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31 May 2012

Day Trip to Kuala Gandah Deerland Park, Elephant Sanctuary and Bentong Chamang Fall

30 May 2012

It is school holiday. For the last 2 years, Hubby and I would have our own holiday without the kids, in conjunction with our wedding anniversary. Hubby has been waiting for me to give him dates that I'm able to get away for a few days trip. I just came back from company's team planning session in Seoul and have not planned for any trip during this 2 weeks school holiday.

Two days ago, Hubby suggested to make a day trip to Kuala Gandah and Bentong. A parent of Kumon student recommended him to visit Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. He made some browsing on the internet and noticed that travel agent usually bring visitors for day trip to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary and Deerland Park. He also read about Bentong Chamang Fall and since these 3 attractions are quite close by, he planned the itinerary for a day trip.

Initially, we were thinking of going on this coming Saturday of Agung's Birthday Holiday. Since it is school holiday, a week end and public holiday, we believe these places would have lots of people. Since I was able to take a day off from work, we decided to go on mid week instead.

We left home at 10am and reached Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary at 11am. Hubby read that limited stickers will be given out to visitors in a day and made the first stop at this Elephant Sanctuary to register and obtained stickers for the day. There's no entrance fee but visitors are encouraged to make some contribution to the sanctuary.

Hubby obtained 2 red and 3 yellow stickers and made donation to the sanctuary.

The staff informed us that there would be video show on issues surrounding wild elephants and diminishing habitat at 1.30pm.

Since it was still early, Hubby suggested that we visited Deerland Park which is located not far away.

 The entrance fee to this Deerland Park is RM6 for adult and RM3 for kids.

Walking in the park
Honestly, we had not heard of this place but there were many foreigner visitors. We met 3 Japanese mothers who married to local men visiting the park with their kids. They are residing in Kuantan and have lovely kids.
Deer feeding with food provided by the park
Taiwan Deers

There are also opportunity to touch and take photo with snakes.

Rabbit feeding

We were at the Deerland Park for about an hour and adjourned to the Elephant Sanctuary.

 We walked around its information centre and read interesting stories and facts on elephants.

 The Japanese families brought food and had picnic lunch at this place.

 The only cafe at the Elephant Sanctuary.

We had mee hoon noodle soup, fried mee hoon and fried rice for lunch. The taste was alright but a little salty. They cost about RM4.50 per plate.


After lunch, we walked to the elephants feeding and show venue.

Jared feeding elephant with peanuts.

This lady is from London. She bought bananas on the way to the sanctuary and gave some to us for elephant feeding. In return, Hubby gave them some peanuts to feed those elephants too.

Not overly crowded despite school holiday. Almost half of the visitors were foreigners with tour guide that brought them there on day trip.

At 2pm, the elephants had their bath to cool down their bodies temperature. Their bodies were also dirty and full of mud which was to protect them against the hot sun.
Finished bathing, ready for show time
Show time
Visitors were encouraged to hand feed elephants during their lunch for bonding and trust building, before elephant rides. Cut papayas were provided by the sanctuary.

Queuing for elephant rides for visitors with yellow sticker. Hubby, Jared and I had a ride on an elephant the natural way ie no basket. It was an interesting ride.

After the ride, we had a cold drink at the same cafe that we had our lunch. We left Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary at about 3.10pm to adjourn for Bentong Chamang Fall. On the way, there were cows on the road and we need to drive safely.

We reached Bentong Chamang Fall at about 4 pm, which was just the right timing. There's a suspension bridge that connects the 2 sides of the stream.

Be careful crossing the bridge
There are picnic place

We did not have any swim there, though we did bring extra changing clothes and towel as we did not think it is suitable for our boys.

The waterfalls can be dangerous with powerful currents.

We reached this restaurant at Bukit Tinggi at 6pm and had our early dinner there.

We reached home about 7.30pm and were all tired, sweaty and smelly. But it was a good and productive day trip for the family.

Suggestion for the trip:
  1. Wear light and comfortable clothes.
  2. Bring water, sunglasses and caps as there are a bit of walking under hot sun.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes and shoes that can resist water if go to the Chamang Fall
  4. Make the first stop at Elephant Sanctuary to register and collect stickers as there is limited stickers given out in a day, especially the yellow sticker for rides and bath with elephants.
  5. Allow ample time for lunch, suggest have early lunch as there's only 1 cafe in Elephant Sanctuary and everyone is rushing for the 1.30pm video show.
  6. Bring peanuts and banana to feed elephants.
  7. Make some contribution to the Elephant Sanctuary as there's no entrance fee, for the maintenance of the elephants and park.
  8. Bring extra changing clothes and towel.
  9. Be careful if swim at the Bentong Chamang Fall

28 May 2012

CNY Gathering over Steamboat Lunch

7 Feb 2012

Chap Goh Meh just over yesterday and today is Thaipusam Day.

After the “plain and expensive” steamboat from Bandar Menjalara over the CNY,  I’ve decided to have my own steamboat at home. I think I can do better than that session of steamboat. I invited Meng Siew and group of friends over for steamboat lunch.

I woke up at 7.30am in the morning, had a quick breakfast and told Moch what to prepare for the steamboat and off I went to TTDI market to buy fresh food. I like steamboat with lots of varieties and not just fish ball and meat balls. I bought fish balls, prawn, fish, vegetables, etc. I bought bits of almost everything that I can find from TTDI market.
Steamboat lunch at home

Children table
Adult table
Tea time
Didn't expect guys to love cupcakes so much
Younger kids' Uno session

Elder kids' Monopoly session
The group started off with Meng Siew and I back in 1985. The group expanded to our spouse and spouse friends and it expanded further to our kids. It is certainly a friendship that I treasure very much.

It was a good catch up and there were lots of laughter too. It is certainly to treasure the memories.

Steamboat Soup and Ingredients

7 Feb 2012

I like steamboat. It is healthier as compared to BBQ, easier to prepare and wash up after meal. I enjoy having steamboat with family and friends, have a good catch up while waiting for soup to boil.

I've had steamboats at restaurants, family and friends houses. My best friend, Christina had also invited us for steamboat dinner in Klang and also at her house.

Based on testings and eating steamboat at all these places, I've been making and having guests over to our house for steamboat meals several times. I'm compiling them here so that I can share with friends and also for my own reference.

My steamboat pot comes with dual compartments for soups, so we can have both types of soups (plain, clear stock and tom yam stock) in the steamboat at the same time.

Plain soup stock
  • Pork bone or Anchovies (Ikan bilis)
  • 3 chicken carcasses, clean and remove fat
  • 2 stalks spring onion
  • 1 carrot
  • Chinese cabbage (use the stem to boil stock, leave the leaves vegetables for steamboat)
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns
  • Red dates
  • Wolfberry (Kei Chee)
  •  Corn and Yam - put in steamboat pot with the strained stock
  1. Put all the ingredients into a deep pot and add water until three quarters full
  2. Bring to a rolling boil
  3. Skim off any impurities or scum
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours
  5. Strain the stock
  6. Add salt to taste
  7. Discard the rest of the ingredients or use them to boil another pot of Tom Yam stock

Tomyam soup stock  
  • The above ingredients from plain soup stock
  • 3 stalks lemon grass (serai), smash 
  • 12 cilipadi 
  • 2 tomatoes, quarter
  • 1 Big onion
  • 3 limes, squeeze for juice 
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (limau purut)
  • 1 bouillion tomyam-flavoured chicken stock cube or tomyam paste
  1. Add water into a deep pot until three quarters full
  2. Bring water to a rolling boil
  3. Add lemon grass, cilipadi, tomatoes and onion
  4. Let the soup boil again
  5. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours
  6. Then add lime juice, kafir lime leaves, tomyam-flavoured chicken stock or tomyam paste
  7. Strain the stock
  8. Add salt and fish sauce to taste

Strain the stock into the steamboat and put in corns and slices of yam.

For the steamboat, I usually prepare the following food:
Steamboat Ingredients
  • Pork shoulder / shabu shabu
  • Meat balls
  • Chicken fillet
  • Fish fillet (red snapper, garoupa or pomfret)
  • Large prawns, remove heads but keep shells intact
  • Squid, clean and cut into thick round slices
  • Cuttlefish, cut into thick slices
  • Fish balls
  • Yong tau foo
  • Mushroom - button, abalone and other varieties of mushrooms
  • Soft bean curd, cut into big cubes
  • Japanese tofu, slice into thick rounds
  • Bean curd sticks
  • Fish noodles
  • Vegetables - spinach (tung woh), Chinese white cabbage (wong nga pak), lettuce
  • Noodles - mee hoon, yee mee 
Arranged all the accompanying ingredients neatly on a platter. I prefer to use Pyrex ware and plastic containers. Previously, I used to arrange them in plates. It is more convenient to use containers as the food can be covered, store and stack up in refrigerator and do not take up as much space.

Varieties of balls
Squid, cuttlefish, fish fillet and prawn
Japanese tofu and meat balls
Shabu-shabu, taufu pok, chicken fillet and mushroom

Yong Tau Fo
To serve, bring the stock to a boil in the steamboat. Add in desired ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil again. Dish out into individual soup bowls and serve with dip sauce.

Hubby complimented the chili sauce that Christina’s prepared and I called her to get some tips on how to make the chili sauce that my Hubby likes so much.

Dip sauce (Chili Garlic sauce)
  • Green Chili padi - remove seeds
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Lime juice
  • Fish sauce
  • Sugar
Blend chili padi, garlic and shallot. Squeeze lime juice and add fish sauce and sugar to taste.
In order to have a nice, slow and comfortable steamboat meals, I will limit the steamboat meal to 8 persons to a table.