George Town, Penang in watercolor

I am so lazy to write. Well, actually I am all out of words. I wrote a 4-page diary on this for Gaya Travel magazine and wouldn’t want to repeat the same thing here. But I will share the watercolor paintings I did for the upcoming article.

shophouses2Row of houses at Noordin Street.
townhallPenang Town Hall.
cityhallPenang City Hall.
windowWindows of Syed Alatas Mansion.

The diary article that will be featured in gaya Travel magazine will be out in January 2014. I will make sure to give away 5 copies to those interested.



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I am in Penang!

The Borders will be having Children’s Program during the Georgetown Literary Festival and I will be showing a presentation of my sketchbooks and later sketching activity. The event will start from 3.30pm – 5.00pm at 179, Lebuh Victoria. My new books will also be on sale. Do come!

Below are random sketches from my Moleskine sketchbook. I will upload good resolution soon.


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Great dining experience at Simba Hill Gourmet Hall, Bukit Gambang Safari Park

Really, I am not into blogging about food but I have to blog about this one. Love the food and the place!

gourmet hall

We were so hungry and this was the first restaurant we saw and just went inside to look at the menu. Once inside, I was mesmerised by the interior design. I think it’s beautiful.

gh1Diners can throw a view outside to see white lions.

gh2Beautiful lion print and original paintings to decorate the wall.

gh3More paintings and tables at one corner.

After admiring the hall, we ordered the food. We had Mushroom Soup with Garlic Bread, Prawn Aglio Olio and Black Pepper Steak.



gh7The food was superb! I commend the chef for the taste and the presentation. If you plan to visit Bukit Gambang Safari Park, you must drop by this Simba Hill Gourmet Hall and dine here. I am not paid for this but I truly want to share the experience.

Simba Hill Gourmet Hall opens from  2.00pm – 10.00pm and serves western-style, local delights and vegetarian food. The Hall can serve up to 200 person where it is the best place for functions or birthday parties.

You might hear roaring lions while dining. Be ready, this is what this safari-theme restaurant is offering. Roarrr!!


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Bukit Gambang Safari Park

Bukit Gambang Safari Park is really a good place to take kids and I am glad that my son, Yassin, suggested the place. We really had a blast and will revisit the park when it fully opens next year. Currently, the safari park is on it’s pre-opening stage and offers ticket at a cheaper rate since March 2013.


Sprawling across 138 acres, the Safari Park currently has four areas that we can visit: Wild Savannah, Simba Hill, Foreign Village and Night Jungle. Other areas under construction are Forest Land and Land of Predators.

Wild Savannah

First region we visited was the Wild Savannah which is only accessible by taking a tram. This is an area where animals roam freely and we were advised not to open door or windows for safety purpose.

Wild Savannah is divided into few areas and those we visited was African Savannah, Tropical Rainforest and Australian Outback.

We spotted these animals:








Simba Hill

After making rounds around the region on a ram, we were sent back to the station. Later we went to Simba Hill by foot. By escalator, actually, hehe. Simba Hill is where a couple of rare White Lions reside. White Lion is a rare colour mutation species in the lion family. The DNA – recessive gene causes the colour of the lion range from blonde to near-white. These lions may live up to 20 years and weigh up to 250kg for males and 182kg for females. These lions spend up to 20 hours per day resting and the remaining time is left to feed or walk around.

white lionFemale White Lion. The male was sleeping somewhere.

Foreign Village

Later we walk up the Hill and reached Foreign Village. This area is divided into small areas like Petting Kingdom, Malayan House, Saddle Castle, Farm House and many more.

Here we interacted with animals like Llama white kangaroo, Alpaca, Llama not to mention ‘kampung’ geese!


Malayan House – Replicating the Malaysian typical ‘kampung’ house environment.

geeseJust outside the Malayan House, we were able to see the ‘good old day’s’ animals which are not often seen in our concrete jungles.

llamaMe interacting with a Llama at Petting Kingdom.

Swiss-goatPretty Swiss goat at Farm House. It was smiling for the camera 🙂

cuddleAnother Swiss goat that likes to be petted.

horseYassin petting a horse.

And that was all. We did planned to go for the Night Jungle but after having dinner, Yassin fell asleep like a baby. We will take that trip another time as we got a set of free tickets for next visit.

If you like to visit Bukit Gambang Safari Park, here are some useful information:


Adults: RM38; Children: RM18 (with MyKad/MyKid)

Adults: RM68; Children: RM48 (without MyKad/MyKid)

* FREE Admission for children below the height of 90cm

Operating hours:

Daily operation hours: 2.00pm – 10.00pm daily

Night Jungle: 6.00pm – 10.00pm daily

Website: Bukit Gambang Safari Park


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Art & Places: Sarawakians, Sarawak


Named Sarawakians, the sculpture portrays unity in Sarawak. It has a body and many heads. A body depicting Sarawak and many heads depicting the many diversity of Sarawak people and cultures.

This granite sculpture was sculpted by Robert Yong, an architect, in May 2003 and is located at the main entrance of Sarawak Cultural Village, Santubong, Sarawak.

I wanted to contact Mr Robert Yong to ask about the creative process but could not find his contact details. If you know him, please do let me know.


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Absolute Tribal in Kuching

This restaurant really had me at ‘Hello’.

Absolute TribalAbsolute Tribal entrance.

I thought to myself, “the interior must be as beautiful as the entrance.” My expectation was true. I fell in love straight away.

Absolute Tribal interiorInterior of the restaurant.

Absolute Tribal is a restaurant with a contemporary fine-dining ambiance serving Asian fusion food; mostly local authentic cuisine with a delightful presence of Thai’s unique selection.

Set in a historic building built during the Brooke Era about 120 years ago, Absolute Tribal is part of Sarakraf Pavilion. The historical attachment of the establishment will make you feel as if you have travel back in time and take a refuge to a spiritually enchanting holiday.

Here are some of the food that we had during the lunch. The lunch was on Sarawak Tourism Board and Malindo Air. This was part of the Familiarisation Media Trip last April.

at3Left row from top: Sarawak Tribal Salad, Pansoh Chicken, Umai Sarawak. Right row from top: Sarawak Pineapple Fried Rice, Terong Dayak with Fish Curry and Mee Kolok Fusion Style.

Yes, I love everything that I ate. The food live up to the beautiful ambience. I definitely recommend this restaurant to you. You will love it too.

Other than fine dining, Sarakfraf Pavilion features gift shops with local arts and crafts that could not be seen elsewhere.

craftIf you are visiting Kuching, Sarawak, do look for Absolute Tribal. The restaurant sign is not really visible from the main road, so be on the look out for Sarakraf Pavilion sign near a white brick gate. It opens from Monday to Sunday from 07:30 – 22:00. Address: 78 Jalan Tabuan, 93100, Kuching 93200, Malaysia.






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7 things to do in Kuching, Sarawak

Flying on an inaugural flight with Malindo Air was great experience. Love all the features inside the aircrafts. And it was more great to be able to revisit Kuching after the first one in 2005.

For your information, Malindo Air flies to Kuching 4 times daily.

7500th Boeing 7377500th Boeing 737 (9M-LNF).

So, what’s interesting in Kuching? Plenty, actually. Malindo with collaboration of Sarawak Tourism Board had arranged tours around Sarawak for media who was on the inaugural flight.

Here are some ideas for you to start with if you plan to visit Kuching. This list is crafted based on places I visited only.

1Stay at Riverside Majestic Hotel. Riverside Majestic Hotel is strategically located in the heart of Kuching overlooking the Sarawak River. The hotel commands a panoramic view of the city and the Kuching Waterfront across.

The hotel has 241 comfortable rooms and offers chef’s selection of signature dishes and tonic soups. Their kitchens are all certified Halal. For relaxation, you can go to the Borneo Odyssey Spa located on the Lower Ground floor of their sister property the Grand Margherita Hotel, or cool off in the hotel’s swimming pool. A bowling centre and cineplex is also available in the adjacent Riverside Shopping Complex.

Riverside Majestic HotelFront view of Riverside Majestic Hotel.


Eat, eat and eat. For dinner, everybody is going to Top Spot Food Court. It is basically a hawker centre that sells mostly seafood. It is located on a roof top of a 5 storey car park right in the smack of the city centre. For exotic lunch, you can go to Absolute Tribal Restaurant located at Sarakraf Pavilion. For local kampung style food, you can go to Mount Serapi Corner.

absolute tribalInteresting entrance of AbsoluteTribal Restaurant.

3Go shopping! There are many places you can shop but if you want to look for food, fruits, seafood, go to Medan Niaga Satok. For gift items like pua kumbu, jeweleries and what not go to Main Bazaar. Another place you can go to to buy Kek Lapis is Dayang Salhah Kek Lapis. Another interesting place to buy crafts is Sarakraf Pavilion.

4Visit cat statues around Kuching. The most recognizable cat statue is the one near Kuching Waterfront, just opposite the Riverside Majestic Hotel. You can also find another one in front of the Little China Town along Jalan Padungan. There’s another one at Jalan Abell. More if you walk around town.

cat statuesClockwise: A cat family near Riverside Majestic Hotel, Lonely cat in front of Little China Town and four cats at Jalan Abell.


See orang-utans at Semenggoh Wildlife Center.  Established in 1975, this center cares for wild animals which have either been found injured in the forest, orphaned, or were previously kept as illegal pets. The center also offers a rare opportunity to view orang-utans in their natural habitat. Although these recently released orang utan spend most of their time in the surrounding forest, they do return to the centre where they are fed twice daily at a “halfway house” feeding station. Over time the orang utan appear less frequently as they start to adjust to life in the forest. During the fruit season they may not appear at all, which is a good sign and shows that they are adapting well to their new surroundings.

orangutanOrang-utan right right above me!

6Experience Sarawak heritage at Sarawak Cultural Village. Situated at the foothills of legendary Mount Santubong, this village, dubbed as Sarawak Living Museum, showcases fascinating   Sarawak’s ethnic diversity at a glance. You will have the chance to the heritage of the major racial groups in Sarawak namely their traditional houses, crafts, musics and clothings. Sarawak Cultural Village  is also the venue for the World Harvest Festival and the Rainforest World Music Festival, an internationally renowned festival.

Sarawak Cultural VillageOne of the traditional houses.

7Take the Sarawak River cruise. The best way to see Kuching is from the Sarawak River located in the heart of Kuching. The cruise gives you a view of the city and its surrounding areas. You will see the New Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Building, Astana Building, Kuching Waterfront, colourful villages, villagers doing their daily routines, cargo vessels and many more.

Sarawak river cruiseSarawak River Cruise boarding area at the waterfront.

There you go. I will elaborate more on some of the places above when time permits.

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