends on what your preferences and your choices are. There is no harm in travelling alone as it helps you to rediscover yourself, but I do still wish I could continue exploring the world and rediscovering myself with my travel buddies, always.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quiet Time Alone

I must say I have been pretty quiet these past few weeks. I am less interested of social media, and just trying to settle and finish all my cases as quickly as possible. I am also less in contact with friends currently.

July is a busy month for me, besides celebrating Eid for 4 days, I have been then working non-stop ever since. Although I may seem quiet on the internet, truth is I am running around, juggling between my legal work, social work and personal life.

All blessings to Allah, July has seen me taking another step further in my social work. I have been appointed as the officer, sitting together with the main council of an NGO that I am involved in. I really love to be part of that NGO where their mission is to help people for the sake of Allah. Under the same NGO, I am still assisting to run our refugee school Al Ansaar along with another 2-3 other school committees. I am humbly grateful for the trust they have entrusted me with.

July is also the month where we will have the 1st Regional Breastfeeding Week under BIB. Since the conference is only next week, working as part of the said organizing committee has left me quite busy as well.

I am also currently taking my time, thinking and strategizing my next steps in my future career. A few offers and opportunities have cropped up. I am still trying to pull my inner strength out. I know it is there somewhere.

I am currently in the process of convincing myself of the decisions that I am about to make or might have to make. It is not easy especially when it will be a drastic change in my life. Sometimes your dreams do not align with the expectation of others, and it will disappoint them but I have personally learned that I don't have to adhere to the expectation of others except for my mom and the Lord, because at the end of the day it is me living this life.

Hoping that this month will be the beginning of something new and special, Insha Allah.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Around Auckland 2015

It was our second day in New Zealand. We only had another half a day more to spend in Auckland before having to make a move to Cape Reinga, the most northern part of New Zealand. Read about Cape Reinga here. I will write another entry on Cape Reinga, Insha Allah.

We left early in the morning and headed to the Auckland city. Auckland city is vibrant like any other cities in the world. What sets Auckland apart are a few things. First is of course the weather. Masha Allah, it could be so awkward in Auckland. Trust me when I say you REALLY, REALLY have to read the weather forecast before you head out for the day.

One funny incident happened to me on that particular day. We were coming back from the Auckland tower and noticed it was raining. I was so busy opening my bag and fishing out my raincoat which took almost 1 minute. I was about to don on my raincoat when suddenly I looked up the sky and noticed, there was not even a drop of rain anymore. The rain stopped as quickly as it started. I totally looked silly with my full raincoat on and no rain :)

Another incident about the rain was when while we were walking, just at one moment, rain was drizzling on my head. I took a few steps more, the clouds shifted and it was all sunny again. Subhanallah, what an amazing experience.

Auckland is also a melting port of culture, races and ethnicity.  There are so many Asian races there, that you almost forgot that you are in New Zealand instead of Malaysia. This is due to the number of university students studying in Auckland.

Life is city means everybody is rushing, either for classes or for work. And comparing the behaviour of the people in other parts of New Zealand, where they are calmer and more courteous. City people tend to be more impatient and less courteous. Not everyone of course.

Another funny incident also happened to me while in Auckland. I was paying some stuff I bought in one of the stores in Aucky, (the terms used by most Kiwi's when referring to Auckland), when the kind and sweet cashier told me to fill in a promotional form. I smiled at her and took the form and was about to fill it in when I saw the word 'New Zealand resident's address'. I quickly told her I was unable to fill in the form and told her I was just a tourist, and she immediately looked shocked. She apologetically told me that she thought I was a student. Guess, I looked young huh or probably blended well with the rest?

Auckland also consists of old and new buildings, a balance between globalization and colonial era of England. And with every growth in cities, there must be urban poor people around somewhere. A phenomena quite common in most growing cities :(

Other interesting points to visit in Auckland must be the Auckland sky tower where one can observe the overview scenery of the whole of Auckland. It cost around only 28nzd to observe this spectacular view.

Looks like a scene from CSI Miami right?

Since we had a short stay in Auckland, we didn't have much time to explore other points of interest in Auckland, but do stay tuned to my next entry on 'Why I Fell In Love With Devonport'. Till next time...

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Life Reflections And The Effects of Traveling

I promised myself that I will be writing another entry on my New Zealand trip but I cannot muster any energy right now especially since there is only half an hour left before these candidates finish their exams. 

I have been feeling a little burnout since last year. At first I thought it must be because of the load of work that was piling up and the endless datelines that needed to be met.

As I delve deeper into my heart, I realized something was not making me happy. Instead, with the amount of work I constantly added on my plate, which I foolishly thought was making me happy and busy was actually working against me.

I also felt that there was a part of me missing, almost spiritually but nothing to do with my faith which was thank God quite intact.

But the confusion left me feeling depressed and down for months. I remembered the first withdrawal symptom I had was after coming back from New Zealand. I literally stayed in bed for 6 days giving jetlag as an excuse, when in fact I could not accept that life would return to all the bustling and crazy schedules again. I walked in malls aimlessly and felt that life was kinda empty and meaningless especially surrounded with the demands of materialism back in KL.

I probably never properly recovered from the first withdrawal issue anyway, because I had my second withdrawal symptoms again as soon I came back from Aussie in December last year. It didn't help with the economy being so bad and all. And recently after coming back from performing umrah, I felt the same way again.

There are reasons why I am feeling this way. In all honesty, I am extremely tired and exhausted of practising law. Call it a lack of passion or motivation or whatever, but my interest has really dwindled down more than ever now.

A wise man once said to me (met him through my invigilating exams session), in these 9 years of practise, you must have seen some of the dark things in life and I couldn't agree more.

I'm not saying that being a lawyer is all that bad but it isn't exactly a bed of roses either. How many times have you heard people say to aspiring lawyers to think of another job instead of pursuing law?

Coming back to that wise man, who would have thought he could read my mind. Indeed I have seen how justice is just a saying but never really truly achieved in my short stint of practise. I used to come with tinted lenses but now after being in this field for almost a decade, my eyes are wide open.

I must thank to partly my experience in traveling. If I hadn't travel, I doubt my mind would have expanded its' horizons.

Anyhow over the past year, I have learned on a personal level to be true to myself even if it doesn't make others too pleased or happy. I have learned that I am important and to stop judging myself and to know that how I feel of things in my own life does matter.

I am still learning to let go of people's expectations and instead just focus on my own expectations and Allah's.

I've learned through my travels that there is more to life than just focus on earning money and earning money like tomorrow never ends. I have learned that I don't need to feel important or fulfilled by having a busy schedule from Monday to Sunday but enough just by having a balanced life.

I long to have a job that is more fulfilling than just merely earning money. I want to make a change, I want to make a difference in this world. Is this too much for me to dream?
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Friday, June 10, 2016

Kia Ora Aotearoa 2015

We were having a really prolonged time of haze in Malaysia when we left for New Zealand. After 3 months of inhaling smoked air, the breath of fresh air that greeted us in Auckland made us jump and down, literally.

Can you detect my overly excited face here?
No signs of haze, alhamdulillah
Our first stop was to meet with a friend who was studying in Palmerston North. She picked us up at the airport and booked us a shuttle bus. We received some negative greetings from the driver as soon as he knew that we were Malaysians. The driver apparently had some family in Ipoh, Malaysia and seemed very familiar with the Malaysian political scene, which clearly did not interest us at all (we were trying to have a vacation here dude!)

Later we were dropped at the car rental centre to pick up our rented car. The car was okay considering the price, comfy enough for the four of us. The important thing was that that the car literally took us around New Zealand, both North and South Islands, so thank you car!

My friends at the car rental centre

While I still cannot get over the euphoria of finally being there in New Zealand
We started our trip by of course heading to the supermarket, which later became one of the most favourite part for me throughout the whole trip, so much that sometimes I opted to stay in the car because it became so time consuming for us, hehe.

Being Malaysian especially me (first time visiting an English speaking country as an adult) I became too excited over the array of groceries and food that they have stocked at the supermarket. We went from aisle to aisle and snapped every picture of tomatoes, cheese, oh my God everything!

Adorable little ripe tomatoes
kiwi in Kiwi??
Drooling already...
After stocking our car with all the needed groceries, we headed to Auckland city where we booked our first accommodation. It took us awhile to finally reach there because believe it or not we were stuck in jam, in Auckland. It was as if we brought our KL vibes to Auckland.

Finally we arrived late evening to our small stay where we booked two rooms with a small kitchen area. The building was actually part hostel for uni students and part hostel for visitors like us. It was situated right in the middle of the town of Auckland, where from our window we could see students, and workers rushing to their daily lives.

We settled in and took a few minutes rest before getting ready to have dinner with my friend, Agkillah which I have not met for years. Agki was pursuing her doctorate and she is not even yet 30! Such a genius, that girl!

Later that night, I had one of the yummiest lamb shank ever in my life. It was probably the most expensive meal I paid during the whole duration of the trip but it was worth it. It was good to finally catch up with Agki and sharing stories of our life in the few hours that we had.

We went back contented and slept for the first time after our 11 hours flight (transited in Gold Coast for one night) and arriving in Auckland. What a blessing!

Was nice meeting Agkillah after so many years

The lamb shank I was talking about (lots of halal restaurants in Auckland, peeps!)
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Sunday, June 5, 2016

Daydreaming of New Zealand

Besides the Holy Land, New Zealand was another dream come true.

Ever since visiting New Zealand, I can never seem to take it away from my mind.

Exploring New Zealand was like being in the worldly heaven. One can only imagine what would the real heavens look like, Masha Allah.

With the snow capped mountains and melted snows turns into cascading waterfalls and then becomes rivers of glaciers, such magnificent creation by Allah S.W.T., one can only imagine.

I was not only mesmerized by the beauty of the nature but also the kindness of the people. They are so naturally genuine and kind hearted. It must be the inner peace they feel surrounded by the calming nature all around them.

In short, it's no wonder that New Zealand is named the most beautiful country in the world.

Me here at Lake Pukaki, South Island (my favourite lake in New Zealand)
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Ramadhan 2016

Can you believe it? It's already almost a year since I started this blog and unfortunately I have not been able to really update much on it.

With the will of God, I will do my best to update this blog with my travel stories as much as I can.

I pray that all Muslims will have a blessed Ramadhan and may Allah forgive all our sins and reward us with the highest rewards in this beautiful month.
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Friday, May 13, 2016

Stepping into the Holy Land 2016

Surah Ar- Rahman : "Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both [jinn and men] deny?" 

No words could describe the moment I laid my eyes on the Holy Kaabah. Only flows of tears started streaming down my face. Allah has blessed me with this opportunity to witness His miracles and magnificence, Masha Allah.

I remembered clearly the calling to the Holy Land two years ago. I always knew deep down in my heart that someday I wanted to visit this special Holy place dedicated for only Muslims. But somehow, I always felt not ready, that was until the Ramadhan in 2014.

I was watching Muslims circumambulating the Kaaba through the live link at youtube and every time I watched them, I would just cry and cry. I knew then, that it was time for me to go.

So I set my heart to go in 2015, but as Allah is the greatest planner of all plans, I was unable to go to Mecca due the change of the 'mahram' policy by the Saudi government. For years, single ladies (unmarried) were allowed to perform umrah without a 'mahram' or a valid male relative until 2015, where due to the massive construction being done at the Masjidil Haram caused the Saudi Government to limit the quota of the pilgrims drastically.

So there went my dreams of visiting the Holy Mecca and Medina. But I had faith that someday, that day will still come.

So on 30th April 2016, we finally with the blessings of Allah traveled to Baitullah (the Holy Cities) with our family. Masha Allah, the feeling of being in Allah's blessed lands are indescribable. 

A sudden peace enveloped my heart. All my troubles and worries were left behind. I felt loved, protected and safe. Almost figuratively speaking, the feeling that I was enveloped by Allah's love, almost like being in a parent's warm embrace. Subhanallah!
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