Thursday, December 26, 2013

Penang With Kids : Adventure Zone Indoor Play Review

indoor playground penang
Kids Indoor Playground @ Penang : Adventure Zone; Batu Ferringhi

penang with kids
Exterior of Adventure Zone; Penang

While searching for Penang attractions for kids, I came upon a few blogs that suggested Adventure Zone. I made a mental note to just check it out if we don't have much to do in Penang. Didn't even bother looking at Adventure Zone official website to check its location since husband said that Rasa Sayang Shangri-La has a kids club and I think we have had enough of indoor playgrounds in KL and Singapore to head specifically for another indoor playground while on a holiday in Penang. Little did I know that the level 2 of Adventure Zone is actually Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang and Golden Sands Resort's kids club. Though the kids club caters only to 5 and above. And entry to Adventure Zone (level 1) is with an entrance fee even for resort guests (except for the toddler play area which is for 4 years and under - that is free for resort guests).

penang indoor play areas
Adventure Zone; Penang super high vertical slide

shangri la kids club reviews
This picture and the one on top basically shows 80% of Adventure Zone play area.

Adventure Zone is and indoor play area that is open to public and entrance fee is as per follows:
For resort guests : RM22 per 2 hours
For local visitors or non-registered guests ; RM 33 per 2 hours.

Admission requires long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks should you want to take the tall slides. However the slides are too big for my scaredy 5 year old and the playground is too big for my 4 year old to tackle on his own. But kids 7 and above seems to really be having fun sliding down the tall slides. However, how many times can they slide before the novelty wears off? 2 hours are more than enough. 

penang with kids
these kids looked like they are having fun :)

The place was crowded and understaffed. There were only two staff manning the counter when we were there. One attending to enquiries and admission and the other attending to food orders. For a place that caters to both public and resort guests, seating is very lacking.

penang indoor playground
The toddler play area @ Adventure Zone; Penang

toddler play area penang
This picture and the one above it represents the other 20% of Adventure Zone's play area

To me the indoor play area is quite small and since they can't build much side-ways, they just build up. So, yup, I don't advise going here with 5 years and under. If you are a Penangite or an expat looking for a place to bring the kids to expend their energy for an hour or two, then you might consider this, otherwise, I don't think that Adventure Zone qualifies as a tourist attraction for kids (but then again Penang is lacking in attractions for kids that you might eventually end up here).

adventure zone batu ferringhi
It was too crowded and noisy at Adventure Zone, so we decided to go out and kick a ball instead :)

penang hotel best
Just outside Adventure Zone Penang

Adventure Zone is at Batu Ferringi Beach, next to Golden Sands Resort.
Opening Hours : 10.00 am - 7.00pm.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rasa Sayang Shangri-La Penang With Kids Review

shangri-la penang with kids club
Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Penang Review

This is a very overdue post since we actually went to Penang end Oct / early Nov. I was pretty excited to go to Penang for a holiday with the kids since the last time we went there was nearly 3 years ago. However, we did pick a rather peak period since it was the long weekend and the traffic in Penang was horrendous. The drive from the Penang Bridge to Batu Ferringhi was utterly tedious and took a very long time. The worst part is when you are driving up the winding road heading to Batu Ferringhi, super bad traffic really dampened our holiday mood. 

shangri la penang kids club reviews
Shangri-La Penang's Swimming Pools 

Upon reaching the hotel, we were expecting a relaxing stay since Rasa Sayang Shangri-La Penang got a no 1 ranking in tripadvisor, however when I saw a different entrance for Rasa Wing and Garden Wing, immediately I knew that since we were at the Garden Wing (there was a promotion for a family room) we will not be receiving the same 5 star treatment that those on the Rasa Wing gets that win those raving reviews on tripadvisor. 

hotels in penang with kids club
The room - Garden Wing : Shangri- La Rasa Sayang Penang

True enough, I checked back the individual reviews on tripadvisor and saw a few advices on the disparity between the Garden Wing and the Rasa Wing. Oh well, what's done can't be undone. The family room at the Garden Wing turns out to be 2 interconnecting room, though one is a tad smaller than the other and one bathroom has a bathtub and the other does not. The furnitures, especially the sofa looked old, but the mattress (crucial in our opinion) still provides good support. 

Ordered room service since kids were hungry and cranky after the long drive, price was not exorbitant and food was quite acceptable. 

penang hotels
Shangri-La Penang room service

penang what to eat local street food
Mee goreng mama, nasi goreng special and prawn mee

Afterwards, we decided to check out the beach, Rasa Sayang Shangri-La; Penang hotel grounds and the kids club. The beach as all beaches in Penang are not private, thus even though Batu Ferringhi's hotels are mostly high end hotels, the road leading to it are still congested as locals and other tourists staying at other parts of Penang Island, drive up to the beaches at Batu Ferringi / Tanjung Bungah for some beach fun and park at the roadside. 

So, let's say you are staying at Park Royal Penang, Hydro Hotel or Hard Rock Cafe Hotel to name a few, you will still share the beach with others not staying at the hotel. Thus, more would choose to just chill out at the swimming pool. 

penang hotels with kids
The "bare" kids club at Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Penang

shang ri la adventure zone penang reviews
The toddler play area at Adventure Zone (also open to public)

penang shangri la kids
The other side of the toddler play area. 

The kids club at Shangri-La was a big disappointment as well, since the website states "our children playground at "Adventure Zone" offers a safe supervised play environment. Admission fee applies". What it didn't say is:
1) Adventure Zone is an indoor playground open to public
2) The bigger play area requires long sleeved shirts, long pants and socks and can be enjoyed only by 5 years and above.
3) Guests of Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Hotel can use the small toddler play area (also open to public) but only for 4 years and below. 
4) Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Hotel kids' club is actually on the 2nd floor of Adventure Zone and it is only for kids 4 years and above and is totally bare since it is actually for parents to leave their kids there and the person in charge will do activities with the kids such as taking them out for a swim, kite flying and other outdoor activities. While it is great that parents can get some time off and the kids will be supervised, the kids there looked totally bored. I didn't have the heart to leave my 5 year old there.

shangri la penang with kids
Outside Adventure Zone ; Shangri-La Rasa Sayang Penang

The kids went in the toddler play area once (cos my elder one is technically 1 month shy of being 5 year old :p ), stayed there for about 1 hour and then we kicked a ball around at the small field in front of Adventure Zone. The seating area for parents are also limited as you are vying with other parents and the place is very noisy, so its definitely not relaxing for us. The next day, we asked the kids if they would like to go to the kids club again and they said "no". Wow, that's a first. So, yup, we were quite disappointed with the kids club. 

The breakfast crowd @ Shangri-La Penang during the long weekend

hotels with kids club penang
Dedicated kids corner at the breakfast area @ Shangri-La Penang

As it was a long weekend in Malaysia, I guessed a lot of people decided to go to Penang and when we went for breakfast the next morning, imagine our surprise when we saw people hanging around the entrance of breakfast restaurant, waiting to be called in as they restaurant is "full". Oh goodness me, that also has never happened to us. There were a few disgruntled guests but the wait wasn't too long for us, maybe around 7-10 minutes wait. As, you go in though, the breakfast spread made up for the wait. The variety was quite a fair bit and the food is above average. After the disappointment has faded and you kind of lower your expectation, the stay was quite enjoyable. Just one word of caution, don't park your car under a tree as you might end up having civet's droppings all over your windshield overnight just like us :(

For the cheapest rates (most of the time) for hotels, we usually use this website. 

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Ranking Kedudukan Universiti-universiti di Malaysia 2013

Harini tetiba terfikir apa ranking universiti-universiti di Malaysia ni ye? Google punya google yang jumpa QS World University Rankings 2013/14 yang meletakkan:

1- Universiti Malaya (kedudukan tangga 167, turun 11 tangga)
2 - Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (kedudukan tangga 269, turun 8 tangga) 
3 - Universiti Sains Malaysia (kedudukan tangga 355, turun 29 tangga )
4 - Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (kedudukan tangga 355 sama seperti USM, turun 3 tangga)
5 - Universiti Putra Malaysia (kedudukan tangga 411-420 turun 51 tangga) 
6 - Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (kedudukan tangga 501-550, turun 100 tangga)
7 - Universiti Teknologi Mara (kedudukan tangga 701+ turun 100 tangga)

Lihat sumber asal di sini.

Sementara kedudukan universiti-universiti di Malaysia berdasarkan ranking di Asia adalah:

1-Universiti Malaya (UM) - kedudukan nombor 33
2-Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) - nombor 57
3-Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) - nombor 61
4 -Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) - nombor 68
5-Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) - nombor 72
6 -Universiti Islam Antarabangsa (UIA) - nombor 151-160
7 -Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) - nombor 181-190
8-Universiti Multimedia (MMU) - nombor 201-250
9 -Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) - nombor 201-250
10 -Universiti Teknologi Petronas - nombor 201-250
11-Universiti Tenaga Nasional (UNITEN) - nombor 201-250
12 -Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) - nombor 201-250
13- Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) - nombor 201-250
14-  LimKokWing University of Creative Technology - nombor 251-300
15 - Universiti Malaysia Pahang - nombor 251-300
16 - Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) - nombor 251-300
17 - Universiti Tun Hussein Onn University of Malaysia (UTHM) - nombor 251-300
18 - Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) - nombor 251-300

Lihat sumber asli di sini. 

Ada juga ranking-ranking lain oleh website lain seperti Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Boleh check Top 100 Asia University Rankings 2013 di sini. 

Atau ranking by eduniversal ranking yang meletakkan kedudukan setiap universiti berdasarkan kursus yang dipilih, contohnya business, accounting dan sebagainya. Cuba lihat ranking of business school in Malaysia di sini.

Banyaak nye.. information overload.. pening kepala.. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Halal Restaurant at Arab Street Singapore : Shahrazad Middle Eastern Restaurant

halal food at arab street
Halal Restaurant @ Arab Street; Shahrazad (Middle Eastern Cuisine)
*Dear Readers, the last time I went to Arab Street (June 2014) this place was under renovation, it is unclear to me whether the restaurant has ceased its operations or the restaurant is renovating*

The first time I tried eating at Shahrazaad was when it was still called Pyramid. Understandably so, since the owner is from Egypt. At that point in time, I was still working at KeyPoint which is within 5 minutes walk to Arab Street so lunch and dinner dates with husband was always around that area J 

We have tried Sufi (back when it was at its original location) , Nabins, A small tucked away Moroccan Café (don’t know if its even still there) Amirah’s Grill (which has now ceased operations) AlaTurka and Fika among others. Have always wanted to try Café Le Caire but hubby say the food was so-so.

4 years on and a lot has changed and I have not been eating at Arab Street for ages, rather KL is the new eating area for me. But, last month the girlfriends decided to do a get together and so we decided on Shahrazaad since it has an attic which can be booked for private gatherings. The seating is on the floor with cushions and low tables so the kids can sleep on the cushions if they are tired and run around without disturbing others when they have warmed up to each other ( Be sure to call them up in advance so that they can prepare the room nicely for you). There is even a cable TV and if I am not mistaken a DVD player. Waah.. perfect to eat in peace while the kids play on their own! The girlfriends were having so much fun catching up that we didn’t take any pictures!

Since the food during the gathering was delicious just as I remembered 4 years back, I decided to come again with hubby last sunday, after him insisting on buying “Nutribullet” from OG (tried that yesterday, oh my.. that is worth another post!)

This time around we ordered:

makan sedap di arab street
Arabic bread @ Shahrazad; Arab Street

Arabic Bread – nice, soft and authentic, not factory-made yeah. But a bit burnt this time round.

middle eastern restaurant in singapore
Halal Food @ Arab Street Singapore : Hummus @ Shahrazad Restaurant

Hummus – delicious as always but the somehow the gathering with the girlfriends one tasted better. Generous with the chickpeas, not too much lemon juice but this time round the lemon juice was not mixed properly so I swirled it around first before dipping for good measure

halal food at arab street singapore
Falafel @ Shahrazad Restaurant; Arab Street

Falafel!! I was swooning over this during the girlfriends gathering so I must have it again! But this time around it came slightly darker, you can see it from the picture. Still, if you are lucky and get the ones like I got previously, you will be coming back again just for it. That is for sure. This just brings back memories of Egypt..

makanan halal di arab street singapur
Halal Food @ Arab Street ; Cheese Pide @ Shahrazad

Cheese pide for the kids.. Ok I think pide is more of a Turkish dish? The pide on the menu is for minced meat and cheese pide but since my kids don’t really favour minced meat, we requested specially for cheese pide only. (Yes, we like to make special requests whenever we eat at restaurants, you will be surprised, most of the time restaurants are very accommodative). The pide must have been delicious because the kids finished it up before mummy can even taste it.

halal restaurants arab street singapore
Halal Restaurant @ Arab Street - Iskender Lamb @ Shahrazad

Iskender lamb for the man, sliced tender lamb on top of shredded Arabic bread with tomato-based gravy slathered all over the lamb served with a side of greek-style yoghurt and grilled green chili and tomato.

I find the dish a bit too tomato-ish but that most probably is due to my Asian spicy sambal preference hehe.. hubby didn’t quite favour the sourness of greek style yoghurt. Maybe we should have requested the yoghurt to be changed to tahini instead. I find that the grilled chili and tomato were not grilled long enough.

singapore food blog
Grilled Charcoal Chicken @ Shahrazad Restaurant; Arab St

I ordered grilled charcoal chicken with rice and grilled tomato and chilli with iceberg lettuce. I like this dish very much. The grilled chicken brings back memories. The meat is juicy inside and nicely grilled outside, the rice is fluffy and kind of remind me of chicken rice a bit. I kind of regretted finishing up the falafel, bread and tahini earlier else I would have shredded the chicken and stuff it in the bread together with falafel, the lettuce and tahini! Perfect sandwich!

makan best di arab street
Kunafa @ Shahrazad Restaurant ; Arab St

Last came our dessert "Kunafa", I have never tried this dessert while in Egypt previously but one of my girlfriends ordered it during the last gathering and I am hooked! Crispy vermicelli-like dessert with warm sweet milk errm ok maybe that description doesn't sound so nice BUT the dessert is nice and you should give it a try.

It was a very satisfying dinner with hubby and kids at Sharazad. All the food really reminded me of Egypt.. truly authentic middle eastern food though consistency of food quality still needs some attention. If you are lucky, you will get fantastic food that will make you want to return again, but if not, you will still get above average dishes. 

Somehow or rather I always feel that the entrance to Shahrazad is easily overlooked. Though the new signage and entrance decor did help increase visibility. It's by a small lane and just beside Ambrosia. Here is a picture of its entrance:

Shahrazad Restaurant @ Arab Street

Map of Shahrazad Restaurant (17 Baghdad Street) :

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Halal Subway Alternative in Singapore : Which? Sandwich @ Arab Street

*Dear readers, my sources informed me that the outlet at Baghdad Street is closed and Which Sandwich now operates at Asli Village; Downtown East, Pasir Ris. For Ramadhan 2014 they do have stalls at the Woodlands bazaar, Tampines (MRT) bazaar and the Sultan's Gate Bazaar.*

Ok, I read about Which? Sandwich a few months back when they appeared in BH/BM but of course never got the chance to try it. Hubby wasn't in the mood for sandwich especially with us living in KL where subway is every where :p But, last weekend after a very heavy meal at Shahrazat Restaurant at Arab Street, I saw that Which? Sandwich is just opposite and I'm like "No way am I going to let this chance slip by!" So, I said to hubby let's buy 2 sandwiches back for my dearest sister and her husband haha.. 

halal food blog singapore
The Halal Version of Subway in Singapore : Which? Sandwich @ Arab Street

It was drizzling when we got out of Shahrazat Restaurant so I dashed quickly across the street and nearly gone in a different eatery. Which? Sandwich is very small and besides it is another small eatery, so make sure you get the right one! Inside Which? Sandwich there is also another mamak stall! Will wonders never cease? Now I understand why the sentence "Big Dreams Come From Small Places!" is displayed prominently at the board :)

halal food at arab street singapore
Halal Alternative to Subway in Singapore: Which? Sandwich @ Arab Street 

Inside the -shall I say- cafe? there is a small table that sits two, while outside there are two table that sit 6 each -I think- So, I think the place caters more to takeaways. Thing is they not only sell sandwiches, but kebabs, pizzas, stack sandwiches (that looked absolutely appetizing kind of reminded me of O'Briens Triple Decker but triple upsized) all which to me, are best enjoyed hot from the kitchen. So, yup space constraint is a bit of a bummer. I don't think it's suitable for families with small kids as the tables are just beside the roadside. Pack n go is the name of the game here. If you are lucky to get a table, grab it fast and enjoy your sandwiches there :)

makanan halal di arab street
Which? Sandwich menu

The menu looks something like Subway's menu right? The only difference is you can't customize it the way Subway lets you. But hey.. it's good enough for me. Cheese n Steak (which is also my Subway preferred sandwich with honey oat bread.. yummy.. ) was sold out that day, so I bought for lil sis BBQ Chicken Ranch and cheesy Meatball. 

halal restaurants at arab street
Halal Subway Alternative @ Arab Street - Which? Sandwich

which sandwich arab street review
Singapore's halal version of Subway - Which? Sandwich @ Arab Street

Couldn't snap a decent picture with my iphone while I'm there and then when back home couldn't pry the sandwich open in half so I can take picture of its filling without making both my sister and her husband lose their appetite for the sandwiches. 

Overall, sister said the sandwich tasted quite ok, but like hubby said.. how can anyone go wrong with a sandwich? My verdict? Good value for money food to satisfy the tummy :) 

Find out more about Which? Sandwich on their fb page here.

Map of Which? Sandwich at Arab Street (well, actually 18 Baghdad Street):

View Larger Map

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Famous Nasi Lemak @ Istanbul Coffee Shop; Blk 476 Tampines 

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Queuing for Nasi Lemak @ Istanbul Coffee Shop; Blk 476 Tampines

I have been forever wanting to write about Istanbul Coffee shop at Blk 476 Tampines St 44. It's a halal coffee shop near my place, one where hubby will head to when buying nasi lemak for our breakfast in the morning. Usually he tapau it back for us since the kiddos wakes up late but since last weekend we woke up extra early, we had our breakfast there :)

It was about 10 am and there is already a queue. The nasi lemak here is fragrant, the chicken wings crispy and the sambal sweet but has gotten less spicy ( kind of a bummer for me). The stall next to it sells Nasi Campur and I tried the nasi rawan there before, it's not bad and there's not much of a queue.

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Singapore street food : Famous Nasi Lemak @ Tampines

At the other side of the coffee shop is a stall selling traditional malay kueh. Waaahh.. for a dessert person like me that is just perfect! I always like some kueh kueh after breakfast (heck even before breakfast :p )

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Kueh Lopes @ Instanbul Coffee Shop 

In the evening, the seafood stall opens and the seafood dishes are also nice (though not many seats are available - I always tapau back home). The seafood stall hires chinese cooks but the muslim owner is in charge of buying the halal supplies and oversees the operations in the evening as well so yup it's halal seafood by chinese cooks yummy! 

Next time you are craving for nasi lemak and don't want to go all the way to Changi, head to Istanbul Coffee Shop instead :)

Istanbul Coffee Shop is at :

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Singapore for Kids Attraction : Port Of Lost Wonder - Sentosa

sentosa water playground for kids
Port of Lost Wonder - nearest car park

Finally, a weekend in Singapore for some fun for the kids and bonding time as a family. Our chosen destination? Port Of Lost Wonder @ Palawan Beach (well, technically, its nearer to Siloso Beach). But, yeah.. mommy was super excited! Msg-ed my friend first to ask if there's halal food and she advised best to eat before going first, read some reviews that halal food is not available at Port Of Lost Wonder BUT when we were there, we saw 7-11 at the entrance and 7-11 sells those halal sandwiches in the chiller, if you don't mind eating that AND I asked one of the muslim staff (I saw a lot of Malay Muslim staff) and she said that the restaurant has a separate halal menu that you can order from and the food will be prepared in another halal kitchen nearby and be brought there for us to enjoy either at the restaurant or the picnic area. Lovely arrangement isn't it? Of course, the staff didn't check our bags and I saw a few group of muslim families having a picnic with food that they brought in.

singapore attractions for kids sentosa
Port of Lost Wonder - Curio Exchange is where you buy the admission tickets

When we arrived, there was a birthday party going on in a huge tent near "The Secret Entrance" cute isn't it. The kids there looked like they were having loads of fun. Man, if I have the money and I stay in Singapore, I would also like to have my kids' birthday parties there haha.. what can be more fun than birthday parties with water play?

singapore kids club sentosa
Singapore attractions for kids - Port of Lost Wonder Sentosa

The water play area is not huge like Wild Wild Wet but for $15 entrance fee per child (adults enter free), I think it's good enough. The center of attraction is of course the pirate ship that the kids can clamber on and then slide down to the water. There are a few slides suitable for different age range. The water is not deep as it is not meant for swimming. There's also a different area for babies / toddlers but unless your baby / toddler has an elder sibling that can enjoy the facilities there, you might as well just bring your toddler to the free water playground at other malls :)

best water playground singapore
Singapore Kids Attraction @ Sentosa - Port of Lost Wonder

My kids really like the place as it also has a sand area where they can kick around a ball and also make sand castles. My elder one was also excited to shoot some hoops, but when we were there the sun was a bit hot and the artificial grass was not kind to the feet so we scratch that idea away. 

sentosa with kids
Port of Lost Wonder - Bubble Play schedule

An announcement was made and the kids from the birthday party rushed to the bubble play area.. woohoo.. looks like sooo much fun.. we had to contend with waiting for our turn then. The bubble play is for 20 mins and you have to pay 30 curios to enter (you get 100 curios per paying child when they give you the Port Of Lost Wonder Passport).

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Playing with sand at Port of Lost Wonder - Sentosa

singapore kids places
My aspiring footballer @ Port of Lost Wonder - Sentosa

Other activities are also available but you have to check their schedule, when we were there, they also had an announcement for "design your own t-shirts" for 100 curios. My kids didn't take part though since they were so engrossed building sand castles. (We bought the sand toys, floats and ball at 7-11 near the entrance but the shop in Port Of Lost Wonder also sell sand toys). We spent a good 3 hours in Port of Lost Wonder and the kids actually didn't want to go back but the clouds were looming and I was worried we might be caught there since there is no sheltered walkway between Port of Lost Wonder and the Beach Station Car Park. So, off we went then quickly before the downpour starts It was a lovely day spent together as a family and the kids really enjoyed themselves :) This might just be their favorite sand playground and water playground yet :)

singapore fun places for kids
Parents chilling out at the "Hatch Patch" great for picnics, the restaurant can send your food here for you to enjoy

Port of Lost Wonder is at Palawan Beach but it is nearer to Siloso Beach, so follow the sign to Siloso Beach / Beach Station and park at Beach Station Car Park then head left to Palawan Beach and you will reach  Port of Lost Wonder in less than 5 minutes!

Find more information about Port of Lost Wonder at their website here.

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