Selfie-Worthy Attractions at SnowWorld European Facade

Wanna chill a like bit this school holiday but that flight ticket cost a bit too much? Well, go domestic instead.

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There are plenty of interesting places in Malaysia for you to visit. And if you wanna chill, really chill, SnowWorld in Resorts World Genting is just the place for you.

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SnowWorld has been transformed to look like a European village—with replicas of various European symbols creating a believable imaginary world.

#EllieTravels: in Resorts World Genting: SnowWorld

Check out my vlog shot during my recent visit to SnowWorld. Pretty cool, huh?

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You can make-believe you are touring Europe as you take in the sights and sounds at the various “countries” created, namely Holland, Italy, Norway, England, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. Experience what being in a German Boucherie with 3D sausage and 3D cow is like  or take a picture in front of the facade bearing the image of a windmill with the 3D Holland Clog aside.  The tour itself can be considered educational—Geography lessons for the kids—or the guest may simply look upon it as a picture-worthy session filled with heartwarming moments.

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Apart from ‘going around Europe’, SnowWorld is also offering medieval theme and there are many exciting photography backdrops and 3D props, making each visit a delightful one for visitors. Here’s riding a dragon in madieval times in SnowWorld. Pretty cool, huh?

The young and young-at-heart who simply love taking selfies would no doubt also be delighted to experience this. SnowWorld has revised its ticket prices and the new rates are RM38.30 for adults and teenagers (RM34.50 for Genting Rewards Card or GRC members) and RM32.50 for children and senior citizens (RM29.20 for GRC members). There is also Family Package priced at RM129.10.  For more information, please call 03-27181118 or log on to www.rwgenting.com.

Beautiful Island Escapade: On the Hills Of Luxury at Shahzan Villa, Tioman

Once upon a time, I was a novelist. I write novels of romantic nature. Some are of fantasy genre. There are 32 of them in total. But right now, after years of writing novels and creating characters and worlds that I’ll miss by the time I ended the story, I go on hiatus. You can say that I’m having a nasty case of author’s block and I want nothing to do with writing novels anymore. Well, at least not for the moment. I will write stories, yes. But not a full blown 500 pages of novel. It would be too much for me at the moment. You have no idea how it feels like each time you write ‘the end’. Unlike other forms of writing, noveling is different. Each time I write a story, everything it the story feels so real. And crazy as it might sound, sometimes I fall in love with my characters as well and ending a story and saying goodbye can be rather painful and heartbreaking. It is like a huge part of you have died.

Anyway, going on a hiatus does not mean that I don’t miss going on writing retreat in beautiful and inspiring places. I don’t live in the lap of luxury, but I’ve experienced how it is like to stay on the hill of luxury, literally during my recent trip to Tioman Island with my family.

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Presenting to you, the magnificent Shahzan Villa in Berjaya Tioman Resort. The luxurious Shahzan Villa is arguably the most expensive villa in Tioman and it nestled majestically on top of a hill in Tioman Island. The villa is equipped with a cable car access to it and it is said to be the favourite lodging choice for the members of Pahang royal family, especially His Majesty the Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang. This place reminds me so much of one of my fantasy novel, ‘ Time Tempest’, where the main character lives in a mansion overlooking the sea.

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Seeing Shahzan Villa is like seeing my story coming alive. Nestled on the hill and overlooking the sea, the Chinese believes that this Shahzan Villa have a very good Fengshui and would bring prosperity and good luck to those who stays here. Facing West, Shahzan Villa offers beautiful sunset view and is great for those who wants a secluded, novel- like experience retreat with their loved ones.

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Dawn from the balcony of Shahzan Villa. It was a bit gloomy the morning we were there, but the view was still breathtaking with Renggis Island in sight.

Dawn from Shahzan Villa, Berjaya Tioman Resort

Watch the video to get a better idea how it looks like from Shahzan Villa.

Shahzan Villa boasts 5 beautifully romantic rooms, livingrooms, dining area and the kitchen.

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Here’s the living room

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Dining room

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The rooms in Shahzan Villa offers a very romantic ambiance with views overlooking the sea.

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Perfect for a romantic interlude, I must say.

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One of the rooms in the Shahzan Villa.

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Another room in Shahzan Villa

Shahzan Villa is perfect for a quiet retreat. It also makes a perfect lodging for a destination wedding’s lodging or a shooting location. One night in Shahzan Villa will cost you MYR25,000 with full butler service and MYR12,000 with no butler service.

For more information and booking inquiries for Shahzan Villa, head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Pic credit to: Adam Lau, Malaysianfoodie and Raja Sheril

Beautiful Island Escapade: Glass Bottom Boat Ride in Tioman

After our snorkeling and kayak-ing session in Renggis Island, Tioman, my family and I embarked on a yet another fun adventure before returning to our chalet in Berjaya Tioman Resort.

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We hopped onto a Glass Bottom boat and cruise around in Renggis Island towards the sunset.

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The Glass Bottom boat is usually used to cater to people who wants to see what the underwater world has to offer but does not want to get wet.

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The see-thru glass. It is blurrish for awhile but we get better visibility afterwards.

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And here’s what we managed to see during our short trip to the sea. The Glass Bottom Boat showcases the marine life that naturally inhabits Tioman. Colourful fishes and corals can be seen clearly through the looking glass.

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Apart of of the marine life, we also get to see beautiful Renggis Island closely.

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And was treated to a beautiful sunset

Beautiful underwater view in Renggis

Here’s a video of our Glass Bottom boat ride.

Seasports like snorkeling, diving and kayak-ing in Tioman Island can be a little daunting for travelers who are not really adventurous or with little children in tow and therefore I highly recommend the Glass Bottom Boat ride to those who wants to enjoy a leisurely cruise with a beautiful view in Tioman.

For more information on the activities that you can do while you are in Berjaya Tioman Resort, head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Beautiful Island Escapade: Kayak-ing in Renggis Island, Malaysia

If you would like to experience the beautiful underwater view during your stay in Tioman Island but swimming and snorkeling in the deep blue sea somewhat makes you feel nervous, you can always go for kayak-ing instead.

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Kayak is a small, narrow boat which is propelled by means of a double-bladed paddle. Traditional kayak has a covered deck and one or more cockpits, each seating one paddler. But the one I used only have one open cockpit and was pretty much modern in design.

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That’s me. Kayak-ing towards the sunset in Renggis Island, Tioman with my husband and friends tagging close behind.

Kayak-ing to Renggis Island

Personally, I prefer snorkeling more than kayak-ing. Snorkeling makes me feel that I’m part of the underwater kingdom while kayak-ing makes me feel, well, just human and it is definitely more tiring than snorkeling as pedaling takes up much more energy than floating around while you snorkel.

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Pedaling and navigating the kayak is much more difficult than swimming. I was so scared that I will drop the pedal, but luckily for me, I didn’t.

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Kayak-ing is great for non-swimmers who wants to to enjoy being close to the marine life, though. It is another must do thing when you are in Tioman Island. But still, kayak-ing has it’s charm. Both my husband and son seems to enjoy kayak-ing more than snorkeling. One great thing about kayak-ing is that you not only can enjoy the view underwater when you pedal the kayak in Tioman, but you can enjoy the abovewater view as well.

View of coral garden in Renggis Island while kayak-ing

Underwater view while kayak-ing

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The abovewater view of Renggis Island while kayak-ing.

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And here’s the sunset view from Renggis Island while we were kayak-ing. Magnificent, don’t you think?

I was really bad at navigating my kayak. Hence, I did not enjoy it as much as I did snorkeling. I ended up with a nasty cramp on my arms after that but it was an amazing experience nevertheless. Will I do again? Well, yes. But perhaps, next time around I’d take the one with double pedals where I can have someone else share the pedalling load with me.

Wanna experience this yourselves but have no clue on how to pedal and navigate the kayak? Fret not. The dive centre in Berjaya Tioman Island Resort has instructors who will instruct you if you are a first timer, so if you are ever there, just give this a go.

For more information on seasports activities in Berjaya Tioman Resort, head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Beautiful Island Escapade: Snorkeling in Renggis Island, Malaysia

The seaweed is always greener,
In somebody else’s lake,
You dream about going up there,
But that is a big mistake,
Just look at the world around you,
Right here on the ocean floor,
Such wonderful things surround you,
What more is you lookin’ for?

Under the sea
Under the sea
Darling it’s better
Down where it’s wetter
Take it from me

Yes indeed. Quoting the song ‘Under the Sea’ from Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’, such wonderful things surrounding us in Malaysia, what else are we looking for? It saddens me each time fellow Malaysians glorify places of interest that is not in Malaysia when Malaysia have so much to offer to the world, especially its pristine, sandy beaches.

I grew up watching Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid’ and used to fantasize that I’m Ariel, the lovely mermaid princess. Having influenced by the movie and growing up by the beach in Penang, I learned how to swim but never once imagined that one day, I’ll be given a chance to actually be a mermaid for a little moment. It was beyond my imagination that one day, I’ll be snorkeling and witnessing the beauty the underwater world could offer.

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During my trip to Tioman Island for Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016 at Berjaya Tioman Resort, my family and I were taken for a little snorkeling trip in Renggis Island, a small forest clad island in Tioman, and is situated right in front of the boat jetty for Berjaya Tioman Resort.

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Renggis Island.This place is one of the best spots in Malaysia to snorkel and enjoy the beautiful marine life first hand.

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This island is a permanent home to large coral reefs that have given sanctuary to wide diversity of marine life.

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The marine life that surrounds Renggis Island is not known to be aggressive but very friendly towards divers and snorkelers. I was told that there is no danger of fast and high water currents and you do not need any heavy equipment or gear to snorkel and can easily stay put in the water as long as you want.

It was my first snorkeling experience. Both my husband and son were in tow. And having no actual experience swimming in deep places where my feet does not touch the sea floor was a little bit nerve wrecking.

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Yes. To be honest, I was a little bit nervous in the beginning to actually make that jump. What more both my husband and son can’t swim and were practically fishes out of water, even in the swimming pools.

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But I jumped into the water from the boat anyway. Here’s my friend Jerry and me.

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Me and my boys

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Underwater selfie. Being a first timer, it took me a little while to get used to the strange environment, but once I dip my head underwater, I was immediately enchanted with my surroundings.

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The underwater view was absolutely amazing.

First time snorkeling experience

It is nothing like what I’ve seen in aquarium tanks.

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It felt like a dream, so I started swinging my hands around and started snorkeling.

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A school of little fishes got curious I guess, and some surrounded me for a little while before swimming away. While my son got nervous with the small fishes and decides that they were too scary for him and headed back to the boat to entertain the idea that he had just saw a shark swimming by, the idea of sharks swimming it doesn’t freak me out, though. I actually felt like a mermaid and I couldn’t get enough of snorkeling and went further to enjoy what the mysterious ocean has to offer me.

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How can you not fall in love with these?

Underwater View in Renggis Island

Just watch the video. It’s absolutely breathtaking. After my first time seeing the beauty that the underwater world have to offer, I knew that once is not going to be enough and I finally understood why people make efforts to be certified divers. I will have to do it again soon. And longer and deeper into the sea next time around.

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Here’s one for the album, on the boat after our snorkeling trip. Words can do no justice for what I’ve seen and experienced. You’d have to see it with your own eyes, so yes, if you are ever in Tioman Island, do give snorkeling a go. The dive centre in Berjaya Tioman Island Resort has instructors who will instruct you if you are a first timer, so fret not, and just jump into the water.

For more information on seasports activities in Berjaya Tioman Resort, head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Beautiful Island Escapade: Jungle Trekking in Tioman Island

The media entourage were brought for jungle trekking during our TICD 2016 trip in Tioman Island. I usually enjoy jungle trekking with my husband and son but this time around, I gave this activity a miss as prior to the trekking session it rains rather heavily and I believe the trek was still slippery and I was not equipped for the trekking session. It would have required me to wear hiking shoes with excellent grip but I only brought a non grip sports shoes with me, so only my husband joined in this activity. Shame, as there was there is a hidden waterfall in the depth of Tioman Island.

Here’s sharing some pictures my photographer husband Adam Lau, Raja Sheril and Neyra Syazeyra took during the jungle trekking session:

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The trek was still slippery and therefore the route was much more challenging than usual.

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A participant balancing herself during the jungle trekking session.

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Participants were told to walk in pairs had to rely on each other to climb up jagged paths and from the look of it, it was not an easy feat indeed.

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The trekking session took about 1 hour with no leisurely stop before reaching the waterfall.

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And here is the reward for the participants, a quick shower at the waterfall.

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One quick photo for the album before they were ushered back to Berjaya Tioman Resort as it was getting really dark and it was really dangerous to stay in the jungle when it is dark.

For more information on seasports activities in Berjaya Tioman Resort, head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Beautiful Island Escapade: A Visit To The Spice Garden, Berjaya Tioman Resort

Another must visit attraction in Berjaya Tioman Resort is its beautiful Spice Garden. The Spice Garden is beautiful garden that is a home to plenty of edible herbs and spices. I had the privilege to visit this place during my Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016, so here’s sharing some pictures taken over there.

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The entrance to the Spice Garden at Berjaya Tioman Resort.

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Man-made fish pond spotted

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Fishes spotted swimming in the pond

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A gazebo for you to chillax at

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Red Ginger plants (Halia). Ginger originated in the tropical rainforest in Southern Asia. Although ginger no longer grows wild, it is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent.
These red gingers are widely used as a spice or a folk medicine.

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Cat’s Whiskers Plant (Pokok Misai Kucing). Cat’s Whiskers is a herbal plant with flowers that have protruding hairs that resemble the whiskers of a cat. This herbal plant can be seen growing mostly in Southeast Asian countries like China, Thailand, Taiwan and the Philippines. Generally used in tea to reduce high blood pressure and diabetes.

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Mariposa Christia vespertilionis  or the Red Butterfly Wing is a rare tropical plant from Southeast Asia with leaves resembling butterflies in flight. It is said that this plant is used in alternative cancer treatments.

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Bile Earth. The Malays call it Hempedu Bumi (Bile of the Earth)/Pokok Cerita (Plant of Tales) while other locals call it the antibiotic plant. This is a medicinal plant that grows in India, China and South East Asia. It is one of the ingredients used in traditional herbal formulations for antibiotics.

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Long Jack or Tongkat Ali is is famous for being a plant that ia used as aphrodisiacs for men. It also helps to improves blood circulation and stamina.

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Betel Leaves or Sireh. The betel is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family, which includes pepper and kava. Betel leaf is mostly consumed in Asia, and elsewhere in the world by some Asian emigrants, as betel quid or in paan, with Areca nut and/or tobacco.

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Sabah Snake Grass or Belalai Gajah. Sabah Snake Grass is some sort of herb grown usually in tropical weather countries, like Malaysia and Thailand. This natural herb that is part of acanthaceae family has a scientific name Clinacanthus nuthans. It is said that this plant has anti cancer properties.

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Curry Leaves plant. The curry tree is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the family Rutaceae, which is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are used in many dishes in India, Sri Lanka, and neighbouring countries.

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Aloe Vera. Aloe vera is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe. It grows wild in tropical climates around the world and is cultivated for agricultural and medicinal uses.Thanks to its phytochemical content, aloe is considered antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal.

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Basil, also known as great basil or Saint-Joseph’s-wort, is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae. It is also called the “king of herbs” and the “royal herb”

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Pegaga ia a specific Asian tropical plants have been used for centuries as blood cleansing herbs and detox agent.

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Sweet potato plants. You probably have eaten some sweet potatoes. Well, here’s how it’s plants looks like.

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Cekur Manis or sweet leaf, is a shrub grown in some tropical regions as a leaf vegetable.

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Mints, generally used in cooking as flavourings or in herbal teas.

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Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. When dried, the fruit is known as a peppercorn. Black pepper is native to south India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.

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God’s Crown or Mahkota Dewa is a dense evergreen tree, indigenous to Indonesia and Malaysia. It is found in tropical areas of New Guinea up to 1,200 meters above sea level. The stem and shells of seeds have been used to treat various cancers, lung, live and heart diseases while the leaves contain compounds that can treat impotence, blood diseases, allergies, diabetes mellitus and tumors.

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After our little stroll in the Spice Garden, we were taken to a little tea session where we were served with interesting concoction with ingredients freshly plucked from the garden.

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Freshly squeezed lemonade with mints

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Lemongrass and lime juice

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And last but not least, Rose Tea with Honey.

The short visit to the Spice Garden was very interesting, and if you wish to learn more about edible plants while you are in Tioman, this is the place that you should visit.

For more information on Berjaya Tioman Resort ongoing events, news and promotions please head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Beautiful Island Escapade: Cooking Demo in Sri Nelayan, Berjaya Tioman Resort

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During the second day of our stay in Berjaya Tioman Resort during our TICD 2016 trip, we were presented with a cooking demo by a team of chefs in Restaurant Sri Nelayan during our lunch break.

Cooking Demo at Sri Nelayan Restaurant, Berjaya Tioman Resort: Pan Seared Norweigian Salmon

The first demonstration was Pan Seared Salmon with Orange Emulsion. During this session we were shown how to perfectly sear a salmon without drying up the fillet with the ‘moisture lock’ technique. It was interesting and educational to say the least.

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Pan Seared Salmon with Orange Emulsion was an interesting dish with a twist.

Cooking Demo at Restaurant Sri Nelayan, Berjaya Tioman Resort: Australian Beef Zurichoise

Second item on the demo menu was Australian Beef Zurichoise. The beef was cooked to perfection with veggies on the side.

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Australian Beef Zurichoise is a mouthwatering Swiss specialty dish originating in the town of Zurich, Switzerland. Typically served with Rosti, but here it was presented with mashed potatoes, which is as equally good.

Cooking Demo in Sri Nelayan Restaurant, Berjaya Tioman Resort: Kuih Gulung

Kuih Gulung making demonstration

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Kuih Gulung or Kuih Dadar Gulung is one of the popular snacks Indonesia, especially in Java. It is a green-colored folded omelette or pancake made of rice flour, filled with grated coconut and palm sugar. This delicacy is also known as kuih gulung, kuih ketayap and kuih lenggang.

Cooking Demo at Sri Nelayan Restaurant, Berjaya Tioman Resort: Ondeh Ondeh Melaka

Two variants of Ondeh Ondeh Melaka in the making.

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Ondeh Ondeh Melaka is actually boiled rice cakes, stuffed with liquid palm sugar, and rolled in grated coconut. The texture of this traditional Malay cake is chewy and pretty much fun to eat especially when the stuffing of liquid palm sugar exploded in the mouth, oozing with sweetness.

Overall the cooking demo was an interesting experience. Do note that this cooking demo is a special arrangement for us members of the media and is not an activity that is available for public in Berjaya Tioman Resort. I do believe, however, if you are going in large groups or with a tour company’s FAM trip to Berjaya Tioman Resort, arrangements for cooking demonstrations can me made upon request.

For more information on Berjaya Tioman Resort ongoing events, news and promotions please head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Beautiful Island Escapade: Berjaya Tioman Resort

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Tioman Island is surrounded by numerous coral reefs, making it a popular scuba diving spot and a paradise to marine biologist. It is one of the most beautiful island in the world and I had the privilege to stay there for a little while with my family during Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016.

There are a lot of resorts and chalets around the island but if you are looking for something that on the higher end, you might want to head over to Berjaya Tioman Resort. Berjaya Tioman Resort is a 1-hour, 30-minute ferry ride from Mersing Jetty or Tanjung Gemok Jetty and it features traditional Malay-style chalets with sea or garden views, a beautiful 18-hole golf course that boasts views of the sea and the lush rainforest.

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And here’s our chalet, a Superior Chalet with private balcony.

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The morning view from our chalet.

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Our chalet features three Queen sized beds, fitted with wooden flooring and furnishings, air conditioning and fans.

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Housekeeping team are pretty artistic. Our beds were decorated with animal arts and bougainvillea petals each time they came in to clean up. Pretty uplifting, I must say.

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Living area with comfy sofa

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I always look forward to the evening after housekeeping session. There’s always surprises like this waiting for us to enjoy after a long day outdoor.

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The chalet is equipped with cable TV, a mini bar and a coffee/tea making facilities. The mini bar is left empty for your own usage but should you wish to have it stocked, just give a call to housekeeping.

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The chalet also comes with a decent sized bathtub and shower.

Berjaya Tioman Resort Chalet

To get a better view of the chalet, take a look at the video above.

There are plenty of things you can do while you are in Tioman. Diving, snorkeling, kayak-ing, and a glassbottom boat ride tops the list but if you want to enjoy the resort instead of the sea, you can exercise in the fitness centre or choose from a range of treatments at Taaras Spa. Tennis courts and a games room are also available for those who must have a shot of adrenaline daily.

There are a few dining options in Berjaya Tioman Resorts. Sri Nelayan serves Malaysian and international specialities, while Coriander Seeds Restaurant is open for dinner. For drinks and light snacks, the sunken pool bar and beach bar are available. Free Wi-Fi is available in its public areas.

Our stay was pleasant and with such picturesque view to wake up to every morning, there’s nothing to complain about and I have to say that then place is great for some R&R or for a relaxing island holiday.

For more information on Berjaya Tioman Resort ongoing events, news and promotions please head over here: http://www.berjayahotel.com/tioman

Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016: Gala Night

Following my two previous write up on Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016, where divers were sent on a mission to scour the ocean for rubbish, search and destroy crown of thorns as well as installation of the coral nursery table under the sea and the school children making seahorse sculpture out of recycled plastic bottles,Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016 has finally come to an end and was considered a huge success, and the divers celebrated their effort during the Gala Dinner hosted by Singapore Dive Operator in Restaurant Matahari.

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School children from SMK Tekek performing Pahang traditional dance during the Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016.

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Awards were presented to the dive operators that contributed to the diving community.

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And lucky draw sponsored by Berjaya Group were drawn as a token of appreciation for all the good things the divers has done for Tioman Island.

Tioman Island Clean Up Day is indeed a good effort and being given the opportunity to witness how difficult it is to take care of the coral garden first hand, I wish I can play a more active part in Tioman Island Clean Up Day next year, and I urge everyone to play their part next year by volunteering. If you can’t, then don’t litter, no matter where you go. Remember, no effort is too small to make a difference.

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