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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

FROM BEIJING TO HARBIN

This journey departs from Beijing Central Station to Harbin Xi (west) station. Hope this little info might help those who want to travel diy by train to Harbin from Beijing. #dreambig

Despite the 26 hours delay to Beijing, we managed to change our tickets from Ctrip with a nominal fee (25% of the ticket's price). We got a refund and bought new tickets. Everything was done online. Cancellation was done through phone from our Shanghai hotel. Previously, a few monhts prior to our journey, we bought the train tickets from Ctrip.com. Recommended! Very reliable (from my experience la, i dont know about others).

Checked out early in the morning that day from our hostel in Beijing. We stayed at Happy Dragon Hostel. Nice hostel. Cheap and very near to plenty of muslim food restaurants. Receptionists are also fluent in English and very helpful. Helped us in maneuvering our way around Beijing. They also helped to call the cabs for us on our last day, metered cabs tau...bukan sapu..hehe...
From Dongsi station, we took line 2 to Beijing Station.

BEIJING RAILWAY STATION, JNGN TERSILAP DENGAN BEIJING
EAST OR BEIJING WEST TAU...

WAKTU NI X SEDAR DIRI LAGI... DOK BERGAMBAR HUHA
SANA-SINI....
Now, this was when the problem arose. I think part of it might be my own ignorance for not really taking note of what was written in Ctrip website. When we arrived at Beijing Station (it's a big station, very big), we found a few counters. Belah selatan ada, timur ada...pendek kata setiap penjuru ada lah kaunter... So, we went to one of the counters and queued. Sampai depan, the lady instructed us to the  counter yg opposite direction.  Rupanya bukan di situ... We wasted our time queuing up. Berator pulak kat tempat lagi satu... Again, the same problem. Dah la makcik counter tu tak membantu langsung. She asked us to go to the self service machine (which apparently only for those with chinese pasport.) We showed her our printed paper from ctrip, she said not in the system.. (in chinese)..after that, she ignored us. I asked again, where should we go? Buat bengap ja makcik tu.. The Time was 10.30 am and our train was supposed to depart at 10.59am kalu x silap.. panick dah ni... tadi dok relak2 snap2 picca kat depan gerbang Beijing station....

JANGAN BERATUR KAT SINI..SALAH TINGKAP!
COUNTER KIRI SEKALI TU LAH KAMI DOK BUAT KACAU,
SAMPAI LA ABG BOTAK DATANG, 
X boleh jadik, tanya jugak makcik tu lagi... dah nak naik marah dah ni... sebab die buat x reti.. kita dah tunjuk masa dah suntuk. That's the difference between the service in China and Japan... Kalu di jepun la, mereka akan cuba sedaya upaya tolong kita... geram sangat dngn makcit kaunter tu,..i pon ketok kaunter die,,, hoi makcik!!! hilang sudah kesusilaan yang ada..haha... muka pon dh merah mcm ceri..:(
 tengah ketok2 x sedar diri tu... tiba2 someone patted my shoulder.. "hello... what's wrong..?" rupa2nya...

Abang botak yang kami dok berkenalan dalam flight 26 jam dan tu ada kat belakang. I did tell u in the last post that, we had known a few people since the flight was delayed for quite some times... Dalam keadaan genting tu, tiba2 Allah hantar abang botak tu nak tolong kami... kebetulan die memang org harbin katanya,..die gelak kenapa kami nak ke sana...sejuk sangat! .before this memang husband saya ada tolong isteri abang botak ni kat imigresen beijing... wife die org indonesia, abg botak local mainland china citizen.

INILAH KEADAAN TEMPAT YG SEPATUTNYA KITA AMBIL TIKET. DALAM BANGUNAN YA.. I REPEAT,
DLM BANGUNAN... PHOTO CREDIT TO MAN IN SEAT 61


ENGLSIH SPEAKING COUNTER, NO 16.
PHOTO CREDIT TO MAN IN SEAT 61

So, abang botak ni lah yg tolong kami.. he spoke to the makcik at the counter. the makcik again directed us to the automated self service machine..mmg la x boleh... abg botak tolong lagi tanya... rupa2nya kena pergi ke kaunter di dalam bangunan.. kami pon berlari2 la masuk kaunter including abg botak.... nak masuk kaunter dalam ni kena scan bag bagai.. so we scanned our bag... tiba2 abg botak ni hilang... dengan pasport2 kami dan confirmation slip..ha sudah...! lepas  a few minutes, die dtng...

Rupanya die p tolong tnya.. so, we went to the correct counter and redeemed our tickets. Just for your info, counter 16 adalah English Speaking counter. Counter lain semua chinese speaking. tp kami p kaunter biasa coz we had abg botak to help us... Atas bantuan beliau, dapatlah kami tiket. So, we said thank u, said goodbye and ran off to the waiting room which was not in the same area. x sempat nak bergambar dengan die...huhuhu....Waktu dah pukul 10.40... terjadilah semula aksi lari berlari nak kejar train. X sempat nak tangkap gmbr sama abg botak.. but he did tell us..."if u miss the train, dont get panick. change to other train..enjoy your holiday..don't rush!" Btl jugak ckp abg botak tu ..hehehe...

Tp lps tu, kami tetap panik balik..berlari2 nk masuk dalam waiting room..ada lagi satu check point nak check tiket lagi...adooiii,,bnyk sangat nak check2... rasa dah nak menangis dah time tu... tunjuk2 jam kat penjaga pintu tu... die dok kata tiket kami salah la pulak... supervisor datang... tngk tiket kami dan bagi kami masuk... slamat! LAri lagi..time dah 10.50... Dalam building tu ada banyak waiting room.. kena pulak carik yang mana satu platfrom... akhirnya jumpa.. tingkat atas... lari2 lagi.... masuk dalam train 10.57... 2 minutes later, bullet train kami jalan...selamat! Kami berterima kasih sangat2 kat abang botak tu sebab bantu kami di saat2 genting... rasanya kalau x ada die, memang kami x dapat naik train tu... waktu berlari2 tu dah x pikir org lain dah... anak2 kat mana pon x ingat dah... hubby yang jaga..hahaha....

THIS IS OUR TRAIN. CANTIK KAN? THIS WAS TAKEN IN HARBIN. DEKAT BEIJING MEMANG X SEMPAT
MO POSING2 MAK LIMAH....
Let's talk about the train... Bullet train ni yang kedua terlaju..ada yang lagi laju.. harga 500 yuan lebih.. 6 hours to reach harbin. kami belik yang ni, 306.50 yuan one way. 7 hours to reach Harbin,When booking, they want our pasport no. Seats are automatically assigned.
Trainnya sngt comfotable. Toilet ada dalam setiap gerabak. Toilet sangat bersih. Makcik yang sangat baik tu akan cuci hourly, Makcik ni baik, bukan mcm makcik kaunter, huh!
 Plug station pon ada dalam setiap gerabak. So senang nak charging phone or camera.

Ada train attendant dok jual souvenirs, kacang2 dan sebagainya.

DI DALAM TRAIN.. VERY COSY AND WARM.
OUTSIDE WAS VERY BONE-CHILLING

HOT WATER. FOR U TO MAKE HOT DRINKS
OR CUP NOODLES

BEKALAN KAMI. PAPER CUPS TO MEMANG SENTIASA ADA.
REPLENISHED HOURLY.
Pemandangan yang cukup indah sepanjang perjalanan kami....






 Setelah tujuh jam perjalanan, kami pun sampai di Harbin... Kota impian saya sejak remaja lagi...

We arrived at Harbin Xi Railway station.
Very modern compared to Harbin East, 

 7 hours later...

Muka letih gila! Ni waktu baru sampai.. Queuing for cabs... kena
cekik 100 yuan per cab. On our way back from Harbin, we used metered taxi,
cuma 23 yuan aja per cab.. cishhh bedebah!..kalau x sejuk diluar tu, dah lama
ku redah carik metered taxi!

 Alhamdulillah,  setelah pelbagai rintangan di tempuhi, kami sampai jua ke Harbin. 26 hours journey to Beijing, difficulty at the train station, getting helped from the local, all these were memories which will remain in our mind forever...:) Problems occurred, but we succeed in solving the problems... will all these stop us from exploring more? NO! all these incidents make us stronger and want to find out more... #neverstopexploring


Ni waktu nak balik! happy sangat.. mission accomplished!

Friday, 3 February 2017

To buy or not to buy?

That is the question...


Ive read many blogposts regarding the purchase of travel insurance. Some people are reluctant to buy while others regard it as necessary. How about u? Why do people purchase travel insurance? Is it worth the money spent? Different people have different perspectives upon this matter. As an avid traveler, i never bought any travel insurance whilst traveling before. I started buying my first travel insurance for my Bali trip in 2011. It was an online travel insurance that has no name at all. I remembered purchasing it for rm9 per pax. So, I spent rm36 for my family. Alhamdulillah, everything went well. Then, over the years, i started reading n surveying. Then only i knew that travel insurance does not only cater for lost baggages or delays only, there are many other benefits of buying one. Do u know that we can get a full reimbursement if we cancel our journey due to unavoidable incidents? Certain policies also take care of your houses if there are burglary cases happening during your travel... How cool is that! Ha..ha.. Don't get me wrong. No company pays me for this write-up, everything  is truly from my own readongs n honest opinion.

So, last December, for my Beijing-Harbin trip, i was so busy looking for the most suitable travel insurance for my family. I read blogs, comments, personal experiences and at last ive ventured rm77 for a family policy from Etiqa Takaful. Why takaful? Because they are very easy to be contacted. Everything was done online. Previously, i had contacted their customer service to inquire on certain things. Little that i know that this decision will benefit me later on. Why did i buy one from an established company? 1. Going to a place with weather of minus 15 with children, I thought this trip was a bit risky. 2. Parents were unwell. There were chances of cancelling the trip if anything unexpected happened.

This sign never fails to capture
my attention everytime i pass by

Bon voyage!

On the 19th of December, we departed from KLIA 2 to Beijing. The flight was smooth sailing, nothing extraordinary happened until a few minutes before landing time. The announcement was made by the captain. It seemed that our flight couldnt land at Beijing Int Airport due to heavy smog. I thought i heard it wrongly but we were diverted to Pudong Shanghai International Airport. WHAT??? This was very unacceptable. We were so close to the ground. So many things came across my mind at that time. Hotel bookings, train booking, our other friend in the other flight n many other things. Mh360 pon i teringat jugak...hahaha... But who are we to stop Allah's will.... so, instead of landing at Beijing Airport, we landed at Shanghai airport. ( nak tergelak pon ada...).

Doraemon theme room.
Very cute n cosy
Air Asia X gave us rooms to rest until the departure of our next flight. We rested for the day and the new schedule was at 6.30pm that day.... there was nothing we could do except to wait for the weather in Beijing to be better. #Beijingpleasebenice

It was in the newspaper! 
Lets think of the bright side, at least we had a nice room to kill our time n this was also my 1st time in Shanghai. We also experienced air turn back...haha.. so that was how it felt...haha... we also made new friends along the way....

Some of our new friends
Upon arrival at the airport hotel in shanghai, i called ctrip and the hotels to amend and cancel some bookings via the hotel's phone. Luckily ctrip reimbursed the train money with some penalties. So, that evening, we departed for the 2nd time to Beijing. And this time, alhamdulillah we landed safely. Everyone cheered and clapped their hands... seronok pulak rasanya... we felt like a family 😙....  I would also like to thank the flight attendances of that particular aircraft (wherever u are)  for doing a splendid job during the whole 2 days. I had never met such Air Asia crew who was as helpful and friendly as this group. Keep up the good work!

Waiting patiently  for our flight to
 Beijing from Shanghai. 

And.... Because of this incident, my flight was delayed for almost 27 hours. Once i got back from Beijing, i contacted etiqa and they advised me on what to do. Upon submission n approval, within 5 days, i had received my money. How much did i get? Lets just say it was more than enough to cover our train penalties and to cover half of  my expenses  to osaka later....hahaha... rezeki jangan ditolak, musuh jngn dicari....

Thats my story of the longest journey to Beijing. And back to my question, to buy or not to buy? U have the answer. It is just a way of precaution in case of emergency. We never know what will happen. So, just be prepared!

Despite the difficulties, 8 of us
Successfully  stepped our feet onto
The ground of Harbin. Alhamdulillah!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

GUANGZHOU RIVER CRUISE

Semasa di Guangzhou, kami sempat juga merasa naik Guangzhou Night Cruise atau dikenali sebagai Guangzhou Pearl River Cruise pusing keliling bandar Guangzhou waktu malam.

Maafla kualiti gambar post kali ni memang x berapa nak cantik sebab ambik dr phone aja. camera dah habis bateri...huhu...

Pearl River Cruise

Kenapa dipanggil Pearl River Cruise?

Sebab cruise tu di Sungai Pearl... Sedikit info pasal sungai ni:

The Pearl River is the third largest river in China and the largest one in Guangzhou. It is so called because it contains a stone island resembling a huge pearl, polished by the constantly-flowing water of the river. Spanning eight provinces, the river is composed of four river systems including the West River, North River, East River and Liuxi River. The four river systems converge in Guangzhou and flow into the South China Sea.

taken from: https://www.travelchinaguide.com/cruise/pearlriver/

 Kami pilih nak naik night cruise sebab blh la tengok lampu2 yang bergemerlapan di sekitar Guangzhou. Kami naik dekat Tianzie Wharf. It started from the White Goose Pool and end at either the Guangzhou Bridge in the east or the White Crane Cave. Sebenarnya ada banyak wharf lain yang kita boleh naik tp Tianzie wharf ni yang paling senang bagi kami. Kami jalan kaki aja dari onelink plaza untuk ke sini.

Ni rupa tiket kami
Ada banyak harga yang berbeza tp seingat kami, kami ambik yang paling murah sekali...hehehe.. X tau la apa bezanya tapi rasanya kalau yg mahal ada dinner dan tempat menunggu mereka lebih gah. Macam ala2 1st class lounge masa tunggu flight tu...

Ruang menunggu. Kami tunggu pon x lama, dalam 15 minit ke 20 minit
mcm tu. Sambil tunggu tu adela stall jual jajan2 tp kami x beli pon. 

Cruise ada bnyk, jangan risau. Cruise mereka ni dihias ala2 river cruise di Ho Chi Minh. Semasa dalam kapal, kami dapat free flow of chinese tea.



Busy ambik gambar sana-sini



Dari kejauhan nampak iconic
building Guangzhou: Canton Tower.
Ntah mana gambar dekat Canton Tower ni..
ntah mana hilang

One of the bridges during Guangzhou night river cruise
Sempat bergambar dengan group muslim chinese lepas turun dr cruise.
Gambar 1 group pon entah hilang mana...hahaha... x terurus betul...
Yg gambar ni, dua2 pandang kamera sendiri2.... maklomla ayam cakap
dengan itik. 
Sempat juga bermesra2 dengan
baby comel ni dan nenek die...
Overall kira okla naik cruise ni... X merugikan.. Boleh round 1 bandar. Cuaca pon nyaman..:)

Thursday, 6 October 2016

MASJID HUASHENG

Tadaaaa...... bersiaran semula setelah lama menyepi....hahahaha....

Lepas balik dari Foshan, kami menuju ke Masjid Hua Sheng aka The Lighthouse Mosque yang merupakan antara masjid yang tertua di dunia. Kalau x silap, ia telah dibina sekitar 1300 tahun yang lalu.  Ia terletak di lorong kedai2 di jalan Guangta.  Old Chinese Muslim manuscripts stated that the mosque was built by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas  and supposedly came on his first Muslim mission to China in the 650s.

How to reach this mosque: Take Subway Line 1 to Ximenkou Station. Get out from Exit B and then walk about 550 yards (500 meters) to reach it. (tp ada simpang2 sikitla..bkn straight ja tros smpai).. blhla tnya2 rakyat tempatan... 

Dekat2 masjid mesti ada kedai makan muslim punya...
Ni betul2 dpn masjid Huasheng. Row depan masjid, kebanyakan kedai muslim.

Lepas makan, baru kami ke masjid. Pintu masuk kecik.


Perkarangan masjd yang dijaga rapi


Masa kami di sini, ada kawasan masjid yang sedang dibaikpulih,
maklumlah dah 1300 tahun umurnya....


Dalam masjid


Selepas menunaikan kewajipan.

Lighthouse
My fav photo

On the way balik, ternampak pulak kedai durian ni... x singgah pon... hehehe...

So, kalau berkesempatan ke Guangzhou, jangan lupa singgah ke sini ya... Boleh tengok antara masjid tertua do China dan di dunia.  Jalan nak ke sini pon x susah sangat. Kedai makan pon ada... So, boleh menyelam sambil minum air.