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Bukit Tinggi - Japanese Village & French Colmar Tropicale

It was during the MCO period where we're not allowed to travel out of Malaysia, therefore we plan for few trips within Malaysia. Our first flight during the MCO period was to Kuala Lumpur and when my husband found out that I have never been to Bukit Tinggi, he planned this trip for me. Rather than rely on the public transport, he rented a Nissan car from GoCar instead as this gave us more freedom and flexibility to travel whenever we want to go.

Self-drive from Kuala Lumpur to Bukit Tinggi took nearly an hour drive and I was captivated with how smooth the highway road was, unlike the road condition back in Sabah with countless of deep crater-like potholes. 
Entrance Fee: RM16 per adult and RM9 per child and this entrance fee includes passed to Japanese Village, Colmar Tropicale, Botanical Garden and Rabbit Park.
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 5pm daily 

We began our trip by dropping at Japanese Village. From the parking lot, it was quite a distance to walk over to the Japanese Village where one need to climb the 88 steps and the steep slope. Hence, it is wise to wear a decent and comfort shoe. It might seem hard at first, but when we saw the huge wooden signboard informing us that we have arrived, we know that this journey worth every effort we took. 

Although this Zen-inspired Japanese Village is relatively small, but it's pretty serene and peaceful walking through the scenic and lush green garden manicured with calming streams, countless of Bonsai trees and pond filed with colourful Koi fishes. 

Right in the middle of the garden, there is a traditional Japanese tea house where the visitors not just can only learn about tea ceremony, but you can also rent kimono for RM20. However, I didn't plan to rent the kimono as our 

The world's first Japanese tea house in the tropical forest 

Feel like I was transported to old Kyoto but in reality, I was in Bukit Tinggi, Malaysia. 

Right after we spent like more than an hour exploring the Japanese Village, we then drove to the Colmar Tropicale. For some, this place also known as French Village and I happened to visit the origin and real Colmar town during my recent trip to Switzerland last April. It might not resembles exactly the same, at least one can experience this colourful and vibrant town in Malaysia without have to travel far away. 

Colmar Tropical tend to more crowded and busier than the Japanese Village. Some came with big group of family and friends and some engaged travel agencies and arrived in a big bus. This is because Colmar Tropical is easier to visit and explore by all age group, from infant to senior adult as this place doesn't require tough climb as in the latter village. 

Felt pretty excited and thrilled when seeing the wooden bridge and tall clock tower from afar and I knew this is going to be one of the Insta-worthy spots. Under the wooden bridge, we even spotted a beautiful pair of lovely white swam. 

Now, it's time to explore the French-inspired town. The Colmar Tropicale retains the European-style architecture, styled with cobblestone streets, colourful cottages, quaint shophouses and streams of cafes and restaurants around the square of this little town is bound to make one teleport to a small village of Alsace in France. The vibes of this town are nothing less than joyful and cheerful. 

Situated at the end of the cobblestone street, there is an observation tower when visitor can climb up and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the Colmar Square as well as beautiful green hills. The higher you climb, the better the view you'll get. 

Side Notes:
We even drove all the way to Bentong after our visit from Bukit Tinggi. Bentong is well-known for great and best durian, especially Musang King breed. It was indeed so juicy and creamy, if not to control our cholesterol level, probably we will have more. 

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Staycation at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu

Was supposed to blog about this last year but you know, when procrastination keep hitting in. And now my backlog keep rolling down like a snowball. 

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is one of the 5-star hotels listed in our staycation wishlist. So when we stumbled upon a promotion, immediately we booked it without consider any longer. Normally the room rate ranging from RM400-600 for a normal room with a city view but we got like RM380 for a king room with sea view. This is definitely a great steal for us!  

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu 
Date Stayed:
 13 March - 14 March 2021 (1 Night)
Type of Room: King Room with Sea View  
Room Rate: RM380.00 per night 
Breakfast: Included

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is claimed to be the first and oldest international chain hotel operating in Kota Kinabalu city center. Speaking of the location, it's strategically situated in the heart of the city center allowing the guests easy access to local attractions and sights such as Night Food Market, Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal, Gaya Street Weekend Market, shopping malls, restaurants, cafes and more. The only downside we experienced is the insufficient of car park provided for the guests with car. 

Normally, the check-in time is 3pm but they were so kind to allow us to check-in into our room around 12pm. The check-in process was pretty fast and smooth with no deposit required. My husband always opted for the higher floor and they gave us a room on the 12th floor.  


Furnished with classic wooden floor and outfitted in neutral shades of brown, the room we booked was exceptionally spacious with notably wide window overlooking the South China Sea. There is another type of room with city view but I personally would recommend to book the room with sea view cause for sure, you will be amazed with the gorgeous and serene sea view. 

The room might be old but it's well-kept with modern furnishing and well equipped with all the basic room amenities such as: 
  • Air-conditioned room 
  • Comfortable king sized bed 
  • 55" flat-screen TV 
  • Desk and chair with Universal outlet and USB port - ideally for the business traveller 
  • Cozy couch  
  • Minibar including mini fridge, electric kettle, tea and coffee facilities 
  • High-speed wireless internet access and Internet data port 
  • Wardrobe/closet with ironing facilities 
  • Safety deposit box 

As for the ensuite bathroom, the layout was surprisingly unique with sliding wood panels that can be partially opened. I like the bathing area and toilet are separated and there is a bathtub within the bathing area. Toiletries are provided for the guests but not in the full range. 

Not just that our promo room rate comes with sea-facing room, it even includes breakfast for 2. The sprawling Tanjung Ria Kitchen offers an abundant buffet breakfast of continental and Asian items, with several made-to-order hot stations. We're absolutely spoiled with enormous choices. 

Located on the ground floor, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu boasts an outdoor pool surrounded with tall palm trees and lounge chairs. However due to its location, I found the pool isn't that fascinating and stunning compare to the one I experienced in Kota Kinabalu Marriott Hotel where the latter not just offering idyllic view of South China Sea, you can even enjoy the breathtaking golden sunset view from their outdoor infinity pool.   

There is even a fitness area includes decently-equipped gym plus a steam room that open round the clock. 

Apart from allowing us to check-in earlier, they even allowed us to check-out at 6pm when the normal check-out time is 12pm. Our staycation ended with a complimentary of one scoop gelato which can be redeemed at Mosaic, alfresco street-side dining that not just offering various flavours of gelato but they have pizza and pastries on their menu.  

Good news! Enjoy special rate of MYR 380 nett per room per night (Normal rate at MYR 610 nett per room per night) when you book and stay in our Sea View room by 7 August 2022.

  • Breakfast for two (2) adults and two (2) children (aged 12 years old and below)
  • One time 50% off Tanjung Ria Kitchen Lunch Buffet for two (2) persons 
  • Complimentary one (1) roll-away bed for children (aged 12 years old and below) 
  • Complimentary high speed Wi Fi 
  • 10% discount for Food & Beverage (except alcohol) for a maximum of four (4) registered guest . 
Term & Conditions:
  • Book now and stay by 7 August 2022 
  • Cancel 48 hours prior to check-in to avoid one-night fee 
  • Eligible for World of Hyatt Points
For more information or reservation, call us at 088 221234 or WhatsApp at 017 823 3234 / 017 818 2234 and mention booking code: SEA

Distance From Hyatt Regency Kinabalu: 
  • Kota Kinabalu International Airport - 15 minutes of driving
  • Gaya Street - 5 minutes of walking
  • Suria Sabah Shopping Mall - 6 minutes of walking
  • Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal - 6 minutes of walking
  • Filipino Market (Handicraft Market) - 12 minutes of walking
  • Imago Shopping Mall - 12 minutes of driving
  • Tanjung Aru Beach - 15 minutes of drive
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6D5N Bangkok & Khao Yai Itinerary (2022)

Frankly speaking, planning a trip to Bangkok wasn't part of my plan for this year but since AirAsia is back with direct flight to Bangkok (Don Mueang International Airport) from Kota Kinabalu without the need to transit in Kuala Lumpur, so why not, just go for it right? 

Aside from Bangkok, my husband and I managed to make a trip to Khao Yai, a picturesque town situated 3 hours away from Bangkok. Here is the summary of my 6D5N Bangkok and Khao Yai trip: 

Day 1: 1st July 2022

Starting from 1st July 2022, AirAsia is now flying directly to Bangkok - Don Mueang Airport from Kota Kinabalu and vice versa on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. 

The flight duration from Kota Kinabalu to Bangkok-Don Mueang International Airport (arriving at Terminal 1) takes nearly 3 hours. Wondering what is the current requirement to enter Thailand? Thailand Pass is NO longer required for all visitors beginning on July 1, 2022. Visitors also don't have to buy an US$10,000 healthy insurance policy too. All you need to do is show your Proof of Vaccination. 

How To Get To Bangkok City Center from Bangkok-Don Mueang International Airport?
1) The fastest and easiest way is by taking Grab. That's what we did as we're rushing for our dinner. 
2) Public transportation - You can find the following bus on the Arrival Hall on the first floor of Terminal 1 (Gate 6) and Terminal 2 (Gate 12). Bus ticket can be bought on board and they only accept cash so far. The bus fare cost between THB30 - THB50 depending on your destination. 
  • A1 Bus - Heading to BTS Mo Chit
  • A2 Bus - Heading to Victory Monument
  • A3 Bus - Heading to Lumphini Park
  • A4 Bus - Heading to Khao San Road  

Photo credit to here 

Right after we settled our check-in into the Bangkok hotel, immediately we took BTS to our dinner venue. We bought Rabbit Card (just like Malaysia's Touch n Go card) which costs THB100 for the card itself and it can be reloaded as low as THB100. 

Our first night dinner is this Jeh O Chula, which is currently in the top list of what to eat in Bangkok. I always wanna try this Famous Mama Tom Yum but most of the available time slots were during the supper time, which is kinda heavy for me to have it. Thanks to Klook, I managed to secure the 6pm time slot and we got our seats within 30 minutes from our booking time, despite the crazy crowd.   

How To Get To Jeh O Chula?
The nearest BTS is National Stadium and then requires at least 10 minutes walk.
Large pot of Jeh O's Famous Mama Tom Yum which served with Mama Noodles with raw eggs, pork meatballs and mixed seafood which consist of prawn, squid, and crab legs. Oh boy! It's so yummylicious! 

Apart from the popular Mama Tom Yum big pot, our package inclusive 
  • Thai styled shrimp omelet
  • Signature crispy pork belly
  • Sour and spicy Thai style salad with salmon sashimi
  • Signature fried pork shoulder with sour dip
  • Stir-fried morning glory   

We ended our first night in Bangkok by visiting Jodd Fairs, the latest night market in town. We even went back again on the third night to settle for our dinner as I was craving for Pad Thai. Shopping wise, I found nothing interesting but this night market is perfect for food hunting as it's dotted with countless of restaurants, eateries, bars, smoothie and dessert stalls. 

How To Get To Jodd Fairs?
The nearest MRT is Rama 9 Station. From there, heading for Exit 2, walk into a mall on your left side and exit on the left side of Family Mart. Follow the crowd and you will arive Jodd Fairs in less than 5 minutes.  

Day 2: 2nd July 2022
Because our hotel doesn't come with breakfast, hence we need to hunt for breakfast ourselves. This is not bad after all cause that mean we can try more food in Bangkok.  

Since the husband is craving for Khao Soi, one of the popular dishes served in Northern Thailand, so I went and Googled for it and I found this Ong Thong Khao Soi which pretty close to our hotel. Apart from Khao Soi which is a coconut curry crispy noodle soup, they also served all sorts of Northern Thai dishes such as Grilled Field Crab and Northern Style Sausage. 

How To Get To Ong Thong Khao Soi?
The nearest BTS is Ari Station and walk for about 3-5 minutes.
Opening Hours: 9am to 8.30pm daily 

Since it's a weekend in Bangkok, a visit to Chatuchak Weekend Market (also known as Jatujak) is a must. After our fulfilling breakfast, all of us went our separate way - husband and his friend went for Bangkok Motor Show whereas my brother and sister in law and I went for the weekend market. 

How To Get To Chatuchak Weekend Market?
The nearest BTS is Mo Chit and walk for about 3-5 minutes.
Opening Hours: 6pm to midnight on every Friday
                             9am to 6pm on every Saturday and Sunday

After the shopping experiences, I decided I want to experience something different in Bangkok. Something which I have never get to experience before and so, I went for dog cafe in Dog in Town Ari. There is an entrance fee of THB350 per person but it comes with a free drink which you can choose from the menu. The dogs are so fluffy, I'm gonna die! 

How To Get To Dog in Town Ari?
The nearest BTS is Ari Station and walk for about 3-5 minutes.
Opening Hours: 11am to 8pm daily 
Entrance Fee: THB350 which 1 free drink  

Next, we took Grab to Ichiba Station, a new Japanese-themed night market but hor, I found this place overrated. Other than being a great spot for Instagram, there are not many food stalls opened here. 

How To Get To Ichiba Station?
Take bus #96, 134, 136 or 138 from Chatuchak Market (Gate 2) and the journey takes more than 1 hour 30 minutes. What a long journey ride, right? 
Opening Hours: 5pm to midnight daily 

Our second night ended by heading to Hua Mum Night Market. Our main intention to this night market is solely for this seafood restaurant where a group of sexy Thai guy dressed up in sexy nightwear and they will do performance and dance along to the music. This restaurant has been viralled all over the Facebook and so we thought why not we go for it since we're in Bangkok. The show from this group of "Hot Man" is so funny and entertaining at the same time. Food wise, it's not that really good but it's not that bad at all. Overall, all of us had fun that night and I will definitely recommend you guys to go for it too. However this night market is quite far away from the common tourist spots (Pratunam and Siam area) and since there is no public transportation nearby, we opted for Grab instead. 

Day 3: 3rd July 2022
Third day is shopping time!

We began by visiting Don Don Donki. If you been to Japan before, for sure you will know this one. To date, there are 4 Don Don Donki in Bangkok; Thonglor, The Market, Seacon Square and MBK Center. We went both in Thonglor and MBK Center.  

As for our breakfast, we went Here Hai for the insane crab fried rice. It's really insane with a plate of generous chunks of crab meat. We went there straight at 10am, their shop opening hour and the table was quickly filled up. Luckily there are two floors, and we have our table on the top floor. The price for a plate of the insane crab meat ranging from THB340 (perfectly for 1 pax) up to THB1,200. 

How To Get To Here Hai?
The nearest BTS is Ekkamei Station and walk for about 5-8 minutes.
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm daily 

We then continue to Big C, Thailand's largest hypermarket after Lotus. Besides snacks like dried seaweed, dried fruits, Thai brand instant noodles, Koh Kae Peanut Snack, Thai tea, most importantly I got Thai cooking pastes here. 

For the rest of the day, we went Siam area for window shopping. Began from MBK Center, we then continued to Siam Discovery, Siam Center and Siam Paragon. From BTS Siam, we moved on to BTS Asok for Terminal 21. In total, we visited 7 malls in a day right after we woke up. 

Massage is a must in Thailand and almost every night, we went for it. The cheapest massage rate we found is THB200 and it's pretty close to our hotel.  

Day 4: 4th July 2022
To escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok city, we went Khao Yai for 2 nights stay. Getting to Khao Yai is one pretty challenging for foreign visitors like us, especially when the nation just opened their border after this pandemic thing. 

In order to get to Khao Yai from Bangkok, we took minivan from Mo Chit Bus Terminal/Mo Chit 2/Chatuchak Coach Station. Bear in mind, these minivans are no longer running from Victory Monument. We bought the 7.30am minivan ride to Pak Chong and the journey took roughly 3 hours. There are 7-Eleven and cafes at the bus terminal where you can grab some food and drink before the depart, but everything seems too rush for us, hence I unable to take any photos of this terminal. 

After arriving at Pak Chong, we took "songthaew" heading to Khao Yai, where we booked our accommodation there. 

From Pak Chong, we took songthaew to Khao Yai National Park 

Since we had one pretty long and exhausted journey, we decided not to do any visiting. Leave this activity for tomorrow. It's kinda free and easy day for us. We just had lunch at Penlaos, the restaurant next to our hotel and as for our dinner, we dined-in at the hotel's restaurant. I just love Thai food. 

We ordered Thai Basil pork rice and fried chicken wing at Penlaos for lunch.

As for dinner, we had Thai omelet fried rice and green curry pork. 

Day 5: 5th July 2022
A day to explore Khao Yai!

It's not easy to find a motorbike for rent but the husband managed to find one. We even hardly spot any foreign visitors around Khao Yai too. 

Primo Piazza
Our first stop in Khao Yai is this little town of Italy in Thailand. Not just that every nook and cranny of these Italian themed buildings are perfect for your Instagram feeds, visitors also can get up close to alpacas and donkeys too. 
Opening Hours: 9am to 6pm daily 
Entrance Fee: THB200 for adult 

Ban Tha Chang Spring 
Accidentally found this place and I regret that didn't bring my swimsuit along (left in the hotel) cause this place is incredibly mesmerising. Look at the crystal clear water and this place is definitely the hidden gem of Khao Yai. 

The Chocolate Factory 
Even Khao Yai has its own chocolate factory. Comprise of two different buildings; one for chocolate shop and the other is a restaurant served Thai and Western fusion food. You can find all sort of chocolates as well as desserts here but we ended up with buying nothing. 
Opening Hours: 11am to 9.30pm daily 

Midwinter Green Khao Yai
This is where we had our lunch here and I have to say, this place is insanely huge. Not just that it has this elegant "atas" indoor seating area, it even has outdoor seating area overlooking the majestic view of the mountain too.  
Opening Hours: 10am to 10pm daily 

EL Cafe Khao Yai
Maybe due to sign of aging, my husband and I decided to end our exploration day around Khao Yai by visiting this cafe with unrivaled scenery. The old me will try to visit as many places as I can but the now me, just like things to be slow and easy. Luckily the husband found the perfect spot where it's just me and him to spend our quality time together. 
Opening Hours: 8.30am to 5.30pm daily 

Day 6: 6th July 2022
It's time to go back to reality! 

Packed our bags and heading back to Bangkok with the same mean of transportations we used before. We took songthaew right outside from our hotel to Pak Chong Station, then minivan to Bangkok, except that we aligned nearby BTS Mo Chit. You can even align at Don Mueang Airport too, since the driver will definitely passby the airport before reaching Mo Chit Bus Terminal. 

Goodbye Khao Yai! See you again soon. 

Because our flight departs at 4pm, we have extra time to spare and hence, we decided to do last minute shopping at Donki MBK. "Don don don donki, don don donki". Oh dear, this song keep playing inside my head. 

Feeling hungry before flying? Fret not cause there is a food court located on the first floor, not far from McDonald's. Here, you can find variety of Thai and Asia food at affordable price. But before you start to order any food from the stall, remember to buy a reload card from the counter and don't worry, you can redeem back the unused.   

My Accommodations

Bangkok - The Key Bangkok Hotel  
Date Stayed: 1 - 4 July 2022 (3 nights)
Room Rate: RM453 for a deluxe double room without breakfast for 3 nights stay (paid directly to Booking.com). But we're lucky cause they upgraded our room to Executive Suite. 
This hotel is perfect for its great location - pretty close to BTS Asok, Terminal 21, few massage parlours and 7-Eleven just outside the hotel. 

Khao Yai - Recall Isaan Isan Concept  
Date Stayed: 4 - 6 July 2022 (2 nights)
Room Rate: RM455 for a deluxe double room with breakfast for 2 nights stay (paid directly to Agoda). 

That's pretty sum up my recent trip to Bangkok and Khao Yai. In case you have any questions regarding Bangkok or even Khao Yai, you can leave your comment below. 
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