03 March, 2017

Bandung

So makan2 time again. Food in Bandung is luxury. 3 night trip to Bandung with Malindo Air is sufficient to enjoy the food and visiting new attractions. Wife and daughter joined the trip. We had been here almost a dozen time since our eldest son worked with a telecommunication company in Jakarta.
Landing was rough due to poor weather and pilot experience probably. To our dismay, the transport that we booked did not turn up at the airport. He was thinking we would be arriving the next day. We had to take the taxi to our hotel in the city center. The car owner apologize and made up by charging us 2 days for a 3 days rent.

Since the last trip we had 3 years ago, there were new attractions in town such as Dusun Bambu and the Floating Market both in Lembang about 45 minuter drive north of the city.

We had enjoyed most of the food here since the first trip to Bandung 10 years ago.

I had booked a hotel in the city center with a walking distance to a shopping mall. The first night we had dinner n watched movies at the complex.

The next day we spend the whole morning at Pasar Baru. Later in the day had dinner in the local restaurant.





Bandung Airport -no aerobridge yet

Rumah Mode

Dusun Bambu,  Lembang

Trying to be Romantic

Jack n Pokok Kacang


Rumah Hobbit, Mil Farm Lembang

Maila tolong

Floating Marke,t Lembang



08 February, 2017

Turkey



There are a total of 17 participants in this trip. Travelled with Al Ilmi Tour again for the 2nd time. The round trip from Istanbul will take 2100km.


Day 1 -  Arriving SAW airport Istanbul, Bursa

Arrived afternoon after 13 hours flight n transit time. We were received by the Tour Guide. Packed lunch were provided on the bus. Our first stop according to the iterinary is Bursa. Bursa is the center of Turkey silk industry. It is one of the large city in Turkey. Here we were taken to visit the Grand Mosque, Green Mosque, Green Tomb n Silk Bazaar.

Green Mosque
Ottoman came to build the mosque for prayers as well as for social gathering during the 14th century. The mosque is famous for its original green tiles lining the floors and the walls.

Green Tomb
The tomb housed the remains of the ottoman families.

Grand Mosque
Oldest and biggest mosque in Bursa.

On the way to Pamukkalee, we stop over at a local mosque for the afternoon prayers.

Day 2 - Pamukalle
Natural white color limestone hills which housed the remains of the roman empire. It is a Unesco heritage site.
Slept in the hotel in Pamukkalee 10 minutes from the Unesco site. The hotel had separate pipe to for supplying warm thermal water to the bath tub.

Pack up and proceed to Konya which  is the 8th largest city. Visited the Mevlana Museum and Caravansarai.
Mevlana is the resting place of ...

Caravanserai was once a transit point for travellers during the period of the silk route.
It was build in 1229.

The Mevlana Musuem, is the mausoleum of a Persian Sufi called Mevl├óna or Rumi.

We did not stay long in Konya as we had to drive another 3 hours to the next destination in Cappodocia. We stayed in Hilton hotel for 2 nights in Cappodocia.

Day 3 - Cappodocia.
Cappodocia is famous for its natural volcanic structure which had been sculptured into homes hotels monasteries etc. Some member registered for a ride in the hot air balloon for the next day but was cancelled due to bad weather.


....being updated


Bursa



























28 January, 2017

The Balkans

The 11 days tour to the Balkan includes Croatia, Bosnia Herzagovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bulgaria. The trip starts from Zagreb, Croatia and depart from Sofia, Bulgaria.





Total of 22 people joined the tour organised by Al Ilmi Travel and Tours. I was the Tour Leader for this trip.   This was supposed to be a winter tour in late January and everyone was looking forward to experience both ground and falling snow.




We depart KLIA midnight for a 10 hours flight to Istanbul.  Performed subuh prayers at the departure hall during the 2 hrs transit in Istanbul. Reached Zagreb Croatia in the early morning.

Zagreb city tour and Platvik Lake (Croatia)
The bus and the snow were ready waiting for us.
Snow was everywhere and the temperature was extremely cold. The host took us to do a walking tour in the city. We changed for some local currency since they do not accept euro widely. Stopped by the market square to buy some fruits and honey. Had lunch and prayers at Islamic Center Zagreb, the only mosque available in Zagreb.

Zagreb Islamic Center


Zagreb market




Checked into the hotel right after  lunch. Everyone was tired after the 15 hour flight. There were no night activities and everyone retired to bed right after dinner. Dinner was also served at the Islamic Center Zagreb.

After breakfast, we packed for a bus ride to Platvice Park 100 km south of Zagreb. It is a huge park with 16 lakes cascaded as a series of waterfalls. Due to winter, most of the park facilities were closed. We were not able to venture to the bigger lake since it was not accessible by bus. Trekking to the lake was dangerous as the foot path is slippery. We only manage to trek the lowest lake walking through the villages.

Platvice lower Lake







Bihac, Jajce Lake, Travnik, Sarajevo, Mostar, Blagaj Tekke (Bosnia Herzagovina)

After spending almost 2 hrs at the lake, we drove into the state of Bosnia Herzagovina via  the immigration check point at a small town called Bihac. After lunch in Bihac restaurant, we checked in at Kolstelski Buk hotel 15 minutes outside Bihac. It is a beautiful hotel in the countryside along  river Una. There is a small animal farm at the back of the hotel. Dinner was served at the hotel.

outside Kolstelski Buk hotel

The next morning everyone was prepared for the next destination, Sarajevo. Stopped over at Jajce lake, Jajce water house and waterfall. It was snowing all the way from Bihac and most of us were excited being able to see falling snow the first time. Had lunch at a restaurant in Jajce and prayer at the local mosque beside the restaurant.

Just further up after Jajce, we stop by a small town called Travnik. The town featured a clear blue stream and a very old mosque.

Jajce Lake

Jajce water house
Jajce waterfall

Jajce lake
Fish menu at Jajce reataurant

Travnik blue water

Reached Sarajevo and straight for dinner. They served meat balls in soup at the restaurant. We checked into Hotel Hollywood in the city center. Everyone was  too tired to venture into the city.

After breakfast the next day, we drove to Sarajevo national park for a photo session. Later we went to the 1984 Olympic winter venue in Igham mountain. The peak is a ski resort high in the mountain. Later we were taken to visit the famous war site at Tunnel of Hope. The tunnel was constructed in 1995 during Bosnia civil war. It marks the end of the war since it provide means of providing arms to the Bosnian to fight the enemies.


Olympic winter venue
Olympic winter venue

Tunnel of Hope

Tunnel of Hope

Tunnel of Hope



Tunnel of Hope


Tunnel of Hope

Later we had lunch at our tour guide family house. We were treated with barbequed lamb and rice. His parents lives in the country house overlooking Sarajevo city center. After prayers, we were taken for a tour in the old Sarajevo city center. We had lunch in the old town of Sarajevo.

Sarajevo Old Town

Sarajevo Old Town

It was already late when we return to the hotel. We retired to bed early for the next day journey to Mostar. Mostar is a very old historic town an hour drive from Sarajevo.

Mostar


Mostar
Next stop was Blagaj Tekke. It is an old muslim Sufi place of worship dated to the 14th century. 
Had dinner at a local restaureant in Stolac. We spend the night at a hotel in Stolac. It was an old building hotel with no lift facility.

Blagaj Tekke

Blagaj Tekke

Blagaj Tekke


Blagaj Tekke

Blagaj Tekke

Blagaj Tekke

Blagaj Tekke

Blagaj Tekke

Dubrovnik(Croatia) - Kotor, Budva, Bar (Montenegro)

From Stolac we cross the Croatian border again to the historic town Dubrovnik. A local tourist guide Ivana took us to do a walking tour of the city. Currently they are setting up a scene for the filming of Robin Hood.
From Dubrovnik, we cross the border again to Montenegro. Took a ferry across lake Kotor. Had lunch in Kotor and later do a walking tour of the old Kotor town. 
Stop for prayer at one of the local mosque and proceed to Budva for Hard Rock Cafe. Unfortunately the outlet was closed for renovation.

We proceed to a town called Bar for dinner at the Islamic Center. Crossed the border again into Albania. Slept in Grand Hotel in Schkoder. Able to see a mosque thro the hotel window.




Dubrovnik

Kotor, Montenegro

Surau Montenegro

Lunch Kotor, Montenegro

Old City, Montenegro

Old Town, Kotor
Tirane, Kruje Castle (Albania)

From the hotel the bus took us via a mountain road to Kruje Castle. Had to walk 1 km to the castle. Had lunch there.

From Kruje we passed the town of Tirana and cross the border into Macedonia to Ohrid.



Kruje Castle

Kruje Castle

Ohrid, Skopje (Macedonia)

Had dinner at Hotel Flamingo, Ohrid. After breakfast we tour the lake and town of Ohrid. From Ohrid we proceed to Skopje. We were driving crossing the mountain as we approach the Macedonian border. We stopped at the local mosque in Skopje for afternoon prayers. After prayers we walked to the old town for lunch. Right after lunch some went shopping and the rest toured the old town.







 

As it gets dark, we packed and move to the next town in Sofia, Bulgaria. Had dinner in an Indian restaurant.

The next day, we packed for the flight back home. Since the flight was late evening, we were taken to the local shopping complex for a last minute shopping. By 3 pm the local guide took us to Sofia airport and bid us farewell.

Took Turkish Airline for our our flight to Kuala Lumpur via Istanbul.
We travelled 1,300 km through 6 countries. Spend 8 nights in 4/5 star hotels.