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Jellifer

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About Jellifer

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  1. Our last port was Port Klang, which is about 90 mins from the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. I’d been here a few times before on business and also prior to a Borneo trip. Our first stop was the new King’s Palace - we were only given a few minutes to take photos through the gate. Next was Independence Square, where the Malaysian flag was first raised in 1957. It was interesting to see the blends of architecture here. We then stopped at the iconic Petronas twin towers for a photo stop. Finally we went to a craft centre and had far too much time here. I think we picked the wrong tour here to be honest, it was still enjoyable and the guide, Ali, was great but I’d rather have seen more of the city.
  2. Overall we had a really great day in Penang, wish we could have stayed longer to explore. I’ll just have to add it to my list of places to go back to. Our guide, Vincent was really friendly and helpful. I think this was the night that we saw Cruise Director Ernest’s stage show. He is a great entertainer, a bit cheesy, but can really belt out a tune. The song choices were not all to my taste but he did a great job. He even went as far as roller skating to ‘Starlight Express’ having been a long-standing cast member. Amusing moment when during his Tom Jones routine a member of his team threw a large pair of men’s underpants at him!
  3. After lunch our next stop was Entopia, a butterfly garden. It was really well laid out with some great wildlife - not just butterflies. There were all sorts of creepy crawlies to watch including some absolutely mahoosive spiders that I would not like to meet on a dark night. We only had an hour here but thoroughly enjoyed it.
  4. Next stop was the Burmese Buddhist temple just across the road. There were also plenty of stalls here for picking up more souvenirs. Prices were reasonable and both Ringgits and US$ were widely accepted. We we had lunch provided in a local hotel, in the ballroom no less. Buffet was extensive with both local and western dishes along with sushi, fruit and desserts.
  5. 10th November - Penang, Malaysia We had booked the ‘Grand Tour of Penang’ and our first stop was the Kek Lok Si temple, the largest Chinese temple in south east Asia. There were quite a few steps to climb but it was worth it. The temple was lovely, with a really tranquil feel.
  6. 8th & 9th November - at sea 2 lovely sea days to catch up on some much needed sleep. The weather was still changeable and was a mix of sun & showers. Some people commented that there weren’t many activities planned on sea days around the ship. I liked the fact that loud music wasn’t blasting all the time but there wasn’t a lot you could do if it was raining. I tended to sit in the Living Room snuggled in a blanket reading my book and watching the world go by. I also liked visiting the frozen yogurt station to grab a pot of the sweets they had laid out as toppings.... best gummi bears ever!
  7. White night Discoveries menu... sorry I must’ve got excited when the pudding menu came around and forgot to take a picture.
  8. 7th November - Yangon We were due to set sail from Yangon at 10pm but first of all there was some fun to be had - White Night! We were so lucky to get a break in the rain which meant the event was able to go ahead as planned outside on deck 9. We decided to eat first in Discoveries and then join the party. The restaurant was lovely and quiet so we had enough time to chat to our favourite server, Marinelle and her assistant Dudi. They are wonderful, anticipating our every need - by far the best wait staff I’ve encountered. We joined the party and had great fun. Cruise Director Ernest and his team were working so hard singing and dancing, making sure that everyone was having a ball. Smooth Sensations were playing and they were fabulous too. It was a wonderful party and when it finished at 10pm everyone moved to the Living Room to keep dancing until the wee small hours. This was my first experience of White Night and I thought it was super and extremely well organised.
  9. 7th November - Yangon Rain rain rain. And a bit more rain. Our tour today was ‘Island Pagoda Discovery’. Our first stop was Thanlyin, about 30 mins drive from the ship. There we were met by some local merchants in their horse carts and there was chance to go for a short ride on them. It didn’t look a great prospect in the rain and the animals didn’t look very happy so we gave that one a miss. We had free time to look at the market which was fascinating, so many unusual sights and smells to see. There was a large fruit & vegetable market with weird and wonderful produce. Many stalls selling household goods, clothes and we even found some fairly decent fake handbags! Fellow travellers said they had seen chickens having their heads chopped off but thankfully we didn’t see that. I wish it had been better weather and that we’d had longer to look around. Next up was Kyaik-Khauk pagoda. Unfortunately there was a power cut here meaning the escalators and lifts could not be used. The guides led us up the marble stairs but they were treacherous due to the rain. Several people took a tumble, including one chap who cut his shin quite badly. At this point a lot of people thought it wasn’t safe to continue but the guides insisted the show must go on and took is to the next stop was Kyauk Tan, a floating temple in the middle of the river. Only 3 people from our bus elected to go over to the island as the rain was still torrential. The rest waited on the bus for an hour. Finally we had a guided walk around a local village which seemed pretty deserted. Everyone returned to the ship pretty grumpy and soaking wet. I know there’s nothing we can do about the weather but the tour operators should have the authority to amend itineraries if required. We should never have tried to climb the stairs at the first temple - white marble floor + rain + bare feet was madness and I hope those that fell are ok.
  10. Made it back to the ship just in time to squeeze in for dinner in Discoveries. Sorry don’t seem to have the menus for this night. The food is very good, lots of choices and very well executed. Buffet hours seem a bit short sometimes but other than that, no complaints. I embarked as a passenger, might need to leave as cargo!
  11. 6th November - Yangon Enjoyed a lazy day around the ship. Weather wasn’t great due to a tropical storm over the Andaman Islands. We are not bringing any water on in Myanmar as it is not potable, therefore water is being saved as much as possible and the guest laundry has been temporarily closed. Shame they can’t use rain water! We had an excursion at 4pm - Shewedagon by night. Traffic was slightly better and we arrived into the city by 5:15pm. Sunset is around half 5 so there was a really lovely dusk light when we got there. The temple at night is a totally different atmosphere compared to during the day. A lot more chilled out and cool - still lots of local people but a lot less tourists. Everything was beautifully lit, though some of the buddhas were lit up with disco lighting which seemed a bit strange. We were given a candle on a long stick and given plenty of time to pay our respects to the area of the temple dedicated to the day we were born. Traditionally you thank the god by pouring water from a small metal cup over the statue - you do this once for each year of your age and then once for luck. For some people, that was a lot of water! A few people didn’t know which day they were born on so google came in handy for that. Next we lit the candles and used them to light others, leaving our lights burning as we left. There were lots of families in attendance and also a lot of monks in their traditional robes and nuns in pink robes. We spent some time in the small gift shop before making our way back to the ship.
  12. 5th November - Yangon Up early and out onto the balcony to watch the sail in to Yangon. Well I say Yangon but the port is actually in Thilawa, which is about 14 miles from the centre of the city. Lots of fishermen in small boats waving and shouting to us as we passed by. A lot of people are leaving the ship to stay on land as we are here for 2 nights but we will be doing excursions and coming back to the ship each night. We were welcomed into port by music and dancers and then set off for our ‘Highlights of Yangon’ tour with guide Daniel. The traffic here is so bad and the roads really aren’t able to cope yet. We were a convoy of 5 buses and even with a traffic police escort it took 105 minutes to travel into the city. The scenery was fabulous with rice fields, farms and small dwellings to watch as we passed by. Daniel was very informative and funny too and told us a lot about life in Myanmar now and in days gone by. Prior to 2014 he said a SIM card for a mobile phone could cost $2,000 so completely unobtainable for the average person. In 2014 the prices were reduced to just $2 so now almost everyone has access to calls and of course the internet. A lot of houses here (48%) do not have electricity, the people lead a very traditional agricultural life still. Daniel also explained their traditional dress to us, demonstrating how to tie the cloth longhi that most people still wear here. Religion is a big part of everyday life with the majority being Buddhists - the people are very welcoming and peaceful. We visited the Shewedagon Pagoda which is the most visited tourist attraction in Yangon. We took off our shoes and if knees or shoulders were on show, people were given a longhi to wear. The pagoda is absolutely stunning - bright gold shining in the sunshine - 60 tonnes of it were used to build it apparently. A lot of local people were praying at the pagoda. They worship the god of the day of the week on which they were born. There are 8 gods as Wednesday is split into morning and afternoon for some reason. We had free time here to take photos and I really enjoyed people watching, though it was extremely hot and humid. Everyone was wearing their Sunday best clothes and there were some gorgeous children in the cutest of outfits. It was a really peaceful place considering the huge crowds. Our next stop was the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha temple. It houses a 66m long reclining Buddha which is beautiful. Our bus had a slight issue gaining access but this was remedied by one of the security guards cutting one of the telephone cables that was blocking our way! Everywhere that we went the traffic police ensured that we were given priority. There were some stalls nearby selling keepsakes and they took payment in USD. We weren’t sure whether haggling was expected here but prices seemed reasonable. Our final stop was for a lookout point to see the Royal Barge. It wasn’t easy to get a good picture here though. This was meant to be a 5 hour excursion but the terrible traffic meant we weren’t back on the ship until 3:45pm so in realty it took 7hr 15mins. There were times we didn’t move for up to 10mins at a time, we were surrounded by tankers.
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