Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lexis Water Chalet, Port Dickson

Where: Lexis Port Dickson (formerly known as the Legend Water Chalets). If you want to have a quick weekend gateway in PD but prefer to be in a quieter part of the town, then head to Lexis at Tanjung Gemok in Lukut. The superbly named Lexis stands side-by-side to the Glory Beach Resort, but if you are going for tranquility, then Lexis is your choice.

What: Water chalets, of course! The Lexis do have standard rooms (Tower Seaview) for those who are afraid of water - but you're missing the point if you stay at the Tower. Go for the water chalets - available in Deluxe, Executive and Premium configurations. We chose the Deluxe, which was just as superb, comfortable and unforgettable. All chalet units comes with King bed and day bed - which settles any fight for sleeping space which you may have with your children. The room itself is rather cramped, but comfortable and modern enough with LCD TV and free Wifi.

And yes, the solid glass floor panel which gives you an underneath seawater viewing, also available in all chalet configurations. This is mesmerising, as you tend to check out the water and tide levels as the day progresses. It was low tide when we checked-in and the water level rose up until midnight. Sadly, there are no fishes around to look at.

The chalet also has an ensuite bath area coming into the room, which was a brilliant idea in design and concept. The bathtub was large enough for our kids to have a dip in without even leaving the room and splashing water into the room.

The sink also comes in the ensuite space, and keeps the room dry.

The best design of all is the standing shower closet, which comes with a sliding movable roof panel. You can slide it open or close by pulling a rope in the room. This gives you the opportunity to have a nice hot shower while enjoying the clear blue sky and breeze of the ocean. So, to enjoy having both the glass floor panel and the roof panel, always request for a single-storey chalet.

Reservations: By now, in the internet age, you should all book via the internet and browse for the cheapest online rates. Look for trustworthy websites, and you may come across a good bargain. Gone are the days of calling the hotel directly and getting charged at the full rack rate.

Check-in: As our room was reserved online and prepaid, the check-in was smooth. The front desk was neither friendly nor cold - they were passable. 

Buggy service: You will need to get on the buggy especially if your rooms are quite far off to the sea. The buggy are always available, just look for the concierge.

Food: As usual, we try not to order room service but always review the in-house menu for a general idea of the hotel. The menu was standard fare and expensive - no need to order unless you are really, really starving. As for the complimentary breakfast - it was the only letdown of Lexis. The breakfast was so limited and the choices a bit stingy. Beyond the usual cold cuts, cereal, porridge, pastries and egg, there was nothing really special about the breakfast buffet.

Activities: Lexis has a swimming pool, karaoke rooms, gymnasium, sauna, playground and games arcade to keep the whole family occupied. Besides that, you can rent bicycles and fishing rods too.

Verdict: Lexis is a self-contained resort where you can have a good and enjoyable time in. Plan well and get the best room - when you get there just unwind and let the calm breeze and gentle splash of the waves drown you out in a state of complete relaxation and satisfaction. Highly recommended.


Islamic Trattoria - II

A good restaurant deserves a second visit. This time, we went to Trattoria for lunch, where the crowd was a bit thin - but the staff was excellent. The maitre d' was very attentive to our enquires about the menu, and was bold enough to guarantee a refund if our meal was not up to standard. This was a nice touch, coming from a Bumiputra restaurant.

For lunch, Trattoria serves a few specials where you can get good bargains. For example, my mother had the pan-seared seabass which comes with rice, but she chose not to have the rice. The staff obliged, and even offered to take RM1 off the total price! This is a small gesture, but really means a lot to customers. They replaced the rice with a small bowl of soup. The seabass was also splendidly prepared.

Meanwhile, I had the pasta - this one the Oglio sauce and like any true Italian-themed restaurant, you can choose the pasta. If you are unsure, just ask the waiter for his suggestion. The sauce was creamy and tasty, but I think the portion was a bit too small.

As for my wife, she had the salmon in palpilotte, which means "in parchment paper". It is a method of cooking  in which the fish is put in folded parchment paper and then baked. See how the stock and juice just flows out of the fish. This was simply delicious.

And as for my kids, the Trattoria treated them to FREE ice-cream - totally unheard of in Bandar Baru Bangi.

This was the maitre d' (Opie) who was so helpful, kind and generous to us. Since this was our third time at the Trattoria, we complimented the restaurant's tasty menu and their approach towards making mid-level fine dining come through at last in Bandar Baru Bangi. Forget any other so-called Western-serving restaurants in BBBangi, head straight to Trattoria and you will not be disappointed. And what's more, they are launching their full menu at the end of October.

Stay tuned for that review!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Hot Bangi Char Koay Teow

Where: Seksyen 9, Bandar Baru Bangi (besides Bangi Kopitiam).

What: A simple-looking restaurant which has only two items on the menu - their signature Char Kuey Teow and Nasi Lemak, plus drinks. 

My wife ordered the Char Kuey Teow "Besar" which was just about the right portion.The mid-sized prawns were not so fresh but edible. The Kuey Teow itself was juicy and tasty. You can ask for extra chilli if you prefer it to be hotter. We never tried the "Gred A" variant, which is priced at RM15, but we presume the prawns would be bigger.

We also ordered the Nasi Lemak Ayam, which the sambal was not-too-spicy but compliments the taste of the nasi lemak well. The Ayam Goreng was also tender and tasty. This all-time favourite is suitable for both dinner or supper.

Verdict: A quick and simple eatery which serves two of Malaysia's all-time favourite dishes - hot, tasty and affordable. Highly recommended.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Islamic Trattoria

Where: Wadihana Islamic Trattoria, Jalan Medan Pusat 2D, 3B Curve, Bandar Baru Bangi.

What: An Islamic eatery which serves Italian-styled food and Western menu. This is Wadihana Islamic Kitchen's second restaurant in Bandar Baru Bangi.

Ambience: Brightly lit with minimal decor, but we like the many booths which will be perfect if you come in small or medium-sized group. There is a large clay and brick oven at the entrance of the eatery, which is used to bake their pizzas.

Menu: Basically, Italian-styled food are their signature dishes, so you can expect pizzas, pasta, risotto and panini. Also available are other Western food, such as the steak. It is also very refreshing to observe a mid-end Malay-owned restaurant divides their menu into starters, entrees and desserts. 

First on the table was the Pomodoro spaghetti, which we found a little bit average. The sauce was not generous and for its price, we'd expect a bigger portion too.

We also had the Australian Rib-eye steak, medium well, which comes with melted cheese as a side. The portion was just right. The beef was tender, juicy and cooked to perfection. The taste of the meat melts in the mouth, and it very,very seldom that a restaurant succeeds in getting the beef cooked just about right.

We also ordered the homemade burger, which was served with coleslaw and cheesy fries on the sides. The burger was one of the tallest I've seen, and certainly the best that I've tasted too. The homemade patties was soft and juicy and you'd get two of them in this burger - with a lot of salad, tomatoes and fried egg in between the buns.

Service: As the eatery was quite deserted when we ate there, naturally the staff were friendly and ready to assist you anytime. 

Price: The price would not classify this a low-end, but not so expensive as to warrant it a high-end eatery either. But some dishes, like the steak and burger, were definitely worth their prices for their excellent taste and generous portion.

Verdict: Perhaps next time we should have the pizza and the panini. We would recommed this eatery to anyone looking for a decent place to dine, and if you are looking for the best Western-styled food in Bandar Baru Bangi, this is the best by a mile. We'd give it a score of 9 out of 10.

Reported by : Jamal


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sate UK


Sate UK
bukan United Kingdom
bukan juga Ulu Klang

UK bermakna
Urat Keting

Tapi takde pulak sate urat ketingnya pun
Sup urat keting ada la

Kalau orang sekitar Bangi,
mesti tau mana nak dapat sate ni
yaaa... nama kedai dia Kedai Sup Urat Keting
terletak di seksyen 7
mula-mula dia bukak dulu, specialty dia sup lah
lama-lama ada pulak sate

Sedap wooo sate dia
lagi nikmat daripada sate hj samurai samuri
ataupun sate yus
juicy.. tak kering
kalau sate daging pun lembut
isi memang besar la kalau nak compare dengan 2 sate yang lain tu
harga secucuk 70 sen
tapi sebab besar, kira berbaloi la

Cumanya.. kuah kacang dia jer kureng sikit
kureng dari segi rasa dan kuantiti
(dia tak nak membazir kot.. hehe)

So siapa nak try sate kajang
boleh try sate UK ni
tak rugi 

p/s: ini adalah iklan  tidak berbayar ;)


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Review and Guide to Ho Chi Minh City


We were in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) for a duration of 4 days and 3 nights and stayed in District 1. Our hotel was the Thien Xuan Hotel, located in Le Thanh Ton street and within walking distance to the Ben Thanh market. We managed to cover visits to the Reunification Palace, Opera House, People's Committee Hall or City Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, which we went to by walking. We also managed to catch the world-renowned Water Puppet show

The only tour we took was a half-day city tour, which covered the Chinatown. This tour included a visit to the Cho Binh Tay market or Cho Lon, a brief stop to an ancient pagoda, a one-hour visit to the War Remnants Museum and finishes off with lunch.

For this trip, we did not go to the Chu Chi tunnel or the Mekong Delta. Thus this review and guide will only cover what we managed to visit and did in HCMC.

Preparations from home:
  1. Naturally, you would want to determine on your inbound flights into HCMC. As most of you should already know by now, both AirAsia and MAS fly into HCMC with multiple flights daily. Both have pros and cons. We decided on MAS, because on our travelling dates, the ticket fares were not much different. Because we were travelling with our two young children, we also wanted to take advantage of MAS' in-flight food, baggage allowance and comfort.
  2. Now, for the hotel. The best and most reliable booking services are www.booking.com and www.agoda.com. Both have good deals. We used booking.com and chose the Thien Xuan hotel because of its cheap rates and location. We do recommend you to find hotels on Le Thanh Ton street, for its close proximity to Ben Thanh market. If you are planning to go to HCMC, we also recommend you to check-out the Liberty Central hotel and the Norfolk hotel.
  3. What to pack? Food, of course. Yes, you can find halal food in HCMC, but unless you are going on a full-board tour, the price of Malaysian food or halal food is expensive in HCMC. We will explain more on that below. 
  4. A stroller or jogger is also highly recommended if you are travelling with kids. Though HCMC is a busy city, they do have wide walkways and pedestrian friendly streets.
  5. Change some RM into Vietnamese Dong (VND), and some RM into USD. The USD to VND exchange rate in HCMC is slightly higher. RM is accepted in some shops, but is not advisable. 
  6. Don't worry about tours. Arrange them when you are in HCMC, it is cheaper. Thien Xuan Hotel has a few tours which includes city tours, Chu Chi and the Mekong Delta.

Arriving there:
  1. You will arrive at the Tan Son Nhat International Airport which has a modern and clean arrival terminal which looks similar to KLIA, but not as deserted. Make your way out of the arrivals gate, and you can take a taxi right here but only a company called Sasco can take passengers here, and they charge higher fares.
  2. If you want cheaper fares, then go up to the departure level using the elevators to the left of the arrivals terminal. Go out and try to catch either Vinasun or a Mai Linh taxi, which are both recommended and charge using the meter. You have to be fast here though, because they are not supposed to pick up passengers here, but will do so if you flag them up.
  3. Prepare a clearly-written note of your hotel's complete name and address. Most taxi drivers here cannot speak English.

  1. Thien Xuan Hotel has friendly, English-speaking staff but we were a bit surprised when they told us that the Hotel will keep our passports during our stay. Maybe it was for their payment security. But at the end, we got our passports back safely.
  2. Most three-star HCMC hotels do not have windows, so check and request for room with a window if you wish for one. Our room was a triple room, with one king bed and one queen bed with clean toilet and enough space for our family of four.

Getting around:
  1. The best and safe way to get around HCMC is by taxi, so make sure you flag only Vinasun or Mai Linh taxis. Again, they do not speak English and will not be able to understand you even if you have the address written down.
  2. So our tip is to ask the hotel staff to write down the name of the places you want to go to - in Vietnamese language. For example, when we wanted to go to the Water Puppet show, the taxi driver did not understand at all - we had to show him the map. So it would be better to have it written down in the Vietnamese language.
  3. You can also walk safely in HCMC, during the day and night. The pedestrian walkways and boulevards are wide enough that their citizens sit, eat and drink on the walkway, and even ride motorcycles on the walkway to avoid the traffic.
  4. And now, the most important part - how to cross the street. When you are in HCMC, you will notice that the city is full of motorcycles and the drivers will always honk. They honk to tell you that "they are here, be aware" and not to ask you to move away. So don't get angry when they honk at you, and don't get offended, it may be annoying at first but you'll get used to it.
  5. When you cross the road, remember that "pedestrians are like rock and motocycles are water, and water goes around rock" - so walk slowly and confidently, and don't make sudden movements or stop suddenly. The motorcyclists are good, have some courtesy especially towards foreigners and do not speed around (and again, sadly, unlike in KL).

What to visit:
  1. You should be able to cover the Reunification Palace, the Central Post Office and the Notre Dame in one go - they are located nearby to each other. Only the Palace requires an entry fee. We did not pay, so can't tell you what is inside.
  2. The Post Office is a grand old building largely untouched from the early 20th century while the Notre Dame is a catholic church. Both were built by the French.
  3. Next, you should be able to cover the People's Committee Hall (or City Hall) and the Opera House together. There is also a statue of Ho Chi Minh in a park in front of the City Hall. 
  4. It would also be worthwhile to visit the War Remnants' Museum, where there are many tanks, helicopters and military hardware from the Vietnam War on display at the Museum's grounds. There is also an exhibition hall where they are more exhibits and pictures (most are gruesome). One hour is more than enough to spend here. 
  5. If you have the time, visit District 5 of the Chinatown. Pay a visit to the oldest pagoda in HCMC. Try also to drop by the market, the Cho Binh Tay.
  6. Another must-see is the Water Puppet Show, which is internationally recognized. It is located at the Golden Dragon Theater, near Tao Dan Park, still in District 1. Entrance is 120,000 VND, with shows at 5.00 pm and 6.30 pm. Do try to ask for front-row seats to have a better view. We came early and got the first row. It was an entertaining and lively 50-minute show.
  7. Like we mentioned above, it would be okay to pay for a half-day city tour to cover places farthest from your hotel. And enjoy walking to the rest of the attractions.

  1. Like we said, bring both VND and USD. Exchange your USD in HCMC, but the rate varies and differs.
  2. Always insist the trader to tell you the price first before letting them to show you the items. At the markets and night markets, there are no price tags - the traders will pluck any figures out of thin air and quote you a price of their fancy. So ask them the price first, and start bargaining from there.
  3. Bargaining is difficult in HCMC, though the general rule of bargaining two-thirds of the quoted price applies here, most traders are getting wiser. They will refuse to reduce prices even as you threaten to leave or started to walk away.
  4. Another general rule is always bargain and pay in VND. The traders cannot refuse to take VND, though they will gain more profit by trading in USD. Most shops will have price tags or quote prices in USD, and then calculate that into VND. This is where you must bargain more, and then try to cut about 10,000 to 20,000 VND from here.

Where to buy:
  1. Last time I was in HCMC (5 years ago) - there was a lot of embroidery items such as paintings and blouses, but now rather scarce.
  2. If you can go to Cho Binh Tay in District 5, it is recommended to buy some fabric here - cotton and Vietnam silk - they are cheaper here. Silk tie for the men also cheaper here.
  3. If you want to buy baju kurung, blouse, baju melayu, telekung, jubah - then you can visit Hong Anh Collection, Saigon Mai and Minh Collection, all located on Le Thanh Ton street. Go to all three shops and compare prices according to your needs and priorities. Saigon Mai is the most comfortable and friendliest shop. 
  4. When you are buying baju kurung, always make sure you try them on, because the kain for baju kurung is straight cut, and may not suit people with wide hips or plum-shaped ladies. Vietnamese ladies (and also men) are slim, a lingering effect of the War.
  5. The Ben Thanh market is cramped, with shops located so close to each other. It is not recommended if you bring small children along. At the back of Ben Thanh (around Entrance 14), there are stalls marked with Fixed Price boards - supposedly already cheap but no bargaining will be entertained.
  6. For the usual souvenirs, we do recommend you to get Paper Arts - different coloured papers rolled and made into pictures. Also you can get wood crafts, lacquered crafts, keychains and others. Shop around to get the best choices and prices.
  7. At night, take a leisurely stroll at the Ben Thanh Night Market, open until 11.30 pm. Items here are a bit cheaper but choices are a bit limited.

Where to eat:
  1. You can google-up many halal and Malaysian eateries in HCMC, but remember, Malaysian food here is considered cuisine - so prices are expensive. For example, nasi lemak is about RM10 here. But fair enough, because Vietnamese roadside food (like Pho noodle) is expensive in KL.
  2. We only tried the D'Anjung stall at the Parkson food court supermarket on Le Thanh Ton street and it was okay. The Parkson food court also has a halal Pakistani stall in it.
  3. We also had lunch at a restaurant at Beautiful Saigon Hotel - we just order vegetarian and seafood. The shrimp spring roll is very tasty.
  4. As for drinks, always buy at places with price tags - like Parkson or Circle K, because roadside stalls or even shops will charge foreigners double the price. Buy lots of water.

Leaving HCMC:
  1. If you survive the shopping onslaught and have some more VND left, it is better to finish them off (because it is imprudent to exchange them back to RM). The Tan Son Nhat departure terminal has many duty-free shops where you can shop till your last Dong.
  2. Tan Son Nhat departure terminal has many shops, facilities and cafes (again, not like KLIA) - so get to the airport, relax and enjoy your journey home.

Map - District 1

1 - Our hotel - Thien Xuan Hotel
2 - Reunification Palace
3 - Notre Dame Cathedral
4 - Central Post Office
5 - City Hall
6 - Hong Anh Collection
7 - Saigon Mai
8 - Minh Collection
9 - Ben Thanh Market
10 - Parkson
11 - Saigon Opera House
12 - Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Perkampungan Ikan Bakar Terapung (PIBT) Umbai Baru, Melaka

Umbai, Melaka has long been a popular spot for ikan-bakar enthusiasts, as the location is known as being idyllic and peaceful. And now, the new PIBT is a welcome addition to the Melaka coastal scene, which includes Alai, Sungai Duyung, Serkam and Umbai Lama.

The PIBT is a spacious, modern and comfortable enclave. Built on stilts above the ocean, there are gazebos connected by wooden walkways for you to enjoy the sight, smell and breeze of the Straits of Melaka. 

The place is also large enough to accommodate big crowds, and there are ample facilities like toilets, surau and a hall. The parking lot is also spacious and safe. There are also stalls selling a lot of local items at the main entrance.

As you make your way to the main pavillion, there are many restaurants at the first level. The waiters will try to grab your attention as you ponder and make your choice of which place to eat. We will not influence your decision, but we will recommend you the Nakhoda Seafood Restaurant. It is located on the upper level of the pavillion, so you can even saviour more superb views of the ocean. You can choose to sit at the open spaces, or in a covered gazebo if you come in a big group.

Naturally, the menu is extensive and you can have everything you'd expect from a ikan-bakar restaurant of this kind. As usual, you can take your pick of fishes, kupang, kerang, crabs, pepahat, prawns from the fish stall. The seafood are all catches-of-the-day and fresh. Once you have made your choices, they are weighed and you can then request on how you want them cooked.

Our group chose to be under the covers of the pondok, which offers ample space, privacy, excellent views of the sea and a relaxing atmosphere. The waiters and staff are friendly too, and they will be quick to respond to your requests and needs.

The Nakhoda is quite spacious, that you won't feel suffocated, even when the crowd got bigger as the evening wore on. You don't need to make your way amid cramped spaces and there is no queue at the fish counter. 

For the record, we ordered Ikan Kerapu Masak Tiga Rasa, Ikan Terubuk Bakar, Ikan Cencaru Bakar Bercili, Udang Goreng Butter, Sotong Goreng Tepung, Kupang Masak Sambal and Kangkung Goreng Belacan, with two jugs of Sirap Limau, one jug plain water and a serving of rice. Everything was fresh, delicious, mouth watering, tasty, juicy and delicious. The service was fast too, we did not have to wait long for our order to arrive.

Our advice would be to come early, about 6 pm or so, and enjoy the sea and atmosphere. Have a long and worthy dinner. You can perform Maghrib at the comfortable surau. And after that, stop by at the stalls selling handicrafts, souvenirs, traditional food and snacks, as a perfect way of ending a gastronomic evening.

So the next time you are making the UNESCO World Heritage City of Melaka as a holiday destination, make sure you include PIBT in the agenda. It is so easy to find, just make your from Melaka town towards Merlimau or Muar, and follow the signboard to Umbai. The PIBT is located about 500 metres from the old Umbai ikan bakar spot (Pernu).

Very much highly recommended, we rate it at nine marks out of ten.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Sajian Wadihana Islamic Kitchen (SWIK)

When SWIK first opened in Bandar Baru Bangi's spanking new 3B Curve Business Park, its signboard had just Wadihana written on it - prompting us to wonder what was the restaurant's specialty. Does it serve Arabic food, or Indonesian cuisine (we always jokingly called it Wadi Unung after the Malay drama) or simply, Malay dishes? Even when the new signboard with the words Islamic Kitchen written across it, we never felt inclined to try it out. But SWIK were always enjoyed good patronage almost daily, and that just got us more curious. 

So one fine night, we decided to try SWIK out. (Perhaps you might like to find out about the restaurant's name origins - read it at www.sajianonline.com.my).


Simple and minimalistic, SWIK's open kitchen concept is indeed welcome, though not original. The restaurant is spacious enough as it occupies two shoplots (by the corner too), so it has wide, open spaces for large families or gatherings. Comfortable without being overly decorative, SWIK achieves high in the furnishing department.


The service was average, but not as quick as we expected it to be. The staff was friendly enough, but they only notified us that one of our order (nasi impit) was finished, about 20 minutes after we had placed the order. However, they did make it up a free bowl of keropok for us to nibble the time away.


When we looked at the menu, there were two things that bothered us a bit. First, was the price. The dishes are a bit expensive for a restaurant of this type in Bandar Baru Bangi. Let me give a few examples - RM30.90 for a chicken fajita? Well, I like Tex-Mex food, but at that price it has to be authentic (with guacamole?) and served in a big portion. And a mixed grilled steak will set you back RM45, and with no mention of whether it's sirloin or tenderloin, I'm not prepared to go for it. Other examples of pricing are fish and chips (RM15.90), rib-eye steak (RM65) and mee siam kuah (RM9.90)

Secondly, SWIK is trying to serve too many kind of dishes in one go - they specialize in Asian, Western, Italian and Mexican (as stated in menu and business card) - that we cannot pinpoint what to have. Perhaps a chef's recommendation note is put on the menu. We finally decide to go Johorean, as the restaurant has deep roots in JB - and ordered the Laksa Johor, Nasi Ambeng and Nasi Goreng Ah Pau (replacing the finished nasi impit set). We also decide to make the Laksa as the benchmark. 

Now, for the positives. The price might be a little steep, but they do make an effort to make it up in size, freshness and presentation. The Laksa Johor was tasty though a little spicy and the portion was just nice. My nasi ambeng was also okay, it had white rice, sambal goreng, serunding, sambal ikan bilis and ayam kicap. But it would be nicer if I could choose more options to put in the Nasi Ambeng, like the missing meehon, begedil and fried fish. Finally, the Nasi Goreng Ah Pau was seafood-based, and the shrimps and squids are quite big and fresh.

The dishes we ordered did not disappoint, but they did not impress either. Tasty, but could be much, much better. So are the prices worth it? We do not think so, if we plan to eat there on a regular basis, but would be fine if we make SWIK a monthly visit. However, it is up to you to decide. 


It would be unfair to judge SWIK because we only tried only one type of its extensive menu. There are plenty more to choose from depending on your taste buds and budget. Recommended for a special night out or if you want to have a lot of varieties under one roof. Contact details are 03 - 8927 5540.

Six-and-a-half marks out of ten.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Zoo Negara Ulu Klang

Getting started:

Our very own Zoo Negara is located within a sprawling 110 acres of land in Ulu Klang, just north of Kuala Lumpur and situated in a somewhat mixed jungle-concrete landscape. For Malaysians, the Malaysian Zoological Society will charge you RM20 for adults and RM6 for kids (Zoo only and includes the animal show); and RM25 adults and RM9 kids to add extra entrances into the Insect Zoo and Butterfly Park.

click to enlarge

Remember to show your MyKad (everyone in your group must show) to prove you're Malaysians, so if you're in a large group and only one person is queuing, please collect all MyKads to avoid being turned away at the ticketing counter or worse, being asked to pay the foreigners' rate (almost RM10 more expensive).

F is for FOC

You will get to wear wristbands which you have to verify at the entrance gate, which is quite cool and contemporary. And if anyone is celebrating their birthday on that day, also inform the ticketing counter to get FREE admission. Our daughter turned three during our visit, and she got in free!

Also, disable people get in free and senior citizens get a big discount. So get everyone in your family to join in the fun and educational trip to Zoo Negara!

There are also ample parking at the Zoo, with two parking areas (at Gate A and Gate B) - so do not park haphazardly outside the area. The parking fee is also minimal, and there will parking attendants to guide you on where and even HOW to park, during peak hours.

There are two entrances to the Zoo, Gate A and Gate B. If possible, try to enter via Gate A as it brings you straight into the Zoo's main area while Gate B will bring you to the Aquarium and Animal Show Theater. The best hour to visit Zoo Negara is as soon as it opens, that is at 9.00 a.m. There will be enough trees and gazebos to provide shade and shelter, but as the day goes on, you will feel tired.

The Zoo is home to almost 5000 animals from 400 different species, and most them are placed in spacious exhibit areas. The Zoo compound is large too, so be prepared to walk a bit, and bring a lot of water especially if you have kids in tow. Our advice is also to plan where and what your family would like to see and visit the most, and which exhibits and attractions to skip. Plan your trip around the Zoo as soon as you enter the gates.


Once you enter, immediately buy tram tickets, costing RM3 adults and RM2 children (again, with MyKads). You can start by taking the tram ride as it will make two stops along the Zoo at designated tram stations. Alternatively, you can do it like us - we walked around the Zoo first and then took the tram for one complete round before going home. It is better this way during peak seasons, as the tram stations will be packed with tired people waiting for trams to take them back to the main gates. 

If you decide to take the tram at the end of your trip, now you must decide where to go in the Zoo. It very much depends on what you'd like to see. If you want to see the Aquarium, Animal Show, Children's World or Penguins - the take the right turn. But if you'd like to see the giraffes, elephants and the Lake, then turn left. The main stars of the Zoo, the lions and the tigers, are also much nearer if you follow the path on the left.

We took the path on the right, and was greeted by the many monkeys and apes. The magnificent horn bills are next on the exhibit enclosure area. Then we reached the Animal Show Theater, which had already started, but being the school holidays, was so packed we couldn't get a peek at all. Unfortunately, the shows are also limited to only two shows per day, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Next, we found the Penguins' aquarium, before entering the Tunku Abdul Rahman Aquarium. You can skip this, as the old aquarium's building is quite small, cramped, suffocating, stuffy and unsuitable for children. Walk a bit more and you will discover the Bear Complex, and see the bears having fun and relaxing under the sun. By this time and distance, you should already be feeling the heat, so take a rest at the kiosks.

When you do continue, try not to miss the Savannah Walk, a large open concept exhibition area created like the safari, which is home to giraffes, zebras and antelopes. But some of the animals might be lazy and would prefer to sleep anyway, but you will appreciate the unique Savannah area which makes you feel the animals are close by, instead of them being in cages.

When you approach the Cat Walk area, if you're lucky, you might hear the roars of the tigers and the lions. Naturally, this is the main attraction of Zoo Negara, and the exhibit area is so crowded. Take your time here, be patient, and you will find a nice spot to view the tigers and lions, or wait for them to come near (if they're not sleeping). The big cats are truly majestic animals, true kings of the jungle, and you might want to spend more time here. 

We ended our journey in Zoo Negara with one tram ride around the zoo, which we felt was a better way to appreciate the surroundings after a tiring walk. The Zoo might lack the modern facilities and need more attractions - but the kids will love it here. It will be a rewarding educational trip for them, and perhaps for the whole family.


- Bring lots of water
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Make sure everyone has MyKad/ MyKid
- Buy tram tickets
- Arrive early and see animal show at 11 a.m.
- Do not miss Savannah, tigers, lions, elephants - kids love 'em the most!