Category Archives: Malaysia

Sunrise Over Penang Bridge

The time is 6:42 in the morning. And it is not a regular morning on my trip. I have been running 5+ hour into the Penang Bridge International Marathon 2014, the 42.195km foot race through the new Penang Bridge, and back.

The dark night is not windy. But that is what exhausting most runner in the back pack. The heat, and the labor of running a marathon had taken a toll on most of us that still running, or walking. We are tired, thirsty, and hungry. We just want to finish the race,

Sunrise On Penang Bridge

The timing of the sunrise could not be more perfect. Just as most runner in the back pack think of giving up, the sun rose behind us. And there are really nothing more energizing than dawn. The sky turns from dark to bluish. And then, a streak of light rise up on the horizon.

This post is a response to WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird. Read the full account of my race in Penang Bridge International Marathon 2014 in the post here

The Kopitiam Culture

“Kopi O Kosong”

That is how to order a cup of hot black coffee without sugar or cream. I used to say it wrong. I missed the word “kosong”. The one that is served for me was then a black coffee with sugar.

For me, the Malay-style kopitiam has always been interesting. It always seems that people gather here every morning for a chat, while having breakfast and sipping a cup of coffee. Because of this, Malay-style kopitiam has always been full of chatter.

The Kopitiam Style
Typical Kopitiam Set Up at most Malaysian Kopi Tiam

This is especially true over the weekend. On Saturday morning, we went to 77 Food Yard at Pulau Tikus Market. From the name, I guess that at night, this place transformed into a restaurant. But in the morning, 77 Food Yard change into kopitiam.

It is so hard to find a table for four of us that Saturday morning. In fact, there are another kopitiam right across 77 Food Yard. Yet, both are full house. On weekend, after a long walk through the market for their daily needs, people would take a seat and having breakfast. Without the morning rush to office, people will usually spend more time with family and friends.

We did eventually find a nice place outside. The outdoor area has always been my favorite. And this morning, when it is a bit cloudy, the weather is just perfect to bask in the sun.

Cooking the Char Koay Khak
Cooking the Char Koay Khak

After ordering my coffee, I walk around to get my food. In Malay-style kopitiam culture, the owner of the place only sell drinks. Food is sold by stalls that line up in front of the kopitiam, operated by different owner. In fact, you are free to bring your own food, as long as you order drinks from the owner of the place.

Char Koay Teow Char Kwee Tiau

That morning I ordered a lot of food. Char Kwee Tiau has always been my favorite. But the one in 77 Food Yard isn’t really that special. Instead, the char mee sua is much better and more tasty. Grace ordered char koay kak, made from flour and tapioca flour.

We had a good chatter and people watching that morning. Someone approach us, Form the way he greet us, I guess he is a monk. Looking at our 3 years old, the stranger go and bought a teether for our son. Our son is obviously too old for that, but still, we said thank you. Later, people said that the man is crazy. But for me, it is a nice encounter.

The kopitiam culture has changed as time pass. Nowadays, many place label themself as kopitiam, opens in air conditioned shopping malls, while in fact, it is just another restaurant. For me, I would still love the original kopitiam, the culture, the food and the interactions.

Citrus Hotel Johor Bahru

Our trip to Johor Bahru has one objective: Legoland Malaysia. Thus, when looking for hotels, we look for one that is easily reachable from Legoland Malaysia. Our choice comes to Citrus Hotel Johor Bahru, for the following reason:

  1. Citrus Hotel is located within 5 minutes walking distance to CIQ bus terminal. From the bus terminal, there are hourly shuttle to Legoland Malaysia
  2. Citrus Hotel also located within walking distance from Medan Meldrum Walk. For information, Medan Meldrum Walk opens from evening to late night, serving various food for dinner.
  3. As a benefit of located near CIQ bus terminal, Air Asia provide free shuttle from Johor Bahru Airport to CIQ bus terminal. From there, just walk to Citrus Hotel.
  4. There are also a shopping mall nearby should you need to grab few things.

Now, lets get into the full review, or head on to Citrus Hotel Johor Bahru at Agoda for booking

Citrus Hotel Room

The standard bedroom of Citrus Hotel, while not the smallest we ever stayed, still feel a bit small for 2 adults and 1 toddler. It has queen size bedroom, an ensuite bathroom, and a sofa near the door. It is probably the sofa that make the room feel smaller.

Citrus Hotel - Bedroom

And another complaint that I have with Citrus Hotel Standard room is lack of window. There are only small window in our room, facing uninteresting building. Obviously, this small window limit the amount of lights coming to our room. A minor inconvenience, as we spent most of our time outside the hotel.

Citrus Hotel Breakfast

Breakfast is provided at 2nd level of the hotel. it is served in rather large room enough for around 60 people. Food served is rather standard. We choose to have small breakfast here for convenience of traveling with 2 years old boy.

if you would rather to have another breakfast, there are large selection of food nearby, or in the shopping mall across the street.

Citrus Hotel - Breakfast Area

Around Citrus Hotel

What probably the best feature of Citrus Hotel is its strategic location. Citrus hotel is located within walking distance from CIQ border with Singapore, and the CIQ bus terminal. From this terminal, you can basically go anywhere within Johor Bahru within a single ride, or cross the border to Singapore.

If you plan to go to Legoland, The Legoland Shuttle Bus is available at CIQ terminal. The bus depart every 90 minutes during weekdays, and 60 minutes during weekend. Timetable is posted at the bus terminal.

At night, the Medan Selera Meldrum Walk is lined with food sellers. Our favorite is the grilled fish, lumpia, and char kwee tiau. And after a long hot day at Legoland, the fresh cold sugar cane water serve as a well refreshing drink.

For more photo of Citrus Hotel Johor Bahru, please visit our Flickr Page. Or book this hotel via Agoda