Kuala Lumpur: a real treat

KL is a bittersweet memory.

It was the second post-IB trip that I took, this time with the group of friends that I was originally supposed to go to Bali with. 19 days after I had arrived back in Singapore, I was off to Woodlands checkpoint, where we crossed the causeway to Johor Bahru to board an overnight train to KL. It was a real treat for me because it had all the excitement and wanderlust of a road trip, and it was the first time I had really gotten to travel on an old diesel train across the country, through the night. I mean, I did take the MRT from Serangoon to Boon lay once, but it honestly does not compare. I was so excited that I stayed up the whole ride there, whilst all my friends drifted in and out of sleep to the rickety chugging of the carriage. I sat beside a family of 4 seated on 3 seats: 2 parents juggling 2 kids. Throughout the night, they took turns handling their children; at times the father would clack away on his laptop, figuring out some code or program or investment while the mother grabbed whatever rest she could with 2 kids laying against her, at others they each held a kid and tried to feed and change them (I did catch an eyeful at one point). Meanwhile, I was sitting there watching Friends, with only myself to care for. Boy did I feel lucky. But I also appreciated the support that was evident in the little family beside me.

Once we reached KL station, we rushed to McDonalds to get some grub since we had barely eaten all night. We were all pretty smashed since sleep eluded most of us. But once we were done, we hopped on an intra-city train to University station where Capri by Fraser was located. From the station, there was a 10 minute hike in the afternoon sun with our luggage to our hotel apartment. We had to wait awhile before the room was ready because we had arrived before check-in time, so we wandered up to the rooftop and hobo-ed there.

The apartment was amazing- 3 rooms, 2 toilets, a living room area, a dining room area, and a kitchen. All the rooms had TVs in them. One room was a master with an ensuite, the other was roughly the same size with a toilet right outside the room, and the last room was more suited for a single sleeper. The apartment was clean and had a modern design, with a nice view. Our stay also came with complimentary breakfast, gym, pool, game room and bar amenities. I highly recommend it. (Oh also, because we were a group of 7, 2 people stayed in a separate, smaller hotel room which had the typical hotel room layout)

The trip consisted of pretty much shopping and eating. I don’t think that I have ever shopped as hard as I did during that trip. Although, in my defense, the SGD to MYR exchange rate was hella good, and it was post-exams so. The first night, we spent so long in the mall that we ended up taking one of the last trains back. We were so delirious that while waiting for the train, we sat down on the train platform because we couldn’t stand anymore. I don’t regret it- it was hilarious running around trying to find the best bargains, exhausting, but hilarious. While waiting for a cab on the second day, we bumped into a batchmate who happened to be staying at the same hotel that we were. We later found that she was staying in the apartment right across from ours 😀 She even bought us some drinks, bless her. Later at night, we went up to the pool. The water was freezing, but it was fun to play “chicken” (I’m not sure if it’s called the same thing everywhere, but it’s the game where one person sits on another’s shoulders and battles another pair to push the top person off). We also went to the jacuzzi and the bar, where I was once again confronted with my low alcohol tolerance; I can’t finish a mojito. It’s ok, I’m working on bringing it up.

One of my regrets was that we didn’t get to eat more local food while we were there. Sure, there’s not much food in KL that we can’t get in SG, but the style of the same dish varies between locations. That was actually a source of strain during the trip since the main aim of our trip wasn’t made clear to everybody. But that’s something to learn from! I think it’s best to travel with people who have similar travel styles and want the same things out of a trip as you do, or be willing to compromise.

We took a coach back to SG. It was actually more comfortable than the train, and better for sleeping. I also caught How to lose a guy in 10 days– a chick-flick, but it was one of the better ones.

KL was a great time. But it is bittersweet because it was the last time that we truly gathered and spent quality time together. We still meet up, but the moments are now fewer and far between because of university and the army. We’re planning another trip though, so here’s looking forward to that!


Bali: A Grad Trip

In November of 2015, I took and completed my IBDP exams. It was a time of great joy and liberation (because duh), marked by a graduation trip to Bali. It was truly an acquisition of freedom because it was the first time that I had travelled overseas without family or under the guise of a school trip. In fact, most people thought that our trip was crazy, on account of the fact that it was 2 girls travelling to a seemingly dangerous place (we were supposed to go in a group of 7, but everybody backed out or couldn’t confirm and we decided to just go ahead because we wanted to). I was scared; at one point, I even contemplated cancelling the ticket or transferring it to Ziki’s sister. I had high anxiety at the time, coming off of the exams, but I was also excited and I wanted to go. It just didn’t make sense for me to not go and sit at home making up scenarios and thinking about things that could go wrong while not doing anything, instead of refuting my fears whilst being in a scenic, relaxing location. In hindsight, there was nothing to worry about. I thoroughly enjoyed the reprieve of work, and the days by the sea.

It was an idyllic, slow-paced 4 days, and we were broke as heck but we pretty much did whatever the hell we wanted, when we wanted. That was the best part. Or the beautiful villa with the pool we never quite used and the deliciously cheap breakfast. Or sorting out a glitch with our accommodation like a pair of grown-ass adults. Or braving the catcalls and dubious comments when we were walking back from dinner and it was dark out. Or the black-sand beach and the sea that made me face-plant into the sand 194738 times, causing me to roll, land on all fours, consume 40% of the sea and lose my dignity in front of a bemused crowd of Caucasians who were way more adapt at Bali seas than I was. Or maybe it was the thrill of parasailing and flying fish. Or the stunning views from uluwatu. And the monkey that bit Ziki’s slipper while we were on our way to stand on the precipice of a cliff. Or the impromptu pool party at a Julian and co’s villa and when the stove exploded. Or traipsing round Bali on the last day with 10 Singapore dollars in my pocket, and when the money ran out, begging the driver to take us anywhere that was free, after which we ended up at another beach, watching the sun set and the planes taking off, while waiting for our plane to take off.

Yeah, probably all of that.

Funny, I’m only recalling these snippets as I’m writing this post. I’d almost dismissed it as a small little trip, but I’m now realising that it was a really really great time. And I was happy to have spent it with a like-minded companion in Ziki.

Check out some of the photos from the trip below!

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